Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The danger of hypertension

Cypress along Town Creek
Mom always questioned why I never added salt
nor understood why I felt I received more than enough.
The Army Corp of Engineers gouge the river channels
so larger ships can bring us more stuff
along with salt that moves upstream in the deeper veins.
The cypress that once lined the river and the connecting estuaries,
Spanish moss dangling from their limbs,
also don’t like the extra salt.
They die, shedding the bark as a snake abandons its skin,
only the snake continues to live, at least for a season.
Mom never liked snakes
                though she can no longer acknowledge her fear
                Sitting, she stares and asks no questions.
In time, even the snake will fade from memory,
                but my questions remain.

I was back home last week to check up on my mom and to do some fishing off Cape Lookout with my dad. For background, my mom is now in a care center.  As you might remember as I have discussed before in this blog, she has Alzheimer’s.  Nine years ago, it was confusion and forgetting what she’d said or was doing.  But it rapidly progressed and she hasn’t been able to talk in years nor does she know us.    My dad and I scuttled the fishing as the weather changed and the waves were rough and breaking over the bow of the boat. Instead of heading out into salt water, we took a kayak trip from Rice’s Creek to Town Creek (I’ll write more of the trip and share more photos later).  The trip took us from the pure black water of a Cypress swamp to the brackish water that is causing the death of the cypress.  The photo was taken near the point where the dying has begun and as you can see, the dead and the live trees are beside each other, but soon they’ll all be dead.  When the cypress dies, its bark sheds and the tree remains standing as a bleached out ghost, Spanish moss dangling on the slowly disappearing arms.  Thinking about the cypress and my mom and the changes we are all experiencing, I attempted to write a poem.


  1. I think your poem is excellent and explains so much in so few words! I think we'd all be a better off (healthier too) if we watched nature and as well as animals. Once while touring a winery in Napa Valley I asked the owner, why they planted a rose bush in front of each row of grapes? Simply to protect his grapes, anything that may harm a grape vine, would first show signs in their rose bushes! Looking forward to your photos from your trip back home. I hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving Day.

  2. Sage, for personal reasons I won't go into, I am deeply moved by your poem --and by your observations. Thank you. Enjoy your holiday, your family. All my best wishes.

  3. Hang in there. May life show you its beauties

    ALOHA from Honolulu

  4. This is very touching, J. Sending best thoughts your way for Thanksgiving.

  5. Very nice to see you stopped by on this sunny (here anyway) Thanksgiving morning! The happiest of joy to you and all your loved ones close and far away- enjoy your day!

  6. I think the poem works. Interesting imagery. We have Cypresses shedding their needles here now

  7. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Sorry to read about your mom.

  8. The storm surge from Ike killed many cypress and oak trees along the coast. I miss them. Sorry to hear about your mom.

  9. Jeff: God Bless You and your Mom. You're both in my positive and active prayers this day. I am also thankful for your loyalty as a blog friend, and your sharing of such wonderful travels as you seize life and live it well, my friend!

  10. my questions will ever remain...
    so sad on mom not knowing you any more...that can be so hard.....
    sad too the dangers of our progress and how it affects the land
    and animals around us....

  11. Both the poem and the rest of the post, are very well written. It must be very tough on your dad (and you) to go through your mom's ordeal with her.