An Alternate Reality

Archive for January, 2016

Unexpected Gifts

Late January,
dark days and cold nights,

but Christmas cactus
and amaryllis

don’t heed the season.
They shout, “Spring!”

in bright red dresses
with ruffley skirts.

They smile
at the dark days.

They dance
through the cold nights.

My hibernating heart
is warmed by their laughter.

What unexpected gifts,
these winter blooming flowers.

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The Joy of Pets?

Guinea pigs are dumb. They pretty much squeal, eat and poop, and occasionally make more guinea pigs.

Of course, my view is probably a bit biased. I was a short time guinea pig owner and an even shorter time enthusiast.

Somewhere in my 40’s I decided I needed a pet. I am allergic to cats, never cared much for dogs and am totally against fish and birds outside of their natural habitat.

The pet store had these adorable, fuzzy little creatures call guinea pigs. The first one I brought home was a brown curly hair variety I named Abby. I got all the things I would need to go along with this new pride and joy – cage, hideaway box, hay, feed, water bottle, vitamins, fresh spinach. I was all set.

Excited, I brought my new baby home. She squealed this high pitched “wheeep” all the way home. Little did I know, I should have turned around right then and there and taken her back, but I was determined to love my new friend.

I got her all cozy under the window in the basement. She squirmed when I tried to hold her. Then she darted up my sleeve and peed on my shoulder. Not a good first impression.

Maybe it was my fault that I didn’t train her well, but she never wanted to be held and, not wanting to force her, she never did become the cuddly companion I so desired.

Plus, I felt so bad for her, that I went out and bought her a friend that she would like – another curly, albeit black, female guinea pig I named Moon.

Moon was actually shyer than Abby. She never came out of the hideaway box. At least not while I was around.

Since I couldn’t hold them and was afraid to hurt them by grabbing them, I used a piece of PVC pipe to corner them to move them when I cleaned their cage. It was a three time a week game we always played, to my chagrin.

One day, just after I got Moon, an odd shaped cotton ball appeared in the cage. Apparently, Abby had been pregnant when I got her and thus was born a bouncing baby boy. Of course, with incest not an option, I had to give him away, and life returned to normal.

So, for four years they squealed and ate and peed. And for four years I sighed and fed and cleaned.

Then, one day Moon stopped eating, her hair fell out, and the vet said there wasn’t much to be done, so I had her put down. A few months later, Abby went the same way.

I cleaned out the cage for the last time and gave it away. I cleaned up the hay, ate the last bag of spinach myself.

For weeks, I would expect to hear their “wheeep wheeep” when I opened the basement door. I had to remember that I didn’t need to buy hay or feed or raw spinach. And my Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings were now free of cage cleaning duties.

Not that I’d ever get another one, but gosh, sometimes I missed those dumb guinea pigs…

A Walk on the Wild Side

She watched the world from the big picture window. Her universe lay in two trees, a stubbly lawn, a short strip of asphalt. And yet, so much traversed that narrow scope.

Brown sparrows, yellow orioles, red cardinals peppered the tree branches. A rare hawk found a quiet perch. Squirrels and chipmunks chased up and down the trunks. Cats sauntered past. Rabbits scampered through the grass. A occasional groundhog waddled its way across the road.

And people. Kids on bikes. Families pushing baby strollers. Elderly companions out for a walk. Dogs pulling joggers on leashes.

She wondered what they were all thinking, what their lives were like beyond her limited view. Even the houses across the street, with their closed mouth doors and wide-eyed windows, must have their stories.

And she longed to join them, to ask them, to share their world.

But, a half an inch of glass separated their lives from hers. That, and the hospital bed she would never again leave.

So, she watched. All the while, her heart longing to be free, free to walk on the wild side of her own impenetrable window.

Try, try again…

Old habits are hard to break
New habits are hard to make
but the consequences are hard to take
so try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed
Find out what you really need
then start the journey with that lead
and try, try again.

But if you’ve tried and tried and tried
Until there’s nothing more inside
it’s probably time to set aside your pride
and just let it go…

Happy New…

Sunshine of a new day
Human definition of a new year
Start of a new beginning
no going back

River of time ever flowing
Everything eternally new
Change, a different way of knowing
everything, and nothing is true

This is now, the warmth of the sun
This is here, the hope of a new start
This is forever, in this one breath
no matter what the calendar says.