SOLC 2019 Day 12: The Day I Didn’t See An Owl

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March 2019 SOLC–Day 12
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

Part One: It seems like it all started the day the muffler and a few related and assumably important pipes yielded their grip on the underside of my car, and hung there partially attached…dragging…  I won’t get into too much detail. Let’s just say that we rapidly jettisoned our plan for a hike, and I was driving  home cautiously, accompanied by a metallic soundtrack and white knuckles. Suddenly…

“There’s an owl!” Kurt exclaimed and pointed. “I think it’s a barred owl.”

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Proof of an early love of owls—my slightly damaged elementary school art

“What? Where!?” I demanded, looking wildly about me.

I love owls. Love, love, love them! We hear them frequently, but I’ve never seen one in the wild, and I’ve been dying to. 

I braked…but slowly, ever mindful of the tenuous grip my muffler had on the car, and looked for somewhere to pull over.

“I can’t believe you aren’t braking harder,” he said.

“I’m afraid of losing the entire exhaust system!” I retorted, swiveling my head like, well, like an owl, desperate to catch a glimpse of one. Unfortunately, by then, I’d moved too far down the road, and it was nowhere in sight.

Pulled over on the side of the road, I had to decide what to do. Earlier, we’d realized that reversing would be the kiss of death for the muffler. Did I want to risk turning around somewhere, driving back and then having to do all that all over again, dragging the exhaust system the entire time? This was a tough decision!

Eventually, I decided that the conservative choice was the more responsible one. I continued forward, abandoning all hope of seeing the owl, and headed home at a snail’s pace. A loud snail’s pace. It probably seemed even slower (and maybe louder) for those in the car who had to listen to my constant laments.

“Ugh! I can’t believe I didn’t see it!”

“I really want to see an owl.”

“I can’t believe I didn’t see it.”

As we got closer to home, I announced, “After we get home, I’m going back.” Then I quizzed Kurt, “Where exactly was the owl? How far back from the main road? On the left or right? High in the tree or low in the tree?”

He did his best to answer my questions, and as soon as I parked the injured car in the driveway, I raced over to our other car.

“Are you really going to drive all the way back there?” Kurt asked.

“Yes!” I said, clambering into the car. “You never know! It might still be there!”

He shook his head. I slammed the door, started the car, and careened out of the driveway to drive the ten or fifteen minutes back to the approximate location of the owl sighting. Not quite at a snail’s pace this time.

Arriving in the general vicinity, I drove back and forth down the long country road. I drove slowly, searching through the trees, trying to locate the owl. Time and again, I pulled over to let other cars pass. I looked high and low, but ultimately, I had no luck.  No owl. After about twenty to thirty minutes, I gave up. I headed home, scanning trees along the way.

I’d love to be able to write that that’s when I saw the owl–that after giving up, I finally saw one. It would make a great story, right? Happy ending and all. But sadly, that’s not what happened. I didn’t see an owl. Nary a one.

But, while I was disappointed, I was also glad that I’d made the effort. I may not have seen the owl, but at least I’d tried. And it’s awfully nice to know they’re out there. Maybe next time.

Stay tuned!

SOLC 2019 Day 11: Where Did That Hour Go?

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March 2019 SOLC–Day 11
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

Daylight Savings Time. DST. 

Spring Forward.

Yuck!

Am I the only one who wakes disgruntled on this morning to discover an hour lost? Who can afford to lose an hour anyway?

Years ago, I had a good friend whose young son was thoroughly perturbed by that disappearing Daylight Savings Time hour. I mean, he was really upset by it. It defied his 6-year old understanding.

“Where does it go, Mom?” he pleaded again and again for an explanation. “When does it leave?”

After her best efforts, he still couldn’t understand.

“But how does it just disappear?” he wailed.

Finally, he decided to stay awake all night to find the answer to the mystery. He tried valiantly, but despite his best efforts, he fell asleep during his vigil. That means, sadly, we still don’t know!

I could totally empathize with his confusion and frustration then, and even more so now. What middle-aged person doesn’t feel like hours disappear at an alarming rate already? Those hours don’t need any institutional help, thank you very  much!

At any rate, as a morning lover, I’m out of sorts when I wake and it’s an hour later than I want it to be. I feel the loss of that hour, and especially so on a Sunday when undone school work looms large. That lost hour comes directly from my time. My time to write. My time to wander. My time to procrastinate.

Early-ish yesterday morning, in the midst of working myself into a full-fledged funk over DST, I happened to glance outside. The sky was ablaze with purples, reds, and blues. Whoa! It was intense! Immediately, I shut down my whining inner monologue. Mother Nature was throwing a consolation party and I was not going to turn down the invitation. I threw on random clothes and layers, grabbed my camera and was at the river in about ten minutes.

It was simply stunning!

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I still feel the loss of that vanished hour (and I suspect I will all week long), but I’m not quite so grumpy about it now. Also, rumor has it, that come autumn, we may just find it again.

SOLC 2019 Day 10: Beets! They Only Look Innocent.

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March 2019 SOLC–Day 10
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

In a burst of optimism (or insanity), after signing up for the 2019 SOL Challenge last month, I signed up for Laura Shovan’s March Poetry Challenge. This challenge posts daily photos of food as poetry prompts. Ideally, you respond each day in a private Facebook group. Yup. Do the math–Two daily challenges. With unusual foresight, I made it clear when joining the poetry group that my participation would be less than 100%. I just didn’t realize how much less! Sigh.

So, with the weekend and extra writing time ahead of me, I visited the Facebook site early Saturday morning. Instead of a collection of photos and poetry, I discovered a bit of a brouhaha. Yesterday’s beet photo and its accompanying comments/poems had gone missing! P.I. (Poetry Instigator) Laura Shovan was quickly on the job and got to the root of it all! She informed us that she’d inquired and that Facebook reported that the photo had been tagged as inappropriate. What?! Well, this is clearly a compliment to the photographer!

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Kudos to Jone McCulloch for her sensuous beet photo

The incident has been resolved and the photo restored, but the whole thing tickled my funny bone. I kept having random odd beet-thoughts popping into my mind.

Beets look innocent…until they’re not.

Brazen crimson beets! The color should have warned us…as damning as the letter “A” in the vegetable world. (And what does this say about radishes?)

Tubers…just say it. It even sounds inappropriate.

Beets…clearly at the root of all our problems.

Ultimately after endlessly amusing myself, I wrote this limerick:

With Thanks to Facebook for their Vigilance

The beets always look so suspicious
their intent is clearly malicious
their raw earthy flavor
too tempting to savor
Thank heavens we’re saved from beet dishes!

©Molly Hogan, 2019

SOLC 2019 Day 9: Friday in Haiku

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March 2019 SOLC–Day 9
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

I am most decidedly a lark. I typically rise before the sun, and I frequently venture outside to observe as dawn unfolds and the world awakens. I’ve written many slices and poems about mornings and how they move and energize me.  My writing energy is also strongest in the morning and most days, I write morning pages. During this month, I’m often drafting slices and commenting before 5 am.

Last night after some last minute evening reading and commenting, I was ready for bed and my book. But as I walked upstairs, I realized that I wanted to write a bit more. This is highly unusual for me, but I’d just read and thoroughly enjoyed Sarah DiFazio’s post of haikus about her day. I grabbed a small notebook and pushed my bedtime reading material to one side. Maybe I’d try to capture my day in haikus.

internal alarm
malfunctions at two a.m.
a long day begins

my pen plucks ideas
from the mists of dreams
morning pages

bone deep cold
frigid river exhales mist
pictures at dawn

PD work with colleagues
learning intentions and success criteria
overflow haiku boundaries

sleep’s siren song
lures me beneath blankets
two hour nap

nap-fogged brain
stumbles through the evening
red wine helps

inspiration strikes
I settle into bed
compose haiku

Thanks again to Sarah DiFazio for the inspiration! If you haven’t yet, check out her blog. She’s a wonderful writer and perhaps you’ll be inspired as well!

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SOLC 2019 Day 8: In the Pale, Stale Snow…

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March 2019 SOLC–Day 8
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

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One afternoon recently,  bundled up in down, I took a late afternoon walk. My eye was caught by the weedy stems poking through the pale, stale snow. Though the fragile petals had long ago faded and dispersed, the architecture of the blossoms remained behind.  In some spots these stalks are plentiful, like a winter garden–monochromatic, but beautiful in their spare lines. Singly or in smaller clusters, they are stark and simple, yet captivating. I find myself drawn to them, these vestiges of spring and summer, so valiant and resilient. They are merely echoes of their former vibrant selves, yet somehow they are triumphant. 

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These days everything feels like a metaphor for aging.

 

SOLC Day 6: The Duck Incident

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March 2019 SOLC–Day 6
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

Even now it’s hard to sort out exactly what happened.

My friend, Roger, and I stood on the bridge as the day brightened about us. Below us the small merganser duck community swam around, dipping their heads into the frigid water again and again. We moved along the bridge, scanned the sky for the bald eagles and snapped photos of this and that.

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Suddenly, something moved in my peripheral vision, and I looked up to catch sight of a small group of mergansers flying in low over the bridge. Turning to see, I watched horrified as one of them flew directly into the power lines. There were muffled thuds and the poor bird careened from line to line and then tumbled through the lines and onto the road and across the bridge to land in a feathered heap at Roger’s feet.

What!!!

Roger and I stared shocked at the duck and then at each other. I’m not sure we even had time to speak.

Then, the duck awkwardly unfolded itself  and raced across the road and jumped into the water. We raced over to see. Our reactions emerged in a jumble of questions and exclamations.

“Oh no! Is it okay?”
“What just happened?”
“I think it’s okay! It’s swimming.”
“That was crazy! I’ve never seen anything like it.”

After we’d gathered our wits about us and reassured ourselves that the duck seemed fine, it struck me. During the craziness of the moment, I had taken pictures.

“Roger,” I said, “I took pictures. What kind of person am I?! That poor duck! And I took pictures!… I’m kind of horrified with myself.

I was sure I’d only taken pictures after the duck was up and running, but the whole thing had unfolded so quickly. And, wow, I took pictures. I mean, I know I already had my camera in hand, but I feel like I should have been doing something else–though I’m not sure exactly what. Roger reassured me multiple times that there hadn’t been anything I could do to help the duck. Still, I felt slightly ashamed–like I was a member of some relentless duck paparazzi. Funny…but not…

Back at home, I was relieved to see that my downloaded photos confirmed that I took photos only after the duck was clearly untumbled and on its way to the refuge of the river. Still…it feels like I got awfully close to some sort of boundary that I do not want to cross.

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SOLC 2019 Day 5: Are You Kidding Me?

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March 2019 SOLC–Day 5
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

I have intense feelings about snow days. Typically, I’m right there with the students considering how to juju them into existence! I obsessively watch the weather sites and e-mail updates to my colleagues. In class, we always do the “Snow Ball Greeting” at morning meeting on the day before a snow day is anticipated. I’ve written many poems about snow days, including a sonnet, and once I even wrote a whole blog post about snowdaycalculator.com.

Today, I really am not hoping for a snow day, but once the call comes in, I am fully prepared to enjoy it. After I hang up (and double check on line to confirm the whole thing), there’s an immediate sense of relaxation, enhanced, no doubt, by the serene scene of snow falling outside my window.

I write a little… then a little more…

…watch the birds visit the feeders.

…laugh at the Squirrel Olympics.

…get another cup of coffee.

The minutes drift by gently, just like snowflakes, as I think idly about all the things I might want to do.

Most of them feature me remaining in my pajamas.

And then I get this e-mail:

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What?! My jaw dropped. Is she insane? What kind of person would even suggest such a thing?

A few minutes later, after pulling myself back together, I managed to text back politely. “No, thank you.” With great effort, I restrained myself from using any words that required asterisks.

I’m not sure what this says about me, but now that I’m not going to school AND not going to the dentist, I’m enjoying my day even more.

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