Brake for Beauty

Around 17 years ago,I started “braking for beauty” during a time of great grief and sorrow. Suddenly, I was losing friends and family members. Nine in just a matter of a few years. I was devastated.

I carried sunglasses with me everywhere, in all pockets of all jackets and all my purses; I also tried to look for the beauty in life. If I could safely pull over when driving, I would look for beauty, brake/ break for beauty, take a picture or two, keep those pictures on my phone so that I could look at them when times got very hard.

Nature rather saved me during this time, which lasted six years.

I wrote a poem back then, titled “Parking Lot Maple,” one of the few poems I love. I like this poem so much I don’t want to publish. I will submit it every now and then for publication then withdraw it because I just don’t want it gone for me, if that makes sense.

I still brake for beauty since it enriches life.

UK Wildflower Meadows v. Illinois Prairies/ Learning to Appreciate the Subtle

In an article in The Conversation about Roadside Wildflowers, the author states that…

Since the end of World War II, 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been dug up or destroyed. Many won’t remember a time when the countryside was filled with grassland that rippled with rainbows of flowers, but they are likely to recognise the intense yellow glare of pesticide-soaked oilseed rape fields that dominate rural landscapes today.

(See here for the article: http://theconversation.com/roadside-wildflower-meadows-are-springing-up-across-the-uk-and-theyre-helping-wildlife-in-a-big-way-120014)

Here I am in the Midwest USA and I cannot imagine the joy of finding a roadside wildflower meadow! I do try to find parking lot beauty, sky beauty, nature’s beauty wherever I can, but I have yet to find a wildflower meadow.  I do notice lovely small colors in early and late spring, weed like plants in the Midwest that must do for us, but no riot of colors as seen in UK wildflower meadows.

Meadows of flowers? I cannot imagine such joy.

However, I grew up near a native Illinois prairie, but rarely appreciated it. The colors are much more mute, scruffy somehow compared to a wildflower meadow.

Nearby, a group of conservationists at the Morton Arboretum have preserved this mostly now gone natural wonderland, the Illinois Prairie.  I must visit and report back, keeping in mind that no, the colors won’t be as dramatic, but I am practiced in finding beauty.

I have often used this more subtle beauty in my poetry and fiction, and I do appreciate nature’s beauty and healing properties–but admit to loving the dramatic colors of autumn more.

Thanks for reading.  May you find beauty everywhere as well.

 

milkweed in prairie  (Image of milkweed in a prairie from the Creative Commons.)

 

Conversation with the Woods

“You said good-bye already.”

–I know. I thought I’d risk it, because–because–

“You need me. Go ahead and say it.”

–I need you.  It’s because–

“I don’t need to know the reason.  Just don’t expect me to ask the insects to leave you alone like you did last year.”

–I won’t.

“Better get your sunglasses.”

–I won’t need them.  I am feeling better.

“No, you are not.  I don’t care if you weep in the woods because I hear death all the time.”

–How did you know?

“I hear death all the time.”

Caught

“You didn’t get out of the car at all?” he asked, returning from his walk.

“No,” she answered. “There’s too–just too much out there. And I don’t have my sunglasses.”

“You’re not talking about the woods,” he said.

“No,” she said.

 

Submitted Nonfiction Today

img_3954I submitted a piece of nonfiction today; it felt very scary. No hiding behind poetic license. It was an essay about grief, something we all know about as we get older.

But even though submitting nonfiction was very scary to me, I was able to enter this essay title and information on the excel sheet I created after learning from another writer; I followed his suggestions for creating a submissions excel tracking sheet. I added color coding for Rejected, Accepted (that’s in green), Pending, Withdrawn, and Unknown. Too many unknowns, it seems!   I am learning to sort by these categories as well.

I am having fun working with this!

I don’t think I will become a nonfiction writer now, for I really need that poetic license and I do tend to look at the world through a poet’s eyes.

But I am still trying to grow as a writer.

Thanks for reading.

A Nature Walk is Always Appreciated

Even during the short nature walks, I learn something. Today I learned that as everything becomes so green, we do lose some of the spring colors. It’s such a lush time of year!

The Virginia bluebells are no longer in bloom, but some type of small purple wildflower and another pink wildflower are in bloom.

There are still rather exotic looking birds passing through on their way north. Delightful to see the small songbirds, catch a glimpse of the glorious colors of indigo and gold, orange, black, and red.

Soon I won’t be able to do my favorite walk, a beautiful path in a Spruce Forest. Why? Mosquitoes. Let me just say I’ve tried everything, absolutely everything and I am just too popular with the mosquitoes! My favorite path runs along a creek, and mosquitoes certainly love water.

But every time has its beauty, and this is a lush green beautiful time.