Dying Green-The beginning of an irreverent series on growing old

Dying Green

Should be a serious event.


It isn’t

Yesterday we bought a plot

For my spouse

Right next to me

On a hill overlooking

A meadow shouting green

And a forest singing wind.

This morning he says,

“You realize we can’t divorce now.”

Oh dear, dying green

Is such a commitment.

First you have to agree to


Next you buy a wooden coffin

Or such that


Next you sign you won’t

Embalm so your family must

Ice you until the service.

Picture this, Mom in the living

Room laid on ice like a fresh

Caught fish. They could talk to me

And I could answer. Wait-

The agreement. The cemetery

Needs time to dig your grave

By hand. They’re letting

The land restore itself

Naturally. My plot now has several

Bushes most of which will have to go

When I arrive for residence. But, I

Bargained and they agreed that one small bush

Could be replanted. I need roots

To tangle about my frame

And raise my skeleton up

Continue reading

Posted in Imagination, Observation, Poetry, Trees and Meadows, U-Turns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Iphoneography-A Gift of Being Slow

While my spouse throws balls for our busy herder, I walk around the park and enjoy the gifts that nature creates for my phone handy camera.

Early Spring and Cow Talk

Late Spring-A Tree Frames a Meadow


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Hana Rain

Purple skies at moonrise

Plum near to dark

Rain clear floating 

Grapes on water

Drenched in laughter

Walk to room through

New sprung rivers

In Hana nothing matters

But green rioting all day

Weather that paints the sky

And love, only love. 

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge © October 2017

Posted in Imagination, Observation, Poetry, Skies and Sea, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Long Lapse or How an Imagination Took a Leave of Absence

Several things made my imagination go awry.  At the beginning of the lapse, my mind was consumed by the events that seemed to have America on a strange and sliding path.   I felt I had a front row seat to the demise of America. For those of you who love President Trump, I apologize for any hurt feelings I may cause.    Under Trump, the truth became trapped in a constantly shifting maze. We were bombarded with daily news from the White House that was often not completely true or truth one day was not the truth for the next day.  The staff and new laws survived at the pleasure of the revolving door of the President’s mind. The America I knew was disappearing to a world where immigration was frowned on.  Admittedly Mexico,  points south and Muslims from certain countries took the brunt of the heat.  We are a country of immigrants nobody is a native and those who truly are Native Americans saw their rights slipping away.  Up rose the ugly head of racism, never completely gone, but now made more blatant and freed from constraints.  The presidential tweets and caustic remarks had my mind whirling on a merry go round. I was left in a constant state of disbelief.

Just when I thought I might be capable of poetry again, the doctor’s who never used to want to deal with my disappearing leg strength and the burning pain in my feet, all of a sudden stood collectively up and gasped.  From the moment the MRI of my hip revealed that I had been walking on a injured hip for years, my complaints of pain and difficulty were taken seriously.  It is tempting to go through the long story of my world on the way to diagnosis.  But I won’t-probably boring. Forget writing.  My husband drove me from specialist to specialist.  Finally the last doctor, only because he diagnosed the problem, ordered an EMG.  He had found a severely pinched nerve in the lower left of my spine.  At the end of the EMG, I asked when I would know the diagnosis.  He made it clear he could tell me now.  The nerve damage in my left calf from the pinched nerve was so severe that my calf had atrophied.  Furthermore I had dead or dying nerves all over the place from a poly neuropathy.  Since I didn’t have diabetes nobody knew where it was coming from.  Tests were run.  No source found except plain bad luck and genetics.  It seems I have severe denervation of both my sensory and motor nerves in my extremities.  As if I hadn’t lost enough time, all doctors felt I must be falling, I don’t.  Physical therapy was ordered for motor stability because, obviously, anybody with an atrophied calf must be unstable.  It took me five weeks and severe pain in my legs and spine, but the therapists were finally convinced I was stable.  (In motor function that is.  Nobody said anything about the brain.)  

I now have a nerve pain medication that lets me sleep most nights without dreaming of walking into burning houses.  I can’t take it during the day.  That stuff messes with your brain!  I’d rather burn and tingle than go into day time brain death.  

The following are the only images my pain filled brain could come up with after one really horrible night.

March 2, 2018

My caged feet push the molten gold across the floor.

It tightens, burns, slows me.

I tingle, burn inside the cage.

The hot gold moves up.

Distance grows.

That’s it.  I wrote about pain when I was first diagnosed with arthritis in my 30’s.  I’m done with it.  There is a wonderful and beautiful life all around me and that I will write about.  

Posted in American History, Illness, Imagination, Observation, politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An Emu Laying in the Grass

an Emu laying in the grass


Gives his weight to the earth

his body lies on the soft green grass of spring

it is this complete giving of himself: to the moment, the grass

the just born spring

that captures my imagination

so that I think of him

remind myself to sink like this

into each moment.

Grab fleeting greenness like spring

and rest in the everyday beauty of my life

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge © 2017

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Hana Sunrise

Hana Sunrise

Hana meditation

Birds an expansion

Of sound

Breeze saturates

Your skin      a calm

Hana morning

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge 2017

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Mystery of Cats

daisy 1luna 1 luna 4 lila 2


Who can know the mind of a cat?

Trying, we watch them.

Do their eyes give a clue?

Intent, they notice us. Eyes

slanted or open wide, do they,

witch like, alter reality?


Or are their eyes simply

masterful art?

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge © 2017


Meet Daisy, Luna and Lila.  Photographs by Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, Jack Eskridge and Quinn DeRuiter  Daisy came to the family first and picked up drinking from a glass courtesy of B.J.  Then Lila arrived.  It is her job to look gorgeous and posed at every opportunity. Last to join the group was Luna who has established herself as the Queen of the House.  This post is dedicated to the memory of B.J., half Siamese half tiger cat, and to Blue, Luna’s sister.

Posted in cats, animal lovers, living with cats, feline companions,, iphoneography, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

An Interrupted Journey

Life traveled on in its normal daily path until one day it didn’t.  One minute I was in the emergency room for abdominal pain.  The next minute I had surgery.  I woke up in a hospital room a few days later.  (I’ve been told about the first two days.  I’ll take the testimony of excellent witnesses.)

I woke up but I had no brain or rather the one I had refused to work in its usual creative ways.  Worse It didn’t occur to me that I could read or write.  I watched mindless TV, avoided all things political and fell asleep while people talked to me.

About a week later my brain started to wake up.  I remember things more clearly.  However, any creative brain cells remained stubbornly silent.  One morning I realized that I had a really large window in my room.  My brain said ‘Tweet.’  I did.  I toke pictures.  I wrote.  I read a book again on my Kindle.

Below are the photographs and Tweets that tracked my journey from hospital vegetable to a poet who happened to be hospitalized.

A Tweeted Journal of a Hospital Poet


When life hands you a really big blow, have friend, family and fun therapy. Love, clouds after rain/a shaft of sun/hugs

Jan & ontourage

I miss the breathing of trees/2weeks/hospital/I remember green gold lite/breathing white clean
Light of a new day/spreads watercolor over blue sky/Mt Diablo adds perspective/solid earth permanence/to the painting of today

first win. pic

Window to the world/Mt Diablo &/the new days joy

window 2

And the sun shouts/over Mt Diablo/clear speaking of day/to my hospital room


At Home

Trying to rain/CA autumn day/through the window/color flies to my eyes/feeds my soul

home window view

The First Walk

Evening sky bowl/color dances in the sky/trees darken into night/peace floods the air

first outing

Janice Eskridge©2017

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Bay Bridge Oakland to San Franciso and Back Again-A Study through the Windshield

new bay bridge distance


float in air

inside a suspended tent



bay bridge 2

the old bridge diminished


it anchors travelers to earth

bay bridge near home

Shot with an  iphone 4s

afternoon shadows lead us back

wind clear air creates a fairy path

over the bay to the hills of home


Night, a vaulted


of light

bridge night up 3bridge night up 2bridge night 1new bay bridge nite.6shot with an iphone 6 s

Janice Eskridge © 2016


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Through the Windshield- A Skystudy

Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek iphone 4s


a vast bowl


a drift of images




freeway sunset dark

Freeway iphone 4s


trapped in time

yet freed

when the bowl

shakes and winter

crowds into summer

lime ridge storm

Lime Ridge iphone 6s

rain paves a silver path

to a vault of shinning wonder

Lime Ridge iphone 6

and time

turns timeless

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge© 2016

Posted in iphoneography, Photography, Poetry, Skies and Sea | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments