The Window’s Open

The window’s open and a cool breeze and old memories
waft through the screen. The smells of dry grass and flowers
take me back to my youth. The window’s open there, too,
as I lay in bed in my childhood bedroom. That day I planted
a pansy my mother gave me – folded its roots into the rich
earth next to the birch tree. There’s the little building Dad put
together in the back yard so he could work on his maps and art
away from the hustle and noise of the rec room with its TV
shouting out Bewitched and Mighty Mouse and Get Smart.
The fence between our neighbors behind us and our backyard
blew down in the hurricane a while ago – Dad had been out
there, trying to hold the fence in place, when Mom called him
in because the hurricane lamp flared up. As soon as he left
the fence it tore apart into pieces that whipped away in the storm
and now we have neighbors behind us who weren’t neighbors
until the fence blew away and revealed us to each other.
For a while we play in the dirt with the neighbor children
who live behind us. But we soon lose interest in each other.
Maybe our loyalties to the neighbors to the right and left
have built another kind of fence between the backyard neighbors
and us.

We played TV tag in the front yard – yelling out the names of our
favorite TV shows before the tagger could tag us. And we rode our
bikes to the school so we could see the class list posted on the front
door and find out who our teacher would be next year. Then we
played hide and seek in the mounds and the scotch-broom
in the empty lot across the street.

The patio has a picnic table on it and I sit at it with a Pixie Stick
or my home-made juice Popsicle frozen in a Tupperware mold.
I step on a clover blossom and get my first bee sting which Mom
soothes with baking soda and water and love. I feel bad for the bee
after she tells me it died when it stung me. We pray for the bee
and for me and life goes on. We have these pipes that Dad put
up in the backyard for us to play on – two vertical pipes about six
feet tall and about five feet apart – with a horizontal pipe
connecting them at the top – and I get it in my noggin to wrap
a scarf around it and try to work my way along the top pipe
by holding onto either end of the scarf. But I let go of one end
of the scarf and land on my belly and experience getting the wind
knocked out of me for the first time. Dad’s got the bamboo high
jump set up for me and I jump and jump again until the sun
goes down – testing myself, wanting to go just a little bit higher
before it’s time to go inside and get ready for bed.

And I lay in bed at night, with a cool breeze wafting through
my bedroom window and wonder what tomorrow will bring.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Time to Step Up

And now a poem…

Time to Step Up

All my life I have been politely
moving aside for other people.
When I was young I moved aside
for older people with more experience.
As I got older I moved aside for younger
people to GIVE them experience.
And now I’m 62 and I don’t have time
to move aside for other people anymore.
There are things I need to do.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Picnic Table at Tweets

Picnic Table at Tweets

I move from the sun to the picnic table
in the shade under a striped canopy
in a leafy orchard beside Tweets restaurant.
I ask the young man if he’d like me to take
a picture of all of them – the woman, the dog, him –
and he smiles and says yes, please, and hands
me the camera – just push that button there –
it’s that simple – and the dog looks up at the man
adoringly and I snap that moment for them
and go back to my picnic table and my breve.
A rainbow flag flies from a window across
the street. A little red finch hops near my table.
I close my eyes and listen. A dove coos from
a roof somewhere. An engine starts. Finches
chirp to one another. Laughter and voices
come from the restaurant’s deck. Motorcycles
pass by. A soft cool breeze blows across
my arms and I open my hands to all of it –
the breeze, the laughter, the joy, the peace.
And just before I leave Charles appears – I hadn’t
wanted to bother him as he worked – but there
he is! And we hug and I tell him that he is one
of those people who attracts and creates peace –
even the animals know they’re safe in his space.
And he tells me he is feeling verklempt. I wipe
tears from my eyes and say, “Me, too!”

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Thinking About Cables in the Head

A show on the radio talked about cables
coming out of a brain in the same way
cables come out of a computer –
and prosthetic hands feeling touch
like Luke Skywalker testing out his new
hand in the Star Wars movie –
thoughts from the brain transferring
to the hand to move the prosthetic
fingers – and that night I woke up from
a dream about cables coming
out of a head – my sleeping self
trying to process brains and computers,
cables and touch and movement –
and technological improvement.

And I thought: If Consciousness is infinite –
fills all space – and if our bodies are just
the manifestations – the forms – of infinite
Consciousness – then why couldn’t a robot
be just another form – another expression,
idea and manifestation of Consciousness?
Why couldn’t a robot reflect Soul?
What makes human bodies any more Soul-
filled and Soul-reflecting than the form
of a metallic hand, a robot, or an earthworm?
I’m thinking Consciousness isn’t any more
housed in a brain and a flesh-body, than it is
in a robot body and a computer chip.

Yeah. This is the kind of stuff I think about
sometimes when I take myself on a mental trip.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] for ever.”
– from Mary Baker Eddy’s interpretation of Psalm 23

Frog Song

The earth is alive! –
the air filled with the aroma
of blossoms and freshly-cut grass
and vibrating with frog song
The day’s tension eases from me
and I feel myself falling gently
into the soft mother’s arms of spring –
my thoughts opening up, blooming
with the joy of the evening.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Click here to hear tonight’s frog song in our backyard.)

Let’s Start Over…

I just posted a poem that had lots of fun words in it
and some politics, too. I was pretty pleased with myself.
But then I read it again and asked myself, “Self,
is this helpful to the world in any way?” And myself
told me no, not really. So dang. Let’s start over…

What can I give to the world today that will be helpful?
I can bring patience when I’m in traffic on my way to work.
I can give a smile to my fellow travelers.
I can bring intelligence to my students and help them
learn a new concept in math or English or science
or social studies or art. I can be kind to my colleagues.
I can be honest. I can be joyful. I can share beauty.

There. That’s better.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

rainbow padilla bay 7 this one really