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Rumilluminations Now
By: Esther M Powell
Posted on: Fri, February 01 2019 - 7:17 am


May 18, 2019
Madison IN

Do I embarrass myself? Very well, then, I embarrass myself. I forgot to write yesterday the outcome of my reading my past writings. I felt BETTER about myself.

Oh, and our scratchoff ticket was a bust.

That's okay! I don't need to win the lottery to change my life.

And neither do you.

Maybe relocating is just one of my habits. Internal change is another option.

Maybe just a change of spirit is in order, or if you prefer, attitude.

Or altitude! Nothing like an uphill walk to get the sluggish blood moving.

Nothing like a move for changing your life.

Except maybe changing yourself. Myself.

Do I talk to myself? Very well, I am talking to myself.

There are some spiritual guides you may have heard of who have said we are never really talking to anyone else.







May 17, 2019
Madison IN

All About Me Hopefully Universalizing My Experience

Am I heartless? I don't intend to be. I don't know that I am. I think I feel bad about those less fortunate than I. Sometimes I help when I can. I try to be not too careless or irresponsible.

It is true that my heart has never grown so big as to smother my vocal chords. Maybe that is why, seven years after moving to a small community, I feel like moving on. Perhaps the locals, perceiving my heartlessness, harden their own hearts against me. Which is worse, I wonder?

Yesterday I found money in my pocket I wasn't allowed to spend at the library book sale set-up and bought a five-dollar scratch-off ticket which offered a maximum prize of $200,000. If we won that my partner and I could do whatever we wanted: move, or not. At least we wouldn't have to worry quite so much about having reserves for our eighties.

I thought I might turn this kind of rumiobfuscation into a Nanostory and looked for one of my Nanostory collections to add it to. What? I called them Nano Stories!

I had written more than I thought. They are very entertaining! I don't remember writing most of them at all! The only reason I could tell I wrote them was that the illustrative detail was autobiographically mine. They are mostly products of imagination. I can now imagine a published author being startled by an interviewer's question. "Did I write that?" Maybe not much interested.

This could be why everyone should write. What fun to read detail about trips that we had completely forgotten taking! What fun reading with what bombast and energy we used to write about books and movies! What lush opportunities for embarrassment and humiliation.

It seems I have gotten too comfortable to write. Or too afraid? I feel itchily as if I might be sprouting wings in preparation for flight.

Um, these wings would be in addition to my arms and hands, right?

I would be okay without hands to clean house or cook, but doing without reading or writing does not bear contemplation.





May 14, 2019
Madison IN

Trump, who should have written a book about the Art of the Steal, needs to study the Art of the Real.

But who am I to talk? Between what I remember and what I forget and what I imagine is a big wide wonderful world of Pure Goo (these were words suggested by my electronic editor to describe this imaginary world of mine and I figure why not? Let my ee participate in the creative process. (From what I understand, editors often do!))

It used to be I ALWAYS knew where I had obtained a mental image or an idea: this movie, that book or magazine article. No more.

This morning I was contemplating an image in my mind from... where? What movie from... when? Yesterday? On further search of my mental recesses I realized the image was inspired by the book I am currently enjoying - if that is the right word for the emotions aroused by a murder mystery. (No, erstwhile acquaintance William, neither I nor the author is a "homicidal maniac." You are more likely to kill than I. Hahahaha!)

If my dear readers prefer travel writings to my ridiculous ruminations there is something to look forward to - a visit to a city in which I have spent no time except the time spent blinking through it forty years ago. While not a one-blink city then, it certainly has changed enough since to be practically a different metropolis!

Here is a hint - our destination city lies in the U.S. but maybe I should bring my passport - just in case!


May 7, 2019
Madison IN

Today, walking on the Madison walkway up to the main span of the Madison-Milton Bridge, I wondered why I couldn't smell the scent of three nearby locust trees in full bloom. While I was staring and sniffing I saw a bird flying onto the trunk of one of trees. A starling was perched on the edge of a four-inch hole in the trunk sheltered by a porch roof.

Huh? I did a quick double-take and looked again. The "porch roof" was in reality a big shelf fungus that looked like the kind of rustic roof you would see in the illustration of an elf house in a fairy story!

Smart starling! This nest was protected from rain and dripping water as well as possible predators attacking from above.

The swallows who occupy the structure of the bridge itself have a totally different way of coping with weather. The bridge overhang protects their mud nests from weather and their numbers provide some protection from predators. The structure of these nests - projecting straight out from vertical surfaces - expresses a real "fuck you" attitude toward the world, including the often clueless pedestrians strolling below.

Not to fear, though. Admittedly I tend to hug the outside of the walk, but I have suffered no involuntary baptism by guano yet.

When you walk the bridge, be sure to enjoy the views both far and near!




May 1, 2019
Madison IN

I remember wondering once whether people in some now-forgotten situation were evil or stupid and a coworker said "Both."

Just now reading an article about the Chernobyl cover-up (New Yorker) it occurred to me that behaving in an evil way is stupid, followed swiftly by a perception that stupidity always has evil consequences.

How important is intent after all?

Sigh. No wonder I hardly write anymore. Labyrinth and maze!

Anyway, happy May Day!

Maze Daze



April 21, 2019
Madison IN

Yesterday we went on a fossil hike at Clifty Falls. The creek is rushing, so the walk only went halfway down the canyon. The fossils Stefan Johnson wanted to show in the river bed are covered by water now. We did see brachiopods and horn corals and branch corals galore. And crinoids. The limestone found here is composed of skeletons millions of years old.

Maybe that is why we put headstones on graves. Dead for the dead.

We did see the white cyclamen we saw on Thursday, which Stefan called shooting stars. There's your common name! The dwarf delphineum blues slopes and redbuds grow wild here, framing a waterfall or two. You really should visit Clifty Falls. Do your stair workout in a natural setting.

Today my partner is working afternoon into the evening. Alone in the morning, I will hike and do chores. Alone in the late afternoon and evening, I will loaf and loll.

And eat.

Leisure is a wonderful thing. 



April 18, 2019
Madison IN

This is the year of the violet in Madison. Every arable surface, practically, is covered in violets. Walking near what will be the new interchange at 421 and 56, out of the corner of my eye I saw what looked like purple and white pansies at eye level above a retaining wall. Then I did a double take, because who would plant pansies on a construction site?

They weren't pansies at all, but exceptionally large and open violets, probably established there for years. For sure they rivalled Johnny jump-ups.

The redbuds are in full bloom also. I saw an albino one also, or a white cultivar. I didn't know they existed.

Today we took a hike along part of Trail 5 at Clifty Falls - rugged walking. If you hike on those rocky paths and eighty-year-old stairways, be careful! The walk is good for us as long as we don't fall. The flower I saw along the path for the first time this spring was a white cyclamen. Hmm... looks as if they are commonly called simply cyclamen. They originated in the Mediterranean lands. Who knows how they got here?

Spring really is my favorite season now, with the trees across the river leafing out into chartreuse puffs and soft gentle breezes great for enjoying from the balcony.




April 9, 2019
Madison IN

Last week the battery of my fun, crystal-encircled watch expired.

Saturday, while on a wildflower hike at Clifty Falls, I began to wonder if my own internal battery was running a little too low to propel me to the top of the ravine out of which we were clambering. Well, climbing for most of us.

I had gone alone to the walk, but met someone upon arrival who was kind enough to confirm my perceptions about the meeting-place for the group. He was taking the hike also, he said, and I told him about the high attendance at the waterfall hike a couple weeks before. He responded with the assertion that one such hike had about 150 hikers.

It certainly is a different world. Our group of twenty-five was widening the trail, I felt, in grouping to hear our current soft-spoken guide identify twin-leaf and rue anemone.

There was a big piece of sheet metal a few feet off the trail and my new acquaintance (Todd) said he had been told on another outing that it was a remnant from earlier (railroad? tunnel? I forget) construction. He thought it looked like a good home for a snake. He was tempted to take it out of there. I thought this was just an idle speculation. He meant someday, perhaps.

Farther along the trail our guide's talk was interrupted by a banging and crashing of significant high-wind quality. Intervening hikers reported that Todd had decided to take out some trash.

Our tour was over. Most of the group who had been behind me going down the hill, were now ahead of me. I was having trouble from ending the strength and wind to get up the hill. This has happened to me three times now and I don't like it. I don't know what's going on.

Todd, holding that big sheet of metal which he had folded in half lengthwise, caught up with me easily. He kept me company. When I thanked him for hanging back with me out of concern for my safe emergence from the ravine, he said he appreciated the excuse for being slow himself.

Such gallantry! Sometimes here in Southern Indiana I feel as if I am in the Deep South.

We made it back to our cars and, I presume, home. I left a message on my telephone for my partner warning him to be on the lookout for me. My voice kind of trailed off pathetically, I felt.

That was the last time I used that cell phone. The next day it was black and cold, unable to be revived with warming or charging. My phone was dead.

I got a new phone yesterday at T-Mobile in Seymour. I'm revived, at least temporarily. The future of my watch is uncertain but I will be able to record the time of my next near-death experience via an inexpensive replacement.

Todd had hoped to leave the detritus he had scavenged with our ranger guide or advice as to what the Park wanted done with it, but she had scanned ahead and out of sight. I hope he managed to get some compensation for his good deed.




April 2, 2019
Madison IN

About a week ago I went to Clifty Falls for a waterfall viewing hike. Their website had said four hundred+ people were "interested" two days before the hike but I knew some of those people would not make it. Still I was a little concerned, but rain was predicted. People might not come. It might even be cancelled!

At the start of the hike I saw a gathering such as I do not recall attending a state park hike. Ninety people of all ages attended! Luckily our guide, Stefan Johnson, had a big booming voice equal to the occasion. He imparted his knowledge of our geological surroundings with impressive style.

Imagine my surprise when, a week later an easy historical hike by our same guide was attended by one person only - me.

Well, it was a Sunday and the temperature was thirty degrees colder. Maybe folks were lingering over their Sunday dinners. Maybe they are more challenge oriented and a one-half hour walk just seemed too wimpy.

I learned a fascinating fact about our local smokestacks that I had never heard in our seven years of residence here, but I won't tell you.

At least, not today. You should have gone on the hike!

I guess I am still in the throes of April Foolery!



April 1, 2019
Madison IN

April Fool's!  Ha, ha, I bet you thought I wasn't going to write today.



March 31, 2019
Madison IN

I all for legalizing marijuana, but I am afraid food prices will go up, due to issues both of supply and demand!


March 26, 2019
Madison IN

My favorite word is... paraprosdokian.

Hahahahahahaha!


March 19, 2019
Madison IN

Good Lord. Two weeks, really?

What can I say? Maybe Rumilluminations has had its day. Maybe I have had my say.

My partner, I am sure, would not agree. Has the mouth of Facebook gobbled up me?

Has the maw of Madison masticated my courage?

Maybe Spring will supply me with some bounce.

That would be something to market. Bounce by the ounce!

A pound will send you over the moon.


March 5, 2019
Madison IN

To all Vegans: I love plants as much or more than I love animals, but I eat them every day.

To all pet-lovers: I just read a Winston Churchill quote today in which he states he likes pigs, because pigs treat you as an equal.

Maybe that's why I chose a piglet for the protagonist of most of my Aester's Fables stories (way down on the menu -and you might have to click on them twice). Zanypiglet is not only a pig who treats others as equals, but who also knows she has somewhere to grow.

To all Trump-haters: I was brought up as a Quaker to hate the sin and not the sinner, but I cannot seem to distinguish the two so much when the sinner is President of the United States of America whose followers seem to think he is God. I confess to say I am occasionally one of your number and always in agreement with your condemnation of just about everything he does.

To all racists: racism is a two-way street that leads to nowhere but misery for all. To the extent that I am racist I apologize. I'm trying to be more conscious of my unconscious lack of consideration. But it's not okay to think that racism is okay because you are on the powerless end of the social spectrum.

If racism is not okay for me it is not okay for you either.

To my Kindle: okay, okay I will plug you in. Please do not die without saving this!



March 2, 2019
Madison IN

The other night at the book club meeting (attended by what is, in my experience, an all-time low of four people) we talked about the differences and relative merits of moving from place to place versus staying put.

Most people in the U.S., I have read, tend to stay put. Those that move often relocate no farther than the next county. I met a man my age a couple of weeks ago who had moved five times and never left the township!

Goodness! I have never even learned the boundaries of my townships of residence! I guess that shows I have been unforgiveably uninvolved in local politics.

Once I wondered to my sister how people could stand to stay in the same place forever for their whole lives (a largely rhetorical question since she has lived in more communities than I) and she spoke about the incredible richness of experience of local history and relationships offered by long tenure in one location.

I grant her that.

One of my book club members said she was very upset when she and her husband had to relocate to Madison. "You bloom where you are planted," she reported, making a face both sardonic and resigned. "By whom?" I should have asked. I assumed that particular rhinestone of advice was offered by a man of the cloth or maybe her mom.

My response to that notion, is "if you are a plant! Then - having no legs - you might die from lack of water or sunlight!"

I understand, though. I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for almost thirty years and felt stuck, although I must admit Santa Fe is a most lively and interesting garden in which to be planted!

There I must have bloomed, a necessary precondition for bearing fruits, and realized that I would have to make my own changes in situ.

Plants do that, too, more than we know.




February 24, 2019
Madison IN

The other day I was walking toward the bridge when I overtook a gentleman whose pace was a little slower than mine. I asked him how much of a walk he was contemplating that morning. Four miles! - and he had done most of it already. I'm impressed. I was planning a two mile jaunt across the bridge and back.

He seemed amenable to conversation, so we talked about the condition of the river. One time when he was a boy it was frozen over, or almost. Another time he went fishing on Second Street.

He and his friends decided to swim the river once. They left from in front of the town swimming pool, Crystal Beach, and were swept downstream so that by the time they reached the opposite shore they were across from the power plant, a mile or so downstream.

They had to walk to the bridge to get far enough upstream to land back at Crystal Beach. They couldn't just walk across the bridge back then; pedestrians weren't allowed.

The boys must have been exhausted - they fetched up a little further downstream than Crystal Beach!

Concluding his story, the old-timer said he wouldn't be here today if his father had found out he had done that - dad would have killed him!

"Don't ever try to swim that river," he had been told.

And "Parents should never say 'don't'," is what he told me.

I am inclined to agree.


February 22, 2019
Madison IN

Do Americans indulge in simplistic thinking? Maybe because so many of us are only children.

Are we polarized? Maybe it's because so many of us are one of only two.

The men in my life have all been one of more than four -including, I just realized, my father.

Imagine being one of five or six when you were small. Imagine all the landscape of squirming, wiggling, running, skipping singing wailing of bodies and wills which you would have to navigate - not to mention the imperious (or puddly) wills of the sometimes distant but probably insane or insanely distracted parents!

I can't - but then I was one of only two until I was six.

Our body politic these days is made up of bodies not so very politic!


February 20, 2019
Madison IN

Yesterday, partly by impulse, I walked up the steep trail and stairs to the campus of the mental hospital. It was a lovely if strenuous hike, but I realized a ways from the top that I was very thirsty and had not provided myself with water.

I knew from experience that if I didn't get hydrated I might be in real trouble, so, realizing it was a Tuesday morning, I tried the administration building where visitors register.

Wow! This welcoming area looked quite upscale, but of course the doors were locked. I pressed the call button and the response was immediate, offering help. I was embarrassed, but I explained my dilemma and tried to sound as pathetic as possible. I even played the "elder" card! I called myself elderly!

I'm hanging my head down in embarrassment. I have never done that before! Alas, however, it is true. I could not make it back home without water.

A young woman named Kathy brought me a big red generous cup of water and kept me company for a few minutes. I now realize she probably stayed to make sure that I would be okay. So sweet!

Not trusting my footing for the trip back down the same path, I came down the hill via the paved Heritage Trail, feeling foolish but relieved. When I saw the cliffs along the trail I felt a little better. There were still icicles hanging down from the ledges! Who would think you would have to bring along water on a pleasure walk when the temperatures were still freezing?

Well, graying elderly me, for one. But I won't call myself that again, I hope for another ten years!

Instead I'll carry water.


February 19, 2019
Madison IN

How could I have forgotten?

We saw our first spring flowers the day before Valentine's Day, in the middle month of winter!

Bright yellow winter aconite, which I saw for the first time a couple of years ago is already blooming en masse in the same backyard. A beautiful springlike few days made them pop.

They have survived in an area that can no longer be called a garden, but the property could be a beautiful place to live for somebody able to put a little energy into its care. I wish it would be put up for sale. We can't tell for sure whether anyone currently lives there or not.




February 15, 2019
Madison IN

Yesterday the Ohio River gave us a Valentine's Day gift in the form of trash and dead wood along and on the riverwalk. I felt inspired to do something about it, but I could tell that limiting myself to non-vegetative debris alone, it would take me twenty trash bags (at least) to pick it all up. That doesn't count the number of hours!

I did nothing, even though I had been told that cleanup wouldn't begin until Monday!!

About 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon I went outside again to enjoy the balmy weather, and the sidewalks had been cleaned! I counted twenty bags of trash piled up on the corners in just three blocks alone, and today they are gone.

Usually a crew of women from the detention center clean up river debris, so probably they gave us this Valentine's Day gift. I'm surprised I didn't see them at work, though.

A good deal of large debris like coolers and big plastic containers still remained. I saw them cleaning up that today, along with more junk that had lodged between the walk and the water.

It is wonderful to know that that huge pile of plastic will not be making its way into the world's oceans.



February 13, 2019
Madison IN

Today the river is high. It looked amazingly choppy this morning, but I thought that was just because it was high. When I dressed to go out I underestimated what I needed to wear. Whew! It was cold through my sweatpants and cold through my winter coat. After going downstream a couple of blocks I just turned my back on it and went upstream where the road isn't flooded yet.

Big tree trunks with roots spread out like bouquets are bobbing up and down like crazy. Water is hitting the sides of the walkway and splashing up like surf. This morning there were sheets of ice and icicles hanging off the railings of the stairs leading down to the inundated platform. They were only narrow three-inch borders of ice, but still it was an unusual sight.

I felt the way I felt walking along the edge of a volcano as a child. Sure, it wasn't likely to blow, but the sheer possibility added to the excitement of an unusual experience.

Sure, the dams upstream are unlikely to fail, but if they did? I might be swept away?

Pretty exciting for a walk a few blocks from home!

When I turned back from walking around the Riverboat Inn away from the river and a quarter mile or so along the next road north the wind didn't feel so bad.

I did not, however, work up a sweat.

River levels are supposed to be receding. We shall see.



February 8, 2019
Madison IN

A good while back I remember seeing a program which talked about people getting toes removed so they could wear stylish shoes. I haven't heard anything about that since, but since then I have seen news items about models crashing while trying to navigate the runway.

The articles I have seen in my so far desultory research talk about stiletto and platform heels being hard to walk in, but I wonder if any of these falls are due to balance problems caused by the loss of toes.

I feel as if I need all my body parts to keep my balance.

It is impossible not to think of Cinderella's sisters when you think of chopping off toes to fit into shoes. For the first time it came to me that the reason the magic slippers were glass (after all, what could be more slippery or fragile than glass?) was because glass is transparent. The wearer of those slippers could not cheat successfully without it being obvious to anyone looking closely at them.

Probably models know better than to mess with those essential tools of their trade, their feet. At least one model removed her treacherous footwear after her fall and finished her walk barefoot. Most likely she had all her toes.

Still, I can't help but wonder.

And what about all those thoroughbred horses that were breaking their ankles on the racetrack? What was the story with them?

Sometimes I think that industries try to keep their errors and boondoggles secret.

Gee, tobacco industry, why would I think that? Paranoia?


February 5, 2019
Madison IN

Unemployment is at 4%?

Good thing?

Gee, I wonder if that represents more a shrinkage of the labor market (as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor) than real prosperity.

How many people have given up even trying to find work? How many people are on disability insurance?

How many of our young have never even tried to get a job? If those job-free folks aren't living with their parents and not working, how are they getting by?

Gee, I wonder if the high suicide rate affects our labor statistics?

I am not going to watch the State of the Union address. It is too depressing. My repressed anger and state of nervous compression are beyond my powers of expression.

I'm not going to watch the Antipresident try to impress us with statistics and the pressing need for his wall in the sky.

An antidepressant is called for, and it ain't the Antipresident.


February 2, 2019
Madison IN

Why do we older folks slow down?

Maybe it is rebellion against time speeding up - or seeming to do so. We overcompensate.

We overcompensate in other ways also.

Oh, did Mom make you clean house every week? Try and make me now! Besides, we don't bring as much dirt into the house as the whole family used to. It doesn't need as much cleaning.

Never mind that most of the dust is our own skin cells, flaking off as abundantly as ever, or more so, produced by bigger bodies.

Just now my attention was grabbed by a racketing of geese as I have never heard here before.

Are they, like us, celebrating the rise in temperature of forty degrees in three days?

Are they having a reunion of flocks? Yesterday when I walked by a riverbank full of them, their attention was riveted to the South as if in concern or anticipation of something I could not perceive.

Maybe this arrival was it. There must have been hundreds of them in the air squawking just ten minutes ago. A few V's took off to the North, but we have geese here all year around. Seemingly they, like humans, have varied climate preferences.



February 1, 2019

Wednesday was, we hope, the coldest day of the year.

The whole world was kind of gray as well as cold. When I went out well-prepared, I thought, against the cold the wind gusts made my few inches of exposed skin feel brittle and fragile.

I was afraid to walk too far with my back to the wind because I knew getting back unfrostbitten would be difficult. 

The river had real waves heading upstream. I've never seen it look so much like an ocean.

It's odd: much of the time the river looks as if, in this relatively level part of its course, it is flowing from west to east. It's deceptive that way because of the prevailing winds from the west. It would be interesting to test the town's citizens to see which way they believe the river runs.

If they all said that the Ohio River flows eastward, would that make it true?

Hahahaha!

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