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.