Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11


This is a re-post from awhile back...I will never forget. This is a tough day each year, but also a day where my heart overflows as I think of the heroes who lost their lives, and the families who carry on without their loved ones.

I’m showing my age here, but do any of you remember putting playing cards in the spokes of your bicycle wheels when you were a kid? It would make a distinct flapping sound as you pedaled your way through your neighborhood, the wind blowing through your hair, your legs pumping, your heart carefree in that way only a child’s heart can be. When I think back to those times as a kid, I feel such warmth from those memories. I spent countless summer days on my purple bike with the sparkly banana seat, riding with friends through the streets of my neighborhood from morning till night, only coming home when the street lamps suddenly lit up as a sign that dusk was here and playtime was over.

It was such a good feeling to live in a neighborhood where I felt safe and watched over in my community…our neighbors were a close-knit bunch. And I don’t mean just our immediate neighbors, but entire blocks of people who knew each other’s names and their kids’ names. The parents all looked out for the kids, and families talked, reached out to each other, bonded, and had block parties on a regular basis. A united community…it was an honor to experience that as a child, and this was especially felt when we lived on army bases.

In the days and weeks following 9/11, I was in a state of shock like many others…the disbelief, the grief, the surrealness of it all was overwhelming. We all continued on, going through our days, feeling blessed that we still had our own family members with us. Our hearts broke for those who were not so lucky, and the outrage at what had been done to our country ached in us like an open wound. And like any other tragic time in this country, we all came together…our love for this country, our patriotic pride, brought us close and made us more forgiving of each other and our differences.

All the above emotions filled me up as I took daily walks that September in 2001, trying to process everything that had happened on that horrific 9/11 day. One morning as I walked outside with my thoughts, in the back of my mind I realized I heard a familiar sound from my childhood, or so I thought. I snapped back to the present as I realized I was hearing this sound every few minutes as I walked down the main road through our community…it sounded like that sound you hear when the playing cards are in your bicycle spokes. I was confused…where was this sound coming from?

Sure enough, within a minute or two, the sound came again and this time I was paying attention. I watched as a car approached and drove by me on our main road, and I identified the source of the sound: an American flag, attached to the car. As it drove down the road, the flag was snapped by the air and made the exact sound my bike used to make with the playing cards in the spokes. Every minute or two, the sound would come again, from a distance at first…then getting louder as another car drove by. And another, and another. My throat closed up as I thought about all these flags on the cars…this was a new sound. Prior to September 11th, I had not heard this sound before.

This sound – these flags - were symbolic of the love and pride people were feeling for our country. They were a small expression of honor and grief towards those whose lives had been lost. They were a reminder that our country is strong and enduring. And for me, they also brought me back to a kinder, gentler time as a kid, when the cruelty of the world had not touched me yet. In that moment, this experience became a permanent memory that has been seared in my mind ever since. Every year on this date, I think of the sound of those snapping flags. I think of my love for this country, of all the heroic people who tragically died, the unity of a nation, and the innocence of my nine-year old self on a carefree summer’s day, pedaling down the street on my purple bike, the playing cards flapping mightily in my spokes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Poets United: My Blog of the Week Interview

word soaked petal

I am honored to be the "Blog of the Week" over at Poets United. I was able to answer some questions about my poetry and also share a few of my poems there. My interview can be seen HERE. Thank you, Poets United!

Poetry is one of the biggest joys of my life, and I'm so glad it found me in 2006.

I added some of my own poetry to my iPhone photo above - these flowers are in my front yard. They're so pretty, a gorgeous periwinkle color.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Air Up There

sun star


I flee to a field of poppies
knee deep in ruby stalks, and
the breeze swirls their songs
through the soul of me.
Soft, murmuring melodies
float through me to the sky
into breadths of blue and
puffs of billowy clouds.
I want to hide here
forever, I whisper, and
I sway with the rhythm
of the stems, while the bees
suckle harmonies
from rouge petal cups
and velvety stamens.

© Sherri Brannon

Ah, the beauty of nature and the elements. Noticing them in the quiet is as soothing as music. Flowers, wind, sky...and to look at those skies, to really let them soak in, is so peaceful. My lungs open up and my sense of awe kicks in like magic...there's a momentary escape. Soft, murmuring melodies float through me to the sky, into breadths of blue and puffs of billowy clouds.

Yesterday I was standing in my back yard and happened to look up. This was the view that greeted me, and I ran for my camera. There were also tons of starlings swooping all around, and some enormous dragonflies buzzing through and hovering. I tried to capture them with my camera but they were too fast. That's OK - this photo I got showed how amazing the view was.

I wrote this poem several years back - I was revisiting some of my old poetry yesterday and came upon it. I had forgotten all about it - it's a nice feeling to stumble upon an older poem and still feel pretty happy about how it turned out. That isn't always the case. I thought I'd share it today because it goes well with my sky photo (and my current poem is still under construction).

Thanks so much for stopping by. I will be linking this blog post up with Poets United, a wonderful place to visit for some poetry. Please have a look HERE. I'm also honored to have some of my photography featured there this morning!

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? — it is the same the angels breathe. ~Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Morning Has Broken

morning has broken

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world

I was happy to see Kathy's Song-ography prompt back this week - I was out for my morning walk recently and captured this beautiful flower all aglow from the sunrise. This is why I love having my iPhone with me at all times! When I looked at the photo, Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken" song immediately popped into my mind...and I've been humming it ever since.

Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Poets United: The Lonely Hours

girl in woods


We have purged wonder, sitting alone with the silent furniture
in our dressing gowns
with our firewalls and collecting of Friends
like gold medallions
crafting big words in a Godless code, but saying nothing
spilling our souls from virtual thrones, but no one's listening

There's a loneliness that beats like a second heart
wireless illusions leave us uninspired, so very tired
at the break of dawn, sleeping with the TV on
playing pretend with our stories
exporting our seeming, deleting our being,
queuing up our sticks and stones to throw

The doves with tender eyes have gone blind, and
we don't seem to mind
communion with the stars has gone, and we with
our cyber wiles, our encrypted smiles and faux glories
reveling in this hum on the earth, this
"you show me your ego and I'll trump yours with mine"

The trees still know everything, outside our curtained windows
offering up their holy treasures to ears gone deaf
to their lessons...and their hearts must break, as they wait
in every wood, lonely for us listening souls
with our closed off minds, our tightly closed blinds,
our numbing escape from the sacred flow.

© Sherri Brannon 2015

The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention. ~Kevin Kelly

I've been wanting to write a poem about social media and technology for a long time...let me first say that I love my iPad and iPhone for all the wonderful things it allows me to do. I love the interaction with fellow photographers and poets in the online world. My iPad and iPhone have become the prime source of all my creativity...amazing! That's the positive side of technology, and I'm extremely grateful for it.

This poem is more about the addictive, toxic side of the worldwide's a fine line that's very easy to cross. It's the side that makes us feel rushed and unable to listen or take notice of life beyond the screen. Too much technology can make us feel disconnected. Too much social media interaction can deplete us with its "my life is perfect" presence. It can also be a vast playground for bullies and cruelty. It can be a bit soulless, and big with ego.

For the photo above, I used an Unsplash photo and edited it with apps on my iPad. I used Brushstroke to make it more painterly, DistressedFX to add the birds, and Repix to add the stars. Stackables helped me make it more moody. Even though it was a completely separate project, I was pleasantly surprised to realize it tied in really well with the fourth stanza of my poem. releases photos each month that are public domain and can be freely used however you'd like - check it out, it's a great site.

Thanks so much for stopping by - this is the first poem I've written since last November. I was sad about it, but several weeks ago I just started writing and it all flooded back...the poems never go away, they just patiently wait for the writer. It feels good to be writing again!

I'm linking up today with Poets United. Click HERE to visit and see some wonderful poetry.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Painterly Hibiscus


Out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships. ~Beverly Rose Hopper

We have the most wonderful neighbors here in our new Florida home...we live in a community of villas, and that can mean close quarters. But, we won the lottery when it comes to the lovely people who surround us. Their kindness and camaraderie reminds me very much of my experiences as an army brat growing up on military bases. The whole neighborhood knew each other, took time to say hello and chat, and looked out for one another. There is the same caring energy here and that makes me very happy.

As an example, one of my neighbors brings me blooms from her hibiscus trees every week...the blooms only last for one day, so she wants to share the beauty. It's a small thing, but it's the everyday kind gestures that stick with us, don't you think? Seeing these gorgeous flowers in my home on a regular basis is a constant reminder of how lucky I am to live here.

I took this photo with my iPhone and edited it with camera apps (on my iPad). The apps I used were TangledFX, Stackables, and Superimpose. I love how TangledFX brings out the details of flowers - it's always so striking! I'm linking up today with Nature Footstep's digital art meme.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


showering sapphire

And everything I know just fades away
And when a wildflower grows it picks its space
And that's the way it is when nature plays its lovely hand
We'll understand everything.

~Sheryl Crow, "Wildflower"

Today I'm joining in with Kathy's blog has been sadly neglected, and her fun weekly prompt was the perfect chance for me to jump back in. Thank you, Kathy!

I have always loved this song by Sheryl Crow. The lyrics touch me deeply. She sings it with such heart and gets me every time.

I took this photo with my iPhone, which is my prime source of photography now. It's where I feel the most comfortable and I've decided to stick with it. I attempted to take a manual photography course recently, and it confirmed what I already suspected: it's not where my passion is. For me, it's all about the post-photo process. The joy is in the editing and altering of the photo afterwards, not in the purity of an original capture. Isn't it funny how each person finds satisfaction with different aspects of photography? I love that about creative expression.

Thank you for stopping by.