Pumpkin Spice Lattes: A Poem

A picture of a coffee mug that says, "pumpkin spice everything" surrounded by pumpkins

My daughters are pumpkin spice lattes.

October-born with cloves and cinnamon, they fill autumn with change. A new birth, another year older, the anticipated benefits of age–“When I’m five years old–”

Leaves the color of nutmeg and ginger shower their heads as they play in festive canter. They laugh as they gallop around the yard, chasing their youth like squirrels stashing acorns.

Fall in New England is a caffeinated season. Eagerly awaiting frosty celebrations, they sparkle with excitement as they snuggle in warm blankets and drink from warm mugs.

Creative Spaces

Creativity demands space–space to digest our experiences, reflect on emotions, contemplate the human experience. This space provides us with opportunities for introspection, a necessary component of artistic processes. Without such space, we find our muses have left us and the distractions of our daily lives leech beyond their usefulness and rob of us any creative impulse.

This is the old trope of writer’s block. There is nothing new about “letting life get in the way” of creative processes. The creative experience and the creation of art in its many forms provides a window to our soul and insight into our worlds. Yet, it also exposes us to critics and criticism. Sometimes it is simply feels safer to succumb to the “busy-ness” of our lives than it is create a space for vulnerability.

 

Earth Day Reflections

We left our leaves in piles in our backyard all winter. They have been covered with snow, peaking through with each thaw. Now, they are wet, muddy reminders of the consequences of our procrastination.

We had some good reasons for not cleaning up our yard during the fall. We were busy with preschool commitments. I finished my master’s program. Matt worked more hours.

We didn’t realize how much debris would accumulate in our yard.

We thought we would have more time before the first snow.

There are so many examples of this in our lives. We avoid or underestimate the work. We put off tasks we need to complete or conversations we need to have. We don’t anticipate the amount of time something will take and, as a consequence, miss our window of opportunity.

Earth Day started in 1970 to promote awareness and activism for environmental protection. A worldwide event, Earth Day reminds us that now is the time to change our actions towards human-driven pollutants before the damage to our environment becomes irreversible. While large policy change seems to be a reoccurring issue in the U.S. government, even small changes from throwaway to reusable, can help the environment (and your wallet).

This Earth Day (or sometime this summer), plant a tree, choose a reusable or sustainable option and make a conscious decision to be more mindful of opportunity. We regret the things we don’t do,

Pile of leaves
Piles of leaves

 

 

100,000 Miles

I had seen it coming. The numbers had been creeping upwards. Everyday the odometer was reaching for that next milestone. Today, my 2007 Toyota Corolla hit 100,000 miles.

The word milestone has an interesting origin. The term originally referred to actual stone markers used to indicate the distance traveled (mile) along a road. This practice dates back to the Roman Empire and today, we see this mile markers on major highways in the form of small signs along the guardrail.

The milestone marked the physical passage of distance and we use the same term to describe significant events in our lives. Birthdays, graduations, marriages, jobs, relocations, births are all important markers that punctuate our lives with before and after moments. The first job out of college reconciled my fears regarding employability with an English degree. The birth of our child changed our lives as we became parents. When we moved into our house, we had a distinct realization of the “before” and the “after.”

Instead of the passage of physical space, these milestones mark the passage of time. Depending on the speed at which we travel through life, we meet these milestones at different times. It took 11 years for my car to reach 100,000 miles. My first car–a 1998 Dodge Neon–didn’t make it past 92,000 miles before it succumbed to the rust caused by New England winters and road treatments.

But this is how life works. Sometimes, we hit milestones, and sometimes we miss them. Sometimes, we are in a place were we can pull over and take a picture or two.

 

Odometer reading 99999 and Odometer reading 100000
The moment “before” and the moment “after.”

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