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Friday, April 14, 2017

Thirteen Ways

"Look! Look!"

"Mommy!"

"Daddy!"

"Mommy!"

"Mommy!"

"You won't even believe this!"

"It's amazing!"

The cause of the brouhaha?

...a jet black bird with a bright red spot on it, landing just inside the mangrove trees.

On our first morning in the Florida Keys, we all found ourselves looking at everything with an extra helping of excitement and patience.

In the middle of our collective ohs and ahs, a shaggy- haired, unimpressed pre- teen deadpans, "It's just a blackbird."

Even in paradise, there's always one party pooper.

His cynicism drizzled big, fat cold drops on our happy parade.

His demeanor reeked of the very entitlement I secretly fear I might be instilling in my own children.

His lack of emotion view stood in stark contrast to the nostalgia and importance I seem to be attaching to seemingly inconsequential moments as I fight against an increasing sense of middle age angst.

It might just be a blackbird-- a red- winged blackbird to be exact-- but, at my age, I know there are many ways to look at a blackbird.

Just ask Wallace Stevens.

If we weren't on a dock, Mr. Pre- Teen, if we were in my classroom, I would be delighted to introduce you to one of my favorite poems, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

Alas, I can only hope that one day you will see the joy in the ordinary-- even when you are surrounded by the extraordinary.

Until then, thank you, Mr. Too Cool for the Birds, for being my muse and inspiring me to write again after too many months away from MaMe Musings.

Today, on our last day of the most fantastic vacation of my life to the Florida Keys, here's my poor attempt at imitation of one of the great modern American poets.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Our Vacation

I.
Among the Florida Keys,
the main thing we noticed--
the stunning beauty of the water, the sky, and
the antics of Emily and Andrew.


II.
I was amused,
Like a mom who just heard her 6 year old say,
"I'm eyeballing you."

III.
Emily giggled, in the backseat, on the beach.
A small thing but more sparkling than the green water beneath Seven Mile Bridge.

IV.
Emily and Andrew
are hilarious.
Their conversation on the back of the golf cart in Key West,
More golden than the sunset at Mallory Square.

V.
I do not know which I prefer--
Andrew rambling on about catching a 12 inch yellowtail snapper or
Emily performing a show on the hammock-- for the 12th time.

VI.
Tears filled the peaceful afternoon
as Emily danced her way to a skinned knee and elbow
on the old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge.

VII.
Oh, pesky noseeums of the Keys,
Why do you bite us so?
Do you not how much fun we are having
Digging in the sand, wading in the water, and reading my first book in a year?


VIII.
I know the excitement
of seeing my two children up on paddleboards,
bravely and confidently paddling through the same water
I fell into.

IX.
When the people at the buffet
Left their trash behind,
Emily cleans it up, saying,
"Since they don't even know where the trash can is."

X.
At the turtle hospital,
Questions abound.
We feel in love with Smelly Cat and Chuck Norris.
And bless the hearts of the poor bubble butts.

XI.
We rode over the Seven Mile Bridge.
My toes out the window.
More than once, a desire to sell it all and move here
Consumed me.

XII.
The tide is moving out.
We paddle the kayaks harder.

XIII.
It was the 300 sand balls Andrew made on the beach.
It was watching them make friends on the beach.
It was the smell of charcoal on the beach.
It was the feel the dorsal of the dolphin.
It was our blackbird.





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