Alone Time

sick chuly

Chules is sick today. I can hear his tummy roiling from across the room. He’s been in- and outside at least a dozen times since morning. When I let him out, he beelines to the side yard fence, and tries to eat the taller grass to ease his stomach pain. Not an easy task for a canine whose teeth are not suited to grazing on plants.

Back inside, Chules disappears into my bedroom to rest in solitude. He likes alone time, even when he’s feeling well. After a couple of hours I go looking for him, and find him on the bed, resting his head on my pillow. This is atypical of him; he usually naps on the floor behind my rocking chair. I sit with him and gently pull my fingers through his soft fur. He doesn’t move, but his watery eyes close drowsily. I kiss his head and leave to let him sleep.

In the living room, I retire to the couch with a mystery book I’ve been reading. I like my alone time, too, but today I can’t relax. Soon I hear Chules padding down the hallway. He hops up on the couch and curls up next to me. I pat his backside and return to my book, feeling more at ease now. Sometimes, it’s just better to spend alone time together.

stunted winter grass
green, though growth eludes the eye
grazers are not fooled

dVerse Haibun Monday: Solitude

Posted in 5-7-5, Animalia, Haiku, Photography, poetry, prose | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Weekend Wildcard: Groundhogs and Vital Bogs


Yesterday was Groundhogs Day in the US and Canada, and megastar (among the rodent crowd) groundhog Punxsutawney Phil purportedly did not see his shadow, which is said to be a harbinger of an early spring this year.

While not the most reliable diagnostic tool of the atmospheric sciences (the groundhog has about a 39% accuracy rate), it is nonetheless a quaint tradition from simpler (climatically speaking) times.

A bit lesser known in the US – okay, a LOT lesser known – observance on February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, a day designated to bring awareness to the importance of wetlands in balancing global ecosystems.

The house where I lived as a youth was situated on a sand hill that was basically surrounded by wetlands (back then designated simply as a swamp). The first signs of spring for me were the green shoots of skunk cabbage that emerged from the murky waters of the swamp. These quickly grew into wide, flat, shiny leaves and bright yellow flowers that emitted the musky odor of their namesake. I loved the cheery sight of them, and I actually found the earthy, slightly sweet smell to be somewhat pleasant (in small doses and from a distance).

Skunk Cabbage 2

The sounds of croaking frogs were prevalent on warm evenings, and every once in a while a beaver or nutria would find their way into our lower yard. Mosquitoes abounded. We pretty much stayed out of the swamp and let it do its thing of living and dying, sprouting and rotting, flooding and receding. I thought it was kind of cool to live within the wetland, but I had no appreciation of its importance as an ecosystem.

The last time I visited that area, I found that the swamp had been filled in and houses lined both sides of the low road that used to define where our yard ended and the swamp waters began. It was a sad sight. The adage “You never know what you have until it’s gone” comes to mind.

It’s too late for “my” swamp, but other wetlands can be restored, preserved and protected. Let’s do it!

wetland Infographic

Infographic taken from 

Posted in Animalia, nature, serious stuff, Weekend Wildcard | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

for all to see


Shed no tears; wear them.
Shed not your humanity.
Wear love on your sleeve.

dVerse Poetics prompt: Shed

Posted in 5-7-5, daily prompt, Haiku, humanity, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments



“I can’t do this anymore!”
The laptop stares at me from the kitchen table
where I sit, defeated head fallen into helpless hands.
It has stalked me from my work office to my home.
Black and white pixels layer documents across its screen,
a lasagna of files dumped from an overstuffed virtual briefcase.

I can’t do this anymore.
My husband stares at me from the kitchen counter
where he sits, a lukewarm mug of coffee cupped in soft hands.
Did I say that out loud?
His disapproving frown indicates that I did.

I shove the opened laptop across the table.
It stops just shy of the edge.
I wish it would have fallen,
hit the linoleum floor and
shattered into a million pieces.
I wish I could do the same.

“Two more years,” he says.
“Stick with it for two more years, and then I can retire.
We’ll move to the valley and you won’t have to work.”

Two more years? I can’t do that.
Nor can I fathom any middle ground between
two more years and not anymore.

I can feel myself being compelled toward the edge
where I will teeter until the inevitable fall.
I wonder how many years it will take
to recover the million pieces.

In response to the dVerse Poetics prompt:

“… the Poetics challenge today is to write a confessional verse in the style of [Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton…] … or write something which plays with the ideas expressed here — to put your regrets, your guilts, your sins, your humanity, your lived experiences, and all that you have kept within, out there through unbridled frankness or hyperbole or hidden allusions and metaphors or in any which way you want. It is all about challenging the restrictions that we impose in our written expression and to share something which is depictive of our own self.” 

Posted in humanity, poetry, serious stuff | Tagged , , , , | 29 Comments

grayce notes

music bw

monochrome music
nuance plays upon nuance
melodies in gray

music bw3

Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Music


Posted in 5-7-5, Haiku, photo challenge, Photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

dog days of winter


The gravel path encircling the dog park is churned to mud. Wood chips, spread last season to fill in low spots, now form a waterlogged sponge underfoot. The sky, pale blue and cloudless, does not belie that we are in mid-dreary-chilly January. It bears a sense of oppression, making one inclined to slouch when walking, as if to clear a low ceiling.

The dogs don’t seem to mind the damp chill. Puddles, gritty mud, soggy clumps of sod… it’s all the same to their weather-hardened paws. There are balls to chase, fence posts to water and all manner of smells to sniff.

After a couple of plodding loops around the field, I catch up to my pup, who has paused to stick his nose up a Doberman’s butt. I latch the leash to his collar and we head out of the park. I sidestep pools of standing water, morosely noting that the rainy season has only just begun. My dog plows straight through the water, tongue flopping, slobber hanging off his chin. He — obviously — has failed to notice that we are in mid-fricking-depressing January.

gnarled bare tree shivers
arthritic branch points skyward
lays blame on winter


dVerse Haibun Monday: January

Posted in 5-7-5, Haiku, nature, poetry, prose | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

sewing discord

contrail in clouds

threading through the clouds
jets rip the sky asunder
contrails hide the tears

Posted in 5-7-5, Haiku, humanity, nature, Photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments