Paulina Angela

writings and ramblings


March 2017

I’ll be your Symbiont

Symbiosisvia Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

This is for my friend and sister Kristine


         She was confident in their collaboration

she need him and he her

a combined symbiosis of function

both benefitting becoming blended

          Until the day came when harmony was interrupted

synergy became divided

she suddenly handicapped

he, however, walked not limped, away

          In reflection as her eyes became opened

recognizing the relationship had been biased

 commensal not mutual

she had been happily unaware that he fed from her


        In the  beginning he was happy

pursuing the alliance, the amalgamation of we

he and she

he had desired the togetherness

          But as the time passed he felt diminished

pieces of himself were disappearing

he swatted at the invisible sycophant

            He knew he wouldn’t die – she needed him alive

he hosted this parasitic party

she had to be removed








Mums was not the original chrysanthemum. Her Mother-in-law was born to the name and becoming a grandmother the name shortened to Mum It was a young Mr. Weald to first use the name. Only it came out as Nanamum. At the time Pops commended his boy saying that it made sense since the chrysanthemum flower is both beautiful and long-lasting just like a grandmother. The start of a tradition.

Summers remaining days stood still. Unwavering heat combined with humidity and exaggerated hues left eyes weary from squinting. Dandelion seeds hover momentarily under stiff swelter only to be beat down by sudden rainfall. Summer was running himself ragged  and was at risk of burning out. He  needed relief. Sensing this distress Autumn arrived early. Barely September and already fall.

She bustled in like an eccentric old auntie,  capable and prepared to take charge .With her, Autumn bought compassion in the form of dreary days.  Damp, dour days, where wet leaves promptly change colour and drop without flutter. Directly into the dirt to immediately get to the business of decomposing. Ordinarily one might find this sort of  season bleak or disheartening but  Autumn had a philosophy:  dreary weather allows one to indulge their heartache and sorrow. Sometimes all you need is a little time to withdraw and heal. Dreary lets you do that without self-reproach.

This is how Autumn comforted Chrysanthemum.  Together they strolled the property, both wrapped in wool shawls, through the forest and passed the deceased beech tree. They ruminated while treading across soiled leaves of red and gold and inhaling the scent of damp rot. Observing that the end never smells as good as the beginning. Endings are not as exciting or as pretty  but have their own familiar comfort. In these days of hiding under cozy sweaters and bulky blankets, being lulled by fireplace roar,  it cushions the ending. Besides a Chrysanthemum is hardy.

Thanksgiving weekend comes… and goes without recognition.  The long weekend passing without mention or celebration. The family still mourns but on Monday Lauren retrieves the box of red ribbon from Mums cottage. This year the children have no interest in Christmas trees or festivity. Instead little Lauren has another project in mind. She empties the box of ordinary red ribbon and string and begins to weave.

Life at milkweed lane seemed changed. Pop’s has gone and now Mums announces her decision to move to town. Her sister, Aunt Bunny, also a widow, has a nice house on the main street of Juniper Valley. A lovely place where the two can easily walk to market or the café and visit with friends without need to drive. Autumn had also conveyed warnings of  Winter. He is not an empathetic season and this year will be a long one. Winter is a believer of tough love, therefore thinks it best to bury  grief with snow and ice. Freeze it into a solid being, like an ice sculpture, one which cannot be avoided. By the time spring came back around all despair would melt and the buds of change free to bloom.

This was the first Christmas season to pass by Milkweed lane. Well, the first anyone of this generation knew of. Pops was the resident raconteur and he was no longer around to tell the tale. The children still received gifts from relatives and friends but they had not asked nor wrote to santa. Mr. and Mrs. Weald also received invitations and gift baskets (which they were grateful) but no one expected anything in return. Billy didn’t even come home from school. He stayed in his dorm with friends. Students who had come from places out of province or outside the country and could not afford tickets home. Chrysanthemum left her cottage on the last day of the year. Her belongings piled onto the back of a truck, the family forgoing the usual New Years party helping with the move instead. On the first day of the New year a house-warming dinner was held at Aunt Bunny’s. In honour of the new start in the new year, another chapter, and the next season of life.

Autumn did not lie when she said Winter would be harsh. The roads leading into town are treacherous and the journey slow going. It was dark when they set out yesterday morning and it will be dark on the road back. These days, just this side of the winter solstice, being the shortest. Tonight the sky is low and not a star can be seen. Light is blocked by unseen clouds, not a twinkle not a northern light. Once they drive off the main drag of town they will be without street lamps as well. Relying on only the trucks headlights to lead them. Standing in Bunny’s doorway saying they’re goodbyes Lauren presents Mums with her ribbon creation. A small wreath spun from ribbons collected for christmas trees.

“My dear Lauren, these are your ribbons. Did you not have another purpose for them?”

Lauren hugs her Chrysanthemum and says ” I collected the ones from the forest too. The ones that I could find anyway. They are all  here. To warm your new home with some of the old.”

With well wishes and declarations of love, with hugs and smiles through tears the Weald family departs for home. As Mums and Aunt Bunny wave them away winters freeze cracks. Besides a Chrysanthemum is hardy.







Gauchos and Sweater Coats

Patternvia Daily Prompt: Pattern


Waking up in our shared bedroom. (that’s how it was back in the day, kids shared bedrooms and everyone shared the bathroom) My sister, Danielle, and I would find the days outfit laid out on our beds. Mom had  specific rules on how her children should be presented to the world. (She had rules about everything)  Hair, tidy and tied up, either in braids or pony tails (secured with baubles and barrettes), clean presentable clothing of her choosing and children never wore black (only shoes could be black).  Our clothes categorized as:

  • play clothes – old and comfortable, worn on Saturday and changed into afterschool.
  • We had pretty Sunday dress clothes (my favorite)
  • and of course school clothes. It was these clothes that gave my sister and I the most grief.

At this point in our school careers we are at elementary levels and not yet forced to wear the uniform of wool kilt and polyester sweater. That itchy ordeal will come later in high school.

So here we are, first thing in the morning staring down the dreaded denim gauchos draped across our bedspreads.  Danielle and I are only a year apart in age and are often dressed the same. Mom says it is cheaper to make two of each. (This practice of dressing us the same leads all we meet to believe we are twins.) It is the eighties and I am sure gauchos are no longer in style. Mom assures me they are, she is pretty old – like 28 or 29, so how would she know? I haven’t seen anyone besides us wearing these hideous not quite skirt-not quite pants creations so I think she is wrong. More than that I think she is cheap.

Maybe if we had more money she wouldn’t have to make our clothes from remnant fabrics.  Maybe she could have purchased current and trendy materials. Most of all maybe she’d have the money to buy the newer, up-to-date, stylish patterns. Ha! who am I kidding? My Mom prides herself on being frugal. We could be Richie rich and she would still get a thrill from getting a deal.  Instead she has that one second hand sewing pattern. Repeatedly used over and over again until even she is sick of it.  Oh, but wait… the pattern is still perfectly good. (one of her favourite catch phrases “Perfectly good”)  After every use she has carefully folded the pattern and put back in the envelope. ” You never know someone else might be able to use it.”

Sisters, (thank god we have each other) uncomfortably dressed for school wearing  perfectly good matching denim gauchos and choking turtle neck tops. Mine red hers blue- the different colour shirt is how to tell us apart. Standing at the front door ready to depart “Don’t forget to put on your sweater coat!”  Oh no, here she comes with two bulky sweaters that zip up at the front like a jacket but not a jacket -so not at jacket. She zips us in and admires her children  “perfectly good”. To Mom we are beautifully presented, tidy hair in pony tails, mary-janes on our feet and perfectly pleated gauchos of her own making. She kisses us good-bye saying, no singing, the same thing she will say everyday until we are no longer in school. “I love you, have a good day and watch for cars.”

sweater coat

You know we love her.

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