Saturday, October 16, 2010


I took my own advice this afternoon, taking some time, taking some photos.
It was a gorgeous day here in Muskoka. Wish you were here.

I am so behind.
The car rattles along the highway.
Going home. 
Going to work.
Doesn’t matter. 
It just goes.
On a track. 
On a one-way street.
On a wheel that never stops turning.
Behind at work. 
Deadlines loom like
monsters in grown-up closets,
hiding behind the dresses
and the sensible pumps.
I start one thing.
Almost finish another.
I lose myself in the middle
of three more.
People interrupt.
Phones ring.
Tempers burn. Hearts race.
I hide in the bathroom
because it is safe.
Behind at home.
Dishes grow black in the sink.
Laundry moulders in the machine,
wrinkles in the dryer,
breeds on the bedroom floor.
Stuff overwhelms me,
begging to be put away.
I don’t know where that is,
Maybe, if I find it, 
I could go there myself.
And let the dishes, the laundry,
and the dusty knick-knacks
find their own way.
Behind everywhere.
Cards to write.
E-mails to send.
Stories to read.
Apologies to make.
Thank you for the crystal vase,
it will look perfect in the hutch
with the doors shut
alongside the dishes
I only use at Christmas.
Hey friend, how are you?
I’ve been busy, I’m behind,
I’m sorry I haven’t written sooner.
I’m sorry I haven’t read more.
I’m sorry I said those awful things.
I’m sorry I’m not the person
you might have thought I was.
I’m sorry I wasn’t a better mother,
daughter, sister, wife, friend.
I’d try harder but I’m so behind.
Unread books pile up
beside my bed.
They are guilt, printed on paper.
Unwashed hair,
unmade bed,
unsomething else.
Alone in the car,
on the way home,
or to work
(does it matter?),
I catch my breath.
Sunlight filters through the forest,
golden leaves, the stubborn ones,
still clinging to hope,
glow yellow in waning afternoon.
I want to stop the car,
jump out, take a moment
to walk through the forest,
crunch brown leaves underfoot,
smell the earthy wonder
of the changing seasons.
I know it would be magic.
It would bring me back
to childhood wandering,
destination-less, timeless.
Stop the car,
my heart sings.
You won’t be sorry!
This moment won’t last,
I tell myself.
Take it while it’s here.
But the car rattles along the highway.
On to the next thing.
The next thing.
The next thing.
I am so behind.

By the way, if you have a moment, pop over to the Canadian Blog Awards, where my good friend Laurita Miller's blog, Brain Droppings, is up for a prize in the Culture & Literature Blog category.
Just go to the Canadian Blog Awards website and cast for your vote for dear Laurita. She is an outstanding writer and has a most elegant blog, full of wonderful stories, poems and photographs.
Good luck, Laurita! Hope you win!


  1. This is perfection. You said so much, so much. And I can so relate to being behind and I also wish I knew where away was. I really love this.

    Your photos are beautiful. This is such a lovely time of year in your part of the country.

    (thank you)

  2. Brevity, genius, cutting through, navigating the lifemines, You have a generous heart to all others but yourself. I hope you can spare more for you, I'm glad to stopped for some replenishment. I love you and I love hearing your heart,see past the guilt, guilt is torture, I understand it, please (I hope you will) stop your self-torture.XO

  3. What a perfect poem. I have nothing else to add. Just...perfect.

  4. Yes. Absolutely perfect. It's life as we know it.

    Love this, Cathy.

  5. Wonderful poem.
    BTW, last issue of Sideroads was terrific.

  6. Oh, don't worry. Let everything fall slack, be lazy, let life come to you. When you're rested and refreshed you'll tackle one of those projects with energy.

    I love the Northern latitudes this time of year. Isn't it weird that we sometimes feel guilty just letting ourselves be for a few moments?

  7. I'm glad you paused, Cathy.

    And I forgot to mention, as part of our wedding gift, PLEASE don't send a thank-you card. I know you thank us. Save yourself the time and ink and just give me an extra-long hug next time I see you instead.

    :) P.

  8. Laurita - thanks for your sweet comment, and your note. I hope to win the blog awards contest, I really, really do!
    Kel - thanks for your concern, oh adorable-one, but fear not, I am fine! No self-torturing - gawd, I'm way too busy to fit that one in! Just overwhelmed some days. The good news is I accomplished a lot this weekend and am no feeling semi-smug and satisfied. Yay me! Hugs to you!
    Catherine & Gracie - it's only perfect because obviously you guys are just as busy and "behind" as me! We should form a club!
    Deb - awww, you liked Sideroads! Thanks! Oh! Guess what! One of my photos of last winter's storm MIGHT, emphasis on MIGHT, be the cover this time out. (fingers crossed)
    Mark - no worries, I'm as slack as they come. And I did have a productive weekend, so I'm full of beans again. Yes, the north is a wonderful place in the fall.
    Paula - TOO LATE! Buahahahaha! I just finished your thank you card this afternoon! But I'll still steal an extra-long hug next time I see you just because you're so darn huggable.

  9. ACK! Typo on Laurita's comment! I meant to say, "I hope YOU win the blog awards contest, I really, really do!" ACK! Sorry, that makes me sound like a big-headed putz! ACK!

  10. I am so glad you visited my blog so that I could have a link to visit yours. This poem is EXACTLY what I needed. I keep telling myself to stop the car more often. I am going to read this a few more times. Bless you!


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