The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.



AT THE CLEARING                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

            In the process of packing to move I discovered a folder containing about twenty short pieces I wrote several years ago for a creative writing class I took at the U. of Chicago.  Among them was a description of The Clearing, an adult retreat center for those who want to spend some time working in a creative area be it writing, woodworking or spinning yarn.  Driving home from a week I spent there, I had written something about that idyllic place and there it was, in the forgotten folder. See my post, “A Memorable Time.”  Here it is.  I wish you such an experience.


It was a week of t-shirt days and sweat suit nights

Watching the Artist scarlet the maples.

It was logs and stone and pine needles and glistening red berries;

Morning sunshine filtered through pine trees

And white birch trees that marched forth

From a black forest ‘neath the moon’s spotlight.


The bay, a smooth blanket of sapphire,

A lone sailboat drifted by.

Rolling green hills, blackberry bushes,

White clouds webbing the sky;

Bright new condos along the shore

Like sea gulls facing the wind;

Weathered log cabins hiding deep in the woods.


Red barns, blue silos, white lighthouses,

purple asters, pink mums, goldenrod,

Hummingbirds and screeching crows;

A rocky cliff, a sawdust path, a white-tailed doe.


A time to share the joy of a woodcarver

Caressing his first sandpiper into being;

To hear a poet bring her soul to light.

A time for such stillness only birds bickered in the trees

And the sea lapped gently at the shore.

It was new faces, new voices and oatmeal with raisins;

A small room and thick wooly blankets and loons on the water.


It was mood-setting Chopin on the way,

And Charlie Parker on the way home,

And me in the middle

Stretching, sinking, swallowing.

It was all of that and more.

Don’t ask me what I did there.

I was.


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Julie Rose


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            I recently asked my 14 year old grandson if he knew what a Haiku was.  He smiled and said:

          Haikus are easy

Sometime they don’t make sense.


           The Japanese are masters at this form of verse. Perhaps its structure appeals to their high regard for simplicity. I’m not a student of Haikus and know nothing about its origin or development but one day, disgusted with a novel I was working on, I decided to try to write one.  My first effort failed – so did the second.  It’s no easy trick to have an idea and express it in something like eight to twelve words, maintaining the required 5-7-5 syllabification.  It was such fun that I kept going until I finally had a few that, even if they won’t win any prizes, at least conform to the required structure. It’s especially challenging to write one where the last line is unexpected – rather like the punch line of a joke or hippotomus.

Chocolate chip pie

Whipped cream tempts and teases

Here is your fork eat.


Silver and candles

The table entices me

Dine converse relax.


The search for knowledge

Confusing, terrifying

A snake in the grass.


His voice a whisper

His gentle hands waterfalls

He smells of roses.


I open a book

Words of wisdom tumble out

Manna for my brain.


The world clothed in white

I hide from snow and cold wind

Hibernation mine.


Words whisper and flow

Arms tenderly enfold me

Treasures remembered.


I splash in the waves

Surf caresses and tickles

Fish, water lilies.


Lights flicker inside

Darkness tiptoes through windows

Peace serenity.


A road by a stream

Cool water ripples on rocks

Ducks, turtles and swans


A garden I seek

Smelling of lilacs in bloom

Buds on rose bushes


Challenge: write a Haiku.

Julie Rose


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I sometimes think I’d be very content living in a teepee, mountains and wild life surrounding me. Or – a small cabin on the edge of a lake filled with fish for my dinner, weeping willow  trees lining its banks and an herb garden at my front door.  For the most part we don’t live like that.  There was a time in our history when nature was primary in everyday lives but that is no longer the case.   Today it plays a secondary, walk-on role in our lives.

The question is: how did that happen? What is the driving force behind the subjugation of nature brought about by politics, religion, education and business? Assuming such a power exists, one might at first say GREED.  But how does greed play into education? Is it conspiracy?  Again, when it comes to education, that’s not the answer.  Does education even belong in that list? I think it does.

Poor student performance – kids who can’t read – is indicative of the fact that education is not doing its job. And the inability to provide what people need also applies to religion, politics and business.  None of our formal institutions provide us with the proper tools to do justice to maintaining our natural world.  We simply don’t know how to do it.

If  it’s not greed, not conspiracy, what is it?  Could it be egotism?  Is egotism – the desire to be recognized to the exclusion of all else – the desire to be ‘top gun’ – the force that underlies the subjugation of nature.  Egotism, I think, does apply to all four categories though you have to look beyond the classroom to find it in education. There it can be found among the publishers of text books who resist change with a vengeance and refuse to admit to the extraordinary capacity of very young children to learn.

I’d also have to say that organized religion bears some responsibility for the subjugation of nature.  Invented deities replaced Mother Earth and, for the most part, those invented deities offered mankind no guidelines for living in tune with nature.  I don’t dispute their guidelines for living in tune with others but their emphasis was certainly not on nature. Those of a religious persuasion would reject egotism as an explanation but isn’t “my God’s better than your god” egotistical? Doesn’t egotism, to a large extent, drive General Motors and Boeing and Sara Lee?  I don’t think you can question it in relation to politics

What does subjugation of nature really mean? It means a failure to appreciate the wonders of nature: it’s never sitting quietly in a forest and watching the birds overhead and the critters at your feet; it’s not experiencing  a sense of awe at the sight of a snow-covered mountain or a leaping dolphin.

It’s not understanding what these people said:

          “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” – Rachel Carson

          “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with  your hair. – Kahlil Gibran

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it . . . People think pleasing God is all God cares bout. But any fool living in the world can see it is always trying to please us back.” – Alice Walker, The Color Purple

          “In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. – Charles A. Lindbergh.

          Just think how different our world would be if the powers that be in the four components of that insidious fork subscribed to those statements.

Post a comment. What do think it is?

Julie Rose


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