Posts by Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

A retired teacher, I live with my significant other on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I enjoy the beach, walking outdoors, movies, and reading. Hanging Out with Wild Animals is a book series of photos and poems about my encounters with Florida animals. Wonders is a book of poems inspired by the men I have known and loved. Life in Inspiring Places is a book of photos and poems about the places rich in history and natural beauty that I have called home. Excerpts from the books and additional poems can be found on my website and blog. Cheryl Batavia

Fresh Apple Cider

Photo by Louis Sankey from Unsplash.


Warning: Slightly “Gross” and Disgusting!

It was the “sixties” and I had just entered my teens. My somewhat older peers were becoming “hippies,” “turning on and dropping out,”marching for civil rights, and burning their draft cards. I remember causing quite a stir on the school bus with my newly self-inflicted “Beatles haircut,” and was clandestinely reading my cousin’s Mad Magazine, learning guitar chords, singing Joan Baez songs, and telling “knock-knock”and disgusting “green hair” jokes with my friends.

My uncle, who had served in World War II in Europe, described, with his usual drama, people making cider by pressing apples through straw. He thought that was pretty unsanitary. Inspired, I wrote this cheery little song to “gross out” my brother and sister and our friends and to annoy our parents.

After a frustrating week with no internet, I am posting this little ditty I wrote in high school. You have been warned!

I will be trying to catch up on my emails, and I look forward to reading your blogs. ❤

Photo by Liana Micah from Unsplash.


Fresh Apple Cider

Fresh apple cider

just squeezed from rotten apples

by the chicken coop on the hill.

The worms relayed the message:

Make the cider free..

a nickel for the jug!


Copyright© 2023 by Cheryl Batavia

Photo by Averie Woodard from Unsplash.

Just the Two of Us

Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park. Photo from Adobe Stock Photos.

Just the Two of Us

One day we made the winding, steep descent,

enchanted by the waterfall’s sweet song.

In pools below we swam to heart’s content,

the two of us together all day long.

One day we climbed up to the mountaintop,

where winter winds had dwarfed the ancient trees,

and we lay dreaming on a sun-warmed rock,

our skin caressed by every summer breeze.

One day we strolled among the ferns so green,

a fragrant carpet on the forest floor.

Below us stretched a peaceful valley scene.

We thought our love would last forevermore.

Oh, those were golden days I spent with you,

enjoying nature’s wonders, just we two!

(C) 2011 JOHN BILOUS. Ferns in Shenandoah National Park from Adobe Stock Photos.
(C) 2011 JOHN BILOUS Shenandoah National Park. Photo from Adobe Stock Photos.
A white-tailed deer fawn standing in a meadow in Shenandoah National Park. Photo by Paul from Adobe Stock Photos.

Copyright© 2023 by Cheryl Batavia


Dedicated to the memory of my first husband, Frank Wightman.

Envision Peace on Earth

Christmas Tree, Dnipro, Ukraine. Photo by Valentyn Cherretskyi from UnSplash.

Envision Peace on Earth

Tears are falling still.

Destruction and death drag on.

Love of country remains

in the hearts of the people

who fight and die for Ukraine.

Photo by Sebbi Strauch from UnSplash.

Brave Ukrainians

work, endure, celebrate life,

smile, laugh, play, sing, dance!

They light the candles of hope,

envisioning peace on earth.

A protest in Japan. Photo by Breakify from UnSplash.

Our war-weary world

remembers; Sovreignity

defended world-wide

preserves the rights and freedoms

deeply cherished by ourselves.

Protest in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Dea Andreea from UnSplash.

Dictators may rise,

seizing control over nations,

ending human rights.

Tyrants may try to dominate…

even your country or mine.

Ukrainian flag flying in Norway. Photo by Anastasiia Dudnyk from UnSplash.

The world remembers,

“Eternal vigilance is

the price of freedom.”

Ukraine, you are not alone.

We share your vision of peace.

Children’s paintings on display in Prague, Czechia. Photo byYura Khomitskyi from UnSplash.

Protest at the White House in Washington, DC. Photo by Gayatri Malhotra from UnSplash. Demonstrations in support of Ukraine have been held in cities and towns across the USA.


Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

This famous saying seems particularly applicapable in our times. In various forms, it became popular in the early days of the United States of America. Variations are attributed to many people, including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. It is thought to have originated from an earlier quote. “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.” John Philpott Curran, Dublin, Ireland, 1790


Bumper Sticker in Seoul, South Korea. Photo by Lenny Honn from UnSplash.


Copyright© 2023 by Cheryl Batavia


Additional Photos

The photos in this post show some of the many countries that support Ukraine.

I wish I could show all of them!

Poland has sheltered huge numbers of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. A demonstration in Poland. Photo by Eugene T Kachenko

Protesters in Lithuania. Photo by Dovile Ramoskaite from UnSplash.

Calgary, Canada. Photo by Ahmed Zalabany from UnSplash.

Photo by Ahmed Zalabany from UnSplash.

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia. Russian citizens have suffered as a result of the war against Ukraine. Protests in Russia have been suppressed, and many protesters have been arrested, jailed, or have disappeared. Large numbers of young Russian men have fled the draft into neighboring countries.

A Demonstration in France. Photo by Cedric VT from UnSplash.

London. Photo by Ehimetalor Akere Unuabona from UnSplash.

A protest against atrocities comitted against Ukrainian civilians. London, England. Photo by Andreea De Santis from UnSplash.

Zimbabwe. Girl supporting Ukraine. Photo by Ben Masora from UnSplash.

Vienna, Austria. Photo by Tetiana Shyshkina from UnSplash.

In peacetime, Ukraine supplies food to many countries. There are food shortages in some countries due to the war. Ukrainian wheat field. Photo by Polina Rytova from UnSplash.

Another Year Together

Photo by Bolivia Inteligente from Unsplash.


Another Year Together

Together we faced

the challenges of the year

with love and courage…

disappointments and setbacks,

lucky breaks and happy days.

This new year will bring

unforeseen challenges and

unexpected joys.

Thank you for sharing the years,

walking hand-and-hand through life.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash.

Another Year

“Another Year Together” was written for the holiday card I put in Robert’s Christmas stocking this year. We have had a very personally challenging 2022: sickness, surgeries, extensive dental work, unexpected expenses, and family visits cancelled by weather and illness. The whole world has had a challenging year: wars, violence, storms, fires, floods, famine, supply chain issues, inflation and financial distress, a continuing Covid 19 pandemic compounded by widespread outbreaks of several other viruses…and on and on and on..

Robert and I have met the challenges of 2022, including Hurricane Ian. Although we are a little tireder and a little older, we have survived! We have also savored the pleasures of everyday life and the blessings that came our way. Our hopes are high for a better 2023, both for ourselves and for everyone worldwide.

We wish you courage for your journey, strength to meet the challenges you encounter, hope in your heart, and peace of mind. We wish you fair weather and good fortune. May you be inspired, creative, and productive. May you be surrounded by the love of family and friends.

❤ Happy 2023! ❤

Photo by Austin Schmid from Unsplash.

Holiday Gifts of Childhood

Photo by Clint Patterson from Unsplash.


Holiday Gifts of Childhood

Mid 1950s, Western Pennsylvania

Christmas morning at our grandparents’ house.

Doll with golden curls, evening gown, and pearls

waiting for me under the Christmas tree

when I was six or seven.

Photo by Marina Ambrosimova from Unsplash.

How excited I was!

Soon, though, I cut the doll’s hair in a crew cut,

wore her pearl choker on my wrist,

and went looking for bugs, rocks and frogs!

Late 1950s, Tidewater, Virginia

Christmas mysteries were in the air at our house

when I was nine or ten…

All of the colorfully wrapped presents under the tree

had been squeezed and shaken for days.

Photo from Pixabay.

On Christmas morning, there was a huge surprise…

Parked around the Christmas tree, there were

three Christmas bicycles for my siblings and me!

Mine was sky blue.

The three of us were always on the go,

bicycling far and wide for the next five or six years,

enjoying our newfound independence,

challenging our mother’s peace of mind!

Early 1960s, Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

My brother, sister and I grew strong, riding our bicycles

up and down the steep hills of our little town.

Our mother soon learned not to worry…

to the extent that mothers can ever be free from worry.

There were no bicycle helmets when I was a child. For safety, wear a helmet! Photo from Pixabay.

Late 1960s-1980s, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Christmas Eve…we exchanged gifts at my parents’ home.

My husband, Frank, and I were expecting a child in the spring.

The gift from my mother was an album of old family photos,

including pictures of my father and me on our tricycles.

In my future, there were three children

receiving bicycles for the holidays.

Like my mother and all other mothers before her,

it was my turn to worry!

Girl on a tricycle Photo by Tuan PM from Pexels.

I was shocked at first when our daughter Ellen,

age three, requested a motorcycle for Christmas,

but her father saved the day!

He found a yellow plastic motorcycle/tricycle.

Ellen was overjoyed on Christmas morning

to find the tricycle parked under the Christmas tree.

Like her mother before her, she was empowered.

She rode the little yellow “motorcycle” toward independence.

Several years later, Ellen received a shiny new bicycle.

She still bears scars from surgery that followed an accident.

Under her chin, are traces of gravel from later accidents…

Ellen always got back on her bicycle; she lives her life that way!

1990s, Miami Beach, Florida

Hanukkah menorah, dreidle, and presents. Photo by Dad Grass from Pexels.

Celebrating holidays with Drew and our children…

Joe, age eight, always adventurous, ever nimble,

climbed the trellis to the rooftop with his new telescope

from Dad, exploring the wonders of the night sky.

Our daughter Katey, age six, was dazzled

by everything she saw and wanted all of it, too…

but in the end, she was delighted with every gift she received,

a new bicycle or the small, sweet surprise of Hanukkah gelt.

Hannukah Gelt. Photo by Joey Dean from Unsplash.

Katey loved unwrapping a gift on each night of Hanukkah

and receiving Christmas presents, but most of all, she valued

being surrounded by the love of family and friends,

that most precious of holiday gifts.

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Photo by Engin Akyurt from Unsplash.

Happy Holidays!

Wherever you are, whatever holidays you celebrate,

we wish you childlike wonder, pleasant surprises,

inspiring experiences, and auspicious new opportunities.

We wish you health, love, and joy in every New Year!

Robert & Cheryl

One Earth

Embrace the World. Photo by mrcolo from Pixabay.

Photo by NASA from Unsplash.


One Earth

Our Earth, one small blue planet, spins in space.

By day, we turn toward one blazing star.

By night, one moon reflects our star’s bright face,

one star among vast galaxies afar.

One fragile atmosphere envelopes Earth.

One rocky mantle guards its molten core.

One water fills the deep and gives clouds birth.

One land, five continents defined by shores.

Rainforest monkeys chatter in the trees.

In beds of giant kelp, sea otters play.

The lungs of earth are places such as these;

preserving habitats our task today.

All living things are one, fates intertwined;

Earth’s fortunes shape your destiny and mine.

Sea otters in a bed of giant kelp. Photo by Kieran Wood from Unsplash.

Photo by Antoni Shkraba from Pexels.

Photo by Rodnae Productions from Pexels.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Update

A couple of weeks ago, we found undiscovered hurricane damage to our house. Dealing with the insurance company, roofing companies, and contractors is consuming a lot of time and energy, and I have had to put my planned projects on hold. The insurance company has approved a new roof, payment for tree removal, and some needed repairs. Contractors are very busy with all the damage to properties here, and ours is not an emergency, so it may be some months before the work is completed.

Harvest & Heritage

Photo by Zefong Li from Unsplash.
Hayride. Photo by Randy Fath from Unsplash.

Harvest & Heritage

How warmly now the summer sun does shine

on bees at work in clover fields so fair!

Sweet ripened fruit hangs heavy on the vine.

Perfume of roses lingers in the air.

How softly ripples wheat in summer breeze!

Bright roadside flowers nourish butterflies.

In orchards, apples ripen on the trees.

Abundant food the garden plot supplies.

As birds fly south, the leaves turn red and gold.

In autumn, nature’s bounties harvesting,

we labor to prepare for winter’s cold

and save some seeds for planting in the spring.

At harvest, we give thanks for all good things:

our life and strength and gifts that nature brings.

Photo by Max Gorin from Unsplash.
Photo by Marek Studinsky from Unsplash.
Photo by Jakob Owens from Unsplash.

Restoring Our Connection to Nature

Hydrophonic gardening on a balcony. Photo by Lettuce Grow from Unsplash.

On small family farms like the dairy farm where my mother grew up and in home gardens that were the pride of my grandmother and my father, there is a profound connection to nature. People work in cooperation with nature to provide for themselves and their families.

In the time of large corporate farms, most people do not live on small family farms and raise all of the food they eat. Many people may have lost the connection to the land and to the changing seasons.

Whatever our work, wherever we live, we are a part of the cycles of nature. We can help to preserve and renew the environment. We may not be able to do everything, but there are things each one of us can do to renew our connection to the natural world.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Photo by Megan Lee from Unsplash.

Happy Thanksgiving to All My Fellow Bloggers!

After this week, I plan to take a couple of months off in order to regroup and focus on some long-deferred projects. Happy holidays to everyone!

Diwali Lights the Way

Diwali festival foods and lamps. Photo by Prchi Palwe from UnSplash.

Diwali Lights the Way

Light over darkness…

People worldwide long for justice and peace;

Diwali lights the way!

Knowledge over ignorance…

Everywhere on earth, people seek opportunities;

Diwali lights the way!

Good over evil…

We all want to live in a clean, safe environment…

Diwali lights the way!

Guiding our journey to a brighter tomorrow,

Diwali lights the way!

Jodhpur during Diwali festival. Photo by Anirudhi from UnSplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Photo by Suchandra Roy Chowdhery from UnSplash.

The Transformative Power of Diwali

Nearly every culture has celebrations incorporating light. Bonfires, torches, lamps, candles, fireworks…all light the way to our best selves and a better world. Diwali is a beautiful and joyous festival, but what seems extraordinary to me is its universal message…nine simple words with the power to transform the individual and the world:

Light over darkness!

Knowledge over ignorance!

Good over evil!

Happy Diwali, Everyone!

Jack O’Lanterns Grin!

Photo by Robert Linder from Unsplash.

Jack O’Lanterns Grin!

Jack O’Lanterns Grin!

Laughing at all our fears,

we celebrate life.

Movie star? Monster?

Try a new persona for

fantasy and fun!

Photo by Steven Libralon from Unsplash.

Red hots, gummy worms,

candy corn…okay today!

Enjoy, enjoy guiltlessly!

Photo by Alexander Grey from Unsplash.

Phrases frowned upon,

“Guess who!”, “Trick-or-treat!”, and “Boo!”

bring a smile today.

Be slightly goofy,

gluttonous and boisterous.

Happy Halloween!

Photo by Betzy Arosemena from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Photo by Mary Jane Duford on Unsplash.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Surviving Hurricane Ian; Cardinals and Other Househunters; I Remember Grandma Washing Clothes

View of the street in front of our house the morning after hurricane Ian, Thursday, 9/29/22. The water was about three feet deep, but by the next day, the roads were mostly dry.

Hurricane Ian

Worst Storm in Florida History

Wednesday, 9/28/22

Ian was the largest Florida Hurricane on record. Slow-moving, it dropped huge amounts of rain and had storm surges of up to eighteen feet in coastal areas. Flooding was extensive. Wind speeds of up to 155 miles per hour and gusts of up to 190 miles per hour were recorded.

Southwest Florida was hit very hard, but fifty-seven of Florida’s sixty counties were affected before the storm moved up the East coast of the US.

View from our backyard, Thursday, 9/29/22. Most of the trees are gone from the wooded lot behind our house, and the yard was surrounded by a “moat.”

Hurricane Ian Information

Sunday, 10/9/22

Today is twelve days after Hurricane Ian. Most of the information here is from various sources, such as personal experience, observation, and word-of-mouth, though I watched hurricane news until the power went off on Thursday afternoon, 9/28/22. Our out-of-town relatives looked up news for us on the internet and gave us information over the phone after the phones started working.

I will be happy to get more in-depth hurricane news since our internet and TV came back on tonight. I know that much of the news will be tragic. Many people have had their homes and businesses damaged or destroyed, and over 100 have lost their lives. Of course, there will also be stories of people helping each other and stories of hurricane heroes.

View from our driveway, Thursday, 9/29/22. The water in the street was about three feet deep, covering the mailbox post and the bottom of our driveway.

Surviving Hurricane Ian

Nine Haikus and a Tanka

Tuesday, 9/27/2022

Flashlights, batteries,

storm shutters, propane, water,

ice…Are we ready?

Wednesday, 9/28/2022

Epic hurricane!

Both we and our house survived

the wrath of Ian!

Thursday, 9/29/2022

Downed trees surround us.

Homeless birds are house-hunting…

heart-rending chirping!

Children play outside,

jumping on their trampoline,

full of joy and life!

Helicopters pass.

No power, no phone service.

Internet is down.

Neighborhood kids wade

and row an inflated boat

down the flooded street.

Grown-ups are working

to bring order to chaos,

helping each other.

Heard in the distance,

generators and chainsaws,

fumes of gasoline.

Faint smoke in the air,

smells of wet wood burning and

supper on the grill.

A tiny flashlight

illuminates my paper

as I write tonight.

At last, loved ones’ calls connect.

“Yes, we are fine!” we tell them.


Jugs filled with filtered water and a propane burner in our lanai kitchen.

Advance Preparations

Tuesday, 9/27/22

Knowing we might not have running water, we filled the bathtubs with water for flushing the commodes and gallon jugs with RO-filtered water for drinking. We froze jugs of water to keep food cold in case of power outages. We also bought a bucket to carry water from the water tank outside.

Some items that are always in short supply during hurricanes are batteries and paper products, so we keep them on hand. For cooking on the lanai, we have a propane burner, tanks of propane, and matches in a waterproof container. We also have flashlights and a small battery-operated fan.

Gas shortages and long gas lines are common during storms, so we filled up our car’s gas tank. We fully charged our cell phones and have a charger in the car for backup.

We didn’t put our storm shutters up because predictions until the last minute were for a storm with maximum winds of 46 miles per hour. We don’t have a generator; the noise and the gas fumes are a problem for us.

Meat department of a grocery store. On a couple of days, they ran out of ice. One day I shopped there, and they were out of milk. Today they were out of eggs and sour cream. In the first few days after the storm, there were lines outside of some grocery stores.

Living Conditions

Charlotte County, Florida

Thursday, 9/29/22-Sunday, 10/9/22

Traffic has been extremely heavy. There have been long lines at gas stations, and some stations were out of gas. Grocery stores sell out of items such as ice, meat, eggs, milk, and paper products faster than they can restock the shelves. Some restaurants are open. They have faced shortages, but they have adapted and are serving large crowds. Schools are closed until further notice. Mail deliveries resumed after a few days. Garbage pickup will resume soon.

We had no electricity or running water for over a week at our house. Power returned on Saturday, 10/8/22, and the internet came back on Sunday, 10/9/22. About 95% of customers now have power. Cell phone service was off for a day, then was erratic, but has gradually improved.

Major roads were quickly cleared and traffic signals were in service. Secondary roads are mostly clear, but not all traffic signals are operational.

Floods in our neighborhood subsided in a day, but there may still have been flooding elsewhere for a while. We think the numerous canals in our neighborhood overflowed. Robert found a dead fish in our yard after the water went down. Phew!


Male cardinal. Photo by Aaron Doucette from Unsplash.

Cardinals & Other Househunters

Sonnet

Friday, 9/30/22

Oh, bright red bird perched on a scrap of vine

amid trees fallen in a hurricane,

your chirping reaches from your heart to mine.

Oh, little homeless bird, I feel your pain!

The female cardinal soon joins her mate.

Now side-by-side in silence, feeling calm,

their top priority is real estate.

Away they fly in search of their new home.

Although the cardinals are out of sight,

their joyful melodies drift in the air.

May their new treehouse be exactly right!

I hope that they are safe and happy there.

May displaced humans, squirrels, and raccoons,

and all househunters find their dream homes soon!

Male and female cardinals. Photo by Aaron Doucette from Unsplash.

Power company bucket truck working in our neighborhood.

Cleanup & Recovery

Thursday, 9/29/22-Sunday, 10/9/22

There are several staging areas nearby. Electrical crews from many Florida counties and multiple states, Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, Rubicon volunteers, The Florida National Guard, sheriff’s deputies, and state police from many Florida counties are some of the people working here.

All of the cleanup and recovery efforts have been well-coordinated, and the various agencies have accomplished an amazing amount of work in less than two weeks since Hurricane Ian struck. A Rubicon volunteer I talked to told me that they will be here until Thanksgiving, clearing roads and assisting Floridians with emergency repairs.

A huge thank you to everyone for their efforts to return Florida to normal after Hurricane Ian!

This was how I did my laundry on the second day after Hurricane Ian.

I Remember Grandma Washing Clothes

Friday, 9/30/22

The second day

after Hurricane Ian,

with no power or running water,

while it was still cool outside,

I set up a table on the patio.

Carrying water in a bucket

from the water tank,

Robert and I filled and refilled two basins,

one to wash and one to rinse.

I washed twelve pairs of underwear,

five nightshirts,

and two pairs of socks.

I hung the clothes on hangers

to dry in the sun and the breeze

Then I watched the clouds

forming in the sky.

If it rained,

the clothes would have to finish drying

on the lanai.

It took me a couple of hours

to wash the clothes.

All that time, I thought of Grandma

making soap from lard and lye,

and boiling it in a big kettle over a fire.

About 1956, I watched Grandma do laundry.

She washed her clothes

in a wringer washer in her basement,

then hung them outside to dry

on the clotheslines.

When they were dry,

she carried them upstairs

and sprinkled them with water

before she ironed them.

There were no steam irons then,

and there was very little wash-and-wear.

Grandma did her laundry

in many steps,

and she climbed many steps too!

Grandma was born around 1903.

She and Grandpa

purchased and remodeled

her childhood home

when she was in her fifties.

When Grandma was living

in that same house as a child,

they pumped well water

with a pitcher pump in the yard…

no wringer washer

in the basement,

no indoor plumbing,

and probably no electricity.

I remember

that Grandma was very proud

of her collection of antique flat irons

made of solid iron,

the ones that you heated

on the woodstove

before you ironed your clothes.

She probably used those same irons

as a child living in that very house.

How Grandma would laugh

if she could see me now,

carrying well water in a bucket

and washing clothes outdoors

in 2022!

Cheryl Batavia in the outdoor laundry. Shades of 1903, but without the washboard and the flat irons! Photo by Robert Snyder.

Positive Notes on Hurricane Ian

Saturday, 10/8/22

Downed trees from the vacant wooded lot next door blew against our house.
Tops of fallen trees against the window.

Farewell to Trees!

Although we didn’t put storm shutters up, and trees blew down against our roof and windows, there is no damage except for some minor gutter repairs. It truly was amazing, and definitely terrifying, to watch Hurricane Ian slam into our house for about eight hours!

This house in our neighborhood has storm shutters just like ours, but they actually put theirs up! The fence was no match for Hurricane Ian.

The Power is On!

Thursday, 10/6/22

One result of living through Hurricane Ian is a new appreciation for electricity. Nearly everything we do requires an innovative approach without power. I was so happy to take a shower! No more carrying endless buckets of water! No more schlepping ice! No more writing poems by flashlight!

Moonrise over the remains of trees that blew over against our windows during Hurricane Ian. Friday, 10/7/22. We have a crew coming this week to cut up the branches and carry them to the street for FEMA to pick up.

Welcome, Autumn!

One great development is that Ian ushered in beautiful autumn weather…sunny days, cool mornings and evenings, and the bright harvest moon!

Hello, Birds!

Saturday, 10/8/22

Mockingbird. Photo by Pexels User from Pexels.
Male cardinal. Photo by Aaron Doucette from Unsplash.

Cardinals have been the predominant birds in our immediate neighborhood, but since the storm, I have seen several mockingbirds. I love both birds, but the mockingbirds are wonderful singers. Today the weather was gorgeous, and I had lunch on the lanai. For nearly an hour, mockingbirds performed a concert for Robert and me. They have a stunning repertoire!

There are two large oak trees on the other side of the vacant lots behind our house that survived Hurricane Ian. I think the cardinals may have found a new home there.

We have also seen a colorful blue jay a few times.

I hope they all stick around!

Blue Jay. Photo by Aaron Doucette from Unsplash.

Helping Each Other

The jatropha in our backyard after Hurricane Ian uprooted it.

One of the nicest things we have experienced during the aftermath of Hurricane Ian is people helping each other, both their neighbors and total strangers.

Our neighbors are very busy and hard-working and have plenty to do, but they have offered to help us. Our kind neighbor replanted two Jatrophas that the storm ripped out of the ground. We are watering them and hoping for another miracle.

What an inspiring family!

Our jatropha before the hurricane. Read about our jatropha miracle.

gulfcoastpoet.com/2022/09/04/ode-to-a-young-jatropha/
Robert on our front porch the morning after Hurricane Ian visited us. Thursday, 9/29/ 22

Spending Time Together

Robert and I have enjoyed working together to overcome the challenges we have faced from Hurricane Ian. We liked chatting on the lanai over our morning tea in the cool mornings and talking about the events of the day in the evenings. Having a few late lunches together in a cool restaurant was pleasant when we had no air conditioning at home.

Occasionally, we took time out to play a game of Scrabble. A couple of times, I even won! At night, we played by the light of a tiny flashlight hung from the ceiling fan with a piece of string.

It’s great to spend time with the ones you love in the good times, but it’s especially great in challenging times!

Our dining table looks out to the lanai and our outdoor kitchen. A great place for a game of Scrabble!

Final Thoughts

A lot of people are probably wondering whether the intensity of Hurricane Ian is the result of climate change. I believe it is, and I think that we will continue to have increasingly severe weather events if we fail to reverse global warming. We all need to do our part.

Wherever you are, I send you best wishes for health and happiness. Be safe, and remember that life is a little sweeter when people help each other. ❤


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia