These are strange times. Maybe even startling times. Are we all doing a few things we’ve never done before? Sure we are. Social distancing? New to me. Zoom-ing instead of having a cuppa coffee with a friend? Never heard of Zoom before all this. Wiping down the groceries before adding them to the pantry? Never done that before, definitely not, nope. Strange, strange.
But also, for the first time in my life, I’m planting a kitchen garden: broccoli, kohlrabi, gold and red beets, orange and red carrots, radishes, four kinds of peas (I’m sure there’s a poem in that list somewhere.. or there will be by the time the seeds germinate.) Before sundown tomorrow I’ll have the cilantro, parsley, basil, and lettuce in. If I have room, I’ll spread some snapdragon seeds. The sun’s been out – there’s been no rain in our neck of the woods since April 1st – that’s seventeen days! (Even the weather is doing new things!) So I’ve been in my garden with a shovel, a hoe, a bucket for the weeds, a sieve for the dirt, a trowel, some twine, and my seed packets. I’m not just thinking about planting flowers and vegetables – I’m doing it. That’s new.
I’m also going for (not just thinking about going for) a daily neighborhood walk.. My post today is filled with some of the strange, sweet, mysterious, hilarious and beautiful things I saw as I walked three blocks north on Williams St., two blocks west on Illinois, five blocks south on Henry, two blocks east on Washington, and two blocks north again on Williams, back to the Little Yellow House that my husband and I call home. There were a few detours down alleys, to be honest. Irresistible. I love alleys.
I wrote a poem after I came home from my walk. That often feels like the right thing to do if I’ve been looking carefully at the world around me. If you’re looking for something new to do and you’ve never written a poem, how about using some of the photographs I took as a springboard to a poem of your own? If you have kids at home who are looking for new things to do, how about getting outside with them, walking, photographing, going home and writing stories or poems of their own about what they saw? Try for the littlest or strangest or most unusual discoveries you find, things you only see if you linger a bit, things you see up in a tree or at your feet, on a fence post or down an alley. And please, share them with me in the Comments section below.
Sometimes it’s comforting to stay inside and do familiar things. Other times, it’s exciting to try something new. Plant some kohlrabi and carrots, or head three blocks this way, five blocks that way, savor the creativity of your neighbors, take a few photographs. Then write a poem.
thank you for taking us along on your walk!
Anytime, Laura! Let’s plan a walk together once the Stay-at-Home is over.
You live in a lovely place. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for joining me, Gussie!
I love your funky, creative, artsy neighborhood! I miss the one I had in SF for many years. Now I live in the woods.
I love my neighborhood, too, Ashley. I’ve never lived out in the countryside, much less in the woods. I bet you’ve had some wonderful walks there!
I, too, love your cheery neighborhood. It reminds me of Pacifica or Half Moon Bay. Happy Poetry month!!
Oh, I love Half Moon Bay, Jilanne! A few years ago we were in the Bay Area and drove over to see the Giant Pumpkin parade. Great little town.
Wow you live in a fabulous neighborhood with so many interesting things to see! I might have to draw something on the driveway to give something to see.
I vote yes, Shasta – draw it! You might inspire your neighbors to join in.
Here’s the poem I wrote, all of it true except the squirrels (but they’re definitely around the neighborhood!)
What Did I See?
I went for a walk —
what did I see?
I saw a bicycle up in a tree.
I saw a butterfly
made of chalk —
that’s what I saw when I went for a walk.
I saw a prayer wheel,
spun it around,
jumped in a hopscotch drawn on the ground.
I saw some pea vines
starting to grow,
and little green carrot tops all in a row.
I saw two crows,
they scolded each other.
Two baby squirrels, one squirrel mother,
and over the fence,
an apple tree —
I’m pretty sure that it saw me.
If you go for a walk
when the day is new –
Hey! Wait up! I’ll go, too!
Thank you, Julie! This is a day brightener, and so are the comments!
Thanks for visiting Books Around the Table, Celeste! I’m always glad to brighten things up. Glad you enjoyed this.