The old man

The old man walks slowly down the path,
his knees are worn from a lifetime of miles,
his aching hips creak with every halting step,
he leans on his cane, his back is bent.
Still, he walks

His clear blue eyes water in the cold air,
he raises a handkerchief to his nose once again,
as he searches the horizon for a sign,
a sign he'll know only once he's seen it.
Still, he walks.

Miles that he once easily strode
are measured now by the familiar pain.
His wills his reluctant feet to continue
though no sign is seen, and the horizon recedes.
Still, he walks.

The solid ground 'neath his worn boots,
long acquainted with his weary stride,
a partner for all his many years,
waits patiently to enfold him in its cool embrace.
Still, he walks.

On the horizon, the old man saw
the sign that only he would know.
He straightened his back, and lengthened his stride.
Gone was the pain, so long his companion.
Ahead a companion, so long departed.

The horizon was not so far after all.
Near the end of the path, he turned to look
back upon the many miles he'd walked.
He raised his handkerchief one last time,
and took the last few steps. 

The old man walks no more.

(C) Tim Blodgett   begun 10/19, completed 04/17/20

 

I wrote the first four stanzas of this poem October 2019 after my Uncle Charles stopped by my store. He was returning from an apple orchard in Easton, where they had the best Northern Spies. He couldn’t stay long, it was getting late in the day, and he wanted to be home before it started to get dark. He was having trouble with his night vision, I suppose at 87, that’s to be expected. We talked about fishing, he loved to fish. We talked about hunting, he loved that too, but he said he was getting too old to get out anymore. I told him that I would go with him if he wanted get out into the woods for a little while. He said he would like that, but he couldn’t walk very far on account of his hips, and the cold really got to him nowadays. We talked about apples, apple pies, and grafting apple trees. I remembered learning about that from my grandfather in his small orchard back in the early ’70s. We talked the small garden he kept. He was wearing a beat up old hat we had made for our store years ago, he wanted to get a new one next time we had them made.

His voice was strong, his mind and sense of humor were sharp. His eyes were blue and clear. They watered, like his nose, but the ever-present handkerchief was at the ready when needed. (That’s a Blodgett thing, I remember my father and grandfather also exhibited this trait. I have not yet reached the age where that has become a concern for me. Yet.) I looked closely at him. His skin was getting more transparent and spotted with age. He had become more stooped and crooked over the years. He was 87 after all. Still, I thought he had a few years left in him.

I was wrong.

His journey ended April 16, 2020, a little after 6:00 am. It wasn’t Covid that sent him to the hospital for his last few days. He was tired, at peace, and ready to join with Aunt Bev.

I wrote the last three stanzas April 17, 2020, after I wrapped my head around him being gone.

His death caught me by surprise. My sister told me and I told my brother, we were all caught by surprise. I guess we all thought that he would be there, old and unchanging for ever. How childish we can be.

He was a good man, we will miss him.

Whenever I hear the song ‘Band on the run’ by Paul McCartney and Wings, I remember when He and Aunt Bev took me camping and fishing on a lake in the Adirondacks about ’74. I remember hearing that song, it was raining and grey and I was fishing. I went camping with them at the Boreas River also, they had a pop-up camper, I didn’t catch any trout, but I caught a smallmouth bass. The first time I ever drove a car, (13 or 14) I drove his old Jeep Wagoneer. It was standard shift and I had to drive it up a narrow, steep logging road up to a cabin that he helped his father build years before. The steep stretch of the road dropped into a deep ravine a couple feet from the edge of the road. I was terrified, but I did it. He had a revolver, I think Smith & Wesson, chambered in .41 Magnum, that he used to carry when hunting and camping. He taught me how to shoot it when I was much younger than anyone would think prudent nowadays. I remember asking him if it kicked much.

“It kicks like an elephant”, he replied.

I’ll never forget that. I learned about firearms, how to handle them, to respect them and to be responsible with them at a young age. Those were valuable lessons that extend far beyond their original intent. They guide me still in the way I handle any tool, machine, or device that can do harm when mishandled. More people should learn those lessons.

Moonrise (do over!)

I added a screen shot of how the poem was supposed to look! I used center alignment but it posted the way it wanted to anyway. Bad computer, bad!

I didn’t know that it was the ‘Pink Super Moon’ rising in the east last Tuesday. I was just lucky that I was in a location that offered this view. I was luckier still to have turned my attention from my fishing pole and notice the moon peeking from behind the hill on the opposite side of South Bay on Lake Champlain. The top arc of the moon was barely visible through the breaks in the trees and I wasn’t even sure what I was seeing at first. Three seconds later I knew what it was and I scrambled to dig my phone from my pocket. Precious seconds were wasted in that struggle! By the time I turned the camera on, this is how far the moon rose.

Peek-a-boo

Funny how motionless the moon seems in the night sky, but put it on the horizon, or behind a hill, and we see it move with surprising speed.

Hello Moon

The moon always draws my eye. No matter her phase, or her color She is always super.

This is how I intended it to appear!
My Muse  

Oh, bright
goddess of the night, sailing 
'cross the firmament, cast your lunar light
our way. Illuminate the darkened earth, chase the 
the inky shadows westward, give the monsters no place 
to hide, bestow courage on fearful hearts. Where blackness 
reigned and blinded our eyes, your cool nocturnal glow gives
us comfort. We gaze upon your shining face, dreamers, lovers,
artists, human in our imperfections, perfect because of them.
You transport us to a higher plane, you inflame the passion
in our breasts, you enlighten us, inspire us, quicken our 
minds, fuel our creativity, you bring wonder to our
jaded lives. Promise me you will return.
 Guide us through another 
dark night.


(C) Tim Blodgett   04/09/20   

I never tire of her.

Look, but don’t touch!

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Virgin white petals
Bloodroot's brief bloom graces spring
Look, but do not touch!

I spotted these flowers growing by the roadside while on a bike ride yesterday. As I sped by, I thought to myself;

“Stop and get a picture of those flowers, they are really pretty, and would be nice to share in my next blog.”

I didn’t. I had a good head of steam going and I was just starting up a hill, so I kept pedaling. This morning, I opened an email from The Dept. of Environmental Conservation and there it was, a picture of the flowers I had seen. I learned that they were Bloodroot flowers. DEC described it as follows;

“As a spring ephemeral, the flower of the plant is visible for just a few days before it withers away.”.

I went back today and took these photos, I didn’t want to miss my chance. Originally, I was going to build a haiku around the phrase, ‘here today, gone tomorrow” because of their fleeting appearance. After researching a little, I learned that these beauties can be quite dangerous if carelessly handled. They were used by Native Americans medicinally, but primarily as a source of red dye. The sap is caustic to and if left on the skin, it will destroy tissue and leave a scar. The sap has been used in salves as a topical treatment for skin lesions, cancers and warts. Use of this salve, commonly known as ‘Black salve’, is a dangerous, ineffective remedy and can have severely disfiguring consequences. Check it out on Wikipedia if you’re curious.

Keep your eyes open for patches of these flowers in the next few weeks if you live in the eastern US and Canada. Depending on your location, you can expect to see them from March to May. Enjoy them with your eyes only!

The other side of fire: Inspired by Ebony and Crows

I missed a lot of notices of new posts by bloggers that I follow several weeks ago. There was a local crisis that diverted my attention for a few days, but that’s another story. One of the notices I missed was for ‘Fiddling While Rome Burns’, by Ebony and Crows.

Please, before you read on, visit the link highlighted above and read Larisa’s post!

I’ve enjoyed reading her posts and poetry and getting to know her a little through them. She is a thoughtful woman who has made me laugh, think and bristle in her defense. She has also made this newbie feel welcome, and through her, I’ve discovered many other incredible writers.

Thank you Larisa

Her poem was written in the time just before our present reality and was an expression of her own thoughts and struggles. I was drawn in by its darkness and the bold defiance and power of its final words. Reading it a month and a half later, through the current lens, inspired a different response from me than it would have back then. I think we all wonder what comes after.

The other side of fire

Revel now, the city is burning!
And hope!
May what rises from the ashes
carry us on wings
purified by flame
stained by sorrow
strengthened by courage
tempered by loss
to a place
where we that passed through fear
can rest and find comfort
in the embrace
of those we love

(C) Tim Blodgett 04/20

I enjoy responding to posts with poetry in the comments. This is what I wrote as a comment to Larisa. It wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last!

I also want to thank all the others that liked, and gave me encouragement for the Fan Fic category. I hope you enjoy it.

Vixen in the rough

I read a post by Foxes and Poems called ‘A Poem About Oblivion’. It triggered my thoughts about relationships and how they can be so toxic at times. I find it sad that people get caught up in unhealthy relationships, oftentimes unaware of the problem until too much is invested to make a clean break.

I’m not making judgements, who am I to do that? I am simply presenting thoughts that have been triggered many times while reading posts of those I follow. My hope is that they were works of fiction, although I know, many were not. I cannot apologize for the hurts inflicted by uncaring partners, but I would if I could.

Men are beasts…

...But, not all of us

I don't know what you see in us,
we predate,
calculate,
can't relate.
We are hopeless,
but, no,
you are our hope,
our salvation
from base predilections
and savage impulses.
You buoy us,
balance us,
care for us,
at your own expense.
Why?

What do you find in us
that's irresistible,
irreplaceable,
redeemable?
Is it the challenge
the thrill,
the danger
of allowing yourself to be engulfed
in a maelstrom 
of pheromones
and carnal desire?
Is it love
or need of validation
that draws you
like the butterfly to the flame
into the arms of the man
from Stockholm?

He will give you neither
and leave behind
your white hot ashes.

Please go to Foxes and Poems and read or listen to April’s post!

Fan fic

I labeled this category ‘Fan Fiction’ because this is where I will post replies, responses, and twists, inspired by the incredible, mind blowing talent of other bloggers. Some of my posts will emulate the other bloggers style, some will illustrate the vision that others create, in my mind, with their words and some will be my attempt to place myself in the world they create and provide an alternative voice or point of view.

All are meant to honor their talent and creativity. All are but an echo, and wouldn’t exist if not for the original work. It is not meant to upstage or improve on an other’s work. If the blogger doesn’t give permission, or decides that they don’t want the post to remain active on my site, I will remove it immediately with my apologies.

Sincerely, Tim Blodgett

Low hanging fruit

Image from Wikipedia

It’s day four of NaPoWriMo, so here’s the next installment. I had a busy day doing stuff. I didn’t have much time to compose high minded, philosophical, or edgy poetry. You won’t be transported to an idyllic dreamscape. In fact, you may be dissappointed and un-follow me.

We will take that chance together.

So, without further adieu, I present, for your enjoyment/revulsion…Poem #4

Poem #4

numbers one through nine
arranged in columns and rows
Sudoku haiku

I can hear you groaning, but come on, it was a little bit clever, wasn’t it?

I enjoy solving Sudoku puzzles, it forces my brain to concentrate on something other than the news. Anyway, it helps pass the time.

Thank you, and Good night!

Man, am I out of shape!

Translation: Holy cow! How did I get so fat!

Answer: YER GETTIN LAZY! (and old and you eat too much)

Yup, I’m calling myself out.

Mirrors lie. Pants and cameras don’t. Scales, charts and recommendations are debatable but pants and cameras are brutally honest.

About 13 years ago, I was rapidly approaching 230 pounds. I didn’t feel bad and I was relatively active. I knew I was carrying a ‘few’ extra pounds but then I saw two images that hit me like a cast iron frying pan. The first was a photo taken while I was instructing an archery course. I looked like a frog. The second time, I was assaulted by Jabba the Hut staring back at me from dressing mirrors in a hotel bathroom. When I got home, I started walking. Then I jogged, hating every mile I put behind me. Jogging is not my thing, I pound, get shin splints and I’m just a hair faster than molasses. Then I remembered my bike.

My bike was a Sterling Sportlight SIS that I purchased in 1987 (still have it). I rode it for a couple of years, then I got married, moved, started a fishing tackle shop with my new and current bride and worked while my bike collected dust in the shed. I pumped up the tires and oiled the chain and took it for a spin now and again, but I was busy and I didn’t have time to ride regularly. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

Anyhoo…I ressurected it once again and started riding. I used to live on my bike when I was a kid, right up through college, and then, well, you know. The more I rode, the more I wanted to ride, This was my thing. I started riding with groups and got better quickly. A friend I used to ride with in high school lent me his Motobecan racing bike that he had owned since then. It was a few years older than mine, but it rode so much better, it made my bike look like a booger. I rode that for a couple seasons and then I bought a used Specialized Roubaix. No way I could have afforded it new!

My steed, my friend

I went from the Flintstones to the Jetsons in two jumps. My riding improved, my weight dipped close to 190. Another ten and holy cow, I’d be back to my high school weight. Alas, that was not to be. Life changes and new work demands siphoned away my time and I rode less and less.

So here I am, a few years older, rapidly approaching 210 pounds, and tired of straining my waistbands. I had my bike serviced last week and road it yesterday for almost ten miles on it’s first journey of 2020. My performance was what I expected, poor to fair, but that’s okay. It was only my first ride of the year.

Now, come ride with me.

Get the lead out

Kit up
hop in the saddle
and take me for a spin
remember how you used to love 
the wind in your hair
the miles rolling 'neath my wheels
the purr of the chain on my gears
ride me like it's the last time we'll be together
rocket down a hill
feel the thrill
of speed
of danger
of trusting me
race along the flat roads
lean into the turns
not too much, your close to the edge
and gaining speed
power up the hills
I have gears enough
feel the power in your legs
you're starting to flag
draw strength from your core
you're almost there
almost there
almost
there
you can do anything for fifteen more seconds
you're burning
you're numb
you're gasping...
for...
breath...
aaaahhhhhh...
it's all down hill from here

(c) Tim Blodgett 4/3/20

I hear my bike calling.

Threading the needle

Picture I took near my home, Fall 2019

This is a post-script disguised as a preface. Originally, I was going to title this post ‘Wurdz n stuf’. It was going to be very different from what this is. Except for the title, I’m leaving the post as written. I’ll write ‘Wurdz n stuf’ another day. I guess my head wanted to go in a different direction, so I let it. It’s my mind so…look, squirrel!

Words have great power
never underestimate
the effect they have

I have achieved two goals so far:

The first – I have written my first poem of NaPoWriMo. 29 to go.

The second – I have stated the blatantly obvious! Call me…Captain!

My optimistic, and make the best of a sub-optimal (I love that word, thanks Adam) situation, self has been stressed, not to the breaking point but tattered on the edges. We have all been jammed into the uncomfortable position of trying to do what’s right and trying to do what’s right. Uh oh…now were going sideways!

Fence sitting

how do i decide what's right  
when this right 
and that right
are both right
and neither right
is more right 
than the other right
is it right to knowingly do harm to my family
while potentially doing right for my community
is it right to calculate the risks
or is it right to do as I'm told 
i must choose which right 
is the right right
knowing that neither right 
is right 
or wrong    
                                                                                                                  

Well, that’s #2. It just happened without my internal editor’s input. It’s close enough to midnight that I may just count that as a day 2 poem if my brain quits on me tomorrow.

I don’t like being told what to do, never have, never will. That’s my nature. It’s not that I won’t, it’s just that I prefer to arrive at the decision myself. Am I stubborn and/or selfish? Yes to both. They’re not my favorite traits, but they are traits that make me (and you) human. I try to minimize their influence on my decision making, but they can be hard to shake at times. They also serve as a distant early warning system when I recognize their influence. I’m battling them now.

Do I heed the warnings and hide in my home, only venturing out to visit the places where EVERYBODY is going and the risk is greatest? Do I let my exemption applied for, nonessential business remain closed for who knows for how long, as the expenses grow and the cash register remains silent? Will the government help me or offer a slow death with more debt and low interest loans? Will I recover or go bankrupt? Will my sacrifice help everyone, or just hurt me and mine?

Do I fight for myself and my family, get the exemption, use safe practices and conduct business to generate enough income to pay my creditors and survive to fight in the next uncertain year? Will doing this expose me and mine to a greater threat of getting ill? Will I recover or die? Will my fight help anyone, or just hurt me and mine?

I’m trying to thread the needle because both choices suck. I’m trying to stay optimistic because the alternative sucks. I want to do the right thing and be part of the solution but I can’t give up without a fight because, you guessed it, that sucks.

I will do the right thing, even if it’s hard.