Saturday, February 1, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 5

To see my Grow Your Blog post, click here.


Week 5: Get Outside
Sometimes the perfect fix for temporary relief of cabin fever
is simply to get outside, even if you just step out on the porch.
Get out of the house and focus on the change cooler temps
bring to your surroundings.  

In spite of the devastation left behind by the recent ice storm (fallen trees and hydro lines, etc.), you must admit that there is an element of beauty in the ice laden trees.


Along with my winter photo for this week, I thought I would share a poem that I heard on CBC radio this week written by Priscilla Uppal. She is a Toronto poet and English professor at York University and has graciously given me permission to share it with you.

Arctic Vortex

The polar bear helping himself to my morning paper
and yesterday’s third round of take-out
says I’m free to catch a ride with him to work
since my car won’t start—battery dead as a
doornail, and the doornails wedged shut
locking us on the inside, where we’d rather be
glued to the warmth of our televisions—
stunned by the magic of outdoor ice hockey
games in Los Angeles stadiums, reminiscing
about snow days and epic snow ball fights,
the invention of snow pants and feet warmers
and arena hot chocolate—not real chocolate,
like they brew today, but the thin watery kind 
with the powdered marshmallows still digesting decades
later in our stomachs, rumors of Abominable
Snow Men, cities separating on ice floats, 
the temptations of toboggans & tongues on poles.

Not this cruel reminder that even the squirrels
are busting a gut at how low we all are
on supplies for our emergency kits—
how undignified our attempts at fire-starting,
how hopelessly those of us without landlines
now read by candlelight.

My morning shower felt like being trapped
inside a snow globe that the winter just refuses
to put down. We’re shaking white and grey,
wondering what we did to deserve such a blast
of disdain from mother earth— though I suppose it’s
true we rarely call unless we want something—
looking forward to the sweet moment we’ll stash
the shovels back in our sheds.

But for now the snowy owl has found refuge
inside the feather pillows on my king-sized bed.
And I should be amazed but I’m too distracted
by the frost against my windows and the chattering
teeth of hydro poles sputtering out last breaths. 
I weep icicles on the dashboard knowing I will soon join
that row of penguins in black-and-white suits 
marching, like the instinctual creatures they are,
in unison to the subway. 

As much as we complain about the cold weather in winter, we also commiserate about the hot weather in summer and the rain in spring. But you know what? I'd really miss the changing of the seasons if I were suddenly transported to a locale with a year-round tropical climate. We are truly blessed to live in a country of contrasts. There is beauty in every season, even winter, so get outside and enjoy it!

You can listen to the author reading her poem during a segment on Metro Morning this week called 'Embracing the Weather'.

To see the winter photos of the other participants, please check out the links below...

30 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the poem, I enjoyed reading it. She really has a way with word. And who knew that a picture of a shed could be so lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My father built that shed 30 or more years ago. It still stands up to all the weather extremes...solidly constructed.

      Delete
  2. Beautiful photo! I am with you! I love the changing seasons- and would not want to live anywhere you couldn't experience it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose I wouldn't know any different if I hadn't grown up with it, but I did. *smile*

      Delete
  3. Lovely photo Bonnie. I too would miss the seasons changing if I lived somewhere else. I am getting sick of the cold though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be happier if it would 'get' cold and 'stay' cold. It's the extreme changes, up and down, that play havoc with the arthritis.

      Delete
  4. Ice can indeed be absolutely gorgeous but so damaging too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are going to have a lot of clean up to do in the spring. We can't get back there to even assess the real damages yet.

      Delete
  5. I love your icy photo. It is truly beautiful!! I remember growing up going through a few ice storms in the winters thinking how beautiful they were. Hated walking to school in them,...but they were pretty! LOL!! Lovely poem, too - thank you so much for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the poem. It was very gracious of the author to allow me to share it. I hope you listened to the clip of her reading it on the radio.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful photo - the trees are so beautiful covered in snow - and I enjoyed reading the poem, thank you for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diana, that is actually a quarter inch thick coating of ice on the trees! Glad you enjoyed the poem.

      Delete
  7. What a perfect poem for this winter! As much as I dislike winter, I wouldn't want to be without seasons either. We lived in Hawaii for 2 years and I missed the seasons more than anything else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see the thrill of living in Hawaii for a bit, but I'd miss the changing of the seasons too.

      Delete
  8. So true about the ice. And thanks for sharing that lovely poem!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem, Alice. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

      Delete
  9. Bonnie, thanks for sharing the poem as well as your startling photo. How gracious of Priscilla to allow you to publish it for us. I think my favorite phrase is "I weep icicles on the dashboard" -- what an image!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I like that phrase too. It does leave you with quite a picture in your head, doesn't it?

      Delete
  10. Thanks Bonnie for the wonderful poem and the link to hear Priscilla Uppal read it. Since I've retired I don't seem to catch "metro morning " very often since I'm slow to get moving these cold mornings.
    I love your picture of the aftermath of the ice storm. It really was beautiful!
    I'm with you about the changing of the seasons. When I lived in the UK I really missed the wonderful variety of Canadian weather. I just wish the winter was a little shorter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that enjoyed Priscilla's reading of her poem. Thanks for dropping by my blog this week.

      Delete
  11. great photo Bonnie, you are lucky to live where there are 4 seasons. Great poem you shared also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I am very blessed to live in such a seasonally diverse country. I snapped quite a few photos after the ice storm, this one is my favourite.

      Delete
  12. 'Tis true, Bonnie - I had withdrawal symptoms when we lived in CA for 3 years... the changing seasons are just part of my DNA, and give my life its rhythm...
    Great photo and poem!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Claire, that the cycle of changing seasons seems to be a integral part me.

      Delete
  13. Our ice storms were over Christmas.. we drove home from the airport on the 27th of dec the trees along the highway were totally flattened yesterday coming home from Halifax they look like the mostly straightened up! Couldn't believe all the snow in Halifax.. since we have none!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit, that I cheated a bit. This photo is from the ice storm over the holidays.

      Delete
  14. That is a gorgeous photo. It is nice to see there is some beauty in the wake of the destruction. It's been a whacky winter!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, it has been a crazy winter this year.

      Delete
  15. Beautiful photo, ice and snow do make trees magical! And I agree with you about seasons, I love to see the changes in nature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really DO look magical, don't they?

      Delete