Tag Archives: Gratitude

Seventy-One Winters

Carol A. Hand

Grateful for greeting
my seventy-first winter
on an almost silent snowed-in morning
amazed that I can still shovel snow
day after day after day
and remain grateful
for a simple life with so many blessings

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Christmas 2017
for the daughter who takes time
from busy days to call just to talk
for the handsome hard-working grandson
who is kind and thoughtful
and remembers to send his love
for the granddaughter
whose presence lights up a room
for work to do that helps me stay engaged
and feel that what I have learned
can be of value to others
for friends who are here in times of need
and for the ancestors and wise beings
who have visited me in dreams and visions
helping me return and remain true
to the humble purpose for which I was born
seventy-one years ago

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A Snowy Morning

Carol A. Hand

“Rat-a-tat—Rat-a-tat”
rings through the air
from the pileated woodpecker
perched atop the power pole
hammering
A shrill cry follows
“kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk”
“Caw-Caw-Caw” echoes in reply
from a neighboring tree
as a lone crow
adds greetings
on this snowy morning

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Snowy Morning View – February 18, 2018

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Photo by Felicia Johnson (Wikipedia)

The photo I wish I could have taken, but alas, I didn’t have my camera until after the moment passed…

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Fourth Year Anniversary Reflections

Carol A. Hand

Yesterday, my blog turned four years old. I still wonder what led me to blogging. Initially I thought it was the stockpile of unpublished reflections and stories I wanted to share. They were stories based on a particular perspective as an outsider who wasn’t content with merely pointing out injustice and oppression. My work has always involved trying to solve puzzles and experiment with possible constructive solutions from a critical view. It seemed fitting to name my blog Voices from the Margins.

After a couple years, though, I ran out of those old reflections. So I began to experiment with different topics and ways to write. I also learned a little bit about photography using my old digital cameras. I kept blogging because of the dear friends I met here in the blogosphere. Although few of my original friends still blog, new friends have filled the void.

I have no illusions that my photos or blog posts are great works of art. But I do have fun creating them and sharing them with others.

On this anniversary, I wondered what comes next. I find myself re-engaging with the world a little more and taking on long-ignored home repair projects. The title of the blog still holds true, but perhaps the blurb about my blog needs a bit of updating. There are all kinds of issues I could write about from a critical frame, but so many others do that far better. What is less common are those who look both critically and gratefully at what is and ask how this informs practical everyday choices.

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January 30, 2018

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Increasingly, my posts are deliberately a little like the bright moon on a dark night peeking through tree branches. Reflected light that flows through me, meant to provide solace and encourage creative, peaceful, constructive, thoughts and actions in a time of darkness.

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Januray 30, 2018

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These days, though, like the moon, my presence is not always visible. I am woefully behind replying to comments and reciprocating visits to other’s blogs. I apologize. I will try to do a better job because your friendship and what you share matters. I am always touched by the work you do.

But I do become micro-focused, like yesterday, when I had intended to share this post and visit blogs. I became so intent on finishing my newest project, sanding an old window frame, that I failed to stop and see the beauty of the day. I only saw the birch tree lit by the sun in a clear blue sky after I took a photo to record my progress.

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Window Frame Repair in Progress

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Today, I will take time to thank you all for being an important presence in my life.

Changing Landscapes

Carol A. Hand

On my way home after running errands
I looked toward my house while waiting
at the  s  l  o  w  e  s  t  traffic light in town
and decided to pull out my phone
(something I never do while driving)
to see if I could capture the winter scene below

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What is  now (looking north toward my house a block away) –

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My little hobbit house is hidden from view
by the weathered willow tree beyond the parking lot
and sheltered by pine, ash, crabapple, and white birch trees
Even here one can see evidence of nature’s beauty 
although what is now markedly contrasts with what used to be

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What used to be (looking north toward my cabin in late afternoon) –

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My cabin in the norhtwoods during another winter
Was a sanctuary surrounded by forest and wetlands
providing respite  for a while before life led me onward
to urban settings in prairies and mountains 
with just enough space to create gardens
both with plants, and metaphorically, with caring people

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Retirement meant a chance to start anew, again
with time for grandchildren and deep reflection
to live simply and heal a weary wounded spirit
grateful that teaching, writing, and gardening
help me re-engage and contribute in constructive ways
knowing that beauty can blossom in unexpected places

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September 30, 2017

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Too Busy to Write?

Carol A. Hand

Too Busy to Write
yet an image keeps coming to mind
unbidden
of a younger me
standing in the clearing
by my northwoods’ cabin
in Ojibwe ceded territory
on a warm sunny morning
many years ago
Like many mornings
I am humbly gathering strength
to face challenges with grace
With my fingers laced around the
latch of White Pony’s door
I pray
“Help me walk a path of love and light
and peace and joy
in thought and word and deed”

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*
My prayer not quite finished
I hear a pounding rhythmic sound
drawing ever closer
my heart automatically beating faster
with surprise and a tinge of fear
“Bears can’t run that fast,”
I think to myself
as the sound grows louder
Suddenly it’s overhead
just behind me
then two bald eagles pass above
inches from my bowed head
flying south over the sunlit creek
I don’t remember what fearful
task I faced that day
walking into conflicts
between worldviews and cultures
but I knew the path
was where I was meant to be
on that day
and I would not be walking it
alone

 

Renovation Reflections

Carol A. Hand

S–t–r–e–t–c–h
Step outside your comfort zone
Face uncertainties yet again
You’ll never know unless you try things
you’ve never done before
modest though your efforts may be
in the larger scheme of life
you’ve done your homework
and thought through all the steps
a hundred times and more
now’s the time to act
so
s——t——r——e——t——c——h

 

Apologies:

Please excuse me for belated responses to comments and visits to your blogs. These days, I am literally stretching to address long needed practical tasks. Some things I can do myself with the right tools – a higher light-weight ladder that fits into tiny spaces, caulk, spackle, a power drill, a Japanese handsaw, and paint. In the process, though, I have to live with messes again.

When I moved into my small fixer-upper house seven years ago, I had two days to clean up incredible messes before all of my stuff arrived. In that time I had to scrub, remove rotting, moldy rugs, and paint the floors and walls while I could. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much those days, nor during the cold winter months that followed. Boxes and furniture were solidly stacked to the ceiling in the little living/dining room downstairs. It took me many months to finish as best I could. Then, there was outside work to do.

I haven’t been eager to take on what still needs to be fixed. So I have simply lived with it. Until now.

You may guess that I’m a rather small woman, so I really do need to stretch. I can’t afford to pay “handymen” to do the things I can do myself. So here I am, balancing on a ladder and in life. When I’m not working on scraping and painting, or spending time with my lovely daughter and grandchildren, I’m trying to keep up with the class I co-teach.

At the moment, I’m thinly stretched. Please know that I value your friendship, thoughtful comments, and the important work you all do. I will visit and respond to comments when I can. In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has been engaging with each other in dialogue about the issue of garbage, my recent post. Chi miigwetch for your understanding and patience.

Artificial Intelligence? An Oxymoron?

Carol A. Hand

Microsoft WORD Clip Art

 

At random times almost every day
when I’m reading, watching Netflix, or typing away
without warning my computer screen turns black
Oh crap,” I mutter to myself, “Windows 10 is back
Urgent daily updates? Perhaps it’s just incompetence
exposing gaps between human and artificial intelligence?
Or perhaps it’s an intentional creative-flow-disrupting annoyance
making it quite clear I’m subject to a machine’s chaotic dominance?
At times like these
I wish I knew computerese

 

Afterword:

This poem isn’t typical for me, so it sat among the many reflections that never make it to my blog. It would have remained there, I suspect, until I discovered that the software for one of my cameras magically disappeared in a recent update. After reloading the software yesterday, my screen went blank for the second time in the day. Perhaps the software disappeared in the update, again, but I really don’t need to check. Ever curious and resilient, I discovered another way to save photos from that camera.

Ultimately, I realize that I am grateful to Windows 10 for making me rewrite things that were still in process and for providing me with puzzles to solve. I’m not sure that is the intended purpose of random intrusions, or even if there are any conscious intentions behind inconvenient disruptions other than artificial unintelligent mechanical programming.

Textures

Carol A. Hand

As a child I sensed the world and universe in motion
singing in textures and colors I couldn’t name
The trees, the flowers, the tadpole pond, the rippling stream
called to my spirit and lit my heart with a glowing flame
So many called me a foolish deluded dreamer,
Wake up,” they’d say, “You need to play life’s game
The world is black and white, or sometimes shades of gray
Being different will make you mad so choose to be the same”

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Memorize, theorize, categorize and put on a facade
I tried to sing in conventional scales and color between the lines
but with spirit numbed I was only another empty fraud

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Senior Year High School Photo – 1965

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Singing with a rain-filled voice I found a healing grace
and accepted the gift of sensing textured colors anew
releasing the bonds of conformity in a liberating space
learning, though falteringly, to sing through what I choose to do

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Commune Life – 1973

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Reflections about Life

Carol A. Hand

I walk on my home world

the place of my birth

perhaps just for this life

perhaps only for this incarnation

not knowing where I came from

or where I’ll ultimately go

when I leave this place and a life

that has sometimes felt too long

and other times, so fragile and fleeting

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Photo of a Hawk’s Feather –  A Gift from a Former Student

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But while I am still here

let my spirit shine its song

Let me walk with peace and beauty

in my heart

as long as it continues beating

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Note:

This poem was inspired by a comment on my previous post from Maria KethuProfumo at Eternamenta.  I encourage you to visit her thought-provoking blog.

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