Friday, November 27, 2020

Focus On Gratitude

This year, Thanksgiving was a day to look beyond the challenges, interruptions, and distractions of our pandemic lives and focus on what mattered. It was a day filled with gratitude for faith, family, and friends but celebrated in an unfamiliar, new normal way. If you were like me, you had a delicious dinner with immediate members of your family, zoomed with grandchildren, and/or relatives, and spoke with others. 

As an added touch, I resurrected a childhood tradition of walking after dinner cleanup time. We stepped outside; I was amazed by the deep jet black sky with a brilliant moon illuminating the street. Gratitude flowed. It was the start of a peaceful family walk. The weather was cooperative for an awe walk., being the most temperate of Thanksgiving nights in a decade. While walking, I recollected the following recent scene at the state park on the outskirts of my neighborhood. The photo taken shares the simple beauty of autumn in late November. With gratitude for nature's beauty I composed the following digital inspiration, image poem.

Even a short walk in the woods can produce a sense of awe when you learn to let go of stress and pay attention to small details. -How to Find Awe in Everyday Things by Sidney Stevens


The Poetry Sisters offered an interesting challenging, #PoetryPals, for the end of November. 
"The theme is hindsight — pick one of your old poems to revise and/or write a new poem in conversation with it."  
With this in mind, I traveled back in time to last November and 
found the following zeno poem I created.

Give thanks for fall's seasonal gifts
coloring world
with love,
November comes
in peace.
wonder, explore.
Find rest.
©CV, 2019

For the challenge, I created a zeno poem that connects thoughts from 2019 to 2020 for my Abundant Autumn Gallery

Give thanks for fall's abundancy
dispelling fears.
earthen beauty,
Thanksgiving comes
in peace.
inspired awe.
©CV, 2020

I am grateful for autumn and an unusual Thanksgiving filled with nature inspired awe
to move us beyond the confinements of pandemic living.

Join me for Poetry Friday, hosted by Carol at  Carol's Corner

I will be slowing going through Poetry Friday blogs this weekend since there are multiple scheduled viewings of my Long Island house. I am grateful for this and also very pleased that my Virginia home is completely built and ready for a December closing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Nature Inspired Awe

Sunset approached. Earth lay in stillness outside. Indoors the hum of television news revved up unwanted fears. Amidst food segments on Thanksgiving holiday preparations, bits on pandemic safety repeatedly appeared. Newscasters discussed precautions on how to celebrate the holiday. Reminders of downscaling age-old traditions of gatherings with loved ones became the go-to reference.  With constant talk on how to stay safe, I left the kitchen to find solace outdoors. An awe walk was in order. 

Nature did not disappoint. A splendid view came into sight as I passed beyond huge treescapes. There it was, brilliant in a darkened night sky after sunset. 

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary,
 earthshine is sunlight reflected by the earth that illuminates the dark part of the moon.

"According to a study conducted by Craig L. Anderson, feelings of awe, those generated while being in nature (also known as nature inspired awe)...had a profoundly healing effect on the mind and body." (8 Ways Being In Nature  Heals Your Mind and Body (According To Research)

During  this year's Thanksgiving holiday find time to take an awe walk. Be inspired by nature. Bring home the comforting and healing power of nature's glow. Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Gratitude to Two Writing Teachers for offering the Tuesday Slice of Life year-round.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Be Filled With the Beauty of Nature

Imagine a day in early November. Walking trails at the nearby state park overflow with glorious sights and sounds. Colors of autumn vary in cinnamon tones; crispcrunch leaves fill in dark wooded spaces. Strewn across paths, patterned leaves and broken branches artistically placed wait for visitors to tread lightly. Nature's beautifully-crafted, undisturbed spaces alive with natural light. Filtering through cracks between majestic trees a dazzling luster surrounds the woods. We walk in awe, noting a distinct silence. Curving paths continue inviting us to pause, reflect, and let outdoor harmony move inward. 

leaning in silence
autumn's spirit surrounds
silent sacred space
©CV, 2020


Lately, there has been much talk about influencers. Those who thrived in the before but live in the now, continue to influence others. Without hesitation, autumn has been an influencer in my life, providing a diversion from upside-down issues of this pandemic-filled world. This year more than ever, autumn thrives, offers inspiration in a variety of forms, and affects my mindset in a positive way.

awed by autumn's art
earth-painted masterpieces
inspired beauty
©CV, 2020


afternoon light falls
on trails adorned in russet 
gratitude sweeps through
©CV, 2020


autumn sunset inches closer

hovers over a silent lake
brilliantly sharing  a layering of colors

passersby sit reverently
watching earth slowly fill
with evening beauty
©CV, 2020


This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted at my long-distance writing friend, Linda Baie's blog site, TeacherDance,  this week. She is writing about a wonderful new poetry anthology, Friends and Anemones by authors of The Writer's LoftI attended the virtual book launch so I am interested in Linda's thoughts.


The autumn photos and poems are part of the #AbundantAutumn Gallery of Artistic Expressions.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

November Peace

November graciously enters autumn with a bit of October's vibrance until winds of change toss leaves about. Days grow shorter. Earth becomes quieter and tree branches expose their limbs gracefully against a darkening sky. Within this unembellished world, many turn their eyes away not seeing the beauty that lies within nature's arms. 

November holds mysteries heard in whispering winds or in piles of crunchable leaves if we listen. Do you see the beauty beyond the chilled breath of sweatherweather afternoons before the onset of dusk? Step into my digital artwork to discover November peace.
One chilled, windy day last week, I walked through my neighborhood feeling a reverent silence for the stillness of the approaching night. I captured this scene and subsequently digitized it and wrote a cherita, "a linked poetry form of one-, two-, and three-line stanzas that tells a story. A cherita depends on conciseness and suggestion for its effect." 

It is my hope that you will honor the slowed-down pace of November in gratitude for its blessings, even when it is difficult to see through the darkening clouds and storms of life.

in november
listen in silence to earth
gratitude whispers
©CV, 2020

I join Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life to share a small moment of a November day.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Inspired by Autumn Morning "Awe Walks"

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. - Aristotle

I hear the call of morning in the woods.

Autumn morning sweeps into daylight.
Breathes in crispcool freshness.
Dialogues whimsically with Nature.
Turns to awaken a weary world.

At ocean's edge, baby gulls test their skills,
Fly into a watchful October sky
And dip into glistening waters
Of diamondsparkle seafoam.

A lone tree bedecked in russet
Lays a blanket of crunchable leaves.
Waiting for schoolyard childrens'
giant leap into autumn majesty.

I wander through Autumn mornings connected in silence with nature. Awestruck with earth's goldleaf colors, I feel the warmth of September-in-November-joy.
©CV, 2020, Long Island, NY

Intrigued by the appeal of an aubade, a poetic format that appeared on Linda Mitchell's blog as a challenge for her fellow Sunday Swaggers. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains this form as a song or poem greeting dawn; a morning love song; a song or poem of lovers parting at dawn. I chose to write my first aubade as a morning love song.
Lord Bryon sums up an intense love of nature in his poem:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the sea and music in its roar:
I love not man less, but nature more.

Lately, I have spent many days taking awe walks, soaking in the intensity of autumn while trying to make sense of a pandemic upside-down life. Awe walks are simple antidotes for stress. They allow me to shift my attention outward instead of inward leading to a feeling of well-being. Another way for me to achieve a sense of balance (my one word) is to join the Poetry Friday Roundup each week. This week, Robyn Hood Black is hosting, at her website, Life on the Deckle Edge. Robyn's post is full of poetic goodness. As one of the stops on the HOP TO IT Blog Tour of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's new poetry anthology, Robyn shares her enthusiasm for the book and her own children's poem published in the anthology. Robyn also provides congratulary remarks for fellow poets' new books .

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day Gratiku

by James Doyle

marches in uniform down the traffic stripe 
at the center of the street, counts time
to the unseen web that has rearranged
the air around him, his left hand
stiff as a leather strap along his side,
the other saluting right through the decades 
as if they weren't there, as if everyone under ninety 
were pervasive fog the morning would dispel
in its own good time, as if the high school band
all flapping thighs and cuffs behind him
were as ghostly as the tumbleweed on every road 
dead-ended in the present, all the ancient infantry 
shoulder right, through a skein of bone, presenting arms 
across the drift, nothing but empty graves now
to round off another century, 
the sweet honey of the old cadence, the streets 
going by at attention, the banners glistening with dew, 
the wives and children blowing kisses.

Remembering Living Veterans

We wave to hometown heroes going 
past us on streets by 
the park. We stand at
full attention,
filled with pride as the
veterans hold banners 
of red, white, and blue.Their glistening
smiles shine with
hope full of morning dew.
©CV, 2020

Using the highlighted line in the above poem as a strike line, I created a golden shovel poem honoring living veterans of WWII, in particular, the one remaining living veteran in my family, my Uncle John Mosca. As a very young man at the beginning of WWII, he enlisted in the Marine Corp. He returned home after the war, proud of his achievement but keeping stories of his duty as a private matter. Today, I pause to honor his service to America with hopes that he will hear my phone call wishing him a Happy Veterans Day.   

"The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude." - Jeff Miller

a silent flag
waving on a dim fall day
hope for America
©CV, 2020

November is #GratitudeMonth. 
Be grateful for those who fought for our country and freedom.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Thoughts on a Leaf Storm

Before Election Day 2020, I looked out a November sky and witnessed an amazing sight. A whooshing noise, swaying movement of branches, and leaves letting go in a downward descent were evidence of a dramatic leaf storm. News of this filled the broadcast channels. I watched and pondered as the leaves appeared to shiver in the breeze. Luckily, I had my iPhone available to record a few seconds of the event.

November Leaf Storm
tumultuous storm brewing
leaves shiver in the breeze
thoughts quiver
of election blues
©CV, 2020

After the storm, I wrote the above "naani" poem. My thoughts were centered on both the leaf storm and Election Day 2020. Obviously, the brewing storm settled, the sky opened with sunshine, and hope was felt.
A naani is one of India's popular Telugu poems introduced by Dr. N. Gopi, one of the renowned Telugu poets. Naani translates as "expression of one and all". It is composed of one stanza of four lines between twenty to twenty-five syllables. Each line is generally three-five syllables but no more than ten. The subject matter is up to the writer, but Teluga poets typically write about the human condition, race, relations, current statements, and life in general.  
13th Century Persian poet Rumi stated, "Respond to every call that excites your spirit." This thought is my call to action. Observing nature allows me to be filled with wonder, honor its movements, and find hope in both storms and sunshine, darkness and light. Sometimes the light is dim. At these times, it is necessary to respond with positivity. It may not always be the emotion felt at the moment but it is a pathway that leads us onward. I need to remember this in trying times.

November trees shake and dance.
Will Autumn stay
Winter advance?

"Seasons change as does daily life. "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength what will endure as long as life lasts." 
-Rachel Carson
The month of November is a gratitude month. I am grateful for a pathway to hope in autumn's gold-dusted colors. What are you grateful for?

I am joining Two Writing Teachers for Tuesday's Slice of Life.