Monday, August 31, 2009


Are you a collector of things? Do you dust them? I collect glass eggs, stones, seashells, books, flower vases, and way too much stuff. They abide in etageres in the living room. For a month I did not dust.
It took two days to thoroughly clean the things and oil the wood underneath them. When I finished, it was beautiful.
I look for lessons in the ordinary stuff of life. Both my husband and I are in a 12-step recovery program, and we've learned that our level of serenity is directly related to the actions we take, or procrastinate on, or altogether fail to take.
I marveled, when I was through dusting, at a couple of things: a) all the stuff I collect is worth very little monetarily but sentimentally worth a lot; and b) why did I procrastinate so long when the joy of the finished product was so satisfying?
Isn't it simpler to just do it? Every day I wait is one more day I could have enjoyed the fruits of my labors.
The ultimate in simplicity would be to stop collecting beautiful glass eggs and get rid of those I have, but I'm not ready for so extreme a step. Instead, I wrote a poem, with acronyms, about dusting:


Damned if it is a measure of your life’s worth that
U have more tchotchkes than books
Stultifying on your shelves, a grim reminder
That all things arise and return to it

Diminishing, finally, to a collection
Unified only by its ridiculous paucity of value
Someday your grandchildren will not be
Thrilled to inherit its archaeological zilch.

Chris Alba (c) 2009

Monday, Monday

The central California coastal wine country was hot today. Now the late afternoon sun is low in the sky and golden. I didn't sit down in my office expecting to create a blog--am blogger deficient, almost completely.
But I went to a writer's website looking for information about her poetic style, since she'll be teaching a workshop at the local writers conference here next month, and there was an icon: BLOG. I clicked it. Then I just followed the path that unfolded, to see where it went.
Et voila.
My mother suffers from dementia, a moderate form of it. She's on my mind today. Her behavior is childlike, her memory is nil, and her dementia is the source of sorrow for me. Watching her diminish is painful. I have been sad on this final Monday of August 2009.
So here is my poem about sadness in August:

The Garden of Dry Bones

The long warm light of an August evening
strikes the black petals of a blown red rose.
Leaves of the dahlias droop; flowers rot
where they have fallen.
Dust drifts in the still yellow air.
Even the ground is tired.

All the bright blooms have faded.
In wild abandon, the sunflowers
throw back their heads, dripping seed.
The herbs, pungent and robust a month ago,
spend their straggling selves on seed.
Seed is the coin of late summer.

Seeds, and more seeds, fall from the
carcasses of flowers, like dry bones.
The golden light of August slants
through the graveyard of the garden.
Desolate, the gardener picks dry leaves
from the hollyhock.

In the dying light of August,
the earth falls silent slowly
like the fading note of a violin.
Onward plows the cycle.
Downward bows the rose.

Chris Alba (c)2009

Albert Einstein Quotes