Thursday, June 23, 2011

In Memorium

My mother quietly passed away yesterday, June 22, at about 7:45pm.  She had been in a period of rapid decline since her liver started failing in late May.  We visited with her then and on the day we left to come back to Ohio, she did seem to know me, and she told us that she loved us.  There was a time, well over a year ago, when she seemed to be coming back to us somewhat, having fully recovered from her head injury, if not the effects of senile dementia, but another stroke ended that rally.  Still, she would recognize me, even if she would not remember that I had been to see her just the day before.  This visit had been different, as she was very sick.  We left NC very much not knowing if we would see her again in this world.  She responded briefly to medication, had a few good days, I am told, but not many.  The last two weeks have been very rough on my father as she became increasingly unresponsive, unable to eat, etc.  My brother has been taking care of things and keeping me informed.  I have had extensive teaching and administrative responsibilities over the last three weeks, not to mention being on call for potential jury duty (already once deferred, as they wanted me to serve during the last couple of weeks of spring semester!), so I could not easily break away.  I had made plans to go back to NC on Friday, knowing that she might not linger that long.  Now The Bug and I will be traveling together to visit with family and friends, mourn my mother, Frances, and celebrate her life and legacy.  I never actually said goodbye to my mother...I do not believe in goodbyes.  I always told her that I would see her later.  She was always a daddy's girl, and now she has gone to see her father.  In time, I will go to see her...I've always been a momma's boy...but not yet...not yet.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Of Squirrels and Woodpeckers

This winter the neighbor and I put out suet for our Downy woodpeckers and other birds.  But in hot weather, the suet cakes just melt.  So I went to the store looking for something else, and found a nice big block of nuts, fruit, seeds, etc.  As The Bug noted, it looked good enough for us to eat!  Surely it would be attractive to the woodpeckers.

 And it was!
 Downy woodpeckers, punked out, lol!
 They loved it.
 Alack, so did the Occasional Squirrel:

 I moved the treat to a tall shepherd's crook, and it was okay for a couple of days, but I came out one morning to find nothing but a bit of cord dangling from the hook.  So I went to plan B, buying hard cakes to put in my suet holder.  Again, the Downies loved it!

So, too, did the Occasional Squirrel, but he has yet to break into it.
Nor has he been able to chew through the wire hanger.
And so the treats remain.  Late yesterday evening a lovely Red-bellied woodpecker came to visit!

That was nifty!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Of Rainbows and Magpies

Beneath the Rainbow

A poem by
Lemuel Crouse

Spiraling inward, ever inward
Withdrawing slowly from the light;
Bright splashes of color disguise
My soul's putrid, moldering flesh.

Is this a tomb in which I hide,
Or can I abide awhile within
And begin again to heal,
Until, well, I reemerge?

I long to feel the surge of tide,
Mother Ocean's lapping waves,
Cleansing, calming, eternal balm,
Warming, loving, sustaining womb.

But can I overcome the urge to stay
In darkness, tucked away from eyes
Which, in light, might spy the awful truth
Of what lies beneath the rainbow?

A Magpie Tale.  To read more, click here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rambling About

After a fairly tense week, we needed a ramble.  So we headed out, sandwiches and chips and drinks in hand.  The great joy of living in rural Ohio is that there truly are wonders around every corner, as long as one is willing to count corn and bean fields, lush pastures, old barns, and hardwood groves as wonders.  We certainly count high on our list the several rivers and creeks that carve through our area.  Massie Creek is a rival in size to the Little Miami River before they join forces and head south to the Ohio, and if it does not quite have the spectacular gorge the Little Miami has carved, it does possess its wonders.  Here is one of them, Cedar Cliff Falls:

The "falls" are actually man-made, the remnants of a 40 ft. mill dam, but the effect is visually beautiful, nonetheless.  The sound was most impressive, too, bolstered as the falls were by recent rains.  We loved this little fall on the side, looking all grotto-esque: 

Massie Creek goes on its way, and so do we, heading back up to the car.

Isn't she cute? Among our other charming wonders are our numerous covered bridges! Here is one that spans Massie Creek downstream from the falls (yes, it is still in use):

All in all, a great Saturday ramble!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

High School On The Brain


How can I show you who I am?
You remember first dates, first times…
Prom and promises and poignant goodbyes.
I remember jagged rocks,
Heat and pain and blood stains
Along the path through hell,
Hearing “ooh ooh that smell” on the radio
And knowing all too well
The scent of death that lingers
On the breath of ha-satan.
All I ever wanted was a chance,
One dance with you, one night,
A moment when all might be
Quiet within my raging world,
As you lay curled in my arms.