Rare

[ today’s Poetry Friday is instantly yours with my Aussie pal of Whiskers!]

I went into the wet woods and came back with
a poem.

Rare
By J.G. Annino

Shades of orange pink
purple blue
green yellow

float in rows
glimmering
quiet woodlands water

stands of tall cypress
witness
rainbow room

lend dark shadow streaks
across
floated painting

prayer from the sky
© 2019JanGodownAnnino allrightsreserved

For many years of my life
my parkland has been wetlands.
They renew my spirit,
exercise my legs.

I have trod boardwalks above their tannin waters,
have skirted flat ground around their towering cypress,
observing their many moods and often am witness
to resident creatures
gathering their groceries,
sunning,
or taking a swim.

As an author I have also written extensively about
back country areas of Florida, regions that
feature wild water-recharging, cleansing
wetlands necessary for life, all juxtaposed against
the amazing fact that my state has become
the third most-populous in our union.
I say this to set up my doubt at first,
at what I saw in the water last
Sunday afternoon.

* * * *

Our home is about 40 miles south of Thomasville, GA,
a scenic, book-loving, culture-supporting village
of restored buildings and homes that lures us
with all that, plus being the closest downtown
to Birdsong,
which I have written about before.

After treating me to a Sunday afternoon late lunch in
Thomasville, my wonderful hubby suggested we indulge in one of our
walkabouts at Birdsong, which never fails to invigorate our
souls, and where we always exercise our legs on the woodland
slopes and farm hills.

The expansive blue sky without a cloud,
the great white herons lifting up in silence
out of a cypress wetland,
the flighty yellow-breasted warblers
flitting in front of us on our field path,
one cawing crow flapping off from a tall pine tree,
all was groovy.

As we walked away from a favorite contemplative spot
I looked back one last time past a wood cabin walled
only in floor-to-ceiling screen on three sides, perched
like a tree house, high above a cypress
wetlands. The Listening Place.

And I saw a vision in colors.
Collected colors of a rainbow,
not arched high in the sky,
but laid out flat
against dark water,
in pastel, like a public art contest's
chalk painting across a street canvas.
Tall cypress trees standing in their water
lay down shadows between color panes,
creating a stained glass wetlands art.
I shivered on this unseasonably warm,
sunny afternoon.

"Honey, what is this!" I whispered to
my husband. Wondering if he would see it.
Was I seeing a vision? Would it disappear before
he could even look?
He came back from his steps ahead,
to wonder with me.

Our eyes devoured,
scoured
the water scene,
followed each color line as long as we could
to drink it all in,
until we needed to tear our eyes and bodies away,
to walk the 20 minutes back for the farmhouse
parking area’s 5 p.m. closing time.
We avidly showed pictures and shared delight there,
without answers
for this experience.

That evening I read two helpful posts,
from commercial sites with advertising popups
so I’m not linking here,
for some possible explanation, perhaps how
a natural process of decomposition in
a wetlands paints a water rainbow.

A phenom not often seen, even by those with
more wetlands walks or paddles through the years,
than myself.
I am eager to learn more, especially from
a scientist. If you look up
“rainbow swamps” you will find a social media
extravaganza leading all the way to the BBC.

This is my first post of 2019, the New Year.
The experience reminds me that
I feel so grateful to occupy my tiny
space on this remarkable planet.
Much happiness, good health,
good pages, good words to my educator,
writer, reader pals, including
the Poetry Friday, Spiritual Thursday crowd.

I expect to post once a month this year,
perhaps less than that,
as I work on poems that
fit a theme.
I look forward to reading your poems,
columns, articles, stories and books
and to knowing about your
other projects.

Posts at this site are ©JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved
link/share with attribution please
[tech note 1.12.2019 My apologies if you are experiencing an awkwardness
in leaving a comment! Kind readers have alerted me. At the moment, it seems that followers of this blog don’t experience that but others, may. Perhaps the settings need a tune up & for me, that will mean a couple days of effort…. Appreciations for your understanding. And of course I’d love it if you are able to “follow.” T.Y.

©2019JanGodownAnnino
all rights reserved
“Rainbow Room” January 6, 2019

2018 Christmas poem






The 365 days of 2018 delivered
a host of surprises, especially in the
health-travel department, when our family
unexpectedly created an Ohio vacation to
wrap around my cancer surgery, which made it feel
less urgent & blessedly robbed it of being all-medical.

I am aglow about this
one and only 2018 Christmas
at blessed home sweet home!

…………………………………..
2018 Christmas Haiku poem

familiar Christmas emblems
garland the spirit
wrapping best gift, life

c.2018JanGodownAnnino all rights reserved

(p.s. edited the title!)

Appreciations for Poetry Friday & Spiritual Thursday,
with wishes that joy will be wrapping your world!

…….

Gather and thank

Poetry Friday’s own Teacher Dance, Linda B. gathers us this week

Poetry Friday’s spiritual Thursday of Novemeber,is gathered by Ramona. Appreciations, Ramona!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Gather and thank

For a gathering sense of shared community here,
pulled together by response to the local yoga tragedy
& the quest for valid votes in Florida governor
& senate elections, I am appreciative
for the the ahisma people,
non-harming people

For a gathering of new poems** flowing to
my pen since summer, I am appreciative

For the brave gathering of journalists at
meetings, speaking with sources, asking
questions across our states & world,
I am appreciative

For creativity, dignity of leadership & perseverance
within U.S. indigenous tribes, I am appreciative

For a gathering of most-loved ones by my
side on Nov. 22, I am so very appreciative

And for my Poetry Friday world,
all of you, ashisma people,
I am always so appreciative
to be gathered with you.

** poems!
I feel grateful that my writing guru, Adrian Fogelin, has looked over a small gathering of my new poems, written since summer, which surprised me to be on a theme. If I can continue apace, I plan to bring more to an early 2019 workshop. I will say that terms such as “flamingo”, “catamount” & “skunk ape” appear among the lines. . .

Apalachicola November 2018 55th Annual Seafood Festival

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<The Poetry Friday Sunrise is with Kay!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
After what blewew through

people of the village of Apalachicola
scanned clear sky chasing hurricane gray
rejoiced for oyster spat found live on farmed sea baskets
cleared storm clutter off shoreline
rushed sweets to tupelo bees
bustled to serve 55th annual seafood dinner line

c.2018JGA/JanGodownAnnino

The first week of every November for 55 years, the Florida
Panhandle seaport of Apalachicola, where our family has
spent inspiring days and nights, where the city library
has been so inspiring to young readers,
where history-holding people revive old wood shotgun houses for needy locals,
where my husband met with legal services clients more than 30 years ago,
holds the cantankerous FLORIDA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL. And what a celebratory event
this post-H.Michael, miracle festival can be.

I was chilled as I began to understand
the wreck and wrack Hurricane Michael wrought on
this North Florida coast. What other calling card would a categroy 4 storm that barreled over
beautiful barrier islands and blasted mainland sands Oct. 10-11, 2018, leave behind?
Although 40 miles or so separated working waterfront Apalachicola from the westward
deadly direct Mexico Beach hit,
the swirl of winds and stormy surf reached tough tendrils east of Apalachicola into Eastpoint, Carabelle,
Dog Island, Alligator Point and southeast of us, at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Blessedly, the refuge is
recovered enough for this weekend’s annual Monarch Butterfly Festival.

Families and friends are personally coping with the horrific loss of 29 lives in Florida,
an uncounted number of physical and emotional injuries.
Locals and second-home visitors are dealing with the splattering of home roofs and cafe walls into neighbors’ yards, pushing boats and cars down familiar streets.
Residents are reacting to the disruption of work, school, and everything else that happens
in seven days of a week.
Singular landscapes that the region’s people work in and relax in,
and wild acres thought preserved from human habitation, road building, place making,
in national refuges or state lands, suffered a scouring sea change.
Many of us keep a wary eye on how the world’s sea changes are known to be human-born.

But always there are moments of hope in recovery efforts.
Such as bringing food to the famed
Apalachicola River Basin tupelo tree bees.
Yes, feeding sweets the bees. As the line, above…

Your official invitation to attend the Apalachicola party the first weekend every November is always here at the FLORIDA Seafood Festival website.

Some aspects of working waterfront Apalachicola, to know if you go
Downtown Books and Purl, Hole in the Wall, The Gallery at High Cotton, Bowery Art, Cafe Con Leche
and other strong small storefronts calling to you, that keep keeping on. If you are fortunate to attend, check online with AAA or the Florida Highway Patrol
or your navigation sites, for updated traffic details. Storm-Battled U.S. 98,
coast-hugging road ribbon of life for the region, as of this post, has lane closures in places.
Perhaps try Hwy. 20 or Interstate 10 & work your way south an an open, interior road.

I have written about Authors in Apalach on more than one occasion, such as here.
Downtown Books and Purl
The Gallery at High Cotton


I love this potent article in SIERRA magazine by Sue Cerulean
, editor, author, friend in
Florida who brought me to book-making with Falcon Press & and published my history essay (p. 107) and an important Seminole Tribe of Legend by Betty Mae Tiger Jumper (p.92), my book biography subject, in
the Milkweed Editions collection,
BOOK of the EVERGLADES.

c.2017
JGA/JanGodownAnnino
Baite Place, Eastpoint, FLA
all rights reserved.

Birdsong Co-Founder Tribute – Betty Komarek

[We are in the Poetry Friday Universe collected this week by Brenda. See the bees knees!]

Many of us who grieve for loss of life,
destruction of land & structures from the natural force of
winds & water powered by Category 4 Hurricane Michael, think of the Florida coast.

Hurricane Michael busted on from the Gulf & its sugar sands,
to scream through inland pecan groves & cotton fields – southwest Georgia’s farmlands & river/lake coves, including a tiny Georgia writing retreat I’ve loved, that my critique partner owns,
The Cove.  R.I.P to The Cove. But also …

Before the storm arrived I wrote here about Birdsong, in Georgia.
Today I share my poem set in 1998, & inspired
by Betty Komarek, co-creator of Birdsong,
just over the border of Florida, outside Thomasville, GA
Due to Hurricane Micheal, Birdsong postponed an Oct. 13 music fundraiser,to be rescheduled.

>>>>>>>>

Birdsong Summer

That summer she left the land
for Kay’s mountain cove
she looked long
across Horse Pasture
opened her screened porch door
smiled that eternal smile that says –
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

She bent, offered food to Skink,
scuttling back-step friend

She stood with deep-seeing eyes,
finding
far fields, deep woods, green swamp, farm pond

Her gaze remembered
flying squirrel, grazing deer,
zebra longwing,
bob white, towhee, wood thrush,
pileated woodpecker, indigo bunting –
all her feathered friends of tiny beating hearts

She crunched hot feet on dry peanut stone
felt cool moss on split rail
returned inside to the wide hall
stood at stairs in the center
of her universe
looked up through roof to her Sky

She stepped across the straw mat
to her Window
reached deep into her chest
drew out a part of her heart
fixed it on the handle
of the room’s screen door

That summer she left the land
all her planted friends
talked about change –
Nandina, mulberry, saw palmetto, yaupon holly,
liriope, pokeweed, quince, needle palm, loquat,
sweet gum, coontie, tea olive, wax myrtle,
crepe myrtle, yucca, pyracantha, pittosporum –
they rustled, sighed, bent their heads
not knowing if this was forever

That summer she left the land
the champion pecan tree from Shadrack’s time
with the excuse of a purple storm
split itself open
in a final crash into the west yard

That summer she left the land
bears walked into town
padding along South Madison Street
as if they still lived there

That summer she left the land –

A coyote yipped in Ginhouse field

Skink disappeared, reappeared,
disappeared, reappeared

A panicked juvenile cardinal
flew out from accidental entrapment
in the log cabin room
where it had battered itself against the window

That summer she left the land,
in front yard leaf litter,
one leathery brown leaf shape-shifted
into a perfect heart

Following that summer she left the land,
since she had got by without all her heart,
since Birdsong had got by without all of her heart,
she now knew –
both she and her World
would be all right
when the purple storm came again

She still
smiles her eternal smile that says
Praise and Thanks
Blessed Be

(a poem in celebration of Betty Komarek
January 29, 1914 – April 16, 2002)
c. 2002-2018 JGA/Jan Godown Annino
allrightsreserved

Thankful after Hurricane Michael 2018

Thankful after Hurricane Michael 2018

Most bumps in the road are smoothed by a
wild beach
new book
ripe fig from the front yard
belly laugh

I wrote the above while recovering
from surgery.

But Hurricane Michael of Oct 10-12, 2018, roaring
up the Gulf of Mexico from Cuba with the power of
a cataclysmic Category 4 tropical storm,
can’t be considered a bump in the road.

Sadly, there are 22 deaths to mourn in Florida
& still others, in other states H. Michael blasted.

Things are so in flux, next month’s election process
will be disturbed for our coast; officials also say it
may take years for some villages to ever function as before.

My city was spared all but discomfort –
nights and days without electric power,
streets blocked by tossed trees,
progress was rapid in #LOVETLH. Tree arborists hoisted snapped
pines from car & building roofs,
electric and cable line workers restored service.
We the people own the electric utility here; it is
very responsive.

My family in Tallahassee is grateful
for slight damage – loss of dogwood & Myer lemon
(fig tree still stands!) –
& we are more than grateful for First Responders
everywhere who take on 16-hour shifts to set things right.
Neighbors also pitch in, unasked, to help
clear yards of a fresh carpet of green pine needles,
or pull downed brown branches to the curb for collection.

What IF?
If we had taken our savings & become owners of coastal lands,
an idea we have had fun dallying with, we would have known,
signing papers, that the beautiful seashore places
will always, always, always
be mere shifting sands & will some time be in the eye of the storm,
so our purchase would have been a lark, a giant gamble.

A gamble –
knowing about the history of
guaranteed natural beach erosion &
the inevitable onslaught of Gulf of Mexico storms.
I feel very very sorry for children caught
up in this gamble that was not of their own
making. And I wish more grit than usual,
for adults who couldn’t call The Forgotten Coast,
as it is lovingly nicknamed by regional officials,
a second or third home, but their only home,
due to needed work or, happenstance.
Thousands of helpers are pitching in
during this unfortunate time,
not the least of these,
The American Red Cross/Hurricane Michael.

c.2018
allrightsreservedJGA
Spring 2018
Wild dunes at St. George Island State Park, pre-Hurricane Michael

Birdsong Nature Center, Georgia

Birdsong Nature Center, Georgia/ Jan Godown Annino

Twenty years ago I spent days and nights strolling, stopping
and listening to the rhythms of life among Georgia pines and magnolias,
walking through fields and woods, as I watched over a natural treasure
known as Birdsong. This was a surprise – that Betty Komarek, co-creator
of an outdoors classroom of 500 acres, selected me to substitute for her.

I felt inadequate for the task, yet she decided that without a science degree,
without any field work to my name, I was the just-right caretaker to: feed
roaches to her back-doorstep pet; give a firm Scat! You! broom swipe to
squirrels and raccoons that dared to reach the bird window feeding station;
and, among other tasks, it seemed I commanded adequate enough hands to haul in
and freeze North Meridian Road road kill for someone’s elses examination
later (not me!)

In her 84th year, Betty would finally take a hot-weather break from Birdsong,
so I was in residence (un-airconditioned) in July and August of 1998. My supposed
eagle eye was to keep check on the before-hours and after-hours thrum of activity
around the wild land and weathered buildings, including the classic small
farmstead hearth and home, a listed historic property that is a musuem,
populated with numbered curios collected by Ed and Betty Komarek
during domestic and foreign adventures they created in
decades of marriage as premier traveling fire-management
ecology researchers and trainers.

c.2018JGA
“Birdsong Door”

My one flop was failure to prevent a small car loaded with college kids from
driving through a staff-only grassy path on a terraced old field, in order
“to make observations” (trespass) at a further-out cypress swamp. They mumbled
verbal permission, as colleagues of Professor So and So of University Such and Such.
That meant they should park and hike as every guest would.
Birdsong is not a drive-through scenic car route,
quite unlike Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains.
I held my hand up while I said would make a call to check,
prompting them to roll past me, grinning, gaining vehicle
access into the wild footpath acres. No harm done, I guess.
At least, I was not relieved of my duties.

Treasured moments filled notebooks, including listening to
night songs of coyotes, the first I’d ever heard them,
side-stepping a coiled water moccasin (thanks to hiking partner
Susan Murowski), finding a small shiny brown magnolia leaf
shaped like a heart, when I needed it, during a moment I felt
Betty had erred in selecting me, finding a dead but still
lovely blackbird in the attic,
learning of the best food for the pet lizard named Skink
(roaches I was to trap for Skink and, did) and,
having Betty share surprises of a few other of her tricks of trade.

c.2018JGA
allrightsreserved
“Birdsong Charlotte”
Where E.B. White’s writing spiders live

When I later wrote a feature about Birdsong during my corresponding days for editor
Paula Crouch at the travel desk of The Atlanta Constitution,
I didn’t disclose those tidbits. And, as Betty Komarek’s spiritual colleague
in caretaking, to honor her memory, I’m not doing that now.
This week for Poetry Friday, I expect to share a poem, about Betty at Birdsong,
that I wrote in 2002 upon her passing at age 90. I hope you will return for that.

SATURDAY event Oct. 13, 2018
Depending upon how Hurricane Michael affects the region,
consider attending a family-friendly Birdsong music benefit
by Sammy Tedder and Mike Andrews
4:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 13, 2018 at Birdsong Nature Center.