I found this image on Facebook from a friend of mine who had posted it. I am not sure where it came from, so if you are the owner of this image (or know who is), please let me know so I can make proper attribution and/or compensation for using it here. Thank you! UPDATE: Thank you to The Mellow Curmudgeon for finding the artist of this fabulous drawing. The artist is Rick Fausto. You can find the original work at https://rickfrausto.com/products/don-the-con.
If you haven’t guessed, the assault on the Capitol building in Washington, DC has been on my mind. Not only is there a pandemic, but there is an assault on American democracy. The fallacy of the American Way and the American Dream has been laid bare. As an immigrant, a woman of color, who has been steeped in this fabulous fable, finding out that this fairy tale is actually a “fairy fail,” has filled me with sadness, anger, disbelief, indignation. It’s the same feeling I had when I found out that Santa wasn’t real – somehow, I knew deep down inside that a man coming down the chimney to give me gifts was too good to be true, but still really hoping that he was real.
Disillusioned disappointment is tough, no matter what the age.
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.
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”.
What is a quadrille poem, you ask? It’s a poem of exactly 44 words (not including the title) with the prompt word embedded into the poem. The challenge this Monday was to include the word “harbor” or a form of the word (verb, noun, even using poetic license is allowed) however using a synonym does not fulfill the prompt. A quadrille is also an 18th/19th century dance performed by four couples in a square formation (the precursor to square dancing according to Wikipedia). I’m not sure how the dance became a poem – if you do, please enlighten the rest of us! However it came about, keeping a poem to 44 words was a challenge for me (can you tell by the rambling I’ve done in this section? 😂). Thank you Lillian at dVerse for getting me out of my safe harbor and trying out this new form!
This poem was inspired by Pic and a Word Challenge #157 – Details. While I love details in architecture and nature, I am fascinated by details in people, from their looks to their behaviors. This poem takes some “creative license” but I hope its narrative captures an honest reality.
I zero in
On the cracks in the walls
The spaces between the tile and grout
The layer of dust on the grand piano
The peeling Formica under 80’s sought after giveaway cups
The places where your innovative nature took precedence over getting the job done right.
I zero in
On the grays in your hair
And the spots on your hands
The slowness in your cane aided walk
Your mouth agape during your afternoon nap
The hand me up shirt you’ve been wearing for decades because it still fits
I zoom out
And see the humor and kindness in your eyes
The hands that lovingly prepare my favorite meal
The 20 year old bed that fits generations
The clock where time has stopped but happiness lives on
The struggle of remembering and honoring and forgetting and accepting.
We are almost to our destination – I can’t believe we’ve been driving and living out of our minivan for the past 2 weeks. It’s been quite an adventure – one that I am so glad we took as a family. The kids were great at keeping themselves entertained without electronics for about 95% of the trip – thank goodness for friends who supplied us with car games and books and a hubby who made a playlist from all the National Lampoon movie soundtracks. (Holiday Road, anyone?). Hubby and I also had some great conversations during our drive – driving great distances, like running great distances, has a way of opening up and connecting hearts and minds.
Here are our collection of “Welcome” State signs – I missed a few since we were driving as I was trying to snap a picture. Can you figure out which states we drove through that we don’t have a picture of?