Forget the dust

image courtesy: freepik.com

Forget the dust. It can wait.

Forget dinner. It can wait.

I would like to tell my 43 year old self these things.

But it’s just a matter of another few minutes when I would rise from my chair.

And, start preparing dinner.

And, start dusting.

And, start cleaning the bath tub, the wash basins and the toilets.

The books will wait. So do the words.

I don’t know when they will tumble out. Or, can. 

Spring

I wrote this at the beginning of spring. It’s a pleasure revisiting this in the middle of fall when the leaves have said their good-byes and the birds are busy migrating to warmer skies.

Who said things have come to a standstill?

The daffodils opened a few weeks ago

‘Fluttering and dancing in the breeze’, 

They whisper tales of hope

When I went out for a walk in the woods,

I spotted a yellow and white bedecked carpet

And felt my heart leap

As the wildflowers hummed cheerful tunes from forest beds

The birds have laid eggs

In the exhaust vent from my kitchen hood

Their constant chirrups punctuate the quiet of my kitchen

As dishes sauté and simmer on my warm stove

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Bird nest in my kitchen vent -drawing by Mariann Joseph

Last evening, I spotted a little bunny

Camouflaged by sage stubble

Nibbling tender grass in my backyard,

The kit hopped around with measured caution

A tiny squirrel appeared on the fence

Watching and thinking-

‘This little fella on the ground looks like me,

He may have bigger ears, but for sure my tail’s bushier’

Squirrel_MJ
Little Squirrel – drawing by Mariann Joseph

Thinking such thoughts, it lingered for a minute

And, jumped onto the pine tree

Thinking more thoughts –

‘More things to do, more cones to nibble…’

Who said things have come to a standstill?

The grandchild in me

I was walking back home, after more than an hour of being in the woods. It was October, and the day was warm for fall standards.

For me, the woods are always dark and deep. Quiet and still, except for the birds that chirp and dart from one tree to another. Sometimes, they just choose to perch on a branch and stay comfortably there for what feels like ever.

Sugar Maple Park

As I came out of the woods and entered a paved road, I noticed a little battalion walking towards the woods. A grandpa with a bunch of grandchildren, it looked like. The boys were jumping around, two of them holding grandpa’s hands. I couldn’t take my eyes off this group. I could feel the love and warmth they exuded. I continued to do what I do when I encounter such scenes. Keep looking and fill up my heart with their happy emotions.

The grandpa looked content. One of the boys sported a mischievous grin. So mischievous that I couldn’t but pay him more attention than the others. As soon as he understood that I was paying attention, his grin turned to a near laugh though I couldn’t hear the sound of it. ‘Maybe he chuckled’, I thought.

Sixteen Mile Creek, Oakville

I told my husband, who was walking alongside, that the little one was up to something. “The grandpa probably knew it, but he was playing along”, I suggested.

That’s when I noticed the boy with the mischievous grin stick something behind the grandpa’s t-shirt. Within seconds, we passed them and I turned to see what it was. Dried thistle flowers or Burdock burrs, as they are called, not just one or two, but a handful of them neatly stuck behind grandpa’s t-shirt!

I stole a glance at the grandpa who greeted us as we passed them. His smile was beautiful and he seemed blissful in the company of the little ones. I turned to look at them disappear into the woods and caught the little boy turn and look at me. More grinning and more mischief in his eyes!

The moment and the discovery brought alive the granddaughter in me. I suddenly thought about my grandpa who left us two years ago. I am almost 43 and I had my grandpa till I was 41. He was 100 when he left for the light. I have 41 years of memories with him, or a few years less, considering I don’t remember the first few years. Does one feel enough about the love of grandparents? I surely don’t.

I am grateful for all the beautiful times I have had with my grandparents, but I wonder what it would be to have them for a few more years. Would it make me feel younger?

My maternal grandpa was the last of my grandparents to leave. When he left, I felt the grandchild in me become less important. I felt that the grandchild in me started fading away, slowly.

One of the happiest moments that I would recall is a particular situation in which my grandpa had to introduce me to a third person. A neighbor, or someone visiting. He would proudly introduce me by saying, “She is my granddaughter.” After I became a mother, and after the responsibilities of being a parent weighed me down, ‘she is my granddaughter’ made me feel lighter and younger.

Now, years after he left me, it’s moments like the one in the woods, unexpected encounters with other grandfathers that would bring back memories of time spent with my own.

Burrs – image from ardentfootsteps.com

From a hammock in the forest

From a hammock in the forest
 
My tired body sunk into a hammock
High on a mountain where trees grow
Where grass feels free to scale high
Where fallen leaves roam at ease
 
Sunlight came in selective bursts
The branches wouldn’t let them all pass
I received what I needed though
Enough to show me the long lines
 
In the stillness, silence came by
No holds barred, she motioned,
No strings attached, she hushed,
Take it all, you need it, she nudged
 
I soaked in the moment’s beauty
When wind turned the pages,
And the trees shed a tear or two
Of yellowed leaves falling gently
 
The green rustled and ruffled,
Like youth crying for attention
The browned ones danced about
While the wind held their hands
 
I wished that moment wouldn’t arrive,
But go on forever and ever rather
The joy of life is to go on traveling
Waiting for the best moment to arrive

Continue reading

Their Love

It’s noon, well and bright,

The breeze is in, going around

Taking the trees on a ride,

The sun is out, happy and content,

Shining bright though the thickets,

Lighting up patterns on the ground,

Beneath thick canopies of my Jamun tree

 

It’s as if there are many others with me,

For, in the wind, shadows dance,

Hopping and tottering like restless squirrels

 

I must go in for a nap,

My body feels the advent of age

My joints ache, my heart too,

But the reason I know not know,

 

I must go close the yard gates

The wind loves to swing the fastened gates,

At times, they wouldn’t give me peace at all,

The wind; it rattles the iron chain on the gates

Metal clanking metal; takes me to my past

When little children made merry

By banging metal spoons on metal plates.

But they aren’t there anymore with me…

 

These noises in my life;

They are disturbing, and peace-depriving,

But they keep other distractions at bay

 

My loneliness I forget on cheerful afternoons like this

While watching shadows

And when the wind attempts to take my clothes

Away from the clothesline

My clips keep them secured, but they do attempt

To tease my strength and my thoughtfulness

 

When there aren’t many reasons to get up

The birds are at my bedroom window,

Calling me out to see them at play,

It’s their way you know,

Of the sun, the wind and the birds

To give me company

It’s their way of telling me that I am not alone

It’s their unspoken language of love

That keeps me going

It’s the reason for old-age days

To wake up in the mornings.

 

The elusive quiet

Will the day ever be mine again?

Will the night be mine alone?

When will I be able to embrace the day?

When will I be able to lose myself in the night?

 

I feel time receding

With it my passion too

For the word; written and spoken

For, when will I get some quiet?

 

My mind is on an upsurge

I feel creative juices flow

Through my cranial cavities

Nourishing my need for expression

 

When did I cherish this elusive quiet so much?

I don’t remember being courted by the thought

In such depths as I am now

The calling is intense, but….

 

Can I shut myself out from this world?

I know I can’t do it even for a day

As I am bound to things mundane

Like a caged bird to it’s cage

 

Around me, it’s getting beautiful

The buds come up a million a day

Can I step out for a moment?

To enjoy the beauty of quiet