Most of us are familiar with gargoyles, today’s NaHaiWriMo prompt. We are perhaps less familiar with the “non-functional” gargoyles that don’t serve as waterspouts to protect masonry. Known as chimeras or grotesques, they were meant to serve as a visible reminder of the narrow path between good and evil. In Somerset, U.K., these critters are referred to as hunky punks. Hunky punks spawned (pun intended) an interesting youth art festival in Langport. For those not wanting to travel across the Pond, how about a self-guided tour in the Upper West Side of NY?
My little neck of the woods is experiencing what my family back east live with most winters. Lake effect snow storms are no joke, and I remember my first winter in the Buffalo area, shoveling nasty, wet, heavy snow for what felt like forever. So very different from the light, powdery snow of my Wyoming days. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we typically go to the Cascades or Olympics for a taste of snow. But, over the last few days, it has been brought to us, both the heavy, wet stuff and then the wind-blown powdery stuff, all with layers of melt in-between and a dearth of snow removal equipment. This makes for messy roads and non-existent sidewalks. I tend to just hunker down at home. Safer that way. In earlier years, I was a dab hand at just snuggling up under a blanket with a book and hot cocoa after some vigorous snow shoveling. Nowadays, I am as much a victim of “connectivity” as everyone else. So, when the Internet goes down, it feels like all life has died a sudden and untimely death. At any rate, all this to say, the NaHaiWriMo prompt for today is “computer crash” and the prompt merged nicely in my mind with the current weather effects. Now, to find my favorite blanket and book. The office is closed. It’s an adult snow day!
Today’s NaHAiWriMo prompt resulted in a trip to the Google commons looking for explanation as to what this mysterious product was all about. Enter in this lovely site to fill in the gaps for me:. What’s Cooking America .
Developed in the 1920s, this pasty substance is a dark, reddish brown and loaded with Vitamin B. It is made with concentrated brewer’s yeast, among other things. Those from “down under” are rumored to travel with small jars of Vegemite when traveling overseas. Of perhaps more interest in the article was the tale of marketing campaigns used to sell Vegemite, including cute 1950s jingles sung by children. Which led me to today’s haiku:
mulched for growing with pasty yeast ~
The NaHaiWriMo prompt for the day was “cape” which always brings to mind my son when he was young and his love for capes. When he was very little, his dad’s handkerchiefs worked like a charm. As he grew, he sewed a black hooded cape with his favorite Waldorf teacher. My last cape memory is of him jumping off a bed with a beach towel tied around his shoulders at 14. My baby has grown, and he and his wife have added to the next generation, another precocious, charming and well-loved baby whom I anticipate will also insist on wearing a super hero cape. I love this mite and know that the parenting torch has passed — and still, my mind lingers on days long gone. A synonym for cape, a “mantlet” touches on historical fortifications, being a defensive low outer wall or rampart. I’m not sure what I feel I need to guard against as time marches on, but I think I am developing much more empathy with my elders who also hold on to memory.
I’m a cat lover. I’ve almost always had a cat or two sharing my home, ever since I was a little girl. So, today’s NaHaiWriMo prompt “black cat” should have been a no-brainer. But, all I could think about was the on-going barrage of scandal stories I keep hearing on the radio. Ugh! But, did you know black cat pedagogy has a few more parts to it than just bad luck? Black kitties are seen as good luck in certain places, and black kitties are more resistant to disease. And black kitties, when exposed to long hours in the sun, can have certain genes revealed. Hmmmm . . . a connection? Only in the world of haiku.
Sometimes I think half the fun of writing to prompts is the rabbit hole of research it sends me down. Take today’s NaHaiWriMo prompt “pig’s feet” — over time, I’ve assembled bits and pieces of trivia on pigs from reading books like Charlotte’s Web, Little House in the Big Woods, and Drums of Autumn. However, a little keyboard tapping reveals “pig idioms and expressions” or a brief historical lesson in pig ownership and usage. And what about pig’s feet and the White House? Maybe a bit more soul food would be good . . . So! Take the plunge and dig a little with the daily prompts. You never know what you might learn. Bon Appétit!
Ever wonder about SPAM? Not the stuff you wade through in your in-box. the stuff your parents, grand-parents and great-grandparents swore by — that pretend meat in a can. Well, just in case you’re curious, here are a few links for you:
- On the naming of Spam and how this miracle pseudo-meat helped win WWII, and
- On Monty Python, the origins of the word pythonesque, and his skit on Spam that brought us to tears — the good kind.
Enjoy! Preferably, with a little white wine to go with your Spam and crackers.
And so we come to the end of February’s NaHaiWriMo. Thanks for following along! I’ll be back with April’s poetry writing challenge. See you then!
Before I settled into my graduate studies at Washington State University, I spent a semester studying leadership and organizational development. Systemic interactions and systemic health fascinate me. At the time, I was troubled by ineffective and unauthentic interactions within a particular group I had been deeply involved with for nearly two decades. A few years further down the road, I hear anecdotally similar issues still crop up. With the added space and time, I also see this system is hardly alone in its struggle. It’s a lived struggle throughout our communities and organizations. Food for thought.