Sunday Things: After the Storm


Friday night the rain didn’t fall vertically, it poured horizontally like a crashing river along the banks of the night. It carried many things away in its violent arms.

I found this nest Saturday afternoon. It speaks to me of the fragility of the places we feel safest, our nests, our homes. But it also carries the music of enduring things in its intactness. Its mud was still wet when I touched it, still wet and still holding it all together.

There is also this: the bird that lost this nest was not trying to get it back but was busy with birdsong that wove a nest of promises above my head, not of safety, not of things remaining the same and all unchanged, but of another day, of how there are always more sticks and mud and if you are the right kind of lark you will sing to your (new) nest as you build it. — Annette Marie Smith

Red Chairs, Green Heart

Photo via Jim Pennie

“These chairs were laid out for a wedding in 1939 in Poland. The wedding was abandoned, and so were the chairs due to the German invasion. They were found again after the war with the trees growing through them. Every year they are repainted.” — Jim Pennie

And the trees decided that they would celebrate the wedding (that wasn’t) in their own way and they would commemorate it with verdure and sway. They would hold the empty chairs in their rough arms, would dance with the wind, drink champagne rain and eat rich chocolate-earth cake frosted with fern icing sprinkled with flower petals.

They kept their word and when the couple returned so many years later they were saddened and gladdened at the same time to see each guest’s chair entwined with living tree, a rare place reserved in the seat of the dark forest’s heart.

It was then that the tradition of painting the chairs began. They paint them every year, red as pomegranate seeds, red as a bride’s hot cheeks, red as blood and the hearts (literal and metaphorical) that blood always seeks like the river it is continuously serpentining to the sea.

It is said that the wind has written his name on every chair and that those who were meant to sit in them hear stories whispered personally to them, when Monsieur wind bestirs and visits them. — Annette Marie Smith

Mermaiding it

Photography by Gail Potoc

The day is caught in the nets of Time
over the side of his boat
and he, like a Ra or a Helios or an Apollo,
godlike and predatory
watches her, a mermaid out of her element
but oh so close
and I see her do what I have longed to do
many a time
when I am caught between the two blues
of heaven and the sea.
She scintillates, she shines, she starts to break apart
all her jewel-like scales (each heavier than the most exacting justice)
crumble into alexandrite dust
and reform into schools of shimmering plankton
which pour through every hole that a net must inevitably provide
(for a net is as much nothing as it is something)
and she escapes into the dark sea, scorns heaven
and, after reconfiguring into her mermaid self,
gives Ra-Helios-Apollo a flip of her tail that well conveys
the proverbial hand-signed derision — the finger
as she disappears
into darkness and green. — Annette Marie Smith

Sunday Things: July 5, 2015

I woke thinking of you and your smile. Funny how I can wake with a thought just waiting to make itself known to my conscious mind — as if said thought had been beside me through the night waiting patiently to charm me with itself and upon discovery making me think, at the same time, of far away places and blessings, perched like singing birds right on my windowsill. — Annette Marie Smith