Search This Blog

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Cool, Clear Water

I am not a good swimmer. My bones sink rather than float. We have lived in the same place for forty years and I can count on my fingers and a few toes the number of times I have entered the common outdoor pool.


I don't like changing clothes. I don't like dragging a swimsuit (even that expensive German one I foolishly bought five years ago) up over the lumps and bumps of my body. And I don't like the feeling of walking down those pool steps inch by inch as I feel my uncomfortable way into the cold water.


When I turned sixty I went to Hawaii with a small group to swim (in the wild) with the dolphins. After a week on the big island we flew to Maui (or maybe it was Kauai) to hike the trail that has, I think, seven waterfalls. As we prepared for this hike, the leader said, "Be sure to wear your bathing suit under your clothes, because we'll go swimming in the pond at the top of the trail. And I have to warn you that the water is very very cold."


I panicked. Truly, I have a horror of the cold—and especially cold water on my exposed skin. I seriously considered "forgetting" to wear my suit. "Oh my goodness," I would say, "I totally forgot to wear my swimsuit. Guess I'll have to sit this one out."


Given the cost of the trip, however, and my determination to experience everything on offer, I conformed. I wore my suit under my clothes. I still wasn't sure what I'd do when presented with a freezing lake, but I wore my suit.


We hiked up the slope, seeing beautiful waterfalls and exotic flora and fauna that Ontario doesn't offer. Finally we reached the little lake. We stripped to our suits. There were nine of us in all—two leaders and seven participants. They all dashed over the rocks and threw themselves into the water.


I stayed at the edge. Finally, embarrassed by my own habitual timidity, I decided to join them. They were filling every inch of that pool, from edge to edge, diving under, hanging on to rocky outcrops, playing water tag. And laughing. So I went in.


The inch-by-inch approach will take you only so far when the water is freezing. At some point you just have to prepare yourself to die and plunge in. So I did, with the gasping and shivering and expected discomfort.


And then, in no time at all, I was happy. I was enjoying myself in this cold water. I still wasn't a great swimmer, of course. But I splashed and side-stroked and floated in that unbelievably frigid water. I surprised myself with the new feeling of having changed one of my nay-saying, negative habits. It was the beginning of something new.



Copyright © 2019 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Unpredictable

In the ideal world

all things will be unpredictable.

Imagine the freedom of not knowing the outcome.


During the sleepless nights

that come with age

there will be no planning:

not of wardrobe choices

not of meals

not of stories to write—

for why (how to) plan when nothing is predictable?


Cause and effect,

those mainstays of conventional wisdom,

will simply vanish as a concept.

All actions and events will be unexpected.

No longer reserved for birthday parties,

the shouts of "Surprise!" will echo

from the mountains,

babble in the flowing brooks,

tumble cheerfully from the throat

of the cardinal.


And the haunting spectre of security

that deludes us

will disappear into the mist,

leaving us free.


Copyright © 2019 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Small Things

Button, button,

who's got the button?

Hands in prayer—position,

the It party-guest passes from one person

to the next,

inserting flattened hands

between similarly flattened,

very receptive,

pairs of little hands.

Guests sit in circled chairs

watching keen-eyed

to distinguish the

true deposition of the button

from the mock deposit.


Now who has the button?

Where has it been left?

Was the It sufficiently skilled

to fool all the watchers?


Only two people among all these party-goers

(poker-faced, if they're smart)


who has the button.


Small things are easily hidden.

Look! You can hide a button

in your prayer-folded hands,

then pass it along,

in secret,

to a friend.


Small things disappear

if you so much as blink.

Copyright © 2019 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Holding Back

I've held back, truth to tell,

through shyness, circumspection, or,

to give my reluctance its real name, fear.

What horrors might I otherwise have revealed?

I hold back still.


Do not infer that I am silent,

for I can talk my way around a story,

saying everything and revealing nothing.

I hold in reserve the truths

I uncover along the way,

retaining the option

to tell them one day,

some future day when the time is right.


Until then, my words will continue

to spool and spill from the pen.

They do, these stories, go on and on.


Wait for the coming of the blue moon;

wait for the time of not holding back.



Copyright © 2019 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sharing Words

First, find the right person—

or more than one right person,

though only one at a time—

into whose soft and expectant ear

you will pour the honey of your song.


That's all you need,

for it is the mutual act of hearing/speaking

that stimulates the very tips

of your energy strands--

the ones connecting you to those unseen guardians

who shepherd you (if you let them)

through the byways and alleys of your life.


Don't be profligate with your words.

Spend them only when there are ears that hear.

Otherwise, keep shtum.

Some say, however, that

when no true ears are present,

you can connect directly to the unseen

to get your fix.


Copyright © 2019 Ann Tudor
Food blog: