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Posts Tagged ‘bayou life’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
Text from Susan Edmunds

When I married Jeff almost 39 years ago, I did not know everything about him, but I did know that he had had a boa constrictor for a pet at one time during his wild childhood. Jeff has a brother who is only 18 months younger. The Simon boys spent a lot of time out in the woods along the bayou. Stories include the time they fished out a shark from the bayou. (Little did they know as young boys that sharks don’t live in the bayou; obviously someone’s throw back from fishing in the Gulf.) But that story is not the one I want to tell today.

Calm in every situation would aptly describe this hero. He sat next to me for hours and hours during natural childbirth…3 times…and never lost his cool calm demeanor.

Susan may not know this about him, but she does know that he cares about reptiles. Susan and Jeff go way back to days when she lead summer library programs, and Jeff would collaborate on ones on canoeing and camping and fishing all through the local Optimist Club. And she may remember (she sent me a photograph once) of a library workshop he brought our middle daughter Katherine to when she was four-years-old, and how Jeff showed particular interest in the snakes. Nevertheless, she texted on Sunday morning, and I sent my hero away to save the day.

Jeff and Susan patiently released 3 tangled rat snakes. photo by Mary Tutwiler.

I am deathly afraid of snakes. Jeff has tried many times to get me over my phobia, and often I’ve become the source of a snake joke. Needless to say I did not personally attend this snake rescue. In fact, I’m having trouble posting the pictures. I refuse to post the one of the three rescued snakes happily wriggling in the bottom of a trash can.

My calm hero was able to patiently cut away the mesh entrapment while Susan held the snakes’ heads. I don’t know which was braver, but combined these two people should win a prize. The snakes were not released in our backyard, thank you very much. They are happily in someone else’s yard.

Here is the text of a thank you email from Susan:

“Thanks again for coming to the rescue yesterday-I don’t think I could have done the extraction solo, the task needed experienced snake rangers comfortable with very close contact!  Certainly you handled the snipping far better than I could have, didn’t see any fresh blood! Excellent work.”

Instagram photo by Susan’s husband, James. Those hero hands are mighty close to that snake tongue!

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jan at BookSeedStudio

Last week I wrote down two lines from Poetry Friday posts. The first was a line from Amy, “If you let yourself.” The second was a clunker that Linda was giving away. “the wish is the thing.”

From those two line gifts, I wrote this draft that I haven’t thrown away yet.

If you let yourself
fail & appear worthless,
a freedom sets in.
Instead of focus on results,
you can concentrate
on the work
of being human.

If you let yourself
trust the sun to fertilize,
you can leave the blooming
to God & be still–
the wish is the thing.

Margaret Simon, draft

I received two gift poems today from Tabatha’s wonderful summer poetry swap. Tabatha herself sent me a snake poem. Apparently July 16th is World Snake Day . Who knew? On that day, I opened my storage shed to get the hidden key to our house, and a small very wiggly snake was at my feet caught up in a spider web. I grabbed the key and ran, leaving the door open in case the little scoundrel got itself loose.

For her poem, Tabatha imagined me going on a snake hunt with my grandson. Coincidentally, Leo and I did find a dead snake in our yard a few months ago. He still remembers that snake and points to the spot where we saw it every time. “Nake gone.”


SNAKE HUNTING WITH GRANDMA

Grandma packs our drinks and snacks,   

squirts sunblock and rubs it in.

I pick a stick for each of us   

to peek at things hidden.

We need a map to follow—   

I draw the view from east to west,

plus rainbow snakes sleeping   

next to eggs in their nests.

It’s rainbow snakes we’re hunting—  

I see garters every day—

A water snake isn’t rare    

and king snakes come to play

(sort of). But a rainbow snake’s  

a serpent I haven’t seen,

a funny kind of rainbow    

with no orange, blue, or green.

Grandma and I walk and watch,   

hear noisy birds, see speedy deer,

steer clear of snapping turtles,    

and spook hares that disappear.

As we go, we keep our eyes peeled   

for the stripes of rainbow snakes.

If we don’t spot one, we still had fun,   

and we will hunt another day!

by Tabatha Yeatts

for Margaret Simon, Summer Poem Swap 2020

I also received a poem from Christie Wyman. She, too, captured the bayou life and joy of grandparenting.

Wandering and wondering
Together, hand in hand
Through the parish
Along the Teche’s shores
Among sugar cane and pages

Listening
For whispers, songs, and the wood duck’s call
Feeling
Life in abundance
Seeking inspiration

A shared joyful connection
To the web of nature

Joy upon the pages

Christie Wyman, 2020

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Yesterday I read Sally Donnelly’s post about choosing a color to represent this time. She quoted an artist who represented the 9/11 tragedy with the color blue. Read her post here.

I started thinking about the color I would pick, and it has to be green. This is the time of year when green appears in all its amazing shades in my backyard. The cypress trees are bursting with a bright neon green.

Looking up through the cypress trees

Live oak trees lose their leaves in the spring as new leaves emerge.

Grandmother Live Oak bursting with spring growth

I am passing my stay-at-home time on my back deck, listening to wind chimes and watching for the occasional boat. And sometimes a poem comes. Using Irene Latham’s prompt from Laura Shovan’s #Waterpoemproject, I wrote this quick ditty.

Bayou Side

Buzzing
Hovering
Fat hungry bumblebee

Roaring
Speeding
Wave-jumping motor boat

Paddling
Parting
Water-whispering canoe

Sparkling
Greening
Spring-loving cypress trees

Margaret Simon, draft
“water-whispering canoe”

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

On Sunday, my husband rescued me from one of my greatest fears, a snake in the house.  Little did I know while I was at choir practice, a ribbon snake was dancing in my laundry room.  After church Jeff told me how he came upon the small snake while putting the sheets in the wash.  He threw the pile of sheets onto the snake and took it all outside, shaking the snake out into its natural world.

I said a prayer of thanks that I was not at home.  Snakes freak me out.  They always have.  I can’t even look at a picture of a snake without cringing.

Fast forward a few days and I was outside walking my dog Charlie.  I sent my husband this text.

Yes, I had stepped right next to a snake in the grass, jumped, screamed, and ran.  I did also lose bladder control.  Yikes!

When I calmed down, I googled common Louisiana yard snakes and found the speckled king snake.  These are good snakes, if there is such a thing.  They are nonvenomous and eat other snakes, including venomous ones.  Good thing I left him in my dust.

Later I received a response from Jeff.  He usually keeps reports of snake sightings to himself, protecting me.

Nevertheless, I am putting off any yard work.  I think I’ll leave the snake handling to my brave husband.

 

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