Monday, March 23, 2009

Springtime in New Orleans

March in New Orleans is one of the most beautiful times of year. The azaleas explode all over town, my irises just keep bursting into purple, and the oak trees look dusted with teeny green leaf buds--amazing to see those hundred-year-old trees as fresh as a yearling. The weather, too, is simply gorgeous: in the mid 70s with clear skies and breezes, the air dry and the shade actually cooling. All too soon, the temps will creep into the 80s and 90s and stay there until fall--so for now, here's to spring.

Here's a poem I wrote a while back about early-budding azaleas, ones that opened far too soon, it seemed to me, Northerner that I am.


Tiny explosions of fuchsia flowers
bloom, unafraid, in January.
A magical day in the sun, the rain’s caress,
and the azaleas think they’re safe.
Better to curb passion, to protect their petals;

frost could arrive any day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ode to an '89 Volvo

My husband and I are shopping for a new car because our trusty old Volvo has become increasingly less trusty in the past couple of years. It's twenty years old, the former owner drove it only to church and back so it had less than 20,000 miles on it, and we've had it seven years, kept it well- maintained, and it served us well.

But lately, major repairs have been needed every three or four months, each one more expensive than the last. The last egregious offense was when the engine just STOPPED as my husband was exiting the freeway--with our son in his carseat in the back. He coasted it into a parking lot, and everyone was fine, but that was pretty much the last straw.

My in-laws have generously offered to buy us a new car, and so we are beginning to say goodbye to this old one. Yet I can't help but feel a bit nostalgic for the old girl. We've developed a relationship with her (I always think of her as a Bessie, to which my hub rolls his eyes).

So here's an ode to our old Volvo, which I wrote a few years back. It's funny how much personality a piece of machinery can have, or that we ascribe to it. Maybe it makes us feel a bit more connected if we think of our vehicles as something alive.

For an ‘89 Volvo

You’re square, not sleek nor sophisticated,
an awkward mule parked among the classy;
your heavy steel frame, downright antiquated,
accentuates your boxy workhorse chassis.
Even your coat, once glossy white, has weathered
to gray, flecked with rust spots. Yet when I gaze
across the lot, you’re there, patiently tethered:
stability reassures me these days,
and you endure. Climbing behind your wheel,
safe in your saddle, I’m ready to roam.
You snort sweetly at the touch of my heel;
you don’t gallop, but you know the way home:
past asphalt rivers, through concrete canyons,
toward one more sundown, my rusty companion.