In my bag I always carry a journal, a pen, some bite and sting cream and a specimen pot. Yes, a specimen pot. Like the ones you get at the doctor’s office for a urine sample (not the ones with a little scoop inside… but on second thought, those could be quite useful). When you invite invertebrates into your home (see some posts about my children’s long-running insect project here), you start carrying specimen pots. A lot has changed since I wore a suit and carried a briefcase and talked into a dictaphone. It’s safe to say that the briefcase never carried a specimen pot.

I was different then. I rinsed dishes before they went into the dishwasher.

I didn’t have to shame-clean my car before giving a friend a lift.

Heck, I even ironed!

Having three children changed all that. In an already-full life, I rearranged my priorities and decided that building hex bug mazes on the living room floor was more important than rinsing dishes that were about to be washed anyway. On the balance sheet of family life, I decided that snuggling on the sofa was a lot more important than a clean car. And if you are the kind of person who carries caterpillars in specimen pots in your bag, I think it’s pretty much a bylaw that you wear wrinkled clothes. You can look it up, if you like.

After sharing a poem for the first time, and getting a very encouraging response, I’m sharing another one today. This is a vignette of my family life.

Beach walk with a four year old

We waited for the tide to recede

Crouched on our hunkers

Poking anenomes

Sorting the shoreline

Skimmers here

Sea glass there.

Scrambling over barnacles

Making bootprints in soft sand.

You picked up a baby jellyfish

Prodded it with a single chubby fingertip

Stowed it in your breast pocket.


Later we wondered where the slimy wet spot came from.

The jellyfish in your pocket, long dead.

We agreed you could wear that top again tomorrow.


©2014 Lisa Hassan Scott



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