Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The sundress

I rarely wear dresses. They are for special occasions only. These days of retirement and pandemic, hanging around the house day in and day out - ha! Dresses have been absolutely nonexistent in my life. Yesterday, on yet another quiet, happy day at home with my husband, I decided to wear a sundress. Who knows why? Some combination of summer weather and being tired of wearing the same clothes. I wish you could have seen my husband's look of surprise! So funny. He had forgotten I even owned the dress - I had not worn it in over three years. In fact, I'd only ever worn it once...

...which sent us down memory lane, and I landed in this free verse poem:

yesterday, I wore my sundress, 
this lovely sundress
bought three years ago 
our 30th anniversary trip 
to Costa Rica

yes, I wore it 
on this marvelous day 
of adventure
where we walked 
and walked 
and walked 

yes, I wore it
to find the bus stop 
near our cottage
down, down, down this long hill
past the simple homes 
of metal and wood 
so much green
so many flowers
gorgeous hills in the distance

yes, I wore it 
on the hot bus, 
sticky and full 
with so many beautiful locals 
a sense of their lives
their dailyness
their kindness
their joy

yes, I wore it 
to the town of Sarchi
where bright and beautiful 
wood oxcarts are made 
where we stood in the park 
eating yummy greasy 
chicken and yucca fries 
where we wandered 
the small shops and vendors 
searching for 
who knows what 
to treasure
where we heard the solitary guitar 
where we felt 
the beautiful breezes and 
the gentle sunshine

yes, I wore it 
back to Grecia, 
where we got lost 
searching for a bus 
to take us back up that hill
where locals at the gas station 
saw the confusion in our eyes
offered just enough 
sweet caring English
to insist on driving us 
to the bus station
so we jumped in their car 
our hearts full of trust

yes, I wore it 
as we drove
squished in 
beside two unknown others
in the backseat 
of a tiny old car
quickly quickly quickly 
across town
where we hugged goodbye
our dear old friends  
of five minutes

yes, I wore it 
as we ran 
jumped onto the departing bus
back up the long long long hill
where this time we knew
there was a closer stop 
an easier walk 
to our cottage

yes, I wore it 
returning to our home 
away from home
knowing so much more 
love and beauty
yesterday, I wore my sundress
and went back in time


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The alarm

The sound is stark, pulsating through my dreams and the surrounding darkness, blasting me into alertness - it was only 6 a.m., we're in a hotel room in the Smoky Mountains for a few days of hiking, and I am sorely confused. Why in the heck is a bedside alarm going off? I squinted and felt around in the dark for the alarm's off switch, and I'm now wide-awake. It's impossible to go back to sleep.

I suppose the previous hotel room guest accidentally set that alarm for us . . . not the kind of surprise one really desires on vacation, in my opinion. 

Though, it gave us an early start on our fun. We had a full first day in the mountains, enjoying a strenuous hike along waterfalls and taking in so many beautiful overlooks. We saw a bear! We saw elk! Yes, we are enjoying ourselves with a few days in delightful nature of Tennessee, followed by visits with family in Georgia. 

"By the way - wasn't that the worst, that early morning alarm?!" we complained, as we settled into bed that night. I double-checked that the alarm was off. Very quickly, we were both sound asleep.

Early the next morning, once again, I am awake much too early, struggling awake, surprised awake - this time, hearing some sort of muttering? a man's voice? complaining? drunk? angry? oh yes ANGRY! There's banging on the door, relentless banging. Wait, where am I? What time is it? I look at the clock 5:58am. This time, a human alarm. I'm sorely confused, but someone's words break through, someone in the hall - 


I hear the static of a walkie-talkie or radio or something, and rushing of footsteps in the hall. 

I jump up and run to the door and look out the peep hole, and see two Sheriff's deputies running past my hotel room door to a room diagonally across the hall. One stops directly in front of our room, I can read the letters emblazoned on his back - S H E R I F F. I freeze in place. Moments later, two pajama-clad guests run past my door, away from the police presence. The deputy at my door points for them to go down the hall. Who are they? Moved from a neighboring room? Evacuated? Family members? What's going on?

A sheriff's deputy bellows:



I jump back in bed with Tony. What should we do? Do we need to hide? What in the world? We wait in suspense.

What follows are some very short, intense negotiations with whomever has drawn their attention; I hear a man say "Leave me alone, I'm not doing anything. I just want to be alone." 

Sheriff's deputy - "Open up the door and let us talk to you, and then that can be. We need to see you." 

In just a few agonizing minutes, it is resolved peacefully - I hear the nearby door unlock; the man opens up the door.  He talks a bit with the deputies. He is not detained or arrested. I hear movement in the hall again, take one more peek through the peep hole, and see some six deputies walk past my room, calmly exiting the hotel. "At least we didn't have to chase someone in their underwear in the woods," one comments.

Yes, once again, we've been woken up in the early morning; this time, we're both shaken by what could have transpired and thankfully did not. What a horrible way to wake up, and really scary. 

Who knows what that disturbance was even about? 

I am reminded how hard this world is for so many, how troubled some lives are.

That early morning alarm of the day before, 
that nuisance that I thought was THE WORST - 
ha, no big deal in retrospect. 

Life is precious. Be well, everyone!

Let me close with some natural beauty from the Smoky Mountains!


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!