Saturday, February 11, 2012

“Puddle Reflections”


         Rain pounded our roof a couple of nights ago with a rhythmic beat that lulled me into a deeper sleep. Our parched earth must have sighed in relief as the water fell. At first, the soil sucked the moisture below the surface, a dry sponge soaking in every drop. As the rainfall continued, the water began to pool into puddles. With morning light, small mirrors decorated the ground. These miniature ponds delighted me as they symbolized satisfaction. Our Mother’s thirst sated after months of want.  


          One small puddle near the back door, which translates into muddy paw prints on my carpet, made me smile instead of groan. A little mud after our months of drought seems a small price to pay. I keep my fingers crossed that the grass that once grew in this spot returns with the spring (and possibly more rain.)



          Nature offers her interpretation of sky and leaf. The littlest things life provides, like unexpected puddles of rain, refresh a flagging spirit. The promise of Spring rests with each pooled drop.







The sky and trees reflected by the shallow rainwater brought me joy. The night's storm left the leaves shimmering and clean, a natural baptism. The inches of water resting upon our Mother represents rebirth in the weeks to come.











Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Friday, February 10, 2012


            I love the entire Star Trek franchise. Only nine when the first series debuted, I recall propping up my head against a stack of pillows, my favorite blanket in hand, to watch the adventures of the Enterprise and her crew. My sister’s love for Chekov mystified me as Spock captured my attention with his devotion to logic and science. I dismissed the antics of the plastic characters in Lost in Space while I longed to join the journey “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

            The rash and brash cockiness of James T. Kirk hooked me from the first episode. I loved his assertive leadership and boasting attitude. A Cavalier risk-taker, Kirk’s impetuousness influenced my playground spunk. I emulated his swagger in mock battles. I mimicked his self-confidence as I bossed other kids around. I fought against “aliens” and outwitted opponents with a mixture of wit, charm, and arrogance that guaranteed my popularity in the neighborhood. Small for my age, I learned from Kirk that acting first and thinking later edged my ability to hold my own among the older kids. With flailing fists or whipping jump rope, my brazen attacks against villains may have landed me in trouble with my parents, but no one messed with Lizzy during my Captain Kirk phase.
            As an adult, a different captain of the Enterprise captured my interest. Star Trek: The Next Generation aired its first episode in 1987 with Jean-Luc Picard in charge. This captain didn’t have Kirk’s devil-may-care defiance. Picard, who learned from his youthful mistakes, provided a rational and diplomatic leader for his crew. He often displayed his boldness with subtle nuances that appealed to my grown-up Lizzy. Picard liked music, and art, and books. He understood consequences to his actions. He tried to think first and then act, very different from my childhood idol, Kirk. Picard entered my life when I had matured into relying upon negotiation to solve playground problems. His tact and discretion became traits I admired and wished, sometimes desperately, to claim as my own.
            So when the question arises, as it inevitably does in Geek conversations, “Which captain of the Enterprise is better, Kirk or Picard?” I have my reasons for loving both. The child in me clings to Kirk with his youth and energy while the adult in me would love to sit and sip Earl Grey, hot, with Jean-Luc.   





Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

“Kirk or Picard?’


            I love the entire Star Trek franchise. Only nine when the first series debuted, I recall propping up my head against a stack of pillows, my favorite blanket in hand, to watch the adventures of the Enterprise and her crew. My sister’s love for Chekov mystified me as Spock captured my attention with his devotion to logic and science. I dismissed the antics of the plastic characters in Lost in Space while I longed to join the journey “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

            The rash and brash cockiness of James T. Kirk hooked me from the first episode. I loved his assertive leadership and boasting attitude. A Cavalier risk-taker, Kirk’s impetuousness influenced my playground spunk. I emulated his swagger in mock battles. I mimicked his self-confidence as I bossed other kids around. I fought against “aliens” and outwitted opponents with a mixture of wit, charm, and arrogance that guaranteed my popularity in the neighborhood. Small for my age, I learned from Kirk that acting first and thinking later edged my ability to hold my own among the older kids. With flailing fists or whipping jump rope, my brazen attacks against villains may have landed me in trouble with my parents, but no one messed with Lizzy during my Captain Kirk phase.
            As an adult, a different captain of the Enterprise captured my interest. Star Trek: The Next Generation aired its first episode in 1987 with Jean-Luc Picard in charge. This captain didn’t have Kirk’s devil-may-care defiance. Picard, who learned from his youthful mistakes, provided a rational and diplomatic leader for his crew. He often displayed his boldness with subtle nuances that appealed to my grown-up Lizzy. Picard liked music, and art, and books. He understood consequences to his actions. He tried to think first and then act, very different from my childhood idol, Kirk. Picard entered my life when I had matured into relying upon negotiation to solve playground problems. His tact and discretion became traits I admired and wished, sometimes desperately, to claim as my own.
            So when the question arises, as it inevitably does in Geek conversations, “Which captain of the Enterprise is better, Kirk or Picard?” I have my reasons for loving both. The child in me clings to Kirk with his youth and energy while the adult in me would love to sit and sip Earl Grey, hot, with Jean-Luc.   





Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“Hankies”

         A box of Kleenex can survive in our house for six months, sometimes even a year. Not because we never get colds or fight allergies, but because we use old fashioned handkerchiefs. These little square pieces of cloth decorated my childhood. My little purse, clutched in my hands as I sat in the church pew, contained a rosary, a nickel for the offering basket, and a lacy handkerchief. Easter baskets often included an embroidered square that I folded neatly next to my white gloves, resting both treasures in my top drawer along with my Troll dolls and Rat Finks.


lace
embroidered









         My father always carried white handkerchiefs, first during his Air Force years, and later as a deputy sheriff. I practiced my skills with the iron using his hankies, which puckered into tight, crinkled balls from the dryer’s heat. Each handkerchief required sprinkles of water, a hot iron set at cotton, and   rhythmic back and forth pressure to smooth them wrinkle free. I remember pressing out the rumples, and then folding the fabric in half. Using the tip of my iron, I’d set creases, fold again, crease again until each handkerchief stacked neatly into a regimented pile. The television kept me company during this chore, and I found it therapeutic in its repetition. I remember the pride I felt when my mother let me iron the sheets, and when I graduated to doing more complicated shirts and dresses, I felt honored with the trust this chore represented.

Dad's practical white;
Mom's new stripes

         My mother inherited Dad’s handkerchiefs. When she resided in an assisted living facility, she’d leave one here and another there. Some found their way back to her apartment because the aids trailed after her and swept them from the ground when she dropped them. Many never found their way home, so within a couple of months I raided her stash of new hankies that Dad had purchased, but never used. Before she misplaced all of his handkerchiefs, I decided to buy new ones just for Mom. It took me a while, but eventually I located nice sets at Kohl’s.
         Hankies fit Mom’s needs better than tissues. When her neurologist tried a new medication on her a few years ago, she drooled continuously. A wimpy tissue would never have absorbed her output! Hankies also offer a level of softness superior to tissues. Mom can blow her nose all day when she has a cold and never come out looking lie Rudolph. In a pinch, we’ve grabbed a handkerchief for a rag to sop up spills as well as using them instead of paper napkins.
         Recently, I’ve found myself tucking one of Dad’s hankies into my pocket or purse as I head out the door. I found comfort in clutching these soft squares of cloth as I sat through three funerals this winter. In a way, I’m carrying a part of my father with me in times of great sorrow. Within this society of disposable tissues, mops, dusters, and diapers the resilience of my father’s handkerchief symbolizes the continuity of life and traditions, even one as small as a hankie.   

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

“In Sickness . . .”

         It started with a tickle in my throat. Just a slight irritation that nagged me during the day on Saturday, so I sipped hot tea all evening and went to bed early. It morphed into a military boot crushing my trachea, making breathing labored and shallow. Painful needles used my throat as a pincushion while someone with an icepick stood inside my brain, trying to hack his way out through my frontal lobe. I staggered from bed to couch and cowered under a blanket, whimpering in submission to my torturer. I scrolled through Netflix until I found something to watch (translation—sleep through) as I suffered through the late morning and early afternoon in misery. I decided the melodious voices of Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant would sooth my spirit, if not my body, and snuggled down to watch Sense and Sensibility one more time. The escape into the love story of Elinor and Edward, along with Marianne and Colonel Brandon’s tale, allowed me to ignore my pounding headache. Scenery and costume calmed my mind and permitted a reprieve from the wretchedness of my viral invader. When the film came to the scene of Marianne’s illness, I felt her pain and suffering. And the happily-ever-after ending warmed me more than the hot tea I sipped.
         While I lay supine upon the couch, my own love story played out like a full Austen manuscript. I heard David run my mother’s bath, help her bathe and dress for the day. He offered her several choices for her lunch, preparing her meal and helping her as she needed. He moved the painting that he’s working on into the kitchen to a spot where he could hear both of our requests for aid. I know somewhere in our wedding vows we wrote our version of “in sickness and in health,” but I don’t think either of us ever imagined this vow would include my mother. I may find myself evading life’s demands with Austen in hand (or on screen), but in reality I live within a magnificent romance.


Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"The Act of Sorrowing"

Poulna brone Dolmen: 6000 year-old dolmen in The Burren, County Clare, Ireland


Lamentations drift across the Burren     
echo through portals of eternity     
marking humanity’s mortality
       
In the chamber, portico, and the grykes     
sleep the fleshless bones of ancient souls who     
give testimony to adversity     
in life, deference and honor in death     


Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Monday, February 6, 2012

"The Censor"


stifle my feelings    
tell me what I can think   
amend my beliefs to fit your own   
control my words with your raised fists   
remove my logic   
suppress my truth with your denial   
protect your illusions by overpowering reality   
create your stories that rewrite history   
pout and threaten and yell the loudest   
edit and cut until I don’t exist   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

We all deal with this type of person. They have their own agenda, and if our point of view doesn't fit with their world view, they'll do their best to oppress and control.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Mush Brain"


Mush brain plagues me tonight   
Muddled thoughts flitter left and right   
No awesome philosophies     
Just jumbled harmonies   
Flights of fancy tether down   
Tremendous insights run aground    
Imagination is rust   
Creativity dries to dust   
Mush brain plagues me tonight
Leaves me hopelessly without sight 

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

 

http://bethmann15.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-pen-is-going-on-holiday.html