Thursday, December 29, 2011

At 5:45 p.m., I was a grownup walking quickly through the supermarket parking lot, about to head home to make dinner.
The child in me saw something tiny and white in the air and stopped: Was that … a snowflake?
It was!
Giddiness ensued.
The flakes were few in number, nothing for the grownup in me to fret about (visions of shoveling did not plod through my head).
I watched them fly in the wind. Against the backdrop of headlights, they zipped like shooting stars. 
When I got home I announced the snow's arrival to my son and his girlfriend. She reacted like I did, and the two of us went out on the back porch to see the last few flakes.
Snow is magical.
I may need a reminder of that in the bleak mid-winter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sweet Christmas Eve memories ...

"Decking" dough is a group effort.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One of our favorite sunset spots: over the bay in Strathmere.
As I opened the refrigerator the other night, I knocked one of the magnets on the door, and the photo it was holding -- beautiful fall leaves -- floated to the floor.
  What timing, I thought. A symbol of fall falls just as the winter solstice approaches.
For the record, that solstice slipped in at 12:30 a.m. yesterday, the shortest day of the year.
It's officially winter, and the good news is that from here on in, the sun sets a little bit later each day.
Let there be light.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My brain is ever-open to word play.

One of my current obsessions is listening to murder mysteries. 
I listen in the car, or while cooking dinner, and even some nights before I fall asleep. (I think of it as a grownup version of a bedtime story.)
What the ear hears and what the eye would see on the page don't always match, which means the image that comes across by listening may not be quite what the writer had in mind.
Case in point: a line from "The Murder Room," by P.D. James.
In the book, Adam Dalgliesh, a commander at New Scotland Yard (and one of my favorite tragic hero detectives), is about to interview two women connected to a recent murder. This is what I heard:
"Moving toward the front of the house, he saw with surprise that the door was now a jar."
Can't blame him there. I'd be surprised if I saw that, too.
Of course, Ms. James was simply saying that the door was slightly open, but my brain, always on the lookout for an excuse to laugh, offered up a completely different image.
A bit of crime and pun-ishment?
(Couldn't resist that one.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm thankful for apple pie.

It can be a happy thing when an experience fails to meet your expectations.*  
Making pie, for example.
At some point I got it in my head that making pie, especially the crust, was difficult, and best left to experienced pastry-makers. The plethora of ready-made pie crusts available at grocery stores fed into my belief. It must be tricky or time-consuming, if so many bakers opt for the pre-made version.
I decided to test that belief this year, and volunteered to make apple pies for Thanksgiving. After briefly browsing through cookbooks, I went to the source of all my kitchen knowledge: Mom.
As usual, she came through, and showed me the pie crust recipe she's used for decades. As I copied it, I was astonished: four ingredients, five basic steps. Could it be that simple?
As for the filling, her instructions were even easier, and not even written down: add chopped apples, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. I could do this.
Yesterday I made my first attempt. Following the simple instructions, I had pie crust dough within minutes. 
I filled the crust with the apple filling, topped it off with the rest of the dough and popped it in the oven. About 40 minutes later I opened the oven door and voila! I had pie!
  Giddy with success, I called my mom to tell her -- and to thank her for all her kitchen mentoring.
This morning I did it all over again, and now I have two apple pies to bring to the Thanksgiving feast at my folks' house. We'll all be there: Mom, Dad, two brothers, my sister, plus spouses and grandkids. 
And those are the ingredients for a most happy Thanksgiving.
I wish the same to you and yours.
*In writing this, I couldn't think of a word that means the opposite of "exceed," the usual word used with "expectations." I searched the web and found I'm not alone in the hunt for that elusive word. Some writers have proposed "deceed." What do you think?

Last but not least, here's the recipe:

Mom's Apple Pie
(Makes dough for 1 covered apple pie.)

  Put 3/4 cup of Crisco in a mixing bowl.
Pour on 1/4 cup boiling water, and add 1 Tablespoon of milk.
Whip with a fork until smooth and thick like whipped cream.
Sift in 2 cups sifted flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
Stir quickly until you get a nice, smooth dough.

Peel and chop about 4 Macintosh apples.
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste.

Grease pie plate with Crisco.
Split dough in half.
Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface.

This next step is a neat trick from my mom, which I wouldn't have thought to do:
Once the dough is rolled to the needed size, gently roll it back onto the rolling pin. Rest the rolling pin on the top edge of the pie plate, and unroll the crust into the plate. It works!
Fill the crust with the apple mix gradually; sprinkle a bit more sugar and cinnamon onto each layer.
Roll out the top crust and lay it atop the apples. Crimp edges with a fork, and use the fork to gently poke vent holes in the top crust. Trim excess dough from the edges.
        Optional: Gently brush top crust with an egg wash (one egg, mostly whites, beaten with a bit of water).

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Reduce to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The cat's in the bag.

"There's no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
  That's one of my favorite refrigerator magnets, and since I feed our two cats in the morning, I knew something was wrong yesterday when only Peanut turned up at my feet.
April was missing.
My first thought was that she was stuck in a closet somewhere. I walked through the house, checking all of her usual hiding places.
No April.
Beginning to worry, I opened every door, every cupboard, even the washer and dryer. 
No April.
My heart sank. 
Our "girls" are indoor cats. We live too close to a busy road to let them be anything but. Lately, though, April has had a hankering for the great outdoors. Whenever we come in the back door, she's right there waiting. She slipped out a couple times recently, but we always managed to wrangle her back in within seconds. 
Somehow she had slipped out unnoticed. 
I checked the yard and the garage, calling out her name.
No April.
I called my husband at work, and explained what I feared. I made a quick "Lost Cat"  flyer with her photo and made copies at O'Neill's, the local grocery, tacking one up on their bulletin board. I taped a few on nearby telephone poles, and left more with a friend who promised to post them around her block.
Leaving a bowl of cat food on the back steps, I left for work around 10 with a heavy heart. Since I had to work until 6, I worried that April would come home, but no one would be there to let her back in.
Enter my wonderful husband. At lunch time I got a text message: He came home from work to scour the neighborhood.
His first report: no luck, no April, no cat of any description.
Meanwhile the skies turned gray and the temperature dropped. I know cats have fur to keep them warm, but I pictured her cold, wet and miserable. Then again, I thought, maybe that would be a good thing, give her an incentive to come home.
At 2:45 I got the call that made my day: April was back! 
Taking a break from the hunt, my husband had been working on a bike in our driveway. He looked up and saw April poking her head out from beneath our back steps. (And no, she hadn't been there earlier. I checked.)
Very slowly, my husband moved toward her. "Hi, April," he said, oh so casually. Then he scooped her up and "threw her back in the house." (I'm sure it was a gentle toss.)
Her great outdoors adventure was over. 
For readers with outdoor cats, this may seem much ado about nothing. Cats come back, I know that. I've heard of at least two cats who found their way home, one after months of absence. Unfortunately I also know of pets who never found their way home. Besides, this was our cat. She was not used to the outdoors, or traffic, and for seven hours I had no idea how this story would end. I felt terrible.
When I got that wonderful phone call, I whooped with joy and relief (even though I work at a library). I called my friend to tell her she didn't have to post those flyers, and I called O'Neill's, to say they could take the flyer down. The man who answered sounded as happy as I was when I told him the good news. 
Last night while we were watching TV, April took turns burrowing into both of our laps, purring away. When I woke up this morning, she was in her usual spot: Sitting on my bladder, staring down at me, waiting for me to get up and feed her. It's true: There is no snooze button on a hungry cat.
As I type this, April is curled up on the footstool, resting her head on my ankle. Is she remembering her big adventure? Will she dream of slinking through back yards and climbing trees? Was it fun, scary, a bit of both?
We'll never know. She is a cat, after all, and she's not talking.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Frosty outlines: fleeting beauty.
My dad has been diagnosed with a serious illness. 
The past two weeks have been a bit surreal. I often feel like I'm walking around in a protective bubble. It's shock, I'm sure. One of the mind's defense mechanisms.
Writing has helped. I started "Momentary Joy" because looking for the treasure in ordinary moments has been a practice of mine for years. These days, it's a necessity. 
Another fallen find.
This morning, I accompanied our dog as he "checked the perimeter." We walked through the back yard full of frost-tipped leaves. I came back just 10 minutes later to take pictures, and found the frost fading fast. Had I waited longer, I would have missed my chance. 
Later, I picked up a friend for breakfast (a more than momentary joy). While I stood in her back yard waiting for her, I looked up and saw bold yellow leaves fanned out high against blue sky. I felt the sun's heat against the back of my legs, and the top of my head as it tilted back. A moment of peace, and warmth.
When hard things happen, one of side effects can be a heightened awareness. I've been reminded (and I know it sounds obvious) that the present moment is the only place we exist. It is all that we are given -- and it is indeed a gift. 
I will always remember something my dad said to us during one of his first days in the hospital, something he repeated, because it was important to him:
"Enjoy your life." 
Good advice, Dad. 
May we enjoy many more moments with you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It does pay to look down.*

One of my seasonal rituals is the changing of the refrigerator door.
Wistfully, I recently removed the sunny yellow flip-flop that holds foot-shaped pieces of paper -- perfect for shopping lists. It's tucked back in my desk drawer until next summer.
Down, too, came a photo I saved from the June 1st edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The picture, taken by David Warren, is priceless. It shows two 3-year-old girls holding hands and beaming as they dance under the cooling spray of a garden hose, wielded by one of their moms. They look so happy, so sweet, so absolutely the best of friends.
The photo makes me smile every time I see it, and I put it on the refrigerator so I could see it more often. 
Delicate beauty along the trail.
Another photo made the refrigerator gallery for that same reason. I took it in June 2010 with two friends, one I've known since first grade, the other since seventh. It's one of those group portraits you take by leaning in together and holding the camera way out in front of you. We may not look as young as those 3-year-olds, but we do look so happy -- and absolutely the best of friends.
For the past eight years, the three of us have met each summer for a "Meet in the Middle" weekend, or MIM for short. Two of us live near Philadelphia; the other near Cleveland. Each year one of us picks a town somewhere between those two cities, roughly "in the middle." We've gone as far north as Wellsboro, Pa. (home of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania), and as far south as Berkeley Springs, W. Va. It really doesn't matter where we meet. What matters is that we meet. 
We arrive Friday afternoon and, in a blink, Sunday afternoon comes and it's time to say goodbye again. In between we talk, walk, eat, read and laugh -- a lot.
There is such sweet pleasure in "hanging out" with the girlfriends who knew you when, whether it's for a long weekend, a long phone call, a Sunday brunch, or just a slice of pizza and a stroll around the mall.
There are two other women in the constellation of friends we called "Our Gang." We grew up together. We shared sleepovers, passed notes in junior high, tried to figure out boys. I tried my first (and last) cigarette with them, listened to Bruce Springsteen for the first time with them, rented my first shore house with them, danced at "the Dunes 'til dawn" with them.
Having survived puberty and high school, we went off to college, some near, some far. Two of us shared an apartment at Penn State for two years. After graduation, three of us (plus a great dog named Alfie) shared a house in Hatboro.
Through those years and ever since, we have shared our lives, our joys, our heartaches. The crossed-out entries in my address book trace the paths of their lives. Miles may separate us, but we are always connected -- by history and by heart. I can't imagine life without them.
My refrigerator now holds a lovely photo of fallen leaves, and a great shot of a black cat for Halloween. I still haven't taken down that portrait from MIM 2010 (not until I print out the portrait from MIM 2011 to take its place).
Here's to friendship -- and 2012!
* The photos here were taken along the path to the Peace Chapel, near the Juniata College campus in Huntingon, Pa., site of MIM 2011.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of many to come.

Seen in passing:
One lone oak leaf
twirling toward earth.
Perfect pirouettes,
landing so lightly.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The view along I-80: trees in transition.

For me, one of the first signs of fall is the display of spiced wafers at the grocery store. That stack of orange and black boxes means summer is over, and Halloween is just around the corner.
A more ancient sign of the season is the turning of the leaves, and there's no better way to see that than to take a drive across Pennsylvania, known as "Penn's Woods" for good reason.
My husband and I took a road trip to visit family last week (a more than momentary joy). Our route home brought us back into Pennsylvania from the west along I-80, a highway that rolls through the heart of the forests.
We had left home last Monday, still in summer season. As we headed north and west, Penn's Woods were mostly green, with only the occasional shimmer of orange. 
We arrived back home on Friday, the first official day of fall. What a difference a week made. Green still ruled, but those shimmers of orange had been joined by red, yellow and gold, signs of the fireworks to come.
Don't miss the show.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Proof that search engines have a sense of humor:
Today I was browsing through the library catalog for travel books. In the search field I typed "Ontario travel."
The catalog offered me many choices, but it also asked, "Did you mean 'interstellar travel'?"
Uh, not today, thanks. But maybe some star date in the future.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I find comfort in the eternal nature of nature.

Ten years ago today, I walked into the late summer night, 
looking for peace.
I listened to the world around me
and heard crickets singing their end-of-summer song.
I passed a family of four, which was soon to be a family of five:
father, mother, great with child, daughter, toddler son.
I thought of how normal they looked, 
and I thought of how so many families
would not feel "normal" for days, weeks, months, years to come,
if ever.
When I heard the crickets, I thought, tonight the crickets are singing in Central Park.
The natural world lives on.
  Night falls, the stars appear. 
Humans mourn but all around the earth tells us: 
Life goes on.
A time to weep; a time to mourn.
A time to remember, with love.
When I graduated from Penn State in 1979, one of my oldest and dearest friends gave me a copy of "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran.
Among his many beautiful words are these:

"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."

I have seen those words prove true in my own life. I pray the same for all who mourn and remember today.

Monday, September 5, 2011

There are times I just love typos.
Not that I enjoy misspelling words, but I do love how an inadvertent keystroke can take you in a whole different direction. Freudian slips of the fingers.
In an email yesterday, I wrote that I'm looking forward to a visit from my brother-in-law and his wife, and that I hoped we would "head to the shore."
Instead of "shore," I originally typed "shire," and instantly the land of hobbits flashed in my mind.
I smiled, and thought of how much I've enjoyed spending imaginary time in the Shire and the rest of Middle-earth, home of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings."
Then I thought of my parents, bless their hearts, who gave me the whole set of books one Christmas. I still have them. They're the same copies my husband and I read aloud to introduce our own kids to J.R.R. Tolkien's world. 
Fond memories. All courtesy of a typo.
My copy of "The Hobbit," 
complete with beautiful runes, 
was published in 1966.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Like oh so many people today, I went to the supermarket.
Unlike so many people today, I was not shopping for hurricane supplies.
I felt a little out of place as I stood in a longer than usual line, looking out at shopping carts laden with cases of bottled water and basics like bread and milk.
What was in my arms?
 Eight Hershey bars with almonds and a pint of heavy whipping cream.
The contrast made me laugh, though I felt like I had to explain that my husband was making chocolate cream pies for a bike club ride tomorrow. (They ride rain or shine, and then they eat, rain or shine.)
Bicyclists have their priorities.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When it rains, it spores.
 You know it's been rainy when even the grass puts up an umbrella ... or two.
 A pair of enormous toadstools popped up on our neighbor's lawn Tuesday.
 These were SUV toadstools, each top spreading at least 6 inches across.
 The view from underneath was just as impressive, with hundreds of delicate gills ringing the stem.
  At that angle, they looked like miniature satellite dishes, listening for signals from the universe.
  Anybody out there?

Shades of "Contact"?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Louie, in full-fur mode.

To each his own, they say. "They" may not have been thinking of dogs when they said it, but it certainly fits.
While working at my computer in the kitchen the other morning, I heard Louie, our resident canine, noising about under the table. Slowly the sound sank in: claws clattering on the floor, followed by a thump. Clatter, thump. Clatter, thump. He was rolling in something.
Recalling that one of our resident felines has been having fur ball issues, I had a good idea of just what he had found. 
Sure enough, I crawled under the table and met Louie standing over the remnant of a fur ball. He stared at me, clearly about to dive back in for more.
"Leave it." I said, in my I-mean-business voice.
He did.
He's such a good boy. 
If Louie had a Facebook account,
he might choose this shot for his profile.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cell phone cameras come in handy.

Before triple-digit temperatures scorched our afternoons last week, my husband and I rode our bikes along the Delaware River.
We both had Monday off, and our game plan was breakfast in Lambertville, N.J., followed by a ride along the tow path that lies between the river and the canal.
The morning was lovely, though we could feel the heat rising. (Little did we know we would yearn for temperatures in the low 90s later that week.) As we pedaled out, we passed other humans lucky enough to have a Monday off: some on bikes, some on foot, some in strollers.
Almost an hour into our ride, we pulled off to explore a fork in the path, first stopping in the shade for water. That's when we heard it, an ominous hissing sound that is the bane of a bicyclist's existence: a flat tire.
My husband was a Boy Scout, and indeed, he came prepared. From the bag on my bike he pulled a new tube, tire tool and a mini pump. Better yet, he knew how to use them.
I confess I was not much help, aside from steadying the lame bike, holding miscellaneous pieces and offering moral support. I attempted to inflate the tire, to give him a break, but my less than manly upper arms proved less than helpful.
While he grappled with the tire in the shade of a linden* tree, I looked up. The view was beautiful: Sun-dappled leaves, light green and dark, with the near-noon sun flashing through the gaps. I pointed it out to him, though his appreciation may have been tempered by the sweaty job at hand.
Still, he kept his cool, admirably so. Repair complete, we decided to head back. Along the way we passed some of the same humans, but also a wonderful menagerie of wildlife: two turtles sunning themselves on opposite ends of a log in the canal; a mother duck and three fuzzy ducklings; a gathering of geese.
Whizzing along, I saw something tall and gray out of the corner of my eye. I stopped to get a better look. 'Twas a great blue heron*, standing statue-like on the canal bank about 10 feet away. I've never been so close to such a large bird in its natural habitat. As I took one slow step closer to try to take a picture, the great bird took off and glided over the canal, its 6-foot V of wingspan reflecting in the water below. 
I missed the picture, but I saved the memory.
*Full disclosure: I didn't know then what tree to thank for the shade. I plucked a leaf, borrowed a book from the library and identified it. As for the bird, I knew it was either an egret or a heron. A variety of websites helped me narrow it to the great blue.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I work at a library around the corner from the local firehouse. Since we have all of two parking spaces in our driveway, the fire company kindly lets the library staff use its parking lot. 
As I opened my car doors today to let the heat out before I headed home, a young firefighter walked across the lot.
"It's like climbing into an oven," I remarked. 
"Try walking into a house fire," he replied with a smile.
That certainly put things into perspective.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nothings zips me back to childhood quite like spotting the first lightning bug of the season. It happened tonight, as I was being an adult and gathering up some things I had left in the back yard during the heat of the day.
As my mental to-do list chattered away, I saw it: Bink! A tiny yellow light floating about knee-high.
I stopped, and my to-do list got quiet. For a few seconds I just watched the light blink on and off, and remembered the magic of catching fireflies: watching them glow in the cup of your hands, or tracking one in flight and feeling that feathery tickle when it lands on your arm. I did it as a child, and I did it as a mom. It's a tradition passed down to each generation, like jumping in the leaf pile or making snow angels.
  One summer, back in the '90s, we had family visiting from Washington state. We took a long walk around the neighborhood after dinner one night, and before long we were strolling in the dark. Suddenly one of our visitors stopped, perplexed. He asked what those lights were.
  As I realized he was talking about lightning bugs, it was my turn to be confused. How could he not know what lightning bugs were?  Simple. He said they don't have them in Washington state, and he and his mom, who were visiting the East for the first time, had never seen one before.  
I had no idea my favorite insect had such a limited territory.
  Once back home I did my research, and discovered that indeed, lightning bugs basically stay east of Kansas. Half the country is firefly-free.
I'm glad I live in the other half.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

As I've mentioned before, I tend to procrastinate. The inspiration for this posting has come and gone for the season, but I'd still like to pay homage to its beauty.
Lovely lilac

Almost 20 years ago, I transplanted a piece of my childhood into our front yard.
It's a lilac tree, and it comes from the lilac that still blooms in the back yard of my parents' house. That grand lilac is at least 60 years old, a silent but fragrant witness to countless games of running bases, badminton, croquet, tag, or just quiet times of drawing in the patch of dust at the top of the yard, where the combination of shade and the feet of four little kids and their friends made grass harder to come by.
When I grew up and had children of my own, they played in that same back yard with their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. (The lilac was always a prime spot to hide Easter eggs.) 
The lilac transplant happened one gray day, when our son and daughter were still small enough to travel by red wagon. I trundled them over to my folks' house with the goal of bringing some lilac shoots home. (It's just a 20-minute trundle to their side of town.)
While the kids played with Pop-Pop and Grandmom, I headed out to the back yard to dig. The week had been wet, and the gray day turned into light rain, all of which made the job easier, though muddier.
I pulled the wagon back home with our kids and a half-dozen shoots from the lilac, immediately planting them in the spot I had picked out and prepped. I pictured myself sitting on the front porch each spring, breathing in that heavenly fragrance.
I checked on the shoots daily. Sadly, after a few days, they had begun to shrivel. Before long, all that remained was a cluster of brown, dried sticks. I was disappointed, but determined to try again.
Then one day I spotted something green in that cluster of brown. It was tiny, and looked just like a lilac leaf. I was amazed. What had looked quite dead was anything but. 
That little sprout grew -- and kept growing and multiplying. Just as my gardening books predicted, it took a couple years before the first lilac blossoms appeared, but they've come back every spring since. Today the lilac commands that corner, standing 11 feet tall. I look forward to seeing -- and inhaling -- those blossoms every spring, and get a little wistful every year when they fade.
Planting something is such an act of faith. Sometimes what you plant takes off right away and blooms beautifully. Sometimes it shrivels up and dies. And sometimes, it surprises you, and grows when you least expect it.
Keep your eyes open.
It does pay to look up.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It helps when you can make yourself laugh, part 3:
Our daughter is home from college for the summer, and today was her first day back at the office she worked at during high school.
When she came home, I asked her how the day went. She mentioned some of the projects she'd be working on, ranging from writing to painting a file cabinet.
"You're a jack-ess of all trades!" I said, aiming at gender correctness.
A beat of total silence followed, and we both burst out laughing at what that really sounded like.
"Thanks, Mom!" she said.
You can always count on your mom for encouraging words. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Speaking of anniversaries (see below) ...  "Momentary Joy" first appeared one year ago today. (If you'd like to see how it started, click here.)
It's been a wonderful project, and I look forward to Year 2.
Writers love readers. It absolutely makes my day when you take the time to leave a comment, send an email, or tell me when you've enjoyed a posting.
I love knowing that during the course of a busy day, someone out there could be taking a moment with "Momentary Joy."
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A wedding, like the one much of the world witnessed last weekend, is a joyous affair, an extraordinary day.
A marriage, as anyone who's been married longer than William and Catherine can tell you, is ever a work in progress, full of ordinary days. 
That's not to say it's all work and no joy. Quite the contrary. Those ordinary days hold some of the sweetest moments.
Our daughter gave me this happy mug.
A couple Fridays ago my husband had the day off, though I still had to work my shift at the library. He needed the car to run errands, so he gave me a ride in. It was an ordinary day, which in my case means leaving for work with only minutes to spare. One of the last things I crammed into those final minutes was brewing a mug of tea to go. Then off we went.
As I put my lunch in the refrigerator at work, it hit me. I had left my mug of tea in the car's cup holder. Dang. Then I thought, wouldn't it be lovely if he notices and brings it back?
Less than five minutes later, the library door opened. It was my husband, smiling and handing me my missed mug.
"You are the best!" I said, and kissed him. 
I knew there was a reason I married him -- 26 years ago today.
Happy anniversary.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bradford pear blossoms.

'Tis National Poetry Month. 
One of my favorite poets, Billy Collins, has this lament about some students of poetry:
"... all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it."

I hope you'll be more gentle with mine.

Spring falls so softly
on the eye.
No rude alarm,
no blinding light    
snapped on in the midst 
of our winter’s night.
Spring whispers, nudges, coaxes.
It wakes us gently,
thaws our senses,
we, who have dreamed too long
in winter’s frozen palette.
Awakened, I wander,
eyes open to wonder:
Willow sighs with pale green sweeps.
Crocus peeps.
Dogwood dreams in pink and white.
Apple blossoms, pear delights.
The season’s lovely,
swift and sweet.
Breathing deep,
I head toward home
and find the promise of lilac.
Green stars hide beneath.
P.S. If you like Billy Collins, or if you've never had the pleasure of reading his poetry, come to Abington Free Library next Wednesday at 7 p.m. His collection "Sailing Alone Around the Room" is the pick for April's Ruth R. Abel Memorial Book and Film Discussion Group. 
To register for this free program, stop by the library office, call 215-885-5180, ext. 15, or email