I Remember Rainbows

Photo by Harry Quan from Unsplash.

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all

Emily Dickinson

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.


I Remember Rainbows

I live today on earth, a shabby place,

in dreary post-apocalyptic haze,

but I remember glowing rainbow hues,

and sunny skies above, quite clear and blue,

and even if my skies are grey today,

lush rainbow colors flood my dreams always!

No fish are swimming in polluted streams;

in dreams, clear rivers flow to shining seas.

No birds are singing in the leafless trees,

but dream-birds nest in trees of verdant green!

Though even weeds can’t bloom in sterile clay,

I dream of vivid flowers every day

where dream-bees feed in joyous, playful scenes,

and I remember rainbows in my dreams.

Photo by Angelo Casto from Unsplash.
Photo by Nuno Antunos from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Pact with the Prince of Darkness:

A Halloween Sonnet Fantasy

Photo by Gursimrat Ganda from Unsplash

Pact with the Prince of Darkness:

A Halloween Sonnet Fantasy

Forlorn, undead on dying planet earth,

humanity extinct, I curse my birth.

Alas! I sold my soul and cannot die!

For eons, I have roamed the earth and sky

by noxious seas that drowned the firmament,

beneath vile haze that cloaked earth like a tent,

all now restored to lucid sea and sky.

Though void of life, the new-formed land is dry.

Millennia have wiped all stains away.

How slowly life evolves until the day

when humans walk this precious world again!

I dread the evil deeds I must do then,

to serve the Fiend who bought my worthless life.

O Gods, please pardon me and let me die!


Copyright © 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


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.

Photo by Mikail Nilov from Unsplash.

Alone in a Lost World

Burned-out boat on display at Bombay Beach, a ghost town by the Salton Sea in California. The Salton Sea is a dead body of water that is slowly drying up, and the town is now a sort of art museum. Photo by Design Class on Unsplash.

Alone in a Lost World

Bright rainbow hues have faded now away;

I waken in a world of cheerless grey.

Accursed, I walk beside a stinking sea

where once the dolphins came to swim with me.

From heights I view the valley that was home,

a city veiled in haze, a silent tomb.

Bereft at night beneath a blackened sky,

I seek in vain the twinkling stars on high.

No plea restores the music of the night;

the crickets sing no more! I curse my plight

and long for kindred souls to share my days.

I pray to rise on wings and fly away.

Beloved spirits smile and beckon me

to Heaven in the world that used to be.

Photo by Dottie Maybry from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Halloween Sonnet Festival

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!

Security Guards at the Masquerade Ball

Masquerade Ball. Photo by Michael Cochran on flickr.

Security Guards at the Masquerade Ball

At masked balls, Mack, the guests all look a fright!

Look sharp for party-crashing thieves tonight.

A movie star! We can’t arrest Charlie Chaplain!

Now, Sherlock Holmes has seen us watching him.

It’s hard to tell about the yeti; he smells okay!

There’s Cleopatra, wearing a wig, I’d say.

I’m sure Dracula’s no genuine vampire;

he’s with the Queen of Hearts beside the fire.

King Kong, right there, is getting pretty tipsy.

Look how he’s dancing with that buxom gypsy!

Saint Nicholas may be our man, eh Jack?

Let’s go and see what’s in that great big sack.

He’s pinched some fruit and wine off the buffet.

Ho, ho, ho, Santa! No crime in that, I say!

Masquerade Ball. Photo by Michael Cochran from flickr.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


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.

Americans Move West

I. Timeline: 1783-1869

II. Poems of the Westward Migration

III. My Favorite Classic Westerns

A Vintage Conestoga wagon with a water barrel on the side. Photo by Larry Costales from Unsplash.

Map of US Territorial Growth. Photo from flickr.

Timeline: 1783-1869

1783

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.

1803

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.

1803-1841

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.

1841-1869

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.

1849

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.

1861-1865

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.

1869

The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed, joining East and West. This marked the end of the Era known as the Great Migration.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Poems of the Westward Migration

A creek in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Michael Hirsch on Unsplash.

Mountain Men

Mountain men roamed the wilderness

and lived among the tribes,

learning tribal languages

and taking native wives.

They knew the animals and seasons

and walked the forest ways,

trapping beaver along the rivers

in long, solitary days.

Gentlemen in London and Paris

wanted to make the right impression.

American beavers died for the sake

of fashion’s beaver hat obsession.

Mountain men gathered

when the season was through

to trade their furs and celebrate

their yearly Rendezvous.

Black Foot, Standing Bear, and Big Eagle, three members of the Sioux tribe. A Sioux village with tipis, 1898 photo from the Boston Public Library on Unsplash.

Native Americans

Native Americans, on many occasions,

helped European settlers survive,

but goodwill soon evaporated

when the multitudes arrived.

An endless stream of intruders

settled on ancestral lands.

Smallpox and measles took a toll.

Others died by White men’s hands.

Native Americans were pushed

further westward for years and years.

Their lands were seized, and they were

forced to walk the “Trail of Tears.”

Treaties dishonored, promises broken.

Natives were confined to reservations.

Their children were sent to far-off schools

for White man’s education.

Modern-day campers and a replica Conestoga wagon. Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash.

Wagon Trains Go West

Carrying the settlers’ worldly goods,

Conestoga wagons crossed the plains.

For protection against Native American

attacks, they traveled in wagon trains.

A wagon master led the wagon train

and guided settlers on their way.

He knew where to ford the rivers and

where to camp at the end of the day.

Many settlers walked along the trail

to spare the oxen and lighten the load.

At night they circled the wagons and

cooked their suppers beside the road.

Babies were born along the trail.

Settlers played music and danced.

Couples were married on the journey

after a wagon train romance.

Dreams were big, and hopes were high,

but there were hardships every day.

The trail was littered with broken wagons,

and graves were left along the way.

Vintage steam engine. Narrow gauge railroad. Photo by Adrienne Merritt on Unsplash.

The Great Migration

The US army manned a series of forts

to defend the wagon trains and

protect the settlements springing up

across the western plains.

Gold was discovered in California.

Settlers traveled the Oregon Trail.

Stage coaches soon headed west,

carrying passengers and mail.

New states were joining the Union,

some slave, and some free.

It was a dark and turbulent era

in American History.

Five years of civil war

brought widespread devastation.

The Transcontinental Railroad

ended the era of Great Migration.

There has always been a special bond between a cowboy and his horse. Photo by Rodnae Productions on Pexels.



Cowboy Life

Cowboys riding the open range

under a wide blue sky,

we keep an eye out for rustlers,

loaded guns by our sides.

Many more miles to ride,

many new calves to brand.

We sit around the campfire,

eating beans from a can.

Singing sad songs, swapping

tall tales, just hanging around.

We unpack our bedrolls

and fall asleep on the ground.

Morning comes early. Drink your

coffee and saddle your horse.

Looks like good weather today…

I’ve seen a whole lot worse!

New horses to be broken

out in the corral.

Getting ready for round-up

and a big cattle drive in the fall.

Cookie’s got provisions.

The chuck wagon’s ready to go.

Our last night in the bunkhouse…

Telling jokes and playing dominoes.

This cattle drive is endless,

riding hard and swallowing dust,

eating biscuits and gravy

until we’re ready to bust!

Tomorrow, we’ll drive the herd

to town, and head for the saloon.

We’ll play some cards, drink some

beer, and listen to some tunes.

A modern-day riverboat on the Mississippi River near New Orleans. Photo by Bernard Sprague from flickr.

Scoundrels of the Old West

Scoundrels were irresistibly drawn

to the riches of the West.

Card sharks prowled the riverboats,

putting amatures to the test.

Traveling medicine shows

sold worthless potions and elixers

to an unsuspecting populace.

What a shameless bunch of tricksters!

Claim jumpers lurked in the gold fields

to seize somebody else’s claim.

Crooks in preacher’s collars robbed

congregations in God’s name.

A few crooked agents on reservations

sold cattle the government sent,

growing rich on the profits, while native

families ate the bread of discontent.

Unscrupulous prostitutes robbed

customers who fell into their hands.

Rustlers stole cattle on the range,

altering the original brands.

And then there were armed outlaws

committing robberies with guns,

holding up stages, trains, and banks,

living their lives on the run.

Vintage western schoolhouse/church. Photo by Dan Myers from Unsplash.

Old West Towns

Any self-respecting town

had a saloon with a piano player,

hotel, general store,

jail, and undertaker.

A livery stable and a blacksmith

were absolute musts!

Every town needed a doctor

and a banker they could trust.

Most towns had a one-room school

with a schoolmarm to teach

reading, writing, and arithmetic…

and a circuit rider to preach.

Kids learned the ten commandments

and the Golden Rule.

Frontier towns didn’t want to raise

a generation of lawless fools!

Some towns had a seamstress,

Chinese laundry, barber, and baker,

railroad station, telegraph office,

and town newspaper.

Add to these a brothel

to spread a little joy

among all the lonely sinners,

miners, and cowboys.

Ghost town. Photo by Kevin Wheeler on Unsplash.

Ghost Towns

Western towns sprang up like mushrooms

near gold and silver mines, and

when the mines played out,

mining towns fell on hard times.

Out in the desert you can visit ghost towns

and think of days gone by.

Hear eerie music, see shadowy ghosts…

At least, it’s fun to try!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


My Favorite Classic Westerns

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.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Little Creatures

Photo of a slug by Timothy Meinberg from Unsplash.

Little Creatures

A slug is a lowly creature

traversing diverse terrains.

A body of solid muscle,

he makes smooth and steady gains.

Monarch butterfly caterpillar. Photo by Lasclay from Unsplash.
Monarch butterfly. Photo by Gary Bendig from Unsplash.

Butterfly, a patient creature,

is chewing leaves as time crawls by.

Cocooned in sleep, she dreams and waits

for glory days when she will fly!

Honeybees on honeycomb. Red dot marks queen. Photo by Cool Calm Design from Unsplash.

Honeybees are social creatures.

Exchanging messages, they dance,

sharing locations of flowers…

Honey bees leave nothing to chance!

Photo of an ant by Peter F. Wolf from Unsplash.

Ants are industrious creatures…

Mighty for their minuscule size.

Co-operation builds communities…

Working together is so civilized!

Turtle and fireflies. Photo by Brittney from Unsplash.

Fireflies are delightful creatures,

illuminating the dark.

Unassuming in the daylight,

as nightlights, fireflies make their mark!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

It Means a Lot to Me…

Robert Snyder. Photo by Cheryl Batavia

It Means a Lot to Me…

While some look for easy answers,

you thirst for knowledge

and seek truth.

While some are at war with themselves

and their neighbors,

you live in peace.

Some struggle to keep track of their lies.

You simply tell the truth…

You have my trust!

You say you love me

and show it every day.

I love you too.

Though life is filled with challenges,

you face each day with good humor,

a smile, a joke, and a wink.

If I am sad, you make me smile.

When good things happen to me,

you share my joy.

When something breaks, you fix it.

I never have to do the dishes alone…

That means a lot to me.

You were not born to make me happy,

but every day is a happy day

because I’m with you.

I don’t believe in fate, but it does seem

to me that we were made

for each other.

Robert, wishing you lots of happiness

on your seventy-third birthday

and always.

Love, Cheryl ❤


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Insomnia

Photo by Alexandra Gorn from Unsplash.

Insomnia

Not sleepy…TV movie…

Can’t believe its a series!

One more episode…

Tossing and turning.

Nearly two in the morning…

eggs at the diner.

Sleepless? Walk with me

under the glittering stars,

silver crescent moon.

Wakeful at four AM…

Early morning impulses…

In the mood for love.

Can’t sleep…word-obsessed.

Poem marching through my brain…

Get up and write!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Cicadas & Snowbirds


Cicada. Photo by Shannon Potter from Unsplash.

Cicadas & Snowbirds

Late September now…

Cicadas singing swan songs,

summer’s last hurrah!

Still rainy in Florida…

raindrops dripping from palm trees.

Photo by Roberto Vivano from Pexels.

Hurricane season

giving way in October…

Birds migrating south,

nesting and raising their young

in Florida’s bright blue days.

Photo by Marisa Howenst from Unsplash.

November. Snowbirds,

fleeing winter’s snowy blast,

also migrate south.

Their nesting days are over…

Grandchildren come to visit.

Photo by Tima Miroshni from Pexels.

Holiday visitors flock

to warm, Florida beaches

in sunny December.

On the beach with grandchildren.

Radio plays “White Christmas.”

Beach in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo by Sarah Granger from Unsplash.

January days.

Bermuda shorts and sweaters

on the golf course.

Delightful weather!

February…still golfing!

Florida Golf Course. Photo by Mick Haupt from Unsplash.

In March and April,

snowbird thoughts turn northward

to dogwoods in bloom.

Snowbirds take their flight

to their summer homes up North.

Dogwood Tree. Photo by Jonathan Hana from Unsplash.

May…hot and sunny.

Cicada chorus and rain

June through September.

Hurricane season waning.

Cicadas sing finale.

Cicada. Photo by Stephen Walker from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Katey and Joe Batavia visit their Snowbird Grandparents, Renee and Gabe Batavia. Boynton Beach, Florida, circa 1996. Photo by Cheryl Batavia.

Oblivion Can Wait

Male cardinal. Photo by Joshua Cotten from Unsplash
Purple Ruellas. Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Oblivion Can Wait

Wakeful

in the dim light

and stillness of morning,

I lie beside you, listening

to your breathing, holding your hand.

You turn over and sleep.

Warm and drowsy,

I doze.

I dream

you take my hand,

and together we rise

toward peaceful oblivion…

I waken suddenly…Not today!

Today, cardinals sing

their cheery songs

outside.

Today,

the grass is green.

In anticipation

of sunrise, ruellas open,

glowing purple in golden light.

Today belongs to us.

Oblivion

can wait.

Today,

the sun comes up.

I drink my tea and write.

You are sleeping, but when you wake,

we will spend the day together.

Today belongs to us.

Oblivion

can wait.

Purple Ruellas. Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


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.

Encouragement

Photo by Jack Brind from Unsplash

Encouragement

Pat on the shoulder,

heartfelt, reassuring gaze…

Words superfluous!

Photo by Kelisa Bernard from Unsplash
Photo by Kiana Bosman from Unsplash
Photo by Kracken Images from Unsplash

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Hometown Parade

Classic Car, California. Photo by Neon Brand from Unsplash

Hometown Parade

I’d like to stand again on a tree-lined street

on a sunny summer day

in nineteen fifty-six. My joy would be complete

when the high school band begins to play.

The majorettes in their tasseled boots,

little short skirts, and ponytailed hair

march and twirl amid claps and whoops

and toss their batons in the air.

Marching Band, Canada. Photo by Vladistav Vasnets from Pexels.

The high school band marches along,

all spiffy uniforms and shiny brass,

playing a medly of marching songs.

The crowd applauds them as they pass.

Little kids march in place,

imitating the high school stars,

as mostly harmonious notes fade away,

we see big-finned convertible cars.

Classic Convertible. Photo by Rodnae Producti from Pexels

Chariots of small-town beauty queens

seated atop their mobile thrones,

regal in reds and blues and greens,

rhinestone tiaras and strapless gowns.

Girl in a Ballgown. Photo by Becerra Govea from Pexels

Poofey skirts spread like shimmering clouds,

queens smile ruby-lipped smiles and wave their hands

at the whistling, cheering crowds.

Then comes the mayor, his car equally grand.

Veterans of Korea and World War Two,

in uniforms of army, navy, and marines,

march behind the red, white, and blue.

Faded dreams of glory, memories of battle scenes.

The children in town are invited

to walk in the parade with their pets.

Children come down the street excited,

dogs wearing ribbons around their necks.

Farm wagon floats are dandy,

transformed by crepe paper festoons.

Business floats are throwing candy.

Church choirs sing patriotic tunes.

Jonah sits near a crepe paper whale,

a Forest Service float features Smokey Bear,

4-H kids perch on hay bales,

Historical tableaux are everywhere.

Vintage Fire Truck. Photo from Pixabay

Shriners maneuver tiny cars around.

Arabian horses prance in fancy gear.

Volunteer firemen are the heroes of our town…

At last we hear a siren. The fire truck is here!

I’d like to listen again to a high school band

on a sunny summer day

with a cold, five-cent Coke in my hand.

Reliving nineteen fifty-six, I’d pass the time away!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

I Would Be Angry, but…


Old Chinese proverb: “Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

A traditional oil lamp, Photo by Prateek Gautam from Unsplash.

I Would Be Angry, but…

I would be angry, but…

those who are disagreeable

are acting out of their own frustrations

and unfortunate situations.

I would be angry, but

those who provide poor service

are acting out of their own incompetence

and may be doing their best.

I would be angry, but

those who execute unfair policies

are following orders from above

and live in fear of losing their jobs.

I would be angry, but

those who impose their beliefs on others

are misguided and unenlightened,

limited by their narrow view of the world.

I would be angry, but

those who take unfair advantage of others

are acting out of their own moral poverty,

likely to be hated and feared by others.

I would be angry, but

I myself am far from perfect.

I make mistakes that may anger others.

I too, am in need of understanding.

I would be angry, but

anger clouds my judgement,

diverts my attention and energy…

Better to calmly take considered action.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Fragrances & Flavors of Our Lives

Sea Salt, Elton, Russia. Photo by Pavel Neznanov on Unsplash.

Fragrances & Flavors of Our Lives

Flavors shape cultural identity

and turn the tides of history.

The Roman Empire, in its day,

issued salt as part of army pay.

Explorers in antiquity learned to subsist

on salted meat and salted fish.

Gandhi led a peaceful march to the sea

to evaporate seawater and set India free.

Indian Spices. Photo by Ratul Ghosh on Unsplash

The Silk Road brought spices to Europe.

Christopher Columbus sailed in the hope

of finding a safer route to “The Indies”

to trade for pepper and other delicacies.

He was funded by Queen Isabella of Spain,

who did not sell her jewels in vain.

In the “New World,” where Columbus landed,

grew tobacco and cocoa, soon in demand.

Vineyard, Germany. Photo by Marcus Winkler on Unsplash

Tobacco, wine, peyote… ceremonial provisions

used to negotiate peace and summon visions.

Coca leaves chewed for energy,

opium dreams to enhance creativity…

addictions to subjugate humanity.

Medicines to relieve pain and to restore health…

violence, illegal trade, and ill-gotten wealth.

Nature’s gifts come from Mother Earth.

How they are used determines their worth.

Traditional Chinese medicine. Photo by Marion Botella on Unsplash

“Let food be thy medicine!” declared Hippocrates.

Since ancient times, food has fought disease.

Ginger and turmeric season our food,

ease pain and dyspepsia and thin blood.

Garlic, a worldwide perennial favorite,

has a multitude of health benefits.

Chilli peppers soothe pain and add heat to curries,

savory stir fries, and Texas chilli.

Sassafras is a tonic that flavors root beer, teas,

and file gumbo, pride of New Orleans.

Hakuna Matada Spice Farm, Dole Zanzibar. Photo by Daniel DeNadai on Unsplash

Nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and cardamon,

cozy flavors that remind us of home.

Home-cooked sweet memories,

a flavorful shield against disease:

Cilantro, rosemary, mint, and dill,

tarragon, oregano, and fennel,

basil, anise, lemon grass, and more…

These are a few of the herbs we adore.

Traditional Chinese medicine, herbal tea, Australia. Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

Herbs and flowers smell enticingly sweet

and exquisitely flavor the foods we eat.

It is said that Cleopatra, legendary beauty,

favored fragrances made from patchouli.

Rose and jasmine fragrances, jasmine tea.

Orange blossom perfume, orange blossom honey.

Candied violets decorate fancy cakes.

Natstutiums in salad impart spicy taste.

Cotswold Lavender, UK. Photo by David Stratton on Unsplash

Scents and flavors bring to mind

life experiences of every kind…

The people we’ve known, the places we’ve been,

culinary travels to lands unseen.

Condiments and their role in history.

Glimpses into the mysteries.

Teasing the palate, inspiring creativity…

All thanks to Mother Nature’s generosity.

Delicious spices at a market, Turkey. Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

To my fellow bloggers,

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.

All the best! ❤ Cheryl

A Peaceful Summer at Home, Haha!

Photo by Fred Kearney from Unsplash.

Lawn Guy

Where are you, lawn guy?

The yard is a hayfield…

Please answer our calls.

You’re billing the month of June?

You only mowed once…Get real!

Roofers

Water on the floor…

Handyman-installed roof vent

invited rain in.

How much? !!! Can’t come for four weeks?

It’s hurricane season, man!

Do-It-Yourself

Did a bomb go off?

Cleaning up bushels of glass…

Shower door exploded!

Installing heavy new doors.

We’re getting too old for this!

Electricians

Dinner stopped cooking…

no power in the kitchen.

Extension cord rigged.

Mr. Sparky’s coming next week!

Anticipating huge bill!

Optometrist

Fully immunized,

Robert has his eye exam!

Glasses won’t help now.

Cataracts need surgery.

Research protocols, choose surgeon.

Doctors & Dentists, Oh My!

The older we get,

the more doctors and dentists

become a part of out lives.

We’re thankful they’re here for us,

but sometimes, enough’s enough!

Computer Technicians

Computer is slow…

Should I consult Apple Tech?

Yes, but not today.

One day I’ll feel energized

and deal with my computer.

House Guests

Family calling…

Pandemic is winding down.

When can they visit?

Not right now, but soon, we hope.

It seems like years and years!

The Two of Us

Looking at the ring

that sparkles on my finger,

I see the future.

With love and hope in our hearts,

we’ll get through this together!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Progress Report

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.

Happy Birthday, USA!

United Nations Building, Geneva Switzerland. Photo by Mathias P. R. Reading from Unsplash

Happy Birthday, USA!

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.


This Is My Song

This is my song, O God of all the nations,

a song of peace for lands afar and mine;

this is my home, the country where my heart is;

here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:

but other hearts in other lands are beating

with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;

but other lands have sunlight, too and clover,

and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:

O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,

a song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;

may peace abound where strife has raged so long;

that each may seek to love and build together,

a world united, righting every wrong:

a world united in its love for freedom,

proclaiming peace together in one song.


Third stanza by Georgia Harkness. © 1964 Lorenz Publishing Company.

First and second stanzas by Lloyd Stone. © 1934, 1962 Lorenz Publishing Company.


To My Fellow Bloggers:

It has been very busy here. Nothing we can’t handle, but fatigue has set in, and a busy agenda still stretches in front of us. I am taking a break from WordPress and will miss all of you. ❤

All the best,

Cheryl


Perfect Partner, My Shadow

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Perfect Partner, My Shadow

Lighthearted I dance,

lightly with spritely shadow.

Sunny June morning.

Perfect partner, my shadow…

always keeping pace with me.

Photo by Will Francis from Unsplash

Afternoon transforms

my shadow and me…giants

taking giant steps.

Perfect partner, my shadow…

always keeping pace with me.

Photo by Agung Pandit from Pexels
Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels
Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Swallow-Tailed Kites

Swallow-tailed Kite Wing Spread Gliding High in Sky

Swallow-Tailed Kites

Swallow-tailed kites,

silhouetted on blue sky,

shrill cries overhead.

Kites nest in the tall pine trees

along slow-flowing canals .


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


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 Dad, My Hero

Photo from Adobe Stock

My Dad, My Hero

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!

Blue Hole, where my family liked to swim and fish. Photo by Taber Andrew Bain CCBY2.0

My Father

Father,

human being,

excellent example

of many admirable skills:

great speaker and storyteller,

gardener, fisherman,

hunter, builder,

athlete!

Father,

good intentions

and high expectations.

He didn’t model compromise

or practice co-operation.

He focused on rules, not

relationships.

He tried.

Father,

childhood hero!

I was so proud of him,

and I know he was proud of me.

Though I could never fit his mold,

I always loved my dad,

and he loved me.

We tried.

South River Falls, Shenandoah National Park-Virginia, USA. Photo from Adobe Stock

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

❤ Happy Fathers Day! ❤

Striving

Milestones of life vary, but birth is the first milestone of life.
Photo by Beau Horyza from Unsplash

Striving

Leaving the serenity of the womb at birth,

we strive all our days upon the earth.

Photo by Luis Arias from Unsplash

Babbling syllables, learning to talk,

clinging to furniture, learning to walk.

Studying hard to get good reports,

practicing endlessly to excel in sports.

At the library borrowing a book.

In the kitchen learning to cook.

Photo by Tai Ngo from Unsplash

At the mall shopping for formal dress;

going to the prom, we want to impress.

Rigorous program at our chosen college

to optimize our skills and knowledge.

Preparing for the race to be run,

getting ready for our place in the sun.

Photo by Sabesh Photography from Unsplash

Finding a paragon to share our life,

a partnership of husband and wife.

Striving endlessly to make a living,

bringing up responsible offspring.

Saving money for when we retire,

making a will in case we expire.

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Unsplash

Visiting a spa to regain our youth,

Time with grandchildren, sharing our truth.

Appointments with doctors, seeking a cure,

Diets and exercise we endure.

Enjoying photos from the past,

remembering moments from first to last.

Photo by Luca Upper from Unsplash

Then comes the day our striving is done…

We journey peacefully into the unknown.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Presence

Separated by distance or time, family, friends, and that special someone are forever with us. Photo by Ruth Enyedi from Unsplash

Presence

Present with me or

absent from me, you are

always in my thoughts.

However long I may live,

I will always feel you near.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Summer Rain

Photo by Jonathan Petit from Unsplash


Summer Rain

We laughed in the rain

as we walked to the oak tree

half a century ago.

Stolen kiss in summer rain…

I hope life’s been good to you!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Mother

Photo by Priscilla Duprees from Unsplash

Mother

Mother

is proud of you

for every step you take,

picks you up every time you fall,

shows you how again and again,

and builds your confidence

to walk alone.

She’s proud!

Mother

hears your first word,

always listens to you,

wants for you what you want for yourself,

gives advice, knowing that someday

you will surely recall

what Mother said…

She hears!

Mother

sees potential

when those around you doubt,

has high hopes for you in tough times,

never, ever gives up on you,

even when you give up,

always loves you…

Always!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy Mothers Day!

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.

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mothers Day!

Lots of love to you! ❤

Blog, Here I Come!

Photo by Julien from Unsplash!

Blog, Here I Come!

Second vaccine shot.

Fever, next day spent sleeping,

a few lazy days.

New prescription

with dramatic side effects

from three half-doses.

Days spent researching

dietary strategies,

drug alternatives.

No time for learning

how to use the new smart phone…

drinking cabbage juice!

Fighting frustration…

painting for relaxation…

Nothing I will post!

Blogging difficult…

computer going haywire.

Locked out of emails!

Done trouble-shooting

with scammers online…Today,

it’s Apple Pie Tech!

Equanimity!

Technology overhauled.

Blogging, here I come!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


I missed all of you! 🙂

I have had trouble commenting for several days, and then got locked out of my email. My WordPress seems to be working normally again. I am feeling better and glad to be back!

I hope you are well. Stay safe and be happy! ❤

Day at the River

Shenandoah River, Virginia, USA. Photo from Pexels

Day at the River

Glowing sunrise…

Going to the river.

Blowing breezes,

flowing water…

Floating downstream .

Slowing the pace,

growing mindful,

knowing serenity.

Glowing sunset…

Going home in peace.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Swan on the Shenandoah River near Edinburg, Virginia, USA. I crossed this historic 1942 river bridge daily for most of the 18 years I lived in Shenandoah County. Two of the four spans are hidden by the trees. Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash.
Swan on the Shenandoah River. Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash.

Thank you to My WordPress Family

500+ Subscribers

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!

Love,

Cheryl

❤ ❤ ❤

Plant a Tree

Triple Pygmy Date Palm, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

“I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as a tree.”

__ Joyce Kilmer

Plant a Tree

Beauty to delight,

oxygen to sustain life.

Watching trees growing.

Plant a young tree for Earth Day…

Receive nature’s gifts for life!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


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

Grande Dame of Peace River

Old bridge in Peace River Park, Arcadia, FL. Now a pedestrian bridge. Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Grande Dame of Peace River

Classic arches…

time marches…

Soulless and faceless

utilitarian bridge replaces

grande dame’s graces.

Bridges side-by-side,

span Arcadia’s scenic pride,

Peace River, tannin-dyed,

where fierce alligators reside.

Now pedestrians on a lark

linger in Peace River Park

on the bridge, historic landmark,

viewing kayakers in waters dark.

Grande dame retains her spark!


Copyright© 2021 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.

Peace River, Arcadia. Photo by Cheryl Batavia
Robert and Cheryl at Mary Margaret’s Tea Room, Arcadia, FL

An Awkward Conversation with Mother Earth

Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

An Awkward Conversation with Mother Earth

(Words of Mother Earth are in green.)

Mother Earth, you’re looking rather sickly!

Tell me what you need, and I’ll do it quickly.

It would help if you recycle…That’s easy to do.

I’m too busy to recycle. Wish I could help you.

Use nontoxic fertilizers and pest controls in your yard.

I’m sorry Mother Earth, but that sounds too hard!

You could choose organic food or drive an electric car.

I really want to help, but I couldn’t go that far.

Isn’t there something less costly that I could do?

Something less demanding, yet helpful to you?

You could vote for green energy or sign a petition.

Mother Earth, I am filled with contrition…

I am staunchly apolitical and maybe apathetic too.

Find someone else to take care of you!

If altruism isn’t something you can relate to,

maybe your own self-interest will motivate you!

Wouldn’t you enjoy cleaner water and air,

walking in the woods to see animals living there?

Maybe you love the oceans and want dolphins to thrive

or hope that your children will have long, healthy lives…

I’ll think about it, Mother Earth, but I really must go…

We’re taking the kids to see a science fiction show!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Earth Day is April 22nd!


To My Valued Fellow Bloggers,

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.

Happy Earth Day!

Cheryl

Ode to a Glass Jar

Mason Jar Wagon Wheel Chandelier, Photo by Bonnie Kittle from Unsplash

Ode to a Glass Jar

Grandma

fills her pantry

with Mason jar delights:

preserves, piccalilli, peaches…

Oh my!

Photo from Pexels-Pixabay

Dad saves

baby food jars

for nails, screws, nuts, and bolts.

He can fix anything that breaks.

Thanks, Dad!

Saltine Crackers, Photo by Annaj from Pixabay

Teacher

brings a jar of

sweet cream for us to shake

until we have butter for our

crackers.

Photo by Michael Longmir from Unsplash

Suzy

saves her loose change

in a pickle jar bank,

hidden with her socks. Shh…It’s a

secret!

Sonny

whistles a tune,

nightcrawlers in a jar,

cane pole on his shoulder…going

fishing.

Photo by Rula Subai from Unsplash

Grandpa

likes leftovers

stored in reused glass jars.

They go straight in the microwave…

Yummy!

Black-Eyed Susans, Photo by Autumn Mott Rodhea from Unsplash

Auntie’s

filling a jar

with bright black-eyed Susans

for a neighbor who’s under the

weather.

Tadpole, Photo from Pixabay

Jamal

brings a jar of

tadpoles for the fish tank.

His class will watch them growing legs…

Yay, frogs!

Photo by Mel Poole from Unsplash

Artist

rinses brushes

in a jar of water.

Clean colors make a beautiful

painting.

Photo by Fran Hogan from Unsplash

Uncle

loves to eat out…

barbecue…iced tea

in Mason jars. Nostalgia’s

not cheap!

Photo by Katarzyna Modrzej from Pexels

Mama

plants moss and ferns

in a big gallon jar,

creating a terrarium…

Lovely!

Fireflies, photo by Tengyart from Unsplash

Jenny

catches fireflies.

They twinkle in a jar.

Bedtime, Jenny! Good night, fireflies!

Fly free.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Think of all the marvelous ways to reuse glass jars!

Unlike plastics, they are nontoxic for storing and reheating food.

If you can’t use any more glass jars,

you can recycle them and keep them out of landfills.

Clouds

My Mom, Marian Nicholson, a Week Before Her 90th Birthday, Family Outing to Siesta Key Beach. Photo by Ellen Maher.


Clouds

Nearly ninety, Mom still liked to come

to Sunday dinner at our home.

After dinner, we’d watch an old movie,

Mom’s cat Kitzey stretched out by her knee.

Photo by Deric Yu from Unsplash

We’d call up relatives and have a chat

as she sat stroking her purring cat.

Our dog Clifford wanted petting, too…

That was something Mom was happy to do.

Photo by Shridhar Dixit.

Mom always enjoyed long country drives.

She would smile, her eyes coming alive,

watching egrets and cranes or horses and cows,

but most of all, she loved looking at clouds.

“Those clouds look like a fawn and a deer.

That one’s a man with a long white beard.”

Photo by Heyzeus Lozoya from Unsplash.

She never grew tired of seeing the sky of blue

and clouds with sunlight shining through.

I think she imagined Heaven to be in that space,

and she was going soon to that wonderful place.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” she’d always say,

and knowing she was happy made my day.

Photo by wuttichai from Adobe Stock Photos

When we were kids, Mom shared the charms

of an idyllic childhood on her family’s farm.

Now the farmers’ market was our place to go

to buy carrots to feed the horses and goats.

Mom visited the peacocks, roosters and hens,

pigs in the barn and roosters in their pens.

We bought pumpkins and chrysanthemums,

horehound, lemon drops, and Teaberry gum,

but no trip to the market would be complete

without an ice cream cone for a treat.

So many flavors, Mom could always find

a flavor that was one of her favorite kinds.

Mom loved her family, and nearly every day,

we talked about family members far away.

One day I was visiting Mom; she was resting in bed.

“You’ve been a good daughter to me,” she said.

Chrysanthemums, Photo by Christopher Lotite from Unsplash.

Though home was now an independent living,

she was still my mom, still caring and giving.

For her, things were not how they used to be,

but she always took an interest in me,

Marian Nicholson on Her 90th Birthday. Photo by Cheryl Batavia


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places by Cheryl Batavia


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.

Ospreys, Two Poems

Osprey Hunting. Photo by Matthew Schwartz from Unsplash

Osprey, Death Angel

Osprey,

shrill death angel,

a sinister shadow

flying over fish in canals.

Is there premonition of death?

Does fear precede struggle,

death-flight to the

osprey’s nest?


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Ospreys, Loving Parents

Ospreys,

shrill birds of prey,

build nests in high places.

Ospreys fish to feed hungry chicks.

Powerful wings carry them home,

fish grasped in strong talons.

Caring for chicks,

ospreys fish.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Osprey Bringing Fish to Nest. Photo by Richard Lee from Unsplash

Mountain Memories

Dark Hollow Falls Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA, from Adobe Stock Photos

Mountain Memories

An antlered deer bounds to sheltering trees.

A doe and spotted fawn graze lush meadows.

Seeking sylvan sanctuaries of peace

in our youth, we find the hidden hollows.

We view mountain vistas in morning mist,

green valleys and winding river below.

Ravens glide on updrafts in sky-blue bliss,

silent above an ancient hemlock grove.

We descend a steep trail beside a stream,

water music echoes through the forest.

At journey’s end, the waterfall of dreams

is singing the “Hallelujah Chorus”!

My dreams now play reruns of old memories,

of blue mountains and green river valleys.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

View of the Shenandoah Valley from Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, Photo from Adobe Stock

Save Mother Earth!

Mother Polar Bear and Cubs, Photo by NOAA from Unsplash

Save Mother Earth!

Lawmakers and scientists

and assorted ethicists…

Each nation sent a delegation

to help Mother Earth find salvation.

Scientists made their presentations,

consensus of their deliberations:

Mother Earth is sickened by pollution.

Scientists proposed their solution:

Pesticides and poisons are lurking everywhere.

Clean up the land, sea, and air.

Resources are strained by overpopulation.

Keep wild lands and habitats in the equation.

The governmental delegations,

after prolonged deliberations,

agreed on enacting regulations

to be strictly enforced in every nation.

Ethicists were the next to speak:

“Your governmental coercion plan is very weak!

We must set hearts and minds on fire…

educate and motivate, persuade and inspire!”

Suddenly, youthful eco-activists appeared,

determined to make their message heard.

“The future belongs to us!” They chanted.

Protest signs proclaimed what they wanted:

“Save the Rainforest!” “Clean up the Sea!”

“Organic Food!” “Renewable Energy!”

“Save Wildlife Habitats!” “War is an Outrage!”

“Protect Polar Bears!” “Lower the Voting Age!”

Young speakers took the microphone.

They said, “No group of experts can work alone.

Scientists, governments, and ethicists must

work together to earn our trust.”

“The future belongs to us! We take a stand…

The children of the world demand…

Stop your games and endless debate

and save Mother Earth before it’s too late!”


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Environmental Protest, Photo by Mika Baumeister from Unsplash
Solar Energy Farm, Photo by Zbynec Burival from Unsplash
Wind Turbine, Photo by by Natalie Douglas from Unsplash

Raccoon Party

Baby Raccoons, Photo by Public Domain Pictures from Pixabay

Raccoon Party

Footprints,

festive dark stains

in exquisite detail…

a raccoons-only patio

party!

Photo by Pete Nuji from Unsplash

Raccoons,

I need to know…

why were we excluded?

Not even invited to watch

the fun!

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten from Unsplash

Humans,

are you clueless?

Garbage cans tightly locked…

You don’t invite us to dinner…

Ever!

Baby Raccoon, Photo by ebo23 from Pixabay

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Katey and the Great Texas Whiteout

My Daughter Katey During the Great Texas Whiteout

Katey and the Great Texas Whiteout

Florida was home.

Katey had not played in the snow

since leaving Russia.

Katey moved this year.

Texas snowfall surprised her…

First snow since age four!

Whiteout in Texas…

power off, roads hazardous.

Katey shoveled snow.

Historic blizzards…tragic.

Playing in snow…Katey’s joy!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Photos by Ellen and Katey


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.

My Daughters, Katey and Ellen
Rez Plays with Katey’s Snow Angel
Don’t Do It, Ellen!
Yay. Snow!

Walk with Me

Twin Fawns, Photo by Gary Meuleman from Unsplash

Walk with Me

My heart is in the mountains.

My feet are in the sea.

My head is in the clouds,

My arms around a tree.

We can talk to the animals…

Come, walk the world with me.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Identity Crisis

Photo by shot-by-ireland from Unsplash

An unexamined life is not worth Living–Socrates

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.


Identity Crisis

Purpose of life?

Lassitude banishes purpose.

Here am I. Why am I?

Obscurity supersedes clarity.

Anxiety outpaces curiosity.

Crisis of identity.

Randomness overpowers intention.

Why wonder?

Complexity of world…

Perplexing!

World of complexity.

Wonder why…

Intention overpowers randomness.

Identity of crisis.

Curiosity outpaces anxiety.

Clarity supersedes obscurity.

I am why. I am here.

Purpose banishes lassitude.

Life of purpose.

Photo by Taylor from Unsplash

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


A Palindrome Poem.

There is a central word.

The first half and the second half of the poem

are mirror images of each other.

Hearts to You!

Photo by Susan Matthiessen from Unsplash

Hearts to You ❤

Hearts to you, WordPress Family!

You are empathetic and kind,

characterized by warm hearts

and open minds.

Perceptive and thoughtful,

in touch with your muses,

writing words of wisdom

that creativity infuses.

Photos and videos illuminate

humanity, nature, historical attractions.

Music is a multicolored source

of daily satisfactions.

Hearts to you, fellow bloggers,

you mean a lot to me.

Happy Valentine’s Day

to my WordPress family!

May the love and joy

you give away

return to you

each and every day.

May all of your dreams

and wishes come true

May all of your endeavors

bring success to you.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Roses are Red

Photo by Waldemer Brandt from Unsplash

Roses are Red ❤

Roses are red,

violets are blue.

I’ve always wanted

a Valentine like you!

Roses are yellow,

violets are white.

I’ll put on my red dress…

We’re going out tonight!

Roses are pink,

violets are yellow.

I’m your kind of girl…

You’re my kind of fellow!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy Valentine’s Day, Robert! ❤

Going out is postponed until after the pandemic,

but we will enjoy a cozy dinner at home!

To My WordPress Family

Photo by Renee Fisher from Unsplash

To My WordPress Family

I am often tired these days, I admit.

It’s become impossible to ignore.

I can’t push through it,

don’t have the strength anymore.

Mental clarity waxes and wanes.

Energy fluctuates unpredictably.

Well-being punctuated by pain…

I look forward to a return to normalcy.

I am sorting it all out…

A series of tests is underway.

For now, I have to slow down,

I’ll do the best I can, day by day.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


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.

Lost & Alone

Photo by jaime-fenn from Unsplash

Lost & Alone

Lost and alone you are now!

Destination unexplored.

Light becomes darkness,

day becomes night.

Friendship unanticipated,

unfounded fears…

companions are strangers!

Shared experience,

shared fire and food.

Seen and heard…

Empathy.

Heard and seen,

food and fire shared,

experience shared.

Strangers are companions…

fears unfounded,

unanticipated friendship!

Night becomes day,

darkness becomes light.

Unexplored destination…

Now are you alone and lost?


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


This is my first attempt at writing a palindrome poem. My thanks to David, at Ben Alexander for his explanation of his method for writing a palindrome and for his encouragement.

Lounging Around

Photo by olia-danlevi from Pexels

Lounging Around

Stretched out on green grass,

finding pictures in the clouds

and four-leaf clovers.

Supine in the snow,

arms and legs stretching outward.

Sculpting snow angels.

Photo by Vlad from Pexels

Sprawling on the rug,

playing with a new puppy.

Wiggles and wet kisses.

Lounging on the beach…

eating ice cream, feeding gulls,

talking, holding hands.

Photo by tima-moroshi from Pexels

Sleeping warm in bed,

snuggled under the covers,

alarm set for six.

Lolling on the couch,

old movies, buttered popcorn.

Relaxation mode.

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Soaking in the tub,

warm bubble bath, soft music.

Children fast asleep.

Bedded in a tent,

cricket songs and coyotes.

Camping with the kids.

Photo by patrick-hendry from Unsplash

Dozing in a hammock,

taking an overdue nap.

Smell of fresh-cut grass.

Loafing on the chaise,

watching grandchildren playing.

Iced tea with lemon.

Photo by Barbara Webb from Pexels

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Florida in Red

Poinsettias, Photo by primalfelines from Unsplash

Red Leaves

Autumn at Christmas.

Red poinsettias linger,

welcoming the spring.

Photo by Ryan Stone from Unsplash

Red Sky

Red winter sunrise.

Short winter days grow longer.

Red winter sunset.

Male Cardinal, Photo by George Berberic from Unsplash

Red Birds

Cardinal’s crimson.

January…spring fever.

Woods ring with bird songs.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Florida’s Change of Seasons

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.

United We Stand

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Our best days still lie ahead. Together we will choose hope over fear, unity over division, and truth over lies.

Joe Biden

Statue of Liberty, Photo by Joel Naren from Unsplash

United We Stand

We Americans are a strong people.

We will reclaim our democracy

and restore the American dream.

“Equal…under the law,”

“endowed…with…unalienable rights…

life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,”

“a government of laws, not of men.”

“United we stand, divided we fall…”

United we stand.

Please see the sources for the quotes used in this poem at the end of the post.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Flag of the United States of America, Photo by Elements 5 Digital from Unsplash

Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


Sources of Quotes in the Poem, “United We Stand”

“Equal Justice under the Law” adapted from the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Inscribed on the front of the US Supreme Court building.

“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” President Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

“government of laws, not of men” President John Adams

“United we stand, divided we fall.” Origin unknown. Motto of the State of Kentucky

Christmas Eve at Our House

Christmas Eve at Our House

Cozy Christmas Eve,

phone visits with family,

walks in the sunshine.

Red Virginia Creeper provides Seasonal Color for our Back Yard
Woods View from Christmas Eve Walk
Table Set for Christmas Eve, Centerpiece Created with Foliage from our Yard

Rustic centerpiece,

classic steak, baked potato,

just the two of us.

Our Christmas Tree Plays “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

Yuletide carols play.

“We wish you a Merry Christmas.”

Stockings are hung with care.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Good Intentions for 2021

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia from Unsplash

Good Intentions for 2021

I will

find a balance,

time for important things:

work, play, health, creativity,

romance.

I will

simplify life,

streamline daily routines,

minimize material things,

relax.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


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! 🙂

❤ Happy New Year! ❤

How Long is Forever?

Photo by tristan-le from Pexels

How Long is Forever?

Dear One,

epitome

of patience and kindness,

will you stay with me forever?

Love me.

Promise

me forever…

tenderness and passion,

undying love and loyalty.

Love me.

How long

is forever?

Much longer than never…

an indeterminate journey...

Love me.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Happy New Year,

Wonderful Fellow Bloggers!

Things have gotten a little crazy here!

I am taking a break

and will do my best to catch up on my emails.

See you in 2021. ❤ ❤ ❤

Love Flourishes

Blackbirds at Myakka State Park, Florida, Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Love Flourishes

Timeless memories,

shared hopes for our tomorrows,

we live in the now.

Our energy wanes.

Wit is replaced by wisdom.

Our love flourishes.

Love lights the twilight.

In winter’s chill, we are warmed

by each other’s gaze.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Cheryl Batavia and Robert Snyder at the Myakka River

Happy New Year!

❤ ❤ ❤

After six happy years together, we are making it official. We plan to be married in 2021 after the pandemic ends, probably late summer.

We wish you all the joys of the season and a peaceful and prosperous 2021. May love light your life and warm your heart! ❤ ❤ ❤

Ghosts of Halloweens Past, Reblog

Photo by Taylor Rooney from Unsplash

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Cauldrons of magic potions steaming,

Black cats awakening from dreaming.

Cardboard witch astride her broom

cackles under the harvest moon.

Disney princesses in jeweled crowns

are panhandling all over town.

Frankenstein’s monster is resurrected.

Roaming mummies have been detected.

Blow-up ghosts hover mysteriously,

orange lights twinkle in shrubbery.

Hanging from the live oak trees,

paper skeletons dance in the breeze.

Photo by Conner Baker from Unsplash

Spooky music is beckoning,

roving children are threatening,

“Trick or treat! Trick or treat!”

on every suburban street.

Little pirate brandishes a toy sword,

winning him a sweet reward!

Cat Woman says,”Thank you.”

Neighbor says,”Have fun, you two!”

Jack o’lanterns glow,

grinning at the passing show.

Flickering candles beneath

backlight their jagged teeth.

Vampires in windswept black

pantomime a plastic-fang attack.

Howling werewolves with hairy arms

induce us to pretend alarm.

A little troll walks with a giant bunny.

Funny thing is, he calls her “Mummy!”

Diminutive dragons are holding hands

with a Cat-in-a-Hat they call “Dad!”

Wolfing down all the candy they can eat,

Halloween’s children fall blissfully sleep.

Mom chews bubblegum. Dad eats M & Ms.

“Oh no! We can’t stop! When will it all end?


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

No Time For Fears

Photo by Ryan Gagnon from Unsplash.

“He who hesitates is lost!” / “Look before you leap!”

Somewhere between the two proverbs is the advice to calm your fears.

Happy Halloween!


No Time for Fears

[

I Choose

to assess risks and act judiciously.

I choose never to live in fear, to live joyously,

sleep soundly, and focus on my goals.

I have no time for fears.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia