Many people are wondering whether it is too late to restore the environment to health. I don’t know the answer, but I HOPE that it is not too late! The poem below is the last of my three environment-themed Halloween Sonnets.
Satan, Beelzebub, the Fiend, the Devil, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness…There are numerous names for the personification of evil. Many classic myths and stories portray a character who promises to serve the Devil in exchange for granting them a favor. In this case, the character sells his soul to live on after all other human beings become extinct. The poem also tells a tale of the destruction and regeneration of the earth.
At approximately age five, I remember marching in a Halloween parade wearing a Devil costume, red with horns and a tail, and carrying a pitchfork! My siblings subsequently grew into the costume.
Ingrid’s Halloween Sonnet Festival inspired me to learn to write sonnets. Few things scare me more than the impending doom of global warming, climate change, deforestation, species extinction, and pollution. We need to change our ways NOW if we hope to prevent the ubiquitous doomsday predictions from coming true.
Check out the Halloween Sonnet Festival on Ingrid’s blog, experimentsinfiction.com!
This is my attempt at a Halloween Sonnet suggested by Ingrid at experimentsinfiction. Ingrid is sponsoring a Halloween Sonnet Festival. Sonnets are not my forte, but I thought it would be fun to participate. Thank you, Ingrid, for a bit of Halloween fun. 🙂
Thank you to all of those who kindly responded to that test post from WordPress! ❤ It was intended to track down an email of a post that WordPress sent me. The test post was not supposed to be visible. I am sorry for the inconvenience.
The Thirteen Colonies won their independence from England. The United States of America at this time consisted of thirteen states which extended to the Mississippi River on the west. Territories to the south and west were controlled by Spain, France, and Russia. Canadian borders were being established to the north. Of course, Native Americans already lived in the Americas when Europeans arrived, a fact Europeans often chose to ignore.
Mountain men were fur traders and trappers who explored the American West. They lived among the Native Americans, learned tribal languages, and often married Native American wives.
The Louisiana Purchase. The US bought the Louisiana Territory from France. President Thomas Jefferson sent the Lewis & Clark Expedition to explore the West. Their journals recorded the topography, Native American tribes they visited, and plants and animals they found.
Sacagawea, a sixteen-year-old Native American guide and translator, joined the expedition with her French Canadian explorer husband and infant son. She was invaluable to the expedition, and in 1794, a one dollar coin was first minted in her honor. On the coin is an image of Sacagawea carrying her baby on her back.
The Western Expansion. Settlers moved to land West of the Mississippi River, traveling on foot, on horseback, and by canoes, river rafts, and Conestoga wagons.
The US continued to purchase territories. A doctrine called “Manifest Destiny” stated that it was ordained by God that the US should occupy all the land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Native Americans resisted the takeover of their land. There were many conflicts and wars between the Settlers, US soldiers, and the Native Americans. US soldiers manned numerous forts along the trail to protect the wagon trains and the settlers who now lived on the Great Plains.
The Great Migration. During this time, 350,000 settlers traveled to California and the Oregon Territories. Steam-powered riverboats and eventually stage coaches became available. Telegraph lines soon linked East and West. The US now stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Many new states had been admitted to the Union as settlers moved west, some where slavery was legal, and some where slavery was illegal. This was a tumultuous time in American history which culminated in a bloody civil war.
Gold was discovered in California, and the California Gold Rush began. “Forty-niners” went to California in search of gold. A few of them did “strike it rich.” Many more did not.
Towns sprang up where gold and silver were discovered. When the mines played out, the towns were abandoned. Ghost Towns still exist in the American West.
The American Civil War was fought between the Union (Northern States) and the Confederacy (Southern States.) It was a devastating and bloody conflict that centered around issues of slavery.
The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed, joining East and West. This marked the end of the Era known as the Great Migration.
Into the West, a six-part series from executive producer, Steven Spielberg. Available on YouTube.
Two families, one Native American and the other White, live through the events of the American westward movement.
Little House on the Prairie, TV series based on the Little House series of books by Laura Ingals Wilder. Story of a family growing up on a farm near a small prairie town.
Michael Landon, Mellissa Gilbert, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson.
Bonanza, TV Series. A rancher and his sons are involved in many issues of the day.
Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker.
Oklahoma, a movie musical about a girl coming of age on an Oklahoma farm.
Shirley Jones, Gordon McRae.
Paint Your Wagon, a movie musical comedy set in a Gold Rush mining town. A Mormon woman marries two men.
Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Jean Seberg.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, a hilarious movie musical with critically-acclaimed dance sequences.
Howard Keel, Jane Powell.
Jeremiah Johnson, a movie that tells the story of a mountain man and his encounters with grizzly bears.
Robert Redford, Will Geer.
Dances with Wolves, a movie about a Civil War hero who is eager to see the old West and is assigned to a fort. Arriving at an abandoned fort, he gets to know a local tribe of Native Americans. He spends time in their camp, going on a buffalo hunt and falling in love with a white woman who lives with them.
Directed by and starring Kevin Costner.
River of No Return, a movie about danger, romance, and redemption on a river raft headed west.
Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe.
Sarah Plain and Tall, movie. A mail order bride from New England becomes part of a farm family in the West.
Glenn Close, Christopher Walken.
McClintock, a hilarious western comedy movie reminiscent of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”
John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara.
Westerns on this List
The majority of the westerns on this list were chosen for authenticity. They allow the viewer to experience the American westward movement and life on the American frontier. Many of the westerns listed feature iconic actors and gorgeous western scenery.
Excellent documentaries about the old West have been made. Though they are not listed here, I like watching them.
The classic westerns listed are widely available on television, cable movie channels, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and similar venues.
I hope you find something you enjoy!
For further information, try Wikipedia, a helpful source of information used for this post.
We are in a holding pattern at our house. Robert’s cataract surgery has been postponed because of an infection in a root canal. The infection, which didn’t show up in dental x-rays, was finally discovered with a 3-D scan. After the root canal is redone, antibiotics, and no infection for several weeks, cataract surgery can be rescheduled. Thank you for understanding if I am a little erratic on WordPress for a while.
I continue fighting very slow, unresponsive emails even after updating my computer with Apple, and still need to check out the problem with our internet provider as well as WordPress. Our TV reception, on the same system, is also having problems. I am reading a few emails when I can between doctor and dentist appointments. Also, I am now the designated driver for both of us. I look forward to being back full-time on WordPress soon after Robert’s cataract surgery is completed in September. I hope life is treating you well.
This poem was written about why I decided to take a break! It may be a while before everything settles down and I am fully back on WordPress. When I get the computer up to speed, I look forward to reading and responding to more posts.
The new lawn guy is great!
Robert installed new shower doors a couple of weeks ago. I am still finding an occasional piece of broken glass.
The electrician was here most of today, and the lanai kitchen, where most of our food is cooked, is fully operational.
Robert has an appointment with a cataract surgeon at the end of the month. We don’t have a date for surgery yet.
The roofers will be here next week. I hope we don’t get another tropical storm before they finish the repair!
We have invited family groups to visit in the fall and early winter when Florida weather is nicest.
July 4, 1776 was the day delegates from the thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence from England. Those who signed the document did so at great personal risk. The bloody American Revolution followed under the leadership of General George Washington, who later became the first president of the United States.
To celebrate Independence Day, Americans will fly flags, watch fireworks shows, sing patriotic songs, and tell the stories of our history. Cookouts and picnics are also traditional.
Today, though we are celebrating our country’s birthday, the Global Community is uppermost in my mind. We are suffering from a worldwide pandemic, wars, and widespread racism and violence. Environmental problems threaten all of us.
Today I would like to share song lyrics that express my thoughts about our Global Community.
A flock of five loudly shrieking swallow-tailed kites flew by as I was sitting on the front porch one morning last week. Kites live in wetlands and along rivers and canals in the Southeastern US and Central and South America. They feed on lizards and other small reptiles. We live between two canals and there are vacant wooded lots with many pine trees across the street. I have seen individual kites there many times, but a flock of them flying by was a very exciting experience!
My father never had any sisters. He grew up a wild boy skipping school to swim in the creek and trap skunks. In high school he was a basketball star very popular with girls, several of whom wore his class ring on a chain around their necks. He was a skilled hunter and fisherman and helped put food on the table. From time to time, he worked in his father’s siding business. When World War II began, he lied about his age and joined the navy at seventeen. He was, I think, a “man’s man,” always more comfortable in the company of men than in the company of women.
My birth may have been a disappointment to my father, my being a girl. I was also a lot like my mother, with whom he had little in common…imaginative, creative, a lover of art, poetry, and music, uncoordinated and not very good at sports. Still, he was proud of me, ambitious for me, and he was my hero!
My brother was born two years after me, and when I was four, my sister was born. While my mother was in the hospital, I remember Dad trying to make Shirley Temple-style curls in my hair one Sunday morning. I remember his consternation when the ends stuck out at the bottom. I must have been quite a sight going to church with my hair looking like that!
My father’s first assignment as a minister was to three little country churches in Pennsylvania. While Mom went home with my younger brother and sister after the first Sunday service, I always continued on with Dad to the second service. I listened to every sermon three times, never tiring of my dad’s wonderful stories. I remember standing beside the piano when I was five and singing my first solo.
Visiting my grandparents when I was four or five, we went to the swimming pool in Wheeling, West Virginia. My father asked me if I would like to dive with him. With my arms tight around his neck and holding my breath, we went off the high dive together. My father was my hero!
When I was seven, I started piano lessons, which continued for nine years, although I had little musical talent. Eventually, I played the piano and antique pump organ at church when no one else was available. I wasn’t very good! I sang in the choir for years, often performing solos and duets. When I was eleven or twelve, I would put my hair up in a French twist and go with my father to hymn sings at neighboring churches. With my hair up, I thought I looked older and hoped people might mistake me for Dad’s wife. Of course, that was pretty silly!
Mom persuaded Dad to include his daughters, as well as his son on his hunting and fishing expeditions. Though I didn’t shoot, I enjoyed going with my father and our dog, Lady, to hunt quail, and I was always the one to prepare them for cooking. When we went fishing, I was usually the one to clean the fish.
One day, Dad took my brother, sister, and me to fish for bluegills in a farm pond. I got my line hopelessly tangled. Trying to break the line by pulling against my foot, I embedded a fish hook deep in the calf of my leg. My father cut it out with his pocket knife. I was very brave. “You are lucky I just sharpened my knife!” my father said. I still have a little purple scar on my leg.
When I was in high school, hunters sometimes stayed at our house. They would get up at four in the morning to go deer hunting with my father. I also got up early and fixed them a hearty breakfast. I enjoyed listening to their hunting stories and fish tales.
Like his mother, my father was a talented gardener. His huge garden helped to feed our family. I remember Dad teaching me how to plant beans and pull weeds. We all shelled peas, snapped beans, and husked corn. In the early years, my mother canned, but when I was about six, we got a large freezer, and my parents kept it full of vegetables from the garden and fish and meat my father brought home. My father also raised beautiful flowers that my mother and I enjoyed making into arrangements for home and church.
My mother was an excellent cook and baker. Mom turned the abundance from the garden into delicious meals and baked pies, cookies, and cakes. Dad had been a cook aboard a ship when he was in the navy and was always reminding us that the best chefs are men! When it came to preparing deer steak or frying trout, Dad often did that job.
Always the athlete, Dad never played a sport he didn’t like…darts, bowling, ice skating, roller skating, skiing, hiking, swimming, college football…When I was in high school, he used to outshoot teenagers on the church basketball court. My father, brother, and I got our Red Cross lifeguard certifications together. They scored higher in the water test than I did, and I scored higher on the written exam! In his seventies, Dad was still skating with the church youth group.
The youth group activity I enjoyed most when I was young was hiking in Shenandoah National Park.We would pile into the back of an old hearse and head for the mountains. After the hike, we enjoyed burgers and hot dogs cooked over wood coals and we roasted marshmallows.
One day, without my parents’ knowledge, I wore my bathing suit under my clothes. Our group hiked to the top of South River Falls, a tall waterfall with a pool in the middle that was reported to be bottomless. Many people have died walking near the waterfalls in the park. Luckily, I didn’t die. I just climbed down through the middle of the falls and swam in the pool at the bottom. Oddly, I don’t remember being punished for that episode. Maybe Dad saw himself in me that day!
On another hike, I walked through a yellow jackets’ nest. Swatting the bees as I ran, I knocked my glasses off. Days later, my father returned to the trail and found my glasses. Remarkable! My Hero!
When I was in high school, my parents’s marriage, always a mismatch, began to steadily deteriorate. Life at home was often unpleasant because of the conflict between my parents. Also, I found the restrictions imposed by my parents unbearable.
I had a brief, but very unfortunate experience at a religious boarding school. The repressive and malevolent attitudes and the rampant hyprocricy at the school made me question religion. I became an atheist at age thirteen. Though I continued to participate in church activities for many years, I think my parents were aware that I no longer accepted their beliefs. Stubborn and independent, as both of my parents were, I obeyed them for the most part, but was pretty outspoken with them about my views.
My father was as frustrated as I was, I think. He had trouble seeing me grow up and was reluctant to relinquish control. When I was seventeen, he did several things to me that were very hurtful. I think he later regretted his actions, although he never said that he was sorry. He was much less controlling with my younger sister as she grew up.
After their children were grown, my parents went through a very messy divorce. Dad and I both made efforts to maintain a relationship until the day he died, but I could never fit his mold. I always loved my father, and he loved me, but, like Humpty Dumpty, our family could never be put together again.
My father died at age seventy-five in 2004. I have many treasured memories of my dad and a few memories it took me years to forgive. Fulfilling his wishes, family members sang some of his favorite hymns at his funeral in a little country church where he was the pastor. My father had “died with his boots on!”
To all the fathers everywhere, you will never be perfect. Don’t stress over it. All any of us can do is our best! We love you. We will always love you!
This Sunday, May 9, 2021 is celebrated as Mothers Day in the US. Wherever you are, feel free to join in! Tell your mother you love and appreciate her. Spend time with her if you can. Call her, bring her flowers or candy, take her out to dinner…whatever is in your heart to do. If your mother is no longer alive, take a moment to remember her and all the good times you spent together.
Your support and encouragement mean the world to me! You have helped me to get through these dark days of the pandemic, the isolation, and the health issues. WordPress bloggers are talented, inspiring, kind, and helpful…friends who have treated me like family! You are appreciated!
Kritika of “Valorous Bird”, thank you for discovering my website and encouraging me to start my blog. I will always remember.
My first post was on June 18, 2020, and this is post number 112. As of today, I have 505 subscribers. Thank you all!
With our allergies and our declining energy levels in mind, we re-landscaped our front entrance, hiring landscapers to do the heavy work. The palm tree’s expected ultimate height is 10-12 feet. The plants are low maintenance, drought-resistant perennials, and the river rock is an inert permanent mulch. The one high maintenance exception is the red-flowering Dipladenia vine, which likes frequent watering.
Foxtail ferns and a Dipladenia vine, Photo by Cheryl Batavia
This historic bridge over the scenic Peace River in Arcadia, Florida holds fond memories for me. My father used to fish in the Peace River when I was a child, and our family vacationed in Florida. The Peace River flows into the Gulf of Mexico not too far from where we live now. Robert and I have walked along the river at Arcadia a number of times. Last year, my daughters and I took a breathtaking boat tour on the river near Arcadia.
Arcadia is a town that once had a fine train station and an opera house. Many historic buildings are now home to restaurants and antique shops. Mary Margaret’s Tea Room is one of Robert’s and my favorite restaurants located in an historic auto dealership and garage and furnished with antiques.
It is a tradition to go to Mary Margaret’s on my birthday, missed for the last year two years because of the pandemic. The restaurant has changed hands since the pandemic began. We want to visit again after it is over. I hope they still have our favorite crab Louis, quiche Lorraine, turkey sandwiches, flavored tea, and tea biscuits!
I have attempted to paint the old Peace River bridge several times over the last couple of years, but I could never quite capture my feelings for the place. I will try again, and post it if I get it right.
This poem is a Ziggurat, a form created by Paul Szlosek and presented by Eugenia at Eugenia’s Causerie. It consists of 14 lines and 4 stanzas. 2 lines, 2 words each, 3 lines, 3 words each, 4 lines, 4 words each, and 5 lines, 5 words each. The rhyme pattern is aa, bbb, cccc, ddddd. This was a fun form to work with.
I am sorry that I am so far behind with reading emails. I really wasn’t intending to take a break, but I have had a worsening fibromyalgia flare over the last few weeks. Though I have had fibromyalgia for over thirty years, flares are rare and usually only last a day or two. I have been dealing with some stressful issues and trying to do too much.
The good news is that energy and mental clarity are starting to return. I need to take it slow, but I will do my best to keep in touch. Thank you for understanding. ❤
I have a test and a couple of doctor’s visits coming up this month. It seems we may have found dietary solutions to the digestive issues. Too much caffeine and chocolate seem to be behind the tachycardia and palpitations. Time will tell. I finally got my first covid19 vaccine.
My Mom, Marian Nicholson (1924-2015) always encouraged me in a love of nature, art, and poetry. At the age of forty-five she fulfilled a lifelong dream and graduated from nursing school. We were very proud of Mom. As she grew older, my sister and I increasingly looked out for her. The last thirteen years of her life, she lived near me and we did a lot of things together. This poem is about the last four years of Mom’s life, when she was in an independent living center suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a sad time, but it gave us both pleasure to spend a great deal of time together.
I celebrate Women’s History Month by posting this poem in honor of my mother.
Texas is experiencing unheard-of back-to-back blizzards and below-zero temperatures. This may be one of many examples of extreme weather events due to global warming. Increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes and wildfires, craters forming in Russia’s Tundra, and melting polar ice are some other possible examples.
Texas is not well-prepared for blizzards. Items such as Snowplows and snow tires are in short supply. The low temperatures are overtaxing the power grid and causing power outages. Some people’s water pipes have burst. A few areas have orders to boil water. Many people are stuck at home with a dwindling supply of food and without heat. I am grateful that my daughters and their household have experienced only a very brief power outage.
This quote, as described in Plato’s Apology, is from the trial of Socrates, where he was convicted of “corrupting the youth” of Athens. Socrates believed so strongly in his philosophy that he chose the punishment of death rather than exile, and died by drinking poison hemlock. The “Socratic Method” teaches by asking questions and is still used today.
This poem contrasts the “unexamined life” in the first half of the palindrome with the “examined life” in the second half of the palindrome. I believe that we should not drift through life, accepting conventional wisdom without question. We should take responsibility for our own lives by asking the difficult questions to discover our true purpose. A purposeful life is meaningful and is in service to others.
For the last couple of months, I have been having increasingly severe cardiovascular symptoms. I am not sure of the cause, but suspect so-called “long covid.” I had a mild heart attack in 2007 and have two stents in my heart. Maybe one is blocked.
I will let you know when I find out about what is happening. Until then, I will carry on the best I can. I would rather talk about ideas, emotions, family, the environment, nature, culture… and not my health! I just wanted you to know that if I don’t read as many posts as usual, it is not because I don’t want to.
The change of seasons is subtle in South Florida. Times given vary, but are approximate for where I live.
In Florida, most trees and plants are green all year, but some are deciduous. Red Maples and Virginia creeper are among Florida’s deciduous plants. Their leaves turn red in late December and fall around New Year’s.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and grow well in South Florida. They typically bloom in December, and their red bracts stay on the plants for several months. Pink and white are other popular poinsettia colors.
As is true in many places, winter sunrises and sunsets tend to be especially vivid.
Male cardinals get their bright mating plumage in mid-January, and the woods, which have been silent for a while, are alive with bird songs. Spring and baby birds will not be far behind.
Looking forward to 2021, I think the situation looks very fluid. We will need goals, but even more, we will need to be flexible. I usually make New Year’s resolutions; this year, I have settled for good intentions! 🙂