Daily Journey Journal #138: tin bucket boat

tin bucket boat floating village

Sitting here afloat

In my tin bucket boat,

Watching tourists go by

With cameras held high,

And big, big smiles,

Knowing so little of life’s trials.

I smile and wave

Acting all brave.

Their cameras click

And I’m just a tick,

One stitch in time,

A stop in the sightseeing line.

The water carries their voices

And takes them on to the world of choices,

While here I’ll stay to wait,

Tourist bait,

Sitting afloat

In my tin bucket boat.

Daily Journey Journal #42: typhoon season

Fog rolls in from the ocean, thick and full of whispers. It fills the canyons between buildings, erasing their mountainous backdrop and blurring their tops. The air is wet, heavy; both warm and cool. I can feel it clinging to my skin as I walk through the streets, heading home.

foggy day 1

Growing up on the high, dry plains, I haven’t had much experience with the wetter, rainier, oceanic version of weather issues. Wildfires, drought, raging blizzards, bone-shattering thunderstorms, those are all old hat for me. I know what to do when a blizzard blows in. I know what to expect when smoke blows in from the fires. I know when to look for those early, early morning thunderstorms that send me deep under the blankets while lightening splits the sky. Typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis, on the other hand, are all unknown elements for me.

foggy day 2

Tonight, as I find myself on the cusp of a typhoon, my first typhoon, I am marveling at the fog, wondering if I should be concerned. The storm is predicted to mostly miss South Korea and head into Japan instead, yet, if the plains have taught me anything it is that all weather is unpredictable at times. It feels as if I should be preparing myself in some manner or readying the apartment, or at the very least, worrying. Yet, everyone around me, everyone who knows tsunamis as well as I know blizzards, is going through their routines, normal as normal can be. It has me wondering if perhaps this fog is like smoke from wildfires, a mere predecessor to something that in all likelihood will not reach me. Perhaps this is simply the wetter version of  my summers of smoke and ash, but this time with fog and rain. I suppose only the next few days will tell, so here we go, into the wettest season I will have ever lived through.

foggy day 3

Day 28: Create a New Feature

Living in a country outside my own I often find myself marveling at the things that my neighbors barely notice. Gardens on the mountainside, dilapidated houses crumbling next to new apartments,  scooters driving on sidewalks, ajamas picking up trash, people tossing cigarette butts out car windows…everything is different from home.  I seek these things when I set out with my camera and make note of them on my mental lists of story ideas as I walk to work. I am fascinated by merely walking down the street.

It is with this in mind that I read the assignment for day 28: create a new feature. When I first read the assignment, I wasn’t really sure what to do, as I will be leaving Korea in less than five months. It seemed silly to start a feature about Korea only to have to change the focus when I move back to the States. And then, I started thinking. I realized that I see these mundane scenes as amazing simply because I am unaccustomed to them, but such day-to-day marvels can happen anywhere in the world, so long as I open my eyes and really see rather than skim over my surroundings. Beauty, monuments, adventure can all be found in my own backyard, my daily route to work, the town I’ve walked a million times, if I look with new eyes. This, finding the marvel in the mundane, will be the focus of my weekly writing/photography feature. I am still playing with names for the feature and would love any feedback. Right now I am considering Thursdays Around Town. This Thursday I will post my first feature.

Thank you for any comments!

 

Kettle

Moving to the rain drenched city with its endless sea of grey skies and perpetual dripping had not been her idea. Far from it. This was not how she imagined their first year of wedlock.
At first, she had hope that the rain would stop, the clouds would clear up and she would be dry again. The morning of the third month she realized that those hopes were all for naught. That was the day she began wandering from room to room in their small apartment. All day she walked, one foot in front of the other from bedroom to kitchen to living room and back. In seven months she made 2,968, 0013 steps around those three rooms. She knew because the fitness band he bought her as encouragement to do something besides stay in the apartment informed her of that fact. He often joked that she had worn ruts in the old wooden floorboards and one day she would fall through the thin planks into the apartment below. Though he joked, his concern was genuine. Not about the ruts, but about her refusal to do anything else. It had been 63 days since she last set foot outside, according to the tally he kept on the calendar. That was the day she decided she would no longer go grocery shopping. Shortly after that she stopped cooking. He tried prompting, encouraging, begging, bribing, insisting and even yelling, but she flat-out refused to go out in the rain. She got out of bed every morning, she told him, what else did he want?
One day in April, when dampness hung heavy throughout the house, she decided to make tea to ease the chill from her body. Most days she loathed tea or anything wet, for that matter. The frequency of her showers had diminished significantly to the point that he often had to ask her to take them. Even then it might be a few days before she acquiesced and went through the three-minute ordeal.
kettle rain She set the kettle on the stove and turned on the gas. The flames crackled to life, setting the pot to gurgling as it warmed. For a moment, she stood at the porch door to stare out at the clouds shifting over the city. Though her eyes saw, her brain hardly registered the movement. After a brief pause, she turned away, making several more circuits around the apartment. She was in the bedroom when the kettle began to whistle. The shrillness grated against her ears, by now completely accustomed to the subtle nuances of near silence. Her pace quickened, hastening her to the door between the bedroom and the kitchen.
kettle sunshinecroppedIn the doorway she stopped, unable to move as her eyes took in the faded wallpaper and the porch doors at the end. Sunlight, golden, warm sunlight spilled in through the doors, blanching the almost brown wallpaper white. It glimmered off the kettle, turning the tarnished silver gold.
When he returned home a while later, she was still mid-step in the doorway, the kettle still whistling and now spitting boiling water into the flames below.
What is going on?
Look, she whispered. Look.
What? He moved toward the stove.
No. Stop. Look.
I don’t see anything, he said.
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? She nodded slightly at the stove.
It’s a teapot, he said gently.
It made the sun shine, she said. Sun. Shine. Sunshine. sun kettle