cronechronicler

Exploring the poetry of everyday life

A Different River

A quarter century ago
My first trip to Mexico
Time-share my new husband owned
Beginning of enchantment

Modest lodgings served us well
The grounds a garden wonderland
We dined at restaurants out-of-doors
Marble floors and colonnades

Mornings poolside began our days
Songs sung in Spanish set the beat
Reached crescendo by high noon
Time for water exercises

For many years and memories
I returned on pilgrimage
To a week I lived outdoors
My lease assured me many more

This place is etched deep in my soul
Place where family came to play
Wedding vows renewed on beach
Anniversaries toasted glass held high

Cousins gathered as family
Grew to soak up loving bonds
Making memories unbeknownst
Richly blessed are we all

Slowly I became aware
Grandchildren are college bound
Sons and wives have different plans
Even I am changing

It is time to say “Adios”.
What I hold dear is in the past
I’m oddly free to venture forth
Stepping into a new river

Now I can close my eyes and see
Pacific Ocean feel the breeze
Cooling at the end of day
Calm and lovely

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Brand New Day: Untested Waters

My current Brand New Day dawned with the Recession of 2008. Within a matter of months  my oldest son’s  job was eliminated. He battled the turbulent tides of semi- or un-employment for almost ten years. He was managing to stay afloat financially with consulting jobs related to his expertise in his former occupation. After I moved to Cleveland six years ago he often dropped by to visit. The many conversations we shared brought new depths to us as mother and son. We developed a routine like a rudimentary Japanese Tea Ceremony.

My son called to see if it was a good time to visit. If I was home it always was. My son drinks iced tea and I prefer coffee so we settled on water. I kept bottled water in the refrigerator for him. When I knew he was on the way I got out a bottle of water and put it on the glass-top coffee table that was my grandmother’s. I set it on a glass coaster, one of a large set we used for water and iced tea when I visited her in the summer as a little girl. After a while we decided that water in a plastic bottle was not good for the environment so I offered him a glass of tap water. Before he left he always took his empty glass to the kitchen.

In the presence of my grandmother’s coffee table and a glass of water set on her coaster we have become friends – two adults talking about his problems and then ranging to past history between us and within our family. He feels safe telling me about his disappointments and serious financial problems which naturally make his wife anxious. I am there to listen and give support. Finally after a seemingly unending two-week-long interview process he was offered the job of his dreams last week. What they want is exactly the skills he possesses. After his first day of work he told me it was the fourth happiest day of his life, after his wedding and the birth of his two sons. He told me he would not be able to visit me as often. I knew that. I was so proud and happy to hear the joy in his voice that I couldn’t ask for anything more. This was the beginning of a Brand New Day.

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Splashdown on a Snowy Day

Been orbiting in circumstance of motherhood
Bound in love to three sons now adult
With wives, children, houses in their care
Problems with mortgages, lost jobs and health
Now my time to listen and support
Share my hard-earned wisdom gained
When I was fifty as now they are

This orbit an amazing gift to me
To know my sons as men they have become
To tell uncensored struggles I battled through
Reveal their parents in stark honesty
To be friends with boundaries
Love exchanged and trust secured
I’m back home my muse returned to me

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Loaves and Fishes 2019

There were not a thousand people
The loaves were Kashi bars
But two souls were enough
To make a parable alive

My scheduled transportation
Was woefully behind
I feared I’d never make it
For my appointment time

The Senior Transportation
Called my doctor to report
Their snarled-up situation
With a promise I’d get there

My driver finally showed
I hopped in and we sped off
I arrived there the very time
My appointment was to end

When Dan my driver dropped me off
He said with warmth and cheer
Now he could get some lunch
And all because of me

My doctor’s visit over
Dan came to take me home
Puzzled I inquired what he had for lunch
He said he’d bought a drink

The one dollar contribution
Passengers hand over for our rides
Could not have bought a proper meal
Surely Dan was hungry still

My purse contained two Kashi bars
A snack I carry “just in case”
With great delight shared by us both
I put them in Dan’s hands.

I’ve long made monetary gifts
To feed the hungry everywhere
No gift touched my soul like this
And paid me back a thousand-fold

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New Math

My life no longer balances
Clutter on my calendar
Stifles what I care about
Time to sort the mess

Addition equals frittering
Subtraction brings tranquility
Peace and beauty come with space
I can do the math

Give me the moon in a darkened sky
Sunbeam silhouettes on my wall
Raindrops’ gleam on windowpane
Leaves attune to season’s change

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Love in a Small Package

A little boy, five years old
Part of church on Sunday morning
In the circling of people
Passing peace to one another
Dutifully but unconcerned
He puts up with us

Today like other Sundays
He accompanied his mother
Sitting quietly in a pew
However unlike other Sundays
Prayers were offered for his father
And recovery from a stroke

In the passing of the peace
I offered sympathy and hope
To the mother and her son
He smiled and reached out for my hand
As if to say he always knew
That love was passed with peace

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Redefinition

To make an end is to make a beginning
The end is where we start from

T.S. Eliot

Thanksgiving time three years ago
A sudden meltdown shock occurred
Within my gathered family
Exposing long forgotten faults
We could not comprehend
Or figure how to heal
Youngest son’s deep woundedness

Two years more time passed
Again we were together
As a family at the beach
Stroke affecting wife of eldest son
Diagnosed the week before
Yet still they joined in our midst
Received our help and warm embrace

Tomorrow’s Independence Day
We celebrate as family
Grateful that the youngest son
Will bring kids and his wife
Whose recent cancer surgery
Revealed chemo yet to come
Love will be given and received

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Wings

Once I flew on shiny wings of steel
Wings that bore me far away
To continents and countries new
To places where my heart was intertwined
With people and a life I learned to treasure dear.

Today I fold those steely wings and rest
My tired body bids farewell to travel days
Gently lifting new wings bear me home
To see beauty in the life that welcomes me
And joy in my beloved family.

Spring came the week I was away
Green leaves and flowers everywhere
Sound of birdsong in the early morn
Mind and my imagining are free to roam
Precious new wings expand my universe.

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Saga of an Odd Mom

Once upon a time, I was born in Houston, Texas. We lived a Saturday Evening Post – Reader’s Digest sort of existence in a residential area of the city. When I was ten years old my dad decided he wanted to be a farmer and moved us to Greenwood, Mississippi where a friend of my mother’s who had been her Matron of Honor in their wedding lived.

The Mississippi Delta was an eye-opening world for me. It was a William Faulkner – Carson McCullers version of the deep South with a hint of Margaret Mitchell thrown in. My female friends and I pulled in our belts to have a seventeen-inch waist like Scarlett O’Hara. I read Gone With the Wind religiously every three years. People prided themselves on being eccentric and worldly-wise. One of my parents’ friends who lived on a cotton plantation in a neighboring county was the only subscriber of the Wall Street Journal in the entire county. My parents found a place for themselves on the fringes of society. My friends were so unusual I felt the only thing outstanding about me was that I was perfectly ordinary. I also made good grades and was declared the “Most Intellectual Girl” my Senior year in high school.

My college years passed and phased into marriage and family. That was the expected order of things. In college I was an English major, continuing my life-long love of reading. I married my childhood sweetheart – though no fireworks lit up the sky. I gave birth to three sons. Being Mom is the center and soul of my life.

Years passed. My sons began to engage life on their terms. I found space to have my own dreams and allow myself to follow them. God had long been an important part of my being. However, I felt something was lacking in the church I belonged to. I embarked on what I called “my conscious spiritual pilgrimage”. A Pastor at the church told me of a retreat center that offered an amazing new way of bible study. It transformed my life. I decided to study at a theological seminary with the intention of becoming an ordained minister. I thanked the excellent student I once was and upon whose shoulders I now stood. I never doubted I would accomplish my goals. I did. I became Rev.Mom.

I celebrated my fiftieth birthday while I was in seminary. My faculty advisor asked what I wanted to do now that I was fifty. I answered “Become an original”. I wanted to quit living up to what I thought was expected of me. I wanted my “no’s” to mean “no” and my “yes’es”, yes. Several years later, after parting from my childhood sweetheart husband I followed my bliss to Chicago to marry another class mate from Greenwood whom I had run into at our 40th High School reunion.

My second husband and I traveled – a lot. We were in Denver at the Naropa Institute when I heard the poet David Whyte read some lines of his poetry. “Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you.” The “small, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.” The original of me!

Again I moved on from marriage and moved back to Cleveland where I had lived with my first husband. Two of our three sons live here with their families. I did not want to get to the end of my life without living close to my grandchildren. I chose not to end life as a bitter old woman.

Five years ago one of my sons suggested I start a blog. My first theme was the David Whyte quote and a major category was Becoming an Original. I was still on that path. And then a light bulb blazed.

Last Sunday I invited my sons and their families to join me for a local production of Godspell held in my church’s basement and then pizza at my apartment afterwards. In conversation around the table the question of the dates of their dad’s and my birthdays arose. One is on the eighth of February and the other the ninth of December. They had just missed their dad’s because of the confusion. My oldest son Bob said he had a way to remember – his dad’s is the even date 8 because he is sort of square. Mine is the odd date 9 because I am odd. I pondered his meaning for two days and then asked him in what way am I odd. He replied that he knew his mom was odd a long time ago. Other mothers didn’t go to a mountain retreat center that the Appalachian Trail runs through and certainly not to Chicago to attend seminary once a quarter for five years. And then I got it. Odd in his eyes is not a bad thing. There is nothing like your child’s “getting” you. I am on top of the world. It’s like finding the bluebird of happiness in my own backyard. I am even forgiving myself for not being a typical grandmother. As I consider how my sons’ lives unspool I realize that I passed on some of my oddness to them, and even to my grandchildren.

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Haiku: Fare Forward

Year draws to a close
Peer ahead into unknown
Dreams for the asking

Love, peace, forgiveness
Beyond our imagining
Free flowing justice

Harvest of riches
Strive for the impossible
Believe, be surprised

In Response to the Daily Prompt: Extravagant

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