hungover sky

By Annette Marie Hyder

the clouds, puffy and multilayered,
are bags under the sky’s eyes today
he stayed up too late — stars in his eyes
and a big moon grin on his face
intoxicated by the night

Sunday Things: Blanchir

Driftwood Tells Its Story
By Annette Marie Hyder

Buoyed by salt and hollowed out by time,
I am driftwood
and I have made my way to shore.
Would you know yet more?
The bones of me sing upon the wind.
I have become a flute, a type of carved out reed
an intimate piece of musical instrument art —
hand-crafted by the sea.
My stag horns and fluers-de-lis rear wildly towards the sky
while my pale feet dip among the wavelet’s small sighs.
My secret is imbued in every grain of me.
My great beauty comes from having drowned
but come back from the deeps.
I have weathered storms
and I have left a world of green behind.
Leaves and roots mean nothing now
to the likes of me
but the color I seemingly left behind
is hidden steeped in me
and when I burn upon a fire
new colors are set free.
Grass green and sky blue
and dancing yellow citrine
bloom like flowers as they flame
from my wan and twisted branches
by the roaring sea.

The beach down the road

When I was growing up in Florida, after my mom married her second husband, we lived down the road from the beach. My younger brother and I could often be found wandering the seagrape crowded paths and meandering our way beside the waterline. Along that beach were great walls of towering driftwood that looked like hedges, tangled mazes of thorn-like beauty.

Have you ever wondered why driftwood burns with uncommonly beautiful colors? Driftwood will burn with flames of
blue, green, amethyst, and yellow. This is because driftwood absorbs the
salt from the seawater
it has been drenched in and the salt causes the startling and beautiful
variations on what we think the color of flame is supposed to be. Chemistry explains, “The colored fire comes from excitation of the metal salts that have soaked into the wood.” (Source)

Stripped down to the bare bones of what it once was, its limbs bleached of color and bare of ornamentation, driftwood exposes the elegance beneath the surface. Tides and tribulations notwithstanding, rare beauty can come from great adversity.

Composition notes

Blanchir is Old French. Middle English blaunchen, to make white, is from Old French blanchir, from blanche, feminine of blanc, white.

Fluers-de-lis is the plural of fluer-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys (plural: fleurs-de-lis) is a stylized lily (in French, fleur means flower, and lis means lily)
or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be at
one and the same time, religious, political, dynastic, artistic,
emblematic, and symbolic.” (Source: Wikipedia

broken things

By Annette Marie Hyder

you love the burnt things
the broken wings
the missing pieces
the shattered hearts wrapped up
with bandages and twine

you just know that somewhere
in the soot, in the ashes
in the detritus and wreck
are hidden things, overlooked
treasures all the brighter
for having been through trial and fire

i see you collecting lost souls
like butterflies in jars
without lids
so they can fly out anytime they want
your heart is a magnifying glass
that makes everyone else’s look all the bigger
your eyes illuminate their dark corners
turning spider webs to fairy-flax

your hands carry smoke and splinters
transmuted to bars of gold and perfumed incense

sea shine

Photo copyright Annette Marie Hyder 2000

the water,
By Annette Marie Hyder

brilliant actress that she is,
changes her face to match the sky
mimics changing moods and hues
knows her lines and minds her cues
has a surface thespian breadth
whose shimmer obscures her great depths

Sunday Things: I don’t hate squirrels

Image courtesy of Photographing Squirrels

“Don’t’ worry Mommy, I’m OK.

Seeing my daughter’s ID come up on my phone and answering it expecting her to say she just called to say she loves me or needs me to pick her up earlier or later (from Macalester College campus) or wants me to bring something to her that she left at home, I was ill prepared for the words, “Don’t’ worry Mommy, I’m OK.” Of course I immediately went into hyper alert. “What do you mean you’re OK?! What’s wrong?!”

“Well, I got bitten by a squirrel.” she said. ” It doesn’t hurt that much but I thought I should call you and let you know because it broke the skin. I already washed it and talked to the nurse about it.”

“Good. Good girl. You were right to call mommy. I’ll call your doctor and see if she wants me to bring you to her office or to the emergency room.” All the while I was talking to her on the phone I was concomitantly looking up information online about squirrels and rabies. I was in a quiet panic of anxiety.

According to the CDC, there has not been one documented case of rabies being transmitted to a human by a squirrel — here in Minnesota or in the entire United States. There have, however, been cases in Canada, our very near neighbor.

The thing about rabies is it is 100 percent fatal once symptoms manifest. The only treatment is a prophylactic  series of shots. The good news is that the shots no longer number 50. The bad news is that they still hurt and are accompanied by their own host of possible complications. But yeah, I’d choose shots over certain death any day.

Jasmine’s doctor wanted
her brought in to the emergency room in case she needed that series of
shots to counteract rabies — something they don’t keep on hand in the
doctor’s office.

People as walking vending machines

When I first talked to Jasmine, I was imagining something like the following image, an unexpected and totally out of the blue attack encounter with a ninja squirrel:

Photo courtesy of Natures Images

But what really happened is that Jasmine lured the “adorable” wild animal to her with food and in the process of eating the cookie — right from her hand! — the squirrel took a nip of finger too. The deceptively cute
bushy tailed rodents abound on the grounds of Macalester College. I am
just going to take this opportunity to make a PSA and say: DON’T FEED
THE SQUIRRELS! Any squirrels, anywhere. They are wild animals and you
are destroying their reserve around humans by presenting yourself as a
food source. Don’t be a walking vending machine for critters in the wild.

(Jasmine’s lucky she didn’t lose a finger!)

“Squirrel Girl”

The Sheriff on duty at the emergency room jokingly asked Jasmine if she bit the squirrel back and told her “Watch out, you might grow a tail! Then we’ll have to call you, ” he paused for dramatic effect, “Squirrel Girl.”

Jasmine informed him that there is in fact a super-hero “Squirrel Girl” in the pantheon of Marvel comic characters. He said “You keep me posted on your super status.”

The original Squirrel Girl illustration is by
Christopher Haynes,
inspired by the style of Bruce Timm

emergency room doctor said that because of the clean squirrel population and the
normal behavior of the animal that bit Jasmine, the rabies shots were not medically indicated. The doctor’s decision, in conjunction with guidance from
the CDC, was to give
Jasmine antibiotics for the bite wound. Following the course of antibiotics, all is well, Jasmine is fine (no sign of a tail!) and I don’t hate squirrels.

This past Friday was Jasmine’s last day of class. As well as bringing a wonderful advanced mathematics learning experience to a close, this will also bring to a close my daily admonition as I dropped Jasmine off each morning: “Don’t feed the squirrels!”

I’m feeling grateful on this beautiful summer Sunday.

Links of interest:

Squirrel Girl Fan Pages
WHO (World Health Organization) Rabies Facts

Preach It!

By Annette Marie Hyder

Raindrops hurrying along
all going to the big underground church
with the best echoes
for the choir singing “stormy waters”
and the stained glass windows of their prisms
wink and flash for the diluvial congregation
that holy-roller thunders through the pipes
of a sewer system that is an organ
that can hold those service notes in-definitely
and amplify the sermon’s message that
something as gentle as a raindrop
when joined with its brethren and its sistren
can be as mighty as the sea.

Call it a washout summer flooding
of wet epiphany.

Sunday Things: Glittering Sands

By Annette Marie Hyder

The sand winks with broken pieces of larger things, once whole.
In being worn down into such fine granules they gained
(the boulders, pieces of mountains, rocks dull but serviceable)
an ability to reflect the light and shine in a way
that was never there before. A coral colored blush suffuses
the glitter on this shore.

I stretch out my toe, a stylus,
with which to write in the ruins of once lofty heights.
I stand on a wet canvas that scrolls far out to sea
leaving fleeting footprints even less enduring
than the mountains at my feet. It crosses my mind that the sand is also
leaving its “footprint” on me and that it will last just as long
as I hold this memory.