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.

Shuu rin – Autumn Rain (A Haibun for dVerse)

Driving to work in the heavy autumn rains, it felt like the sun had escaped our view forever. Where the sun shines 330 days a year, when the clouds come and darken our world, we freak out a bit and depression and edginess spreads over the town like the plague. Nonetheless, after a soggy, cool weekend, I had dropped my boys off at school and was headed to work at the Dermatology Clinic at the Medical School. I got halfway there, talking and begging my old white Audi, Blanche, to hang in there until I made it to work. Suddenly she sputtered and coughed. I patted the dashboard lovingly, speaking gently and encouragingly to her. That’s when all the lights flashed on my dashboard and I felt Blanche die and start floating in the rushing river of water that Brownfield highway had somehow become. Yikes! I was really floating! Just like those people on the news in other places! I willed Blanche to coast right, twisting her steering wheel hard to the right, hoping it would help. I felt her tires hit pavement and steered even harder. She stopped, right in the middle of the busiest traffic in town. I was stuck in the middle lane of a three lane highway and cars were whizzing by like SST’s. What was I going to do? Suddenly a huge truck pulled up and stopped in front of me while simultaneously its emergency flashers started blinking. A huge, young cowboy climbed out of the truck and made his way back to me. I opened my door to talk to him. “Ma’am, has she died completely? I’ll pull her over to the side if you’d like me to do so. My truck can take her easily.” As I looked into the man’s deep blue eyes, I had an inappropriate thought that he could take me easily too. I didn’t say that out loud, though, thank goodness! I didn’t want to be a stereotypical divorcee, embarrassingly lonely and obvious. “If you could do that, I’d really appreciate it! I’m afraid I’m going to cause a stack up if I don’t pull her over. What do I need to do?” “Not a thing! Just sit tight and I’ll hook her up! Then when I signal, put her in neutral and guide her to the parking lot over there.” Sitting in the car and being pulled over to the side, I had to smile. West Texans might be a lot of things, but unhelpful they were not. As my car coasted into the parking lot and I put her in park, the young man jumped out of his truck and came back, leaned in over the open door. “Do you need a ride to work? I’m headed over to the main campus.” My day, even in the heavy fall rain, suddenly had sunlight.

Heavy, bruising rain,
Ice cold and relentlessly dull,
Making new rivers.

© D. Elaine Wood-Lane
6/21/16

The Haibun prompt from dVerse Poets (https://dversepoets.com) was to use one of the Japanese words for rain as the title and to describe the type of rain being written about. A Haibun consists of a non-fiction paragraph followed by a haiku to summarize and deconstruct the main point of the prose paragraph. This is my offering today as a memory came to me of a heavy rainy day when a kind stranger towed my car to the side of the road.

https://dversepoets.com/2016/06/20/haibun-monday-50-shades-of-rain/

West Texas Twang/NaPoWriMo Day 18

Doris Elaine Wood!
Where in the world are you?
It’s gettin’ dark out there
and supper’s ready!

I’m comin’, I’m comin’ Mother!
I was down the street at Sonya’s.

When I call you to supper,
I better not have to call you again!
What were y’all doin’ anyway?

We were just watchin’ the sun set.
It’s so pritty tonight.

The same sun sets at your house,
you silly girl!
Go wash your hands
before comin’ to the table.

I can’t see the sunset from inside
our house, Mother.
None of our windas face west!

Oooh, it smells so good in here!
What are we havin’ for supper?

Sammon paddies, mashed taters,
sop, green beans and biscuits.
Oh, and chili sauce if you want
some on your patatoes and sop.

It has been so many years,
since this nightly conversation
took place, but I remember
the accents, the sound of
Mother’s voice, and the lovely
aromas rising from our supper table
like it was yesterday.

I don’t say everything as I did,
but many words apparently
I still pronounce with the same
Texas twang that I did back then.

You can take the girl out of West Texas,
but you can’t take the West Texas out of the girl!

© Doris Elaine Wood-Lane
4/18/16


The challenge today is to write a poem that incorporates “the sound of home.” Think back to your childhood, and the figures of speech and particular ways of talking that the people around you used, and which you may not hear anymore.

Definitions:
Taters (potatoes)
Patatoes (potatoes)
Sop (gravy)
Sammon (salmon)
Paddies (patties or more correctly, croquettes)
Biscuits (non-yeast rolls)
Chili Sauce (a relish that looks like picante sauce, but is sweeter and has no hot peppers in it)

Elaine

Back in Texas

Crossing the Texas state line,
I take a deep breath,
a tradition in our family,
meant to be a breath of fresh air,
sunshine, and a feeling of homecoming.

This time, as I take a deep breath,
I am nearly overwhelmed by the
lovely scent of…cattle, cattle,
and the peculiarly odiferous
smells that only a full cow lot
can create and maintain.

Still, the sky is blue,
there are faint clouds
high overhead, and
the spaces are wide open.

As I turn onto highway 385 south,
I get caught between two cattle trucks.
Ugh! Not that smell again!
My nose has turned itself up
into an Elvis Presley sneer
that startles me in its strength.

Then, I see the winter wheat fields.
Deep green in a land of reddish brown soil.
The contrast between the two colors
is astoundingly beautiful.

There are fuzzy cows in the
field of deep green and I breathe deeply.
I see a couple of true Texas Longhorns
in the mix and feel my face smile
from ear to ear.

I am truly, back in Texas.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
3/4/16

I hear the train whistles
long before I can hear
the sound of the heavy wheels
and high speed clacking
of the real train,
the sound of romance, old days, civilization.

Without the train,
my country would have settled
much more slowly.

In my thoughts
I see tracks over wide spaces,
mountains, rivers, forests.

I hear my Dad telling me
that when the train came to Lubbock
that is when the town began to grow.

I hear my Mother telling me
the story of her family coming
to West Texas by train in 1920,
when she was a cute little blonde,
only four years old,
to begin a new life.

These are the moments that
grew a country.

I hear all that as the train passes through
on this crisp, cold morning in Canyon, Texas.

© Elaine Wood-LaneFebruary 26, 2005

Workers lay down railroad ties in preparation for the first railway to come to Lubbock in 1909. The city reached an agreement earlier that year with Santa Fe Railway to bring train service to Lubbock which laid the groundwork for the future Hub of the Plains. (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Centennial Edition 2009)

House Ghosts

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. 
 Image credit: “love don’t live here anymore” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

I came upon the old house in the field almost by surprise.  I was hiking through an empty cotton field, letting my bare feet sink into the soft rows of hot, dry soil to the dampness underneath just as I did as a child with my cousins.  We loved playing in the hot cotton fields before the little sprouts of cotton came up and cracked the soft rows of furrowed soil in a million different directions. I loved those times playing at my aunt’s farm in the fields.  There was so much to do and see and a million possibilities for make believe adventures.  I was just remembering the big wooden cotton trailers we used to climb around in and the old small shacks that housed large farming implements when I came within a foot of the red brick wall ahead of me before seeing it.

I felt a chill come out of the empty front door and realized the same chill was drifting down from the open windows on either side of the door.  In 102 degree heat, feeling any kind of chill was just plain spooky.  The fact that it was oozing out of this old abandoned red brick house struck a shiver down my spine.  I had been in dozens of these types of houses as a child, some abandoned, some not.  My cousins and I weren’t supposed to ever go near one of these abandoned houses, but we felt if we were careful and didn’t get hurt, what difference did it make?  Ok, I felt that way and since I was the only girl among a group of boys, if I went into spooky places, they followed along.  No girl was ever going to do more than they were!  It wouldn’t be fitting at all!  It’s funny, but as a wee girl growing up, I bounded into houses like this with no fear at all.  I was girl, I was invincible, I was…stupid sometimes, but we sure did have a lot of fun!  Now, standing in front of this old house in the heat with chilled air coming from inside it, I must admit my heart trembled.  What was this feeling of caution and trepidation?  Was it because I had lost my childish sense of adventure or was there another cause?

Taking a deep breath and saying a little prayer, I stepped over the threshold into the house.  The entire house creaked…not the floor but the whole house!  Dust and cobwebs floated down from the ceiling, or what passed as a ceiling.  There were huge gaping holes in the ceiling where the years had worn their way through.  Sunbeams shone through the holes and dust motes were clearly visible.  At least I thought  they were dust motes! As I stared at the floating motes I suddenly perceived a shape forming.  It was a woman in a long, old-fashioned dress, her hair in a prairie bun and a bitter slash of a mouth.  Where her eyes should be I only saw dark spots with pinpoints of light.  Lord!  Was I having a sunstroke or just losing my mind?  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and slowly re-opened my eyes.  She was still there and had been joined by a little boy in old overalls full of patches.  He was grinning.  Good grief!  I really was losing my mind!  I’ve always been accused of having an overactive imagination, but this was right round the bend.

I’ve often wished, going through old houses and buildings that the walls could talk and tell their stories.  Had I conjured these shapes of people from that deep secret desire?  I was feeling a little lightheaded, but was afraid to close my eyes again.  Ok, I was terrified of closing my eyes and something awful happening to me.  I opened my eyes wider and pulled out my water bottle.  Maybe if I drank some water, my flights of insanity would abate.  As I took a deep swallow of water, the air became more chilled.  I slowly looked up and the shapes were staring at the water longingly, desperately and they were moving closer!  That’s when I noticed the frost on the walls and the floor forming.  I backed up.  The shapes came closer.  I started to scream, threw the water bottle at the shapes and tried to turn around and run back out the door…

“Honey, are you okay?  I’ve been looking all over for you!  You look awfully pale.”  My husband was kneeling beside me.  I was all tangled up in myself.  My legs looked like pretzels and felt like jelly.  I started to sit up, but Alan said to stay put while I drank some water.  “What in the world happened?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost!  I was looking everywhere for you when Buddy came running back, having a fit.  I’ve never seen him so agitated!  He led me over here to this old stack of wood and bricks.  Must have been a house at some point, but not much of it is left.”  I sank back on the hot, soft Texas dirt of a cotton field, staring at the house that once was.  I’ve always wondered, did I have a sunstroke or did I really see ghosts in the house that was no more?  I guess I’ll never know…

 

I was given the photo above as inspiration and decided to write a little short story with it.   I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.