It's St. Patrick's day! Years ago my ancestors were immigrants. I can't imagine what a challenging and brave thing to do, to leave the life they knew to travel to a place they've never been and make a life they've never known. I'm impressed by all the adversity immigrants to new countries continue to overcome to seek out opportunities in a new home. I'm feeling depths of gratitude to my German and Irish predecessors for finding their way to the forests of Wisconsin.
Today we went to the Twin Cities Autoshow down at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It is an annual tradition and I love it! We spent about five hours sitting in all our favorite vehicles, being driven around thrilling simulation tracks, and test driving vehicles around down town. I love cars and am eager for the new paths that eco-friendly designs and automated vehicle technology are taking us down. If you live in the Twin Cities area, I highly recommend our autoshow.
March is a duplicitous month here in the midwest. Walking through downtown Minneapolis today was a melody of seasonal sensations as the sun warmed and the wind cooled. It reminded me of springtime walks I used to take to the creek in the woods on our land. I wrote a poem about it.
Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. It's also 3.14 pi day. This coincidence has prompted some reflection on how we validate our own lives, our hours spent breathing.
I love public speaking. You know that dream where you're giving a speech and look down and realize you are in your birthday suit? Nah, me neither.
Five stanzas about noses tonight. I know, really, I've outdone myself. The thought for my poem came from the myriad of faces I saw on my walk to the bus and ride through downtown Minneapolis. I find it amazing how we are so closely related genetically and yet the expression of those genes, even on our very faces, is so varying. The nose knows.
Feeding bottle babies is one of the first chores we got to do growing up on the farm. And I say "got to" because it was really that - at a young age we would beg to be a part of the fun and operation of doing chores. It wasn't always evident how to do the task safely. In fact, one of my first tries at feeding a bottle baby resulted in a horrible bloody nose when I held the bottle parallel to my own little nose, against earlier warnings, and the baby bucked the bottle right into my waiting face. Still, feeding the bottle babies was one of the ways that I learned a keen appreciation for satisfaction in a job well done.
We Minnesotans find many ways to stay warm in the winter - from dancing sock-footed in the open dining room of a friend - to leeching heat from a toasty mug of soup. Spring is just around the corner.
International Women's Day is today and what a lovely holiday. I have been blessed with four sisters by blood, one sister by marriage, and many sisters of the heart- and they all have given me love and support. Today's poem is for them.
I'll never forget the morning I learned about the nefarious ways of weasels. I had finished milking cows and was happily making my way to the chicken coup with their feed. I opened the door to deliver breakfast and gather eggs and what met my eyes will be burned in my memory forever. Weasels decapitate and suck the blood from chickens. It's a thing. Look it up. Or don't. Read the poem, you'll get it.
My education loan servicer got back to me about how much my payment will be going up. Ick. I was last a student nearly ten years ago and still I have an embarrassingly high amount owed. The amount of interest I pay to a federal loan servicer is cringe worthy. I really think education is the last thing we should be charging interest to anyone for and am ready to vote the right people in office to make a change. So today's poem is very personal. While I agree that no education is every wasted, I believe our current system cripples graduates' abilities to navigate to adulthood and contribute to the welfare of a community. I would love if nobody ever has a reason to write a poem like I did today. We can do better.
It was recently my birthday and the influx of new possessions always fills me with battling feelings of euphoria and foreboding. The euphoria because I love not spending money and having wonderful gifts my loved ones showered upon me and the foreboding because I know the influx won't last. I've mentioned before the concept from yoga philosophy of the yamas which are self-regulating practices, the third yama, asteya means non-stealing. It can be taken literally, to not-steal from others, and also figuratively, to not steal from yourself. I steal from myself in many ways - especially when I get that foreboding - I'm just stealing the joy and gratitude that I got from receiving the gift by thinking about the future when those gifts are gone. So, I spent some time today for my poem, reflecting on the lies my lizard brain tells to get me to keep me hoarding.
It's a rainy Sunday here in Minnesota and my thoughts are drifting to the past again. Today I'm thinking about the numerous hours spent as a kid riding "shotgun" on the tractor wheel hub with my Dad while he drove the Allis Chalmers about doing chores.
I love being groomed. I know that sounds weird but really, having my hair shampooed or brushed, getting a massage, or even the ten minute foot rub during a pedicure - all glorious moments of relaxation and luxury. The funny thing is that as a primate communal grooming is very common and I'm certain it releases all the happy endorphins that makes you want to come back for more. From an evolutionary stand point that makes sense - most often when grooming was happening across our evolutionary history, it was probably to remove harbingers of illness - parasites. Additionally, grooming can make you look nicer which could increase the odds of attracting a mate and passing along your genes. Nowadays we don't need to sit in a line and search each other for ticks and fleas (mostly) and yet we still drop hundreds of dollars on grooming services from others. I believe it's those evolutionary responses that keep us coming back for the amazing power of touch. I really haven't researched this much and was just spit-balling so if you have any evidence-based articles you know of, feel free to send them my way.
Future-thinking today. Every now and again I like to let my imagination and optimism, some would say naivete, go wild.
For my 60th poem of the year, I thought I'd take us down the comedic path. I've often had the thought that my glasses make me a liability in emergency situations. Once, when I was a newly licensed driver, I was driving in the winter and my glasses fogged up as I traveled further down the road, my well-meaning mother snatched my glasses off my face to clear them and we nearly careened into the guard rail...I have -6.5 prescription and was trying to navigate by fuzzy colors. See? Liability. I'm like Dennis Nedry in the rainstorm in Jurassic Park or Harry Potter in the quidditch match before Hermione spells his glasses to reflect rainwater. Liability.
Tonight's poem is another personal walk down memory lane. When I set out on my poetry challenge 2018 I didn't really know what themes would reveal themselves and looking back on the 59 poems of the start of the year I'd say nostalgia is featuring heavily. I know these poems are probably not as interesting to you reading them as they are to me writing them, however, even if all their good for is inspiring you to reflect on your own fond memories - and maybe pen your own - then I'm satisfied.
Today's morning commute was quite smooth for my husband and I as he dropped me off at the transit station, compared to the discombobulated woman who was gathering her items out of her four door sedan that she had careened up a heaping mound of snow in the middle of a median and rammed into a tree. There was no ice.
Today is my birthday and I've been humbled and awed by the outpouring of love and well-wishes that have come my way from my family and friends. I know I've said this before and I'll say it again. I really do live a charmed life.
I taught my first yin yoga session open to the public last night. It was magical. I really enjoyed it and I hope my students did too! My poem today is another yoga philosophy poem about santosha, a niyama, a "positive duty" as outlined by Patanjali for recommended activities for healthy living. Santosha ultimately boils down to cultivating contentment. I believe contentment is fundamental for healthy living and I also believe that it is something you can practice and build over time. In my poem I tried to capture exactly how I construct my own contentment.
Tonight my poem is another walk down memory lane to the frog pond in the woods at the back of the farm I grew up on. Enjoy!
Confession time. I really only clean my house in preparation for a guest. Really. I mean, it's not a sty in between those times but mopping? Nope. Dusting? Nope. Cleaning out the corners? Nuh - uh; not really done until I have the appropriate impetus...an upcoming visit from a guest. What this results in is a happy circumstance of me wanting to have a party not just to party, but also to tidy up. I wrote a poem about it.
I really do think humans are such a fascinating species. Today's poem arose from my walk to the bus stop through the bustling Minneapolis skyway system. There were three teenagers walking ahead of me and one of them was holding on to their smart phone blasting tunes for all the world to enjoy...ahem. I grinned to myself hearing them joke with each other, calling names, chatting about the music. It seemed their joviality and the music coming from the small phone speaker created a glow of youth and levity around them. I really couldn't help but smile as I realized I was looking at the modern day boombox.
Ok, I'm feeling pretty proud of my own cleverness tonight. My poem is a simile of the changes that occur to oneself when travelling and the changes that dirt undergoes to transform into rock. It's sedimentary.
Alright! Alright! I'll stop.
But, really, travelling is a magical experience that transforms and refines your character and your life skills. I was reflecting on some of my most amazing travel experiences, my semester in Merida, Venezuela, my one year wedding anniversary in the United Kingdom. Those adventures punctuate the story of my life in exclamation points and all caps. Hence, the poem:
Creative enthusiast, gregarious naturalist, opinionated activist, RYT 200. Amy Kay Czechowicz is completing a poetry challenge for 2018 by posting an original poem daily to this blog!