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Gently, gently I go…a little poetic insight.

This is a poem I wrote 12 years ago. This was when I was extremely deep into writing poetry, and while not my best work, it is a great way to convey my mindset in this time of year. Titled: The Fourth.

The Fourth

© 2002, by Lauren L. Canfield, All Rights Reserved.
February 20, 2002.

Sunlight dances across the floor,
The wind blows my curtains
Gently toward my bed.
The sound of lawnmowers
Vrooming around yards
Reverberate in my ears
And the aroma of fresh cut grass floods my nostrils
As I turn over in my bed
And stare out the window.

I’ve never seen a sky so much that color.
So blue your eyes hurt.
The green, bright, vibrant.
The browns, yellows of the tall grasses.
The green, veined leaves of corn rustling
While in green, silk-laden beds,
The cobs lay maturing.
The purples, reds and pinks of flowers
Breaking the fifteen million shades of green
And the smell of lilac mingling
With the grass and the roses,
Peonies and lilies.
Dandelion puffs float by my window.

I stand up, stretch, dressed in shorts and shirt,
Rub my eyes,
Inhale.
Staggering, I make my way through
Short, dark hallways,
Into light-laden rooms.
At the stove, pasta is boiling.
On the table, red, yellow, and green
Peppers lay chopped
While onions and celery sit beside
Red tomatoes,
Greenish rimmed, milky-white cucumbers
And a jar of dressing wait.
I smile.

Open the door to it.
I do.
Inside, marinating
In a special sauce,
Is chicken.
I smell the vinegar
And close my eyes.
I can taste it now.

I return to throw on
Jean shorts, old tee
Some old sneakers, and maybe
A baseball cap.
Jumping down from the back door,
I hit a small path of pavement
Before reaching the soft, silky grass.
I almost wish to be barefoot,
But still see stalks of clover
And bees around.
Not safe for bare feet! I think
And walk to the shed.

Ah, the shed,
Home to a million diversions
For a country kid
Who excels at finding ways
To keep occupied.
Stepping up,
I locate, in the nearly empty shed,
A rake.
Doing my chores,
I finish the lawn in an hour.

Raking up cut grass
Can be dirty.
It stains.
It’s somewhat wet
From being mowed
Just after the dew evaporates.
It sticks.
I fling it to the cows,
Who, with the bulls, rush over.
My heart races;
I fear them breaking through.
They don’t.
Just munch on my gift.

The smell of cooking chicken hits me;
Just placed on the grill,
I have time.
Dragging my bike out of the shed,
I take off.
First, a mile down the road, turn around,
Over a small, wooden bridge next,
Then back.
Passing my house,
The sounds of my sister playing,
My dog barking,
My dad doing some odds and ends project,
Flood my mind,
But I soon forget to hear it.

Instead, I head to it.
Entering it, the tall maples,
Oaks, and numerous other trees
Create a soft, cool shade.
The sun breaks through in spots.
I make it to the first bridge.

A small man-made waterfall
From where they diverted the creek
Greets my eye.
As memory places me
Four years old,
Sitting on it as the water tumbled around
With my mom next to me.
I remember the freshwater crabs,
How they hid under rocks,
Then dared to snip at you when you neared.
I look across at the other side.

A well-known, well-worn path breaks through
To the creek side
I’m tempted to walk down
See if any crabs are left,
But, instead, I push on.
It becomes harder to bike,
As there are tiny hills here and there,
The second bridge comes into sight.
Much higher over the water,
No easy access down in,
It’s merely a marker.
Bored, I bike on,
Hit Bridge #3,
Two roads then diverge.

One, goes into a house, parked deep in
Hidden by a hillside.
The second leads nearly five more miles in.
The smell of dank woods hits me here.
I’m uncertain.
Should I go on, turn back?

I go on.

Road becomes narrower.
There are no guides on the side.
I might fall in, if spooked.
I keep going,
Forgetting time, responsibilities.
I love the cool arms of it.
It holds me, makes me feel at home,
I’m comfortable,
Confident,
Yet, frightened to wits end.

I turn around.
I think something’s up ahead.
I can never get to Monkey Circle.
I can never get beyond this point.
Staring over my shoulder,
Before I push off,
I shiver.
Something’s not right there.

I head home, all downhill.
The rush as I round curves,
Not bothering to brake,
My speed increasing.
I close my eyes on the straight-aways.
I open them just to turn,
And whiz past
The gorge I’ve climbed,
And slid down.
The water holes I swam in,
The waterfall where crabs nipped,
And by the tall trees shading
The entrance.

Bam!

Almost like a brick wall,
I hit the sunlight.
Easing on my brake, I coast by my yard,
Turn into my driveway.
As my mom carries the chicken inside.
She can see I’m happy,
Though I should be scolded for being
Away for so long.
She just smiles.

We eat.
The cleanup is done quickly.
The sun lowers in the sky, we set up the yard games,
Bring out the horseshoes and balls and gloves.

Our guest begin to arrive,
Bringing themselves
Maybe some chips or some soda.
Maybe a frozen treat.
Here comes Gramp,
Mysterious bag in hand.
I grin while the younger kids just stare
We take chairs to the front lawn.
The older people sit.
The kids run, chasing each other,
Water balloons flying all over.

I stare at the stars and inhale the night air.
Barefoot now, I lay back on the grass,
Still aromatic.
Closing my eyes, I move back in age,
Younger, chasing cousins and siblings with
Sparklers, dazzling the air with little bits of light.
Then, out came the big ones.
Parachute men, the wheel ones,
Some with big bangs,
Others silent as can be.
Gramp would bring them,
And we would jump for more.
When the woman across town would call,
The police came, but ignored it.
Nevertheless, we had hid them well.

Then, when they were done,
They’d pack up the cars,
We’d say goodbye.

I opened my eyes.
I heard a few talking above me,
I wiped a tear away,
Moved from the group,
Stared at the sky.

That fourth was different than
Others had been.

I can return to that town,
And I might smell fresh cut grass,
But it’s not our grass from our yard.

I might smell a barbecue,
But it is not our chicken.

The lilacs are purple and in bloom,
But they are not ours.

The road still leads to my wooden bridge,
But I have no bike to cross it.

The tall trees still stand,
The three bridges stand over the low creek,
The road still diverges.
They are mine.
They will always be mine.

And, no one will take my fourth away.

 

 
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Posted by on 07/18/2014 in family, weather, writing

 

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Checkmark next to Thanksgiving. Next blank: Christmas.

November has been a weird month for me. Between my work driving me ever closer to a nervous breakdown, and the confusing, hectic life leading up the major holiday season, I have felt very lost and outside of time. Yes, you heard that right. I don’t feel OUT of time. I feel OUTSIDE of it.

It feels like standing in place, watching the world spin around you, and you’re aware it’s still spinning, but you don’t feel it. An hour’s passage doesn’t faze you, and it feels like a minute. You can’t keep track of what day it is. You feel small and inconsequential, not because someone called you that or because you’re just down on yourself, but that things keep moving on in their moving on in their sort of way, and you don’t feel yourself move with it.

Some of my friends and family went with the “Today, I”m thankful for” meme on Facebook, and I couldn’t participate. Mostly because I hate being beholden to think of something different for another day, even if I’m currently thankful for a million things. Part of me also wants to rebel and say, “Hey, I’m thankful EVERYDAY, not just one day or 20 some odd days in November because everyone else is doing it.” I know; I know. Everyone else feels the same. So, here’s a thought: If you do feel the same, show it. Don’t say it. Show it.

This is something I’ve tried to work on with myself. I’m not always successful with it, but I try.

I feel like if I continue, I’ll start the babble, and bore the heck out of anyone reading, so I’ll just try to finish it with a few thankful thoughts.

I’m thankful that I have a family to love, friends that deal with all my crazy, and a job that keeps the roof over my head and bills paid. I’m thankful for finding out I have friends I didn’t even know I had (and who give a crap about me), and I’m most thankful that I have a brain that has no problems, whatsoever, entertaining me in the way it always has.

Now, hopefully, next year, I can claim “a brain that always keeps on that writing task thing” as a point to be thankful for. Until then, I guess I have enough to make me happy.

 
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Posted by on 11/26/2012 in family

 

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Gramps.

I have a lot of emotions coursing through me at the moment, so I apologize if my thoughts are jumbled and I don’t  make sense. Intense emotion can only bring out intense lot of things, and sometimes, that includes things like rants and mind dumps.

Today, after getting up from a nap, I was informed my grandfather would be receiving hospice care. This is a hard thing for me to accept, and I guess it needs a little clarification as for why. Growing up, until I was about 18, I was privileged enough to have a set of grandparents literally across the street from me. As for such, at least half, if  not more of my life, at this time, was spent with them in daily contact. So, unlike some cousins, I have intense emotions when it comes to my grandparents because of this influence.

When I graduated high school, I moved away from the town I grew up in, and subsequently, life got in
the way of the almost daily (if not several times a day) visits I used to make. I had college, then work, and now even more work. Guilt besieges me every day, not helped, really, by the commentary of family. As you become an adult, even without kids and the like, things just control you. I worry so much about getting to work,
making enough to make the bills, that I forget, sometimes, there are other people out there who care about me and would like to hear from me. Couple that with an intense dislike of using the phone, and I
basically am the unsocial ass of the century.

My paternal grandparents, and especially my grandfather, are wrapped up in memories of times when
he was active, healthy, and lively enough to “play.” I don’t think I could bare seeing him even more wasted away than he already was the last time I saw him. I prefer to remember the guy who would wrestle with my handicapped sister, and play with my dog and call her Pepperoni. The guy who loved carpentry, and would listen for hours on end to my drabbling nonsense as he made whatever project he was working on. I would prefer to remember him as I knew him for so many years. Strong. Loving. Always  my Gramps.

Maybe I will muster strength to hold myself together for a visit to him. But, knowing my schedule, and
knowing me, I don’t know if I will find it. I feel like the horrible grandchild for every moment of it. Some of my cousins do more. But, it is just so hard for me. This is a man who, for most of my life, was the rock solid foundation, even in the shakiest of times, I had. This is a man, for all of his faults, who so loved his grandchildren, that he even so lovingly interacted with my sister. He treated her like the rest of us. No, honestly, he treated her better, and treated her how she deserved.

I cannot, even now, writing this in tears, tell you all I feel. I know my grandfather’s faults. Maybe others won’t remember him the way I do, but, for all that it is worth, I send my entire love to him to comfort him. I send whatever belief I can muster to guide him. And, I’m forever grateful that I was loved by him, and that throughout some of the hardest times for girls, those teenage years, he called me beautiful as much as he did.

Pepper is waiting for you, Poppy. Make sure she knows we miss her and love her too.

 
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Posted by on 09/11/2011 in family

 

Vacation is nearly over. *insert sad face*

My long-awaited vacation is nearly over. It has been one hectic week. To think, just seven days ago, I was terribly exhausted after a long week of work. Soon enough, I will have to return to the daily grind, but I still have a few days to work through before then.

I did enjoy my vacation, even if things were not exactly how I thought they’d be. The weather, excepting our arrival Saturday (we were a few hours ahead of the tornadoes that swept through North Carolina and South Carolina), has been gorgeous. Today, it was in the 80s, while where I live in Central New York, it was snowing. It is like a whole new world down here with extremes such as that. I’m walking about in shorts and tank tops, frolicking in the ocean, and sunbathing, and normally, I’m hiding in my house, hoping for warm weather to show up so I can stop wearing coats!

I admit, I spent a lot of my days reading, sitting around, playing on the net, and watching a little tv. While I love to sightsee and experience things, when I know I’m on a limited time and there are crowds around, I really just enjoy not doing anything and not living on any type of schedule. Don’t fear: I did leave the house.  But, really, the point of vacation to me is not to rush through it trying to fit everything in, but fit what you can and relax. Enjoy the sun: We’re still waiting on it up north. Enjoy the ocean: I’m from a part of NY that’s pretty landlocked and the beaches are all on lakes. Still good, but it’s nice to let the ocean wash up on you knowing that water was somewhere else. Enjoy the lack of having to get up with an alarm clock: Sooner or later you’ll return to schedules, and work hours, and detailing your life down to the minute. Enjoy freedom away from answering phone calls, pleasing someone else, and doing someone else’s bidding for once. Vacation is ME time.

That’s why I always get a little depressed when it comes to the end of vacation: I hate having to go back into a super-controlled lifestyle where it’s a burden to not serve at someone else’s convenience. I hate having to stop being a little selfish (Not that I’m very selfish on vacation, either). I hate knowing that I have to be an adult again.

I know I’m whining a little, and I try very hard to avoid that in my writing, but leaving vacation especially stinks for those who don’t work a consistent 9-5, M-F schedule.  That, of course, is what I dread the most.

So, in two days, I’ll be saying goodbye to the summer temps, the sun, and the ocean, and instead head back north where it’s been snowing and cold. Maybe by the time my birthday comes around (Early June), I will start seeing weather like this again.

Ah, well…one can always dream.

 
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Posted by on 04/21/2011 in family, vacation

 

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