Tag Archives: Fall

Courage at Twilight: Stopping the Spread

Living now with my parents, I cannot fathom the reality that we had no family gatherings with Mom and Dad for 18 months due to Covid-19. My sister Sarah grocery shopped for them every Saturday during those months.  I cooked for them on occasion.  We always wore masks and washed and sanitized our hands and kept our distance—no hugs (except for “air hugs”).  My siblings called Mom and Dad frequently, sometimes daily.  Sarah, as a speech pathologist, works at a critical care facility with people who suffer from conditions affecting their communication and swallowing.  While donning head-to-toe personal protective equipment, she watched Covid rage through her patients, ending the lives of too many.  My siblings and I all understood and respected that if Mom and Dad contracted Covid in their aged and weakened conditions, we likely would lose them, as so many thousands lost members of their families.  To keep them safe, we did our little part to stop the spread, following all the recommended precautions, putting philosophy and politics aside in the interest of safety.  Mom and Dad received their first Pfizer vaccine at a huge convention center.  Hundreds of old and infirm people stood for hours in long lines, walking from station to station around the entire perimeter of the hall—fully a mile.  Dad thought his cane would do, but shortly into the ordeal he confided to me, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”  I had him sit down while I ran for a wheelchair.  They received their third shot this week at a local health department facility, walking 20 feet past the front door to their seats, with no wait.  What a difference between the two experiences!  But in all three cases, the nursing staff were so kind and pleasant and helpful.  After all the family members were fully vaccinated, we began to visit again.  My sister Jeanette recently came to visit from Arizona for a week.  We cooked together and played Scattergories and drove to see the fall leaves in the mountain forests.  And we broke out the fall crafts: wood pumpkins, a harvest-themed wreath, and a tall scarecrow.  My niece Amy joined in, painting the eyes black and the nose orange.  How grateful we are to be safe, healthy, and together again.

My first ever attempt at a wreath.

Courage at Twilight: Pumpkins on the Porch

Dad suggested we bring home Café Rio for dinner.  I suggested we pick up some pumpkins on the way.  He protested that it was too early in the season, that they would just rot if we bought them now.  I countered that if we bought them in a month they would have sat at the store for that month instead of prettily on their porch, and opined that the pumpkins would not rot until after the first hard freeze.  He conceded the point.  I parked at Lowes in a handicapped stall with direct line-of-sight to the pumpkin boxes, holding the pumpkins up one by one for Mom and Dad to give me the thumbs up or down for each.  We left with four: traditional orange, wrinkled red, white with cream cycle splotches, and a deep green with skin lobed like a brain.  At Café Rio, I stood Mom’s four-footed cane in the line.  Mom and Dad sat at a table near the menu so I could explain their dinner options.  The lady ahead of us moved the cane with her as the long line progressed, to keep our spot.  Mom chose the roast beef burrito, and Dad the roast beef salad.  Mom hinted she would like a tres leches for dessert, and Dad entreated for a key lime pie (diabetes be damned).  “I’m worn out just from sitting there waiting,” Dad sighed as we walked slowly to the car.  He had forgotten his cane, and so leaned on my shoulder instead.  Back at home, Mom and I arranged the pumpkins festively on the front porch before settling into TexMex and Netflix.

They Neither Sow Nor Reap

In one short cold day the stout gusts denuded my parents’ pear trees.  The leaves were so vibrantly colorful, and seemed alive.  They swirled in little twisters as Dad and I worked to rake them up before the snow fell.  I hated to think of these leaves as just dead things sluffed off in season like flakes of dry skin.  So I didn’t.  I thought of them as beautiful and alive and holy,  like the New Testament lilies and sparrows.  And I thought they deserved a poem.

They Neither Sow Nor Reap

south winds whip and tear
at the joyful tree ornaments
all day until they twirl
and scud on the grass,
pile in corners
of color, multitudinous
vibrant reds, some greens
and yellows at the edges,
all painted uniquely
radiant and beautiful,
these trillions of leaves,
beyond sluffed scaly skin, but
the trees’ living breath,
engines of energy,
carbon sinks,
fall’s wonder-inspirers,
plucked and fallen
like lily petals
and sparrow feathers,
like the hairs of my head

Fall

Fall’s Maple leaves are so beautiful in Settlement Canyon, I cannot resist sharing one of my Fall poems and some photographs of my favorite local haunt.

 

 

 

 

FALL

Fall has become
in my advancing years
a sweet season
sending forth
a settling sense
of things slowing down
preparing to rest
under white blankets
that warm and moisten
against year’s end.
Nights are cool
and days are sunny and cool.
Rows of dry corn
sheaves rasp each other
in the evening air.
Geese wave
a noisy farewell
overhead on their way away.
Greens melt
to candy yellows and reds
smelling earthy sweet
drifting down to become
the richness in the soil
where sleeping segos and tapertips
wait for Spring.

Fall

Tooele T crop1

Fall.  It has come early.  I bask in cool breezes, comforting after Summer’s heat, but knowing, also, that Winter will too soon chase its way in.  This mountain between Middle Canyon and Pine Canyon in the Oquirrh range of the Rockies sports the yellow leaves of Quaking Aspen trees, the reds of Gambel Oaks, and the evergreen Junipers, Pines, and Spruces.  I snapped this picture from the roof of City Hall, knowing I might need forgiveness after failing to ask permission–I just couldn’t resist.  Note the white “T” plastered on the mountain, for Tooele (too-i’-la) high school.

FALL

Fall has become
in my advancing years
a sweet season
sending forth
a settling sense
of things slowing down
preparing to rest
under white blankets
that warm and moisten
against year’s end.
Nights are cool
and days are sunny and cool.
Rows of dry corn
sheaves rasp each other
in the evening air.
Geese wave
a noisy farewell
overhead on their way away.
Greens melt
to candy yellows and reds
smelling earthy sweet
drifting down to become
the richness in the soil
where sleeping segos and tapertips
wait for Spring.

Maple Leaf

20150829_161249

I sometimes walk the neighborhoods near city hall during the lunch hour, trying to calm my mind from the troubles of the office.  On one such walk I beheld, on the ground, a beautiful maple leaf in the process of transforming from Summer’s green to Fall’s crimson hues.  I regarded her as the quintessence of natural beauty, and could not resist both scooping her up and writing this poem.

MAPLE LEAF

A leaf,
a many-pointed Maple,
demanded
that I look down
and see her,
her splashes of swirling colors,
laying with feigned humility
on a bed of matted elms,
paper-bag-brown.
She lay unspeaking,
satisfied to be admired,
to not be drab,
satisfied that I was tempted
to stoop and handle her,
satisfied with my sighs.
I could not walk away
and not take her with me.

(I did not have a camera with me as I walked, but the maple leaf pictured above is an acceptable substitute, found during a walk in Ophir Canyon.)