Sierra Snow

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Last weekend we had planned a trip to the mountains with our grandchildren.  We figured that the snowfall was done in the Sierra’s and were thankful that the lakes were nearly full after the drought.  We were driving up Hwy 80 and saw a sign that said the Hwy was closed so we diverted and went a different way.  I was happy that we were getting even more water.  The grandkids were happy because it was snowing and they could see it.  Not only could they see it, but they could touch it too.  They were delightful to watch as they had a snowball fight.  It was cold but they had their hands out the windows so they could feel the snowflakes.  They insisted on making a snow angel so we stopped again.  

Do you remember the last time you had a snowball fight and giggled with delight at the sight of something new and amazing?  Children seem so at ease with finding the simplest things exciting.  Look for something that brings you delight this week and take a little extra time to cherish it.

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Back Stories part 2 “In Memory Of…”

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Perfect Peony

Friends Parted: I think a friend moving away is just about one of the hardest things in life. My dear friend moved back to the UK with her family. Although we have all of the latest technology at our fingertips, we found very soon that it was not at all the same as having weekly lunches together. Directly after the move, I found I would think of her many times each day. Thoughts of her would come anytime, anyplace, and I’d want to share a glance or tell her something that I had just heard. I am still sad that she is gone. Directly after she moved away, I found that I was having to force myself to, “look for life’s colors.” Looking for life’s colors, and realizing they are everywhere, always cheers me up.

Peaceful Place: This was written for my friend who moved to the UK. As I wrote this, her father was dying of cancer. I hoped that she would come to realize the peaceful acceptance her father would come to terms with, in the last days of his life. I hoped also that she would come to accept that peacefulness, and the reality of its existence. Losing a parent is extremely difficult, and I knew that she still had much to experience during this time. She needed to depend on her friends and their willingness and desire to help. They could be there to ease her through a time they knew would be difficult for her. You may feel the need to distance yourself while going through times of grief, but friendships are a wonderful support in such stress filled times.

Ebb & Flow: I thought that I was done with poem writing for my friend when the telephone rang one day. It was my friend from the UK on the other end. I knew by the sound of her voice that something was wrong. She told me that her father had passed away. We knew it was coming but a turn of events had hastened it along. I think when she phoned, she was in a state of shock. I felt very far away from her and wished that I could hop on a plane to be with her. I could not do this and so I sat to write this last poem with the hope that it would help to console her. I could only pray that it would bring her the comfort that I was geographically unable to show her. When we have a sudden change in our lives, we often feel alone. I believe that our friends and family feel our pain and inwardly grieve with us. It can be quite calming to tap into these people who desperately want to help us. Friends and family can and will support you.

A Breath In Time: Our longtime family friend suffered with a very long illness. He had definite wishes that he wanted us to help fulfill. We clearly knew what his wishes were but his spouse just couldn’t come to terms with him dying. I wrote this about him so he would know that we had tried to help her understand his wishes. She needed time to realize that she could let him go and she also needed time to help her cope with losing him. They had been everything to each other. They were best friends. We were there for him but we were there too, for her. Though it seemed like she needed a long time, it was also but a breath in time.

Firsts: When you take a baby home, you seldom think about ever being without that child. There comes a day when they pull away to chart their own adventures in life. It is the natural cycle of life for them to do that. Understanding this doesn’t necessarily make it easier, as a parent, to let go. We found this to be true when giving away our daughter. It was a very big change for us and it did give us a great feeling of loss. It’s many years later and we have amazing grandchildren. Looking back, we still feel a sense of loss because we still remember holding her hand, giving her a kiss, and all of her firsts with us, each and every time we have those moments with those equally amazing grandchildren.

Intertwined: A friend of mine lost her son in an accident. I could see how very deeply this touched her. As I sat in the service, I could see that he had a joy that showed each time he smiled. I know that looking for and finding joy is a very difficult thing to do, after someone you love has suddenly passed away. We are ill-equipped to handle these things in our lives. They were very close and I do believe that he would want her to find her smile and have happiness in life. She does cradle the most wonderful memories of him.

Johnny Curry: My youngest son went off to college and had just gotten himself settled into his dorm room when we met this extraordinary young man who was going to be rooming across the hall. He held out his hand, introduced himself, and gave us the biggest, broadest smile that I had ever seen. It was like he wanted us to remember his name. I surely did. I thought my son was quite lucky to be across the hall from him, and he played guitar, even better. What I didn’t know, the first time I met him, was that he had an aggressive form of brain cancer. What an amazing family he had, to allow him to go off to college with such an illness. They were letting him lead his life. I listened to his songs and took away the message that he was trying to send. He was an amazing person. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have met him.

Garden of Time: I have a friend who was about to have surgery that was very risky. She is an avid gardener and I thought it appropriate to write her a poem that depicted her love of her garden. She came through the surgery very well and with that, we do have more time to spend in her garden. Time is something that you can never make more of. It is so important to spend time in a wise manner. We often don’t think about it while we are moving through our day, but time, once it’s gone, does just slip away.

Thoughtless: As our children grew, we volunteered in many of their activities. Through those activities we have met a lot of people. We’ve gotten to know some better than others because our paths have often crossed. I have been teaching piano for many years and some of those people that we have met have had their children take piano from me. We were out hiking in the Sierra’s, this particular Fall, when our friend suddenly passed away. My heart was very heavy for his young adult children. I knew them better than most because they had taken piano from me. I knew, though, that they had this love of music and that could help to heal them each and every day going forward. When you have times in your life that are difficult, try to find some soothing music that doesn’t have lyrics. Look for music that sounds good to you, that you may have never heard before. Music can help heal your soul.

If: I wrote this poem for my father’s eulogy. That’s something you never think you’ll need to worry about doing while you’re a child. I wrote this while on a plane. I wrote it about the place that I thought he liked better than anyplace else that he had ever lived, Santa Cruz, CA. He taught me lessons that he didn’t know he was teaching me and I am thankful for those lessons. He gave us all he had to give.

Our Dearest Mother……..: My mother-in-law had eight children. She was nurturing and showed her children kindness, patience, truth, and vigilance. All those things that we associate mothers doing for us. She loved her children, her garden, and her many grandchildren also. That is why I likened her poem to her children, their children, and the garden. We can learn much from individuals like her. I know that I certainly watched and have implemented some of her ways with my own children and grandchildren. She did plant the seeds of kindness and nurturing in all of us, young and old.

Imprints: My grandmother was a woman who I thought was very strong. I went in search of her hometown once I got older. I felt that there were many things that I did not know about her and I felt a bit of a loss that I hadn’t known her better. One of those things that I had failed to notice was that there was a child who lived within her heart. I also had not noticed that it was from her weaknesses that she found her strength. Her hometown of Stony Creek, Connecticut is the kind of place you might not ever want to leave. She went back when she was older to renew her memories of the place. I went there too, and now have wonderful memories of my own.

Oceans Blue: When writing about my mother, I don’t know where to begin. I think we all feel a bit that way about our mothers. Mine did everything in her power to go to heaven. She did embrace everyone and she wanted everyone in heaven with her. I can’t remember her ever saying unkind words to others. She always was preparing for the next day. She taught me a lot about who I wanted to become. I wanted to be there for her and she was very thankful for that. She thanked everybody for any little thing that they might ever do for her. She was one of a kind, that mom of mine.

Sixteen Years: I had a former piano student who passed away in an automobile accident. It was very unexpected. When something like this happens, it shocks your system. You try to make some sort of sense from what has just happened. It is impossible for me to tell you how horrible I felt for his family. I sat down to hopefully write a poem that might help them. Images of him and his family just poured through my mind. These words just flowed to the page. The rhythm of it, like a song. Those same images still fill my mind today, not unlike reflected images in two mirrors. They seem never-ending. He was so full of life and laughter. I pray his family can find their way together, to share life and laughter once again.

Life’s Wrinkles: I wanted to end this book with a lighter poem that I had been thinking about writing for a very long time. For as long as I can remember, when I haven’t seen someone for a long while, I have wanted to cup that person’s face and draw my thumbs across their cheeks to smooth their wrinkles out. A peculiar thing about myself, I know. As we grow older, we can change so much that we don’t look like ourselves anymore. With that being said, our wrinkles tell so much about us. Some people acquire more wrinkles when they smile. I like these wrinkles because it tells me that they have spent much of their lifetime, happy. What a joyous way to travel through life. Other people seem to have a permanent frown etched in their face. Then it seems like that look has just been set in stone as they found little to smile about. When I was very young, I knew a woman who had the most beautiful crows-feet when she smiled. I thought they made her face light up. She didn’t like them. I loved them and thought I would like to have crows-feet one day myself. I have been thinking about wrinkles for a very long time. I can put them to rest now as I’ve written about them, they are in their place, and I can revisit them any time I like. Poetry or the act of writing and saving your work can do that for you too.

My new book is called “In Memory Of…” and can be found at Author House, Amazon.com, or purchased through Barnes and Noble (Print on Demand). There is a colorful e-book version as well. You can get a signed, hard cover copy by writing me at bon73sc@gmail.com. I wrote it with the idea that it would make a nice gift for family or friends when they were going through a time of grief. It is something a bit more personal than a sympathy card. This is by-far the longest blog I have ever written and I apologize for that. This blog puts true meaning to those poems I have written. I hope you look for my book.

“Back Stories to In Memory Of…..”part 1

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Pacific Ocean on a Sunny Sunday

Here you will find short back stories that match the poems in my new book, “In Memory Of…”

Distant Friends: I knew when I moved away from Santa Cruz that my closest, male friend, and I would never be as close as we had been during our co-worker days together. I think of him often. He truly is “laced within my heart.” I miss the friendship that we shared. I could always count on him, as I hope he knew he could always count on me. Friendship is a wonderfully secure thing. 

Sunset: I never want to forget those people in my life that I have shared a sunset with. The beauty of some sunsets are filled with their spirits. There are certain sunsets that cause me to welcome a drenching of memories of those who have passed on before me and those I seldom see. It is their love and acceptance that surrounds me and walks with me daily. Sunsets are a wonderful time for reflection.

Your Time To Go: This friend was several years my senior. She had a very close relationship with her husband. I could never imagine them apart. Her diagnosis was Terminal Cancer. She fought a strong battle. She didn’t want to leave, but as the time grew near, she instructed her husband to go on without her. She wanted happiness and a fulfilled life for him. Her gift to him was her acceptance and contentment in knowing he would continue on.

Great Grandma Bates: I was in the first grade when my great-grandmother died. This was my first experience with death. It is still a vivid memory. I had such trouble trying to understand why there was no sadness in her passing. I watched as no one shed a tear. I thought that was how I was supposed to handle the situation. I was certainly quite sad. At a very young age, I began developing my own thoughts and ideas about my concept of heaven. I am not here to tell you how you should believe. The way I attempt to view each day is to make this very day the best that I can, because today is a day that we know we have. We should find joy in living each day.

Each Day: My husband and I shared a friend. We both liked him greatly and felt that he was a wonderful family man. He was in an auto accident on Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz mountains. He left behind a wife and two small children. The suddenness of his death was nearly unthinkable. His family needed him. At the time, we felt that the saying, “the good die young,” applied to this unbelievable tragedy. We have come to realize that even if you are eighty, and are a good person, it still seems like you are too young to go.

Wagner Grove: When I was young, I was allowed to walk to the community pool at Harvey West Park in Santa Cruz. I would take a shortcut through an area in the park called Wagner Grove. It was shaded and cool and a lovely place to let my imagination run wild. I always walked slowly, coming or going, once I got to this grove of redwoods. I have returned to visit this area since I have become an adult and find it just as enchanting as I did in my youth. It is a peaceful place.

Meder Street Cemetery: As a young girl, I was able to spend time out in a rural area of Santa Cruz. I found this particular place to be one of the most tranquil places that I had ever looked upon. It wasn’t until I was older, and well after I had written this poem, that I looked into the background of this cemetery. My parents had told me that I needed to be Jewish to be buried there. I wasn’t Jewish and accepted that as truth. The name of the cemetery is Home of Peace Cemetery.  I did not know this as a child. I also did not know that the gentleman (Moses Meder) who gifted the property to the Jewish people (1877), negotiated a family plot for his Mormon family to be buried there; thus making them the only people who were not Jewish in this cemetery. I believe that he knew how well-kept this cemetery would be, and wanted the family placed in this tranquil place. 

Cycles: I have many nieces and nephews. I, unfortunately, have one nephew who did not have a live birth. This is a tragedy that we find hard to comprehend. This event made me reflect on all he would not be. I do not understand why these events happen in our lives. Perhaps they happen to help us respect life and, in turn, learn to live life to its fullest.

Peaceful Sea: There are places and times when I can sit and just take in everything around me. It is at these times that I find that I truly should spend more time quietly in reflection. The ocean is a  place where I find that I actively seek reflection. This particular morning was spent in Mendocino, CA. It was cool, lightly foggy, and there was a gentle breeze in the air. In writing my poems, I find that those feelings that I find certain places can be forever held in my mind.

You Called Today: This poem was written for a dear friend of mine. All of these poems have been shared with the person they were written for or with the person’s loved ones. This poem was finally shared twenty-seven years after I wrote it. I don’t really know what took me so long. I was very busy raising a family and making new friends in a place that wasn’t like my childhood home at all. The line about, “sharing like moments and movements each day,” was something that I would think about often in the course of those twenty-seven years. I still think about it today, as it can be applied to all of the relationships that I’ve been blessed to have with some amazing people.

In My Garden: This might not seem like a poem about a loss but it truly is. In 1990, my children were small and I had a special place out in the backyard where I would go to write. I could watch the children play and at the same time get some moments of quiet. There was an inlaid row of bricks that the children seldom crossed. The entire rest of the yard was theirs. They enjoyed it that way. In 1990, we decided to move to a larger house that was new and we were starting a garden from scratch, once again. I had to leave my spot behind and I didn’t want to forget how I felt in this place so I wrote the poem as a bit of a farewell. I still like to write outside but I have never had another spot that was as comfortable as that spot that we left behind. It is important to find a place that is filled with a special essence that relates to you. It is a place where you feel safe.

Spring’s Warmth: I wrote this poem with my father-in-law in mind. He became ill, shortly after a trip that we had all taken. It was a very long year while we watched him decline from cancer. I knew he wanted all of us to go on, happily. That was clear even during his long illness. I knew that it was Springtime that would bring with it vibrant colors that could draw my inner happiness out. I still miss him more than I can say, but ultimately it was indeed Spring that brought with it the hope and brightness of wonderful tomorrows.

I Think Of You: Some years back, my husband’s father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was the finest man that I had ever known. He believed in me, and in others. He was a mentor and a friend to me as well as many others. I hope that in your lifetime, you will know at least one person that is like that. These special people do not come into one’s life very often, but when they do, it is a magical experience. Before Dad died, I wanted him to know how I truly felt about him, and so this poem came into being. The one thing I did not realize was that it was not finished. The day after Dad died, I sat silently in the morning and proceeded to write the ending. That is why you will find a line in the midst of the poem. I stood and read this at the burial. It is probably the single most difficult thing that I had done to that point in my life. I kept my composure in the darkest of times in order to let others know what a fine man he was. The funny thing is, I am sure that they all already knew what a great man he was.

The Last Flower of Summer’s Season: I wrote this true story for my daughter. My father-in-law’s death was quite hard on all my children. They watched as he became weaker. They watched as he aged. They grew and gathered the flowers to take to his room. I did not want them to forget how much they cared for him nor did I want them to forget how much he cared for them. The days, the memories, reduced to words on a page. It hardly seems adequate, but I have always hoped my words would paint a lasting picture for them to recall.

Our Force: Nearly a year after my father-in-law died, I realized that I had not sat down and written anything in that time. I suppose the sadness that filled me, rather overtook my life. I stood and read scriptures and poems at two different times during the day we publicly said our good-byes. I kept myself very much together. Looking back on it now, I wish my composure was not as polished as I demanded it to be. A year after he passed away, I went to another friend’s funeral. We were not close, but I wept as if I had lost my dearest friend. I was a bit embarrassed by it. It was not until later that day, that I realized, that it was more about the tears I had held back at my father-in-law’s funeral than it was about the events of that particular day. The release of tears is an essential part of the healing process; loss is a profound thing. 

Daffodil Spring: This is not in memory of any one person. It is a bit of insight that I hope to pass on to my children. Life can seem so bleak sometimes. You must look for the joys and seek out the extraordinary colors in life. There are times when you need to go in search of the happier side of yourself. We all need to connect with all that is good in life and never put total focus on the sadness or the darkness that may come our way. There are days when you must reach for those things that bring you a smile. You can find your joyful heart by doing something as simple as taking a walk along an ocean front. 

Dear Mother of Mine: One of my closest friends had a mother that had given up on life. My friend, wanted her to care about sharing future productive years with her and her family. Her mother had come to terms with wanting to go on to a better place. She had lost her desire to remain here on Earth. Sometimes you just have to let your loved ones go. It is their wish, their desire. It is also their desire for you to go on without them. When I was young, we had a saying, “if you love it, set it free,” that was often used. I would have to say, as we grow older, we have cause to realize the need to be at peace with lovingly letting go.

There is more from the Table of Contents, second page, on the following blog.

 

 

 

Gourmet Ghetto

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We went last Saturday to Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA.  We had heard long ago that it was a delightful place to eat.  When I tried to make reservations I found that we were moving through the calendar so that we ended up just over a month out before we could dine there.  That was fine and, as I was marking my calendar, I realized that it was one day late for our 35th wedding anniversary.  We celebrated a day late.  

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An Inviting Entrance Awaits

When we first arrived I found that the environment was very inviting.  It felt a bit like perhaps dining at Frank Lloyd Wright’s house.  Now, I don’t like lamb.  My husband loves it and it was what was on the menu for the evening.  It seemed more like I was eating filet mignon than lamb.  It was delicious as was everything else that was on the menu for the evening.  We can’t wait to go back and try the upstairs Cafe.

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Table For Two In The Corner

We were told that the area is called The Gourmet Ghetto and we understood why once we were in the area.  So many years of not traveling, just a short distant from our home, for great food.  Where have I been?  I can assure you that I will be returning often for more culinary delights.

In the next couple of days I will be putting out two blogs that will be rather long.  I’ve written a book with thirty-two poems that were written with loss in mind.  The thought is to gift the book to friends and family when they are dealing with a stressful or grief related situation.  The blogs fill a part in the back of the book that allows the reader to see back stories of how the poems came to be if they choose to do so.  In Memory Of… written by Bonnie DiMichele, is available through Authorhouse, Amazon, and there is an e-book version of it as well.  I am working on a hard bound copy but the book is available now only in soft bound and e-book versions.  I hope you take a look at it.  It was in the making for thirty years and proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Hospice.  

Fleeting Time

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A Look Back at Molokini Crater

We went to Maui recently and I was thinking back on the trip.  It seems we were there ages ago yet I know we went recently.  While there, we got up very early one morning to go snorkeling at Molokini Crater.  It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  We were the only boat there and the fish were amazing and brightly colored in the clear cool morning water.  Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?  It was!

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Bumble in the Flowers

After breakfast we went for a quick walk.  It was all we had time for and we wanted to see a little more of the surroundings before we returned back home.  The Hibiscus were lovely, as always but I am always looking for the wildlife, so to speak.  I was fortunate to get a shot of this giant bumble bee as he flew from flower to flower.

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Sunset from The Canoe House

I would be leaving the best part out if I didn’t include this photo.  We had a fabulous time at The Canoe House while the sun was setting one evening.  There had been several evenings when we could not see the setting sun but everything about this evening was perfect.  I love how captured images can take you right back to a special event.  This Saturday, I hope to find more of that magic in Berkeley.

Iris’

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It doesn’t get much better than finding the scent of a favorite childhood treat in your own backyard.  I can’t tell you how this Iris was acquired, and I am sure I did not pick it for its scent.  It popped open last year for the first time and the scent was just like grape soda.  I couldn’t wait for it to return again this year.

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Grape Soda Bearded Iris

This next Iris reminds me of a walk along the cliffs near the Pacific Ocean and the little beauties that we found there one day.  Iris’ come and go so rapidly that, if you don’t happen upon them, you might miss them altogether.  This one grows in my front yard.

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Pacific Coast Iris

Thank goodness that I failed to post this blog last week beacause we went to Bodega Bay last weekend and walked along the cliffs.  We saw Gray Whales and lovely wild flowers and very near the end of our walk we came upon this little Iris, growing out amongst the weeds.  There were very few of them left.

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Wild Iris at Bodega Bay Headlands

At long last, I finally came upon some Water Iris’.  We came around the corner in Vina, CA a couple of weekends ago and there was, what looked like, a sea of yellow.  I jumped out of the car to snap a few photos.  I asked the girl at New Clairveax Winery how long they would last that way.  She said that she had never noticed them, in the last four years that she worked there, until someone brought them to her attention.  I don’t know how one could miss them.  They were amazing!

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Water Iris

So there you have it.  Seasons come and go.  Even the season of the Iris’.  Hope you didn’t miss them because you’ll have to wait almost a year to see them again.