Run Time – A Haibun and Runfession #12, July 2020

I press the button right before our feet step off the driveway – Run Time! This has become our nightly ritual – our mother/daughter walks becoming mother/daughter runs over the span of this summer. I wanted our time together to give me a portal into your world – my own TARDIS into teenager-hood. 

Instead, we went from walking to running then sprinting – at least for me. Your time went from a 20 minute mile to a 17 minute mile and then a 12 minute mile. This is my regular middle of the pack pace, a pace I love and can do forever even while talking. But you, my dear daughter, pushed the pace and me – faster and faster. Your current time is a 10 minute mile – too fast for your old mum to catch you and ask about the two hour talk you had with your friend who’s a boy. 

Today, you almost broke into a 9 minute mile, but instead, you slowed down and waited for me to catch up, noting how much slower I am running. “Is this what happens when you get older?” you ask. Does she glimpse her future through the portal of my sweat stained face?  We walk the rest of the mile, time unknown, the portal propped open.

Summer sun fading

Time passes through the portal 

The sunflower weeps

In the spirit of Renard’s post, I am not going to apologizing for not posting at all in the past week. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it had been over a week since my last post. It was only when I realized that I had missed two prompts from Patrick and Sadje that I looked at my calendar – oh, how time files when you’re feeling stressed!

This haibun and runfession incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #242 – Time and #243 – Portal (I’m still on the streak!!). It’s not a traditional haibun, but it does capture a new tradition for my daughter and I which I will gladly runfess! Thanks to Marcia for the Runfession forum – I didn’t get a chance to link up this month, but I’ll catch up for next!

Forgive me Brooks for I have sinned….

I runfess….my daughter is now running faster than me and has logged more miles than I have in the past month. I am proud of her yet frustrated at myself for not being as consistent as she has. On the days when we can’t run outside, she runs on the treadmill downstairs or runs around the house (literally, she is running up and down the stairs, doing laps around the kitchen island, running in circles around her siblings) while I’m making dinner or doing laundry or doing some other mom-ming duty. These are the things that I put aside when I run with her outside. While I do cherish the one on one time I can spend with her, this usually means dinner is later or I’m folding laundry until midnight. Still, I love seeing her persistence and pride in getting her mile in and getting faster.

I runfess….I’ve set a goal of hitting 100 miles in August. It’s sinking in that we are already a week in and I haven’t meet my weekly mileage for this past week. I know this is due to stressing out about whether to send my kids to school or not. I have been doing research on the computer, talking to local friends who are doctors or teachers about what they’re doing, reaching out to people for their take on the situation. It’s a lot of information and I have not yet made peace with our decision which is due tomorrow. This week though, I am getting back on track! I’ll report back at the end of August!

I runfess…I really miss races! Let me clarify, I really miss the EXPO before big races! I loved getting the free stuff and trying out new gels and drinks, getting great discounts for signing up for races. I loved meeting up with other MRTT/SRTT members and “carb loading” after getting our swag. I even loved getting the race shirt that never seemed to fit right. There was always that buzzing excitement of all these people coming together for one purpose. There is really nothing like it! I miss that.

There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic running.” There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic life”!! Still, this time has brought about some positive changes (as well as some negative). This coming month, I’m choosing to focus on these positives. Like the sunflower that re-orients itself to the east at night so it can catch the first rays of the sunrise, I am re-orienting my mindset after making this stressful school decision. Here’s to the sunrise!

©️ 2020 iido

What Do You See? – A Poem

Three pairs of teacups

Or is it two pairs of three?

Waiting for loving hands

Or is it more a mystery?

.

A pair of pictures

One dark and one light

An ominous warning?

Or a universe’s insight?

.

A lone vase 

Filled with branches reaching

The seated figure

Meditating or teaching?

.

The elegant teapot

In front of the chair

In front of that wall

Of hope or despair?

.

Our eyes’ observation

And mind’s interpretation

Won’t know the artist’s intention

Just our own assertation

.

Three pairs of teacups

Or two pairs of three

It only really matters

If we disagree

Image credit; 五玄土 ORIENTO – Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a table set with six teacups, a teapot and a glass beaker. The wall at the back is adorned with oriental art and a flower arrangement)

I stole Sadje’s title for this poem for her “What do you see?” Picture Prompt #40. I love reading different responses to the same prompt. It just proves that we really do see things differently based on who we are: our experiences, preferences, points of view all contribute to our interpretation of the information from our senses.

Kate’s Friday Fun prompt – Pairs was the big contributor to my interpretation of Sadje’s prompt. If you remember your elementary math, the number 6 can be made by two different multiplication pairs: 6 and 1, 3 and 2. It doesn’t matter if you have 3 sets of 2 or 2 sets of 3, the result is the same. This is called the Commutative Property and it holds true for addition, as well as, multiplication. (Who said you don’t need math if you’re going to be a poet?!)

With all the different opinions going around about school reopening, I always check to see who the opinion is coming from. Opinions from teachers, especially those who are also parents, have a lot more weight than opinions from politicians or even administrators who don’t have as much at stake. Everyone thinks or feels they are doing what is best for the children – from their point of view.

We have to make a decision about whether to send our kids back to school this week and it’s not getting easier. Writers – if you have sent your child(ren) back to school, what factored into your decision? How was it for the kids? What safety measures did your school take? Do you prefer 2×3 or 3×2?

Anyone who can see the future by reading tea leaves, please chime in as well!

©️ 2020 iido

Brambled Illusion – A Quadrille

I see the sweet berry –

Life as it used to be

I reach through the brambles

Grasping and gasping

The pain of worry scratching

The sting of despair drawing blood

The sweet berry out of reach

Life as it used to be –

An illusion

Not a bramble, but the rough bark is a sharp contrast to the softness of these blossoms.

A late offering for dVerse’s Quadrille #108 – Bramble. This has been a busy week, not so much physically, but mentally (and to be honest, emotionally).

I’ve been doing a lot of research on the pros and cons of sending kids back to school. There are a lot of different opinions out there. Depending on who the opinion is from, sending kids back to school is either imperative or tantamount to child abuse. Even the medical community doesn’t have a consistent message.

There are a lot of competing factors: parents who need to work or just need a break from their kids yet wanting to keep their kids safe; teachers who need to work but worry about their own health and that of their families; administrators who aren’t getting any guidance now suddenly tasked with making these life or death decisions; and of course, politicians who have their own agendas. The most conflicting discussions are the ones debating the importance of children’s physical health versus their emotional/social health.

Why do we have to chose?

These thorny, convoluted questions have made a bramble of my mind. But one thing I am sure of – we will never be able to go back to how life was before.

©️ 2020 iido

What’s on the Line? – A Cinquain

Line up

Six feet apart

Mask over mouth and nose

March together or die alone

Freedom

From Ascension Facebook Page – Posted on July 4, 2020

Another cinquain! This one was prompted by Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #240 – Line.

I thought of the many ways that “line” has been used in various phrases: toeing the line, lineup, on the line, line by line, hook, line and sinker. In Montessori, children are taught to “walk on the line” as part of their practical life teaching. This is a way for them to practice how to control their bodies and develops their sense of balance and concentration.

I think about this as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage in the United States of America, especially in states that haven’t mandated the use of masks. This past week, Robert Redfield, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stated, “I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control.” So why aren’t people doing it? Why are there numerous videos of adults (yes, grown ups! People over 25!!) having tantrums in public places when asked to wear a mask?

I won’t go into the pros and cons of mask wearing here. It shouldn’t even be a matter of political beliefs. I will just point out that comic book superheroes wear masks to protect their loved ones. And our health care heroes definitely wear masks.

There’s no need to read between the lines – right now, when you’re leaving your house, everyone should just wear a mask!

©️ 2020 iido

Petition – A Cinquain

Come down

From your tower

Eat our food. Wash our feet.

Suffer our love. Live our losses.

Witness

Image credit- Stefan Keller- Pixabay 
( For visually challenged reader, the image shows an old bearded man standing on a stone staircase that is leading to a tower. In the background you can see mountains enshrouded in clouds)

Another beautiful prompt from Sadje’s “What do you see?” #38. This one has a Merlin/Harry Potter feel to it, but for me, it spoke more in terms of the “Ivory Tower” and thinking of the disconnect between those making the rules and those who have to enforce the rules and the those who are meant to follow the rules. So often, those three groups are not the same people.

As a social worker, one of the first things that I learned is to “start where the client is,” meaning that people are the experts of their life and that in order to effect change, we need the input of our clients as well as their buy-in to what that change will be. It can’t just be me/the therapist making rules that I expect my client to follow. Good therapy means that the client makes their own rules, enforces these rules and (because they made it themselves), follow these rules to make improvements in their lives.

On a macro level, it always amazes me to see how many systems don’t follow this format. For example, all the men who are making rules about what women a can and can’t do with our bodies or all the non-teachers who are deciding what whether or not to re-open schools during the pandemic. I see this happening on a personal level with my children’s school where the administration is making plans for re-opening without consulting teachers or parents/families regarding needs and concerns.

When will we require our leaders, the rule makers in our lives, to come down from their ivory tower and bear witness?

©️ 2020 iido

Winging It – A Cinquain

Winding

Down – time for sleep

Whining soothed – breathing deep

Tomorrow – promises to keep

Winning

A beautiful sunset –
The reward for surviving the day

It is 1 AM where I am and I’ve been thinking all week about Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #239 – Winding. I was just about to give up when this little cinquain popped into my head. I love playing with words and sounds and the “W” sound in winding, whining, winning and winging, made me happy. Also – all those W words have all the same letters except for one! I’m sure there’s a lesson somewhere in there about perspective and mindset (how changing one thing can change the whole meaning, etc.) but we won’t get into that today.

If you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, being a parent in the middle of a pandemic is HARD! However, there are days that feel less hard and there are also days that feel incredible.

Today was a less hard day.

As I look at my “To Do” list for this coming week (reading blog posts and responding to comments are on there!), I was reminded by my Papa, that I’m doing the best I can. My kids are doing the best they can. We all are doing the best we can with the resources and information that we have.

I am adding being kind to myself and my family on to my “To Do” list for this week. You should too! If you need another reason why, check out Kate’s thoroughly convincing open letter post!

Sometimes you have to start with small goals…

©️ 2020 iido

Prayer to a Hummingbird – A Cinquain

Wise one

Without worries

Knowing that God provides

Help me follow your example

Amen

Image credit- Stefan Keller – Pixabay 
( For visually challenged reader, the image shows a woman holding her hands in supplication. In front of her a hummingbird is hovering in air. There are flowers in the background)

This cinquain was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” picture prompt. This is the first cinquain that I’ve written. Like haiku and other forms that have a syllabic structure, I was really drawn to the challenge!

When I saw this picture, I was reminded of the Bible verse, Matthew Ch. 6, verses 25-34. Truthfully, this verse has been on my mind a lot. It’s mid-July and our school hasn’t said anything about what their plans are going to be for the fall. Are they going to have in-person classes? If so, what are the plans for preventing the spread of the coronavirus? What will they do if a child or teacher gets infected? If they decide to not have in-person classes, how will they structure virtual classes? Since I am not working outside the house, having to “homeschool” the kids won’t be that difficult of an adjustment, however, I know my kids miss the social aspect of going to school.

There have been so many unknowns in terms of what to do to mitigate the effects of this pandemic. The lack of leadership in the USA, coupled with the lack of compassion and long-term thinking of the population has made this worrisome time even more so. None of the articles that I have read and none of the experts I have listened to have given me any insight into what to do to keep my kids safe when school starts in the fall.

I hate feeling helpless. I don’t want to feel hopeless.

So, I’ve been praying – which doesn’t help with coming up with a solution, but it does help relieve some of my anxiety. Oh, to be a hummingbird, right now!

©️ 2020 iido

Anniversary Hike – Three Haikus

Eighteen summers pass

Wishing puffs rooted in dreams

Happiness in bloom

I don’t know the real name of these flowers but they were like bigger dandelion puffs.

In the stillness green

Listen! My heart approaches

Your footsteps crunch leaves

My honey, NOT in his natural habitat…

A path just for two

Greenery gives privacy

Steps to sleepless nights

Nature made stairs for us…

This week, my Honey and I celebrated 18 years of wedded “bliss”! Yes, “bliss” is in quotes because like any other couple, we have had our ups and downs. But dealing with this pandemic as a couple and as a family has shown us that we are pretty well matched.

We celebrated by enlisting my parents to watch the kids while we went on a hike. What would have usually been an easy date night turned into a lesson on risk taking and selflessness (or maybe it was selfishness?). We hadn’t seen my parents since the shelter in place back in March so my kids were ecstatic to spend some time with them. Of course, we went through the pros and cons of whether to allow physical contact, use masks, etc. Sigh. There was no right answer, only love and prayers as we left the house for a few hours.

We took two short hikes – one a sun-filled trail that ended by a man-made lake surrounded by fields. The area is protected land for birds and other wildlife. A groundhog crossed our path as well as two beautiful iridescent blue birds who didn’t even move from their perch when we passed. The second hike was in a park in the middle of the city – a hidden gem that had well-marked hiking trails that traversed up and around a wooded hill and an unmarked trail that led down and long the river. We ended up getting lost and reluctantly had to use our cell phone map to guide us back to the car. An adventure with my Honey – fun and excitement for me (“We’re not lost, we’re exploring!”), exasperating for him (“Let’s use the GPS already!”), but overall we had a wonderful afternoon!

The 2nd haiku incorporates the Tuesday Writing prompt from Beth Amanda at Go Dog Go Cafe to use the phrase “in the stillness” in a piece of writing. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to join in their prompts – this one fell perfectly into place in this haiku! I was trying to capture the image of the two trees framing the water in the background when my Honey came traipsing through like a hairless Sasquatch caught on camera (I say that most lovingly).

The 3rd haiku incorporates a prompt from Patrick’s Thesaurus Game. The prompt was “clandestinely” which is synonymous to “privately” which became “privacy” in this haiku. The last line alludes to having children – our brood is never far from my mind.

It was great to be able to “escape” for awhile – no work, no kids, minimal thoughts of the pandemic. We went during the week so the trails were pretty empty – no need for masks or social distancing. We didn’t go out to eat at a fancy restaurant which is our usual anniversary outing, but spending time together, in nature, breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on our skin was refreshing, healing and connecting.

Here’s to another year with my Honey and wherever our path takes us.

©️ 2020 iido

Traveler – A Thesaurus Game Poem

If I traveled with only a backpack, 

With no place to go and no place to be

A wondering wanderer, I can be called

Searching for my identity

.

If I traveled in my trusty RV

And practiced my talent for strings and flute

My gypsy ways could bring excitement

Until my parking spot starts a dispute

.

If I traveled to places new and exciting

Bringing my own values to locations unknown

My ignorance would call me explorer, pioneer, pilgrim

But what would the inhabitants put on my headstone?

.

So how can a traveler earn a good name

When going on a long awaited expedition?

My traveling advice is simple yet hard

Check your behavior and not your intention.

My traveling kids…I wonder what they are thinking….Picture taken at the Badlands National Park, SD.

This week, Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #238 – Vagabond has a new twist! He has introduced the Thesaurus Game rules, where instead of using the actual word prompt, you use a synonym of that word. Well, I went a little overboard with the synonyms (what can I say, I’m a competitive over-achiever deep down inside!) and I might have snuck in a little bit of social commentary in there (not quite against the rules, but toeing the line), but I did have fun writing this poem!

I love word play – whether it’s a game with words, like Scrabble or Bananagrams, or puns or any other wittiness that involves words. Growing up, I had an old Pringles can that I covered with white paper. Anytime I learned a new word, I would write it on that can. I had a dictionary and thesaurus by the can and would try to use the new word or a synonym or antonym at least seven times before I could check it off and claim it as “Mine”.

My love of words lead me to wanting my kids to also have a love of words. To make sure they had good vocabulary, I never talked to them in baby talk. I read to them when they were still in the womb. I explained and defined words for them. I made sure to pronounce words clearly and concisely. I think my efforts lead to having very articulate children – which has it’s positives and negatives. While my kids all love to talk, I have one who reads a lot but struggles with spelling and vocabulary and one who doesn’t want to read or write at all (despite being able to). This boggles my mind as these are the things I love!

I also wanted to make sure my kids had a chance to travel and really wanted to instill in them a love of travel. The picture above is from our cross-country trip four years ago. It’s one of my favorite memories of all time. The excitement of traveling made the trip easy. We didn’t use any electronics during the drive; instead, we relied on “old fashioned” games like I Spy, Car Bingo and of course, Looking Out the Window.

Driving across the United States, I was amazed at how the landscape changed from arid deserts to tree topped mountains, from boring straight line roads to stomach churning curvy roads. I loved the wide open spaces and imagined how it would have been to experience these places before an interstate highway and concrete cities were built. These thoughts lead to the heartache of accepting the fact that Native Americans were forced off the lands that we were traveling through. While I can enjoy the view of these majestic landscapes, Native Americans might feel differently, acknowledging the trauma and loss they suffered so we can travel in comfort.

The United States of America is a land of contradictions – it stands for the highest ideals of what people can accomplish yet cowers to protect and hide the basest behaviors perpetrated by these same people. Can I love the physical beauty of it’s landscape while also mourning the cost of being able to experience that beauty? Can I advocate for Black lives while still supporting police officers? Can I experience racist micro-aggressions yet still wish my neighbor a good morning? As a traveler, an immigrant to this country, I would like to answer with a hopeful, “Yes”.

©️ 2020 iido