Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winter Notes

pink horizon


If winter were a book page,
what would you write
in the margins? I'd write
of bare limbs against
a frigid, pink horizon.
It would glow in a
straight line, nature's
cheerful offering,
a rosy hem offering up
color and jounce to the
ashen, bewildered trees.

I'd jot down gentle words
like freshly fallen snow,
describing the sound
of a wandering cardinal,
how the breath in its throat
smells of earth and branches.
I'd notice the brittle ivy
twining our oak tree,
how my own frozen breath
hovers over it like
a vapor ghost.

I'd write of January's
twilight, how it snaps
its necklace, scattering
its strung stars across
the sky like loose pearls
in a black, velvet box.
The stars would shiver and
dance to keep warm, and
I'd take notes while
yearning for the scents
of summer: moths and sweat,
bees and clover.

© Sherri Brannon 2014

When the long, freezing days of January through March start dragging by, I always find myself writing poems about winter...and my strong yearning for spring. Never fails! I enjoy cold weather during the month of December - somehow it's more festive and bearable during the holidays. But once New Year's passes, I'm ready for the cold days to be over.

This week I have cabin fever - we got snow on Tuesday, followed by several days of subzero windchills. It was even more of a shock to the system because we had just gotten back from Florida and I still had fresh memories of sunshine and palm trees. These brutally low temperatures we're having are not the norm for Virginia. April, where are you?

I had fun playing with my winter tree image in Photoshop - I created the "pink horizon" for the purpose of my poem. I used the gradient effect to achieve that appearance, and I also put my image into Radlab and tweaked it further with filters.

How the gravity of Nature and the silence startle you, when you stand face to face with her, undistracted, before a barren ridge or in the desolation of ancient hills. ~Guy Sargent

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Disney World

Disney World Castle

Laughter is America's most important export. ~Walt Disney

I'm back from Florida - we had a fantastic time visiting family and Disney World. I've come to the conclusion, though, that four straight days of morning-to-night Disney is too much for my 52-year old body! By the last day everything was creaking and We went to all four parks: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. I took over 1,000 photos (as did my husband), and I will share some of my favorites in the coming weeks.

My 22-year old daughter is the biggest Disney fan on the planet so it's always a joy to go there with her and see her excitement. Her first Disney experience was at the age of six, and it truly was magical! I think that magic casts a "joy spell" and stays with you forever. Each time you visit thereafter, you become a kid again.

Unfortunately, the day we were at the Magic Kingdom the castle had a big crane on it because they were taking down the last of the Christmas decorations. But other than that, the parks were bright, colorful, and...magical!

I'm linking up today with Kim's Texture Tuesday - I used her "Touch of 1" texture at Soft Light/25%.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Florida Bound

lone winter leaf

With January always comes that sense of time dragging...the holidays are over, and there are three full months of winter to still deal with. Time passes slow as molasses. This year, though, I'm going to get a brief break from winter - a trip to Florida! I look forward to the palm trees and balmier weather next week. I'll be back in the blog world in 10 days or so, hopefully with some new photos to share! We'll be spending several days at Disney World, too, so maybe I'll see Mickey. :)

There’s something on my heart that can’t be lifted – I give in to wintering. You won’t see me till the buds start to blossom. ~Ailbhe NĂ­ Ghearbhuigh

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Let's Get Real: A Poem About Fear

iphone church steeple


Fear shows up as a
shadow through a crack,
following that worn
tread in my ribs where
the mud has settled,
right at the level of
my heart. She carves her
anguished crop circles
across my hallowed
ground: my wishes and
mercies, my river and
rust, my acres of
dreams and stardust.

She runs her finger
around the rim of my
heart, rejoicing in the
fearful tones...scraping
her church spire against
my skies, worshiping
with her wicked language
in the cathedral of my mind.
She squanders her tragic
fortune in the ruins
of my scars, and I
follow her blindly with
a shame-wrecked smile.

She prays I won't notice
she's tiny as a grain,
she'll break so easily,
she will not meet my eyes,
she's more afraid of me.
All I'm left with is
an aftertaste of doom:
her grandeur in my mouth,
staining my tongue
with its blues.

© Sherri Brannon 2014

You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently. Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?
~Anne Carson

I am so grateful that poetry is my place to "put it all down", including the ugly stuff. Our truths are not always pretty.

Fears cast a huge shadow. It's easy to get lost inside that shadow and stay there. My own personal fear monster is worrying about the future: anticipatory worry. Fear paralyzes us - it gives us an excuse not to grow. Fear also shames us, which means we often suffer in silence.

This poem I wrote is my imaginative way of expressing what it feels like to be stuck in that head space of fear. I turned fear into a person because its presence can be so strong it almost feels that way. And by the way, if fear were a person, it would have no spine, no soul.

I diminish my fears by writing them down...seeing them on paper allows me to logically break them down and think of solutions that make me feel more prepared. It help takes away their power, and also allows me to realize how ridiculous most of my worries are! Confiding in my husband or a trusted friend also always helps. The worse thing we can do is isolate ourselves with our fears - fear thrives in isolation.

My image was taken with my iphone...a "drive-by" shot as a passenger while driving down Rt. 123. I made it moodier by using the Grunge filters in Snapseed. When I took this photo a couple weeks back, I wasn't even thinking about my poem, but it sure is a perfect fit for it.

How do you cope with your own fears? We all have them...thank you for stopping by.

I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you. ~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Less Is More


Everything wants to float. And yet we move about like weights,
attaching ourselves to everything, in thrall to gravity…
~Rainer Maria Rilke

It's time once again for Bonnie's monthly photo art prompt at Pixel Dust Photo focus word for this year is "less". Less worrying, less stress, less computer time, less news watching, less clutter, less distractions...if I'm successful, my hope is that it'll result in more joy, more peace of mind, more time, and more creativity.

I've been really struck this past week by how many people have mentioned the abundance of stress and worry in their lives, and how this year they hope to reduce it. It seems as if worry is becoming an epidemic. I think a lot of this is the plugged-in lifestyle that everyone now seems to have - the technology has overtaken everything. There's too much stimulation from every source - it begins to weigh us down, to numb us. I know I'm sure guilty of it. I want to remove myself from it this year so that my mind doesn't feel like it's in overdrive! In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, I want to float again.

This beautiful eastern bluebird, which we rarely see in our neighborhood, decided to stop and rest in a tree right outside our front door last month. I was so excited - this is my favorite bird in the whole world. They are very symbolic for me spiritually...they've shown up at certain times in my life right at certain moments when I was in need of a boost. It has always been a moment that has stopped me short and taken my breath away. I take great comfort in seeing them. Anyway, the bluebird in this photo sat there on the branch for at least five minutes, and every once in awhile he'd turn his head and look right at me. It made me smile!

I used Bonnie's Backlight texture at Overlay/90% and also used a painterly effect in PSE (watercolor, I think). Thank you for stopping by!

Pixel Dust Photo Art