The Beauty of a Clock

A friend of mine on Facebook today mentioned an analog clock he and his wife have in a bathroom in their home. He mentioned how he could read it from the shower via a mirror.  My mind, as usual, went down a rabbit hole and suddenly I remembered hearing recently that many children and adults could no longer read an analog clock. At the time I thought that had to be wrong and hoped it was true. (I had also heard that children are no longer being taught cursive writing in school. Unfortunately, I have learned that that rumor is true. Breaks my heart, but that’s another subject.)

My husband and I have many clocks in our house, but the dearest, most valuable one to me is an analog battery clock set in a wooden frame that I bought for my dad many years ago at a pharmacy. His vision was rapidly declining due to macular degeneration and he could no longer read his watch. One day while waiting for a prescription refill, I saw a clock for sale for about $10 I think and immediately thought it would be perfect for Daddy. It even had the hands that glow in the dark at night, which would be perfect for Daddy when he awoke at 4:00 in the morning and got up to sit in the living room until Mother woke up. Of course, I bought the clock and I think it was Daddy’s Father’s Day gift that year. That same clock now sits on my bathroom shelf and I look at it many times during the course of an average day. Every time I look at it, I think of my dad fondly. He didn’t use it for years and years, but the time he did use it was precious to me.

I think the true usefulness and beauty of a clock is not in whether it is analog, digital or sand or even in the time it tells, but in the time that it keeps. Daddy’s clock, to me, will always represent the time I kept with my father in his last years and how special that time was to me. 

I have a grandson now, Milo, who is two years old. He has excellent parents who will, I have no doubt, teach him how to read an analog clock. Someday I will share with Milo the story of my little bathroom clock and how precious it is and someday further in the future, I will leave it to him so he can remember how his Grandmama Dee used that clock to keep time with her father and then used it to keep time with him, her beloved grandchil

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere, over the rainbow,

on the other side of the wall,

days are bright and sunny,

no matter winter, spring,

summer or fall.

If my clothes could talk

at the end of the day, 

they’d tell of the rainbows

I saw today.

Some rainbows I noticed,

Others I passed right by,

because I was too busy

feeling serious with a sigh.

There are rainbows nearby,

not on the other side of a wall,

but right in front of our eyes,

if we’ll simply slow down and

look up, whenever the bright colors call.

©D. Elaine Wood-Lane

11/3/16


Let’s not be so serious and worried about the news, the election, the environment and ourselves that we miss the bright, colorful moments hitting us right between the eyes. I’m not advocating irresponsibility or not caring about the world we live in, but let’s remember that it is important to take the beautiful moments seriously too. Here’s a scene I saw thousands of times while I lived the first 45 years of my life in the southern panhandle of Texas. I took these scenes for granted because they were so common. I live at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado now, which are also beautiful and easy to take for granted. When I saw this photo below, however, this is the scene that made my heart ache and my eyes mist because this beauty is part of my soul.

Between a Doze and a Daydream

I came out to my studio to write this afternoon. I started off writing a quadrille poem (44 words long) that would include the word spark or sparkle for dVerse Poetry’s weekly quadrille challenge. I wrote as the breeze wafted through my open door and the sun slowly shifted to highlight the artwork on the wall opposite me. The air was not too hot and not too cold, but just exactly perfect. Missy Cat came inside and found a comfy place to snooze and suddenly I realized I had been staring off into space, halfway caught between a doze and a daydream. What a perfect afternoon and a perfect feeling of peace. I realized I was more relaxed than I’ve been in ages. Did I get a lot of writing done? No. Did I get a lot of plotting and planning done for the 50,000 word novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo? I have to say I did. Isn’t it amazing how much one can accomplish when we simply take the time to get halfway caught between a doze and a daydream? Happy Monday everybody!    Elaine

My daydream wall…

Missy Cat’s place to doze…

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As many of you know, I’ve traveled a lot this summer. My husband and I traveled to Ireland, Spain, England, and spent one day in France. Then last week I traveled to the Chicago area to spend time with my baby grandson, daughter-in-law and son.

I’ve said all my life that I truly believe there are more kind and good people in the world than there are mean and evil people, but kindness and goodness doesn’t get much press because it’s not as sensational. Frankly, I think kindness and goodness is so “common” that it’s not considered news.

I know I don’t have any scientific data to back up my claims that there are more kind and good people in the world than mean and evil people, but I do have my own experiences and I’m happy to report that everywhere I’ve been and of everyone I’ve met, kindness and goodness wins! I can honestly only think of two people this entire summer of traveling that were short-tempered, grumpy and a little scary. This is out of hundreds, if not thousands, of other people I was around or met. For those of you who like scientific data, let’s just say I made contact with 100 people directly over the course of the summer and only 2 of those 100 were jerks. That’s 2% of the population! I actually met or was surrounded by thousands of people and still only two people were not nice. Even those two people who weren’t nice weren’t being ugly to me, but to other people.

Let that sink in a minute. Only two people out of thousands in several countries in the world were unkind and rude. For all I know those two people might have been having exceptionally bad days or some sort of personal crisis going on that caused them to be that way on that day.

On the other hand, I can’t tell you how many people held doors for me, spoke pleasantly, cooperated and played well with others in group situations, and in general were just great people! For heavens sake, in Dublin, I took myself out of the Friday 5:00 PM crush of people on the street for a breather and a complete stranger walked over to make sure I was ok and not hurt or something! He was genuinely concerned about me!

In Spain when we thought we had lost our luggage, we had no less than three people help us by translating for us, looking up our information, and taking us through a back door, bypassing security, to pick up our luggage. The clerk was nice, a young woman who could speak three or four languages was nice and another guy was patient by letting us go ahead of him in line. I would even add that the language lady spent at least 20 minutes of her own personal time to assist us! She didn’t work for the airlines. She had nothing to gain by taking the time to help us. She just did it and we were most appreciative!

In London, the man at the flat management office went so far and above the call of common courtesy. He was wonderful and so helpful to the two fish out of water from Colorado. He was originally from eastern Europe and had worked hard to get to his position of management, but didn’t let it keep him from being patient and kind.

I felt like I made some real connections with complete strangers on the trip too and some of them have even become Facebook friends because we had a good time together and truly connected.

Do you know what most of these kind people spoke of when we visited together? Their families, friends, and other loved ones. Ok, there was the one taxi driver who regaled us with all the anecdotes about famous people he had met and ferried around, but in the end he spoke about his wife of many years whom he obviously loved more than anyone else.

So, what’s my point besides the fact that I believe there are more kind and nice people in the world than mean and evil people? Well, it’s like this. If we just listen to the news, read the internet, watch movies, or other media, it sounds like the world is going to hell in a handbasket and it’s just a matter of time until we all blow ourselves up. There’s this sense of “protect yourself because everyone else is out to get you.” From what I’ve seen in the world, that’s just not true. There are people out there who are mean and vengeful and terrorist in nature. I know that. I’m not totally naive regarding that fact. However, I believe there are so many more good people in the world who come together and help one another who save the day in the end. I find great hope and comfort in that. I hope you will too. Be kind. Be loving. Quit arguing over little things that don’t matter. Quit arguing and being hateful on social media over big things that do matter. You’re not going to change someone’s mind by being harsh. Be nice to someone, though, listen respectfully, and respond in kind, and maybe you’ll both change your minds a little bit. Remember, we’re all in this world together and if we work together, kindly and generously, we’ll all be much better off. I believe in the world’s overall kindness. Some may think I’m crazy, but just imagine the amazing possibilities if I’m right…

Peace and love, always,

Elaine

I thought I would share some photos of Daddy and myself taken as I was growing up.

Daddy holding me while Mother looks on when I was very young, but I’m not sure how old I was. My parents were older and I was a “surprise” so I always loved this picture. They both looked so happy.

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Me, about 1 year old, in our living room on the farm in Lovington, NM. I didn’t have a lot of hair yet, but Mother or Judy, my sister, always tried to put a hair ribbon in anyway.

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This was in our backyard at the house we rented in Lubbock, Texas after Daddy quit cotton farming. I’m about 3 years old in this picture and it looks like it was on a Sunday before church. Look at those little white gloves and hat Mother had put on me! You don’t see kids dressed like that for church any longer! Daddy always wore a hat to church too, but took it off for the picture. He was about 51 in this picture.

This was in the backyard of our new house that Daddy and Mother bought in Lubbock. That little sycamore tree behind Daddy eventually grew to be a very tall, large tree. I think I’m about 4 in this picture.

Nearly every summer of my childhood we went to Ruidoso, NM for vacation. No matter how many times I asked Daddy to take me to the river, he would get up and take me. Up and down the hill to the river and back. Poor man! He had the patience of a saint in that respect. I think this was probably in summer of 1969 or 1970.

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Daddy on a Father’s Day in the late 1960’s. He loved red carnations so we gave them to him every year. Mother always insisted he have his picture taken with his flowers. I think one year he finally said, “Inez, I think we have enough pictures of me holding flowers. Let’s not do this any more!”

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This was in 5th grade and was taken before Daddy and I went to the Girl Scouts Father-Daughter Banquet.

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I can’t tell you how many pictures we have like this of Daddy sitting in his chair over the years, either reading the newspaper, a book, or working on a crossword puzzle. This looks like the early 1980’s when I was in college, judging by the chair he’s sitting in and his snazzy eyeglasses. 🙂

Daddy, about age 90, and me. Some of our best conversations took place with me sitting on that old hassock next to his chair so he could hear me. I think that place right there is where I got to know my father best.

DADDY

Daddy was a good father.
He loved us and taught us
how to protect ourselves
and be independent.

He taught us the basic things
of life so we could make it on
our own and not have to ever
be dependent on someone else.

This included teaching us
car maintenance, budgeting,
basic plumbing, home maintenance,
and for me, helping me with what
was then “new math” homework.

Daddy is the one who taught
me how to overcome my
shyness and flirt with boys.
(He was good at flirting!)

Daddy drove me to my first
high school dance, even
when my mother disagreed
about me going.

Daddy always worked hard
outdoors in the elements.
His hands were rough and
calloused, but when he
patted us on the head to
tell us he loved us, there
was never a touch so tender
as his.

I watched my father go from
a strong, super intelligent man
to a tender, loving man who
took care of his invalid wife
for 15 years,
to a man with Alzheimer’s
who still had enough smarts
to disguise himself in an
attempt to leave a nursing home.

Daddy secretly helped others
whenever he could.
He called and visited the sick.
He stayed in touch with all
his cousins and siblings.
He worked hard at building family.

Daddy loved us.
He was proud of us.
He was tender with us.
He was tough with us.
He had the iciest blue eyes
in the world when he was mad.
I loved holding his hand and
telling him I loved him.

Daddy was a good father
and I thank God every day
for giving me such a good dad.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
6/21/15

Jackson Pollock, Convergence, 1952

I have no wise words to say
on this most usual Thursday.

So far this morning I’ve read
countless poems
by brilliant poets participating
in NaPoWriMo just as I am this month.

I’ve watched a video of a nun
visiting great art of the 20th century
and heard her describe the significance
of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning,
Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.

I’ve read new messages about
my sponsored Compassion children
in Peru and Rwanda and in my heart
compared my life of relative wealth
to their lives of hardship and loss.

All these things are what I love.
Walter de la Mare was the first poet
I learned about and loved.
Then came Robert Frost, Mary Oliver,
William Carlos William, and Billy Collins.
Somewhere along the way,
I decided I wanted to write poetry
that would be read and inspire
others like they inspire me.

I’ve seen Jackson Pollock, Rothko,
and Warhol’s art live and in person
at the Chicago Institute of Art.
Pollock’s painting was so large and
had such depth of expression,
that when I saw it, I sat down in stunned
silence, tears sliding down my face as
the full experience and meaning
touched my soul.

My Compassion children,
Dayana and Niyonkuru,
have my heart even though
I’ve never met them, seen them,
or touched their little faces.
They’re so grateful and loving,
and the letters and pictures
we exchange have connected
us across thousands of miles,
different cultures and experiences.

The common theme this morning,
for me,
is the beauty to be found in life,
in poetry, art, people, and God.

I have no wise words to say
about these things.

You have to open your own eyes,
your own mind, heart, and soul,
to see beauty in everything yourself.

God made so much beauty in
the world for us to appreciate.
Try to find some today, enjoy it,
relish it, breathe it into your soul,
and say, “Thank you,” for the beauty.

Peace and love,

©Elaine Wood-Lane
4/9/15

This felt like me today for sure! I didn’t fall, but I felt like I had been run over by a mack truck this morning. I hurt, I felt mean, and I was jittery as that squirrel on Hoodwinked with coffee. I took my husband to work because I needed the car for a lunch date and when I got back home, I realized that I hadn’t taken my medicine last night! I don’t know why I do that sometimes! I only take five kinds of medicine, but they’re for fibromyalgia, hypertension, and estrogen replacement. If I don’t take them, even for one night, the repercussions are immediate and painful.

The moment I realized I hadn’t taken my medicine, I went and took the medicines I could that wouldn’t knock me out (I thought), and ate some breakfast. I returned to reading a book. I was supposed to be at my former workplace at 11:00 so I had a couple of hours to get ready and drive over there. I woke up at 11:20!! I hurriedly threw on some clothes and hit the road. At a red light, I texted my friend to let her know I was running late. I was a mess! Trying to wake up, fight anxiety, and get all the way across town. I still was hurting some, but by golly, I wasn’t going to let it get me down!

One of the reasons I visit my former workplace is that I love so many of my former coworkers. I’m not talking about, “hey, I love ya man” love. I’m talking, I really care and love these people deeply. They’re some of my best friends I’ve made here in Colorado Springs. They’re really good people and some of them lately have been going through some really tough challenges of all kinds. I can’t do as much for people as I did in the past because of the weakness, fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia. I hate that aspect of not feeling well. However, God has shown me that I’m not helpless or worthless. I can still pray, encourage and support my friends. I can go to them, listen to them, and hug them. (My specialty is hugs. I know that sounds goofy, but I feel like I can transmit my love best by hugs.) So, I went to lunch with one of my friends and we had a great time, even if I was late! I got to see some of my favorite people, give hugs, share love, and so…today became a good day!

It became even better when I came home and found out that one of my fellow bloggers here on WordPress, https://sailingpenguin.wordpress.com/, had nominated me for the Creative Blogger award!! (Tomorrow I will be nominating some of the blogs I follow and truly appreciate for this award as well!)

I feel so honored that she liked my blog enough to nominate me for this award and to bring more attention to my blog. It made my day! Thanks so much Nicky, for the nomination! I truly appreciate it.

So, now I will hush. I’ve talked too long, a frequent problem I have and for which I apologize. I just wanted to remind all my friends, family and readers that, even if a day starts out really rough, if we hurt physically, emotionally, or mentally, if we pray and keep our faith, spend time with people we love and who love us, and share hugs (even better), our day can improve exponentially! NOW I NEED CHOCOLATE!!

Peace and love, always,

Elaine

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 1 John 4:7-9