A Spring Constitutional (Poetry)

In the early morning, a cold wind blows.

Weak sunlight from a hazy sky offers little warmth.

Despite the chill, I’m glad to be out walking.

I smell fresh new-mown grass, hear bird songs.

In the park, a workman mows the lawn.

No one else is in sight.

 

I walk by the creek, hear its gentle babble,

neigh of horses from a nearby veterinary clinic,

smell the manure.

My white cane rolls from side to side in front of me.

 

In the late afternoon, I traverse the same path,

relieved to be out in the fresh air.

Despite the odor of manure,

my stomach tells me I’m hungry.

I quicken my pace, eager to reach home.

***

This poem was published in the April 19th issue of The Weekly Avocet and also appears in How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Click below to hear me read it.

 

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

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News from Abbie’s Corner March 2017

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I’d love to say that it’s been a pretty quiet month here in Sheridan, Wyoming, my home town, but Garrison Keillor might sue me, even though he’s retired and no longer uses this line to describe his fictional home town of Lake Woebegone, Minnesota, so I’ll say that this past month has been pretty quiet.

On February 2nd, my friend Christine Valentine and I attended a concert by the Dave Bruebeck Quartet at the Whitney Center for the Arts on the campus of Sheridan College. The music was great, especially their rendition of “Take Five” with the drum rift that took me back to the time when my younger brother Andy played the drums. Dad, may he rest in peace, would have loved it, and I’m sorry he and Andy couldn’t be there.

Also on February 2nd, I gave my own performance at the Sheridan Senior Center’s adult day care program. Accompanying myself on guitar, I sang a lot of old standards those clients loved. On February 28th, I gave a similar performance at Westview for the monthly birthday party, which the residents enjoyed.

My singing group, Just Harmony, after taking a month off, started practicing in February. We already have a performance lined up for an event at the Methodist church, where we practice, on March 18th. We hope to get more lined up.

The weather here has been unseasonably warm. As a result, I’ve been able to get out and do some walking. On Friday, February 17th, I walked downtown and did some errands. On the 18th, I walked to the library for my monthly Range Writers meeting. I do realize that we still have some winter left, so I’m not holding my breath.

Well, that’s all the news for now. I’ll be back in a month with more.

***

 Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

A Brown or White Christmas

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Walking in snow and ice can be treacherous, even for people with good eyes. Needless to say, I don’t do much walking in winter, now that I’m older and more fearful of breaking bones. Since I enjoy walking, I’ve often wished our winters could be without snow and ice.

A couple of months ago while strolling on a beautiful fall day, I was thinking about this and came up with a little ditty to a familiar holiday tune which you can hear Bing Crosby sing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGAosOoKFMs . I’ll paste the lyrics below and then a link to where you can hear me sing it with piano accompaniment.

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BROWN CHRISTMAS

I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas

so I don’t have to slip and slide.

Then I will be walking and won’t be talking

to folks, asking for a ride.

I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas

where snow and ice I will not fight.

Then I will be merry and bright.

In my heart, my Christmas will be white.

***

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I must admit, though, that Christmas isn’t the same without snow. Where will you be this year? Do you think your Christmas will be brown or white?

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Over the Bridge and Along the Creek

Here’s a little ditty I wrote recently. Years ago when my grandmother was alive, I enjoyed walking to her house, even as an adult. Now, our town boasts a series of connected cement walkways that would have provided a scenic route from my house to hers if she were still alive. The following is set to a familiar tune we associate with Thanksgiving. To hear me sing it while accompanying myself on piano, go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/over%20bridge%20along%20creek.mp3 . Happy Thanksgiving!

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OVER THE BRIDGE AND A LONG THE CREEK

Over the bridge and along the creek to Grandma’s house I go.

My cane knows the way. I will not stray as through the leaves I go.

Over the bridge and along the creek, now Grandma’s house I spy.

Hurray for the turkey, stuffing, and yams and Grandma’s apple pie.

Over the bridge and along the creek to Grandma’s house I go.

My dog knows the way so “Forward,” I say as along the path we go.

Over the bridge and along the creek, now Grandma’s house we spy.

I must insure my trusty guide does not eat Grandma’s pie. Ruff ruff.

***

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.

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A Seasonal Parody

Summer is already upon us, picnics, concerts in the park, parades, and of course love. One of the songs I sang when I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home was about strolling down a shady lane, holding hands with the one you love and that person being your tootsie wootsie. To hear a barbershop version, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKvLCwInPGA .

I recently came up with a parody while out walking. You can click on the link below to hear me sing it. Because of my limited vision, I use a cane. Others who are blind or visually impaired walk with dogs.

***

In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime,

strolling down the shady lane with my cane divine,

I hold its handle and swing as I walk, and that’s a very good sign

that it will guide me safely in the good old summertime.

 

In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime, ruff ruff,

strolling down the shady lane with my doggy fine,

I hold his harness, and “forward” I say, and that’s a very good sign

that he will guide me safely in the good old summertime, ruff ruff.

***

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/good%20old%20summertime%20parody.mp3 ***

What are your memories of summer?

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

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a Guided Walk

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I’m strolling down a well-marked foot path. No one else is around. I feel the sun on my face and shoulders. Occasionally, I pass trees that provide shade. The path gradually becomes marred by rocks and fallen branches. I keep plodding along, feeling a sense of peace despite the undefined trail. Birds sing in nearby trees, making me feel even calmer.

I finally reach the edge of the wood and glimpse a vast meadow with green grass and a few trees dotting the edge. A stream runs through the middle, and I hear its gentle babble and the wind whispering through the trees. I wander farther into the meadow and discover a picnic basket on the ground near the creek. Maybe a family was eating here and wandered off to find an outhouse or sheltered place to do their business. I look around, watch, wait, but no one appears.

The smell of fried chicken wafts from the partly opened lid. I open it the rest of the way and find two drumsticks, a small deli container of macaroni salad, a can of Dr. Pepper, still cold, and a zip lock bag containing a dill pickle, black olives, and cherry tomatoes. I look around to be sure no one else is approaching. All is silent except for the twittering birds, rustling wind, and babbling stream.

I sit on the ground next to the basket and dig in, thinking the food was left there just for me. I savor the flavors and wash everything down with the Dr. Pepper. I then lie back on the grass and bask in the sun’s radiance. After a brief nap, I wake to find the picnic basket with the garbage gone. Whoever brought the basket must have come while I was sleeping and collected the trash.

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The above was inspired by a guided imagery exercise in which I participated at a retreat I attended recently. Now, it’s your turn. Close your eyes and picture yourself walking down a path in the woods. What do you see, hear, smell? As you walk, the path becomes more treacherous, but you feel calm. Pay attention to the atmosphere around you. At the end of the path is a vast meadow. What does it look like? As you wander into the meadow, you find a picnic basket containing your favorite foods. What’s in the basket? What do you do next? Write about it. Please feel free to share in the comment field below.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of:

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