Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Evening Prayer
By Nancy Prouty March


 Try to imagine all the things
 That your  father did for you when you
 were an infant, and then a toddler
 and then a young child, 
and which you cannot remember 
because you were so young, 
and which you may never discover,
 and which even they may have
 even forgotten about. 
Perhaps you will never know all of the things
He did for you—
Changed your diapers,
Kissed you each night
Hugged you and said, “I love you.”
Was your baseball coach,
The one who took you to the mountains
To learn to ski, for lessons, time to spend together
Stood in the cold, proud as you flew
Down the slope and said,
“He’s a really good skier.”
He flew you to Tahoe
A father and son adventure.
He learn to ride a horse and 
Take you for lessons.
Rarely missed a scout meeting
Camped in the winter, on ships, 
And made shelters to keep you warm.
Stood up straight & proud when
You received your Eagle Scout award.
Taught you to drive,
Trusted you to have a motorcycle
Took you to Americade 
Another father & son adventure.
He stayed awake pacing evenings
When he was afraid for you
And the choices you were making.
He helped you make a plan to hike 
The Appalachian trail.
He packed boxes, thoughtful of every item
He worried each night about his boy
Alone in the dark.
He traveled South to meet up with him
Gave him a room, shower, a few laughs.
Memories for a father & son adventure.
He would leave him on the trail with a
Strong firm hug and a few bucks!

He sat in the front row of church
Smiling and proud of his son when he said,
“I do!”
He helped him buy his first home,
Fix broken this and that.
When you needed help he was
Always there.

He wept when he saw you
Hold your first born son.
It was truly a family something
That eluded him as a child –
Here was his son, a man, a father.
He held that little grandson of his
And that day love bloomed.

Being a grandfather changed his life.
All his life he searched
for that rapture he feels
each time he holds your son.







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Pre Mastectomy

By Nancy Prouty March


I've been awake since 3:00 am
sitting alone in the dark
contemplating tomorrow's surgery
and the cancer that lies
beneath my breast.
Eyes closed…
imagining
wondering
searching.


A memory caresses me &interrupts my thoughts.
I feel my friend Kate nearby bringing
her usual brand of comfort- a cup of herbal tea,
homemade valentine, or a candlelight dinner.
Not a day goes by without
memories of her...
brilliant paints meandering
onto 10 x10 blank canvases,
pencils and paper 
Objects of nature
Awaiting her attention on her
sun drenched studio table.


My eyes close and my 
Memories focus on our last day together…
We walked out to the backyard
on a late June morning
barefoot and free
and danced in the thick wet
green grass like fairies with wings.
We sat in old weathered
wooden chairs starring at the
brilliance of the day.
Kate looked at a big tree
standing in the yard and said, 
"See how that treelost a limb in the storm?"
"Yes," I reply.
"Most likely it will survive.
Only a scar will remain.
That is Hope."

Today I live in that hope
because of you dear
friend.


Watching the Sun Come Up

Nancy Prouty March
August 2016





Mary Oliver once wrote a poem —Why I WakeEarly.
This morning I sit in peace on a weathered bench
watching the sun rise amidst the morning's purple haze.
Water laps against the seaweed laden rocks
while seagulls flap their wings and coast
along the tide meeting a new day. 
The slow murmur of a lobster boat's engine
disrupts the silence that hovers in the trees
along the rocky coast. 
It is here in this space, in the reverence of the moment
my spirit awakens and begins nourishing me for the day. 
Something about the Great Blue Heron
 and the smell of salty brine awakens the essence of who is me.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

December 18, 2014 Your 60th Birthday

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Dec. 18, 2013

Dear Tom,

Today would be your 60th birthday and today is a day of reflection for your still grieving sister.  I miss you my brother, my friend, and my confidant.





Since you’ve been gone many things have happened.  I am the grandmother of 4 grandsons.  Andy works in the same industry as dad and Nathan is a Roman Catholic priest.  Dan has finally moved home and is able to work at home and I retired from teaching June 2012.





 Carina is a wonderful mother to Liam and wife to Brandon.  She is wonderful about keeping your life story part of her story.  You would be so proud of her.  I feel so sad that you can’t be here to babysit, play, fish, and make pies with Liam. 



 I don’t have any idea how Heather and Tyler are doing because Pris will not give us access to them.  I was in touch with Tyler a couple of years back but haven’t heard from him since.  It’s sad your children are estranged from their family.

I have no contact with David.  I heard he got married and I am very excited for him.  I’ve written him over the years and he never answers.  I’m glad he won’t be lonely and he will have someone to share his life with.  Everyone deserves to be loved.

So many times I wished I could pick up the phone and talk to you.  Things have really changed. Being able to communicate became much easier with the advent of cell phones and social media.  I would tell you to come up and we could go pick blueberries and make pie and jam.  In the spring you could come with your grandson and we could go to Moosehead and teach him to fish.  I would call and tell you I am coming down and we could canoe Bigelow and reminisce about the days of playing pioneers, climbing trees, and catching suckers in the brook.  Maybe you would text me a picture of the beautiful feathers of a pheasant and I would drive down to stew the delicate meat into a delicious sauce like dad used to.  We would be friends on facebook posting pictures of our kids and grandchildren and all the places we visited. Probably sharing a recipe or two to accommodate the bounty of our gardens.
 In the fall you would come stay with me and hunt deer on our 13 acres of property in South Paris, Me.  We would crank up the woodstove and you would have tea with sugar and milk just like grandma use to make for you and I’d have hot cocoa. I’d make you grandma’s chicken and rice soup and you would make an apple pie.  In the morning we’d have French toast the way dad use to make it with think cuts of mom’s homemade bread and plenty of maple syrup from our own trees.  Remember the gigantic maple in the front of our old house?



I finally got rid of my beloved Saab.  She was good to me in all kinds of bad weather.  But I am always on the look out for that antique truck.  One that will haul my Christmas tree and one that my black lab, Othello, and I could bounce down back roads with.  I love back roads.  I think it started in Connecticut when I’d visit grandpa Prouty at the cemetery.  Over the years I have collected the most amazing stories from people who live on those back roads.  I often day dream of taking off in my truck, with Othello, my camera and recorder and making a documentary of the back roads of Me, NH, and Vt.





I go to Vermont twice a year to visit our Prouty relatives.  Dan laughs at me and calls my travels to Vermont my obsession with the dead relatives.  You would be interested in the stories I have written about.  We have a very colorful and rich family history in Vermont.  Quite possibly it is where you would have loved to live.  Beautiful farm land, peaceful, and very traditional values.  I see you there for sure.  My next story to write is a story about our Great Grandmother.  She was a very strong, brave, and determined woman.  I’m fascinated by the events in her life and her unrelenting love of her family. 

My retirement was bittersweet.  For someone who started out as a biology major and wanted to be a librarian, I found teaching to be very rewarding.  I taught over 500 students in my career and I’m still in touch with some of them.  In 2001 I was voted teacher of the year.  I was very excited about that.  It is a vote of confidence from my peers.  My students and parents threw me a big classroom party.  I also wrote and received 2 huge grants from National Semi Conductor.  One for equipment to support a digital history project the other to support integrated science, math, and reading, and writing project.  It was a great achievement that benefited my students and the school.  I wish mom and dad could have been around when I received these awards.  Mom thought going to college was a waste of time and Dad was excited to know I wanted to be teacher. Did you know that mom prevented dad from coming to my graduation?  He did let me know in his own way he was proud of me. 






My dear brother, so much has happened but these are a few of the highlights.  Wish I had more news about your kids. This is the last picture I have of Heather.  I remember Dan making this picture of Heather and I at the same age.  It was uncanny.  When you left they were so small and I haven’t seen them since you’ve been gone.  It makes me sad.  But be rest assured I keep in touch with Carina and they are one cute little family.





Love you Tom and miss you.  I miss what our life could have been and having a brother to talk to.





Love,
Nancy  


A Year Later



Dad



The paths of past footsteps
have become overgrown with
the passage of each season.
The woodpile stands abandon from
the once energetic woodcutter.
Perennial gardens are left unattended
and deprived of the loving care
of its previous owner.
The dirt driveway once eroded
by the daily travel of your Chevy Pick Up
is now the breeding grounds for
a community of thriving weeds.
Your children are left with
remnants of the past
and echoes of your footsteps.

Symbols remain scattered through
your once private domain.
A cup hanging on a stake in the garden,
unused since the last time you needed it
to quench your thirst, after tilling the soil
around the strawberry bed.
A woodcutting bench lies next to
a fallen tree  that was intended for
next year’s wood supply.
The red and black mackinaw and cap
hang on hook inside the back door,
waiting for the hunter to stalk
the autumn woods.
It is in the silence of the woods
from which tall tales and stories
vibrate from familiar sites.
The Indians who are buried underneath
the large hemlock tree,
wisdom of Bathroom Billy,
farmer’s who created the pastures
and who’s fine workmanship created
the rock walls that frame their masterpiece.
Isolated walls covered with aging moss and lichen
symbolize the life of a man,
my dad, who once possessed the same feeling,
and love, like those before him, for nature,
the land, and the ancestors before him.
Your land, your sacred possession is a
testament to your children who once sat
and listened to the sounds of the distant brook,
or deer walking cautiously as subtle breezes,
or listening to private legends and tales.
You are now silent as those moments
Stored away forever in our memories.
Thankfully, we have inherited his wisdom
but it is the Indians of long ago, Bathroom Billy,
and the farmers who have inherited his footsteps,
his gentle manner, and made the legend of the land
ever larger.
 
It is now,
in the cool crisp November air,
the first anniversary of his death,
that I believe you have come to rest inside
a storybook, that you so carefully “wrote”
for us over the years.
You are now a part of the cast of characters
that comes alive in my thoughts and gives me
pride in my past and hope towards my future
and stories that will go on….

Now God keeps you wrapped in love for eternity.


Nancy Prouty March
Nov. 1985