We need waders to get through all this s**t

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Photo by Joshua J Cotten on Unsplash

I have one experience of wearing chest waders. It was on a fishing trip I took with my grandfather Shropshire and a few family members. PopPop lived in a little town in southern New Jersey called New Gretna. He had a spot where he knew to get perch, small white fish with the most exquisite tasting flesh.

My grandfather promised us a fishing trip one summer day. It was me, my mom, my younger sister and brother, our Aunt Ruth and Pop Pop. I was about nine or ten so my sister and brother were probably 7 and 5. …


Just remember these four things

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Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

I need to talk about Joy. Yes, the Joy with a capital letter, The Platonic Joy. The Idea of Joy. It has been so scarce lately and I want to rustle some up now. I am playing with this phrase which appeared somewhere in my readings. “Joy’s Tendresse”. Now, isn’t “tendresse” a lovely word? It reminds me of the words ’tenderness’ and ’tresses’ and calls to mind dresses and loveliness and swooning lovers.

Turns out its’ meaning is less romantic. ’Tendresse’ means only “is tender towards, or fond of”. Well. …


Perhaps gratitude or grief is more appropriate.

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Photo by Konstantin Dyadyun on Unsplash

Please don’t ”should” me.

Do you hear any of these thoughts coming at you from social media or even from your own head? You should feel guilty sitting there on your farm out in the middle of nowhere with all kinds of food and gardens and animals. Don’t you feel guilty that you aren’t doing more? Don’t you feel guilty that you aren’t suffering more? Don’t you feel guilty for not visiting your 94-year-old mother over the holidays? Why are you still well when so many have died?

Should is such an ugly word

So, really, be honest. How many of you out there feel guilty that you haven’t gotten Covid-19 yet? Because I can’t say that I do. And furthermore, I hate when anyone (besides myself) tells me I should do something. Such as: You should re-post this story if you love God. Or, if you care about dogs, copy and share this picture. Or, if you are truly my friend, you will copy this and paste it to your page. I erase or scroll past these kinds of half-playful, half-threatening statements so fast you wouldn’t believe it. …


It’s a good thing that birds like a messy garden

Perennial garden with roses and catmint in foreground
Perennial garden with roses and catmint in foreground
Photo courtesy of the author

It is January now and I am cold and lethargic, having a touch of the post-holiday letdown. Of course, since the buildup wasn’t quite so big, I probably shouldn’t complain about the letdown. A smaller distance to fall this year? I don’t know but it seems kind of flat and lonely inside me. There is so little light in a day and I sit huddled against the chill in the house, wishing for something more like summer. I usually love winter, but this year has been hard to love for many reasons. There is enough blue sky today to get by. …


Instead, I review, plan, and implement

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photo by Ray Hennesy on Unsplash

I love the week after Christmas. I hang in a kind of suspended animation between one holiday and the other. I can relax after the long hard trail toward a pleasurable and fulfilling Christmas celebration, basking in memories of smiles and hugs and kindnesses shared with people I love. Yet I am aware of the big event coming up only a few days away when the world will complete one year and begin another. I take this change very seriously.

It is big for me, though of course the year’s end is just a somewhat arbitrary artifact of human invention. But it’s an artifact I’ve lived with for seventy some years and, for me, these divisions have significance. It is a time to tally up my past year. …


I was skeptical but not to worry…

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Photo courtesy of the author

After seventy years, I have learned some important things about myself and my expectations. For one thing, expectations are imaginary. We can use them in ways that help or hurt us.

This morning, for example, my husband went into the shower whistling and came out sullen. Turns our he’s been thinking about a non-masking co-worker whom he might encounter on Tuesday. Getting all upset and planning to quit if the guy doesn’t quarantine, etc. Now, this imaginary story is going on on Saturday morning and ruining his mood as well as the atmosphere in the home. Why purposely plan on something bad happening four days from now and get all worked up about it??? Honestly. Of course, I do sometimes too, and probably you do, too. But it sucks. …


Being present in life today can help

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Photo courtesy of the author

It is the 1950’s I am lying in my bed on Christmas morning. We children must stay in our rooms until we are called. When I finally hear our parents stirring in their bedroom, I get up, stand by the door, peeking around the corner frantic to see what is happening, to catch a glimpse of a red suit or white beard.

After a bit, I hear a hearty “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas.” My father.

“Is that you Santa Claus? Is that your reindeer I hear on the roof?” “Yes it is, but I’ve got to go on to the next house. Merry Christmas. Ho, Ho, Ho.” “Goodbye Santa Claus. …


And an invitation to tell me how you’re doing it.

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Photo by Jim Kalligas on Unsplash

It has been a hell of a year. Now we’re supposed to be Merry. What the heck? People are dying all around us. The President of the USA is rejoicing that soon we’ll have herd immunity if only another few million of us die. Meanwhile he is playing golf and holding political rallies claiming that he has won an election he has clearly lost, executing death row prisoners in record numbers and pardoning political cronies right and left. But this craziness aside…

Back to Merry.

I live in Maine on a 44-acre farm. There are pigs and cows and chickens and cats and cute little doggies and birds all over the place. And as long as I stay here mostly alone I will probably be able to avoid the virus and stay alive a bit longer. My 94-year-old mother is living alone in her own home and spending most of her time alone and surviving. …


In the post-Thanksgiving doldrums it depends on the cook

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Photo by Mikkel Bergmann on Unsplash

I made a turkey soup and, with that, declared I was never cooking again and don’t talk to me about Christmas yet!!!

This year our family cooked as big a feast as ever. There were ten of us, all right on board with masks and distancing and sanitizing. But I ate my meal alone on the picnic table, some went to their nearby home to eat, some to a table in the kitchen or living room. Someone set up a Google meet so we could see others who didn’t attend from our various spots.

It was ok. It worked. There were five dogs running, leaping and generally carrying on high between us all (probably carrying virus droplets to unsuspecting people who couldn’t resist petting them but, hey, we have priorities). I wish it were more normal. …


What this Seventyish woman realized from starting a poetry class

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Photo by Debby Hunter on Unsplash

I have been writing poetry since I was a child. My mother read poetry to me. She read Robert Service and Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Frost and many poems from a collection of American Poetry that she owned. She loved it and soon, I did too. Under the spreading Chestnut Tree the village smithy stands… I must go down to the sea in ships… Up into the cherry tree who should climb but little me… Ozymandias

These familiar yet enticingly strange and question-inducing words intrigued me as a child. I began writing poetry young. …

About

Jean Anne Feldeisen

I've got my fingers in way too many pots. Cook, writer, poet, reader, musician, therapist, dreamer, a transplant from New Jersey suburbs to a farm in Maine.

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