Saturday, April 25, 2015

""One Toe into Stupid"

The road that cuts through our property

            Excitement be-bops in syncopation with music as we snake around the Scenic Loop heading toward our hideaway outside of Leakey. Our vow to spend more weekends in our piece of peace gets swept aside by life’s demands, and so the anticipation for spending a mere twenty-four hours hiking our hills energizes us. Even the dogs know “cabin” means meandering through the hills, sniffing out deer, rabbit, field mice and wild hogs. They fight against the urge to sleep as the car sways into and out of curves.
              Green pulses everywhere. Clouds cap the tallest hills and feather trees with fingers of mist. Raindrops, large and fat, plop against our windshield with unexpected force, but then a few miles further the sun teases through the haze. Next to us, the river runs high in testimony to the heavier rains that soaked the hill country the day before.
            Our new car, hanging closer to the ground than our old SUV, hugs the slick highway with ease, but as I see more evidence of water and localized flooding, I wonder about the condition of the road into our cabin. The three mile final stretch to our place is a gravel and caliche mix with a section of blacktop where one “neighbor” laid asphalt along his property. A dry creek crosses the road in three different sections. One permanent resident in the area owns his own grater and keeps the road passable, but when we pull down the lane our tracks are the only ones to mar the surface. Worry sneaks into the car and settles into my stomach as David crawls us along at a cautious ten miles per hour. He eases the car’s speed even slower as we near a patch of rocks. We crunch over gravelly patches, but when thump, thump, thump rattles the car, he brings us to a complete stop.
            I hop out and scan the area behind us, trying to find the rock we must have grazed, but can’t see anything large or protruding in our wake.
            “I’m going to walk ahead,” I call back to David. “Check out the road near the first dry creek.” Within ten feet, the evidence of just how much rain has hit the area surfaces with the road totally washed out. Nothing short of a 4-Wheel-Drive can make it over this section of road!
            “We’re going to have to leave the car here and backpack it into the cabin,” I suggest to David.
            “Maybe we can fill in that section and crawl on through,” David proposes as he approaches me, trailing both dogs. Then he sees the washed-out patch and scans another worse area about fifteen feet ahead. “Maybe not.”
            “Why don’t we at least move the car off so we’re not blocking the road and hike up to the cabin? We’re this close, and we can at least check it over—even if we don’t stay.”
Koi and Bridget on the road on a dry day
            Bridget and Koi meander ahead of me, dodging off the road as they sniff and scout. David snugs the car into a little grassy area, and together we pick our way over exposed rock beds and slip-n-slide up the last hill to our cabin. We quickly circle the exterior of the small house doing a visual check for damage or break-ins. Shedding our mud caked shoes, we both feel relief to find the interior tidy and inviting.
            Our relief, however, proves short-lived since our return trek to the car forces us to look at the road from a totally different view. Our low slung sedan had eased over one stretch because we nosed at a downward angle. Going upward seems impossible since the car needs to climb over four to six inch ledges with sharp edges.
            Panic floods me and I double over weak kneed, “Ohgodohgodohgod, we’re trapped!”
            David stands beside me, “We can hug that area over there,” he points to a berm of rock and gravel created by an earlier grating. “If we fill in this section a little more, I think I can get the car through.”
            “What about that section?” I point up the road about eight feet further along. “Will you be able to zig the car over from that side to this better area in that short of a distance?”
            “We’ll need to fill in a much as we can, but I think I can do it.”
            We lift, shift, heave and shove smaller rocks and gravel into the areas where David plans on driving. By now, the dogs have sensed our anxiety and a muddied Koi tries to follow David into the car. Since he doesn’t want any distractions as he’s driving, I haul the squirming dog into my arms and start guiding David over the stretch of repairs.
            He doesn’t make it very far when the tires sink into the loose gravel and hold fast. Stuck!
            “Should I back up?”
            “No. We’re only moving forward.”
            David pops out of the car to check the front wheel on the driver’s side and begins digging around it. I drop Koi, who scurries into the open car and jumps onto the blanket that covered the backseat. Bridget takes advantage of our distraction and jumps into the car, too. On hands and knees, I claw away everything by the front passenger tire.
            David scrutinizes the path again, decides we’ll not get a better shot, and restarts the car. He has to give it a little gas to push it free and has almost no time to shift its course to hit the next stretch of road at the correct angle, but skill and luck propel him over and onto a smooth patch. Victory!
            Covered in grime and sweat, I sink with relief into the passenger seat.
            “It was like driving over wet marbles,” amazement tinges David’s voice. He shifts out of park and it’s only a few seconds before the car’s wheels touch our neighbor’s blacktop.
            “We weren’t stupid,” I point out. “We stopped when we hit that first rock.”
            “Well, I’d say we were one toe into stupid.”
Copyright 2015 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman
Dry portion of our road. A slip-n-slide of clay this trip.

"Parental Love"

Guided through life    
by a silver thread    
that winds through the     
mazes our minds create       

Fine and delicate
it’s a spider’s soft silk    
that gathers the morning dew
and catches the sun’s warmth     

A gossamer of spun fairy’s hair   
touched with magic and dreams  
as fragile as a hummingbird’s egg   
yet strong with love and faith   

"Gottcha Day" in 1986

Copyright 1989 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Friday, April 24, 2015

"I Want to Give You the World"

I want to give you the world 
with its promise    
with its pleasure    
with its plenitude  
I want to give you the world     
without the doubts   
without the debt  
without the desperation    
I want to give you the world  
with its splendor  
with its sunrises 
with its surprises   
I want to give you the world    
without the worry     
without the weaknesses    
without the wantonness  
I want to give you the world   
with its hope    
with its humor     
with its happiness    

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"On the Outside"

Eye See You by David Chapman (in Adobe Illustrator)    

Required attendance  
Yet superfluous and unnecessary  
once there  
out of place  
in the drunken alien celebration   
every weekend of the year  
Standing unnoticed  
Sitting ignored  
Free to observe  
the tribal dance around the fire  
Invited out of habit  
Mandatory appearances  
Yet resented and misunderstood  
for Differences  
pointless as a fork in a bowl of cereal    

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"Sterling Silver"

Part of a set brought out for special occasions          
showing guests wholeness and belonging—       
            matching, complementary, complete      
            “All for one, and one for all!”      
The family motto reiterated in ritualistic chant      

Part of a set displayed on holidays       
buffed with care into sparkle and gleam           
            hiding flaws and secrets      
            under layers of protective polish         
Impressing outsiders and onlookers      

Part of a set exhibited for ceremony     
identical in rigid expectations     
            proof of continuity and unity         
            loaded with traditional roles            
Indistinguishable utensils of the matriarch         

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"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


Monday, April 20, 2015

"The Cottage"

Cottage on Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands, Ireland September 2010    

Whitewashed walls tinged rose by sunrise’s blush
sashes—a splash of sky
new thatch mixes with dew’s perfume
while flowers and ferns embroider the path of home
Door opens with smiles and cheer
Peat banked in the hearth
black pot nestles in amber embers simmering Guinness stew
Lace daintily drips from the table
—tatted by Grams’ steady hands
Oatcakes totter on a platter
sheep’s cheese, churned butter, honey, cream
and tea brewed black—a midnight sky swirling with galaxies
From the loft flows the fiddle’s enchantment
a boy’s toe tapping, keeping the beat
drowning out the past’s lament

Cottage at Bunratty Castle

tears of yesteryear hidden in another song
Share a pint
Share a verse
Share our life
Welcome home!
Welcome home.

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Cottage at Bunratty Castle

During our entire trip through Ireland, a place I'd never visited before, I felt as though I was returning home.


Cottage on Inisheer

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"A Field of Flowers"

The seed   
planted deep into the warm womb   
protected by shell and earth     
softens under ground   
as skies weep and weep   
it feeds upon itself   
drawing upon stored energy   
until a fragile spout forms   
roots, like fairy hair, seek purchase   
they hold tightly to the nurturing mother   
confident of her care   
the shoot breaks into sunshine   
unfolds tender leaves   
trusting in the gentleness of spring   
when killing frosts   
sheltered from whips of wind   
buds bloom  
into the glorious promise of life   
sprinkled with morning dew   
blossoming with hope   
for a field of flowers   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman