Orange Shoes

Photo: Nazeera Meedin (Pinterest)

Photo: Nazeera Meedin (Pinterest)

Orange Shoes
a Haibun

“Oh, I’ve made my share of mistakes,” Emily said. “How boring life would be without them.”

Sunlight stripped across the crevices on her 89-year-old face, creating hills and valleys in much the same way as her life had. But in her deep blue eyes, I saw the shimmer of stars, the reflection of the moon on water.

She took a sip of tea while I tried hard not to worry about the next patient on my list of hospice visits. She needed to talk and I wanted to listen. To really listen. “Do you want to talk about them,” I asked, hoping I wasn’t being intrusive.

“Oh, there was the man I loved who turned out to be pure evil. Because of him, I left a toxic relationship, so it cost me a few bucks. He conned me and broke my heart in the process. Without that lesson, I would never have been able to move on. In his own way, he gave me the gift of courage. And then, the job I took for money—it was pure soul-death, not suited to me at all. But that’s where I met someone who saved my life. I could go on and on; there are tons of lesser things.” And she did while I listened and learned.

Gently, when exhaustion emerged in her expression, she dismissed me. “In the end, I believe, the greatest mistake is not to forgive others or, especially ourselves. And not to forget that we are forgiven by the One who made us. I wear orange shoes with my purple dress.”

blue jay sings off-key
petals fall from the roses
imperfect beauty

Linked to dVerse Poetics where our lovely guest hostess invites us to reflect on mistake we’ve made. I wrote this as a fictional account, but, who knows, there may be some truth within.

Monday Meanderings–Why Do I Do This to Myself?

I golf, or pretend to anyway. Once a week when I’m at home and more often in the desert where membership includes unlimited golf, I’m out there. I’m a really, really pathetic golfer. I have the highest handicap they allow (for those who don’t know about golf, that’s not good). I mutter words to myself I don’t usually use. I often ask myself why I engage in such tortuous sport, and yet, I love the game. Why?

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

• Golf is a game in which I compete against myself. It goads me to be a little better,  to work a bit harder in order to shave a stroke or two off of my score, and learn from my mistakes.
• My game improves when I remember to relax and let the club do the work. When I try too hard, swing too hard, all sorts of bad things happen, often ending with a splash or a lost ball.
• It teaches humility. Almost every time I think I’ve licked a problem, the next time out I fall flat on my face.
• Golf is a game of focus. When I remember to keep my eye on the ball and set aside the hundreds of swing thoughts that can pop into my mind, the shot will do what it’s supposed to.
• In golf, I’m learning to not worry so much about what others think. I promise you, if you’re not a pro, and out to impress your foursome, you will be brought down.
• It’s a game of the present moment. How many putts have I missed when I think, If I make this, I’ll have a birdie (or, for me, a par). See the caption below. Things go better if you just take it one stroke at a time.
• Golf teaches me to laugh at myself. If I couldn’t see the humor in some of the mist-hits I come up with, it would be so depressing.
• Golf is a sport you can do well into old age. This year at our home course in Palm Desert, we have a lady who belonged to the 18-Hole Women’s league. Now that she’s turned 90, she thought it might be a good idea to become a Lady 9’er instead.
• It’s exercise. As one who has done everything possible to eschew the e-word, who has nary a drop of athletic DNA, golf is fun. And it gives you a handicap to level the playing field.
• The game is played in the beauty of nature. Most courses offer landscapes that highlight the characteristics of the natural environment. Reclaimed water is used to maintain the greens and fairways. The course I have been playing this year here in Northern Nevada plays host to rabbits, coyotes and so many other species of wild life and birds. The “rough” consists of the natural desert. There are signs on some of the area courses warning golfers not to try to retrieve their balls from these hazards because of rattlesnakes.

"My" hole at Pinehurst #2. I drove the ball to about 4 feet from the hole and was so excited I missed the birdie putt. Photo: D. Slotto The Zenith of My Golf "Career"

“My” hole at Pinehurst #2.
I drove the ball to about 4 feet from the hole and was so excited I missed the birdie putt.
Photo: D. Slotto
The Zenith of My Golf “Career”

Of course there are downsides to golf. For one thing, if you take yourself and your game too seriously, it can be miserable. Also, until recently, it has been considered too expensive to be easily accessible to many people. That is true in many cases. There are courses I would never be able to play because of the greens fees. My golfing highlight occurred at Pinehurst #2, the course that will host the US Open next year…and that happened only because my husband won an all-expense-paid vacation there by participating in a survey about golf equipment preferences.

Efforts are underway to make golf available to more people—for example, The First Tee Program, that introduces the game to children of all income strata and is supported through donations.

I’m not sure why I chose to write about golf this week. It’s an activity that gives me a bit of balance in my own life, that demands focus, and lifts my spirit. Except on those days when I do feel like tossing my clubs in the water hazard.

May each of us find balance in our life. For those of us who write, it’s too easy to be wrapped up in our heads, settled in front of our laptops, isolated from everyone and the beauty of nature. I guess, bottom line, my hope is that we each will find joy aside from that which writing gives us. And that we may learn the lessons it has to offer, whatever it is.

Footnote: I will not be doing much blogging this week. Sometimes a girl just needs a break. It may be, if the weather keeps on like this I won’t golf…this kind of wind can make it even more challenging. And then there’s the garden, begging for attention. Have a happy week, writing and blogging and whatever else you do. Blessings.


Today at dVerse Poet’s Pub, Meeting the Bar, I’m happy to introduce Pamela Sayers, who makes her home in Puebla, Mexico. I’ve always been impressed with Pamela’s ability to capture a sense of place in her poetry. Today she shares with us a bit about her own process of bringing us into the heart of Mexico, and invites us to join her by sharing something of our own, about the place we call home.

Photo: David SlottoChaparral CC

Photo: David Slotto
Chaparral CC

While I make my home in the high desert of Reno, Nevada–a short 40 minute drive to Lake Tahoe, when those cold winter winds and snows start getting to our old bones, my husband and I pack up the dogs and head south with the birds to Palm Desert, California. The desert is in my blood from my childhood, when we would head east from the LA area each April to soak in the sun and get our first sunburns of the year (big mistake).This poem is more of a reflection on what the desert means to me, than a travelogue. If you have a sense of deja-vu, I have posted it before!

I look forward to reading as many of your poems as I can and Pamela will support me since my husband and I are currently in the midst of a small renovation project.

Photo Credit: All Posters

Photo Credit: Tim Laman

Sometimes something
we judge to be barren
throbs with life.

Wind scatters sand
like gossips spread destruction.

If you go to the desert,
you will see the stars.
Perhaps one of them
holds your life purpose.
Then you are no longer
afraid of the viper’s kiss.

The power of thirst
consumes all other desires.

Shifting sands
are like people
who vacillate—
you don’t know
where you stand.

The desert is a canvas—
open to splashes
of vibrant color.

The desert is
a state of mind.
Are you alone?
Or lonely?

The desert is
a place of temptation.
There the devil tempted
Nothing has changed.

If you try
to leave your mark
upon the desert,
Nature will erase it.
We don’t really matter.

The hotter it gets,
the fewer people hang around.

Many people
do not understand
the beauty of the desert
or of wrinkled faces.

At some point
you will visit a desert
and discover

When the desert blooms,
you will find grace.