#Tanka Tuesday Challenge: Inspiration and Plan

pixabay image

When I was eleven years old, I somehow got the idea that my family (and my best friend) should homestead on one of the uninhabited Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska.

Committed to my inspiration, I perched behind my dad’s old typewriter and with one finger, tapped out a list of everything we would need from 7 chisels and 50 hinges to 100 lbs of tuna fish and 30 sheep. Yes… sheep.

The four-page list is pretty funny. Apparently, I thought 15 rolls of toilet paper were sufficient for this adventure but wanted 200 bars of soap!

A few other items from the list (with conversions):
2 big bells
6000 packs of seeds
20 hair brushes
4 dog sleds
2 dogs
52 lbs of instant chocolate  (23 kg)
400 lbs of chicken noodle soup (181 kg)
1000 lbs of tea (453 kg!)
140 books

The plan never got off the ground, but I saved the list all these years. You never know…

Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge was to create a poem using synonyms of inspiration and plan.

~*~

Childhood’s fantasies
rewrote a commonplace life
plotting a passage
my sails filled with misspellings
my dreams charting windswept isles

The best-laid plans of mice and men…

Tornado Boy and Big Foot

…often go awry.

Well, I’m back to blogging after 19 days away, and a little Steinbeck seemed appropriate.

My best-laid plans for a memory-making family reunion fell apart as my parents canceled at the last minute due to health concerns.  That kicked off a bit of rushing around and a series of phone calls, new arrangements, and a beach rental we couldn’t back out of. Revised travel plans followed and, in August we’ll all head to my parents’ hometown in Colorado for another attempt. Airfare, hotels, rental cars, and long drives will end in a whirlwind visit since many of us used our vacation time for the reunion that didn’t happen.

But all was not lost…

When best-laid plans invariably
go awry
we cancel what we can
and with nothing pressing to do

we pack up and drive west
anyway
where too late to cancel
the beach house beckons

across the dunes of marram grass and wild roses
warm sand sifts like finely ground pepper
and the waves curl in hungry white ringlets
chase and soak us in our rush to shore
springtide cold despite the sun and kite-flying winds


we build drip castles with moats and bridges
a path for goblin scooters and pit for trapping zombies
guarded by trolls magicked into stone sentries
we collect crab claws and broken shells,
brittle sand dollars and mysterious arm bones


we build a Zen garden with scavenged rocks
balanced in crooked towers on striated sand
and the wind carves gullies while overnight strangers
add to our stones and our garden grows

tea with cranberry honey and birthday cake ice cream
carousels, waffle cones, and oysters on the boardwalk
bonfires, chocolate and marshmallow s’mores
board games and card games, stories
where mermaids sing of magic potions and wings
before the tide fills our holes
sand on the floor, in our beds, between our toes

and nothing pressing to do but
eat well, laugh well, and sleep well
all because
of best-laid plans
gone awry