Looking at Natural Disasters

I’m trying to complete the House of Mayhem scavenger hunt. So here is a zuihitsu for prompt #5 – A zuihitsu featuring the Midwest, #16 – Incorporate: walrus, typeset, hat pin, gregarious, dentist, foxglove, miniatures, baseball, #17 – Incorporate: pigs, lottery, elbow, glitter, talisman, blood, indifference, #19 – Natural disasters are thematically important, #20 – Incorporate: loneliness, mushrooms, November, Roman candles, rust, sturgeon.

Over six decades of living and I know life is a lottery. One minute there is glitter and exploding Roman candles and the next abject loneliness and oppressive indifference. This world is a series of natural disasters. I’ve experienced tornados, floods, hail, blizzards, even ice storms that are just part of life in Indiana.

A Midwest November holds no joy for me. In that month my mother died. Death is part of life for people and leaves on trees. She slipped away, a sturgeon gliding through icy water. There was no blood, only the sound of her breath, a rusty hinge squeaking as the door opened from this world into the next.

The wheel of fortune spins. The freeze thaw cycle creates black ice, a normal condition in Northern Indiana. This time the chance is a fall on ice resulting in a fractured elbow and chipped front teeth. It is the teeth that prove to be the greater pain. The dentist is gregarious. He asks questions I can’t answer with his fingers in my mouth. He caps my front teeth but they are unnaturally long. I feel like a walrus.

My mother was my talisman. She survived the replacement of 2 heart valves. I have to thank the pigs who donated their valves for her. My favorite flower, the Foxglove, provided the drug that strengthened her heart contractions to keep her going. The pigs and the foxglove were “home grown”. She was lucky and so was I when she was here.

Hoosiers are joiners and collectors. She collected miniature vases no more than 2 inches tall and hat pins to hold her big floppy hats in place. Now I collect them because she is gone. And I’m still lucky in finding them at garage sales for a pittance.

Once during a baseball game we took shelter from a severe thunderstorm, just a normal Indiana summer. The lightning strikes were frightening but not as terrifying as being herded into the storage area under the stadium. The air was dank and smelled of mushrooms. My scratch off and team were not winners that day.

I’ve traveled across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I’ve hit the jackpot a couple of times. But mostly the house wins. I’m not a big fan of this roll of the dice. Even when you think you win you have to read the fine print and the typeset is in 6 point font.

53 thoughts on “Looking at Natural Disasters

  1. This is so moving and true. That last sentence cuts to the quick.

    In a sidenote, I clicked on the description of Zuihitsu (a form I’ll definitely have to try). The poet mentioned at the end, Kimiko Hahn, once lived near me and her daughters went to preschool with mine. She is lovely, as is her poetry. (K)

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    1. Thanks bunches for the positive words! I like the form but it takes some noodling (and time). It is such a small world! I think we rub shoulders with celebrities and famous people far more often than we know!!

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              1. My experience has shown me that no one wants to either exhibit or buy my work. And as no one in the previous generation in my family made it much past 80, even if I don’t end up with Alzheimers like my mother and aunt, I’m not going to be “discovered” now.

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  2. I can hardly believe you used all those words in one poem. Congratulations! My mother has been gone 6 years now. Mothers simply cannot be replaced. Hugs.

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  3. Your description of your mother’s passing is great writing. I smiled when you picked up her collecting. Overall, there is a bit of zen in this post. After all, I enjoyed the wide variety. One thing for sure, northern Indiana weather is different than southern Ohio weather.

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    1. Thanks Frank! There were 2 overarching themes – my mother and natural disasters. I count her death to be a “natural” disaster as well. Southern Ohio is much more temperate than Northern Indiana – it seems we are colder and snowier than those places farther south!

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                1. We are going to the Bama-Rama Geocaching Event in Gulf Shores AL and will probably be with a group – possibly to dine out on the 16th through the 18th so we might end up at Flora-Bama… I’ll suggest it to my friends. I’ll let you know if we will be there – perhaps we can all meet face-to-face!

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  4. Very beautiful. Keep writing.

    I am giving one of my dad’s slide rules to my step-granddaughter who’s a math kid. As I was wrapping it, and looking, I talked to it. “Dad, you’re going to go to a little girl who is talented in math. I don’t know if she’ll appreciate you, but I’m sending a book about how to use the slide rule and another that tells how the scientists who sent men to the moon did their calculations with a slide rule. Maybe it will inspire her to try this out? You didn’t get to know Ben, their dad, but you would have loved him as I do. I love you very much, dad.” and I wrapped it. And now I have tears in my eyes writing this. Things your mother loved will always touch you. ❤️

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    1. Martha! I have a compass that my dad gave me when I was taking geometry. I use it in my art to draw on the clay and I’ve used it to be able to cut out perfect circles when making collages. Every time I use it I think of him. You talking to your dad while sending his slide rule to younger hands seems quite natural to me. And I have tears in my eyes reading your comment. ❤

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    1. Gee Judy! You should know by now I’m not a show off but I’ve been using these prompts to work through some heavy duty emotions… I guess that has been reflected in the poems I’m producing. I’m thrilled that you think this is superior work and it puts me in orbit that you loved it (in all caps no less)!!

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