a long time gone by Karen White

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My thoughts on this novel…

I have read most of White’s published novels, and I think this one is my favorite thus far!

Home means so much to all of us and to each it is a different definition in our minds. White creates a meaning for her characters and shares it with her words. Her sensory descriptions make the images appear to me as read this fabulous book. Heirloom objects mentioned in repetition throughout make it true to her reader.
Vivien is wild at heart and often coming undone with her past chasing her and matching her in thoughts. Dementia is appearing through her mother’s actions and her speech. Mothers and daughters are evolving inside the story. The Walker women share some history and it drives the storyline along with surprises towards the ending.
Inherited ways are thought and discussed. Returning home is the key to facing Vivien’s past. Through Carol Lynne’s dairy, the reader learns the meaning of motherhood and how a women’s destiny can be revealed through those that she gives life. Children often shape women’s lives and what they do in the future. This is what the circle of life is for mothers and it takes place in this story.
The ghost of the dead woman takes form and drives the story into the past and what happened before Vivien was born. Generations are involved and objects give clues to what happened in the past. A ring inspires people to seek its meaning and it brings curiosity along the way to the intended discovery.
Whites handles the shifting timelines so well in all of her novels including this one. The era of the 1920’s has always fascinated me, and I became compelled to learn more about this timeline as I read on.

 

Keeping a gardening journal and talking about the replanting of a garden that held family memories was a nice touch too. The meaning behind the visiting crows and what a certain tree meant to the main character made me think about how nature often influences our daily thoughts. Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swamp sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget.

 

Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swampland sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and challenging journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one situation behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget. A step-daughter that becomes her focal point towards the end of the book. Chloe has made a lot of inroads and personal connections by visiting Vivien after she returns home. She becomes unforgettable even after she is retrieved by her father.

 

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Spring Tides in Salty Water

bluworld

Spring Tides in Salty Water

Chirping and singing fills the air,

Tides peak on the border of a shoal

Beach grasses protect the Dolly Varden–

A crab that moves toward the muddy land.

It has a light colored shell covered with red spots and they are darkly outlined.

This is why some refer to it as a calico crab.

Remaining hidden with a thin rippling layer of water across it

At the low point of the ebb,

Here the water is so glassy,

And every detail is revealed.

Crystal clarity to the very bottom,

A little school of minnows flickers like silver sparks,

Bigger fish wander in along narrow passages and between the shoals.

Beds of Sunray clams rest in the deeper areas with whelks preying on them.

Crabs swim and bury inside the sandy bottom.

Life comes out of hiding with horseshoe crabs and a toadfish that hides in

A clump of eelgrass with neat black spirals and a banded tulip shell.

Others glide rapidly with a clear track in the sand,

Minute plant cells are a principal food of each new generation.

Pea crabs and ghost shrimp are alive, too.

Many of these effectively deceive the human eyes by being covered with seaweed.

As the tide ebbs away,

Great whelks are exposed and they glide across the surface in search of clams,

Microscopic plants are gathered inside as seawater streams from their bodies.

The stone crab is their enemy with a massive purplish body and two brightly colored

Claws; they lurk in caves and among the jetties with the rocks.

Gulls seize and carry channel whelks away,

Then, they drop them on a hard surface and the shell shatters,

 Their treasure is recovered leaving behind bits of shell.

It is a world of force, change,

And constant motion as the sand acquires new sea creatures

From the heavy pounding surf.

            –J. E. Cook ©2014

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Exploiters in the Sea’s World~

bluagin

*Exploiters~*

A mole crab uses nets so efficient that they obtain
Numerous microorganisms in which whole cities
Live and where the waves break and splash.
In a spectacular movement an area of bubbles; like of a flock of birds
Emerge with crabs digging into the sandy shores with a magical ease
By way of a whirling motion, they dig into wet particles and wait for
Returning water.
They are flat with paw-like appendages and their eyes are mostly useless,
Depending on their sense of touch to guide them through the surf.
Sensory bristles and their gnome-like faces appear in a floating instant in the
Liquid glass stream—fading back.
There is a magical quality in these curtains hiding a world containing shifting sands
And foaming water.
They begin life as an orange colored egg, however, their life span is short.
Towards a summer’s end,
Transformation to an adult is complete.
Young crabs can be carried as far as 200 miles off shore in a current they may travel
Further…
Remaining active in the winter season
And spring brings their mating.
By July, most males are dead.
Females carry the eggs for several months until
They hatch before winter these females die.
A new generation lives among the coquina clams,
Screw shells, and Terebra.
                                                                                                     
                                                                          –J. E. Cook ©2014~Revised~2017
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Four Seasons of Change

goldenbuddun

Sunflowers in the middle of my table

Always reminding me of

Their beauty and their seeds of giving.

 

In my garden, the tomatoes, squash,

And yellow cucumbers grow right

Beside them.

 

They stand like sentinels

Waiting for the yellow finches

To peck out their faces

 

Morning arrives with a flush of pink

Near the horizon

It clears as the sun rises

 

The soil in the garden

Now soft from the overnight

Rain shower

 

My journal rests on the picnic table

As I drop the seeds into the turned soil

With the hole waiting for each seed to

Land

 

Never packing too tightly

For the green shoots to rise

The delicate growth following the sunshine

 

I always keep the dirt in the garden

Instead of the place where I sleep

And eat.

 

Every day, I hope no souls get

Called to the heavens.

A daily thought as I plant away.

 

No pesticides for me or my dirt patch

I think as the old lullabies play over and

Over inside my head—sunrises & sunsets

Forever over the fields of growing crops.

 

Autumn will bring out the dressed scarecrows,

Various gourds, and glowing Jack-o’ lanterns

Harvest festivals will fill the city streets

As people shop for homemade bread and cakes.

 

The dust of the harvests will fill the farmhouses

Bright blue skies will carry the scent of burning leaves

A cloudless sky will greet us with winter after

The memories of festivals fade

 

Falling stars on the horizon

But the Harvest Moon rises above

Like a great ball of fire

I’ll miss these subtle changes of color

When winter sets in with the coldness always

Near.  –J. E. Cook ©2017

skysparklesunny

Beaches & Sunflowers

Remembering dancing with friends and

A boyfriend

Me wearing sunglasses most of the time

Due to my sensitivity to

Bright lights,

beach trips

With colorful bathing suits

Rolling waves

Knocking us over

Our knees hitting the sand below us

Collapsing from exhaustion

On our beach towels

And drinking cold cans of beer

Together

Floppy hats covering aging women’s

Faces from the sun

Wearing wet suits home

Inside a stuffy hot car

Our sensible shoes left at home

Envying the people inside the air

Conditioned shops as we pass them

Watching ice cream being served up

Others sipping on iced drinks in varying

Colors and flavors

The drive making us sleepy

Wanting only a nice cozy bed

After a refreshing shower

Floral-print summer dresses cover our

Sun-kissed bodies and sand is between

Our bare feet and our flip-flops

Envying the colors of the sunflowers

In the fields, we pass

Their faces turned to the sun

Like us on the beach

Loving to be surrounded by their

Happy faces

Their seeds are so useful

Yes, they are my favorite flower

Even though, picking one flower

As a favorite is such a difficult

Choice in life. —J.E. Cook ©2017

wavin1

 

 

Shared Sunsets

DONELOL
A Poem by Josie E. Cook M. A.
~Having the right connection~

Shared Sunsets

The girl that is rare
Is the one dear to one’s heart.

As I stand by my tree of choice
And watch the sun make its
Colors at Sunset
With the birds lining the tree
Branches–but not uttering a song
At all
As puddles fill with insects
And the rows of corn
Flutter in the wind
In all the fields sprawling
Before me
The black silhouettes
Further out reflect the remaining
Reds in the skies

Those evening skies
As I hold the hand of my closest
Friend and we remain silent
And happy with the passing
Of time
Because it happens with us
Together
Before this lovely scene in
The sky.
–J. E. Cook ©2017
gorgousbride