Orange and black
Flutters around my garden
Stops to sample the lavender
Check out my assortment of weeds
Just a visitor
Heading to the coast
Like snow birds who shun slush and cold
head south to Florida
Do butterflies gather in large klatches
Play bingo and maj jong
While away the days until
they migrate home?
Ethan Allen rocker
Brown with gold stencils
Spindles and curved arms
I rock forward and back
Toes pointing, head resting
Swing set swaying
Row boat rocking
I sit for a spell
Floor boards creaking
When I was just a kid, early teens, I dreamed of living high in the mountains, surviving by my wits and what I could grow. Even then I knew I couldn’t kill anything so I figured if I couldn’t coax it out of the ground or collect it already laying there I wouldn’t eat it.
Thinking about it with the clarity of age, I realize puberty was the primary culprit. Puberty and the seventies. At that time I wasn’t considered capable of holding my own checking account, renting a car or making serious decisions for myself. My age had nothing to do with it. I’m a girl. As hard as it is for young women today to comprehend, until the mid-seventies women had to have a male co-signer on everything. At least in my world, tucked away in Wisconsin and Michigan. The heart of America.
So I suppose it might be a natural psychological response to want to escape. Little did I know how hard the undertaking would have been. Hats off to those Mother Earth News types who homestead their land, grow all their own food and live off the grid. We do only a passing nod to that lifestyle and I’m here to tell ya – IT’S HARD.
With just five fruit trees, fifty grape fines, six nut trees, seven olive trees and two rather small vegetable gardens I spent the better part of six months canning, pressing, freezing and fermenting. That’s not including the other half of the year spent making sure said flora remains alive and producing. Remember I still have a Costco and numerous grocery stores to stock my shelves. The simple life isn’t simple! Yes I know what’s in the produce I grow, my olive oil has as much terroir as my wine, and I really truly appreciate consuming my own stuff. But we don’t do any protein sources (that comes from stores or my neighbor’s chickens) nor do we do dog food, many condiments, cheese (because despite my goal of becoming a cheese maker – I don’t have the set up and well – I had to draw the line somewhere), vegetables I can’t get to grow in my 100 degree, windy summer days and a whole host of odds and ends that make a dinner party pleasant and not a survival demonstration.
All this is to help you appreciate your local grocer, farmer’s market and yes – even the home gardeners who are trying to pawn their overabundance of whatever on you. Take it. Enjoy it. Simply be grateful that you can share in their joy and efforts. If the spirit hits you to try out a more agrarian lifestyle my advice is to go slow. Understand what you’re getting yourself in for before plunking down your 401K on farm acreage. Watch old episodes of Green Acres like documentaries. And if you decide to join us. Welcome – stop by and we’ll share everything we know.
Earlier this year I submitted The Maiden Voyage of the Maryann to the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award. While I did not win – I did receive some direct feedback from one of the three judges in my category. I agree with they said and I’ve learned so much in the last year from my writing buddies at Cambria Writers Workshop that it feels like I’ve gone a long way in my own personally directed MFA. I plan to spend time in the remainder of 2015 addressing their suggestions and re-releasing Maiden Voyage in early 2016 with a more aggressive marketing campaign.
Here is the feedback. I’ve left out the suggestions but as you can see by the numerical scoring they were pretty minor.
THE MAIDEN VOYAGE OF THE MARYANN by Linda Reed is an enjoyable read for anyone looking for a tale of adventure, ancestors, pirates, treasures, but with a deeper meaning of discovery. I can see this book dotting beaches everywhere this summer!…
… I think this author has talent. The story moves well and keeps the reader engaged and enchanted….
Judge, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
Numerical Scoring: Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5 Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4 Production Quality and Cover Design: 4 Plot and Story Appeal: 5 Character Appeal and Development: 5 Voice and Writing Style: 5
Thank you Writer’s Digest for the suggestions and feedback. I’m inspired and grateful.
Angled autumn light
Filters through the gathering
Clouds of winter
As I drive over the mountains
To the sea
Shines on the suede brown hills
Dances on the golden hue of the Canyon Oaks and Cottonwoods
Orange-red berries of the Toyon
Iron rust trunks of manzanita
And the steel blue Pacific Ocean
When I lived in Michigan
I stored fall colors in my mind
To bring out when the winter storms
Turn everything grey
Grey sky, grey snow, grey trees
But here in California
Winter rains will bring
Green hills rolling beneath
Sleeping trees and vines
c Linda Reed
This Tuesday I was amazed by the number of little kids heading to our local elementary school. They stay pretty well hidden because I had NO idea there were so many living around me! Marching briskly in bright new dresses and pants, clean shoes and sizeable back backs. I don’t remember having to wear a backpack to first grade, but then that was eons ago, not as much to learn then I guess. I also don’t remember Mom and Dad walking me to school, but each knot of students had a trailing set of parents to see them off. Maybe to make good and sure they were really in school before heading for the beach or a movie.
In honor of the teachers that take these young minds and turn them into good citizens and students I dedicate this cinquain. Keep doing what you do, our country and indeed our world are depending on you.
Teachers/ Welcome students/ New desk, new room, new books/ Opening minds to ideas and/ Lessons