Looking Into Light

monarch (or viceroy butterfly, black & white, reverse

I awoke at 7 o’clock or so to quiet. So much more restful than waking to the sounds of the Scampers, wanting to get out “Now, please! A welcome change of context for the morning’s light.

At the end of yesterday’s last visit into the back yard to play with the Scampers, as opposed to just letting them outside on their own to inspect the perimeter for foreign aromas, I happened to see a Monarch butterfly (or, perhaps, a Viceroy) settle briefly on a cotoneaster branch to my left. I had time to take three photographs before it continued on. Shooting into the sun, the pictures were close to silhouettes.

Making a negative image of the best of the photographs, increasing the contrast, and then changing it to black and white, I finally was able to see the patterns on the butterfly’s wings. Changing the picture, changing the context.

The way that I view relationships is changing. I find myself thinking of people in the context of who and where we were, rather than in the present, where, because of changes in circumstances, activities, lifestyles, it appears that the relationship exists only in the past. In the today, conversation is cursory. An embarrassment that, after a warm greeting of recognition, turns to incidentals and then flight. Sometimes with promises of “visiting” longer when there is time. Sometimes, more honestly, not.

My “now” has turned inward and my awareness has expanded beyond myself and my circle of now-distant friends. I do not know if it would be because their interests are not mine, nor mine, theirs. We do not take time to find out. When I think of them, people I once knew and loved in a different context, I remember them (and myself) as in that different world, in which we once lived.* That framework doesn’t exist anymore. With some folks, there is an automatic rebuilding as we take time to converse and discover the new and still existing ties that connect us with the past and to each other. Less often as the distance lengthens.

I am going to pour another cup of coffee for myself and set about making breakfast. We ate out, yesterday, and I’ve half a grilled salmon dinner waiting for me in the refrigerator. I think it would be good with scrambled eggs.

Hope that your day is proceeding as you would like!

Lizl

*Context.

-*^*-

“your smile, remembered”

what were those hours and minutes
when measured against decades
of a long life well and fully lived?

a smile, briefly known and always loved,
the joy of songs and sighs and laughter
faded now in the vacuum left behind,
short-lived breeze that warmed,
then cooled again

the absence of your touch…
your lips remembered always
as soft whispers on my neck

Copyright © 2016-08-21, by Lizl Bennefeld. Originally published at my QuiltedPoetry blog.

It’s Wednesday!

The Scampers are at the veterinary clinic, recuperating from their micro-chipping and neutering. We dropped them off at 7:30 this morning. After a brief stop at the grocery, We came home to eat melon slices in the calm quiet and then took very long naps. Such sweet solitude! Missing the puppies now, however. In another hour we can pick them up, again.

The Scampers, Cocker Spaniels, beside the wild flax garden.

We never did get them to the groomers, and now we will have to wait another two weeks. Assuming that we can get an appointment, which we couldn’t when we’d have liked to, which would have been before their surgeries.

I tried calling the folks’ place, last night, but there was no answer. I’ve decided that the telephone is not a good medium for them at this point. Tomorrow I will try to write a letter to mail to them. I suspect that my mother figures that nobody calls that she wants to talk to, and so she just ignores the telephone…if she hears it at all.

Actually, I feel that way a lot, myself. My phone number used to be that of a business, and so I get odd spam calls from people wanting to loan my “business” obscene amounts of money. Usually while I’m taking a nap. Or have not yet awakened.

I am having a delightful time reading and chasing down old favorites, so that I can reread them. Latest few: Shade and Shadow by Francine G. Woodbury,  Lightwing by Tara K. Harper, and Star Driver by Lee Correy. I look forward to our appointment with the optometrist at the end of July and the possibility of new glasses.

I figure I have about five weeks in which to clean my guns before I go to the marksmanship center able to see the targets, again, at fifty feet. I also must find my hand weights and begin doing wrist exercises. I’m up to more than three miles a day on the exercise bike; in the not too distant past (in terms of years, not longer months), I was putting in twenty-five miles a day. I shall not regret, however. I have a need to find another book of general exercises that will help with general strengthening.

The piano playing project is coming along nicely. The Scampers still howl occasionally, but I’m still getting to the piano at least every other day. I love the warm-up exercises, but I’ve also returned to some favorite preludes, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and other favorites from my J. S. Bach piano book. My back’s still giving me trouble when I sit for too long, but there is general improvement.

I may have to grab a sheet of staff paper and write out what the notes off the staff are. I’ve forgotten over these past years. I was right to put out the brass instruments for people to pick up from the curb, this spring. But I’m also glad that in addition to the piano, I’ve hung onto my harmonicas and the soprano recorder.

Some melodies running through my head, also, but I don’t think I’m up to doing anything with those. Perhaps never, again, except in my mind.

I made a nice jug of Toddy coffee concentrate over the weekend, and I’m now looking forward to a nice cup of iced coffee-and-milk before we head out to bring the Scampers home again.

Hope you’re all enjoying a lovely day, wherever you are!

Lizl

 

Tuesday Afternoon – 24th

The household slept through the morning and into the afternoon, most peacefully, including Samantha and Flea (the little “Minnie Fleas”, and also Lamb Chop, Sam’s extended toy menagerie). I did not wake up until noonish. It was quite restful. Al has gone off to take part in bulls-eye practice. I am not feeling up to that, yet, in spite of the numbers, below, representing vitals. Last year the cough at the end of the allergy season slid into three weeks of bronchitis at the beginning of December. Believe I will limit myself to day-time target practice and leave formal bulls-eye practice until after the last of the holiday season’s toxic exposures first of the year.

I have taken care of several chores in the interim. First, I contacted NY Times to remind them that they charged me for another month’s subscription before the expiration of the last billing period by two days; on the day between advance payment and expiration of billing period, I had canceled my subscription.  It will take them two to three weeks to refund the money to my credit card.

Yesterday, I called to cancel my account with my commercial web host, two thirds of the way through my contract. They had, I think, put into place a two-tiered service just after I renewed my contract in March, offering for an additional price per domain for fast enough speeds to accommodate WordPress. I remember seeing the advertising notice go by and checking it out; I was not aware that the difference had become so … noticeable.

Please note that all things having to do with QuiltedPoetry.COM are no longer answering to or being answered by me or mine, other than the domain name’s not running out until sometime in 2017. I intend not to pick it up again. ETA: The hosting company has now sent a confirmation note, saying that my stuff is gone from their server and confirming that no additional charges are due.

Since I had already retired and no longer needed commercial hosting, and since the only web activity I was hosting there were personal writing activities (private WordPress installation) and what was to become my primary poetry WordPress site (quiltedpoetry.com), and also, that my energy level was not up to picking up any more for-profit activities to pay the bill, I thought it better to eliminate it now and avoid the temptation to increase my online activities (and fees) during my allergen-free months, only to drop the activities once more amidst the falling tree pollen.

I have finished The Brontë Plot, and am now halfway through The Goblin Emperor (reread) by Katherine Addison (pen name of Sarah Monette).

Having eaten the rest of the yogurt from the jar that supplied a teaspoon of it to put atop Samantha’s dog food, I find that I am hungry, again. Yogurt…casserole…cajun sausage and baked potato, next? Or breakfast cereal? Definitely more coffee! I think I’ll treat myself to Toddy coffee with milk instead of filtered water.

SpO2 = 98%, P = 68 bpm

It is all about letting go

Ever arrive at a point where you think that you know too many people? I have, over the decades, compartmentalized my life. I have spent a lot of time feeling expectations of me that may or may not have been there in actuality. At some point, not enough of my time is my time. Transitions have not gone smoothly.

For 15+ years I worked corporate jobs. That was uncomfortable enough that I used my full name elsewhere, but used a nickname with everyone I knew in a work context. I do still know people from those 15 years, but not many. (I did later meet up with one of those people, years after I/we left corporate, and we married.)

While I enjoy people, I have a driving need for solitude and focused time. Otherwise there is too much noise. I feel pulled. In various directions. From the outside. And I start pulling away, out of sight.

I think that’s what it is about choosing my own name/nickname. It’s like circling the wagons. I think it’s about staying put and making the changes in situ. Becoming someone else (revealing myself as who I am) by altering my environment, at least in my perception, without disappearing, this time. It’s about deciding to be me and being me and asserting myself.

Now that I have retired from freelance and other work, now that I am involved in what needs doing and what I should be doing, I am, I think, attempting to be assertive (without annoying, inconveniencing, offending or unduly entertaining) enough to stake out my/our own territory.

Names are important in that they have associations in other people’s minds with a specific person/personality type who will look, act, accede, be persuaded or manipulated in specific, predictable ways.

Changing nicknames is part of changing those patterns. And I have done this before and it’s been effective. When I was a little kid, I had an invisible friend with whom I was someone else, with a name no one else knew, and I could be more myself, boldly, because somehow it separated me, not from consequences but from conventions, from patterns dictated by others. Being known by a different name at work separated my life into two separate streams. It’s no surprise, though, that being two different people wasn’t healthy. It accomplished what I needed, it was effective, but it is not good to try being two people simultaneously.

It quits being a productive defense mechanism after a while. And 30 years of freelance work…burnt out, trying to do too much for people in totally not enough time, with one’s time always being someone else’s time. The need of the other—the client, the family, the church, the volunteer work, &c.—always takes precedence over one’s own needs.

Naming is an important act. Names influence the one who is named and the people who relate to him or her. A name is a reminder. A reminder to not just go with the flow, but to let go of the need to seek approval to live in the manner and direction in which one is called to grow.

Sort of like baptism. Or confirmation. Receiving or establishing a new name or transformative identification/identity.

The end of the day

I am winding down from the day, enjoying a cup of tea, rather than coffee. Al is in the other room, listening to late-night television programming. Perry Mason, Night Gallery, &c.

The day didn’t go as expected. As we were getting ready to out for a quick supper (eggs and hash browns), I recalled that Al had talked, earlier in the week, about going to the visitation/prayer service for the wife of one of his former co-workers. That was about 5:10, just 10 minutes into the visitation, and so he left for the funeral home. The co-worker, Al said, was shocked to see him there, and they spent much time talking together. Later in the evening, we did go out to Denny’s and had a good time talking over events of the day.

I located and washed the last of the yogurt jars (the dog had picked up that last missing jar and carried it under the kitchen table, to lick it clean in privacy), which are now sitting on the sideboard air drying. And all of the lids. I also washed, dried and put away the pan in which I cooked rice, earlier. For lunch, I fixed white rice, sardines and steamed vegetables.

When my youngest sister died in September 2014, her son and his wife stopped by here with an old poetry book of mine that my sister had kept by her. The poems were written in the 1960s and 1970s. I’d moved back here during the winter of 1979/1980, I think; the address on the title page was the old one. The poetry book contains the only copy there is of some of these poems. An interesting time in my life. Major events, experiences and transitions.

Some tattered papers
drifting through deserted streets
on a hollow wind . . .

From the title page of my first poetry collection and written during the summer before my junior or senior year of college