Late Summer Evening

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Thanks to Vincent van Zalinge @vincentvanzalinge for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/CchPqypO8nE

The backyard has been a minefield of mud for the entire spring and summer months. The contractor we hired the end of April has used very excuse you can imagine as to why the work wasn’t complete.

As a teacher, I have heard many an excuse in my day as to why work wasn’t finished, why books weren’t brought to class, and why one child needed to insult another child. Often I have reminded students to simply stand tall and own their truth, even if they think they might “get in trouble” for it.

In my own life I have found that honest self reflection leads to growth.

Unfortunately, this contractor wasn’t interested in self reflection or growth. He was a poor communicator and gave excuses instead of owning his truth. Nearly four months later, he finally poured our patio. All the roots still aren’t trimmed around the edges of the patio, and the attention to finish details simply aren’t anywhere to be seen there, but we have a poured patio.

For now this is enough.

After the concrete patio was set, we hired these young men (with better communication skills, respect, and follow through than the older contractor) to build the gazebo kit we bought. They communicated clearly the dates they were available (all within the week’s time) and showed up right on time. When they finished there wasn’t so much as a scrap of paper lying about the yard. The job was finished above and beyond our expectations.
The work ethic and follow through of these young men restored my hope in builders.

Tonight Trace, Ev, and I sat out on the patio with our dear friend Jen, listening to the thrum of cicadas and watching the dragonflies dance in the evening sky.

Peaceful rest is what Jen called it, and I quite agree.

In those moments, I rediscovered my muse; it was the magic of the late summer garden at sunset.

Late Summer

Swarming dragonflies,
honking geese heading south—
they left me wondering how
the summer waned into fall
without word or warning.
All I did was blink.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Vacation

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Photo by Evgenia Stergioula on Unsplash

The hardest thing about vacation is the preparation. We are trying desperately to get away for our first family trip since last August. That middle of pandemic trip where a fluke fire consumed our truck, camper, and Evan’s bike in a single night.

We were awakened from a deep sleep to a neighbor banging frantically on the doors, walls, and windows of our camper. When we opened the door, the wall of orange flames threw us backward with their heat.

“Get out! Get out! The gas tank might blow!”

Those terrifying words shocked us in to action. We had to wake Ev and get the dogs, before running as far away as we could from the camper.

The whole experience left us shell shocked and bereft of vehicle and camper.

So you can imagine how the memory of that night one year ago drags on us as we pack to leave on our first camping trip since the fire.

I decided to use the triolet with its tight repetitive structure to speak the words we are all feeling.

Vacation

The list growing by the minute
works us hard so we don’t forget;
we try harder just to win it.
The list growing by the minute
has us seeking virtue in it
to make sure we do not regret.
The list growing by the minute
works us hard so we don’t forget.

—Carla Jeanne Jordan

A triolet is a poem of eight lines, typically of eight syllables each, rhyming abaaabab and so structured that the first line recurs as the fourth and seventh and the second as the eighth.

Sounds like some weird crazy poetry torture device, doesn’t it?

Well, I finished off my coffee and found this helpful cheat chart.

Triolet Lines:
1. A
2. B
3. a Rhymes with 1st line.
4. A identical to 1st line.
5. a Rhymes with 1st line.
6. b Rhymes with 2nd line.
7. A Identical to 1st line.
8. B Identical to 2nd line.

Muddy Waters

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Photo Credit: Thanks and Say shoutout to Ben Wicks.
Muddy Waters

People like me belong to the rain—
soaking in joy breathing out sorrow,
tending to the dark roots and pain—
a slow broadening of mossy green
spreading wide after the summer storm.

I stay alive in muddy waters
when the verdant swaddle of meadow
is drowned in brown. It’s there I sought her
to teach me the wisdom of the rain
and to not be afraid of the dark.

It is with her I learned where I belong
and how to navigate in a world
reeking with sunshine and sappy song.
Bring on the rain, for how else do I
stay alive when dusk darkens the light?

—By Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

I read a story this morning about the death of a lovely young Australian woman who was a farmer, ecologist, and inspiration to many on her TikTok.

Her family didn’t give details about her death, but her father said “every day should be ‘R U OK? Day,” a reference to an Australian holiday when people are encouraged to have conversations about mental health and suicide prevention with one another.

I absolutely agree.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are Ok. Don’t be afraid to push a little to encourage them to reach out to a professional.

There is no shame in needing help. Or asking someone if they need help.

It’s ok to not be ok.

How else can we stay alive when the rain comes and dusk darkens the light?

Fourth of July

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There’s this girl, you see, born on the Fourth of July. She erupted on the scene at a military base and grew to love all things military precision-like—minimalistic living and spartan saving with exacting expectations of herself—yet exploding with all the vibrant color of a rainbow. She’s an out of the box thinker—MacGyver’s met his match in her.

This girl, you see, is a firecracker, whip smart, and loud about things that matter like injustice, inequality, and freedom for all. She’s the yang to my yin, the bang for my buck, my soul sister, twin flame, and best friend. Happy Birthday, Tracy Jo! 🥰🎉🎊 💥

4th of July

It is hard to say when or where
Although why is not quite as hard
(synchronous orbits)to declare
that mysterious tidal heat
where in wonder science we meet.
Life whisks away what’s not needed,
brings the ebb and flow, completed
we move while the stars stand their guard.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

A Septet of Lines

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Photo Credit: Shoutout to Annie Spratt on social.

The poetry challenge I place before you today this: I’d love for you to try writing a lune.

A lune is a sort of English-language haiku. While the haiku is a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable count, the lune has two different options.

The first option for a lune is a three-line poem with a 5-3-5 syllable count. The second variant is based on word-count instead of syllable count. This means the poem still has three lines, but the first line has five words, the second line has three words, and the third line has five words again.

I chose this latter form to write my poem. Today I give you a Septet of Lunes. Try your hand at it and share it in the comments. I look forward to reading your take on the lune.

dinner on the deck

the cardinals always come--
strutting red coats,
snapping seeds in a single crunch.

the dark eyed junco hops
tentatively to feed,
nervously glancing side to side

the chickadees flit over lightly
with great decorum
landing lightly on the feeder.

sparrows hide in the bushes
waiting their turn,
hanging out in patient packs.

the house finch dines together
with the others--
sparrows, chickadee, cardinal and junco.

when the blue jay plows
in to feed,
the sea of birds part;

but the noisy starlings arrival
clears everyone out--
iridescent bullies chasing away friends.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

The Gathering

Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/vzFTmxTl0DQ/

Being completely accepted and loved is something that most humans desire. When you find that person who gathers you in, who pulls you together when the world is pulling you apart, you hold on to them.

If you haven’t found your person, my hope is that you do. And if you already know who your special person is, reach out and gather him or her to yourself.

Maybe it’s a sibling or parent, maybe it’s a friend or spouse. Whoever it is, hold on to them tightly.

Tell them how much you appreciate them.

Remind them how grateful you are for their presence in your life.

The Gathering

You gather all the pieces of me—
You gather all the dark places,
You gather all the light places,
You gather my fears and beliefs.

You weave them together and prove
our souls are made of the same cloth.
Let’s not forget this, You and me,
we find beauty in one another.

When the quiet crumbling comes
(and it always comes) we simply
move in closer to each other;
we gather our single-soul cloth

and drape it to cover us both.
We gather underneath the weight—
we gather all of our pieces—
and we hide in one another.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

It’s Ok To Not Be Ok

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Little E

Well, life has certainly been full of surprises these past two weeks.

Lizi had a successful appendectomy late last night and was still hospitalized until this evening because she had trapped gas in her abdomen.

So at this point, it’s still a waiting game—for healing, for recovery, and for a semblance of normalcy to return.

The biggest stakeholder in this waiting game is sweet Little E. He is adjusting marvelously to life at Nana’s—learning how life works in our rehab center. I had to mud wrestle him to convince him that a nap is really what he wanted, but Nana won out in the end.

I always do, kid. You might as well get used to it.

Life is always ha-rd. There is no such thing as “harder”. We all struggle, we all deal with hard, and it’s ok to not be ok.

Little by little my sweet little mama bear is healing. Her little darling missed her terribly, but he accepted us as a (poor) substitute.

Now they are finally reunited and the look on his face when he saw his mama was priceless! The two are happily recovering with Uncle E helping out wherever needed.

Trace is overcoming obstacle after obstacle in this recovery. I am amazed at how far she’s progressed since Day One when she was struggling with simply getting on top of pain management.

Resilient.

All of us.

You, too.

It’s ok to not be ok. (https://youtu.be/RH6G_fWfBPs ) You can sit in that hard place, in that pain (physical or emotional), and you can move through it, survive, and even thrive on the other side of it.

June Nights

Venus danced and dazzled,
leading the way for sister stars
to join in the chorus.

As mosquitoes buzzed by,
we toasted to the sultry night
and the twinkling heavens.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Walking in the Light

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Today Trace was moved to inpatient therapy in Rochester. She will have three hours of therapy per day, and unfortunately can only have one non-clergy visitor per day.

Because children are not allowed, I am not able to go and visit her with Evan, so we are counting on some friends to head over and cheer her on.

This is a hard season.

But we’ve been here before, and we know how to do hard things.

So sweep away the clouds and let the sun shine in.

On another note, I completed my take on a Trijan Refrain form poem today with the final and third stanza. You can read it in its entirety below.

Peace to all of you, you have been so very encouraging to us over these last days.

walking in the light

friendship unpacks a history
rich with joy and sorrow,
and days unfold with mystery—-
surprise of tomorrow.
walk in the light when days grow dark
and life seems bleak and rather stark.
walk in the light
walk in the light
rejoicing in each tender spark.

friendship unpacks a new season
that’s not at all thrilling;
I know things happen with reason
without our request or willing—
walk in the light when times get tough;
walk in the light when times are rough.
walk in the light
walk in the light
finding hope when life seems enough.

friendship unpacks love at the root,
the core of each new bud;
love is the base—the root absolute—
an overwhelming flood.
walk in the light hold your head high
love carries the weight of your cry.
walk in the light
walk in the light
sweep the clouds out of the sky.

—by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Waiting Part 2

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Thanks to Meritt Thomas @merittthomas for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/4vM2SHXh_M0

We never heard back from RIM, but we did pray that the right door would open up.

As of tomorrow morning, Trace will be at an inpatient rehab in Rochester.

I’m hoping beyond hope that she is home soon, but more than that we want her to be able to walk again. We are missing her so much.

Thank you all for your prayers and for hanging in there with us on this adventure.

As far as my poem for today goes, I have been working on the Trijan Refrain, a poetry form created by Jan Turner. It consists of three 9-line stanzas, a total of 27 lines. Line 1 is usually the same in all three stanzas, although a variation of the form is not to repeat that same line with each stanza. I chose to repeat half the line.

In this form, the first four syllables of line 5 in each stanza are repeated as the double-refrain for lines 7 and 8.

The Trijan Refrain is a rhyming poem with a set meter and rhyme scheme as follows:

x. x. x. x. x. x. x. a. 8
x. x. x. x. x b. 6
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. a. 8
x. x. x. x. x. b. 6
R. R. R. R. x. x. x. c. 8
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. c. 8
R. R. R. R. 4
R. R. R. R. 4
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. c. 8

It’s a tricky little form, but I rather like it. I’m going to post the poem today with stanza 1 and 2 together. Tomorrow I will add the third and final verse.

1.
friendship unpacks a history
rich with joy and sorrow
and days unfold with mystery
where twists and turns abound
walk in the light when days grow dark
and life seems bleak and rather stark
walk in the light
walk in the light
rejoicing in each tender spark.

2.
friendship unpacks a new season
that’s not at all thrilling
I know things happen with reason
without our request or willing
walk in the light when times get tough
walk in the light when times are rough
walk in the light
walk in the light
finding hope when life seems enough.

—a work in progress by Carla Picklo Jordan

The Waiting Game

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Thanks to Wim van ‘t Einde @wimvanteinde for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/iEhFJJAMTK4

Waiting.

This is where we remain.

We wait for RIM approval.

We wait for Blue Care approval.

The waiting is the constant.

On the upside, Trace was able to be given a shower of sorts today. First one in a week, and boy did she feel better.

Keep praying for the miracle of RIM to open up.

walking in the light 

1.
friendship unpacks a history
rich with joy and sorrow
and days unfold with mystery
where twists and turns abound
walk in the light when days grow dark
and life seems bleak and rather stark
walk in the light
walk in the light
rejoicing in each tender spark.

—a work in progress by Carla Picklo Jordan