Wednesday, September 30, 2009


After reading a couple of blog entries by fellow blogger, Jinksy, I was inspired to dig up this piece I wrote a few years ago - also about body parts - Viewed from a different perspective.
As I stood waiting for a bus the other day, I had some minutes to study the people moving around me. This was most enjoyable since I am a dedicated people watcher. One can tell a lot about a person by silently observing them.
A thought forcefully pushed its way among these wandering ruminations. Every one of us is a unique specially created individual. Every one of us has something that no one else has in quite the same way or shape. We are the same yet distinctly different.
Take for instance eyes. Eyes come in several colours and shapes. Lashes may be long and luxurious or short an stubby. But the main thing that makes one pair of eyes so different from another is the expression, or lack of expression in them. Some eyes reflect sadness, or despair, terror or pain, some snap with enthusiasm or anger, some seem to be so deep that one feels as though they are looking into the person's very soul. Other eyes seem to be filled with laughter. Each pair of eyes portrays a unique detail about the person behind them. eyes were included in the human form for one reason - to watch. Eyes are the same yet distinctly different.
And then there's ears. They may be large, medium or small. Some stick out quite plainly. Others nestle snugly against the head - almost invisible it seems. Ears remind me of sea shells. They range from tiny delicate formations to large conch shell-like ones. All ears are created for the same purpose - to listen. Ears are the same, yet distinctly different.
Let's not forget hands. They too, come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some are large, with short stubby fingers. Others are smaller but with long slender fingers. Still others are missing digits for one reason or another. Some hands are strong and powerful. Some are awkward; some are gentle, others rough. Many are capable of incredible feats - performing complex operations, playing concertos, building great structures, carving or sculpting unforgettable masterpieces. But hands can do so much more.They can reach out and touch another person. They can comfort, support, encourage, unite and and they do - on a daily basis. Hands are the same, yet distinctly different.
No, I haven't forgotten mouths! They are all the same, yet molded to meet the owner's individual personality. They are constantly changing, reflecting the mood of the person at any given time. Lips may be curbed up or down. So unique.Their position may signify happiness, anger or sadness or any emotion in between. With them, we can speak - words of comfort, shrieks of rage, shouts of joy. The impact of the sounds and mouth expressions we use can have lasting effects on all we meet. Mouths were added to the human form to help us communicate. Mouths are the same, yet distinctly different.
I could go on at considerably greater length, but I think you catch the idea. We are all the same, yet we can appear so different. How can the same basic equipment be supplied to each of us, yet we manage to look and act in such diverse ways? The key seems to be in how we use the equipment. We are the same, yet distinctly different.

Autumn poetry

The following is a Robert Frost poem:

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY by Robert Frost (1923)
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower,
But only so an hour,
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

There are many other "Autumn" poems. Seems that many poets have been moved to comment on this season. If you've a mind to read more along this line - here's a few:
"Sonnet 73" by William Shakespeare; "To Autumn" by William Blake; "To Autumn" by John Keats; "The Autumn" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; "Autumn Movement" Carl Sandberg.
Autumn is a fascinating, sometimes fickle season. Sometimes its warmth and beauty lasts (in Canada we call it Indian Summer - why I'm not sure) and lulls us into thinking that this will never end, and then - suddenly we wake up one morning to find heavy frost, freezing winds bending the bare trees and lashing our faces. Aaah. Such is the face of Autumn. No wonder poets find so much to say about it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dentists - Bah humbug!

I read Jinksy's account of visits to the dentist and how she could see no reason to regard these visits with trepidation. She was lucky she got anesthesia for dental work! When I was a kid, going to the dentist meant a visit every six months or so. At those times the dentist would poke around in my mouth, murmuring tsk,tsk! There was never less than five cavities, often more. Before you say ,"I know why you had all those cavities! Too much sugar and chocolate!" funny that's what the dentist would say too. But hear me out. I grew up on a farm - lots of fruits, vegetables, home-grown beef, pork, and chicken as well as our own milk and little or no candy bars. How then, you say? Genetics. My parents had poor teeth as did their parents, so they took great care to see that I ate well and visited that miserable old (at least I thought he was) dentist every six months. Seems that I was blessed with very soft enamel, hence the large number of cavities. But I digress.
I will explain why my experiences were so very different. Cavity filling meant being jabbed with a huge, long needle to freeze the gum and nerve. If that wasn't bad enough, there was the vibrating drill grinding away at the cavity, while I froze to the chair, praying that drill wouldn't slip. No water-cooled drills then! This continued through my childhood and teenage years. When I married, we often didn't have enough money for essentials for our babies, much less to fix teeth!
At one point during one of my pregnancies, I could stand the pain no longer, so I went to a dentist. He examined my teeth and shook his head. 'You need some work done here', he said, 'but right away there are two teeth that are ulcerated and must come out today.' I reluctantly agreed. He proceeded with that dreaded big needle. It hadn't gotten any smaller or less painful since I'd last been to a dentist either! Soon he came back to, as he put it', see if they were ready.' Obediently I opened my mouth. I knew the freezing hadn't set in, but thought he's just checking - right? Wrong! he immediately latched on to one of those teeth and yanked it out sans freezing while I'm trying to tell, him, around the implements in my mouth that I'm not ready yet. When I asked him what he thought he was doing, pulling my teeth with no freezing, he very matter-of-factly said, 'Oh well I knew the freezing wouldn't help for an ulcerated tooth, but I wanted to make you feel better. Besides I knew you'd probably panic if I told you the truth.' And you wonder why I avoided the dentist! At age thirty, I finally had my poor soft teeth pulled and was fitted with dentures. This was the one and only time I ever had an anesthetic to have any dental work done! I have not regretted the decision to have those troublesome teeth pulled. I haven't kept up with the latest and best in dental technology - for obvious reasons. But believe me, I sympathize with any of you folks out there who dread those visits!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gods of the Harvest

Shades of the prairie autumn again. Since we are in the fall or autumn of the year, I thought I would share another seasonal poem and a few memories. When harvest was done, we looked forward to the coming winter with mixed feelings. If the harvest had been good, we would have lots of food to fill our needs, our home would be warm and snug, preparations would have made for our animals, and yet- there was the anticipation for me, as a child, to see the first snow flake of the season; make the the first snowman; wear that new (hand-me-down like as not) coat. But there was the other side of the coming season - short days, long nights and a winter that would be cold and, sometimes seemed to go on forever! But I digress.
This poem is about activities that took up much of our waking time throughout the fall.
But there were also fun things to do - like scuffing my way through a pile of red and gold leaves, or even jumping into the middle of them and rolling around like a queen in her royal bath! I marvelled at how the animals began to prepare for winter, with the thickening of their coats, and sometimes with even a colour change! Fall was a time of flux - not quite winter but beyond the warm days of summer. A time of crisp mornings sometimes with a skim of frost on everything. A frost that made the grass sparkle with diamond crystals, Diamonds that melted away as the morning sun found them. Because the sunlight peeked into my bedroom later, and later each morning, it became just a little harder to leave the cozy nest of my bed. Ah, those wonderful bygone days of autumn!


Every fall was the same
Spattered across prairie fields
Were big metal gargoyles
Brought out to honour
The gods of the harvest
For just a brief time,
The worshipers filled up the maws
Of these hungry beasts with sheaves of wheat
They hoped the gods would be pleased
they hoped for bounty this year.

Faster and faster those worshipers worked
And faster and faster those
Greedy gods gobbled their gifts.
Sometimes the return
Was most lavish;
A benevolent reward
For a work well done
The old harvest gods seemed to say.

Sometimes tho' the return was so sparse
It brought tears to the eyes
Of those diligent servants.

The old harvest gods didn't care!
They'd had their rewards
Those simple folk got
What they deserved.
The gods seemed to say.

Wait just a minute!
What's this?
Those simple folk are
Putting the altars away!
They're working together
To make this season
The best it can possibly be.

Greedy gods go into the barn
Until next year's rewards are about due.

Fields are just stubble now
The hard work is done.
The race against whims
Of dear Mother Nature
Has been won – for this year.
Surveying the handiwork
The farmers enjoy the ripe beauty
Of this, their beloved – the land.

Walking Sticks

In the last few years I seem to be vertically challenged. Oh not the way you think. I can't always maintain my equilibrium without staggering and clutching at things as I walk. Talk about hard on my dignity!! I considered a cane. Someone suggested a walker. I'm not ready for that yet, I thought! Then someone else suggested getting two walking sticks and using them to help stabilize me, sort of like two extra legs, while enabling me to get more long walks in! Ah, now this sounded like something I could handle. Off I went on an expedition to find said poles without breaking my budget. After some looking and talking to a friend who uses them (and she's much younger than me!) I finally found some, in a local hardware store, for a third of the price that the specialized sporting goods stores were prepared to sell them for. My first stroke of good luck. The second was in encountering someone else who uses these sticks for walking. He was the employee in the hardware store who sold them to me. He gave me some valuable tips on how to adjust the height for me, how to hold them and swing them. Away home I came full of enthusiasm. However, three days passed. Each day there was a reason why I couldn't (legitimate of course!!) go out and start using them. Finally, I couldn't stall any more so I took a deep breath and plunged outside my apartment. The first two people I met -a couple of my neighbours - said 'oh, are you practising up to go skiing?' Hmmm I thought, I never expected that response! Next at the flower shop, the owner referred to them as canes. I was most affronted. At least for five minutes or so. These responses kind of threw me off balance (oh, not literally, but figuratively) so I came home and plunked them down. There they stayed for two or three more days! Not one to give up a challenge easily, (not for nothing do I have this stubborn Irish streak!) I gathered up my courage and off I went again. The day was hot and I worked up a sweat, but you know, I walked confidently - for three kilometres for the first time in a long while. I think I'm getting the hang of this. It feels great to have this opportunity again. No longer will I consider walking a right, but a privilege that has been given back to me! I'll write more here about my walking adventures with my two extra legs - from time to time....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Autumn thoughts....

When I went to retrieve my poems, it seemed that I was unable to access them. Grrr! How maddening that they are there but I cannot access (some) of them.
But wait! All is not lost. I found some hard copies of them and while this means I must re-enter them, at least I still have my "babies." Funny until this moment I hadn't thought of them like that. Guess I am pretty possessive when it comes to my writings!

By this poem you can see that my approach to autumn is from quite a different perspective. My Canadian Prairie roots are showing.

Harvest is done- earth can rest
The time has come to prepare
For winter's icy reign.

Little creatures of the earth
Are scampering busily
Intent upon their season's work
Lining and filling their nests.
With leavings from the harvest.

When crops are good,
Gleanings are rich indeed
When the crops are poor
Leftovers too are sparse
It matters not where creatures fit
In the order of things,
All are affected by Nature's capricious works.

So just remember, whether you're
Cleaning up garden, yard or harvest fields,
Spare a thought for your fellow creatures -
Great and small.
Won't you share your leavings with them?
You know, each one is important.
God knows when even a sparrow falls.

Now harvest is done – the earth can rest.
The time has come for all to prepare
For winter's icy reign.

Autumn thoughts...