cronechronicler

Exploring the poetry of everyday life

Refurbishment

To look at my present as possible past
Daunting endeavor, confusing at best
Then Aha! moment furnished direction
Live in the now! where else?

Standing in line at a ballyhooed art show
On my feet two hours at least
Energized by engagement I realized
My cane and I can go miles before rest

A present rich with much possibility
Brand new exploration if I open my eyes
Reach for new challenges from creative grab bag
Open doors not extensions of past

With curiosity checked-out travel offerings
Searching for something I had missed before
Discovered adventures focused on interests
Not only the aging seek learning in classrooms

And so next September I head for New Hampshire
To learn and to listen to sizzling Cool Jazz
Taking first step toward reimagination
Living into new perspectives on life

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Metamorphosis

I’m back after a good week in Mexico with my sister and brother-in-law, who are delightful traveling companions. The resort was all I thought, another home for me. And I realize it is time to say goodbye. Being there occasioned an existential experience which was a surprise. I’m truly one of the oldest generation. I’m OK with that. When my energy is restored I want to write about it. For now I am grateful to be home, period.

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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: Artistry of Time

Gray hair silver now
Wrinkles sketch abundant years
Golden-aging’s gifts

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Haiku: Alchemy of Aging

Days become more still
Old siren songs grow quieter
New drumbeat sounds now

Amazing freedom
Choreographs day’s tempo
Measured steps suit me

Laughter and lightness
Transform binding to-do lists
To “catch as catch can”

I watch with wonder
Diminishing energy
Re-shapes my desires

Life has new balance
I find joy in small things
Transformed into gold

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Everyday Inspiration Day Five: “What Is Real?”

It doesn’t happen all at once, said the Skin Horse (to the Velveteen Rabbit). You  become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off (by children who play with you), and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and  very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.   From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

I discovered this quote from a children’s book  long after my children were the age for bedtime stories. I was going through a divorce when I first read these words. They echoed the words of a counselor who told me I had to go through this difficult time, not around it. What the Skin Horse said about being Real comes back to me now that age is actually loosening my joints, I no longer have vision in one of my eyes and I am a bit shabby compared to my younger years. I  do still have my hair, now grown white.

Aging has challenges I do not expect to escape. Still, being Real is pretty wonderful. It helps me see that I am much more than what is visible on the outside. I’ve gained self-acceptance,  wisdom and strength  letting myself just Be.

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Everyday Inspiration Day One: Why Do I Write?

Writing is the joy and  purpose that putting life experience into words gives me. It happens when I go quiet and lose myself in the actions of the sky, trees, wind and small animals outside my window. It happens when I need to  tie up loose feelings from my own life experience. Experience is the key word.

I write from the perspective of a woman who will turn eighty in two months. I know what it is to have  felt the same way inside as long as I can remember. I know what it is to feel my body aging and live with limitations. Best of all I am discovering the unique joy of the changes I experience. I am changing and like a Janus face can look backward  and forward through a rainbow of experience arching through time from my early years to a still mysterious future.

When I started my blog I knew I could write.  I did not know I have been given the gift of writing poetry. I am a wordy person by nature and reducing my words to the seventeen syllables of a haiku gives me focus. I love to find just the perfect word and word field to express myself. I love writing poetry because at least in the Word Press world there are few rules about complete sentences. I love leaving spaces for readers to fill in with their sense of what my words mean in their lives.

I write because I have stories to pass down to my children and grandchildren. I write for the pleasure of remembering places I’ve been in my travels.

Writing makes me whole.

 

 

 

 

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Un-stumped

The Daily Prompt is “stump”. Sometimes a single word can uncork bottled-up feelings and thoughts. I’m in a season of change that I’ve been unable to put into words – until now.

Four years ago I moved to be near two of my three sons and their families. This is the place where they were born. My first marriage that lasted only as long as our children were at home is a time-worn story. Its ending was sad but necessary for me to move on. I remarried and followed my bliss to a vibrant city. City life, travel, lots of learning about myself enriched me greatly. In time I discovered I had once more moved beyond my present circumstances. By now my sons were married and grandchildren were born. I chose to live near them and be part of their lives. I used to wonder about my obituary describing me as a twice-divorced woman and think that’s not me. But it is. I’m single now and maybe I was headed here all along to be at home with myself.

Four years ago I put down new roots. I loved being with my family here. My grandchildren are awesome! I made friends in the apartment building where I live. I found a transportation service for seniors to get me where I want to go since I no longer drive. I found new doctors. All the mundane things that make up daily living fell into place. Until change happened all over again.

Several of my doctors retired or moved on and I had to get new ones. I had found a delightful new car service. However the sole driver recently told me that he is moving to California this winter. Aging is slowing me down. My energy is lessening. It doesn’t hurt but arthritis is making my body crooked. My children and their families are busier than ever growing into their unique family groups. My oldest grandson graduates from high school this year. Family remains my greatest joy. In the midst of these changes I now foresee the necessity for me to change as well. The hardest change facing me is giving up traveling. Flying in particular just wears me out. I told my son I was planning on skipping a beach reunion of my siblings and our children and grandchildren in August 2017. He replied that I should do what was best for me but to think about it. I did. When I called to tell him I was in, he offered to bring a beach chair for me. I’m getting excited and looking for flights.

I’m looking at things differently now. I got a Smartphone primarily so I can use Uber. I like the spontaneity of leaving home at will. I haven’t quite made that leap but I’m teaching myself to text my grandsons, who prefer to communicate that way. When I have my annual physical I’m going to ask my doctor for an order for a Rollator which Medicare will pay for. A Rollator is a well-wheeled walker with a height-adjustable handle bar, a hand brake, a seat to sit down in if the driver gets tired and a compartment under the seat for carrying things. This is the latest toy and craze for the Senior set. If you know what to look for they are everywhere. I have a friend, a former tennis player, who runs with hers to prove to herself she can. I plan to use mine to visit my son who lives close by. Uneven sidewalks between his house and my apartment have been a deterrent for me. I like change when I’m its author.

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Fashion Statement

My once-straight neck stooping
Peering into the mirror
Who is that old woman I spy?
Vaguely familiar I think I do know her
Can it be she is I?

Yesterday friend gave appraisal of me
As one “who is dwelling within my own skin”.
High compliment I received it
And now contemplate it
My settling into vintage-aged years.

Living in harmony with effects of aging
Softens the blow of multiple nuisances
Brought on by years of my being younger.
My body must deal with the natural calamity
Of living a rich life – and then getting old.

A new tool I discover and add to my arsenal
A distinct sharpening of my sense of humor.
My larger belly is wonderful for laughing
Loud, unselfconscious guffaws at my foibles
As I relinquish a measure of dignity.

These days clothes are a problem
Models on the runway just aren’t my shape.
What’s in my closet spans years of styles
I can fashion new looks as things slowly wear out
Survival of the fittest dictates my wardrobe.

Today I live at the pace of now
Finding delight in the scenes out my window.
Accessing new worlds in my writing and reading
On my own magic carpet I travel afar.
I like the view from within my own skin.

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Haiku: Litmus test

How to be Grandma?
Though endowed with snow-white hair
Baking’s not my lot.

Grandkid’s faces beam
Some in scrapbooks, some on wall
Own no camera.

Once sent greeting cards
For significant events.
Birthday cards endure.

Just don’t measure up
Must not be in DNA
Then it came to me.

Always been like this.
My grandchildren know me well.
Who else could I be?

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