Friday, August 12, 2022

Grateful for a Poetic Gift

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words." ~Robert Frost

The mail comes daily via our conscientious postal worker, despite the scorching heat and torrential downpours. Usually. there are only bills and flyers but this week, I received a very special mailing from Margaret Simon who wrote a blog about the summer poem swap I sent her. You can access that here.

As a poet, Margarets understand the importance of notebooks. She graced me with a small, hard-bound one that includes five miniature photos she chose from my blog and added a small poem for each photo. 

Magaret states that poetry connects us. This is true but there are other connections between us: photography and grandmotherhood.

Image Poem #1 created by Margaret
Nature nurtures my soul. Margaret understands.

Image Poem #2 created by Margaret
Life often surprises the grandgirls who enjoy being sisters.

Image Poem #4 created by Margaret
Moments with my granddaughters do take my breath away.
How well Margaret knows me!

I added my thoughts on the quote on the front of the small notebook, "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale". The journey may be full of hopscotching hope and bruises during a fall, but looking back on it makes me feel the magical moments all over again.

I wait for life
to define itself
this August. It is
always full of surprises. The
sun and rain dart among the clouds most
days with wonderful,
unexpected moments, like a fairy
fluttering in a whimsical tale.
©CV, 2022

Many thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing the Summer Poem Swap 2022. This in itself is a gracious gift.

As I said before, Margaret Simon inspires me to be creative, as do the poets of the Poetry Friday community of writers. Please join me at Margaret's blog, Reflections on the Teche, for more poetic goodness to fill your weekend.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Bringing Back Memories Through Songs

As we drove down the highway on a very warm August evening, I flipped radio channels to listen to a variety of songs from different decades. 
I paused to reflect on summer days:
These Are Special Times.
August days slip away
Sealed with a Kiss.
Dances with the Wind
on the roaring ocean.
A Summer Breeze
floats on by. 
I'm At One with You
In My Summer Place
Singing A Summer Song.
Chase the Sun!
It's Funny How Life Slips Away.
©CVarsalona, 2022

Later in the evening, after errands were finished, I pieced together song titles we listened to for a quick write on summer. Memories of past summers floated like waves across the sea
as I penned this poem.

Slice of Life Tuesday is celebrated at Two Writing Teachers,
a meeting place for a world of reflective writers 

Friday, August 5, 2022

Summer Bliss

poetry prompt + writing + inspiration = summer bliss

I must admit that summer has touched my soul in a positive way. Even the sweltering heat and torrential rains are prompts to write. Inspiration flows in quiet corners of my garden where the herbs and perennials share the bed. My gardens flourish in the heat this year and the constant series of rain replenishes their thirst. All equates to summer bliss. So just what is the prompt I am using to open my mind to positivity?

Yesterday as host of Spiritual Journey Thursday, I offered a theme to reflect upon: Nurturing Your Summer Soul. The eight SJT writers were from the Poetry Friday and Two Writing Teachers communities. The responses to my prompt were unique but the commonality was that they were rich with personal thoughts, word choice, and inspiration. Please take a look at the writings linked to my host blog. Click here. I appreciate the awesome photographs, inspired poetry, and narratives written by:

1.Linda M. at A Word Edgewise5.Karen Eastlund9.Ramona
2.Margaret Simon6.arjeha- Bob Hamera
3.Ruth7.Denise Krebs
4.Susan Kohler8.Fran Haley

If you move over to the Poetryliscious padlet you will see the graphics, photos, and poems attributed to the work created by the above writers. Click here to access the Poetryliscious padlet.

There is a restorative aspect to summer, even in the teeming rain. Last summer, I lost many beautiful plants and herbs either to Virginia soil (Did you know that Virginia soil is full of clay?), heat, or the deer and the rabbits. This summer, with constant care no matter what the weather conditions were, the gardens reaped the rewards of full blossoms and beautiful green leaves. They nurtured my summer soul. The statement, "We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course, it's our garden that is really nurturing us."

Our trip to the Virginia countryside provided my soul with more nurturing and poetry writing on the effects of the aftermath of a storm. You can read my gogyoshi poem, Nature's Shimmer Touches Life, here. Below is another gogyoshi poem about a beautiful butterfly plant found at a nursery in Orange, Virginia.

A Touch of Summer

butterflies sweep the sky
slip into a bush for sips of nectar
in a singular sweeping moment
our souls connect with summer
nature nourishes our souls
©CVarsalona, 2022, gogyoshi

Next Sunday, I am off to the ocean with our family. I cannot wait to "Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly."- Van Morrison


For now, I will let my spirit fly over to the Poetry Friday Roundup at Molly Hogan's blog. Molly is sharing her response to the prompt from her Inklings writing group challenge. "Write a poem about any sport you have a connection to = one you participate(d) in or love to watch."

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Nurturing Your Summer Soul

Summer is a beautiful time to nurture our souls. Its lulling voice can be full of peaceful ripples or in-the-moment meditation so I try to take advantage of its beauty whenever I can. Of course, I need to hit the pause and reflect button to slow down the pace of life in order to make time for possibilities. 

“Repose, leisure, peace, belong among the elements of happiness. If we have not escaped from harried rush, from mad pursuit, from unrest, from the necessity of care, we are not happy.”  -excerpt from Happiness and Contemplation by Joseph Piper

For me, the beginning of the summer felt like a steeplechase race with a long to-do list. I was not nourishing my soul although I thought persistence would help me meet my expectations. Mid-July, I realized that the hustle and bustle pace needed to be reassessed. Was the constant heat making me aware of that? Rest and relaxation were needed. It was time to reflect on my one word, appreciate

I appreciate the summer months. They are God's gift to life, a time to be restored bodily and spiritually but I don't always stop to "gift" myself with the space and time to allow myself to just be. (Mylinda Baits, 7 Soul-Nurturing Strategies for Those Who Support Others}

Sunday was my 46th anniversary and it was time for my husband and me to live our best sweet-summer-life getaway and just be at peace for two days. While we did not travel to the ocean, we did retreat to the countryside where the weather was teeming rain but that did not dissuade us from relaxing. Quiet alone time, a gorgeous cottage, and great food allowed us to see nature in a different way during our short summer celebration. 

"Nature is the purest portal to inner peace."
Angie Weiland Crosby

"If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you. it will be enough."
Meister Eckhart

Songs nurture my summer soul. Thank You!
 Thank You! Dewdrops still my soul.
Photo by Mark Olsen on Unsplash
Nature's Shimmer Touches Life

drip-drop sounds break through silence 
dewdrops as visible as diamonds
glisten in the storm's aftermath
my soul benefits from
summer's morning shimmer
©CV, 2022, gogyoshi

A gogyoshi is a Japanese poem consisting of a title and five lines. No other rules!

Earth's beauty inspires me. Thank You!

What nurtures your summer soul? 

Link your blog post or artistic expression so the Spiritual Journey Thursday community can read your post and comment. You can add a graphic, photo, or poem to the Poetryliscious padlet hereThank you for celebrating with me this month.

~CarolAugust host of Spiritual Journey Thursday.

Thank you, Margaret Simon, for your direction in bringing this community together.



Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Reflect-Recharge-Rise (#PoetryPals Challenge)

At the end of July, the Poetry Sisters, TanitaLaura, Mary Lee, Sara, Liz, Andi, and Triciachallenged writers to create an acrostic poem taken from Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise. As I pondered this exercise, I went down a rabbit hole searching for the right words and format. Perhaps, after a few days, I am ready to toss out into the universe my thoughts on rising amidst a discontent world full of challenges. 

"But still, like dust, I'll rise" is the strike line I use in my offering.

Be aware of discontent.
Uttered on a restless night-
Tempting hearsay, chains of talk,
Such disruption isn't right. 
There're too many waging tongues
Inclined to talk out-of-turn,
Likely not being kind with
Little need for deep concern.
Listen to earth's stilled silence
Instead of the malcontent.
Know that each life is precious.
Each day should be well-spent.
Discover new approaches to
Undertake with gratitude.
Slow down. Be in the present.
Try out a new attitude.
Imagine all the people
Living together in peace,
Looking into a future 
Rising with hopeful belief.
Inspired by hands united
Stretching across the globe
Elevate voices ignited.

                                            ©CVarsalona, 2022

Written with gratitude to Maya Angelou and John Lennon.


As the night grows still and a hush surrounds the house, I find satisfaction that I completed another writing challenge. Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for bringing together a united group of dedicated eduwriters who meet each Tuesday to share their slices of life. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Gratitude for Summer Days

In summer, there are times that I like to be still in the moment, soaking in the artistic quality of a summer day. These stilled moments are a beautiful gift of nature that nurtures my summer soul.

"To lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky is hardly a waste of time." (John Lubbock)

Please sit with me for a few moments to be grateful for the earth's beauty.

in brilliant shades of summer beige
nature presents her grandest stage
from shores to inlets cameras click
please pause-choose a momentous pic
©CV, 2022

earth splashes color
across my digital page
sweet summer praise
©CV, 2022

Fill your heart with gratitude for the artistry within every summer moment.

I am hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday on August 4th and chose the topic,
Summer Nurtures Our Souls.

If you are inclined, please join our community of writers at my blog, Beyond LiteracyLink, as we respond to the prompt in artistic expressions to share how summer 2022 nurtures our souls.


Today is Poetry Friday and Marcie Flinchum Atkins is our host. Marcie inspired me with her artistic offerings. She combines nature photography with haiku for her journal which houses a lovely collection. 

Collage created by Linda Mitchell

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Summer State of Mind

This summer, have you embraced the warmth of the sun's rays or leisurely walked a beach or nature trail? Perhaps, you listened to melodic earth sounds sweeping through the air on a summer day. Nature offers a range of sights from hazy days to sweltering ones with sudden rainstorms washing away heat for moments at a time. While you watch nature's show, do your thoughts float away into the sky like balloons escaping from children's hands? Mine often do. It's the magic of being in a summer state of mind

Today, I recall forty summers by the sea while living on Long Island. Now with no sea close to me, I long for ocean waves and mighty roars. I picture the family digging our toes into the sand, and enjoying barbecues at the beach with friends. I reminisce about past summer days and offer a digital postcard I designed in 2019 and a video, Summer's Steamy Embrace, created in July 2020. 

©CV, 2022

I return home from an exercise class a bit weary but eager to share a day trip that my husband, son, and I took to small towns in Virginia this past weekend.

Down Country Roads
I embrace summer in Virginia, my new home state,
and explore new possibilities with my soulmate.
Life here takes on a different look.
I peruse Virginia is for Lover's guidebook
To seek quaint towns where one can just be.
We go down country roads, not the sea;
Discover rolling hills and tranquil paths;
Search for antiques and cement birdbaths.
Nature displays her countless bounty
In every area throughout the county.
With a zest for exploring new sights,
I continue to photograph highlights
and embrace summer days
while giving nature praise.
©CV, 2022

"I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket." -Kellie Elmore
Embrace summer and sing her praises!
Special Thanks to slicer Fran Haley for her Eternal summer: memoir poem, all the wonder of summer days come flowing back. Her inclusion of sensory details to evoke the spirit of her childhood summer days, set me on a path last week to uncover the true song of summer, a line from her reflective poem. Consider reading, Summer on My Mind, here.
It's Tuesday! Time to Write, Share and Give at Two Writing Teachers! #SOL22

Friday, July 22, 2022

Summer on My Mind

Memories of childhood summers with my Nonnie stir in my heart each summer. The smell of her rose gardens, the flapping sounds of clean wash swinging in the wind, or the snap-crackle sound from shucking peas, plus the walking trips to the library flash in my mind. 

summer on my mind
fragrant, nature-indulged days
slip sliding in peace
©CV, 2022

Thanks to Fran Haley's slice of lifeEternal summer: memoir poem, all the wonder of summer days come flowing back. Her inclusion of sensory details to evoke the spirit of her childhood summer days, set me on a path to uncover the true song of summer, a line from her reflective poem.

when July winds breeze through, the
sounds of summer ring true
rain sings her swishing song 
bees swoop into the core of
petunias where they belong-ah summer

sweet, lingering days of summer
I smell the fragrant basil and mint of
lavish gardens lulled by fountain song
I find peace at July's end, the true
essence of summer flows in the
reminders of summers I knew

Continue to play your sweet tune, summer.
I wait for your lazy, hazy days of August
to wash away pressures.
©CV, 2022 draft
If you also have summer on your mind listen to Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft

It's Poetry Friday and I am celebrating summer with Mary Lee Hahn, our host. She is using a clunker line from Linda Mitchell that recalls memories of her mother cooking green beans. Join me to find more poetic goodness from the Poetry Friday community here.

Collage created by Linda Mitchell