Friday Night Cats

00003601984061Every Friday I head over to the Newberg Animal Shelter for my standing date with cats from 4-6PM.  This is not glamorous work by any means. Basically, I do the afternoon feeding and cleaning of all the kitties in the shelter except the ones in the quarantine room.  I volunteered as I wanted to do something for the community and all things furry and four-legged who do not have a voice.

In the cacophony of barking, I say hello to the other shelter volunteers, then I greet the dogs in their kennels to see new arrivals and who has gotten adopted. In the storeroom, I don a grey Newberg Animal Shelter T-shirt and then proceed to the lobby and cat areas to get a count so I know how much food is needed. I grab a rolling cart and am off to the kitchen to prepare the cat food, get a pitcher of water and pick up cleaning supplies.

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All these puppies found homes!

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The Nuthatch Society

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.

James Cash Penney

nuthatch-915435_1920Last year during the local Terroir Creative Writing Festival I found that there were four of us in our rural proximity that shared a love of writing and poetry. We are all novices on a path to discovery.  Why not get together now and again?

Last October we did just that.  The first meeting took place on a Sunday afternoon at Patricia’s lovely greenhouse. We sat at a table nibbling a delicious homemade coffee cake and sipping tea while a tangle of tomatoes and other vegetables seemingly were our audience. Then we rotated to Linda’s, my farmhouse and next month it is Deb’s turn.

A sort of agenda has emerged.  The person hosting leads off with something they’ve read that they would like to share and then some of their personal writing.  I am working on a memoir piece.  The last two meetings I have read parts of it.  We discuss and offer feedback on pieces if requested and then take turns.  We all adore Mary Oliver. At her recent passing, there has been much to share.

At our last meeting, we suggested all purchasing Oliver’s book “A Poetry Handbook” as a tea-time-2resource that we all have in common.  For writing challenge we have suggested finding a poem we like, using it as a “pattern” and then writing a new poem with our own words to share.  With all of our so-called assignments we put in the qualifier “or not.”  There is no pressure here, just pleasure.

Since I have a penchant for naming things, the name “The Nuthatch Society” came into my mind for our group.  The four of us live on rural property and we are quite familiar with these quirky little birds that frequent the foliage and feeders about our homes.  They are busy creatures, quite chatty, cute, but fierce and have the ability to walk upside down on trees.  The name seemed to fit with us.

There is value in online community but it cannot compare with four souls coming together to share a common interest over tea.  I’m so looking forward to the next meeting of the Nuthatch Society and sharing my writing and all the fascinating things I’ve read this month as well as what my fellow Nuthatches have been up to in their busy lives.  Community is a powerful thing- no matter how small.

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The Art of Taking the Media Out of Social

“Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was.
“Is there any tea on this spaceship?” he asked.” 
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The time was set for 2PM on Monday.  Come and make holiday cards at Mary’s Studio.  Bring something to share.  Enjoy a cup of tea.

We individually began to straggle in after 2:15 too tired from all the tasks of the last few days to muster our creative energy.  So we just sat in comfy chairs around a big ottoman to rest our feet with cups of tea and small plates full of nosh.  There we declared our “Women Who Sit Society” and be social without a device.  We shared stories among us, liked our conversations and the food without nary a mouse click.  For a short respite, we were glad to be among longtime friends escaping the fray that occupies all of our lives, especially around the holidays. 

Eventually, we migrated to the craft table making cards with bits of colored paper and rubber stamps continuing the conversation.  There are no pictures of this event.  My phone was happily tucked away in my purse the only picture being a sweet memory left in my mind.

What a blessing to be among friends- in person, with the only expectation to sit and enjoy the company. 
                                                                                                                                                                      

Goodbye 2017

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The year 2017 slunk away

Like stray cat that lost a fight

Leaving bloody tracks and tufts of fur

In its wake

 

The flood waters have receded

Fires still burn to the south

Refugees across the globe pray for safety

The homeless seek shelter

And the men still beat their chests in Washington

Shouting over truth

 

 

But if you are very still and listen

You can hear the sound of the peoples’ drum beats

Pulsing

Building up strength and timbre

Beneath that thin veneer of chaos

 

Power is as ephemeral as a passing storm

Blowing  itself out with the  passage of time

Give pause and consider

For 365 days the sun rose and set of its own accord

The tides ebbed and flowed

And one day in August

the moon crowned the sun king

With a corona of light

Wrapping us all in illuminated smiles

 

We are still here

With our lives

Our memories

Our dreams

Celebrating community

Beauty and love

Between the lines of a script

We did not write

 

There will be a new story

Starting tomorrow

We have the choice

to change the outcome, beginning with ourselves

And we will all be there

To feed the fire of hope

To light our way through the New Year

Of  2018

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Wishing you all the best in this New Year,

Alanna