Frosted Window View
Distracted by all manner of things in the non-digital realm during this past week, from health to, well, health, I missed the deadline for Pure Haiku’s translucence theme.
My poem “Hold That Thought” (10 January 2020) was in regard to an incident I had a couple of months back, with minor symptoms that may have been a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke. In early January, I had an echocardiogram and a scan of my carotid arteries. The latter showed minor plaque buildup without any obstruction to blood flow, but my doctor now has me on 81mg aspirin as a precaution.
The echo showed that I have an atrial septal aneurysm (ASA). The incidence in the general adult population is about 2%. This aneurysm is not the same as the extreme circumstance of a weakened blood vessel. The wall between the upper chambers of my heart bulges to one side, a condition that I’ve likely had for all of my life. I just had to wait until my sixties to find out that it exists. Since it also has the potential to cause a stroke, my doctor referred me for an additional echocardiogram.
A transesophageal echocardiogram is just what it sounds like. Yesterday, I was sedated, and a device was placed down my esophagus to get a much closer echo of my heart. Rather than a technician, as with my first echo, this procedure was performed by a cardiologist. The results showed that, in addition to the ASA, I have an atrial septal defect, an opening in the septum separating the upper chambers of my heart. It’s a condition common to 30% of the population, often with no ill effect. There is no urgency to the situation, but I’ll receive more information from my primary in the next few days. I’ll be seeing a neurologist in September, so I suspect any decisions will be delayed until then. The cardiologist was less concerned by the results than my primary care physician was by the initial prospect. In fact, he didn’t see any issues with my level of activity. Time will tell.
Imagine how different life would be if our skin and tissue were translucent and medical diagnoses were as simple as peering into our bodies.
sparrow clings to perch
snow swirling around feeder
frosted window view
A Truly Cold Moon
Having decided not to travel for the holidays, I am on the road in mid-December, nonetheless. Life does not always proceed according to plan, and the loss of a loved one takes precedence. The heart of my brother-in-law has been broken since the death of his wife, my sister, ten years ago, and it finally succumbed to the weight it has carried all these years. There is one less light in this world.
viewed in my travels
moon rises in a dark time
cold night in my heart
This haibun is my response to Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge # 129: Cold Moon.
The Cold Moon also is known as The Moon Before the Yule.
Linked to OpenLinkNight #256 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub
Moon photo: 11 December 2019
My tinnitus is so bad today that I-cannot-think-straight. Literally. It pulls my attention away from what I’m doing and to the thought of the ringing in my ears, instantly, like snapping a finger. I have to refocus my attention, which isn’t always easy. ADD already has a say in that, so that hyper-focusing means having to drag my attention away from the ringing and (hopefully) back to my “task at hand.” If it’s something like writing, as in this, getting back on track may be as simple as re-reading my last few lines, but that doesn’t do anything for the direction my thoughts were taking me before the distraction. (I’ve already had to walk away, then refocus, three times for this short paragraph.)
setting pen aside
no better luck with keyboard
listening to Miles Davis
soothing balm for tinnitus
Making America Gangrenous Again
In a sane world, in a country that prides itself on being a land of equality, however slow the path there may be; in a country that stands up for the rights of its citizens, however misguided that application may be; in a country that holds freedom of speech as a basic tenet, with the understanding that one’s words must be weighed against the protection of its citizens, the rationale indigenous to human beings in modern society might cause one to think it unimaginable that the leader of such a nation would open his arms to supporters of his bid for re-election willing to air a doctored video showing him shooting and injuring media representatives and political rivals, but it must be remembered that sanity and civil responsibility are not the norm in Trump World. The words and misrepresentations of that leader are the reason supporters believe such behavior is acceptable and nothing more than satire.
a sincere condemnation
nation holds its breath
personal press conference
too much to expect from him
Subsequently removed, the video was shown on this post
defending its satirical worth. The image shown above is from that video.
With apologies for not staying with the theme, this Columbus Day, of recognizing those who have suffered from the moment any part of this land was claimed in the name of European sovereignty and further through Manifest Destiny, the indigenous peoples of America, this is my response to Haibun Monday 10/12/19: Indigenous .
Two days before we traveled to my daughter’s wedding, a tree came down in our yard. It was a fifty foot hickory that was dead when we bought the house in 2013, and it was struck by lightning in 2014. The top of it hit the top edge of the chimney, at the side of the house, leaving fifteen feet of broken wood at the foundation. The chimney is fine. The tree continued down, resting in the fork of a redbud tree and splitting it three feet to the ground. We’ve had a lot of recent rain, softening the ground on the slope where the hickory stood. The roots were rotted to pulp and broke off as the tree fell.
I couldn’t leave it like that while traveling, so I spent the next day cutting up the pieces on the ground and cutting twelve feet off the top end of the tree. I cut the redbud into firewood and cut its branches into four foot lengths, leaving them in three large piles at the side of my garden.
When we returned, I spent a day cutting the rest of the hickory into firewood. It was so choked with English ivy that I spent more than an hour lopping that off before taking the chainsaw to the tree. The pile of ivy, some of it an inch-and-a-half thick, was as high as any of the three piles of redbud branches. I now have more than a cord of hickory firewood, with a fireplace that I converted to natural gas.
Last month ended up being tied for the hottest September on record for mid-Missouri, so I wasn’t too anxious to clear out those tree branches. We had a break in the weather today – overcast and 65º – so I spent the morning lopping the redbud branches and ivy into two foot lengths, then taking them to our city’s yard waste site, a mile away – five trips in my station wagon. The site won’t take anything larger than six inches in diameter, so now I have to find a neighbor who needs firewood.
ivy clings to tree
draining life from hickory
warm glow of fireplace
Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge
No. 147, #Poet’sChoice
Many years after my mother’s passing, I got a hankering for her apple cake. I remember it as a single layer of spice cake in a rectangular pan, with apple slices upright in three rows, from end to end. I searched online for apple cake recipes, and ended up combining two recipes to get a cake that tasted just as I remembered, but with the apples stirred into the batter.
My mother always baked from scratch, and it finally dawned on me to ask my sister if she had my mother’s recipe. She sent a photo of the original recipe card, and there were distinct differences from my final recipe, so I didn’t waste any time trying my hand at the original. It had been fifteen years since I’d had my mother’s apple cake, but I knew I would never forget that taste.
Unfortunately, mine did not taste the same, and it occurred to me that my mother had made that cake since I was a child, and she probably hadn’t bothered to look at that recipe for years and years. Fortunately, I came up with a recipe that reminds me of her cake, so now I’ll try making it with the apple slices in rows. Maybe I can pass that recipe on to my children.
rows of fruit trees in orchard
apple falls from tree
This haibun is my response to Poetics: Looking for Sustenance from Lisa at dVerse.
Image: Apple orchard in Olcott, Niagara County, New York, October 2010
in filtered sunlight
I try to make sure that I have agreeable weather when I go kayaking, but sometimes the weather has other ideas. Yesterday, the sky was completely overcast, but showers weren’t predicted to arrive until late afternoon, with a thunderstorm expected at 10:00pm, so I launched at 10:00am.
I was on the water for five minutes when it started sprinkling, That lasted for just two minutes, and I continued on my way, planning to paddle almost two miles upstream before heading back. Rolling thunder in the far distance started about fifteen minutes into the paddle. Five minutes later, I got to my halfway point, which has a ten foot stone overhang six feet above the water, when it started to rain. Hard. I sat, protected, for twenty minutes, enjoying the sound of the rain on the water.
When it stopped raining, I continued on for three-quarters of a mile and was able to see a great blue heron, two green herons, and a deer. Pleased with the way things turned out, I turned back for the return to my launch point. That’s when the weather had it’s way, again, leaving me to paddle for twenty-five minutes in a light rain. If it was trying to ruin my day, it failed. It was a great day for a paddle.
This haibun is my response to
Open Link Night #247 at dVerse.
If you want to try magnetic poetry, you can do it online, here.