Saturday, November 19, 2011

Essay ~ Part 4 "Night Fears"

Night Fears
(by Marta Weller, December 4, 2009)

Part 4

My surreal images of driving home and encountering deer
haven't always had the aspect of horror.
Sometimes there is a truly magical quality which can be uplifting.
 
This is what I try to remember as I wend my way home at night,
driving along a dark country road.
I remember my twilight meeting with an impressive stag.
Not so much a meeting as a peripheral encounter with this magical creature.
 
The sky had changed to that glowing twilight lavender,
that almost luminous steel-bluish purple that makes one believe
the stories of elves, fairies and unicorns could be true -
or that at the very least something portentous would momentarily occur.
 
As I crested the hill several hundred yards beyond the driveway of my house
(which stands in a row of Cape Cod style houses across from a field no longer planted, more like a meadow or pasture kept mown as if it were a giant's front yard),
an awesome sight came into view.

In the middle
of the emerald green pasture  
stood a stag - head raised,
seemingly listening
to a distant call.
 
I slowed to watch.
Slowly, he began to stride
across the pasture
away from my roadway
toward a line of trees.

Not a fear-filled run,
erratic and crazed.
A majestic, head held high,
rack gleaming in the last beams of sunset,
powerful, purposeful progress to his next destination.
 
It was eerie. Right across from houses with freshly mown lawns,
this king had deigned to pause in his travels.
 
Driving home tonight,
all alone on a dark country road,
all these images of deer and many more,
scud through my brain.
Like the clouds passing in front of the moon above,
the images flicker past my mind's eye.
The darkness encapsulates me.
The yellow lines mesmerize me.
And now I realize what my mind has analyzed.
My nighttime driving fears have revealed themselves to be
night fears of night-deer.


-fin-

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Essay ~ Part 3 "Night Fears"

Night Fears
(By Marta Weller, December 4, 2009)

Part 3

The next nighttime driving image that fills my mind as I drive along this dark country road on my lonely way home is more fleeting but yet just as eerie.

I remember driving home along another, smaller country road.
A back road much nearer to my home.
It was fall - another fall -
when the deer are moving more erratically, more skittishly
because the human hunters are on the prowl -
day and night they harass the deer.
Daytimes the deer are hunted with bow and arrow, 
later in the season, with rifles -
but at night the deer spotters prowl,
shining lights into hedgerows and fields 
causing the hunted, skittish creatures to become bands of frightened, potentially dangerous zombies.

The night was very black because the moon was in its last quarter. I had just turned onto a small back-country road, a shortcut to the highway that was only a few miles from my home. It was a road lined on my left with open fields and on my right with a few houses in a wooded area. The road went down a small hill. I could barely see the point in the road ahead where I knew the houses and trees along my right would end and a field would begin. 

As I strained my eyes to see the road beyond the lit tunnel of my headlights, my eyes caught some kind of movement off to the side - just beyond the range of my headlights.

Suddenly the movement spilled across the road in front of me. 
My headlights picked up a couple of fast moving deer 
shooting from right to left across the road.
I was far enough away to slow down to a crawl.
As I crept through the black night towards the little access road 
that led into the field on my right,
I kept peering into the spot from which the two deer had emerged.

As I stared, the blackness seemed to be moving -
(imagine this in the black, black night)
different shades of black shifted shape.

When I realized what I was seeing, 
I stopped.
And waited.
My eyes had focused on a herd of deer, 
a dozen, 
maybe even fifteen, 
milling just outside of the trees 
along the access road into the field.

Maybe it was the slow approach of my car, 
or that I had stopped and my headlights unnerved them -
maybe they just decided to bolt all at once,
but suddenly all the deer glided across the road in front of me.
My headlights gleamed on ghostly deer, a solid stream of them.
It was completely silent.
A river of deer flowing across the road.
The twin beams of light shown on their backs and hindquarters
as they moved in an eerie silent rippling motion
over the road and down the embankment into the opposite field,
disappearing once more into the inky black night.

Just a flash of an image that was seared on my brain.
Another nighttime deer encounter I will never forget.


To be continued

Monday, October 31, 2011

Essay ~ Part 2 "Night Fears"

"Night Fears"
(Marta Weller December 4, 2009)

Part 2

We all have our own personal horror stories.
Our nighttime driving or country road horror stories.
Myself included. 
But mine aren't nearly so graphic
nor so full of true horror as my father-in-law's.
I have had my brush with deer,
but each time that experience has been progressively less sinister
though no less eerie.

Imagine driving home from work, having to drive quite a distance. Driving along a country road that isn't terribly familiar but yet a road that is nice and broad and well-maintained. There seemed to be no other cars on the road that fall evening although it was not all that late. The moon was shining but not full and was at times obscured by clouds.

It was just very dark and lonely.
 
My car crested a small rise in the road 
and as my headlights arced back down
to once again find the road -
there they were.
Two deer standing in my lane.

I slammed on my brakes and veered to the right of one, missing it entirely.
But in those elongated seconds, the other deer unfroze enough to try to get away. It turned back to the right side of the road -the way it had come- and as the one deer moved away from the other, I tried desperately to steer between them. But my little Jetta couldn't quite squeeze through the gap. 

Although I missed the one on the left, the one still frozen, 
I hit the moving one.                             
I heard the sickening thud and bump.
But my car kept going.
Nothing seemed to impede it.

My mind had now frozen like the deer's.
I was many miles yet from home. 
There was no such thing as a cell phone. 
I couldn't imagine leaving a deer in the middle of the road 
for some other unsuspecting motorist to hit. 
I drove slowly, 
heart pounding, 
hands shaking but with a death grip on the steering wheel, 
along the country road - 
desperately looking for a house with lights on.
Any house.
Any stranger.
All my frozen mind could think of was
how to find a phone and
to find out what had happened to the deer.

After what felt like a mile but was probably only a few tenths of one, I found a house with a light in the window.

Did I pause to think of the other horror story? 
The story of a woman alone, at night, with a broken-down car and the horrible things done to her by the strange man who stops to 'help'?
No, my mind was frozen.
My mind was fixated on finding someone to help.

I pulled into that stranger's driveway. I got out of my car and walked along that dark sidewalk to the door of that strange house. The house with no porch light but with a light on inside. I knocked on the door. And waited with a pounding heart.

No porch light came on, but a man opened the door.
I looked up into that strange man's face, dimly lit from behind and I told him,
"I hit a deer, just down the road a ways. I'm okay, I think my car is okay, but I want to make sure the deer isn't a hazard. Can you help me?"

The stranger walked with me to my car and checked it for damage. He agreed that it was okay. The right sideview mirror was dangling and a streak of blood trailed along the door. The front grill was kicked in but the right headlight seemed okay.

My horror story should end here, 
but I was probably in shock 
and probably did next, 
exactly what no woman should do.

I was still worried about the deer. What if it was lying on the road?
What if it was wandering - dazed and injured - still on the road?
Someone else might hit it and not be so lucky.

The stranger said he would call the authorities and report the deer for me, but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to go back and look for it. The stranger offered to drive down the road to look for it although he didn't really know where it had happened. I said I could show him. His pickup was parked in the driveway near my car. We got into his truck and we drove back down the highway, 
the dark country road.
Together.
This strange man and I.

We crested the hill and I said, "This was where it had happened." 
We turned around on the lonely highway
in the dark, dark night
and we slowly crept along the road watching for a deer.
There was no deer.

The stranger shrugged and said, "It happens. It may run off and be all right. Or it may run off and die under a bush."
Either way, there was no deer on the road.
Not any more.

This stranger, this man not much older than I,
this kind man, took me back to his house.
Back to my car in his driveway 
and once again assured me he would call the authorities. 
He watched me get into my car and back out of his driveway. 
He watched me pull out onto that lonely, dark country highway 
to continue on my interrupted way home. 
Home to the safety of my house, 
my dog, 
and my husband.

Even now when I think back on that night, the eeriness of the events unnerve me. I was acting as though I were a zombie or a puppet. I didn't know what I was doing.
The darkness and the loneliness fit the horror movie atmosphere completely. The results were just much happier.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Essay ~ "Night Fears"

Night Fears
(by Marta Weller, December 4, 2009)

Part 1

Once again I am driving home alone,
alone except for the moon traveling ahead of me.
Alone with my thoughts in the dark, dark night
and the moon shining among the clouds.
The moonlight on the trees along the country road,
gleams and glows in the almost surreal landscape.
The headlights of my car illuminate the double yellow lines
as they slide along before me.
The black macadam ribbon bends and twirls along with my thoughts
and the yellow lines become a magnet for my eyes.
Like a hypnotist's or an analyst's watch -
mesmerizing me.
That's when the fear begins to rise.

I really don't mind driving at night so much. But I know several people who really and truly fear it. I know others who don't drive at night due to a physical problem with seeing in the darkness. My own fear stems from being alone in the car with a rampant imagination and a mind full of horrible images.

Driving home alone in the dark on a country road always brings to mind stories told by my father-in-law, an over-the-road truck driver. Horror stories that left unpleasant, indelible images in my mind. Images that run through my mind like a ribbon of film. 
A horror film.

I have never liked horror movies. I have always too easily put myself in the place of the victim. His stories have done the same. They are still there, ready to surface during these nighttime drives.

One story especially always replays in my mind...

My father-in-law drove truck -solo- over routes through the eastern mountain ranges. He did a lot of nighttime driving over lonely mountain roads. His nightmare tale begins on a black night on one of those mountain roads. 

He told of how his truck slowly came up behind a family in a station wagon - easily seen by his headlight beams. As the two vehicles traveled the dark mountain road, one after the other - suddenly the incredible happened.  A buck leapt from the hillside beside the road.

The buck crashed through the passenger window of the car, 
killing the young mother in the seat beside her husband.

Unbelievably true.
A horror story burned into my mind forever.
An image that resurfaces on my drives along dark country roads.

To be continued...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Brings Us the Little Death...

After a long interval while my busy life has intruded upon my creative life, I am back and with a story to tell - or at least an essay I wrote a while ago that I would like to share.

To begin, let me introduce this short story or essay by saying that this October has been a month full of death in various forms. Sad deaths or endings, and deaths that are just a precursor to a new beginning. Fall in itself is the beginning of that little death that is winter. Fall is filled with dying leaves and, here and there, bared tree limbs looking like skeletal bones being lifted up to the skies. But we all know that fall comes before the beginning of a new year and life beginning again in the spring. This year fall has included the ending of a job for one of my co-workers (a feeling akin to mourning pervades my workplace when we talk about our friend who no longer works with us). But her job ending may be the first step along the road to a new beginning. Then just over a week ago a wonderful, warm, caring woman lost her fight with the Big C. She was a pillar of support for our church and a great friend to me. She was a giving and loving woman who will be missed by a big family and many, many friends.

And then nearly every day as I drive to work through the colorful falling leaves, I see at least one new animal lying dead alongside the road. I'd venture to say that almost half of these children of Nature that have met their end through a deadly meeting with a vehicle are deer.

It is both sad and scary to see these graceful creatures lying lifeless alongside the road. Each time I see any animal in such a circumstance, I grieve. But when I see these large animals in ever increasing numbers littering the roadsides I not only think about their poor dead souls - I also wonder and worry about the human who drove the vehicle that hit them. And then my animal alert system goes into overdrive and I grip the steering wheel a little harder as I continue on my way. My brain brings forth the fact that fall is the season deer become more active, appearing suddenly from the underbrush or leaping over fences and down hillsides, dashing across roads. And as I drive along those roads littered with deer carcasses, my tension ratchets up several notches.

A couple years ago, I wrote an essay or short story about all my own deer encounters. I will present it here in my blog - serialized - over the next few days, the last days of October, as we come to Halloween.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Valuable By-product - PaLA Conference 2011

These past four days have been filled to the brim with ideas & activities, friends & acquaintances (new & old), work & fun. Having attended a conference for librarians and library support staff in the place of our Children's Librarian, I felt it behooved me to attend seminars she might have done. A fun task.

This year fully a third of the conference sessions seemed to focus on Young Adults and / or Poetry. Since I am interested in both... since I was in a sense the proxy for the Children's Librarian... and since I write poetry ...I reaped a harvest of wonderful YA program ideas and produced several poems during poetry sessions. 

The program ideas will be written about and given to Miss Laura (our Children's Librarian) within the next few days.

The poetry - I will reproduce here. I hope you enjoy these "quickie poems", these workshop products.

The first poem was based on an "ice breaker" opening for a creative writing workshop. Describe something you like and something you dislike. Luckily I was not called upon to contribute because I only came up with something I like. We were supposed to use a description that would explain the like or dislike. 

Here is my "like" - 

Waking
 
I like waking up to a waking morning.
The sun slowly opening its eye, waking the sky;
The birds waking in the predawn dimness.
I lie in bed, eyes closed, listening to the birds -
to their chittering and peeping in near darkness.
And as the sky grows lighter in the waking morn,
these feathered friends on tree limb and power line
raise their voices, intensifying, as the sun rises.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Poem ~ "FOG - damp, grey, dawn"

Fog
hugs the shore
muffling the roar.
Damp
thick air
misting my hair.

I walk the water-hardened sand
waiting to see the sun rise and color the land.
Distant banks of fog billow and drift
while waves crash quietly and hiss.
Water glides in with a gentle ebb and flow
as birds stand nearby, silent and slow.
The white, hot orb slowly appears
on a blanket of clouds, wet and smeared.

Dawn - Ocean City, New Jersey
Grey                             
clouds blush
coloring the hush.
Dawn
becomes day
in a quiet way.


- mARTa weller, November 2002

Friday, September 23, 2011

Misty Morning Malingerer

After a busy week I have awoken to a morning somehow designed to encourage malingering. The sun rose but could not dispel the thick fog which had descended as darkness lightened.

My day off, planned to a fullness decidedly not dedicated to relaxation – planned to begin early – has begun with my rising hours later than usual.

The sound of the cars passing by comes through the open windows as a shushing noise, as if telling the world to hush, to not disturb the sleeping neighborhood.

And then I hear them. The geese have returned. Every so often they clamor at each other with a honking and a flapping of wings. How long they will remain, I don’t know. Maybe they are making a circuit of favorite places to gather and feed before moving out to their winter home.  One week here, two weeks in another neighborhood miles away, only to return this week, their numbers increasing. This morning it seems as if their noise is my alarm clock clamoring for my attention, telling me to get moving.

And yet here I sit. Malingering. That is the only word for it. Well, yes procrastinating would also fit, but that is such a modern hard word. Malingering is an older word, a softer word that also refers to the fact that I am sitting here, writing. Avoiding doing some planned work, some things I should be doing.

Malingering fits this misty, dreary morning.
Today I am a malingerer.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Remembrance and a Tribute

"Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit presents 
10 Years Later 
~A Time to Reflect~ 
Our 9/11 Tribute"
Sunday September 11, 2011

One week has passed and still I can't get over the impact of this concert. I was one of those up on the stage playing an instrument - trying to read the music through tear filled eyes. I'm sure it would also have been difficult to find a dry eye in the SRO audience either. 

The concert performance included not only the Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit (band and bandfront) but also several songs included the addition of the voices from the combined choruses of the Boyertown Senior High, Jr. High East & Junior High West, & the Boyertown Area Choral Association (a community chorus) as well as soloist Tammy Black. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spring Greenery

Although it is now Fall, I just have to share this beautiful pastoral scene. I get to drive by these spring houses or root cellars or smoke houses on my way to and from work. I love watching the changing palettes of color as the seasons advance through the year.
Greshville, PA (April 2011)

Poem ~ Haiku:

Green

Freshly mown hay
I close my eyes and inhale
Green heaven scent



(written by mARTa weller - August 9, 2011)

First Signs of Fall

Nature's first signs of fall have already come and gone. And it is only the middle of September! Fall is so ephemeral, each day there is something different. But the first weeks, the signs of fall come and go with a subtlety that the observer might miss the significance.

The weather has been very summer-like until the beginning of this week just past. Temperatures in the 80's or thunderstorms and monsoon quantities of rainfall. So who would be thinking of fall except children and their parents who are back in school? But school buses resuming their rumbling up and down the roadway in front of my house was not a part of Nature's change of seasons. Not the first signs of fall to which I refer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Want to Comment?

I'd love to have your comments.

I have heard there are difficulties in commenting on my Blog. I haven't seen any comments appear for moderation but since this is a new Blog I thought I just hadn't received any yet. However, a couple friends personally told me they had tried to comment but nothing happened.

So I went looking for solutions and here is what I found:
I checked all my settings and do indeed have everything set up for moderated comments on my Blog so there was one other possibility, something on the commenter's computer is blocking the process.
Blogger Help Forum posted this -

When you leave a comment do you see the Spam Captcha Code after you hit Submit/Post?
No, nothing. My comment just vanishes. And, I have pop ups enabled, yes.
I can leave comments on blogspot blogs who use pop up comments and full page..just not the ones using the drop down menu. 

Ok, that's the problem
Something on your PC is blocking the Spam Captcha from displaying. You need to see what firewall/popup/adblockers you have enabled and see if they are the cause of the blocking.
Also make sure you have 3rd Party Cookies Enabled.
AHA!! You solved the problem!! I had popups enabled, but not 3rd party cookies. sigh!! So, it was a cookie problem. 

I have also just today learned that another factor making commenting on a Blogspot Blog very difficult is if you are using Firefox as your web browser. The best browser choice would be Chrome as that is a Google product and therefore the most compatible. But some other websites do not play well with Chrome. Personally, I like it and have been using Chrome for nearly as long as it has been in existence. 


So, I hope this Forum thread helps anyone who wants to comment on my Blog in the future. 
I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Poem~ "The Leaf"

The Leaf

It swooped down                         
and touched the ground
then made a mad dash
to the center of the road
where it suddenly stopped
and leaped into the air
and swirled and twirled
and skipped back again
the way it had come
but not all the way
for suddenly it lay
quietly at rest
in the center of the lane
till along came a car  
which stirred up the air                          (automatic setting, Olympus digital camera)
and gave it new zest
to dance with a flair
and zoom way up high
to float down from the sky
then it came to a rest
at the end of its glide
safe at last
in the tall
green grass
by the roots
of another
tree.


(written by mARTa weller - April 14, 2002)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Love My Job

Yes, it's true. I love my job. And I'm sure you'll believe me when I tell you where I work.
 - - I work in a public library.
A relatively new library with a spacious, beautiful building filled with lots of books, lots of movies - both on DVD and on VHS (still), lots of music CDs, and lots of computers for the public to use. And I enjoy my fellow staff members (each has a different personality and different skills to enhance the services of our library) and there's always something different happening at the library. Whether it is a program or a question asked by a patron there is always something different each and every day.

Sound too saccharine? Well, I'm not saying it is an easy job. I certainly don't get to sit and read a book or play on the computer all day like some people might think. In fact, I hardly have time to get the special projects (projects like rearranging the music CD collection or weeding out old, unused materials to make room for new items) done in between checking out and checking in books for patrons.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Introduction ~

I love words and the art of putting words on paper -
to describe a feeling, a moment, a memory, even an image.
I'm a reader - I love reading
but I also consider myself a writer
as well as an artist of sorts.
I dabble in all kinds of creativity
from writing poetry and prose
to taking photographs and drawing.
This Blog is a collection of my words and images;
a collection of my thoughts on other people's words.
I invite you to read and participate
and hopefully enjoy.