Earthly Grace

Rain

#FWF Free Write Friday: Word Prompt

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A sweet redolence

A cleansing condensation

A buttery bouquet basking in relief

from the arid air

Parched peat perfumed

in a floral fragrance

Tar traced in rainbowed droplets

Upside-down stars

The backyard a blanket

of nippy dew

We breath deep

and smile

Grateful for the gift

of Mother Earth’s renewal

 

A perfect prompt from Kellie Elmore this week for the first day of a favorite season!

 

 

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Au revoir mi amore

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Another passionate goodbye

Their bodies electrified

Magnified

Breathing the other’s  breath

An island of two

Surrounded by a sea of harried passengers

Boarding

Departing

A cacophony of noise

Staccato announcements

Echoing

Drowned out by their intense whispers

Dedicated Devotions

One last kiss she thinks

In an instant his hands grab her belt front

Their bodies as one

She lets out a low moan

as he comes in for one final kiss

before he lets her go

 

 

The Summer I’d Like to Forget

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#FWF Free Write Friday: Are You Up For This?

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I’ve been debating with myself as to whether it is even worth writing about a decade old story. I have alluded to it in poetry ( Hidden Hunger ,Witness ) but never in memoir.

It is difficult to admit that there was a time that my family went hungry.  The details of how we arrived at our sorry state are way too complicated and frankly, too boring. Here are the highlights:

  • Husband gets fired-not laid off- from six figure job.
  • Husband decides to start own business causing significant decrease in income.
  • Wife works part-time while in a year-long clinical graduate program.
  • Wife told that her job must now carry the benefits, cutting her measly salary in half.
  • Wife told that since her job does not pay in summer, she must get full-time work and the children can stay home alone all day without mom and dad.
  • Wife is not able to get full-time job but finds work that keeps her away from home for just a few hours.
  • Wife’s tiny wages go to food.
  • Wife eats less to save food for kids.
  • Husband squanders all savings  and other finances while secretly making major purchases.
  • Wife tells no one about situation even though her parents live just eight miles away and her brother thirteen.

I spent the summer of 2004 in a state of shock, or as a friend said “survival mode”.  I knew things would get better in the fall when my job resumed to a nearly full -time position. But the 12 weeks of empty bellies seemed endless. A wall of resistance and repudiation was put up by my husband. In his eyes it was my fault for not getting full-time work. Not his fault for getting fired and pursuing something that barely brought a paycheck in to pay bills.

I felt stuck. As summer turned into fall, a latent anger was born. I took it out on everyone but him at first but then it boiled over when I found out about another major purchase he had made. I went into therapy where I began to unravel the pieces of my situation as well as my marriage and more importantly, myself.

We never went hungry after that summer. I refused to have my sons experience that dull, hollow feeling that comes from not having enough to eat ever again. Their father never accepted responsibility for his decisions and instead continued to lay the blame on me. But for the  next summer and for all subsequent summers, I secured positions where I could make money and have my children productively occupied and supervised.

Life trucked on, the marriage ended, battles were waged and the three of us (as many of you know by now) have a wonderful, wonderful life. He lost us but we gained ourselves. I still worry about food and going hungry. I cannot have the refrigerator or cabinets or the pantry ever be empty. It triggers that feeling again.

The boys and I did talk about that time a few years ago. I apologized to them for what happened but they both said I did the best I could. They had come to understand the circumstances that caused the situation in the first place. It was just one of many moral violations committed by their father.

I eventually confessed to my family, who were at first angry that I did not come to them for help. I was too ashamed and I knew I would suffer the consequences of revealing the secret. It didn’t seem worth it at the time.

And do I have shame today? No, I let that go a long time ago. Although I was not conscious of it at the time, I was being abused. The blaming, the passive aggressive behavior, the snide remarks began in earnest that summer. They increased over time until I finally realized what was happening.

When one is in the midst of negativity and abusive behavior, it is nearly impossible to see a way out. One only wants the abuse to stop-not for the abuser to leave. Strange dichotomy but oh so true. Lucky for me, he left. But he still abused from afar in various ways. I only got stronger and my children got wiser.

We know how to feed our bellies and our souls. Loaves and fishes abound. Abundance is present. And we are very grateful.

Never let yourself be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

~Robert Frost

 

This was THE most challenging free write for me.  I really went back and forth as to whether I could write about it. Frankly, I didn’t want to. But sometimes you just have to put your muscle into it. It was NOT cathartic. It just had to be written and done with once and for all.

Shifting Shapes, Narrow Escapes

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Stumbling in a dreamscape

Sleep deprived nights illusively hot

Sweat soaked skin

A body in transition

Transforming and chaotic

Shifting waistline

Squaring hips

A new morning brings a new view

Changing perspective, acceptance

There’s a strength to these bones

Muscles and sinew firmed 

Mind honed by wisdom

Struggles vanquished

Evil extinguished

Still, I prepare myself 

This new day brought a tremor to my hands

A churning fire to my gut

An inner knowledge borne of past trauma

I dress adorned with a fetching scarf  that sings of summer

Alluring and potent

My voice proven right 

You’ve been seen once again in that store front distance

Marginally recognizable

Yet grace has given me my covert protector

He whispers quietly and holds me in his gaze

You approach and graze my arm with yours

Attempting to establish dominance

A marking of territory

Such a fool of  a man

Desperate and Depraved

Deprived

Lonely but not Alone, not quite

Yet still without awareness and tact

Your false bravado rebuffed and refused by this half century warrior queen

Transcended and Ascended

Fully realized, Divinely Inspired

Living at the Apex of  her new Incarnation

Being in the Goodness

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I am at a peak of delight. Unusual for a Monday, but perhaps it came from a rising awareness of being in transition. As a culture, we don’t embrace realignments to our mojo. Instead, we  grit our teeth and bear it, or hang on holding our breath until it’s over, or worse, crawl our way to the other side exhausted and falsely relieved. I refuse to live my life waiting for my new life to begin. I will happily admit that  I am more than ready to start a new chapter in a new zip code with my beloved fiance’. But like any compelling saga, one must begin the story with a strong prologue.

So  much has shifted in one week’s time here; it is challenging to put into words. But it is proof to me that wishes sent out to the Great Beyond can happen if you let your worries go first. As you ride the universe’s flow, amazing things are manifested. I am giving the house one or two last renovations, necessary in order for four young people to live in a healthier space in a year’s time. One that is nearly free of my obvious imprint but still stamped with my positive energy and vibrations. (I tell you it is exciting to keep purging this place of things we no longer need!)

My boys and I have been delivered from the trauma and pain of their father. We came together so that we could grow stronger. Along the way, we were honing our skills as independent individuals in pursuit of our own passions. I don’t know what I would have done with myself if we did not journey to this new space together, helping each other through fits and starts.

In a few week’s time, I will share this house with two others. Two people, peers of my sons who love and respect them. They will be helping me get a better leg up financially so I am better prepared for my new life. In return, I can provide a safe haven. A garden where they can grow new roots in a healthy soil. I have no doubt that we all will bloom and fill this earth renewed beauty.

Today Iam grateful for the wonders and love of others.  So with my thumb knuckles to my third eye, I bid you all: Namaste’.

Shut Up and Run

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A few weeks back, my fiance’ and I  ran in a 12k race on what turned out to be a sun shiny spring morning. For the most part, I enjoy competing in these events regardless of the distance as they are one of the best ways to shake up one’s running routine and give yourself over to just plain hard work of physical exercise for a part of your day.

Running is meant to be a simple sport. No extra equipment is necessary in order to participate. I also like to consider runners to be humble creatures, generally speaking. After all, the race is really between you and the clock and perhaps your own mind. We don’t like to be fancy or flashy. So I guess that’s why I was overly annoyed when a group of runners showed up at the starting line with their health club’s over-sized flag and bellowing voices. “Ugh,  I thought, what a bunch of egomaniacs.”   Of course, they needed to be at the front of the pack as well. Right away, I knew that I would need to stay ahead of these creatures.

Well, the gun went off and I must admit that my irksome state was set for the race. Sure enough, the bantering banner carriers were loud and obnoxious. One woman clearly needed everyone to know that she was running a marathon the next weekend; that was absolutely necessary for her in order to qualify for Boston. She then proceeded on an even longer rant about the pros and cons of other marathon courses in the area using her best runner’s lingo, as if she knew it all. My finance’ made a snide comment to me signaling he’d had enough of  her boasting and we picked up the pace.  I don’t know about you, but I cannot take endless chatter in a race at all. It just seems out of place. The focus should be on the course and how you feel, period. And no one wants to hear the tin, tin, tin of your ipod either. For me, the sound is like nails on a chalkboard.  Hey, I know music can psych you up, but there is such a thing as keeping a song in your head!  Back in the old days, I used to blast my Fleetwood Mac album before I left the house. “Second Hand News” was the perfect song to keep my pace fast and furious. 

I guess you might say that I miss the straightforwardness of  racing. The real test is in your effort and ultimately your performance. Maybe even in the satisfaction of finishing even if you’re having a bad day. Like my dad used to say: “Put a number on and meet me at the starting line.”

A Moment of Serenity

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Sitting here in an early June quiet. The days have finally grown into a full warmth. This late spring surge of sun has distracted me from my writing. We cut grass, plant flowers that will last well into early fall, lay down mulch. Fret over carpenter bees boring holes in the upper eaves at the back of the house (I need a 25 foot ladder to reach them). Douse the paper wasp nest with chemicals before it outgrows the strength of  our spray can.  Stain the long neglected front porch a luscious mahogany red while noticing that we need new risers. The rails need a fresh coat of white. The north side of the house looks tired. Long winters and years of just plain wear are evident at this direction of the house’s compass.  I try not to worry about the expense of repairs and send out intentions of abundance to the universe.

A year from now, this house will be my sons’ domain. Rented with others in order to afford payments. We are shifting gears. Learning to be present in a major life transition. Sharing in the pulls and tugs of the here and now as we move into the there and then. Keeping our eyes wide open while we let go of the old life little by little. We are all making our way into an independent dynamic. There is much to do before my wings take flight.  I send out more intentions-ones where I hope to avoid the vortex of panic and anxiety. A friend says “Don’t be afraid to pray for big things.”  So I do.

For now, I am staying in this moment. Sitting up in bed, nearly ready for sleep. The house is empty except for me. The crickets are back and the night breeze is full. Cool and cleansing, sort of a northern climate mini spa in my mind.  I look forward to refreshing dreams and a new morning sun.

 “Listen to yourself. And in that quietude you will hear the voice of God”

– Maya Angelou