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.

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.

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.

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!

Is Death as Beautiful as Love? & A Tale of Lovers’ Leap

Photo by Joao Jesus from Pexels.

Is Death as Beautiful as Love?

“Death is as beautiful as love.” I vehemently disagree with this closing line from a poem I wrote in high school. I tried hard to remember the rest of the poem and understand what was meant, but unfortunately, that is the only line I can remember. I will tell you right up front that I think there is nothing that is as beautiful as love.

Seeking insight, I tried to imagine what a beautiful death would look like, perhaps stepping in front of a bullet intended for someone else or dying in defense of your country. Those are selfless and honorable ways to die.

Making a living will ensures a peaceful death when there is no hope of recovery and provides an end to the sufferings of family members. That is a responsible and loving way to die.

Maybe it would be beautiful to die holding the hand of the one you love and plunging to your death from one of the many famous “Lovers’ Leaps.” Well, maybe that kind of death isn’t beautiful, though it might be preferable to being forced into a loveless marriage. Having heard tales as a child about a “Lovers’ Leap” in West Virginia, this is the sentimental favorite among the candidates for a “beautiful death.”

Death is natural and something we all will experience, but we shouldn’t expect it to be beautiful. I believe that what is beautiful is the love that motivated the people involved in the scenarios mentioned, and not the death itself. As I stated at the beginning, I don’t believe that anything is as beautiful as love.

Going forward, since I couldn’t reconstruct the original poem, I decided to write a poem that included the line from the original poem, “Death is as beautiful as love.” After many failed attempts, I settled for writing a poem about an imaginary young couple at Lovers’ Leap, a sort of “Romeo and Juliet of the mountains.”

Photo by Svyatoslav Romano from Unsplash.

A Tale of Lovers’ Leap

Hand-in hand, Darling,

we climb to dizzying heights

above the valley,

where our feuding families

have forbidden us to wed.

Sweethearts forever,

standing on the precipice

above our valley,

hand-in-hand, we’ll leap into

eternity together.

Will they weep for us

down in the valley of hate?

Will the feuding end?

Will they bury us side-by-side

down in a valley of love?


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Personal Note: I began writing this post in the hospital waiting room while Robert was undergoing emergency pacemaker surgery on Wednesday. He came home on Thursday and is recovering well. I may have been thinking some dark thoughts as I wrote, but the sun is shining now! A full recovery is expected in four to six weeks.

Bipolar

Photo by Ivana Cajina from Unsplash.

Bipolar

Comforting sun that warms

can also burn.

Summer showers cool and soothe,

but lightning strikes sometimes.

The honey bee that captivates

can inflict a painful sting.

Cheery words spoken today

may become tomorrow’s curses.

Decisions are made,

changed, and changed again.

Promises are made

but not always kept.

Friendship smiles today,

but it may weep tomorrow.

As difficult as our friendship is for me,

what hell it must be for my bipolar friend!


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia.


Mental Illness

Mental illness occurs in many forms. It can be very difficult to deal with someone who is mentally ill, but I believe they deserve our empathy and compassion. We may need to maintain good boundaries for the sake of our own sanity. It may help us in dealing with those who suffer from mental illness to remember that their illness is not their fault, and they may have little control over their feelings and behavior. They deserve professional help, and they deserve our understanding and support.

Bluebird of Happiness

The Bluebird of Happiness given to me by my sister. Photo by Cheryl Batavia.

Blue Bird of Happiness

My mother admired the glassmaker’s art;

the Bluebird of Happiness sang in her heart…

mesmerizing, sparkling, azure,

the iconic bluebird was Mom’s treasure.

To me, the bluebird was gaudy kitsch,

not something for which I’d ever wish!

My sister, however, had a different view

of the iconic collectibles in blue.

When the glassworks stopped operation,

my sister stocked up in anticipation

of spreading a lot of happiness around.

She offered me a bluebird; I turned her down.

One morning, having changed my mind.

I told my sister, if she would be so kind,

I would like a bluebird after all.

She certainly wasn’t expecting that call!

My sister sent me a bluebird in the mail,

and every morning, without fail,

like my mother and sister before me,

I hear the bluebird’s cheerful melody.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

My Itty Bitty Ad in The New York Times Magazine

Auras of a Proud People:

An Allegory

Photo by N Suma from Unsplash

Auras of a Proud People:

an Allegory

A heroic leader had inspired his people to fight valiantly to save their homeland from takeover by a much larger aggressor. That leader, Peter, was heartened by the bravery of his people and by their remarkable victory, but all around him, he saw the tragic devastation of his beloved country. Peter was deeply saddened by the suffering of all of those who had been wounded or who had lost their lives in the fighting. He wanted to help rebuild his country and bring the refugees home.

One night, Peter, in low spirits and exhausted, fell asleep and began to dream. In his dream, he was sitting on a park bench among green trees and fountains when he noticed that a very old man was watching him intently from a nearby bench. Peter smiled kindly at the old man. “How are you today, friend?” he inquired.

The old man, in a strong, quiet voice replied, “The sun is shining, and our country is free. I have survived on this earth for one hundred years, so I am doing well, but I see profound sadness in your eyes.”

Peter replied, “I, too, am overjoyed that our country is free, but I grieve for the many courageous men and women, and even innocent children, who have died or been injured. Our country is in ruins, and we need outstanding people to rebuild it, people of vision, skill, and determination.”

The old man’s face began to glow, and auras of purple, pink, green, blue, and white outlined his aged body. “You are a good man, Peter,” he said. “Tomorrow, when you awaken, I promise you that you will be able to find the people you need to fulfill every task.”

The old man rose to leave. “Who are you?” Peter inquired, but the old man did not reply. He smiled, then turned and walked away. That night, Peter enjoyed a deep, restful sleep. When he awoke, he went out into the street.

As he walked around the city, Peter was astonished to see that all the people he encountered were surrounded by bright auras of many colors. He went looking for the beautiful park with the green trees and fountains where he had talked to the aged man, but he could not find it.

Finally, Peter sat down under the cool shade of a tree and fell asleep. Soon, the hundred-year-old man appeared and sat on the green grass nearby, waiting for Peter to finish his nap. Gently, the wise old man spoke to Peter, “Peter,” he said, “You now have the gift of seeing auras, the colorful energy fields that surround all living things.”

“That is wonderful!” answered Peter with a smile, but how can that help to rebuild our country?”

The old man returned Peter’s smile and began his explanation, “If you need a person of imagination and creativity, look for someone with an orange aura.”

“Green and pink are colors of the heart. If you need someone with empathy and compassion, look for a person who has an aura of green or pink.”

A blue aura is the sign of a powerful mind. A person with a blue aura possesses unusual intelligence and insight.”

“If you are seeking someone endowed with confidence and charisma, choose a person with a yellow aura.”

“A purple aura signifies empathy, intuition, sensitivity, and great emotional depth.”

“If you meet a person with a red aura, you have found an individual who exemplifies honesty and boundless energy. That person has a burning desire to be the best at whatever he does.”

“A white aura, though rare, is evidence of a quick mind. People with white auras are in touch with universal energy and oneness and have a strong connection to something greater than themselves.”

“Beware of black or very dark auras. They are associated with fatigue, stress, depression, and mental illness,” the old man said, concluding his instruction on a cautionary note.

Then Peter began to speak,”When I was walking around the city today, I saw many people with bright, multicolored auras. Why do some people have auras made up of such an array of colors?”

The aged man’s face glowed, and a colorful aura shone all around him. He said nothing, only smiled and rose to go.

“”Friend, asked Peter, “can you stay and help us meet the great challenges that lie ahead? At least have some supper with me. We can sit and talk, and you can share with me some wise advice.”

The old man only smiled one last time and disappeared into the distance.

As Peter walked home through the streets of the battered city, he noticed many people with colorful auras. He began to feel that so many capable people working together could surely rebuild their country. Although the task was monumental, he was sure their efforts would result in a glorious success!

As Peter stepped into his home, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the hall mirror. He saw a man surrounded by a shimmering rainbow-colored aura, and he was suddenly filled with confidence!

It may be that Peter saw the one-hundred-year-old man and all the colorful auras only in his dreams, but history will record the very real accomplishments of Peter and his people. They banded together, fought bravely, and saved their country from a powerful empire-building invader. From the rubble of war, they rebuilt their homeland better than before.

Today, the sun shines bright on the rippling fields of wheat and the green forests of a free and independent nation. There are cozy homes, excellent schools, renowned universities, beautiful houses of worship, state-of-the-art hospitals, well-stocked libraries, magnificent museums, and impressive public buildings. Businesses prosper, and ships come and go at the bustling ports. New airplanes fly in and out of modern airports.

Happy children laugh and play once more in playgrounds and parks. At school, they study hard to learn the skills they need for a successful future. People enjoy an abundant life with healthful food, comfortable clothes, convenient transportation, reliable independent media, and quality entertainment.

Peter and his fellow citizens are a proud people. Their love of country, courage, and devotion to democracy will forever be legendary!


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Update: On the day before it was scheduled, Robert’s outpatient surgery was rescheduled! He is doing OK. I will let you know more in a couple of weeks. ❤

Morning Reflections

Ocean Dawn. Photo by William Farlow from Unsplash.
Foggy Morning. Photo by Yannick Pulver from Unsplash.
Ruella Daybreak. Photo by Cheryl Batavia.
A New Day. Photo by Gordon Beagley from Unsplash.

Morning Reflections

1. Ocean Dawn

Exquisite stillness…

Dawn breaks over the ocean…

Tranquil, bright morning.

Each day a new beginning,

each day a limitless sea!

2. Foggy Morning

Fog obscures mountains.

Burning sun will soon reveal

lofty horizons.

Inspiration surrounds us…

Your mountain is calling you!

3. Ruella Daybreak

Daybreak approaching…

Purple ruellas unfold,

inviting the bees.

Ruellas live for today.

Tomorrow, others will bloom!

4. A New Day

Morning dew sparkles

on spider webs in sunshine,

delicate but strong.

Slender threads of existence

adorned with glimmering hope.

5. Morning Sun

The day starts slowly,

sunlight building its courage

to face the new day.

Up over the horizon…

Upward to blazing midday!

Morning Sun. Photo by Courtney Cook from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Project News

One of the projects I am working on is submitting my five self-published books to traditional publishers through an agency. The Company is launching two new magazines and sponsored a literary contest.

This poem, “Morning Reflections” as well as the last post, “Serendipity” were entries in a magazine contest that did not get published. There is one more poem which won a special mention and will be published in the magazine soon. I will share the poem after it has been published. I entered a short story contest in the other magazine, but didn’t get published. I will post a story on my blog in the near future.

Another exciting thing is that a small ad for my book, Hanging Out With Wild Animals, will appear in an upcoming issue of the New York Times Magazine. I will share it with you after it comes out. My books will be featured in a variety of other media outlets in the US.

I will post updates about future developments. I am also working on a book series of poems from my blog. That is a long-term project, and I don’t have any plans to publish those books any time soon.

In addition to Robert’s ongoing dental appointments and the ultrasound therapy I am doing for him at home, Robert is having outpatient surgery on Wednesday, which will involve a couple more appointments and a few days of recovery time at home. I think I am too old for all of this activity! I am still trying to keep up with emails, but may continue to be somewhat erratic for a while.

Veracity

Hypocrites and Liars. Photo by Mohamed Matar from Pixabay.

Veracity

Sometimes,

it is difficult

to determine what is true…

even more difficult…

to admit

when we have been misled.

Outright lies,

deceptive advertising,

political spin…

Ever wary,

we yearn for authenticity.

We yearn to trust.

Insincerity,

insinuation,

little white lies,

half-truths,

exaggeration…

Everyday dishonesty erodes trust.

Speaking truth,

we long to be trusted,

but we are met with skepticism.

We wonder why…

Do we all suspect in others

the faults we harbor in ourselves?


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia