Solitude

the lovely peace of solitude 

in the woods 

i find the lovely peace of solitude

where the only sounds i hear

are the chirp of birds…

the rustle of wings in the undergrowth…

the forage of squirrels in dry leaves…

and the occasional trickle of water

i follow a stream that parallels the trail…

leading to a wide creek and on to an expansive river…

the sun, so strong for November, 

warms my skin,

reaches its apex, then begins a slow steady descent,

casting long shadows across the leaf littered floor 

most leaves have fallen,

only the rich yellow-bronze of the beech cling tightly to their branches…

vibrant against the smooth, gray,

graffiti laden bark

i follow the creek…

a watery ribbon of reflected color,

until the trail snakes away

into the deepening woods

there is solace in these woods

and i cherish every step,

planting my boots firmly in the mud 

to leave an impression…

evidence that I was here,

along with the footprints of 

many kindred spirits

Sylvia L. Mattingly November 9, 2020

Silent Woodland

silent woodland

on an autumn day
i stepped onto a well-worn path
and entered the forest,
enveloped by a blanket of warm rich colors
that pulsed under a vibrant blue sky

as i walked, the path descended
then ascended in return,
creating a repetitious pattern of undulations
like a roller coaster carpet of dirt and rock
beneath my feet

the trail carved its way through the hillsides
that were littered with fallen leaves
and newly sprouted mushrooms

dead trees had become host to a number of
earthen colored fungi,
deeply rooted in the soft decaying bark…

dead trees that in their death, were now spawning new life…
one life gives, so another lives

halfway through my hike i stopped
and noticed there were none of the
usual woodland sounds…
not the soft sigh of an easy wind
nor the chirp of a single bird…
not even the trickle of water
in the now barren stream bed

silence… only silence…

until i began to walk and the dry leaves crunched underfoot…
i could hear the steady rhythm of my labored breathing
and it was then that i realize
that for now and for this moment
perhaps i
was the voice of the forest…
the voice in this silent woodland

Written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly, January 16, 2018

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Photo by Pixabay

Autumn Poem by Sylvia

silent woodland

on an autumn day
i stepped onto a well worn path
and entered the forest,
enveloped by a blanket of warm rich colors
that pulsed under a vibrant blue sky

as i walked, the path descended
then ascended in return,
creating a repetitious pattern of undulations
like a roller coaster carpet of dirt and rock
beneath my feet

the trail carved its way through the hillsides
that were littered with fallen leaves
and newly sprouted mushrooms

dead trees had become host to a number of
earthen colored fungi,
deeply rooted in the soft decaying bark…

dead trees that in their death, were now spawning new life…
one life gives, so another lives

halfway through my hike i stopped
and noticed there were none of the
usual woodland sounds…
not the soft sigh of an easy wind
nor the chirp of a single bird…
not even the trickle of water
in the now barren streambed

silence… only silence…

until i began to walk and the dry leaves crunched underfoot…
i could hear the steady rhythm of my own labored breathing
and it was then that i realized
that for now and for this moment
perhaps i
was the voice of the forest…
the voice in this silent woodland

written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly,  January 16, 2018

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Photo by Pixabay

Poem: Find Me

Another Poem by Sylvia ADBE4DB2-4E24-46F1-A184-6945C10916DF

find me
look among my wealth of nature’s bounty…
among feathers, acorns,
and a harvest of dried leaves…
among the marbles and arrowheads
that i plucked from the ground…
and the skeleton keys and old coins
that rose from there as well
look among my treasure chest
of cherished things…
the photos of loved ones
both living and gone…
the shelves of books
that house a hundred voices…
and walls of art
that feed my hungry soul
look among my memories of
timeless things…
loves and friendships
that know no end…
places ventured
that echo a thousand footsteps…
and unknown journeys
whose steps are yet unknown
look among these things
and that’s where you’ll find me…
divided between the present
and the fragmented pieces of time…
between nature, relics, sentiments
and written words…
only look…
look among these things…
and find me

written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly, August 18, 2019

Another Poem by Sylvia

October day

a placid stream
meanders through an October day…
quietly reflecting the autumn trees
that line its banks…

a sprinkling of fallen leaves
floats upon its surface…
casually drifting when
nudged by a gentle breeze…
collectively gathering along its fringes
like thoughts
along the fringes of our minds

a wooden bridge spans the gap
between two shores…
reflecting the connection
between humanity and nature

those who are drawn here
listen with open hearts
and open souls…
listen to the voice of nature
that speaks without words…
that whispers in the wind
sighs in the pine boughs…
and reflects itself
in a placid stream that meanders through an October day

Sylvia L. Mattingly
October 17, 2019

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Photo by Sylvia Mattingly

The Cusp

the cusp

“a point of transition between two different states”…

i feel it in myself
along with the first falling leaves
from the sycamores and poplars…
and the desiccated brown umbels
of Queen Anne’s lace

i hear it in the shrill cicada song
as it’s tireless droning
runs through my head…
and in the plop of acorns as they begin to hit the ground

i see it in the shrunken creek beds
that lie lazy and shallow…
and in the trees and grass
that have lost all their luster

i hear it in the rustle of corn stalks
once emerald green,
now parched and thirsty across
a rain-starved land

for everything has a season…
a time to be on the cusp…
a point of transition
from one state to the next

and i felt it
as it began
with the drifting down
of that first, tired, rusted leaf…

Written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly
September 6, 2019

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Guest Poet

autumn

summer fades into autumn

as it slowly drifts away

past fields of purple ironweed

and the smell of fresh mown hay

where cattails rise from soggy ground

and sunflowers nod their heads

and cottonwoods resign themselves

as their leaves begin to shed

so as the winds begin to change

and autumn shuffles in

summer fades with the passing days

and a different feel begins

summer has only a little while

to wear her robe of green

then let it drop and watch it fall

along with the falling leaves

 

Poem By Sylvia L. Mattingly 

September 22, 2016  

 

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Sunflower Photo Courtesy of Gerri Nelson 

November

Winding Down

November was not a favorite month for many years, but I have learned to appreciate it more. In the past, I thought of it as rather colorless and simply a time to be traversed to reach December’s cold, snow and Christmas. 

This year somehow I have learned to appreciate this bridge month between autumn and winter. The neighborhood trees have been beautiful and one especially has brightened each of my days. I see it, perfectly framed, through my office windows subtly changing colors day by day. Only over the past 48 hours has it lost its bright glow as seen below, as the leaves have dried and withered, many falling to the ground.

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After a several week hiatus, today I returned to one of my favorite places, Pope Lick Park. As I walked listening to the rustle of crisp leaves blowing along the way, I realized that I would miss this month, November. It has been generous with its nature, colors and warm sunshine. It has been much more than I could have anticipated or earned, filled with love and affirmation. 

There were a few birds along the trail today including a noisy flock of crows fussing as I passed. Yes, I know the proper term is “murder” of crows, but they didn’t seem mad enough to warrant using that word! I saw one squirrel who I hoped found the nuts I had strategically placed under some trees. With most of the leaves now carpeting the ground the trees looked stark, especially the sycomores reaching their chalky limbs up to the sky. 

 

So, in a few days, we say, “Goodbye November.” You have been a good month and I look forward to your return in following years. 

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Seasons

“The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives. It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain.” Gary Zukav

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Inertia

When I ended the last post I stated “more to come!” with an exclamation point no less. I was excited to go forward and begin our second year in Crooked Creek, but that was three weeks ago. There are times that no inspiration comes. I want to write but cannot seem to start, much less complete anything meaningful. It is not that I do not have ideas or opinions (you know I have opinions), but that I am overcome by inertia. That is the best way I know to describe my chronic depression. It is a bit like I imagine being stuck in quicksand would be, wanting desperately to move, but not being able. Something very powerful holds me back with arms of steel. I know I need to act, to move but it is extremely difficult to do and so much easier to sleep instead. During these past few weeks, I have not taken my daily walks at the park that I enjoyed all summer. It is not possible to explain the reason, or whether there is a reason. Every single act takes all the power I possess, whether it is to prepare food, interact with friends or show up for appointments. Daily life is fatiguing during these times as is the effort of trying to appear as though nothing is wrong. 

A few close friends and of course, family members are aware of this lifelong struggle. I share it with you (readers) today in the hope that it will benefit you or someone you know. If you live with clinical depression please know that you are not alone. If someone you care about is depressed perhaps this will help you to understand their actions or lack thereof. Their lethargy, their cancellations, their lifelessness when you feel they should be excited has nothing to do with you. If they see their doctors and counselors and take prescribed medication then they are trying and likely to get better. Depression cycles, sometimes triggered by external events, but often without obvious reason. 

Seasons

Speaking of cycles, I find it hard to believe that it is October! Can you believe summer is over and we are well into autumn? The past couple of days I did some walking in my neighborhood but found it not worth the effort. Today I returned to my beloved Pope Lick in the Parklands and what a difference it made. Since I was last there flowers have changed, grasses have dried and leaves have fallen. I glimpsed only a couple of very small butterflies. A tiny squirrel was the only animal to show its face and I don’t think that was on purpose, but because of the necessity of gathering for the coming winter. The golden finches seem to be gone. Walnuts are ripe and thumping to the ground below. 

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The cool breeze and temperatures in the 60s made walking in the sunshine so easy. Before I knew it I had walked almost 3.5 miles and I was not particularly tired. It is important for me to remember today’s walk and the inspiration that being in nature provided. For me, it was more invigorating than a massage or one of those healthy kale smoothies or even church. Winter is coming, but the sky is still blue, the air is refreshing and there are weeks of majesty ahead before the next season which will have its own splendor. 

Finally, I must remember with Tom Brokaw, “In the seasons of life, I have had more than my share of summers.”

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“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.”                                        Sarah Ban Breathnach

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If you desire more information about depression you may want to read this blog post by John Pavlovitz: http://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/05/10/one-reason-to-keep-living-fighting-depression/