The Last of the Lilies

©October 27, 2009

The Last of the Lilies


Kathy Larson

They’re the last remnants of summer.
Scattered daintily among the detritus.

Beautifully dissonant, fading like sunsets,
They still my hands, my heart.

See us, they whisper.  Remember
Soft rain and drowsy bees.

Exotic perfume drifts silkily
On languid evening air.  A siren call.

Heavy-limbed, blood like honey,
I sway, recalling velvet lips, sweat-slick bodies.

The crunch of tires on gravel breaks my reverie;
A smile like the curve of a petal as I look up.

I will not pick these; the last of the lilies.



©October 29, 2009

(for Cheryl)


Kathy Larson

The driver
of the yellow
school bus

The red fox
just took
the black
your porch.


Post script —  the form is inspired by William Carlos Williams.  This funny little image has stuck in my head since my co-worker Cheryl told me about it.  I’m always amazed that, despite everything nature in its most primal form, always prevails.  Still, I felt sorry for Cheryl and her cat.

Update on The Horse Whisperer

The reading is going slowly.  Too much else going on.  But. . . I am enjoying the book every bit as much as I did before.  Evans is a good writer, he  conveys everyone’s pain (even the horse’s) in a genuine way that doesn’t descend into melodrama.  Pain is a major character in the story and, as such, you don’t want to get tired, sick or bored with it, and Evans makes sure that doesn’t happen.   Annie is interesting.  I don’t remember liking her all that much the first time around.  This time it’s different.  I think I understand her a little better.  Her pain is really what makes this story as interesting as it is.  The horse, her daughter, although their pain is horrific, it’s visible.  You’ve really got to work to understand what’s going on with Annie.  Anyway, I’ll post again, hopefully soon.

Friday — yay!

This has been one long week!  Paradoxically, though, the month has flown by.  How does that work?  I’m starting to sweat about Christmas.  Don’t want to be that person, but. . .  Am I finally going to succumb to the lure of the pre-lit artificial Christmas tree?  Or will we stick with the Charlie Brown beauties we usually have?  I love a real tree, it’s just my husband insists on finding the biggest damn tree he can each year, and utterly destroying my house to get it inside.

This lovely family tradition invariably takes place on the coldest day of  winter and generally results in us not speaking to each other for another day or two, thus prolonging the deep-freeze.  Once the tree is in the house it takes hours for us to wrestle it into place.  Ropes are sometimes employed, along with the mother of all tree stands.  Lopping of branches and much shaking to dislodge as many dead needles, grasses, leaves and small rodents as possible then ensues.  Following this comes repeated vacuuming with Tim’s heavy-duty shop vac (this is kept handy for the entire Christmas season).  Then, the best part — I get to decorate it all by myself!!  Ladders, step-stools and chairs, oh my!

Much as I love the smell and atmosphere created by the transplanting of nature into my home, I’m just a tad weary of all the drama.  With Landon gone and raising his own family, all this fuss hardly seems worth it.  The kids will only see our tree

This one nearly caused a divorce.

once, maybe twice, and then there we’ll sit, with our backs to it.  Tim won’t have it lit while we’re watching television because the blinking lights reflected on the screen annoy him.  So I ask, what’s the point?

I know I’m sounding very hum-buggy, but seriously a pre-lit tree that I can just pop in and out of a box sounds like a jim-dandy idea to me.  Plus, if I try really, really hard I can convince myself that I’m doing a good thing by not cutting down a tree, depleting our supply of oxygen and contributing to the size of the hole in the ozone layer.  If I start feeling all nostalgic and begin longing for the warm fuzzies associated with Christmas trees past all I have to do is go buy some pine-scented candles or room spray.

Ho, Ho, Ho!

The Commercialization of Green Consumerism

Out for my walk this morning in the fog with Heather.  We have great talks on these early morning jaunts and this morning we got onto the topic of green lifestyles.  It all started with my relating to her a story I’d heard the night before about young people overwhelmed by their debt load after getting out of school and some of the creative ways in which they’re solving their problems.  We segued into how much affluence we have in this country and that we have absolutely no idea of what it means to ‘make do’.  Unlike, say someone in the Dominican making $3.00 a day.  To us, making do is deciding to eat lunch at McDonald’s instead of Boston Pizza.  Tough decision!

Anyway, this got me going on how living green has become the next big growth industry.  Up til now we’ve all been pressured into buying designer clothes, fancy houses, bigger, bigger and bigger flat screen tv’s, new cars, vacation properties — the list just goes on forever.  Now, however, we are being pressured into living green, but living green expensively.  What is, essentially, supposed to be a way of living your life simpler, less expensively and with minimal impact on the environment, has become just one more way for us to live in competition with one another.

For instance, you’re only a cool ‘greenie’ if you pitch your current household linens and buy 100% bamboo, hemp or organic cotton.  Anyone seen the price of a set of bamboo sheets?  Try $400.00 a pop!  A t-shirt made of 100% certified organic, non-rainforest harvested hemp?  A mere $100.00.  Or what about retrofitting your house with solar panels, a solar powered generator, switching to geo-thermal heat instead of good old coal or water generated electricity?  Upwards of $50,000.00 (and that’s only if you live in an area where something like geo-thermal options are feasible).

Then there are vehicles — switching to a hybrid sounds like a smart, sensible, responsible idea, until you start looking into them.  Cost of these vehicles is coming down somewhat, but have you checked into repair costs?  Ouch!  And, load up a family of 4, a few large suitcases, the dog, some camping gear and head out for the back country for some nice fresh air and discover just how economical and comfortable these vehicles aren’t.  Maybe, while you’re away you can have some home renovations taken care of.  How about installing Fair Trade 100% organic bamboo or cork flooring harvested by hand from naturally sustainable forests?  Compare the costs to North American hardwood made from trees raped from our forests, then manufactured in our embarrassingly modern and technologically advanced mills.  The bamboo or cork is only about 3 times the cost, but hey the investment in feeling good about doing something ‘green’ will be more than worth it.

Going natural, it seems, has become just one more way for somebody else to get rich off everybody else’s guilt.  For years I’ve been trying to live a simpler, greener life and I’ve managed without having to spend a ton of money to do it.  It’s all about changing the way you think, not about how you spend your money.

I recycle everything that I can, and as a result when I shop, I shop with recycling in mind.  I don’t buy over packaged goods so that I don’t have a mound of plastic to send to the recycling depot.  I re-purpose things — meaning once an old t-shirt is too grungy to wear I turn it into rags.  We are renovating, and we are doing as much of the work ourselves as we can, we reuse as much of the old stuff as we can and we try to incorporate environmentally friendly products whenever and wherever we can.  But, our retaining wall is still made from pressure-treated timbers and the new eavestroughing is PVC, not artisan-made tin or copper.

It really annoys me that something so simple that could have such an impact on our world and people’s lives is being exploited so that someone else can get rich.  And you just know that the marketing geniuses and corporation executives behind the push to get you to ‘go green’ aren’t driving around in Smart Cars, eating 100% organically grown Tofu burgers, and that they’re not living in some mud hut somewhere with nothing but the skins of animals to wear.

Seriously, people, smarten up.  Live green, but for god’s sake, do it without buying into the hype.

Today is a Beautiful Day

Today is a beautiful day.  It’s mid-October in Alberta and our brief too-early stint with winter is nothing more than a bad memory.  I’m looking forward to working in the yard tonight and then going to yoga for some much needed de-stressing.  I am extremely grateful that the weather is going to hold long enough for our new furnace to be installed.  My sister Lori called yesterday wondering if Tim and I would be interested in going to Antigua in January.  Interested?!  You bet!  Sadly, the cost of the new furnace eliminates the possibility.  Oh well, another time.  It’s something to dream about.

Because it is such a beautiful day I want to share the following poem, one of my absolute favorites, by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

A beautiful, misty day at Peggy's Cove.
A beautiful, misty day at Peggy's Cove.

Reverance can be found anywhere.  Time took this picture.  I think it's beautiful.

Reverance can be found anywhere. Tim took this picture. I think it’s very beautiful. Peggy’s Cove, July 2009
I have a strange affinity with water.  It terrifies me, yet I'm always drawn to the mysteriousness of it.  I thought the contrast of the ropes was a nice visual.
I have a strange affinity with water. It terrifies me, yet I'm always drawn to the mysteriousness of it. I thought the contrast of the ropes was a nice visual.