“This New Normal”

The new normal seems so endless, I am beginning to forget what the old normal was……..

It’s going to be one tough winter….. At least, one can find new hope to breathe in the fresh air of a warm day; the bleakness of an icy winter walk will not be feasible for many of us. Winter walks on the ice can be perilous for aging bones; most elderly will isolate in loneliness during the coming months.

But even walking has changed……..

Remember the days when you walked down the street and didn’t panic when you saw another person soon to come right past you…….I think we will be like abused dogs…….like my Ruby…..dearly loved now, but still very fearful if a neighbor comes too close to our fence line……..it’s a tough thing to shake, even when you “know” you are now safe.

When will we leisurely browse down the supermarket aisle, not grab and run before the next shopper reaches too close……..

When will we look forward to tomorrow’s plans……not watch another day on the calendar quickly pass by……..

I think the young generation has time to bounce back, forget, let these months be a dim memory…….I think the older ones…….myself included…….will never bounce back from all the lost time………….

Somehow, I think normal will never quite be normal again for those of us.


Author Shirl Knobloch

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“Lives and Time”…….Samhain, this Pandemic Year.

First time in decades I have not filled my home with Halloween…..This virus has robbed us of lives and of time…..precious time.

Halloween time to a ten year old is far different; as you age, you realize the veil between worlds is indeed thinning…….It’s sad that I have boxes of “Halloween” waiting to be opened……..with no grandchildren to wander in and see…..This virus has taken away two things that cannot be replaced……Lives and Time………

I know we have much to be grateful for in our time. Imagine lying on the road during the 14th century, pustules erupting all over your body. No first responder was coming to your aid, no Amazon truck was rolling by to deliver you a bottle of water or granola bar.

But you died alone…….as so many do now. You were tossed upon a wagon by the death collector back then; yet, bodies were found inside trucks outside funeral homes, unbelievably, in recent months. A phone screen replaced a loved one’s hand to hold as ICU patients took their last painful breath. I imagine loved ones huddled together behind cross marked barricaded doors, holding hands as last breaths filled the putrid air of centuries past.

But, quarantine is much prettier now. Prettier for the privileged, as it was back then. But the privileged still died in their wealthy homes; money could not shroud them, although money can make it easier now. Money can buy expensive health care; but, in our present hospital wards, dying without a loved one is not reserved only for the poor.

Suffering and death isn’t pretty, whether you lie by the roadside or lie with a respirator attached……. and so many have suffered and died.

No amount of money can bring back time, can bring back young lives cut down too quickly, older lives usurped unexpectedly.

We hear reports of numbers increasing; we are placated by some who wish to make us believe that time has alleviated the danger.

But the truth is this virus has taken away the two most precious commodities in the world……..Life and Time………

In olden time, lighted turnips were placed at windows to guide the dead and let them safely wander along on journeys to where they belonged.

This Halloween seems to be a time of lighting turnips……..not collecting candy bars. May all those souls find the place where their spirits belong…….

Samhain Blessings.

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“Watching every word and Dance”

This is my friend Robin’s video. It is one of my favorites and always brings a smile. We think my Bud might have been part Dobie because of his long skinny legs and stumpy little tail. He would back that tail up to you when he wanted you to pet him.

Watch this cute little dobie tail wiggle and dance. YouTube has just put an age restriction on this……UNBELIEVABLE, isn’t it, what the world is coming to…..I just heard on the news that Disney is taking out some offensive parts of scenes of certain movies…….Well, I thought first of Song of the South…….But NO……PETER PAN is on the list……Peter Pan??? What is offensive in Peter Pan…..offensive to fairies? offensive to pirates? Offensive to crocodiles???? The most logical thing I could come up with is sensitive to limb amputees??????????

It is just getting to be a bit too much, isn’t it……there are so many things to worry about and real injustices in this world……can a dog tail wagging video be one that inflicts “harm” on underage viewers……..

And to those who think these two are “fighting”…..they are dancing in play. The beautiful tripod boy went through so much and was so beloved by his mom and dad. His memory of dance is treasured.

Enjoy this boy’s dance of life……may his spirit continue to dance forever.

This author does not want her grandchildren to grow up in a world where everything written will be scrutinized by a panel of censors …..

If that is the case…….we all may want to fly away to the “second star on the right, straight on till morning”………

Keep Dancin’ Taz ❤

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“A Tale of Two Countries”

Mr. Dickens, had you sat at your desk and composed this verse today, it would be spot on for the time.

It is our ” tale of two countries” now……….

And I fear November 3rd will have little balm to soothe the discord in our nation.

My home is historic; a general of the Battle of Gettysburg used it as headquarters. Never in my imaginings could I perceive of a time when the idea of another division in our nation could escalate into violence.

This is, indeed, a time when the history of our nation’s course will be charted. I guess it would be brazen to think we the only nation where repeated civil wars and unrests never rocked the land.

Our foundation of Democracy almost ended less than two centuries ago………Mere minutes in the time span of civilizations across the globe. Think how many rulers and conquests occurred to change the landscape and ideals of those who walked inside each boundary.

Our nation’s landscape is being reformed again now……..

For the better?…….Only time will tell. Minutes of time in the realm of spoken and written verse. But a lifetime for those who walk her boundaries now.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way “……………..

Which way will we go………..which way will a writer one day memorialize our struggle…… and will his or her words ring true century upon century thereafter.

Thoughts to ponder,

Shirl

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“Hope is a Thing with Feathers”

It seems like only yesterday I was writing the beginning of September, and now it is the 25th of the month already……

Soon, I will be writing of October’s beginning………I usually like the early, darkened nights of coming Winter; this year it just seems gloomier……..At least with summer, my children and grandchildren could come and visit, have lunch in the backyard….I wonder if months of a cold winter will keep us apart even more. Winter brings colds and flus and sore throats…..and worries of mothers trying to decide what germs have come to call ……..

People hope a vaccine will come and we will all immediately line up like when I was a child, waiting for a sugar cube with polio’s cure on it. And, in a few days, all will be gone………

Such is hope………….

As Emily said………”Hope is a thing with feathers”………..

It is fleeting, as a September day………………

Wishing you Wellness,

Shirl

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“Pumpkin Patch”

This is a blog written several years past; these days, I fear wandering through the pumpkin patch might have to wait for a season………

We went out pumpkin picking in the country this weekend. Nothing heralds fall like the sight of hundreds of pumpkins resting in the fields….with thoughts of little Linus waiting among them.
We didn’t find the Great Pumpkin; but we found a day of fun and fresh air and sunshine that warmed our bodies and spirits.
One woman was searching in the fields. She had a metal detector; the familiar beep of the machine was a constant foreign birdsong in the air. She had lost her ring several days earlier in the pumpkin patch. She still hadn’t found it; we wished her well as we left. One cannot live in Gettysburg without knowledge of metal detectors and what they can find………
Things lost and buried a few days or a few hundred years ago.
Pumpkin patches return what’s lacking to some; they also hide what’s lost from others.
So, today…..I send the Intention of finding….
To Linus, in his quest for the Great Pumpkin…
To that young woman, out searching each day in the fields.
And to all of you…….may the Harvest bring forth whatever is your search.

Now several years later, I still wonder if she found that ring…………………..

Namaste,
Shirl

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“Last Night” ( Bud’s Poem)

Some of you reading this blog will know I lost a close friend just over a week ago. My animals are my friends and Bud was my close friend.

It was a hard death for me, peaceful for Bud. For it was a death where I, the one who loved him, had to make the choice. It wasn’t the easy choice when a friend no longer stands or eats; it was the difficult kind when one is haunted by the what if’s of a decision.

There was no question of the outcome; Bud was terminal. He had good days and horrible days. The vet said this good day would be the right choice, before the suffering days set in.

Bud was one of a kind……a Heinz 57 mutt whoso genetics combined to make him perfect. He traveled from a kill shelter in the South to our neighborhood shelter. He was the quiet one in the corner; the black dog nobody saw or heard. In fact, it took him about six months to utter a bark. But when he did, it was deep and strong.

I dreamt of Bud last night and awoke to these words in my heart.

Last night

I dreamt you lie by a cairn of rocks last night

It was pouring rain

I went to bring you in

But you were gone……….

Just past one week you lie on the vet table

I told you what a good boy you were

But I needn’t tell you what

 you already knew

Had I known the night before

It was to be our last

How many more times would I have told  you

Did you already know what was to come

 with the morning sun……….

We hope of grass and flowers and rainbows

We hope of games of fetch and tag

We hope of loving angels

 always at their sides

But last night I dreamt you lie by a cairn of rocks

It was pouring rain

I went to bring you in

But you were gone………

Shirl Knobloch 2020 ©

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“My Stance on Confederate Monuments”

I love history…..and unlikely as it may seem, battle history. As a little girl, I would sneak into my big brothers’ bookshelf and borrow the myriad of books about World Wars and soldiers’ memoirs and pilots’ remembrances.

I had to have a Junior High school report on the Civil War signed by my parent because the teacher said it was too detailed. She said it was A worthy but couldn’t give me one because I didn’t follow directions and my elaborations about troop movements and positions were above and beyond what was required.

I love history. I have always defended the beautiful, artistic renderings of Generals and explorers and historic figures.

But these past months, a sorrowful realization that too many look upon such statues with hate in their eyes and hearts has enveloped me. So many wave one “Confederate” flag, never learning there were others, displaying it for reasons and events I don’t really understand. ………. I love the stories of history………both sides to the story. So many don’t know both sides and faces of history and those who contributed to our country.

I always felt removing certain fixtures would further remove knowledge and respect for those who gave their lives under fire. But I have come to realize most who respect and educate themselves will gladly visit museums and Battlefield Parks to view this history come to life in bronze and stone and artifacts.

I don’t want to see these statues destroyed; I want to see them preserved in a place of history for generations who follow……….. I want our history books to not erase, but to expound on all sides of the stories………I want stories of black Civil War soldiers and their bravery, Japanese American troops who fought with valiancy, and Tuskegee airmen who flew the flag with honor told……….

I want American literature preserved. All stories must be told……..even those we might not like to revisit upon the page.

I own a farmhouse in Gettysburg, a historic one. I want this land to remain the hallowed ground it is……..with respect to all who lost their lives upon its fields.

Shirl Knobloch

Author Reenactments from My Heart: Spiritual and Supernatural Civil War Fiction and Poetry

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“My Paintings”

Gettysburg Paintings

Paintings from world travels

Landscapes

Custom Pet Portraits

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“This Memorial Day”

This Memorial Day will be a somber one for most. No holiday weekend drive to the beach, no big family picnic with hot dogs and hamburgers gracing a paper red, white, and blue tablecloth.

Each year, we bring out the flags and patriotic memes and listen to Greenwood singing, “I’m Proud to be an American”……..


But then June rolls around and what has changed…………Veterans are still suffering disabling health problems and PTSD. If lucky, some wind up in institutions, if not, many wind up on the pavement.

And now those very institutions who offered shelter, offer death from another bullet.

We have treated our veterans so badly in my lifetime…… I was around when Vietnam Vets came home to heckles instead of reverence.

We speak of disparity in our nation each day now due to this virus. But what about the disparity in our military……..Nothing new. Back in Civil War days, the wealthy could buy their way out of service……

Now, a lot of poor or minority kids see the military as a way to escape from impoverishment……a way to get an education……a way to make a life. But that life might be cut short in one unlucky instant or so badly changed by traumatic brain injury or missing limbs that life as it was will never return.

What has changed……really? High powered men sit in a safe spot and play God with the lives of those willing to fight……….We hope for noble reasons………we are told for noble reasons…….but then, we realize the truth is often clouded.

I have a home in Gettysburg. There are days when I still wonder if all those deaths really accomplished something…….. Our union seems to be in a state of disrepair, today, almost two centuries after.

But, we will wave our flags and shoot off our fireworks and eat our hot dogs and hamburgers……….well, maybe next year……..if this war against a virus is won.

And that, unquestionably, will be a noble cause………..

But there will be many missing from the parties……..some taken by the virus, some by suicide, some by disease……and some, by ever present war.

Stay safe.

Shirl

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