Becoming

Beauty formed with skilled hands of a master, set upon pedestals in secret gardens, lush and serene in its silence. Light filters in from a sun that peers beyond clouds that are slow to move out of the way of the brilliance, and as she rises into herself each imperfection can be seen on the surface. All imperfection cannot be seen though, deep within the stone that was built over centuries lay minute cracks and fissures in the makeup of the whole.

The outer shell is worn with time, pocked with blemishes from outside forces, like wrinkles on a weathered face proud to carry each crease from days gone by and a smile that seems permanent on each corner that has stood the test of days long passed. 

Each year that passes, as we move into each second, each story that moves us, and each word we place in long strung lines becomes more sacred, for it is who we are. Faded pages forgotten come whispering back like a paper book left on a beach blowing aimlessly in the wind, back and forth yet still forgotten. A hand reaches down and examines the tattered remnants and we become intrigued and carry it away for a later read, or to hand it off to a friend who would enjoy this new gift. We pass these stories on sometimes, yet others remain hidden within, like the cracks and fissures in marble, too hard to find and release, sometimes better left there unseen.

We cannot remain hidden on the pedestal for long, as beauty always finds a way to be found, and upon discovery, the familiarity that we are all on the verge of becoming love begins to show. We open ourselves a little more, fear of rejection slowly dissipates as we realize it’s okay to be found, okay to be heard and seen. Each scar, each story takes on a new meaning when found that it is often universal, we have become to accept and love that which we see on the surface, that which we are and all we are still destined to become.

We are becoming love with each step taken and each piece of ourselves we leave behind, setting the weight aside we find suddenly we can soar, we can fly and as we stare at chronicles of our lives, each bit of joy, each bit of heartbreak becomes a slice of wind that carries us yet higher and it is there we are free, it is there we finally become whole.

I was thinking of statues that are beautiful in their sometimes heartbreakingly sad way, as acid rain deteriorates the forms, they are almost like humans that change over time, with wrinkles and scars and imperfections, it is when we tell our stories and accept ourselves that we become the love we seek, we become that which we truly are.

Moving water

This place lies so far across my country from where I am now. A magical place etched by  time and the passing of water that moves endlessly down. Winding through stone, collecting debris with each passing storm, yet ever moving. Steps take us along, beginning at the top and moving down or the choice of starting low and rising, always the choice. We only move as fast as the slowest soul that creeps along in this magical place, crowds that stop to capture moments on their camera, or the photographer that sets up a workshop it seems to grab just that right image.

We are patient here. We wait and move one step at a time, so many of them, some slippery with the damp splashes of water, some dry and crumbling with the ghosts of a thousand steps before. We stare down and listen to the rhythm of the rushing water as it echoes all around us and we stare up at the narrow slice above where we can see the blue of the sky watching us down below.

This place draws in the people young and old and as you watch the water rush by behind a waterfalls, you feel as if you are a part of this world, this place. Every step you climb you feel your breath coming faster, so many steps, and the muscles of the legs ache when you think you can go no farther, around the bend more steps descend and you smile as a new view lights your mind and as the sun slowly begins to go down you know the time is now to finish the final steps, to let the moving water rest undisturbed from view and to let the night creatures take over and walk your steps unencumbered.

Image taken at Watkins Glen, out in the finger lakes of New York a few years back. A wonderful wine country, scenery to die for and a place of moving water that bids you to stop and stay a while.

Into the sunset

The Bible camp lay down a long dirt road that left our car brown by the time we arrived. We had packed for the week and waited in line, luggage in tow for our cabinet assignments. The scent of the horses was down wind from where we stood but we could hear them neighing and it only fed the excitement. One week of being away from home, pretending to be cowgirls for a week and meeting new friends. This was our rite of passage every year for as long as I could remember.

Our pocket-money shoved deep in our jeans, we had to make it last and the “general store” was always an exciting place where we were free to buy candy, trinkets and anything we could afford basically without having to as permission from an adult. The line inched up and a tag was handed to me and with the point of a finger heading up the hill, I kissed the parents goodbye and headed on my way. The girls had to walk on the left side of the street where their bunks were and the boys on the right. There was known an invisible line in the middle we were forbidden to cross, along with no t-shirts that had any alcohol, tobacco, or rock music portrayed upon them. No fears I thought with my hand-made Campbell soup kids T-shirt and the other items my mother had made folded neatly within.

I stowed my things in the cabin on the bed assigned to me, shoved my Hershey bars under my pillow so that no one took them and proceeded to meet my cabin mates. There were three girls and they all seemed to be best friends from home. They had expensive clothes and pretty hair and fingernail polish and they looked at me as if I had just arrived off of the local space ship from Mars. I knew then and there it was going to be a long week.

The first day there was no horseback riding, my only purpose for going there every year but there was a dance to be held down at the Saloon (Cafeteria) so I changed into a clean shirt and closed the door behind me, my roommates having left a few minutes prior, not inviting me to join them, and I sauntered my way down to where the music was playing.

I lasted there for about an hour and grew bored and restless, I didn’t feel like I fit in, couldn’t find anyone to talk to so I went back to the cabin. I walked between my cabin and the next and found a large field behind it bathed in a light that was set to illuminate the back areas of each cabin. I grabbed a stick and went walking in the weeds. I named the stick Tawny and in my mind, we rode the meadows beneath the stars. I talked to this steed as if he were real, and we galloped (I skipped) and the scent of the weeds stirred beneath my feet and the night felt alive. I believed I was riding a real horse and the joy it gave me was something I have never forgotten. When you are lonely and only have an imagination to keep you company, sometimes amazing things can happen.

A voice dragged me out of my reverie and I looked up to see a stern man in a cowboy hat asking me what in the blazes I was doing out there? I think I laughed a little because I knew he wouldn’t believe my tale of riding the mountains and meadows. I set the stick down and walked over to him with my head down ashamed. He asked again what I had been doing and I began to cry as I told him my tale of my moonlit ride aboard Tawny. He took off his hat and put it on me, told me I was truly a cowgirl and that he thinks that is the best way to live, riding into the sunset and believing in your dreams. He walked me back to my cabin and turned me over to the counselor who had been looking for me and asked me to bring his hat tomorrow when it was time to “ride the range”. I went to bed feeling so special.

The next morning we lined up after breakfast for our morning ride and there he stood holding a big Palomino and he motioned for me to come over. The horse was huge and I must have looked afraid but he said not to worry, it was his own horse and he wanted me to feel like a real cowgirl. I handed him back his hat and he told me to keep it for the ride, he’d retrieve it later. He boosted me up on the horse (Custard) was his name-the horse, not the man, and then he smiled and told me that Custard would take fine care of me and to not get any ideas about making a run for the meadows and the mountains and with a wink he was gone. Everyone stared at me with their mouths open as they sat astride their small brown horses and I was led to the front of the line behind the man, he turned around and said it was best that way because the horse knew him and would follow. I blushed and stroked the cream-colored fur and leaned down and wrapped my arms around the big horses neck. “Into the sunset we go my fine steed” I said as I gave him a little heel kick, and we moved forward like a dream alive.

I had a picture once of me on Custard, not sure if I still have it or not but if I do manage to unearth it, I will add this into the story. Sometimes when we feel isolated, sometimes the best friend is a make-believe horse carrying you away. Written especially for my friend John who has gotten me into a story telling phase. I know it’s long but I hope you enjoy.

We are water

We ripple under a noon-time sun, a beaten up tired dock upon the water, green-blue tint at the edge of the sea, reflections of our selves watching, waiting for sight of dolphins.

Sand-castle dreams of life as we’ve become and we gaze beyond the horizon where the future lies, past the view of this moment, and we walk to the edge and look down within to see the silver-flecked fish move in time with the waves that move slowly by.

Dark forms meander to nowhere and head to somewhere out of view, a manatee alone lumbering below the surface, a delight for a moment and then it’s gone, slipped away in the endless blue. Nameless faces walk past, speaking in tongue to children in tow and a fisherman casts his net upon the slick silver spears that dart away and he comes up empty-handed time and time again. Do they toy with him? I quietly wonder with a smile, no dinner or bait today as the fish got away.

We are calm here, along the water’s edge where no words need to be spoken and time moves slowly as the sun bakes the sand like a cake from scratch, radiating warmth that feels good on feet that walk gently into the barely there waves and life here moves on and the people come and go, in search of what? I don’t really know. Perhaps a cool swim with the life within, or perhaps to find a lost thought or a memory that has escaped for a while?

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The old man sits on a tired bench with his plastic cup of beer and just watches the distance, and I want to ask him what it is he seeks, but I just walk away, letting him be. Who am I to intrude as I walk along myself, down the dock surrounded by the beauty of the water.

Somewhere in my mind I have become the mermaid beached, waiting for the moment when the dolphins return and the sun sets bringing a cooling breeze, I wait.

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This is a picture (not mine) of the pier we walked on today, my first sight of a manatee and at the end of the pier, men fished while a heron waited for a snack and a few lonely people sat and drank a beer watching the horizon. Beautiful place. Anna Marie Island was the destination for my mystery trip today. What a beauty, truly.

 

Dreams of a child

My sand castles were nothing,

Scooped up mixture of mud and sand

In a square box, 

A memory of a tired land.

No dreams of far off oceans

Nor a prince to rescue me,

I had no dreams yet, They had not been born

Yet my sand castles were something

I just didn’t know it at the time,

They were a part

Of who I’d become.

Awakened Light

This place out West, I had been here before many years before, back when I saw darkness. It is one of the places where I first found light. Sun parched lands of history below my feet as I trudged across smatterings of wildflowers and tumbleweeds, the rolling balls of dried string-like things that seemed like what I carried within. Aimlessly rolling with the wind in search of something, perhaps a place to stop for a while, to rest before rolling away again. Under a scorching sun that seemed to serve to only take my very breath away, I moved on black tar roads that rose in waves before me, like a non-existent oasis that promises cool respite yet upon reaching it, leaves the soul in a quiet sadness that it was never really there, never real in fact.

How many demons did we fight on that journey. Stone cold tired with no smokes, too much chance for fire and besides, no one knew the secret, got to keep the secret in the dark where it belonged. But with keeping secrets it changes who we are. We didn’t own it, instead we ended tired each day, mired in misery at the isolation it made us feel. We woke before dawn to move on again, tumbleweeds rolling towards a new destination.

It was so beautiful though, those days of journeying to places I had never seen. I had touched the face of Crazy Horse, standing high on his arm, a mountain carved with such care. We walked The Badlands in the rain, capturing the colors as the water absorbed to form clay that stuck to my feet like cement, as I tried so hard to scrape off the land that had become a part of me, my soul tried to create a new image of what should be. But you can create all you desire, it doesn’t make it true. Like putting lip color on a pig, I laughed when I heard that term and still use it for it just shows you can try to hide something, make it pretty but it doesn’t change a thing. I couldn’t change the soul, couldn’t reign in the need to stand proud and be myself. I needed to own the negative along with the positive, to see and be the light and once that could occur, like an unexpected gift or image taken, left me to wonder why the darkness had ever been allowed to be there at all. Turn the switch on and be. I know this now.

I think my favorite image was traveling a never-ending road as the sun came up, how I tried to capture it, to keep it forever. I had forgotten that once having seen it, I was forever holding that in my memory. Not a camera card to be lost, just a moment in time as the cool morning wind found my face and the smile I held, etched forever, in the birth of that first ray of light. It was a trip that made me strong. It allowed me to know that no matter what happened, I could do something so amazing and make it through. I learned how to be me.

 

Empty page

Where did the words go on the day that they died? The book sat idly, pages blowing back and forth like sails on a ship in the breeze, back and forth, then resting still. Blank.

Where did the words go when they got caught between the tears, when the words spoken over rode the feeling, and when the night became dark and felt so empty, like the pages, on the day the words inside died.

Where did the words go, as the mind stood still watching helplessly and the tongue lay oversized and silent, swallowing the feeling as it moved up and then back down, replaced with the feeling of gut wrenching pain.

Where did the words go, when they couldn’t be written for fear of being found, for if you wrote them, then that made them real and they couldn’t be allowed to live in the light, instead forcing them down and swallowing them like a note passed in class, as the teacher holds out their hand for the little square that told secrets that weren’t allowed to be seen.

Where did the words go when no one was listening, when hearts were breaking, and pages remained empty for years….waiting patiently to live.

My last NaPoWriMo, not written to the prompt. Kept thinking about the death of words, or not speaking/writing what needs to be said, this is what surfaced. Hope you enjoy and Happy end of NaPoWriMo my friends. Peace and love and lots of writing ahead. K

In My little town….

I remember standing beneath that warm summer sun, or perhaps it was spring, when the scent of over ripe strawberries filled the air and the drone of the cicadas were the music of the day. Everywhere it came from like speakers in the trees and ground. I remember hearing the never-ending buzz, just one into another as I sat beneath the plum-tree, their dark purple-almost black color as they clung to the branches like I think olives would, except to me they were magical plums, dripping a golden bead out of some.

I remember my boundaries, marked by the places in the yard, where I could go, where I was told not to go and then there were my thoughts, where my dreams allowed me to go.

I remember the hot haze of the day as I stood there alone, perhaps seven or so years old, doesn’t really matter because I remember it all as if it were now. I looked out towards the fields behind the tall pine trees, past the trees the marker of where I could not go. The place back where there was an old detached box car from a tractor-trailer, the place we found the dead cat trapped within, on a day not like today, in a place we weren’t supposed to go.

I remember the air and staring at the skies and feeling so loved by this nature world, by the clouds above me and I knew and felt good being here alone, like this was how many days would be and it was comforting the way the scent of the concord grapes in fall filled the air and left me craving a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich, but that wasn’t today, that was so very long ago, in a time after the cherries had been picked away by the birds, the ones we could reach turned into sweet pies with golden crusts. Days when the windows were open to cool the house and school was out and I was free.

I remember the smell of honeysuckle and hay as it was cut for the farmers, for the cows down the street where we got out milk, heavy cream in tall bottles with cardboard caps that smelled like the dairy, like cows that ate the grass and lived free beyond the barn, not like now where the milk has no smell and the cardboard gets smushed up and put in the recycling bin, no trace of cows or their scent.

I remember the smell of that day as I stood there in the glory of nature, in my backyard alone in my little town, and the feel of it all, the sights, sounds and scents, and the utter joy of being in that moment.

I remember that moment, and when I die, I hope I return to that place in time, young and free and filled with the simple joy of being under a distant warm sun that spoke to me so long ago.

“In my little town

I grew up believing
God keeps His eye on us all
And He used to lean upon me
As I pledged allegiance to the wall
Lord I recall
My little town”

Simon and Garfunkel

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Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in. At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue. Happy writing!

Opened doors

The door closed and there fell silence

she turned and walked away

in the heart of it all she knew it was over

Each word that he said pierced her very soul

she waited in anticipation for all she hoped

his eyes held tears as he watched her smile grow

she opened the door with the twist of a key

the soft knock echoed through the empty hallway

she glanced at the clock and found it odd he was late

as he stood down on the street taking deep breaths

she checked her hair and makeup, wanting perfection

today was the day she thought to herself.

 

This was my offering for NaPoWriMo and below was the prompt:

And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that tells a story. But here’s the twist – the story should be told backwards. The first line should say what happened last, and work its way through the past until you get to the beginning. Now, the story doesn’t have to be complicated (it’s probably better if it isn’t)!

Storm tossed

We set aside these,

These thoughts of raging storms,

Storms of thought that blow in-

In to the soul causing destruction of self.

Selflessly we move forward to moments,

Moments like lighthouses shining,

Shining beacons we seek shelter from,

From storms that crash into our soul.

Souls speak the words like parting clouds,

Clouds that moments before that were choking-

Chocking the lifeblood out of our dreams,

Dreams that sat on the verge of truth,

Truth is all that’s left to set us free.

Free in peace from sandstorm pain,

Pain that pricked like a thousand needles,

Needles on sensitive skin and we hid-

Hid beneath the stairs that wound into the sky,

Sky that would be our salvation-

Salvation in its simplest form,

Form of clarity and calm.

Trying something a bit new, each sentence ends with a word and the next sentence begins with the same word….sometimes you just have to climb out of the box into the storm to see a new day. Hope it makes sense and enjoy. Peace, love and lighthouses. K