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

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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

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

WINDS of CHANGE

“Change is going to happen, just as the wind is going to blow.” 

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How to live in The Winds of Change 

When I was a kid I could make a phone call on a rotary pay phone for a dime. As I got older it went up to a quarter. Long distance phone calls whether from home or a phone booth were very expensive and required the help of an operator. For you younger readers an operator was a person, nearly always female, who physically plugged in connections to your party. 

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Do you have a rain barrel at your home? I don’t expect many, if any at all, will respond “yes” to that question, but I have seen one or two in recent years as homeowners become more green. When I was a little girl we had rain barrels to collect water used for washing clothes. That water was filled with “wiggle-tails”  (insects) which swam around jerkily near the top of the water. Looking back I strongly suspect they metamorphosed, i.e., changed, into mosquitoes. I also vaguely remember having a baby duck which I let swim round and round in a rain barrel until it grew too big. 

One day I was upset that my older brother and his friends were swimming in one of our farm ponds and I wasn’t allowed to join them. I don’t remember being given a reason but would bet it had to do with being too young or more likely, being a girl. So, my Mom’s answer to my unhappiness was to lift me over into a rain barrel and order me to “Play and have fun” while she watched to be sure I didn’t drown. Is it any wonder that I remain a non-swimmer to this day? 

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Pixabay

 

Please bear with me for one more example of change from my childhood. My maternal grandmothers cooked everything from scratch. My paternal grandmother (Grandmother) milked her own cow morning and night and made butter from part of the milk. My maternal grandmother (Mammy) even picked the nut meat for baking out of walnuts and hickory nuts that she gathered from her yard. I recall hearing her sharing a recipe once and the only part that I remember is that she said to “Add lard about the size of a hen egg.” I wish I had been inquisitive enough to ask whether other of her recipes, which were never written down, might have required a different size egg, e.g., a goose egg or perhaps a bantam egg?

SUMMARY: Over the past few weeks, we have looked at change in various ways.

  1. Is change good?
  2. Is it inevitable?
  3. Do we basically stay the same in spite of the changes we experience around us?

Several readers have commented about the aspects of change you find either uncomfortable or reassuring. 

THE ANSWER: is blowing in the wind, my friend. It is blowing in the wind. Please listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G58XWF6B3AA

And, what does this mean to you? Are we part of the answer? Are we helpless, buffeted endlessly by the winds of change? Bob Dylan, one of my favorite musicians, by the way, is ambivalent therefore the interpretation is up to each of us.

Katherine Whitehorn* made this significant point worth remembering: “The wind of change, whatever it is, blows most freely through an open mind …”

 

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“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”  William Arthur Ward

 

*British journalist, writer, and columnist born in 1928. She was known to be a keen observer of the changing role of women.

Part 4 of 4

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