Endangered Label

A little box.
A little handle (remember when it was string?)
For little hands.

The circus is closing.
Will there still be animal crackers?

The lion and polar bear are listed as vulnerable.
The gorilla and elephant are listed as endangered.
Will there still be animals?


Saturdays Are…

Many of the state parks in Tennessee were having free guided hikes today.  I chose to attend the hike at Big Cypress Tree State Park, because I had never been there before.



Big Cypress Tree State Park was named after a giant cypress that grew in a remote swamp on a farm in Weakley County.  Unfortunately the tree was struck by lightning and burned in 1976.

Saturdays are…for imagining a cypress tree over 39 feet in diameter.  Bill McCall, park manager, told us that the tree was thought to be the oldest and largest tree east of the Rocky Mountains.

Saturdays are…for spotted and marbled salamanders and one jumpy little leopard frog who almost managed to land in the shirt pocket of a lady from Memphis.  Dr. Thomas Blanchard, who teaches herpetology at UT Martin, spent his morning mucking about the swamp finding salamanders and frisky leopard frogs to show us.

Saturdays are…for learning about blue birds and barred owls.  First, we watched 2 male bluebirds competing for the approval of a female bluebird.  They were also bringing twigs to a bird box for nesting material.  While these bluebirds were seemingly going to nest in a bird box, bluebirds will also use old woodpecker holes.  Blue birds are secondary cavity nesters.  Also, bluebirds are good to have around, because they eat lots of insects.
Dr. Dawn Wilkins, who teaches ornithology at UT Martin, tried to call in barred owls.  Dr. Wilkins explained barred owls are named for the vertical  brown stripes on their chests.  The barred owl’s call sounds like “who cooks for you/who cooks for you all.”  Now, if you are sensitive, do not read the next sentence.  The barred owl will eat those aforementioned salamanders.

Saturdays are…for thanking Mr. Bill McCall, Dr. Blanchard and Dr. Wilkins for their time and knowledge.  While he was sloshing around, Dr. Blanchard picked up a soda can and bag of chips out of the water.  Don’t litter.  We are all connected.  Whether we are spotted, barred, blue or marbled, we are living in the same park.  Whether we fly, jump or slither, we look up at the same sky.  Whether we hoot, chirp or croak, we breathe the same air.  Everywhere we are connected, even when it is just some rural, swampy plot in West Tennessee.




Fridays Are…

This is a “companion” piece to my weekly “Saturdays Are…” posts, because I double dipped of sorts this week, and my long run in preparation for the Indy Mini was shifted to Friday.

Fridays are…for waiting.
Friday morning marked the 72 hour mark for waiting time for acceptance of an article I had written.  It was raining, so I had to put off the 8 mile run I had been dreading for almost 2 weeks even longer.

Fridays are…(well, at least this Friday) for St. Patrick’s Day.  When I finally did go out for my run, I wore my old, green running shoes, because, well, they were green.  Bright green.  And old.  And I ended up with a blister on my left foot, so no luck for me on St. Patrick’s Day.

Fridays are…for remembering the advice “if you think you can, you are right.”  At 4:15 pm it was a breezy 66*F.  I started running.  I had water and sport beans ready.  I simply ran my neighborhood’s blocks, cul-de-sacs, park and straightaways.  Even with 3 driveway water stops, my pace was 11:35/mile, so I was satisfied.

Just a few more long runs left.







I’ll be a ghost someday
she promised   I don’t know
maybe she was always one
translucent turned inside out  so
I could not see her anyway
She left nothing real
except ashes and cold smoke

Just my luck.




Thursday’s Doors

Gardener’s Cottage
Darwin D. Martin House
Buffalo, NY

Santa Claus Knows Best

Do you know what I wrote on Sunday?  I wrote how my husband makes me smile and feel beautiful.  You know how long I have been married?  29 years.  My husband is kind, sweet, caring, and, yeah, he makes me feel mushy inside.  Do you think our 29 years together have been complete bliss?  Ha!  You bet, but every year right after Thanksgiving an insidious tune slithers into my otherwise delightful existence.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas I am married to 2 men– my legal spouse and Maurice Chevalier.  My otherwise sensible, responsible, trustworthy and analytical man loses his mind over a song about Johnny wanting a pair of skates.

Ron sings, in the worst French accent, with Mr. Chevalier.  “Lean your ear this way.”  Ron sings, in the worst French accent, without Mr. Chevalier.  “Susie wants a sleigh.”  Ron sent me a YouTube video of  “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”, so I would not forget my second, albeit temporary husband, Mr. Chevalier.

To maintain a marriage for the long term, well, you kinda, hafta, need to overlook your partner’s idiosyncrasies.  Now, Ron got lucky.  I have no ill manners or quirky, irritating peculiarities.  But to preserve my stable, loving union, I tolerate Ron’s perpetual allegiance to “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”  My advice to you, dear reader, is if your partner begins singing in an awful French accent, beware, because Maurice Chevalier may soon follow.  It is not so bad if you want skates, a sleigh or a book with yellow, blue and red, because dear Santa Claus knows best.


Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #140

Distant cloud flashes
Shouts of luminosity
The still night air twists


Defiant clouds twist
Riotous, developing
Storm makes nature shout

There Is No Pattern





Do you know what the pattern is?  No, you do not, because there is no pattern.

You graduate from college a semester late.  Your mother angrily advises you not to marry him, but you get married anyway.

The promotions come.  Melbourne, Richmond, Bartlesville, Jackson, Memphis.  Until the closures come.

You never really wanted a baby (gasp), but there she was, all puffy and pink and amazing.

You quit work and threw yourself into motherhood with conviction and desperation to craft every detail perfect, sublime and well groomed.

But here’s the thing.  Your hair is turning white.  That man you should not have married still makes you smile and feel all beautiful inside.  And that amazing baby is a way more awesome young woman.

When you think it is Spring
It snows
Big, beautiful, sparkly flakes float down from Heaven
There is no pattern
All we really get is love.




Saturdays Are…

Saturdays are gloomy, gotta get it done, because it is going to rain days.  The sign tells me it is a 5 miles at a “low degree of difficulty” day.

Saturdays are for thinking of the summer evenings when the park is full of sweaty soccer players and their cheering, over involved parents.  There is an aliveness and striving in the park during soccer season.  Not so this morning.  At a breezy, 38*F there were just a couple runners and an earnest robin.

Saturdays are supposed to be for enjoying this run, on this morning, training to feel this pavement and breathing this air.  Hmm, I have been thinking about next Saturday’s 8 miler all this week.  It is 8 weeks until the Indy Mini, so it is time for an 8 mile run.


Next Saturday’s run is looming and resolute on the training plan, on the roads of the neighborhood and in my brooding mind.

Saturdays are a “low degree of difficulty” day.  It is on the sign.  It must be true.

There is a space, you know, between uncertainty and for sure.  You can pause to be powerful when you push aside intimidation.  Realize you “get to,” not just “have to,” and freedom will grow.  Maybe that is what Saturdays are for, a sign pointing to certainty and freedom, because the road is just 8 miles long.

Words for March

Hesitate for just a second and, poof,

Doubt will seep in and diminish the

Desire to save those quixotic observations and

Parlay each poetic vision into a

Vivid, technicolor creation that would

Swarm and swirl with whimsy and song, but you

Ruminate, don’t you?

Nervous about displaying your soul,

Nuance, innuendo and those crazy whispers your hope hisses is all a bunch of

Abstract garbage if you can’t get it down on paper.