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Virginia

Living on the Edge

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Wed, 07/26/2023 - 16:47

We live in California, on the western edge of the United States. The continent buckles and bulges where it meets the sea, and we have earthquakes that tend to remind us of that tendency. Things expand and contract on the edges. 

The scenery is spectacular. I have traveled to Europe and when we reached the mediterranean regions in Italy or France, I often thought I was home again in California.

We live in the San Fernando Valley, and we must traverse the canyons, one way or another, to get to the sea. Today we made the journey to Malibu where the surf is often 'up' as they say. Today the ocean was calm, the waves gentle on the shore where we sat enjoying the view and the food.Malibu 2023

Sparklers

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Wed, 07/05/2023 - 13:18

Yesterday was a holiday here in the USA. Everybody knows that on July 4th we remember that this was the day we won independence. And this year we are keenly reminded that we never had it, not really. We are no longer subject to Kings or Queens of England, but we are held hostage by extremists who still want to curtail personal freedom, especially for people of color, especially for women. How has it come to be that after 249 years some of us are still trying to break free? Eighty-one years of living and I still have more questions than answers. The only sure thing is that we must keep pushing forward towards liberty for all. Even when we are pushed back, we must keep pushing forward. It's hard, often unrewarding, work. 

But sometimes we need to celebrate what we do have. And we do have so much. Without times to appreciate the freedom we have, we cannot find the strength to keep working toward the ultimate goal. 

Magic 8-Ball Mind

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sat, 05/20/2023 - 15:51

My subconscious operates like one of those “Magic 8-Balls”. Just as I am humming along, thinking the day is going pretty well, something or someone will trigger a long forgotten memory. I won’t have asked ANY questions, but there it will be, that memory of an event or a person like it had been sitting at the bottom of whatever oily liquid it floats in, just waiting for something to shake it up so it can reveal its ugly answer to whatever question it perceives I have asked.

It’s not like I’m at war with it, or anything. I frequently order up dreams of one kind or another. But that doesn’t always pay off, either. Say I want a calm dream of meeting a friend in a quiet garden or by the sea. The response I get could very well be a dystopian dream or one of being expected to go on stage not knowing my lines.

Mothering Sunday

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sun, 05/14/2023 - 13:58

Sometimes mothers simply cannot give us what we need. It's good to remember that their children have a hard time on Mother's Day.

"Her extremes cornered him...immobilized him, until he was forced into action to protect her. It would mean another hospital stay...another attempt at medication....The toll it took on [their daughter] Jenny had been huge. Neither one of them were available to her after she was about ten. She had to learn to fend for herself. ...There were so many sleepless nights, so many spoiled holidays, so many times when the house had been in chaos. No wonder [Jenny] left home when she was so young."

More about Jenny's story in THE CUCKOO.

Reflections on Maundy Thursday

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Thu, 04/06/2023 - 14:33

DO YOU SUPPOSE?

Do you suppose, that 2000 years ago, when sandaled feet, dusty and dirty with the labors and travel of the day, were bathed by family or friends, it felt any different than it does today?

Was the water less or more refreshing than we are used to? 

Was the soap or oil used to help in the cleansing any less effective? 

Were cuts or bruises on those feet from an unexpected encounter with thorns or rocks or sticks any less sore?

Were the cloths used to dry those tired feet less effective than what we have today? 

After a long day of play or helping with daily tasks were children any less wiggly, or giggly, or whiny?

Breaking Free

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Tue, 04/04/2023 - 14:41

"The traffic felt like another personal attack. Another kind of boxing in, not giving her room, impeding her. It made her angry, and it made her sad. She'd felt trapped so long by her mother's illnesses--mental and otherwise--even after she left home. The relationship she craved from both her parents kept eluding her. And now, just when she thought she might have a chance at building something with her dad, there was another needy woman in his life. Somebody else with a claim on his time, his focus, his emotional energy. Would Jenny ever get to be the focus? Even for an hour? A minute?"

SCAVENGER

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Fri, 03/17/2023 - 13:11
Cabbage trimmings, teapot

Dinner preparations are going on, and now I'm in charge. When I was a kid I tried to be on hand whenever that was happening. I liked to find pieces of cabbage hearts, celery bottoms, raw potato. I would salt them and amidst many warnings from my grandmothers or my mom, I would eat them. They would shake their heads and return to whatever task called them. One of my grandmothers was sure I was poisoning myself. I wasn't, though. In fact, I think that habit did me a power of good. Yes, sometimes there was a bit of grit in the celery bottom, but why wouldn't there be? It was the part that touched the earth. This was in the days before all the pesticides and chemicals were used. As far as I know. But somehow I'm still around at 81, anyway.

The Cuckoo

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sun, 02/26/2023 - 14:00

"He sat by the amber glow of a dying fire, swirling the last bit of his drink. Myriads of stars were visible that warm night in the desert valley of San Jacinto. The day had begun much like any other. Then, through one simple act of helping another human being, he felt his life profoundly changed. Even if the woman who was now sleeping in his guest room disappeared by morning, he knew he would be different, was already made different. The wide sky river of the Milky Way dropped a shooting star. Jack stirred the embers of the fire, sending an answering shower of sparks upwards through the cooling air."

Read more if you are interested, available on Kindle or paperback at Amazon. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTGJTFFH

The Cuckoo by [V. R. Nelson-Watts]

 

Opportunity

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Wed, 01/11/2023 - 13:43

OPPORTUNITY

Did you see the pomegranate, split wide from falling or by birds or some wild thing,

under the drooping branch of wet poppy leaves?

Even after days of rain it still looked dry and dusty, the skin cracked like old leather.

I feel like that some days, split, spilled, cracked open.

The bright seeds inside still held a juicy promise for a brown squirrel with a watchful eye

and he, or she, took time to taste those tiny glowing morsels

and then in a flash disappeared

the fruit empty, picked clean.

VW 2022

Comfort Food

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Thu, 12/29/2022 - 13:18

Holiday season begins for me when the grandkids start planning their Halloween costumes. Those plans are usually made not long after school starts in the fall. I can remember a time when I complained about Christmas music playing everywhere before Thanksgiving, but my views on that have softened considerably as any family member or friend will tell you if they visit anytime between Halloween and New Year's Day. 

When I was a kid in the 1940's and 50's, no matter how depressed things were in my house, and often that was the case, whenever I saw the bright Christmas decorations and the row upon row of holiday ornaments lined up at the dime store, my spirits lifted. I knew it wouldn't be long before my mother would come out of her downward spiral and rally for Christmas. Sometimes those Christmases were more manic than fun, but at least they weren't sad.