Friday, October 29, 2021

Halloween-Past to Present

Halloween is nearing and I am excited just like my grandgirls are. Many images of Halloween over the years parade before me. It's funny that I don't remember halloweening as a child but have some vivid memories of Halloween festivities during my adult life. I offer a series of digital image poems created with different tools, Buncee, FotoJet, Waterlogue, for different days in the  Inktober/Poemtober challenge and the Poetry Sisters' October invitation to write.

Digital Image Poem created in Buncee. Click here
*Day 27 #Inktober Prompt Word: Spark

As a reading specialist in an elmentary building, during the month of October I turned my classroom into a Harvest House, a magical setting of autumn splendor until the week before Halloween when the spooky sights, sounds, and happenings began. Music and poetry were a regular part of all the Halloween festivities and Jack Prelutsky's book, It's Halloween, became a featured read aloud. Listen to the video of Prelutsky reading his poems from his book. Click here.

Switch back to Halloween during my children's childhood. Magical parties with beautifully crafted costumed characters graced the miniature house in our back yard after trick or treating fun.
Now, I see Halloween through the eyes of my grandgirls. It's time for new memories to be made and recorded.

*Day 6 #Inktober Prompt Word: Spirit

More Digital Fun

*Day 2 #Inktober Prompt Word: Suit

Day 29 #PoetryPals Wordplay Challenge + #Inktober Prompt Word: Patch = Wordplay Fun The Poetry Sisters' October Challenge: Create a wordplay poem invented by poet Nikki Grimes)


Tuesday's Slice of Life post, Connecting with October, shares poems about an autumn mini-trip to a farmer's market with the grandgirls.


It is time to visit Linda Baie's blog, TeacherDance one that invites us to the Halloween parade. 

Linda is a generous friend who for her birthday offered a book of poetry to Poetry Friday friends. Linda sent me a package of two books that I will share at a future time. Thank you, Linda, for your friendship, kindness, and amusing poem. It looks like Colorado where she lives have already experienced Mother Nature's winter-in-fall weather.

You Are Invited
to Join my Newest Online,
Global Gallery of Artistic Expressions
-Bedecked in Autumn!-
Share your image poems, inspirational quotes,
artwork, digital designs, and music.
Deadline for Submissions: December 1, 2021
via my Twitter feed, Facebook page,
email: cvarsalona at
A Sneak Preview will be shared
on November 19, 2021
when I host Poetry Friday 
at my blog, Beyond LiteracyLink

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Connecting with October

There is something magical about October's crisp air and a countryside outing. When the weather report changed from rain to sunshine this past weekend, the family took advantage of the weather to celebrate autumn. What awaited us was a few hours of unequivocal joy. 

We packed up the grandgirls who stayed with us throughout the weekend and followed their parents to Buckland Farmer's Market. The country store was filled with the tastes of the season but I first followed the little grandgirls to the playground area. It was filled with large bouncy areas, slides, and structures to get lost in, like the huge corn maze. Excitedly, I edged myself toward the corn maze. 

I took the lead into the first pathway. My son, daughter, and youngest grandgirl were immediately immersed into a maze of corn stalks taller than any of us. Corn was all over. Being dazzled by the sunlight and walking paths, we sauntered through row after row. At times, we stopped to take in the sights. Other times, we tried different walkways only to find a dead end with no further path. Aurora was amazed by what she saw inside the maze.

corn maze connection
nature trail filled with pleasures
little eyes open wide
©CV, 2021

Upon leaving the corn maze, I joined my four-year-old grandgirl who was enjoying her Sunday funday time on the farm playground. A huge series of tires embedded in the earth awaited her. The first time trying to climb up was unsuccessful but determined to stand on top of the tire, she tried again. I could not believe how proud she looked as she found her balance.

poised above the earth
she finds her balance and smiles-
©CV, 2021

autumn memory
child and pumpkin connect-
hued splendor
©CV, 2021

Nature shines in color during the autumnal season inviting us to connect with the earth.

Autumn that year pained the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron, and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under the harvest skies.
-Sharon Kay Penmann

I've wanted to join the Inktober and Poemtober challenges this month but never seemed to find the time. The prompt for October 25th is connect. Since I love the word, connect, I made time to compose my ideas both in digital art form and poetry.

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers.
Thankfully, I join the writing community.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Autumn Artifacts

The warmth of the autumn sun floods the path to the creek. My little grandgirls walk beside me. We bask in the beauty of the woods as I point out what I see. I am the guide on this brief journey leading them to enjoy nature as much as I do. You can read more about our adventure at my blog post, Along the Nature Trail.

©CV, 2021

I am your guide to
autumn wonders that fall
onto earthen paths.
I play a game, naming what I see.
A group of purple wildflowers
faces sunward. You stoop,
pick a spotted red leaf,
your first artifact of autumn.
Curled-up bark leads you
to other tiny pieces of fall.
You carry these precious
items tightly in your tiny hands.
Share them with your little sister
who brushes featherlike
leaves into the wind.
With gratitude for earth's
treasures, we walk home
ready to create a
lasting memory of a
glorious autumn day.
©CV, 2021

The above poem is modeled after the beginning and last lines of Maggie Smith's poem, First Fall.

Art Project Time

Upon entering the house, four-year-old Sierra announces, "I am going to work on my project". I gather the craft supplies. Intent on her work, Sierra lays out the artifacts from her fall walk. Bark, leaves, acorns, and acorn caps line the kitchen table. 
"What did you see on your walk, Sierra?" "Fall," she responds. 
Carefully, she glues her artifacts onto orange paper. I am amazed at her preciseness in placement. Much to my surprise, she leaves an imprint of a leaf on the paper with just a crayon. As the project draws to a conclusion, we talk about poetry. 
"Fall and call rhyme, Grandma." 
"Is that the start of your poem?" 
Words pop out. We talk about what a poem is. 
"It is more than rhyming. It is your feeling, too." 
I leave it at that. After all, she is four and interested. I write what she says on paper. We read it again. She thinks. We change a few words and I write her poem where she thinks it should go on her fall project
"Will people like my poem, Grandma?" 
"I am sure they will."

©Sierra, Age 4, 2021

You Are Invited
to Join my Newest Online,
Global Gallery of Artistic Expressions
-Bedecked in Autumn!-
Share your image poems, inspirational quotes,
artwork, digital designs, and music.
Deadline for Submissions: December 1, 2021
via my Twitter feed, Facebook page,
email: cvarsalona at
A Sneak Preview will be shared
on November 19, 2021
when I host Poetry Friday 
at my blog, Beyond LiteracyLink

Join the Poetry Friday Roundup at Jama Rattigan's delicious poetry site, Jama's Alphabet Soup. She's offering a poem by Jeffrey Bean, cookies, and hot chocolate mixed with much poetic goodness!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Along the Nature Trail

My toddler grandgirls arrived mid-morning on a bright October day this weekend. The sky was filled with sunshine and Mother Nature dressed the day in assorted leaf wear. 

It was one of fall's "just right" days to take a slow walk on the nature trail. Our first stop was the muddy pond?  "Where are the ducks, Grandma?", my four-year-old granddaughter asked. She kept looking but they were no where to be seen.

"I guess they are hiding from us," I explained and so we moved on to find fall on the trail. Emily Dickenson's poem, Fall, Leaves, Fall, was on my mind. We were off to see if "every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."

Interesting-looking leaves, some wildflowers, and our shadow in the sunshine were found along the trail. In the distance, a little bridge appeared like a magical entrance into the woods. Yet, there was no walking trail further on. It was time to find another trail. 

As the sun hid under the canopy of trees, our shadows played hide and seek  Sierra shouted, "Where is my shadow?" We laughed and raced to the sunny spots while stopping to pick autumn's treasures, artifacts of the season. When hands felt cold and shoulders needed an extra layer, the girls cuddled in my shawls and sat on the bench by the muddy pond once again searching for the elusive ducks. 

on the nature trail
sunshine dressed in autumn leaves
celebrate fall
©CV, 2021

What happened to the artifacts picked along the trail?
Stay tuned to find out what type of project Sierra created.
(Next blog post will be ready on Thursday night.)


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers.
Thankfully, I join the writing community.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Last Edition of Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery

Summer ended officially on September 22, 2021. As Chad and Jeremy sang in their 1964 Summer Song, "All good things must end someday-Autumn leaves must fall". The seasons cycle through the year. Summer full of fresh air, outdoor life, rest, and relaxation transitions into autumn with its brilliant leaves and sky. "Sit back and relax once again with the final edition of Nurturing Our Summer Souls Global Gallery of Artistic Expression

"Think of summer days again and dream..." Step into the "pura vida" lifestyle that Glenda Funk spoke about this month at her blog, Evolving English Educator. Do you remember enjoying a peaceful, simple, uncluttered lifestyle? Did you find time to rest, relax, and recoup your energy?

Enjoy the short YouTube video I created for Edition 4 of
Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery of Artistic Expressions
Even on a humid Virginia summer day, you can enjoy nature.
CV, 2021
You can paint and write poetry like Jessica Bigi and Michelle Kogan offer in their digital inspirations below.
You may enjoy the peace of the seashore or inland water bodies.

If you are hikers, campers, or travelers, gardeners,
the countryside, mountains, gardens, and beaches will help you "chill".
Devin Hartnett
Jackie Yun
Many thanks to the Contributors of this 4th Edition of Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery 
Terje Akke
Jessica Bigi
Glenda Funk
Devin Hartnett
Michelle Kogan
Carol Varsalona
Jackie Yun

In memory of Barbara Van Iderstine, a friend, amazing gardener, and a past contributor to my galleries, I offer the beauty of the wisteria vine that thrived in her new locale.

I invite you to peruse the other editions of this summer gallery:

May this gallery in its entirety bring you joy and a sense of serenity. 
You can visit other summer galleries that I have created since 2014 with the support of fellow poets, artists, photographers, musicians, family, friends, educators, and students.
Scroll through my blog, Beyond LiteracyLink for archived galleries.
I turn my atTENtion now to Bridget Magee, the designer and editor of a new anthology for wee ones, 10*10 Poetry Anthology, Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways, who is also hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup. I am so excited that the poem I wrote based on interactions with my toddler granddaughter appears in Bridget's new anthology.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Summer Gone-Finding Fall

Each year, Autumn approaches with a brush in hand. I wait in anticipation of its artistic masterpiece. This holiday weekend, my son traveled to West Virginia with my daughter and her family to find fall. He captured its splendor with his iPhone camera. I added a bit of digital magic to his glorious photo and penned haikus after delving into the photo.

it's sweater weather
fall dresses in turning leaves
nature celebrates
©CV, 2021

in this place of peace
nature brushstrokes a canvas
autumn resplendence
©CV, 2021

Autumn is a Slice of Life that transforms the world into a living museum of artistic pleasure.

Please join me this autumn as I celebrate this season of transformation and joy.
Consider offering a photograph and poem or inspirational thought of
autumn's brilliance for a fall gallery of artistic expressions.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Pondering the Word HERE

Last week slipped away without me realizing that it was Spiritual Journey Thursday until after the fact. Thankfully, our host this month, my friend Ramona Behnke, sent me an email with the prompt and a reminder. "Here is our word for October. It comes from Emily P. Freeman's podcast, Episode 188: You Are Here (And it Matters). "

Last Thursday my here was caught up in a series of must-dos. Thinking back on this now, I realize that I filled my day with necessities: getting my COVID booster shot, drinking plenty of fluid to avoid any reactions like after shot #1, preparing dinner, helping my son organize his bags for a mini-trip with my little grandgirls, my daughter, and son-in-law, and jaunt out to the store to find a raincoat for my little 21-month old grandgirl because hers was misplaced. I engaged in these actions, one after the other, without pausing or reflecting. Then, late at night, I spent time curating and designing the third section of my Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery While this latter activity nurtured my spirit.  It should have been my time "to let here meander and saunter and amble in my head and through my days" as Ramona suggested. But once again, time was a culprit and I fell back into the habit of being task-driven until tonight. I silently moved to my study and become immersed in the moment. Writing flowed.

sands of summer sweep
across my sunstreaked soul
season passes on
I am here sitting
in silence, pondering life
a clock ticks

here in this place of
peace words float and simply speak
time stands still

I am here writing
alone in the quiet night
the world sleeps
©CV, 2021


My post comes in bits and pieces. I am comforted by the flow and the peace that surrounds me.  I search the internet for inspirational thoughts and find this quote from Akirog Brost. "Your life requires your mindful presence in order to live it. Be here now." I move on to Emily P. Freeman's podcast. The following lines caused me to pause. They spoke about feeling scattered, something I understand. "So what might it look like to live gathered again? It starts by being where you are. You are one persona nd you occupy many places. You carry words inside you, but really we can only make our decisions from the place where we are right now." 

As I read this, I am filled with a deep sense of belief in the Spirit of the Lord. I once again look to my one word, begin, to guide me on this journey in a new location and new home. I use another one of Akirog Brost's inspirational quotes, "If you want your life to have depth and meaning, be present, be mindful, and live with intention," to create a poem based on the golden shovel form. I end the night of writing with the following.

If there is an if
lurking in my mind, are you
hiding? Do you want
space to call your
own? Move over! Life
calls me to
stand tall and have
a rooting in faith, search for depth,
be true to self, and
seek meaning
to find the be
in being. Also, present
with conviction, be
filled with a mindful
spirit and
negate any darkness that thwarts my right to live
in peace. To do so, I commit to pen words with
clarity and intention.
©CV, 2021

I am thankful for my Spiritual Journey Thursday community of writers.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery, Section Three

It seems eons ago that "Summer filled her veins with light and her heart washed with noon (C. Day Lewis). Memories of summers on Long Island's sandwashed shores drift on, replaced now by new surroundings. A gentle creek, quiet pond, wooded nature trails, and miles of country roads evoke new memories. I ponder my one word, begin, inhale the autumn's cooling breath, and invite you to savor summer days at this third section of my global gallery of artistic expressions.

Linger in the familiar conviction that life begins over again with summer as F. Scott Fitzgerald did when writing about Long Island's Gold Coast summer days in The Great Gatsby.

Through the blending of art, technology, and poetry, pause to relax 
as you begin a global gallery walk at the Muddy Pond in Northern Virginia.

new hope, new beginning
with each rising sunbreath-
life at the crossroad
©CV, 2021

Breathe in the fresh scent of summer, drift into relaxation mode, and
be lulled by the sound of Chris Rea's, Sweet Summer Day video here.

Travel to Estonia's peaceful lily pond photographed by Terje Akke.

Preview the Experience Estonia video here to discover more about this beautiful country here

Discover the beauty of the Oregon Coast in summer.

"On a clear day the Oregon coast is the most beautiful place on earth-clear and crisp and clean...the air fat and salty and bracing, the ocean spreading like a grin." - Author, Brian Doyle
Photos by Rita Wirtz
Morgan & Dad, Kite Flying at Oregon Coast

Listen to Dolly Parton sing Sweet Summer Lovin here.

Now, feast your eyes on beautiful East Coast beaches and lakes.
Long Island, NY
Westcott Beach, NYS
Devin Hartnett, Bahamas

Recall outdoor vacation days across USA.
Cape May, New Jersey
Cheryl Foos, Mt. Ranier, Washington
sunrise to dusk water
cascades in a zigzag flow
earth's scenic moment
©CV, 2021
Photo of Wahconah, Massachusetts by Laura Toledo
@alaskatracy, Alaska Fireweed
Bonnie Nieves's Summer of Self-Care,
an inspirational travel log

Sink into sunset moments!
Rita Wirtz, Oregon

Let evening thoughts arouse interest in nature.
Carol Varsalona, Lake Anna, Virginia

Be renewed by inspiration gathered in summertime.
Arthur Plitt, @Reikiarthur
From the pages of Two Writing Teachers
"The Amen of nature is always a flower." -Oliver Wendall Holmes, Sr.
PicCollage by Rita Wirtz, Oregon

From digital inspirations in all medium forms, is evident that summer sights and scents move us to not only romanticize our summer days but inspire us to transition to a new season.

Thank you for strolling through Section 3 of my Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery

As you look back on prior gallery rooms:
Take a moment to listen to Taylor Swift's song, August, here.


Thank you to inspired social media colleagues, family, and friends who contributed to this edition of my global gallery, Nurturing Our Summer Souls.

Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery, Section 3 Contributors
Terje Akke
Les Buchanan
Kim Douillard
Cheryl Foos
Devin Hartnett
Bonnie Nieves
Tre O'Hagan Marigliano
Laura Toledo
Two Writing Teachers
Carol Varsalona
Rita Wirtz
Jackie Yun
Morgan, student
Cover Art by Jan Annino, Fran Haley, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona


I am also grateful to the gifted poet, Irene Latham, for hosting this week's Poetry Friday Roundup. You can find two of Irene's ArtSpeak poems at the Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery, Poetry Friday Edition.


Please join me when I unveil my last edition to the
Nurturing Our Summer Souls Gallery for a final look at Summer 2021. 
Stay tuned! Let nature continue to inspire your thoughts and being.