The Visit Poem

the visit


upon waking,

the first day of this new year,

i opened my back door

to find visitors…


not just the usual gathering,

but an unorthodox menagerie…

visitors of the most extraordinary kind…


a boastful bluejay

flashing his brilliant wings…

a haughty mockingbird

exhibiting his boisterous nature…


a bashful carolina wren

darting back and forth

from bush to bush…

a host of chatty starlings

conversing amongst themselves

from higher in the trees


and my usual visitors…

the common house sparrows

hiding in the safety of the holly bushes…

a male cardinal, tweeting madly

from the utility line.,,

and a handful of doves,

camouflaged against the bare ground

beneath the empty feeder…


my visitors come anxiously…

awaiting their morning manna

of sunflower and millet seeds…

peanuts and thistle…


but the most striking visitors of the day

are the dozens of robins

devoid of their usual warm weather fare,

come to feast on the ripened red berries

of the foster hollies…


and here am i…

ever grateful for the visit

where in my own private aviary

without walls or doors

all are free to come and go at will…

knowing they can…

knowing there is safety,

but knowing there is freedom…


and here am i…

in awe of what nature has delivered

on this the first day of a new year…

knowing that not only is it they

who have come here to me,

but i in turn

who have also paid the visit

By Sylvia L. Mattingly, January 1, 2020… the year of perfect vision.



Photo by Pixabay



Monday Book Review: “Separated”

This New York Times bestseller, “Separated – Inside an American Tragedy,” was published in July of this year. The author, Jacob Soboroff, is a TV journalist who won the 2019 Walter Cronkite Award for Individual Achievement by a National Journalist and the HIllman Prize for Broadcast Journalism that same year. Soboroff witnessed firsthand in Texas, Arizona and California what the United States of American did to thousands of families seeking asylum in the US. In short, families were separated and often placed in chainlink cages similar to dog kennels. Parents were held having no idea where their children were and usually that was thousands of miles away.

Much of this separation was done in secret before it was known to be a US plan to deter those seeking asylum from coming across the southern border. Soboroff went the shelters and tent cities and interacted with both Border Patrol and particularly one father son family from Guatemala. The author’s observations and his sharing of his own horror are memorable.

If this is a subject that interests you, and it should interest all of us, I recommend this book for a better understanding of what was done and to some degree is still being done to families who seek safety in this country. Of necessity, this book contains the names of numerous government agencies and their acronyms and this can impede what would otherwise be a fast read.

Happy Holidays

My family tradition is to celebrate Christmas (the Mass of Christ) and I wish a Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate Christ. I know there are other traditions of faith and festivity and I wish Happy Holidays to all readers according to your customs and beliefs.

Photos by Pixabay


The “Monday Book Review” (“The Other Wes Moore”) was scheduled for January 4, 2021 but for some reason WORDPRESS decided it should go out on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. Just thought I’d add this note of explanation so you’d know I really do know it isn’t Monday!!! Although, in truth, somedays I’m not sure what day it is.

Monday Book Review

“The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore

This story is both heartbreaking and enlightening. Two children with the same name grew up at the same time in similar conditions. Each was fatherless and each struggled in school and the “hood.” As adults one is a Rhodes Scholar and Military Officer, the other is in prison for life without a chance for parole. This book follows each child as he grew into adulthood and the contrasts are striking.

The author states, “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

I found this book very illuminating and recommend it for you.

The Great Conjunction

If you didn’t see it last night you may be in luck and still able to see Jupiter and Saturn close together in the sky. I expected a artistic “Star of Bethlehem” but it looked more like a very large and bright star. By blowing up a photo of the conjunction you could actually see two circles, i.e., planets. I know there were those who saw it clearly through telescopes and at planetariums but it was pretty cool with the naked eye, too.

The fact that these planets are only this close together every 800 or so years made the experience magical. I was overwhelmed by thoughts of the magnitude of this universe and of how little we really know about it. We are but a speck of dust on a tiny orb and yet at times we fuss and fret like we rule the world.

View, Contemplate, Enjoy.

First Day of Winter

snow devils

the frigid arctic wind

stirs up snow devils

that spin and twist

in a cold driven rage

spin drift sprays

off the rooftops

as the cold polar air

sinks and plunges

like a thick heavy weight

toward the ice crusted ground

the air looks solid

and dimensional

as though one could reach out

and take hold

of its thick bitter substance

but in doing so cringe

at the marrow numbing

coldness that courses

through blood and bone

chilling and freezing

even to the core

the snow devils dance

twirling and spinning

in a mad white frenzy

set loose by a polar vortex

that has lost its way

across a wind whipped landscape

written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly 

February 3, 2019


Photo by Pixabay

The Days of Christmas

Christmas Season

It is upon us full swing! Are you enjoying the season?

Each family is different regarding what timeframe makes up the Christmas season. I know some people who start shopping in autumn and always put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Others wait for December, but we all know that commercial Christmas begins after Halloween when all the decorations and specials are in place in stores.


How did Christmas get to be about shopping and exchanging gifts? I bet the Wise Men had no idea what they were starting!

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Many Christian families celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. Those twelve days begin on December 25th when Jesus’ birth is celebrated although no one knows the actual date of his birth. The eight day of Christmas is January 1st and is not associated with New Year’s Day, but with the circumcision of the baby Jesus. The twelfth day, January 6, commemorates the Maji which is the visit of the wise men who brought gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

And there it began.



Photos by Pixabay

Zoom by Pat

On Christmas Day in this Covid year,
Let’s Zoom Zoom Zoom.
There are other ways to spread cheer.
Let’s Zoom Zoom Zoom.

Mailing cards and I O Us.
Certificates for grub and booze.
Another time to meet and schmooze.
For now let’s Zoom Zoom Zoom.

Presence and presents both can wait,
‘Til a later, safer date.
Only then can we clean the plate.
For now, Zoom Zoom Zoom.

Sing a carol, deck your halls,
Post some pictures on your Platform walls,
Use the phone and make some calls.
Use Zoom Zoom Zoom.

Better days are on their way.
Might be April, possibly May.
Until they come, at home let’s stay.
Just Zoom Zoom Zoom.

Peace and blessings I send to you.
Thanks for all you say and do.
You took care so I say, “Woohoo”!
Let’s Zoom Zoom Zoom!!!!

By Pat Bush – November 2020

Photos by Pixabay

Missing Raymond

So many things are easier when done with a team. My husband, Raymond, and I were a team of two for over fifty years. We could make up the bed in seconds, one on each side. Preparing a meal, whether for the two of us or a big family gathering, was a cinch as we worked together. In the six years since he died I think of him everyday, but never so much as when I’m working alone.

Some jobs are a chore, others like putting up and trimming the Christmas tree, are a pleasure. As I lift each ornament I recall when and where it was purchased or who gave it to us. Some commemorate a special event such as the birth of our granddaughters. There are many years of memories on the tree when it is completed. And, while Raymond is no longer with us his memory is. I hope that somehow he knows this.

Masks Are Simple

Masks, hand washing, social distancing, Three easy things to do that saves lives, but they have to be done correctly.

  • Distancing = six feet separation.
  • Hand washing with soap and water for twenty seconds.
  • Masks cover the nose and mouth.

I am sick of encountering people with their mask placed UNDER the nose! What part of breathing do they not understand?