Back in Texas

Crossing the Texas state line,
I take a deep breath,
a tradition in our family,
meant to be a breath of fresh air,
sunshine, and a feeling of homecoming.

This time, as I take a deep breath,
I am nearly overwhelmed by the
lovely scent of…cattle, cattle,
and the peculiarly odiferous
smells that only a full cow lot
can create and maintain.

Still, the sky is blue,
there are faint clouds
high overhead, and
the spaces are wide open.

As I turn onto highway 385 south,
I get caught between two cattle trucks.
Ugh! Not that smell again!
My nose has turned itself up
into an Elvis Presley sneer
that startles me in its strength.

Then, I see the winter wheat fields.
Deep green in a land of reddish brown soil.
The contrast between the two colors
is astoundingly beautiful.

There are fuzzy cows in the
field of deep green and I breathe deeply.
I see a couple of true Texas Longhorns
in the mix and feel my face smile
from ear to ear.

I am truly, back in Texas.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
3/4/16

Autumn Has Arrived!!

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Autumn has arrived in beautiful Colorado as well as the northern hemisphere and it is just gorgeous this year!  Autumn is my favorite season, I must admit.  I love the colors, I love the temperatures cooling down, I love the way the light slants across the sky in a softer manner that seems to make everything look new and different.  When I was a child, I looked forward to the beginning of every new school year and the new clothes and shoes we would buy so I could start off the year all sparkly and new.  I’m even one of those people who, to this day, loves the smell of pencils and erasers and chalk boards, pens and all kinds of paper, and even the crisp newness of notebooks.  Can I make a confession to you?  I still buy school supplies when they’re in the stores, on sale, because they’re less expensive then and I love wandering up and down the aisles with all those lovely school supply aromas.  Autumn is my favorite season hands down!

I grew up in west Texas where we had fall, but it wasn’t the same as fall in places farther north.  We got cooler, but mostly that was when we had our heavy rains and so gray, foggy days seemed to go hand in hand with the new season.  I loved walking home after school and walking into my house to the aroma of soup or stew that Mother was already cooking on the stove.  Those were some of my favorite moments as a child and I miss those moments now.  I LIKED wearing more clothes in the fall and winter months.  I loved sweaters and corduroy pants, long-sleeved dresses and coats, hats, and gloves.  I was born in November and always loved that November’s flower is the chrysanthemum.  I loved the colors that were used to represent fall–pumpkin, sweet potato, maroon, dark green, browns, burnished golds, and darker blues.

Autumn is the season for Halloween and I recall my favorite Halloween costume as a child. I believe I was in the second grade and I decided to dress up as a gypsy.  Mother made me a long, full skirt made of a fall-colored paisley print.  I adored that skirt and wore it all the time, even when it wasn’t Halloween.  I liked going trick or treating, but my favorite part was coming home and all of my friends and I dividing and sharing the spoils of our evening.

My favorite holiday of all is Thanksgiving and not because of the largely mythical stories of the pilgrims and the Indians having a big feast together after the harvest.  I love Thanksgiving because, to me, it represents a time for family to get together for no other reason than to share a good meal and quality time together.  I have grand memories of all the women working in my mother’s kitchen preparing the big feast for the day.  I loved the food too, don’t get me wrong, but I loved even more being in the midst of the women, hearing the latest news about what was happening in the family, the joking around, the camaraderie and the love.  I think I love preparing the Thanksgiving meal now because even though it is harder to gather family together for it, the recipes and preparations remind me of those days when there was a big crowd to prepare and eat the meal.  Making cornbread dressing reminds me of my sister Judy, who was the official dressing maker.  Making pecan and cherry pies reminds me of Mother and her explaining each step to me.  I loved putting the chicken and dressing together into the oven and the aromas that arose as it cooked. (Mother never baked a turkey.  She thought they were too greasy.)

As you can tell, I’m on a nostalgia trip this morning!  🙂  Now, as I’m older, I’m realizing I need to institute some new traditions in our family so someday my grandchildren will have such ardent memories as I do of my childhood Thanksgivings.

Last week, my husband and I took our annual trip into the mountains to see the beautiful trees and leaves around Colorado.  As we did so, I was filled with joy and peace that I just don’t experience throughout the rest of the year.  My husband loves it when it snows.  I love it when it cools and the trees turn into a riot of lovely colors.  I get this almost uncontrollable urge to cook soups and stews, turkeys and dressing.  I even get this weird urge to draw and cut out leaves and pumpkins and turkeys from construction paper and tape them to the  front window.  Instead, I’m crocheting and knitting shawls from autumnal colors.  That works too…  What is your favorite part of autumn?  Were there special rituals and traditions your family participated in?  Let me know in the comments below.  I’d love to know!

Peace and love, today and always,

Elaine

Dawn at the House

   
 
Dawn at the Lane House,

in the early morning light,

the flowers glow like sunshine,

and are such a pretty sight.
In the background are

the mountains,

where leaves will

start to turn,

the season is changing,

as the sunshine slowly burns.
These flowers were

just a wilderness,

two or three weeks ago,

and now they’ve bloomed to beauty,

and are worth more than

silver or gold.
© Elaine Wood-Lane

9/16/15
Sometimes the greatest beauty comes from the wildest, most unmanageable things in our lives. These sunflowers were a total mess about a month ago, taking over everything in the front flower beds and yard. We couldn’t even open our back gate on the south side of the yard because these plants had grown so wild, tall, and heavy. So I cleaned up the yard, chopped down some of the sunflower, mint, and purple thistle as well as some wild ash seedlings. Now, just a few weeks later, I don’t care if the entire yard is covered up with these sunflowers because they are beautiful, glowing, and cheerful. They seem like a message from God telling us that if He can turn a wild jungle mess into a beautiful sunflower garden, just imagine what He can do with us.

Isaiah 61:3

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

I hope you have a wonderful day and, if God chooses to make you into a beautiful sunflower garden, don’t resist Him too much. He knows what He’s doing, all the time!
Peace and love,  Elaine

Dawn at the House

Dawn at the Lane House,
in the early morning light,
the flowers glow like sunshine,
and are such a pretty sight.

In the background are
the mountains,
where leaves will
start to turn,
the season is changing,
as the sunshine slowly burns.

These flowers were
just a wilderness,
two or three weeks ago,
and now they’ve bloomed to beauty,
and are worth more than
silver or gold.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
9/16/15

Sometimes the greatest beauty comes from the wildest, most unmanageable things in our lives. These sunflowers were a total mess about a month ago, taking over everything in the front flower beds and yard. We couldn’t even open our back gate on the south side of the yard because these plants had grown so wild, tall, and heavy. So I cleaned up the yard, chopped down some of the sunflower, mint, and purple thistle as well as some wild ash seedlings. Now, just a few weeks later, I don’t care if the entire yard is covered up with these sunflowers because they are beautiful, glowing, and cheerful. They seem like a message from God telling us that if He can turn a wild jungle mess into a beautiful sunflower garden, just imagine what He can do with us.

I hope you have a wonderful day and, if God chooses to make you into a beautiful sunflower garden, don’t resist Him too much. He knows what He’s doing, all the time!

Peace and love,

Elaine

Joy Comes in the Morning

There is a different quality
In the atmosphere of this morning.
The details of each tree leaf
And grass blade are sharper,
In sunshine that is softer
Than it was even a week ago.

The air smells fresh, sweet,
With a tinge of nip and moisture.
Almost fall, but not quite.

Darkness fell earlier yesterday,
As I prayed fervently and feverishly.

I know all will be well though.
For rejoicing comes in the morning
And shines with love and hope.
This beautiful morning, seen
From my back stoop,
Reminds me that God is faithful
And good and with us all….
Forever and always, amen!

© Elaine Wood-Lane
9/7/15

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalms 30:5

Beautiful Quiet London Morning

image

We woke up early, you and I,
and I was soothed by the
whisper quiet breeze through
the tree outside our window
and your warm arms around me.

No cars, no loud people,
just quiet sunshine and
lovely fresh air.

Where is the noise?
Little birds cheeping from
across the park.
Where is the fog and overcast skies?
Only sunshine through thin,
wispy layered, not really there clouds.

This is not what I expected
in the middle of London.
Enchantment is not advertised
as one of London’s qualities.

Now, an hour later,
the city is slowly awaking.
Distant sounds are heard,
but the one most clear is
the solid reassuring tones
of the hourly church bells.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
5/27/2015

Parts of My Beautiful Days|NaPoWriMo Day 20

Ketchup on crackers,
hugs and loud laughter,
pickles and dew drops,
and icy Coke after.

Sunshine and kisses,
snowflakes and rain,
these are all parts
of my beautiful days.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/20/15

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I challenge to write a poem that states the things you know. For example, “The sky is blue” or “Pizza is my favorite food” or “The world’s smallest squid is Parateuthis tunicata. Each line can be a separate statement, or you can run them together. The things you “know” of course, might be facts, or they might be a little bit more like beliefs.

While I know all these things about myself, I can’t truly consider them “concrete” facts. They are more in the vein of things I believe and know about myself.  This is actually a little poem I wrote in 2012 so I sort of cheated.  🙂

Peace and love, Elaine

My Favorite Place|NaPoWriMo Day Twelve

Following a stone pathway
down to a small brook gurgling
past a small cottage,
she sat down on a big log
by the brook, glancing
around her.

The smoke of burning pinion
from adobe chimneys
wafted through the air,
reminiscent of her favorite
place in autumn.

She loved the air here
any time of year,
but especially when
sunlight fell
mystical and gentle,
in air spicy and cozy.

In autumn,
giant cottonwoods clustered
along streams,
arroyos, and
the centuries old plaza,
       dropped~~
                     ~~fluttering~~
                                            ~~leaves~~
   to land in colorful crunchy piles.

The old woman’s wrinkled face
cracked
in a thousand directions
  as she smiled brightly, realizing
  she was
      in her
                favorite place
      in her
                favorite season,
    autumn…

Taos, New Mexico,
truly, land of enchantment!

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/12/15

No Wise Words to Say–NaPoWriMo Day 9

Jackson Pollock, Convergence, 1952

I have no wise words to say
on this most usual Thursday.

So far this morning I’ve read
countless poems
by brilliant poets participating
in NaPoWriMo just as I am this month.

I’ve watched a video of a nun
visiting great art of the 20th century
and heard her describe the significance
of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning,
Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.

I’ve read new messages about
my sponsored Compassion children
in Peru and Rwanda and in my heart
compared my life of relative wealth
to their lives of hardship and loss.

All these things are what I love.
Walter de la Mare was the first poet
I learned about and loved.
Then came Robert Frost, Mary Oliver,
William Carlos William, and Billy Collins.
Somewhere along the way,
I decided I wanted to write poetry
that would be read and inspire
others like they inspire me.

I’ve seen Jackson Pollock, Rothko,
and Warhol’s art live and in person
at the Chicago Institute of Art.
Pollock’s painting was so large and
had such depth of expression,
that when I saw it, I sat down in stunned
silence, tears sliding down my face as
the full experience and meaning
touched my soul.

My Compassion children,
Dayana and Niyonkuru,
have my heart even though
I’ve never met them, seen them,
or touched their little faces.
They’re so grateful and loving,
and the letters and pictures
we exchange have connected
us across thousands of miles,
different cultures and experiences.

The common theme this morning,
for me,
is the beauty to be found in life,
in poetry, art, people, and God.

I have no wise words to say
about these things.

You have to open your own eyes,
your own mind, heart, and soul,
to see beauty in everything yourself.

God made so much beauty in
the world for us to appreciate.
Try to find some today, enjoy it,
relish it, breathe it into your soul,
and say, “Thank you,” for the beauty.

Peace and love,

©Elaine Wood-Lane
4/9/15

In Dawn’s Early Light–NaPoWriMo for Monday

Awake at 3:15 in the morning again.
My dog, Buddy, and I have getting
out of the bed quietly down to a fine art.
We don’t want to wake my husband.
I wouldn’t want anyone else to be
awakened at this early hour, even
my worst enemy, much less my husband,
whom I actually like as well as love.

After leaving the bedroom, Buddy
and I are on automatic pilot.
I pad to the restroom, wash my hands,
put on my bathrobe, and then pad
down the hall to the kitchen where
I let Buddy out the back patio door
while I start making my first cup of coffee.
I thank the Keurig coffee maker for existing.

I let Buddy back in from the deep dark,
give him a treat, pick up my coffee cup,
and then into the living room we go.
He settles in the middle of the floor,
staring at his treat as though it is planning a
great escape just to vex him.
I turn on my lamp by hitting it’s button on
the floor with my foot.
Gentle light pools around my chair.
I sink down into my chair,
take a sip of coffee, pray,
and then pick up my iPad so I can
read a while and then write a while,
if my writing muse has awakened, that is.

I once thought my dad was insane to
arise at 4:00 every morning and could
no more understand why he did it than
he could understand why I slept until 7:00
every morning when I had to be at work at 8:00,
getting my sons ready for school and there
before work.

I understand him now when he said,
“I get up at 4:00 because I wake up at 4:00
and know I’m not going to be able to go back to sleep.”
It must be an age related, inherited trait.

Finally at 6:00 AM, my sweet husband
arises sleepily, and goes through much
the same routine I did earlier.

After his cup of coffee is ready and
we kiss good morning,
I realize that dawn is peeking
through the curtains that cover
the east side patio doors.
I go to the backyard to watch
the sun come up.

I love watching the sun arise
so quietly.

In the dawn’s early light I realize,
I’ve been up for over three hours and,
suddenly I’m very, very sleepy.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4-6-15