A Monochromatic Kaleidoscope

Sunlight filters through the trees

Mottling green on green

In the soft grass that

Carpets the yard.

When the summer zephyr blows

The ground becomes

A monochromatic kaleidoscope.

My dog is a reddish blur

As he chases his ball.

Turning to look at me, dropping the ball

He is the picture of happiness.

And I find myself smiling

Even with the heaviness in my chest.

The healing has just started

It’s in its infancy still.

But it is welcome.

Peace Among Pets

WatsonPatches

The other night I had shifted from my spot on the sofa to the middle cushion to accommodate the needs of my overly jealous dog Watson and my territory-grabbing cat Patches. So, I had Watson settled on my left side, he had his head draped over my lap he was dozing and happy. Then Patches entered the scene so I patted the completely empty cushion to my right and coaxed him to hop up which he did. He turned around on the cushion and I was ready for him to curl up against me when he decided to cross over my lap and over Watson’s head and shoulders to move to the left cushion. Now, you have to understand that Watson and Patches have the quintessential love/hate relationship. Watson respectfully loves Patches, whereas Patches pretty much tolerates Watson on a good day. So I knew exactly what Watson was thinking when he looked at me unsure of what to do. Watson was currently occupying about 90% of the left cushion with his 40 pounds of fluffy red fur. I really wasn’t sure what to do either so I just waited and watched the scene unfold. Patches maneuvered himself into the remaining space and curled up against Watson’s rear end and went to sleep. After a minute of not knowing what Patches might do to him if he moved a muscle, Watson put his head back down and went back to sleep himself. I just sat there looking at these two animals seemingly happily “snuggled” up and felt my heart fill even more with love for my two boys who I am so grateful to have in my life. Of course, 5 minutes later Patches went from sound asleep to literally springing off the couch in one fluid movement, which startled Watson who nearly fell off the couch in the process and I had to catch him so he didn’t land on his head.  But hey, at least I had five minutes of peace.

The Gardener

My mom loved gardening. I vividly remember playing outside, as a child, during summer weekends, watching my mom hunched over her various flower beds with her blue and white cowboy-style bandanna tied around her head. She would be weeding or transplanting new flowers. There would be containers of near fluorescent marigolds, pansies or some other colorful summer flower. One house we lived in there was a stone wall in front of our house and my mom and planted rows of bright orange tiger lilies all along it. When I got home from riding my bike somewhere I could see the brightness from way down the street. Those flowers were like a landing strip for my bike.  Out of all the flowers my mom loved though, the one she had to buy every year were geraniums. Early summer always meant there would be pots of red blooms decorating our porch or front steps. It couldn’t be white or pink. They always had to be a deep rich red color. I must admit I’ve always loved the contrast between the red flowers and the verdant green stems and leaves.

So, the other day I was missing her like crazy so I decided to go to Wentworth Gardens in Rollinsford, New Hampshire. It is a massive complex with endlessly long greenhouses and a gorgeous outdoor space filled with bushes, trees, and other flowering plants. My mom and I went there the first spring we lived in Maine and she loved it. It’s such a wonderful memory I have of her, seeing that gardening spark come alive again in her eyes again. I spent a good amount of time just walking around looking at all the flowering plants. Then I spotted the geraniums and a lump immediately formed in my throat. I made my way towards them and as I touched one of the blooms I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and I swallowed hard and took some deep breaths trying to compose myself. I didn’t want to have a full-on meltdown in public. I knew what I had to do though, and I’m sure you have figured it out as well. I bought three deep red geraniums and planted them in a large pot that sits on my porch. Sitting on the porch and transplanting them to their new home gave me a moment where I felt close to my mom again. That was a nice feeling to have when, for the most part, she feels so far away from me. Now, throughout the summer, when I see those flowers, I’ll smile because I know she’ll have the same look on her face when she looks down and sees them.

geraniums

Hollowed Out

I feel hollow.

The foundation of my life is gone.

Unstable ground is what I

Tremble on.

Unsure of who I am.

Unsure of where to go.

Unsure of everything.

I try to move forward,

But my gait is unsteady

And I fear falling

With no one here to catch me

Before I hit the ground.

At some point forward movement

Will become necessary.

I know it is what she

Would want for me.

But for now, I sit trying to

Fill this aching emptiness

With memories of happier times

With my mother.

The Tony’s and Donald Trump

Last night were the Tony Awards, the one night a year that I can revel in all things theater and satisfy my inner performing arts geek. Last night’s broadcast featured Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban as hosts. They were funny, relatable, and of course, their singing was phenomenal. Not that I’m a massive fan of them both or anything, so that opinion is strictly unbiased, lol. The night was magical, as most Tony Awards are, I love seeing performances from the nominated shows. It’s the only time I get to see the original Broadway casts of the popular shows. My favorite last night was from “Mean Girls,” I love the original movie and the show looks hilarious. My second favorite thing was the performance by members of the Drama Department from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. To see those students performing on the Tony stage so soon after surviving their horrific school shooting was so inspiring. As their teacher said those kids have found a safe haven and a way to express themselves through music and the performing arts. Overall the evening was a colorful display of inspiration, diversity, and just plain fun.

Then Robert De Niro came on the stage and said defiantly, “Fuck, Trump!” I cringed. The magic spell the evening had cast on me had been broken. The real world came storming back in and I didn’t want it to. Why did he have to choose that forum to say that? I wondered how many other people who were there and watching at home felt the same way. I feel like the standing ovation he received immediately after saying that was more of a knee-jerk reaction by the audience. That a few had stood up so others felt pressured to do the same. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the people who feel like people in the entertainment industry shouldn’t speak out about politics and other issues. Everyone has a right to their opinion. I just wish Mr. De Niro hadn’t chosen that moment to steal the spotlight and the magic of the evening.

Ready Player One

Since my mother passed away a couple of weeks ago, the house has been so quiet. At first I listened to music while I was cleaning up or cooking but that didn’t work to quiet the restlessness after a few days. Then, I watched this show on PBS called, “The Great American Read.” It is a contest of sorts to determine which of 100 books is America’s favorite. One of the books mentioned was, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. The short version of the story is it is about a teenage boy named Wade who is on a quest to find something in a vast virtual universe. I had bought the book for my Kindle months ago but had never started it, not even after seeing the commercials for the motion picture version. Seeing it on this list however, peaked my interest, so I also decided to buy the Audible version of it. Seeing that it was narrated by actor Wil Wheaton excited me. I have been a fan of his since he played Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and he is one of the people who has made being a nerd “cool.” What’s odd though is that I’ve never really been able to get into audiobooks in the past, they usually put me to sleep. But this one, I’ve been hooked since chapter one. The focus on the 1980s is what drew me in since that’s when I grew up. I’m almost halfway through and I only started it a few days ago because it is just so good! It is predictable at times but there is such wit and cleverness that it makes up for it. Mr. Cline definitely did his homework when writing it. And Wil Wheaton’s narration captures the mood of the book perfectly. I really can’t wait to see what direction the story goes in and how it ends.

Empty Spaces

The cat having given up on

His former napping spot

Cuddles up to me

As I write.

Grief has given me

Tunnel vision.

I find myself obsessed

Over the now empty spaces

Where my mom sat.

Her kitchen chair.

Her place on the sofa

Her napping chair

All now filled

With pink elephants

I try not to look at them

But there’s a gravitational pull

To what is no longer there.