Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hopes for 2012

Photo by Rita Bourland © 2011

Hopes for 2012  

I carry my hopes and dreams like a cloak sheltering me from the harshest wind.  They bring light on a dark, wintry day; filling my heart with possibility.  As a new year looms on the horizon, those same hopes and dreams demand more attention, take firmer shape, shimmer before my eyes saying, ‘I’m still here, are you ready yet?’ 

I get a bit scattered when it comes to my creative and ideological desires.  Pinning down the direction I want to take can be like trying to catch a firefly on a warm summer night; flickering just out of reach.  The same hopes and dreams that fill me with possibility can bear down like the burden of unfinished business, turning my inner commentary into an unhealthy monologue on my lack of resolve.    

But with age and a bit of wisdom I have learned a few things about hopes and dreams and inner monologues.  They don’t mix well.  Turning off one to accomplish the other is the only way to move forward.   

Lest this turn into a bunch of psychobabble, I will just say that I have learned to accept my uniqueness.  I’m doing the best I can in this crazy world. 

So, in 2012, I plan to continue hoping and dreaming, playing and praying, loving and living, contemplating and creating, doubting some, but mostly being the best version of myself I can be and loving myself all the better for it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Gem of a Quote
A Gem of a Quote

In the movie Midnight in Paris the character of Ernest Hemingway speaks the following line when counseling a budding novelist:  

“No subject is terrible if the story is true and if the prose is clean and honest and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.”  

This is not an actual quote by Hemingway but an idealized version of the kind of language he might have used.  As I watched the movie (for the second time) last night, I was struck by the quote and took the time to write it down.  I considered the idea of speaking with courage and truth, using clean and honest prose and doing it with grace even when outside or internal pressures exist.  There seemed to be much to take away from this one compact sentence; ideas that might be useful to writers but also might benefit all of us in our day to day interpersonal relationships.   Keeping things clean and honest, speaking the truth to those we love, acting courageously when faced with the darkness in humanity and summoning our inner grace to move through our days. 

I love being handed a gem of a quote such as this.  It creates a pause in my day to consider words spoken by another, words that speak a profound truth to me, a truth I can carry into the New Year.  Maybe it speaks a truth to you as well.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Poem: A Mall-less Christmas

 A Mall-less Christmas

It’s a mall-less Christmas for me,
No muzak or fake Christmas tree,

No garish bright lights
Or elves in red tights,

No two for one deals
Or boots with high heels,

No Santa to greet
With photo complete,

Or children in tears
Being ushered through Sears,

Not one impulse buy
Or flashing green tie,

No fluffy pink slippers
Or fancy egg whippers,

Yet the gifts that sit ‘neath the tree,
Were purchased by little ol’ me,

With just a few clicks of my mouse,
The shopping was done from my house,

So now I have time to sip tea,
And munch on some crackers and brie,

I’ll listen to CDs and sing right along,
Filled with the hope of each Christmas song,

It’s a mall-less Christmas for me.
Thanks, Google, for setting me free.

I actually like to support a few independent stores in town but the internet has also been a wonderful tool for shopping.  I haven’t missed the mall a bit. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Poem: I Promise They'll Hear

Card and Poem - Rita Bourland

Friday, December 9, 2011

Poem: I Love Christmas Cards

 I Love Christmas Cards

I love Christmas cards,
Always have,
Always will,

When I was a child
My mother wrote stacks and stacks
Of cards,

Who did she send them to I wondered?
How did she know so many people?

She carefully wrote the addresses,
Signed each card with a personal note,
Affixed the stamps,
Licked the envelopes,
Then mailed the stack two weeks before

And now I do the same,

It is a duty, a compulsion,
A necessary part of the season,
As much as carols, trees, cookies and gifts,

It tells me I am connected
To family and friends,
That meaningful relationships exist,
That time and distant do not
Define love or friendship,

A card is a small thing
Yet it looms large in my life,
Always has,
Always will.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Charming from Cover to Cover - Columbus Independent Children's Bookstore

Charming from Cover to Cover 

Nestled in the heart of Columbus in an area called Clintonville, and sandwiched between a bank and Jiffy Lube is one of the city’s great treasures - an independent bookstore for children called Cover to Cover.  Stepping through the front door is like entering a candy store.  There is the feeling of wanting to devour the contents; swallowing them up over many hours of delicious reading.    You can see all the way to the back of the store in one glance which gives the sense that consuming this considerable feast is quite feasible.  

As your eyes regain focus and your happy heart calms a bit, you might notice an employee such as Beth standing by ready to help you in your search for the perfect reading treat.  Maybe you want a Caldecott award winning book or maybe you want a selection of poetry, or possibly a book about whales.  Beth knows every book in the shop and can steer you to the perfect selection.  

But wait, my eyes have wandered to a new distraction.  Someone has written all over the walls with black markers.   On closer inspection, I realize the walls are covered with autographs.  Think of a children’s author you love and their autograph is certainly inscribed on the wall, often accompanied by a delightful illustration. 

 On the day I visited the store, I had the great fortune of running into another Columbus treasure, Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld.  When asked how she would like me to describe her, she said, “educator, author and elderly hippie”.  This charismatic, engaging woman has written several books including Celebrating Young Children and their Teachers.  It seemed fitting to find her in Cover to Cover buying her grandchildren a few books for the holidays.   She is happily internet avoidant; always preferring interactions with ‘real people’.   
Shael Brachman, Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld, Rita Bourland

Married owners, Randy King and Sally Oddi are all about the connections with real people.  They’ve been at it for over 30 years and have figured out the formula for running a successful independent bookstore in an age of internet absorption.  By providing a real versus virtual experience they have found and retained legions of fans still longing for the same thing. 

So stop by Columbus and get lost for a few hours in Cover to Cover.  Maybe come by on a Tuesday or Saturday morning for story hour or drop by when an author is on tour.  Or maybe just stop in to embrace this charming place, inhaling the smell of books, and traveling for a few moments into a world where children thrive and a book can take you to places you never imagined.  It’s better than anything you could find in a candy store. 

3560 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 263-1624

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poem: Crosses to Bear

 Crosses to Bear

People have crosses to bear,


Crushing spirits,
Squashing dreams,
Dashing hopes,


Invisible burdens,
So hard to share

Except through prayer,
An outreached hand,
A listening ear,
A hug, a tear,
Thoughts sincere,

Are there,

Look closely
At others
And care,

Then share
The crosses
They quietly bear.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poem: Saying it All

Thanksgiving 2011 © Rita Bourland
Saying it All

Defining family
Is like defining love,
No words can
Adequately express
The depth of feeling,
Essence of remembrance,
Taste of happiness,
Or warmth of affection,
Yet somehow we know
The very words
We can’t explain
End up
Saying it all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poem: Giving Thanks

Photo by Rita © Vermont 2009

Giving Thanks

The earth grows so cold
As winter draws near,
The flowers and plants will soon disappear,

The days are too short,
The sun hides from sight,
And shadows turn quickly to darkness and night,

But thankfulness comes
In the midst of these hours,
I dream of rebirth and precious spring flowers,

I dream of the life
So precious and true,
The life that God’s given to me and to you,

I thank God for you,
 I thank God for me,
And thank Him for all of the goodness I see.

A rerun of my Thanksgiving poem.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Poetic Book Review: You Remind Me of Me

Lost in the Pages

I’ve been lost the past few days,
Buried in the pages of a book,
Immersed in a tale
Of choices made,

A young mother
Sent to a home to birth her babe,
Gives it up for adoption,
Later bearing another,
But always wondering about the other,

Where might he be?
Who might he be?

The sons later meet,
It’s hardly discreet,
Mayhem ensues,
Lives get screwed,
Damage is done,
Kidnap, remorse, prison, release,

But nothing can fix
The loss that began
Back when the children were young,

A young mother’s choices,
Not good enough
For the two that she bore,
One she gave up,
The other she kept,

What if, what if, what if?

A poetic book review. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Turkey on the Lam Limerick

 Turkey on the Lam Limerick

Tom Turkey was in great dismay,
He knew it was almost ‘that’ day,
He hopped on a plane
And flew off to Spain,
He packed for an extra long stay,

Plus the ticket he bought was one-way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poem: Remembrance

Vermont 2009 ©  Rita Bourland


I sat at the river’s edge

 Watching water cascade

Over rocks

And remembered you,

The ebb and flow of you,

Sometimes rippling

Around obstacles

With unfettered abandon,

Sometimes caught in an eddy,

Or snagged by


 Roots and twigs,

Pushing free

With uncommon strength

Like a giant oak

Flexing its branches,

Spreading a canopy over

Dangerous waters,

Protecting others

From sudden rapids,

I sat at the river’s edge

And remembered you,

The beautiful, profound

Ebb and flow of you,

And knew you

 Lived in a place like this,

Where the reflection

Of truth could be captured

In the movement of water.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poem: A Taste that Lingers

A Taste That Lingers 

I love fall,
the crisp, windy, 
kaleidoscope of it,
the canvas of painted trees,
the smell of air
so sweet
you might pause
to savor it like
a cup of exotic tea,
or a sip of
fine wine
made from grapes
ripened in the chill air
on a day just like
this day,

or maybe
it's the crunch of leaves
that conjures up thoughts of a
crackling fire
built in the middle of a field,
with children gathered 'round,
and marshmallows roasted
to softened perfection,

or maybe
it's the crisp apple
just picked from a tree
laden with fruit
fruit that tastes like fall,
a taste that lingers
long after the last bite,
and stays in your memory
long past your youth,

a taste that brings you back
to the days of fall,
when all was good,
 and all was right with the world,

back to now,
 when all is possible,
and life is clear and perfect and crisp
with possibility.

Photo by Rita Bourland © 2010

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Poem: Someone Needs to Know

 Someone Needs to Know

A trusted mentor
Takes a hand,
Says come with me
My dear, young friend,
Let’s take a walk,
Share secrets,
You and me,

No one needs to know,

Time goes by,
More secrets told,
Lies take hold,
The trap is set,
The young boy snared
By ill intent,
His mentor in control,

No one needs to know,

Damage done to
Yet secrets told
Cannot unfold
To those they swore
Should never know,
The shame’s so very cold,

Yet someone needs to know,

Be still young boy,
You’ve done no wrong,
Your mentor
Now must stand alone,
He’ll pay the price forevermore
For what he’s done
To you,
Who only
Wished to find a trusted friend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Poem: Out of the Blue

photo by Rita Bourland © 2011

Out of the Blue

A blue ribbon day delivered to you,
A pumpkin in blue – can it be true?
As true as the grass moistened with dew,
Or roses and rainbows
To name just a few,

Once in a blue moon comes something so true,
Appearing to you in visions of blue,
Vibrantly hued; serenely imbued,
Touching your soul; calming your mood,

Out of the blue you feel something new,
Maybe a different version of you,
No sadness or heartache; nothing to rue,
Just clear skies above - shimmering blue,

It’s a gift on this day; a gift just for you,
If a pumpkin is blue
Then what other things might be true?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Glass Garden - Photo Tour

Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio is currently hosting an exhibit called Hungry Planet: Local Food – Global View.  As part of the larger exhibit, there is an installation of glass art in the Courtyard.  The glass fruits and vegetables were created by Michael Cohn and Molly Stone of Cohn-Stone Studios in Richmond, CA.  I toured the conservatory yesterday and was transported by the exquisite beauty of the artists’ creations.  Come join me for a walk through the garden.

The Glass Garden 
Come see the bounty of the earth
Nestled in the garden,
Glistening in the sun,
Catching golden rays,
Drops of rain,
Morning dew,
Casting light,

 Creating illusions so grand,
So evocative
Of rich harvests
We’ve known,

So luscious to taste,
Dripping with the juice of the land,
A sumptuous feast
In artist’s hues,

Colors truer than true,
Tempting you
To taste, touch, smell,
This bountiful crop,

But the eye has been fooled
By this garden of glass,
Stirred by
The richness
Of the crop
That feeds the body,

Yet the soul has been fed
By this gift of art,
This glistening garden of glass.

 I would love to frame one of these photos. Do you have a favorite?

Glass Garden Photos © 2011 - Rita Bourland