Spider’s Psychedelic Masterpiece

This morning I was mesmerized by a spider web constructed very much like this one. Photo by Alexy Demidov from Pexels.

Spider’s Psychedelic Masterpiece

Suspended in space,

densely coiled gossamer disk,

buoyant in the breeze.

Pulsating neon colors

iridescent in sunshine.

In the morning sunshine, each damp strand of the spider’s web became a tiny prism, shimmering in the breeze. The colors of the web were vivid like those in this soap bubble. As the web dried, the colors slowly faded. I wish I could have captured the moment in a photo. Maybe one of the photographers out there has such a photo. I found only pastel-colored webs online.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Two Poems: “Quoting Mom” & “Antiquated Sexist Nonsense”

Photo by Sophie Dale from Unsplash
Photo by Kenny Krosky from Unsplash

Quoting Mom

So often these days,

I find myself quoting Mom…

proverbs, quips, sayings…

Mom had a real treasure trove

of wisdom she shared with me.

“Treat other people

as you want to be treated.”

That one is golden!

It was Mom who taught me that

reliable guide to life.

Mom was unfailing

in her caring and concern.

She gave great advice,

but, in matters of romance,

was a woman of her time.

Mom’s take on romance

was antiquated sexist

nonsense, best ignored.

Mom’s true advice to follow

was, “Think for yourself, Honey!”

After thirty years,

Dad found a younger woman.

Mom kissed a few frogs;

Prince Charming never came, but

Mom found her inner Princess!

My mother, Marian Nicholson, on her ninetieth birthday!

Antiquated Sexist Nonsense

“It’s a man’s world,” was the mid-twentieth-century consensus.

My mother passed several of the following outdated gems along to me:

Always let boys win if you want them to like you.

Act helpless. Let a boy be your hero and lift heavy objects for you.

Play “dumb.” Laugh at all of his jokes. Always agree with him.

Pretend to enjoy doing all the things he likes to do.

Don’t chase after boys. Make them chase after you!

Play hard to get. Never be the first to say, “I love you.”

Hide your passions. You don’t want him to think you’re “easy.”

If you “give in” to a boy, he’ll “dump” you and “kiss and tell.”

Go to college to find a husband, even though you know

you will be a homemaker after you marry.

A woman must never make more money than her husband…

His delicate pride can’t handle it.

Let a man think he’s boss…

Use “feminine wiles” to get what you want.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…

Cook all of his favorite dishes.

Men are like little boys…They like to be told

how handsome, strong, and smart they are.

Make a habit of paying exaggerated compliments to men…

It builds their fragile egos.

Men are unable to control their impulses.

Women must be the guardians of morality.

If a woman wears a short skirt and gets assaulted, it’s her fault.

Sex is something a wife must endure for the sake of her husband.

Fortunately, I never fell for any of this antiquated sexist nonsense!

Sorry, Mom, but I don’t believe in playing games.

I was paying attention when you taught me to be honest and to

“Do unto others as I would have them do unto me.”

With respect to this poem’s dubious advice, I quote Mom,

“You might as well laugh as cry!”

Photo by Jason Briscoe from Unsplash

*Cautionary note: Some of the antiquated advice in this poem may appear to work in the short term, but some of it could come back to bite you later! Authentic relationships tend to be based on honesty and mutual respect. How long would you be willing to pretend you are enjoying a food you actually detest? How would you feel if you found out that someone was playing you? Better to be real!


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

❤ Happy Mother’s Day! ❤

Show love to Mothers today and every day! Remember to cherish your mother’s wise advice, but don’t forget to “Think for yourself.” 🙂

Veracity

Hypocrites and Liars. Photo by Mohamed Matar from Pixabay.

Veracity

Sometimes,

it is difficult

to determine what is true…

even more difficult…

to admit

when we have been misled.

Outright lies,

deceptive advertising,

political spin…

Ever wary,

we yearn for authenticity.

We yearn to trust.

Insincerity,

insinuation,

little white lies,

half-truths,

exaggeration…

Everyday dishonesty erodes trust.

Speaking truth,

we long to be trusted,

but we are met with skepticism.

We wonder why…

Do we all suspect in others

the faults we harbor in ourselves?


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Environmental Gems & Green Haiku

Photo by Dustan Woodhouse from Unsplash.
Photo by Annie Spratt from Unsplash.
Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur from Unsplash.

Environmental Gems

Reduce,

Reuse, Recycle!

Choose organic foods.

Use green energy sources.

Protect wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Stop pollution of the land, air, and water.

Manage forests to control fires and prevent floods.

Maintain public lands and nature preserves.

Use plant-based plastic substitutes.

Develop green energy sources.

Practice organic farming.

Plant trees.

Vote.

Photo by Joanne Francis from Unsplash.
Photo by John Middecoop from Unsplash.

Green Haiku

Create; don’t destroy!

Clean up the messes we’ve made.

Make peace with nature.

Ruins of war, Syria. Photo by Mahmood Sulaiman from Unsplash.
If we don’t work now to save the environment, we may all become as extinct as the dodo!
Photo, McGill Library from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Happy Earth Day!

Go, Little Ladybugs, Go!

Photo of a ladybug by Adryan RA form Unsplash.

Go, Little Ladybugs, Go!

Welcome aboard!

Go, little ladybugs, go!

Please save

our poor little palm tree!

A mealybug feast awaits you…

Bon apetit!

Maybe you can

succeed where homemade

potions and “harmless” pesticides

have failed.

We’re fighting for survival here!

Somebody has to die,

but not the little palm tree, and not

the ladybugs, or us!

It’s a bug-eat-bug world, I guess!

Go, little ladybugs, go!

Our little palm tree before the mealybugs arrived.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Dear Fellow Bloggers,

I just purchased a new email with Word to use on some writing projects. I will share those projects on this post at some point in the future. For the moment, I am struggling with a learning curve and technical issues. I will try to be present on WordPress as much as possible!

All the best!

Cheryl Batavia ❤

Welcome, Orchids!

Orchids on the lanai.

Welcome, Orchids!

Orchids…

sunshine yellow,

rosy pink, white, crimson…

old friends reappear and linger.

Welcome!

Orchids

delight my days!

Luminous elegance,

vivid on our shady lanai…

Cherished!

Orchids

encourage me.

When TV news is grim,

I glance out the glass door. Orchids

bring hope!

My favorite yellow orchid has three stems covered with buds, but no blooms yet. Pink and crimson orchids are beginning to bloom.

Allergies limit our gardening and prevent us from having indoor plants, but orchids love being on the shady lanai and bring lots of joy. Orchids require very little care, bloom a couple of times a year, and blooms last for many weeks. In cold climates, they can be grown indoors.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Mirrored Image

Photo by Gaetano Cessati from Pixabay.

Mirrored Image

I like my gray hair.

Wrinkles, age spots, double chin…

I don’t like so much!

My mirrored image looks best

when it’s smiling back at me.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.
Photo by Mofeda Dabaloo from Unsplash.
Photo by a-m-u-t-o-n from Pixabay.

Copyright © 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Putin, What Will Your Legacy Be?

A recent Moscow protest of the war on Ukraine. Photo by Valery Tenevoy on Unsplash.

Putin, What Will Your Legacy Be?

How did you use

your position, influence, resources?

Did you exercise your power

to enrich yourself,

to oppress your fellow citizens,

to be above the law?

Or did you use your power

to uplift humanity,

to build a world

with opportunity for all,

to be an example

of integrity and courage?

What will your legacy be?

Will you leave behind

roads, hospitals, universities?

What are you known for…

justice, peace, progress?

Or are you infamous?

Are you the one who

invaded his neighbor,

committed war crimes,

ruined his nation’s economy,

silenced protests and media,

ignored pleas for peace?

Do you think

no one will notice?

Do you think

no one will remember?

Eventually, you will be known

as you truly were!


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Two Poems: Storm Clouds & Sunbeams

Storm over Tampa Bay, Florida. Photo by Artturi Jalli from Unsplash.

Storm Clouds

Storm clouds

foster fears.

I view this world

through a veil of tears.

Loss of courage,

lack of trust.

Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust.

Sunbeams. Photo by Pawel Czerwinski from Unsplash.

Sunbeams

Bright hopes

shine anew.

I view the clouds with

sunlight breaking through.

Summoning courage,

building trust.

Living joyfully

until I’m dust.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Can I?

Photo by Dayne Topkin from Unsplash.

Can I?

Can I hope?

Can I dream?

Can I believe?

Can I see

the future?

Hope I can.

Dream I can

Believe I can.

See, I can!

Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Sunflowers

Photo by John Ramsdin from Unspalash.
Ukrainian flag. Image from Pixabay.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers of Ukraine,

the world turns toward you in admiration

as sunflowers turn toward the sun,

always facing the light.

A president, refusing to retreat to safety,

fighting side-by-side with his fellow citizens,

delivering eloquent messages of brotherhood

in the face of brutal attacks.

Civilians…men, women, and children

shine the light of courage and patriotism

into the darkness

of violence and aggression.

Young and old serve their country

standing in unarmed solidarity

in front of advancing tanks…

Fearless sunflowers!

Citizens making and stockpiling Molotov cocktails.

Civilians, men and women, learning to shoot guns.

People delivering food to brave soldiers…

Patriotic sunflowers!

A little girl giving a Russian soldier an earful and a slap!

The soldier turns and walks away…He knows he is

an unwilling puppet forced to attack his Ukrainian neighbors.

He can see that she’s a sunflower!

Men welding together roadblocks

from scrap metal and rebar.

Women constructing camouflage nets

to conceal Ukrainian tanks!

Babies being born in hospital basements,

into a world of devastated neighborhoods

and schools in ruins…

the tiniest sunflowers!

Ukraine, the nations of the world

stand with you in your fight for freedom.

We mourn with you the loss of loved ones.

We support you.

The sunflowers of Ukraine

shine brightly in this dark time,

always turning their faces toward the light…

Freedom-loving sunflowers!

Photo by Fabio Fisterol from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

At One with the River

Photo from Pexels/Pixabay.

At One with the River

Time of river…

River of dreams

blissfully reflecting

sky blue, trees green.

Feeling peaceful,

gently flowing past

heron sentinel,

sunshine in mind.

Consciousness of stream,

underwater wonders,

fish inquisitive.

Joyful making memories.

At one with the river, time flowing by…

Memories making joyful.

Inquisitive fish,

wonders underwater,

stream of consciousness.

Mind in sunshine,

sentinel heron,

past flowing gently.

Peaceful feeling,

green trees, blue sky

blissfully reflecting.

Dreams of river…

River of time.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

This Little Boat

Man rowing, Finland. Photo by Joakim Honkasalo from Unsplash.

This Little Boat

In all honesty, man-to-man,

I am rowing this little boat as fast as I can.

Courage, friend, as forward we go.

If you keep bailing as I row,

we may reach the shore, I think,

before our little boat begins to sink.

Photo by Mina A from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Quest for the Holy Grail

Painting of Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper from a mural by Leonardo DaVinci. Photo from Pixabay.
Holy communion bread and wine. Photo by James Coleman. The holy grail is the communion cup used during the last supper. Many adventurers have searched for this holy relic, but it has never been found.

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Alexander Pope

Some adventurers engage in one one risky venture after the other, unprepared, trusting in luck, giving up too soon.


Quest for the Holy Grail

Upon our worthy quest, the fates will smile.

We venture forth in faith and confidence.

Our fervent zeal inspires each lonely mile,

and hearts sing gratitude to providence.

With compass and a map, we chart our course.

At night we have the stars to guide us there.

We endure for better or for worse,

through rough terrain and weather foul or fair.

We tire of questing for the holy grail.

Our hopes are dead, our dreams all turned to dust.

This foolish enterprise is doomed to fail.

We doubt the grail exists…In gold we trust!

Now seeking pirate wealth from days of old,

we’ll share with God our glory and our gold!

Photo by Tim C. Gundert from Pixabay.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Shakespearean Sonnet Written for D’Verse https://dversepoets.com

Bat in the Afterglow

Photo by McKayla Crump from Unsplash.

Bat in the Afterglow

Last night, we stepped outside

into the gilded light of the sunset’s afterglow.

A bright crescent moon graced the twilight sky.

Beneath it shone the evening star.

Silhoutted against a sky of muted blue,

a bat flew toward the rosy horizon and back again,

looping in circles above the quiet street,

a moment of pure delight right outside our door!

Fruit bat in flight, Maldives. Photo by Ishan seefromthesky from Unsplash.

We’ve never seen a bat on our street before.

Maybe, little bat, you live near one of the canals.

I will be watching for you in the evenings.

A hearty welcome to our street!

Where do you sleep all day, little bat?

Hanging upside down under a dried palm frond?

Rocked to sleep in swaying Spanish moss?

Or do you live in a condo under a canal bridge?

Do you dream of flying, as I often do?

Pleasant dreams, little bat, wherever you are.

I hope to see you again on our street,

dining on mosquitos in the afterglow.

Roosting bat in Denmark. Photo by Nils Bouillard from Unsplash.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

Hurry Up and Wait!

Many good things in life require a lot of waiting!

Hurry Up and Wait!

Traffic passes

like molasses.

We must wait.

Can’t be late.

We must accelerate.

Hard not to stress,

wondering why, I confess,

we’re in this mess.

Early departures avoid distress.

What terrible angst it creates

to be five minutes late!

Waiting…Earth we could circumnavigate.

After endless wait, we celebrate.

Good outcomes justify the wait!


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Robert’s cataract surgery went well yesterday, and he has started to see improvements in his vision. Thank you to my fellow bloggers for their encouragement and good wishes. It means a lot to me. ❤

I wrote this poem to distract me and pass the time while I was waiting for Robert’s surgery to be completed. The form is a ZIGGERAUT: two lines of two words each, three lines of three words each, four lines of four words each, and five lines of five words each. The rhyme pattern is aa, bbb, cccc, ddddd.

A Desert Rose

Cultivated desert roses in a garden. Photo by Meggie from Pixabay.

A Desert Rose

Our little world envelops us in love,

transcending chaos that surrounds us now,

safe haven from earth’s dark duplicity,

a green oasis, peace in desert heat.

Affection in your eyes, my hand in yours,

a gentle word, a loving touch…encouragement

along our earthly path’s uncertainties.

Your inner strength sustains my fainting heart.

When threats of war surround on every side…

vile pestilence, pollution, and unrest,

ambition fades, possessions matter less,

but love endures and blooms, a desert rose.

This poem is dedicated to Robert, who fills my everyday life with happiness and joy.
Robert in a park on the Myakka River. Photo by Cheryl Batavia.
Desert rose in the African Sahel. Photo by bory67 from Pixabay.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Like the Shakespearean sonnet, BLANK VERSE is a sixteenth century form of poetry written in iambic pentameter. Unlike a sonnet, blank verse is unrhymed. It was used extensively by Shakespeare in his plays and is found in the work of John Milton and other poets of that time.


Robert’s cataract surgery is scheduled for February 1st, and the hectic schedule of appointments begins. I may be very erratic on WordPress in February. Thank you to all who sent good wishes to Robert.

Beyond Earth

Astronauts walking on the moon in 1969, Planet Earth is in the sky. Photo by Joe Han from Unsplash.

Beyond Earth

Hidden by the moon

are stars brighter than the moon…

our earth-perspective.

Beyond the boundaries of earth,

we explore wider vistas.

This morning I woke with a poem I wrote when I was about sixteen years old running through my mind. I wrote the tanka poem above, paraphrasing the poem I remembered from nearly sixty years ago, an update for today. I don’t have a copy of that old poem,”Stars,” but I have reconstructed it from memory and posted it below.

Full moon and stars. Photo by Josh Miller from Unsplash.

Stars

Hidden by the moon

are millions of stars

brighter than the moon.

Because we are small,

it is so.

Because we are wise,

we understand.

Space suit worn by a Russian Cosmonaut, Moscow museum. Photo by iman_os from Unsplash.

When I was eight years old, Russia launched Sputnik, the first satellite, and the “space race” began. Antique relics from early space exploration are on display now in museums. In 1969, when I was twenty, Americans landed on the moon. For the first time, there were photos of the whole earth taken from space.

Planet Earth from space. Photo by NASA from Unsplash.
International Space Station. Photo by NASA from Unsplash.
Space Shuttle. Photo taken in Mexico by Ivan Diaz from Unsplash.

Now, in 2022, fifty-two years after astronauts landed on the moon, unmanned spacecraft routinely photograph distant planets and send the images back to earth. Satellites are used for spy missions and international communication. They show us hurricanes from above, and help to predict weather. Commercial Space travel is in its infancy. Drones are used in warfare and by amateur photographers. Many dead satellites and other “space junk” orbit the earth.

Andromeda Galaxy seen from Russia. Photo by Tengyart from Unsplash.

Humans have much bigger dreams for future travel in space. Before us lie some important lessons about restoring and protecting this beautiful Planet Earth and living in peace with our neighbors. If, in the future, we settle in new worlds, we need to remember those lessons, respect and preserve those new environments, and live in harmony with any civilizations we discover. Star treks, yes…star wars, no!

Sunset in Goa, India, one of the beautiful places on Planet Earth. Photo by Ashutosh Saraswat from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Dear Fellow Bloggers,

After two failed root canals, a tooth extraction, and extensive testing of his eyes with different eye drop prescriptions, Robert has finally been cleared for cataract surgery. Numerous appointments have been scheduled for February. I may sometimes be absent from WordPress in the weeks to come. We look forward to Robert’s pre-cataract vision being restored. Many thanks to all of you who have expressed concern for Robert.

Kindest Regards,

Cheryl Batavia

Thoughts on the New Year

Setting Goals for 2022. Photo by Trent Erwin from Unsplash.

Thoughts on the New Year

1

Twenty-twenty-one…

Goodbye! Goodbye! Good riddance!

I won’t miss you much!

2

I am used to you,

twenty-twenty-one. You are

the devil I know.

3

What is worth saving?

What needs to go in the trash

as we move forward?

4

A shiny new year,

like a new diamond ring…

So full of promise!

5

Time to reflect…

Welcome twenty-twenty-two!

Time to turn the page!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


It’s time to pause, to reflect, to write, to make New Year’s Resolutions (or not). I will focus on these objectives from now until 2022, and may not be as active on the blog as usual.

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!




Photo by Kimson Doan from Unsplash.

Happy New Year!

Much to enjoy.

Much to be thankful for.

Much to hope for.

Much to work toward.

We find inspiration

in the love of family and friends,

in the courage of everyday heroes,

and in the vision of those

whose new ideas

lead to brighter tomorrows.

We move forward

in joy, in gratitude, in hope,

and with the will to persevere.

Wishing You a Bright 2022 !

Much Love,

Cheryl & Robert

Then Days Will Lengthen

Stonehenge. Photo by Jonathan Ridley from Unsplash.

Stonehenge is a Neolithic monument on the Salisbury Plain near Wiltshire, England. Human remains and evidence of prior construction at this site date back to about 8,000 BC. The monument, whose ruins we see today, is believed to have been built from about 3,000 BC to 2,000 BC.

Stonehenge is a popular tourist destination, and every year, thousands of visitors celebrate the summer and winter solstices here. Stonehenge has religious significance to modern Pagans and Neo Druids. It is one of the most important historical sites in Europe.

Source: Wikipedia. There is an excellent article on Stonehenge in Wikipedia, if you are interested in reading more about it.


Then Days Will Lengthen

Forgotten are the venerated trees,

the winter solstice rites of yesteryears.

Neglected are the ancient mysteries.

Our sacred groves are drowned in Gaia’s tears.

Beloved traditions once so highly prized,

now, tattered vestiges of olden times.

Our cherished ambitions, half-realized,

faint echoes of the ancient, mystic rhymes.

A wreath of evergreens adorns my door

for winter solstice, the year’s longest night.

Observing festivities as before,

we’ll dance around a bonfire’s blazing light

and celebrate the cycle of the year.

Then days will lengthen, bringing us good cheer!

Photo by Hans Isaacson from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia.


This poem was written for Ingrid’s “Festive Sonnet Sunday” at https://experimentsinfiction.com/2021/12/19/festive-sonnet-sunday

Please check there to read Shakespearean Sonnets by many poets. Thank you, Ingrid, for sponsoring this wonderful event!

Photo by Christian Mercado from Unsplash.

Happy First Day of Winter!

(December 21st)

Christmas Delights

Photo of a nativity scene by Alexis from Pixabay. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th.

Christmas Delights

Christmas

smells delightful…

fresh-cut evergreen boughs

aroma of cookies baking

hot cider with cinnamon sticks

roses on the table

festive dinner

warm fire

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels.

Christmas

sounds beautiful…

carolers caroling

crusted snow crunching underfoot

“Merry Christmas!” heard everywhere

Santa’s big “ho, ho, ho!”

children’s laughter

church bells

Photo by from Unsplash.

Christmas,

a lovely sight…

colored lights and tinsel

boat parades with Santas aboard

people dressed in their party clothes

lighted pines and palm trees

evergreen wreaths

holly

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Unsplash.

Christmas

is delicious…

candy canes, fruits, and nuts

Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house

kisses under the mistletoe

snowflakes cold on my tongue

steaming cocoa

fruitcake

Photo by Raspopova Marina from Unsplash.

Christmas

is heartwarming…

sitting on Santa’s knee

surprises in Christmas stockings

Christmas baskets given away

cookies left for Santa

cards from old friends

goodwill

Photo by drz from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Visits Then and Now & A Tribute to My Daughters

Katey and Ellen visit their brother, Joe, and his dog, BABY, on their way home from my house.

Visits Then and Now

A couple of years ago,

when my daughters visited me,

we were on our way to swim with manatees…

All tours were cancelled!

On the road, we found

restaurants serving only carry-out.

Two hours before we arrived at our hotel,

the dining room closed…

The museum we had planned to visit

had closed the day before.

We walked around the city

for two days, eating carry-out.

Beaches had closed near my house.

My daughters caught

one of the last flights home to Texas…

Covid had arrived!

This year my daughters visited…

vaccinated, masks ready, restaurants serving,

beaches open, manatees waiting…

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Thanksgiving sunset at Blind Pass Beach. Photo by Ellen.
From my beach chair, I watched Katey build this sand castle with a moat connected to the Gulf of Mexico. Ellen, meanwhile, was swimming enthusiastically in the cool water. She came out just in time to photograph the sunset and Katey’s sand castle.

A Tribute to My Daughters

My daughters, Ellen and Katey, visited a very elaborate Pumpkin Patch near their home in Texas.

A Tribute to My Daughters

Ellen and Katey volunteered at their church to help with Vacation Bible School, online this year because of Covid 19. They are standing in front of one of the sets they helped to build. Ellen was also involved in writing and other aspects of the project. Church members wrote the script, composed and performed original music, and videotaped the episodes with great skill! It’s a big church with a lot of talented volunteers.

Eve Ellen

makes her mother proud…

ambitious,

creative,

dedicated. Her life is

a labor of love.

Katey and Ellen frequently help out at a friend’s horse barn and enjoy riding the horses. All types of animals gravitate toward both of my daughters.

Katey Marie

makes her mother proud.

Her joy is

contagious!

Horses, dogs, friends, family…

life shared in photos.

Ellen and Katey enjoyed the sights and the rides at the fair.

Emails, calls…

My daughters have their

far-away

lives to live.

Times spent together, precious…

cherished memories!

Rez and Vibe love to cuddle. Vibe, in the foreground, is on his way to becoming a huge dog!
Vibe and Ellen. Vibe loves the pool…Rez, not so much! Vibe also enjoys kayak rides, but I am afraid he may already be too big for that.
Katey, Cheryl, & Ellen in front of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” a mural at the Ringling Circus Museum. The museum visit is one of the wonderful memories of our trip.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


This is the final post about my daughters’ visit during Thanksgiving week!

The second poem is my attempt at writing sharadomas, a form of poetry featured on David’s blog, “The skeptic’s kaddish of a son.” The poem, “Warm love or: Glowing memories” was posted on December 7, 2021. Sharadoma stanzas have a syllable count of 3/5/3/3/7/5. I didn’t attempt a cleave poem, although David’s was lovely!

Animals at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park & Poems about Some of the Animals

My daughters, Katey and Ellen in front of Pippa, the Hippo’s, cage. Pippa is the only exotic animal at Homosassa Wildlife State Park. The beloved sixty-one-year-old hippo was granted official Florida citizenship by the governor of Florida when the zoo transitioned to a wildlife park for Florida animals many years ago.

The majority of the animals at Homosassa Wildlife State Park are rescued animals that are unable to survive in the wild: manatees injured by boat propellers being rehabilitated in the manatee rescue center, animals who were hit by cars, birds unable to fly because of impaired vision or injuries to their wings, endangered squirrels and other rare animals raised illegally in captivity and confiscated from their owners.

The whooping cranes were from a program to reestablish these endangered birds in Florida. The female whooping crane has impaired vision and cannot fly. The male found her at Homosassa Wildlife State Park and joined her in her enclosure. He could fly away, but he stays. Whooping cranes mate for life, and this is a very touching pair!

The tropical bird enclosure, like most of the enclosures, is open at the top. It has a stream running through it and is shaded by lovely trees. I saw egrets, once hunted almost to extinction for their mating plumage, flying into and out of the enclosure. They are free to visit, or maybe they are choosing to live there.

The marine fish seen from the underwater observatory under the main spring migrate seasonally, as do the manatees in the Homosassa River near the hot springs. Public boat travel is restricted in this area to protect these migratory animals.

American flamingos, extinct in Florida for over 100 years, were discovered about ten years ago living in the Florida Everglades. No one knows for sure how they got there, but they probably came from Central or South America. We are thrilled to have them living in the wild in Florida once again. I don’t know if the flamingos in the tropical bird enclosure are rescues or are part of an effort to reintroduce them to their former range.

Alligators, hunted almost to extinction for their hides, are now protected and are once again plentiful in Florida. Programs now collect a few young alligators from their nests, raise them to a size where they can defend themselves from predators, and release them to ensure their continued success in the wild.

The black vultures, handsome lively birds, live at the park by choice, but they are a welcome clean-up crew. We saw them stealing what appeared to be fresh-cut grain from the hippo after they ate the insects from his back. We saw them visiting the black bear and perched in the trees.

The red wolves are endangered and are part of a captive breeding program to reintroduce them into Florida.

Florida Panthers, proud symbol of Florida, are endangered and seriously inbred. Panthers from Texas were brought in a few years ago to refresh the gene pool. Along Route 75, “Alligator Alley,” that runs from east to west through the Florida Everglades, high fences have recently been erected to protect panthers from traffic.

The aging dike at Lake Okeechobe has undergone extensive renovations this year. Nutrient-rich water released from the lake has caused red tides in the Gulf of Mexico and blue-green algae overgrowth in our rivers, sickening people, killing fish, dolphins, endangered manatees and endangered sea turtles. From now on, water will be released from the lake into bodies of water in much smaller amounts. The water from Lake Okeechobe will once again flow into the Florida Everglades as it was intended to do. I think Wildlife numbers will increase there due to this restoration.

I hesitated to provide detailed background information in this post. After all, I only spent half a day walking around the park and reading signs. That is the source of most of the information given about the park. I am not a biologist or expert on the environment, just a retired elementary school teacher and amateur poet who loves animals and cares about wildlife and the environment. I have done some research on wildlife to write my enviromnent-themed book series about Florida animals, Hanging Out with Wild Animals. You can read more about the books on my website.

It is tragic that so many animals have been injured and driven to extinction by human settlement and human activities, but the animals who live at Homosassa Wildlife State Park, though disabled, help to raise public awareness of wildlife and environmental issues. As the sign says, they are “ambassadors of wildlife.”


Animals at Homosassa Springs

Wildlife State Park

Endangered whooping crane. Photo by Amber Langeloni from Pixabay.

Love Birds

Male whooping crane joined

flightless female whooping crane

in her enclosure.

He could choose to fly away,

but he loves her, so he stays.

River otter. Photo by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay.

River Otters

You’ve got to be quick

to capture river otters

with your camera.

Appearing, disappearing

through plants on water’s surface.

Bald eagles. Photo by Jonathan Cooper from Unsplash.

Bald Eagle, National Bird

It’s been a long time

since these two injured eagles

soared Florida’s skies

American flag above ,

they watch as life passes by.

A school of snook viewed from the underwater observatory at the main spring of Homosassa State Wildlife Park. Photo by Ellen Maher.

Migrating Marine Fish

In the wintertime,

marine fish, like manatees,

migrate to hot springs.

Manatees and marine fish

thrive in seas and fresh water.

Florida bobcat. Photo by Meg Jerrard from Unsplash.

Bobcats & Florida Panthers

Florida bobcats

now coexist with humans

in suburbia.

Florida panthers, pride of

Florida, are endangered.

Flamingos in the tropical bird area. Photo by Ellen Maher.

Egret and roseate spoonbills. Photo by Kurt Anderson from Pexels.

Tropical Birds

Sparkling waters flow

through green paradise,

home of tropical birds.

Pink flamingos and spoonbills,

night herons, and sleeping swans.

Red wolf. Photo by Lucie Sa Vi from Unsplash.

Red Wolves

Endangered red wolves

roam a spacious enclosure,

delighting humans.

Procreation their purpose…

red wolf repopulation.

American alligator. Photo by Katey Batavia.

Alligators

Alligators live

in a pond that’s metal fenced…

Visitors are safe.

Prehistoric predators…

fearsome reptiles captivate.

Black vultures. Photo by Ellen Maher.

Black Vulture Family

Handsome black vultures

choose to live at the preserve…

welcome scavengers!

Perching on the hippo’s back,

they eat insects, then share his food.

Pippa, the hippo at Homosassa State Wildlife Park. Photo by Katey Batavia.

Pippa, the Hippopotamus,

Age Sixty-One

Grandfathered from days

when exotic animals

were in residence.

Citizen of Florida,

world’s oldest captive hippo.

American black bear. Photo by Katey Batavia.

Ambassadors

of Florida Wildlife

Most animals here

are unable to survive

living on their own.

Protected, they now serve

as ambassadors of wildlife.

Rare, endangered squirrel now unable to live in the wild because it was illegally raised in captivity. Photo by Ellen Maher.


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


For more information:

floridastateparks.org

Find a Park:

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

The Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida & A Young Boy’s Circus Dreams

Photo by Cheryl Batavia

My daughters, Ellen and Katey, on the bayfront terrace of Ca’D’Zan, the 1920s Venetian-style mansion of John and Mable Ringling. They lived and entertained in this home for 90 days a year during the winter. Sarasota was the winter home of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus for many years. A luxury private railway car, The Wisconsin, was John and Mable Ringling’s home for much of the year as they traveled around booking acts for the circus. The car, complete with stained glass, can be toured in the Circus Museum.

The mansion features stained glass windows, hand-carved, hand-decorated ceilings, and antique furnishings. My favorite room is the ballroom with its beautiful wide plank floors and gorgeous ceiling depicting dancing couples from different eras. The main room of the mansion is several stories high and has a view of Sarasota Bay through pastel-colored stained glass windows. The room has an ornate grand piano and a pipe organ that cost $25,000 in the 1920s.

Mable Ringling’s wagon wheel-shaped rose garden has approximately 1,250 antique roses, many from the 17th and 18th centuries, and is surrounded by statues of courting couples.

The sixty-six-acre estate has numerous other gardens and several museums. We spent about half a day exploring the mansion and the Circus Museum on this trip. Multiple galleries feature priceless circus memorabilia. There are elaborately hand-carved and painted antique circus wagons, calliopes, gorgeous vintage costumes made of silk and embroidered with faux gems, old circus photos, and informative and entertaining videos.

There is a 31-gallery art museum famous for its world class collection of old masters. Besides its permanent collections, the art museum hosts various exhibits. I have visited the art museum several times in the past. You could easily spend a day there. There is also an historic theater which hosts live performances.

Katey takes a selfie in front of one of the fourteen banyan trees on the estate, a gift from Thomas Edison, who raised several types of banyan trees at his winter estate in Fort Myers, Florida. In the photo: Katey, Cheryl, and Ellen.

Unless stated otherwise, photos in this post were taken by Katey Batavia and Ellen Maher.

Sculpture above the entrance to the Circus Museum.

A scene from the Howard Brothers Model Circus, which recreates an early 20th century circus. Howard Tibbals, a retired circus performer, created the 44,000-piece display by hand over a fifty-year period. The display occupies 3,800 square feet in the museum.

Multiple acts took place simultaneously under the big top.

Animal acts and the menagerie allowed many people to see exotic animals for the first time.

The menagerie.

A circus parking lot filled with beautifully-crafted vintage cars. Schools and businesses shut down on circus day so that people for miles around could attend the circus.

There were side shows where people could entertain themselves with novelty acts as they waited for the circus to start under the big top.
The circus train carried the circus from town to town. When set up, the circus was like a small city. It took over a thousand workers to set up the circus and take it down. They could set the circus up in four hours for the day’s performance. Then they would tear it down and set up again in the next town. Most performances lasted only one day.

Young boys and girls all across the country loved the glamour and excitement of the circus. Many had big dreams of joining the circus someday.

A Young Boy’s Circus Dreams

Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence from Unsplash.

A Young Boy’s Circus Dreams

I’ll join the circus!

A ringmaster in top hat

and tails, I will say…

“Ladies and gentlemen! Children

of all ages! Welcome!”

I’ll join the circus,

ride an elephant bareback,

and teach bears to dance.

Lions and tigers will purr

when I crack my whip and grin!

I’ll join the circus,

a goofy clown…folks laughing,

watching me fall down.

I’ll honk my red nose, driving

crazy in my tiny car!

I’ll join the circus!

Wearing flashy spangled tights,

I’ll walk the high wire,

and catch flying girls from my

high trapeze…Crowds will go wild!

I’ll join the circus

and see the world from a train…

each day, a new town!

I’ll come home for vacation…

fish all day…eat Mom’s peach pie.


Ellen in a tiny car in the interactive exhibit.
Katey, trick rider, interactive exhibit.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


May All Your Days Be Circus Days!

Upcoming posts will feature more adventures from our travels during Thanksgiving week. It was so good to see my daughters again, and we had a fabulous time!

For more information about The Ringling Museum, visit their website, ringling.org

“A Great Miracle Happened Here!”

A Poem about Hanukkah, a Jewish Holiday beginning this year on November 28

Jews celebrate the eighth night of Hanukkah. Eight candles burn in a menorah. The ninth candle in the center is used to light the other candles. Photo by Rodnae Productions from Pexels.

“A Great Miracle Happened Here!”

Hanukkah menorah lights burn bright.

Just one candle is lit on the first night,

two on the second, three on the third…

On the last night, all eight are burned!

A woman gambling for Hanukkah gelt, spinning a dreidel. The letters inscribed on dreidels stand for, “A great miracle happened here!” Photo by Rodnae Productions from Pexels.

Spin the dreidels…Their message is clear:

“A great miracle happened here!”

Tell the Hanukkah story, please,

of Jerusalem reclaimed by the Maccabees.

Drawing the Star of David. Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels.

In Jerusalem, the temple’s rededication

was cause for joyous celebration.

They had enough oil to burn for only one day…

but for eight days, the temple lamps blazed!

Photo of a violinist by Cottonbro from Pexels.

Bring out the latkes, sing the songs.

Hanukkah celebrations are eight days long!

Love of religious freedom is heartfelt,

holiday memories as sweet as Hanukkah gelt!

Hanukkah gelt, chocolate coins covered in foil. Photo by Rodnae Productions from Pexels.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


The events commemorated by Hanukkah occurred about 167 BCE. The history of the period is very complex, but well worth learning more about. I especially like the story of Judith, a spy who helped win the war to reclaim Jerusalem. Hanukkah is generally viewed today as a celebration of religious freedom.

For a poem about Hanukkah as celebrated by our family when our children were young, see “Eighth Night of Hanukkah.” https://gulfcoastpoet.com/2020/12/02/eighth-night-of-hanukkah/

Happy Hanukkah!

We Are Thankful

by Ellen Maher

Photo by Brad West from Unsplash.

We Are Thankful

We pilgrims are thankful

For what you have brought us

We were strangers in a land that was not our home

With your help we have made it

Through the barren winters

We know in the cold to come, we’re not alone.

I thank you for what you have done

I thank you for the rain and the sun

I thank you for the seeds to sow

I thank you for the way you make it all grow

Photo by Suzy Brooks from Unsplash.

We pilgrims are thankful

For the foods that feed us

For the time to be together

The harvest is here now

And the food is gathered

You have made us ready for any kind of weather

I thank you for what you have done

I thank you for the rain and the sun

I thank you for the seeds to sow

I thank you for the way you make it all grow

Ellen Maher and Katey Batavia

LN Maher

©1996 Echoes of the Lion’s Roar

http://lnechoes.blogspot.com/


My daughters, Ellen Maher and Katey Batavia will be visiting over the Thanksgiving week, November 21-27. I am so excited to see them for the first time in almost two years! I will be off WordPress to spend some time with them. A swim with the manatees at Crystal River is planned. It was canceled last time because of Covid 19. We are eagerly looking forward to the trip.

The poem above was written by Ellen. She is an ordained Baptist chaplain and a teacher and administrator in a recovery program that deals with issues such as grief, addiction, and illness. She also volunteers for many special projects at her church. This year she helped to produce a video for a virtual Vacation Bible School during the pandemic. Ellen writes religious poems on her blog, Echoes of the Lion’s Roar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

West Indian Manatee. Photo by Maegan Luckleish from Unsplash.

Message in a Bottle

A Fantasy

Photo by Scott Van Hoy from Unsplash.

Message in a Bottle

A Fantasy

A barefoot wanderer on the sands of time,

moment to moment, no reason or rhyme,

searching for a message in a bottle along the shoreline,

but pebbles on the beach were all I could find.

Looking for the light of my life, year after year,

I sang along with the music of the spheres,

seeking someone to sing with me as we embark,

two-by-two onto an archetypical ark.

I rowed my small boat…on dry land I planted my feet.

Miracle of miracles, soon we were dancing cheek-to-cheek!

All was bright where once were darkness and strife.

I smiled at you, the light of my life!

From each rising sun to the next rising sun,

on top of the world, under the gun,

or tossed by capricious seas, we’ve had a good run.

We’ve sailed life together, and it’s been fun!

Hand-in-hand on the beach we walk as before;

a message in a bottle washes up on the shore.

With hearts aflutter and chaos of mind,

we uncork the bottle, unsettled by what we find.

With the music of the spheres our hearts are attuned,

but the message in the bottle portends impending doom.

It says, “Tis a short voyage from cradle to tomb.”

We face an epic tidal wave…The end has come so soon!

Photo by Kampus from Pexels.
Photo by Jeremy Bishop from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Valued Possessions

Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash.

Valued Possessions

Forest

fire! Flames creeping

down the mountainside.

Air smells smokey in our yard.

We load our car with our treasures…

Fifteen photo albums,

our life story…

valued!

Forest

fire extinguished!

Smoke and fear dissipate.

We unpack our car with smiles and

new insights of what we value…

Family history,

daughter’s childhood…

valued!


Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia


One Saturday about forty years ago, when my husband was at work, my young daughter, Ellen, and I watched fire and smoke moving down the mountainside toward our house. We packed our car with something irreplaceable…our photo albums. My fifty-two-year-old daughter still has those albums, memories of her childhood.

An Album of Childhood

Photo by Joice Kelly from Unsplash.
Photo by Romina Veliz from Unsplash
Photo by Josh Applegate from Unsplash.
Photo by NeonBrand from Unsplash.

Photo by Deb Dowd from Unsplash.

Photo by Prince Abid from Unsplash.
Photo by Robert Collins from Unsplash.

Little Human vs. Global Destruction

In Response to the Climate Summit

Photo from Pexels.

Little Human vs. Global Destruction

Global Destruction, a villian

about as bad as they come,

believed his evil takeover plan

was too big to be undone.

“What do I care, little human,

for your miniscule potential?

Do what little you can;

it’s quite inconsequential!”

Joy sprang like a weed

in the little human’s heart.

He knew humans could succeed

if they all did their part!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Copyright© 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

Flimflam World

Homebuyers talking to a real estate agent. Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.

Diogenes carried a lamp through city streets in the daytime “looking for an honest man.”

“There’s a sucker born every minute!” P.T. Barnum

“I believe that people are basically good.” Anne Frank

“Trust but verify.” Old Russian Proverb


Flimflam World

The longer you live, the more crooks you will find

bound and determined to rob you blind!

They do so many things that just aren’t right.

which makes me wonder, how do they sleep at night,

these con artists, schemers, and scammers,

charlatans and flimflammers?

Call Center. Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.

The world is crawling with dirty dealers,

false advertisers, chiselers, and cheaters.

Swindlers make promises too good to be true.

Fly-by-night tradesmen are targeting you.

Annoying junk mail and phone soliciters

are high-pressure hucksters and time wasters.

Hacker. Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.

There’s no end in sight for white collar crime,

false advertisers, identity thieves online,

snake oil salesmen, online quacks,

weight loss gurus, and computer hackers.

Dressed for success are those insider traders,

predatory lenders, and pension fund raiders.

Photo of an incarcerated man by Rodnae from Pexels.

On social media, conspiracy theories confuse.

Questionable sources proclaim, “Fake news!”

Who can we trust to make criminals stop?

Not corrupt politicians or crooked cops!

With so many people who intend to deceive,

how can we ever know what to believe?

Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplash.

My suggestion of the place to start:

Make sure you, yourself, are pure in heart!

Do an honest day’s work, treat others fairly,

and set an example of honor and integrity.

Don’t value leaders above ethical beliefs…

Charismatic leaders may be liars and thieves.

Don’t believe everything you read or hear!

Consider all opinions until the issues are clear.

Avoid anything that seems too good to be true.

“Trust, but verify!” is a motto to pursue.

Crooks are vastly outnumbered by honest folks.

Believe in yourself, and don’t give up hope!

Photo by Gabriel Chrismariu on Unsplash.

Copyright © 2021 by Cheryl Batavia

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


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