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

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Appreciating the Grandgirls

It is a joy to have little granddaughters. Their smiles pop up on my computer daily and in their online Google Photo albums but the best is when the little girls stay for a weekend. Oh, the fun we have is incomparable. During this year of gratitude, my one word appreciate fills my heart. People often ask why I moved to Virginia. My first response is always, "To be near our granddaughters". It is the same response I hear from many people in our community. 

“A granddaughter is a treasure whose worth you cannot measure except by the love in your heart.” -unknown author

Our weekend was filled with firsts, golden memories, and fun.

special times

such a treat
to watch them
enjoy life

smiles, giggles-
sweet childhood
©CVarsalona, 2022


outdoor fun
movie, treats,

indoor fun
at the pool
splash, kick, swim

extra treat
breakfast and
watching goats
©CVarsalona, 2022
(The above poems use the tricube poetic form.)

Then, off they go with their parents and what do the grandparents do after that hearty breakfast?  We take a long nap because it is non-stop movement when the little girls visit.  But it is so much fun to be around our granddaughters. 

Oh, I did not mention the ice cream treats, not only for the little girls but for the adults. We all enjoy ice cream in the summer, even if it melts more quickly.
It's time for Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers, a meeting place for a world of reflective writers. I appreciate this community of eduwriters.

during the March writing challenge

Friday, July 15, 2022

Summer Rainstorm Thoughts

 The storm is an artist: the rainbow is its masterpiece." -Matshona Dhliwayo 

This week, storms were explosive. Although rain was predicted, darkening clouds became the indicator that sent me scrambling to pick up my decorative pillows. The rains continued. The knowledge that my plants were being watered was a blessing.  That night, I watched in surprise. The night storms were like a show in themselves. Sudden and strong lightning bolts jolted me. All sightings were mesmerizing. I wanted to write to describe what I saw so I took a photo of my flowers enjoying their soaking. They may not look like the rains were showering them but they were tossed around quite a bit. 

 Let the rain touch my soul.
Let the rain splash my flowers with cooling drops.
Let the rain sing me to sleep.

The rain makes puddles of hope in my garden.
The rain makes loud splashing sounds on the patio.
The rain meets lightning and strikes through cracks in the sky at night-

And I watch in fascination.
©CVarsalona, draft

The mentor text I used to create this poem is April Rain Song by Langston Hughes. There is a lovely short video shot by the NY Botanical Garden that can be accessed on You Tube.


I continue to add poetic offerings to my Poetryliscious Padlet for another gallery af artistic expressions. Lester Laminack, children's author, was honored to join the gallery as in the past. I gratefully uploaded his inspirational image poem. Please add a poem or artistic inspiration to the padlet please do.

Today is Poetry Friday and Elisabeth Norton is our host at Unexpected Intersections. She shares an original poem written while challenging herself to break routine and change directions. Her site is alreading filling with offerings of poetic goodness.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Fourth of July 2022 Memories

The 4th of July is always a festive event. Baking, enjoying time with family, having barbecues, and watching fireworks are traditional expectations. This year brought another set of photos and great memories. 

cook ready
hands steady
picnic treats
frosted sweets
outdoor fun
children run
flags waving
songs playing
evening sky
Fourth of July
cheers, applauding
sparklers soaring
our proud nation
©CVarsalona, 2022

The above poem was written after reading Fran Haraway's poem, The Fourth of July Parade.

The Fourth of July Parade

Stripes and stars,
Antique cars,
Pretty girls,
Baton twirls,
Spangled gowns,
Friendly clowns,
Smiling folks,
Papered spokes,

You can read the rest of the short poem at the Poetry Foundation.


The following poem was written for Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers. My blog post, Firework Magic, shares more digitized photos of Fireworks 2022 in Reston Virginia.

dazzling fireworks
dart into evening sky
pop, whizz, sizzle
like popcorn kernels bursting
showstopper entertainment
©CVarsalona, 2022


It is time to join Jan Godown Annino, this week's Poetry Friday host at her blog, Bookseed Studio. Jan is showcasing author Linda Sue Park's book, Tap Dancing on the Roof SIGO (Poems). Jan is also sharing her own sijo poems that include good twister lines. Enjoy the poetic goodness that can be found in the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Be Still-Spiritual Journey Thursday

Lately, life is full of storms, both physical and emotional ones that cause anxiety, fear, and damage. These "storms" can come out of nowhere or they can be predicted. This month, Chris Margocs, the host of Spiritual Journey Thursday, offers the topic, Be Still, for us to ponder. Her thoughts are succinctly provided at Horizon 51. Margaret Simon, the coordinator of Spiritual Journey Thursday, kindly created a link-up for the community at her blog post, Presence.

Credit: Photo by Max Larochelle on Unsplash

Last night, the sky opened with quick bolts of lightning and thunderous sounds. The rains pelted down but I did not hear or see the commotion. Only my husband did. I was surprised when I awoke to the news and yet, I felt relieved that I could sleep through the commotion. After all, there have been many downpours that stormed through my life these past months and I was spared a night of interrupted sleep. Perhaps, I am learning to quiet the storms that rage through faith. The following scripture verse is one that found me on my route to finding peace.

Then, they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper. (Psalm 107:28-30)

Credit: Don Moen - Be Still & Know

Be still, my soul.
Find rest.
Just be and know
Storms are a test.
Breathe in.
Find rest.
Forget what's been.
Know what's best.
Be still, my soul.
God brings rest.
©CVarsalona, 2022

This evening, I spent over an hour listening to different meditations on stillness and presence that I found on YouTube. Some involved yoga breathing practices that provided a gentle entrance into centering my thoughts. Being still when I am used to activity is a welcome change. If interested, you can visit the Daily Calm: 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation, Be Present. Click on the image below.

It is essential to find stillness and be present to block out the horrific happenings in the world and pray for peace. Finding stillness to just be is my Spiritual Journey Thursday goal for this month. I send positive vibes out to all the Spiritual Journey Thursday writers and those inclined to seek ways to be in the moment.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Firework Magic

There is a magical effect to fireworks shooting into an indigo sky on a warm summer night. I imagine most people have witnessed this on the Fourth of July but let me relive my experience. A soft glow settles over the lake as it prepares for the festivities of an exploding night show. 

Pontoon boats and kayaks circle the lake as the night sky surrounds. With a gentle tug, party lanterns float into the air skyward prior to fireworks exploding with multicolored sensations.  

Excited hoots and applause from viewers follow with each burst of shooting light as a crescent moon nods with delight. Sparkling patterns burst into the darkness from one end of the lake to the other. The brilliance of multicolored patterns emerges.

As darkness covers the sky, sparkly lights go off with a boom, creating a dramatic contrast.

The star of the nighttime show debuts with a puff cloud of brilliant circles of billowy sparkles.
dazzling fireworks
dart into evening sky
pop, whizz, sizzle
like popcorn kernels bursting
showstopper entertainment
©CV, 2022

I hope everyone spent a relaxing day with family and friends on the Fourth of July as I did.

It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers and I am grateful for this international meeting of writing friends.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Celebrate Summer with Ice Cream

June is ending and summer is officially here. My eyes are healing and my vision is so good that I do not need glasses. Now, all of that gives me enough reason to celebrate, so the family decided to investigate the two best-rated ice cream shops nearby. Swirlies lures us to its shop with soft-serve ice cream twists. I chose a childhood favorite, a chocolate-dipped cone of swirled, vanilla chocolate ice cream on a sugar cone. Not only was the night filled with the warm essence of summer but the ice cream was as delicious as I remembered it.

"Life is like ice cream: Enjoy it before it melts."
It's Poetry Friday and the Roundup is at Janice Scully's blog, Salt City Verse. She focuses on SuperNovae information, shares a video, and debuts an original poem.
Happy National Ice Cream Month!