Issue 54: The Everyday Readers' Notes

Issue 54: The Everyday Readers' Notes

by Ruminate Magazine January 29, 2020 2 Comments

We are thrilled to share some hand-picked readers' notes from Issue 54: The Everyday. Be sure to check out our spring issue which releases mid-March!

___

From Rick Kempa, Grand Junction, CO

Alerted by the crunch of her slippers in the snow, hundreds of little brown birds in the bushes quiver. Each winter morning, she hauls a pail down the steps, scoops out one, two, three cups, flings seed right and left, goes back in and emerges with a pot of water steaming like a cauldron. There’s a pie tin frozen to the earth beneath the cherry tree. She frees it with her toe, stoops, taps it against a rock until a disk of ice pops out, refills it. 
     We stand in the bedroom window, elbow-to elbow, and watch the little brown birds swarm, tides of them incoming and outgoing, attuned to some primal pattern. Collared doves drop down off the wire to strut and peck, peck and strut. We listen for the clarion call of the jay to thrill through the neighborhood, summoning the tribe that will arrive from all sides and scatter the LBBs in loud clouds. Then comes a squirrel and away the jays, complaining, and the dogs in their pen are crazed. By mid-morning, every last seed has been cracked open, the kernel extracted, and a film of ice has formed upon the tin, and Fern, surveying the scene from the window—the doves brooding on the wire, the squirrel on the fence, the LBBs in the bushes side- stepping and twitching—frowns. 
     “It’s like nothing has changed,” she exclaims. “They’re all still hungry! And cold, too.” 
     And so out again into the snow she goes with pail and pot to feed the huddled masses.

_____

From Rebecca Moon Ruark, Galesville, MD

As the newest church choir soprano, I’m becoming accustomed to joining my voice—still shaky with nerves—with others. To hear the parts commingle and swell from our pews to the right of the altar, where a statue of Mary holds an infant Jesus on her lap. My own boys, twin tweens, don’t clamber for my lap anymore. I am no longer needed to keep the peace in the pew, so I joined the choir for Christmas’s glorias and stayed. 
     Soon it will be both Ordinary Time and ordinary time. Not every song can be a gloria; not every day a holiday, an anointing. We are all a little peaky with high notes, fats, and sugar, in need of a tonic. I remember the glorious day of my boys’ baptism, chrism anointing their pinched infant foreheads, marking them God’s and ours. But more than that, I remember the restaurant meal after, a big group of us at a long table by the windows overlooking the parking lot. 
     It was a Greek place in a strip mall anchored by pawn shops and cell phone stores. But the salted bread arrived warm, puffed, and steaming. Not wanting to miss such mundane bliss, I nursed the boys at the table.

______

From Frank DiPalermo, San Diego, CA

I am a tourist in this Caribbean ocean, on vacation from December, swimming too far from the boat where I decide not to worry for a while—about swimming too far, about my rickety aunt back home, about all the accolades I don’t receive and the money I don’t earn, about the sense of failure that plagues me no matter how much evidence I array against it. 
     As soon as I make this decision (don’t you dare worry!) two sharks appear, swim in slow drowsy circles over the vibrant reef, twenty, thirty feet below, seemingly unaware of me, of each other, of the magic of sunlight slanting through the water making a glinting web around me, around them and, even though they are sharks, I somehow stick to my miraculous decision not to worry. 
     The three of us swim and glide, together and separate, them at home and fearless, me—like I said—a tourist, marveling at the neighborhood.

______

Art: My Minneapolis by Miriam Rudolph

Each issue of Ruminate includes personal notes from our readers on a topic—we love hearing from our readers! For even more stories, poetry, and art from our community, be sure to subscribe.




Ruminate Magazine
Ruminate Magazine

Author



2 Responses

Rebecca
Rebecca

February 10, 2020

Nadja, I’m so glad my reminiscence resonated with you, a local! Yes, it’s so important to remember those early memories with children—even as we rediscover our own voices.

Nadja Maril  (Annapolis, Maryland)
Nadja Maril (Annapolis, Maryland)

February 01, 2020

Rebecca-
A fellow soprano myself, I enjoyed your personal note and the reference to blending your voice with others when you’ve been away from choral music for a while. That “Greek Place”—years later, it’s still in that mall, serving family style meals to the residents of Anne Arundel County. Those moments with the children go by so quickly, but the memories stay with us, particularly if you write them down!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up. We don't allow comments that are disrespectful or personally attack our blog writers.


Also in The Waking

Ordinary
Ordinary

by Guest Contributor April 09, 2020

I, too, crave the ordinary. I desire the familiar comforts of a beautiful home, a healthy family, steady income, and fulfilling work. It’s so easy to shut out noise around me – the evils that haunt me – the challenges that face my world, my country, my neighborhood.

Read More

Ruminate Happenings Spotlight on Anne McGrath
Ruminate Happenings Spotlight on Anne McGrath

by Ruminate Magazine April 08, 2020 1 Comment

Ruminate Happenings Spotlight on Anne McGrath.

Read More

Awaiting Further Instruction: A Letter to Virginia Woolf
Awaiting Further Instruction: A Letter to Virginia Woolf

by Susannah Pratt April 07, 2020 1 Comment

Dear Virginia, I’m writing with some wonderful news.  I’ve done it!  I have secured a room of my own: a third floor home office in which resides a perfectly adequate writing desk, yellow flowered armchair ideal for reading, and windows overlooking my backyard.  As per your wise suggestion, it is even possible to lock the door.

Read More