Happy 20th Anniversary to Us

The stained glass windows of the little red brick church glistened in the morning sun.  Rain clouds started to gather in the sky and cast shadows across the fields surrounding the building.  I was hidden in the church hall, dressed in my wedding gown, surrounded by my sisters.  The photographer put us through our poses and disappeared back into the church.  

Everyone had arrived, except for John’s grandmother and his great aunts.  Evidently his uncle had gotten lost with the matriarch of the family.  We had to wait, didn’t we?  I paced, as more clouds bloomed.  Five minutes turned to fifteen, then twenty. This was before we all carried cellphones. John’s older brother finally came out and said I didn’t have to wait anymore as his poor brother was getting more nervous by the minute.  Let’s get the show on the road.

 Just as I exited the hall, it started to sprinkle.  My sisters gathered up my train and we dashed for the church foyer.  Fortunately I’d worn flats.  I took a couple minutes to settle, then placed my hand in the crook of dad’s arm and nodded at my brother in laws.  They reached out and pulled open the double doors.  My heart flip flopped as I took in the pews full of friends and family.  

I hadn’t thought I known enough people to fill up a church, even a small one.   One of those horrible fantasies you get during the stress filled days of planning.  What if no one shows up?  Dad walked me up the aisle, kissed me and guided me to my hubby to be.  I gave John a quick kiss and in his nervousness, he asked “are you supposed to do that yet?”  I giggled, relaxed and stepped up to begin our new life as husband and wife. 

John’s cousin, a catholic priest and Father Dan, the very Irish pastor of our church performed the mass and the ceremony.  Old friends, the two riffed off each other telling jokes, putting us all at ease.   John’s relatives arrived midway, much to everyone’s delight and their embarrassment.    My sister forgot to hand me John’s ring during the blessings of the rings.   

Once I realized what had happened, I said ‘wait you forgot John’s ring.’  

Father Dan waved his hand with a smile and said “Oh, it’ll take.”   And it did! 

A to Z Poetry: Knots

Knotted Roots - Courtesy of Reannadale


We tie ourselves in knots
from the silly to the fraught.
How dare he! How dare she!
Is it all for naught?

He said, she said, they said.
Does it really matter when blood is shed?
They divide and sway and are blind to the truth.
We sing, they yell, we cry, they take up the call,
Then use it as an excuse to get rid of the uncouth.

Frayed nerves and shattered limbs,
gray hairs and lights are dimmed.
Scattered among are those with just causes.
Fearful of those who don't obey laws
and tangled up believers whose thinking has flaws.

We are raw, they are to blame.
We are free, they have no shame.
His story, her story, which one is right?
There is so much wrong when they think with might.
They mash, they wail, they flee out of sight.

They distract, they dissemble
They argue semantics and fail to assemble.
They break apart words and leads people to tremble.
and causes nothing except breakdown of symbols.

They think to hide it away.
But no matter what you say,
While reason is rephrased and displaced,
We'll never forget upon which our stories are based. 

My truth, your truth, their truth
Will never be the same
If they work hard to defame and 
all go down in flames. 
We tie ourselves in knots
from the silly to the fraught.
How dare he! How dare she!
Is it all for naught?

~R.L. McCormack~

Flash Friday: Jacob and Abby

Abby glanced at the sleek, burgundy Spider Ferrari and tried not to drool.  “Honey, why don’t you ever buy me anything like that?”

“Come on Abby. Seriously?”  

“Don’t you love me?”

Jacob took her hand and pressed it to his heart. “Every day, babe and then some.  For what it’s worth, if I could afford it, I’d buy you a dozen.  But you know, it’s a good thing I don’t have to show how much I love you by buying expensive things.”

“How about little things?” Abby kissed him softly on the lips.

“That goes without saying. Why just this morning I bought you this.” Jacob pulled a small box out of his pocket. “Last night at Parker’s, I came across this small trinket I thought you’d like.”

“Maniac. No doubt it’s something for you to enjoy as well.  Only a guy would buy his woman a trinket from the hardware store.”

“Parker’s happens to have some very fine items.  Stop your complaining and open it.”

On the verge of whining for no good reason, she shut up, opened the lid and laughed.

“See I knew you’d like it.”

“Oh thank you darling.  Just what I always wanted. A drill bit.”  Abby pulled it out to find a note and a little red square with a silver button on top.  She unfolded the note which read ‘very clever and very dear, the answer is oh so near.”

“What does it mean, near?” She looked around, then back at the note. X’s and O’s lined the edges of the paper along with a compass rose in the middle of the page, pointing north.  “You and your puzzles.”

“You’ve missed zero so far and the answer is right in front of you.” Jacob grinned and planted his hands in his pockets.

Thursday Chap Lines: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?  Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts?  Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms?  Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?  What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered?  Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love?  We still and always want waking. We should amass half dressed in long lines like tribesman and shake gourds at each other, to wake up; instead we watch television and miss the show.  (pg 73) 

Wednesday hmmm! Not quite granite, not quite mud

A friend mentioned Ursula LeGuin's essay, Being Taken for Granite, which is included in her book - The Wave in the Mind. It struck a chord as we've been having minimal success lately with our building project.  I'm not quite granite, but don't think I'm quite mud either. Thinking about what that means.

Being Taken for Granite 
Ursula Le Guin

Sometimes I am taken for granite. Everybody is taken for granite sometimes but I am not in a mood for being fair to everybody. I am in a mood for being fair to me. I am taken for granite quite often, and this troubles and distresses me, because I am not granite. I am not sure what I am but I know it isn't granite. I have known some granite types, we all do: characters of stone, upright, immovable, unchangeable, opinions the general size shape and pliability of the Rocky Mountains, you have to quarry five years to chip out one little stony smile. That's fine, that's admirable, but it has nothing to do with me. Upright is fine, but downright is where I am, or down wrong. I am not granite and should not be taken for it. I am not flint or diamond or any of that great hard stuff. If I am stone, I am some kind of shoddy crumbly stuff like sandstone or serpentine, or maybe schist. Or not even stone but clay, or not even clay but mud. And I wish that those who take me for granite would once in a while treat me like mud.

Being mud is really different from being granite and should be treated differently. Mud lies around being wet and heavy and oozy and generative. Mud is underfoot. People make footprints in mud. As mud I accept feet. I accept weight. I try to be supportive, I like to be obliging. Those who take me for granite say this is not so but they haven't been looking where they put their feet. That's why the house is all dirty and tracked up.

Granite does not accept footprints. It refuses them. Granite makes pinnacles, and then people rope themselves together and put pins on their shoes and climb the pinnacles at great trouble, expense, and risk, and maybe they experience a great thrill, but the granite does not. Nothing whatever results and nothing whatever is changed.

Huge heavy things come and stand on granite and the granite just stays there and doesn't react and doesn't give way and doesn't adapt and doesn't oblige and when the huge heavy things walk away the granite is there just the same as it was before, just exactly the same, admirably. To change granite you have to blow it up. But when people walk on me you can see exactly where they put their feet, and when huge heavy things come and stand on me I yield and react and respond and give way and adapt and accept. No explosives are called for. No admiration is called for. I have my own nature and am true to it just as much as granite or even diamond is, but it is not a hard nature, or upstanding, or gemlike. You can't chip it. It's deeply impressionable. It's squashy.

Maybe the people who rope themselves together and the huge heavy things resent such adaptable and uncertain footing because it makes them feel insecure. Maybe they fear they might be sucked in and swallowed. But I am not interested in sucking and am not hungry. I am just mud. I yield. I do try to oblige. And so when the people and the huge heavy things walk away they are not changed, except their feet are muddy, but I am changed. I am still here and still mud, but all full of footprints and deep, deep holes and tracks and traces and changes. I have been changed. You change me. Do not take me for granite.

Monday Meander: Gratitude


Whatever be the depth of woe
Along the path that I must go,
I'll sing my song—
My song of joy for all the love
That's lavished on us from above,
And count no loss of treasure-trove
When things go wrong.
I'll sing the sunlight, and the bright
Soft smiling stars that gem the night;
For gifts of good
That God hath spread along my way,
The lilt of birds in tuneful play,
The harvests full and flowers gay,
The whole day long
I'll sing my song
Of gratitude!

~John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922), "My Song" (October Twenty-sixth), The Cheery Way: A Bit of Verse For Every Day, 1920

Sunday Salon Chit Chat

Yikes! There are only two week and a half weeks left to our summer break and we haven't accomplished 1/4 of our to do list, nor did we manage to take off somewhere and explore.  I need one of those - stop the world, I want to get time off buttons. A Tardis would actually do quite nicely.   Yes, I've been watching way too much Doctor Who.  

Another sleepless night since my body has now decided it doesn't like Bel Air's Chipotle Panini's. Maybe it's the Chipotle sauce?   I've been dragging all day and managed to get out to the grocery store. Otherwise, have lazed around, reading.  I'm almost finished spelling out Sardonyx and have X left. I ordered Jeff Vandemeer's Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy which will arrive in a couple days.  Meanwhile I'm reading Seanan McGuire's first book - Discount Armageddon in her InCryptid series.  Delightful light paranormal read which is just what I needed right now.

It's book week 33 in our 52 Books Quest and this week I highlighted a new to me American Poet - Alfred Corn.

This next week's goal is to do an all court press to finish outlining curriculum for 12 grade.   Writing goals are to continue posting every day and begin the 30 day writing challenge on the 15th.