New Year’s Flowers

“Friendship is to people what sunshine is to flowers”                              ~unknown

I have the best customers and friends! I was so deeply touched when two of my dogsitting customers came over with flowers for me this week! It brightened my whole spirit, not to mention my home! What a way to start a new year, surrounded by gorgeous flowers from extraordinary women with very loving hearts. I just love my customers…and I love their dogs!

Thank You Jenna!

colorful flowers

 

Thank You Alissa!

flowers

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.”                             ~ Luther Burbank

 

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W is for Wind

WThis happened last year but I remember it as if it were yesterday. Well, it kinda was. Last month there was yet another wind storm that had its way with me. But last year was really crazy because I had never felt wind the way I felt it that day. Except maybe the day there was a tornado down the road and I opened the front door to check out what was happening outside and almost got sucked right out the door. Freaked me out!

But back to last year’s windstorm: The wind caught me off guard as it approached with what seemed a very masculine energy. It had a deep voice, and it persisted in talking, as if it had something profound to say. Powerfully verbose and rambling, the wind mimicked the sound of a distant train. I heard a howl above my head and looked up, to see what it was that was wailing so.

As if answering me the wind delivered its point and gusted through the strewn power lines. It was at that moment that I felt the force, like a sheet of pure steroid-juiced power. I could see its strength as it pushed the clouds, moving them deliberately, and quickly, so quickly that it created the illusion that the massive poles supporting the lines were swaying.

Even the birds yielded to its directive.  Their wings were lifted to heights so high I thought I’d actually see them touch the obedient white pillows in the sky.

tree in wind paintingWhistling and groaning, the gruff wind let us know it was in charge that day. As hapless bystanders, we would soon discover that to be true. We could only watch, wonder and wait to see just how this gloriously beautiful sunny day would be shadowed solely by the sheer force of wind messages.

My two greyhounds were on high alert. Their nostrils flared continuously throughout our walk, that superior canine sense of smell experiencing sensory overload. I mentioned how the wind energy felt very male to me. My boys validated that too, as both solidified their scents with very deliberate pawing and stomping on the ground. Forcefully and with resolve, like a bull communicating to the matador, “I am here and I am strong.”

Both dogs were displaying definite alpha signals as they pawed the ground, harder, longer and with more intent than I had seen most dogs do in the past. In fact, I had never seen Picasso paw the ground. His eyes, his ears, his posturing stance said it all: “This spot of ground is mine.”

The temperatures dropped rapidly and the wind chill factors caused me to turn around and head back home. Opting to cheat and cut our walk in half, I diverted us through the middle of the soccer field. With Picasso on my right and Luca on the left, we were literally blown across the field, in a zig-zag pattern. We fought the strong wind, making our way across the field, the street and finally back into the house, where we were met with warmth and calm.

Our little excursion was absolutely thrilling for me. I delight in storms of all kinds: rainstorms, thunderstorms, blizzards, ice storms and even the more subtle showers. They have an inspirational effect on me. I often wonder what my draw is to storms and could it have something to do with a past life or soul memory. Storms evokes a sense of pure awe in me.

This most recent wind storm held a sense of awe as well. Although the dogs and I were now sheltered from the gusts, I was still brimming with excitement. Not wanting to miss one more second of this magnificent wind event, I opened the back door, ushered the dogs out and took to the deck, bringing with me my iPad so I could take advantage of any creative flow. Creativity, for me, is a natural by-product of storms.

I was enraptured with the winds, watching the reactions of all the trees, the branches and their leaves, the birds, and smelling the aromas particular only to this wind.

Fine Art America photograph by Carol F. Austin

Weeping Willow tree blowing in the wind. Photo by Carol F. Austin. Copyright by Carol F. Austin. All Rights Reserved. Purchase prints at fineartamerica.com/featured/weeping-willow-tree-carol-f-austin.html

Listening to the sounds, the trills and squawks and screeches of the birds as they sent important messages to their flocks, the swoosh of the little sparrows and the crisp fluttering of the leaves as they made their way to safety in the deep nooks and crannies of my bushes, and the melodic songs of my chimes, each with its unique notes.

Well, the wind was not to let me be a mere observer. No, I would soon take on a role of participant. As I was enjoying the blissful moments as storm-watcher, a very ominous and eerie creaking put me on alert. Scanning the yard, following the mournful sounds, my heart skipped a beat as I caught sight of the fence wood bending. The creaking got louder and reminded me of that old radio show “Inner Sanctum.” Each successive gust pulled the fence farther away from its anchoring posts.

Panicked, I got all the dogs back in the house and ran to the fence. I reached for the top of the pickets, pulling with all my might, fighting the steroidal strength gusts, trying to bring the fence back to right. I can clearly see my neighbor’s yard, their gnomes and painted stones- turned-ladybugs and right into the windows of their sliding glass door. Holding on and swaying with the wood, each gust threatening to take me over and topple the panel, I start to yell, “Ah, HEY! HELLO?? ANYONE THERE?? NEED SOME HELP OVER HERE!” The only one who answered me was Sugar, their gorgeous Great Pyrenees. I’m not sure what she was saying but her barks told me that she was as shocked and surprised as I was. And all we could do was watch helplessly as the panel made its final pull from the post and fell over into their yard.

And, like the fence, my panic surrenders. What had previously been a joyous mood filled with awe-inspired admiration shifted quickly to the contrary and I looked to the sky and addressed the brute force: “Fucking wind!”

My fence blown over. photo by me.  :-)

My fence blown over. photo by me. 🙂

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.

T is for Tree

T

On Life & Love

In Life,

I am a young oak. Live Oak tree

My roots firmly intact, I’m grounded.

I stand tall, strong and proud.

Forever surging upward, mighty maturity evolving.

I weather the harsh elements and massive storms.

Undaunted, I reach higher and higher.

In Love,

I transform into a tumbleweed.

Defenseless against the slightest wind,

I crumble to dust.    Tumbleweed and shadow

©Michele Truhlik

Ironically, while I was posting my poem, I came across a recent video news story on tumbleweed invasions. If these tumbleweeds are anything like me, there sure are a lot of them running from love:

Mother Nature Network's news story: Tumbleweeds menace the west

Mother Nature Network’s March 17 2014 story on menacing tumbleweeds

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.

O is for Ocean

OIt all started with our road trip to Myrtle Beach, SC, by way of Shreveport and Atlanta. We headed out around midnight and stopped at 5am to gamble for a few hours at the casino in Shreveport. After a free breakfast buffet, we took our winnings and got back on the highway. We hit Atlanta just as the morning rush hour was starting and we got lost as we cruised around looking for the Fulton County Stadium so Brian, an avid and almost maniacal baseball fan, could say he’d seen the stadium where the Atlanta Braves won the 1995 World Series.  

We finally reached Myrtle Beach. We settled in to our ocean front room, showered and, because we’d been on the road for two days, crashed hard. The next morning we got up early and hit the beach.

Brian had never been to an east coast beach and it had been years since I’d been in Myrtle Beach. The day welcomed us with sunshine and balmy breezes and the ocean waves beckoned us with promises of fun and adventure. We goofed around in the water for quite a while then both of us got quiet and we just laid back and let the water wash over us, yielding to the push and pull of the waves.  

There’s something so enchanting about the ocean water and the weightlessness that you feel as the waves lift and transport you. Brian says being in the ocean water feels like God has his arms around him.

I don’t know how much time had passed as I floated, scanning the expansive horizon and the far off waves, which glittered like diamonds in the sun’s beams. I turned to say something to Brian and was immediately overwhelmed to see how far I was from the shore. At the time I hadn’t realized it, but I was about 1/8th of a mile away from the shoreline, a little more than the length of two football fields. I started to panic, and the more I panicked, the farther out the waves took me. I yelled to Brian. He hadn’t noticed how far out I had drifted either. He could see the fear in my face and hear it in my voice. He kept telling me, “Just go with the waves. When the wave comes in, swim into it and let it bring you closer. I’m coming to get you. Just stay calm.”

It seemed like forever before he finally got to me. But he did and as soon as I fell into his arms I felt safe. I knew he’d bring me all the way back in. And he did. Just in time for a big wave to swipe the glasses off his face! Then it was my turn to rescue him. I took him by the hand and led him back to our hotel; he couldn’t see even mere inches in front of him. Of course it was the weekend and we had to wait until Monday morning to go see an optician and get him a new pair of glasses. 

It was definitely a vacation where we learned the formidability of the great ocean and we both came away with deep reverence for its power.

The respect which I had always held for the ocean deepened to an awe of its tremendous deception. The ocean is a world foreign to the one that I’ve so self-confidently navigated on land. It moves to its own rules and is merciful to none. What happened to me sounds like such a tiny little incident in comparison to what others have experienced in the great depths of the ocean blue, but it was enough for me to admit complete inferiority and bow down to its great might. It also gave me trepidation to enter its world again. I may walk a short distance into the salt water but I’m way more comfortable sitting on the shore and admiring it from afar…

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Tell me your ocean stories…

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. Photos by Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.

M is for Monte Carlo

MI CAN’T DRIVE 55 – A Love Affair with My Monte Carlo©

My first car: a ’71 Monte Carlo. A 350 4-barrel dual exhaust blue beauty that could do zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds. Always washed and waxed, the wheels shined and the black hard-top glistened. The neighborhood cop dubbed me “the Blue Streak.” He told me once that he could always hear me coming (who couldn’t?) but just as he’d look up, he’d catch only a glimpse of sky-blue as I sped past and never quite managed to stop for the stop sign at the end of his street.

1971 Monte Carlo120-watt Jensen speakers blasted shades of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult. Iconic tunes blended with the haze of purple microdot, orange sunshine or the rainbow-color blotter of the day, accented of course by the sweet aroma of Colombian Gold.

rolling papers - E-Z Wider 1-1/2

A pack of EZ Widers rolling papers was always strategically wedged under the 8-track cartridge. It was the burnouts’ solution to control the ‘waah-waah’ drag of overplayed warped tape.

 

Nestled in the crook of the ashtray would be my favorite head-shop find: the Jimmy Carter roach clip. Our political declarations – or lack of them – spoke volumes as we passed around “Mr. Jimmy,” as he fondly became known… that presidential roach clip with a handily crafted resin peanut on the end, and liberally carved into it those famous Jimmy Carter lips and toothy grin.

With carefree spirits we’d cruise to various neighborhoods, making the rounds to support our friends and their garage bands.

We’d bar-hop nightly, jumping across county lines to catch the latest last-call. And we’d always make a final stop for breakfast at Sambo’s or Denny’s before rolling home at dawn.

The summer days were spent moving from party to party at Oppenheim Park: sitting atop weathered picnic tables, passing joints and vintage Power Hittersharing bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 MD 20/20 Pure Grape Wine  (how  ever did we drink that stuff??) while cases of Labatt’s Blue and six-packs of Miller ponies sat icing in the back of someone’s van.

We’d pass the cold months sitting parked in some dark lot, bundled up and huddled, with the Chevy’s heat blasting to assuage the bitter sub-zero temperatures of Buffalo winters. We’d trip and we’d smoke and we’d drink while we laughed and played and flirted and philosophized, listening to tracks of The Guess Who, Van Halen, AC/DC and Aerosmith.

And on those rare days when I wanted to be alone, my Monte Carlo satisfied my introspection. She and I would take to the wide open highway, barreling along aimlessly. Or we’d wind through back country roads, a joint in hand Vintage roach stone - marijuana leafand a chilled bottle of wine tucked in between the seats, usually not knowing quite where we’d end up…just content to be rolling.

Well, the seasons, they turned into years, and the years into decades and my Monte Carlo is long gone. But that car lives on forever in my heart. She was an extension of me, part of my identity really, somehow inextricably linked to my very soul. No doubt when friends look back on days gone by and happen to think of me, my Monte Carlo will spring to mind as well because, after all, she was so much a part of me. How I miss that car!

Tell me about your first car: Did you love it? Hate it? What memories does it hold for you?

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 Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.