Union

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             Image courtesy of: https://www.art2dstudio.com/fine-art-nudes-figurative-art/glowing-soul-abstract-figure-fine-art-print-yoga-art

 

The journey began on a rainy, cold, and dark November evening

Blacker than Black

Sheets of sideways rain and gusts of raw wind

Driving in circles

I misplaced myself

Still, I was determined to heal

Something was calling my name

When I discovered its source, I knew I was home

  Yoga:

a sacred space

The challenge to stay grounded

Yoga:

The  shedding of the stain of suffering and taint of living in a toxic world

  Yoga:

a refuge

Yoga:

The discovery of auras and energies and cellular spaces

that transform into a places for healing

and ways to move through pain

Yoga:

Once I walked in darkness, now I walk in light

 

 Day 17: This poem came from a post in 2012 entitled:  How Yoga Saved My Life https://wordpress.com/post/buildingalifeofhope.com/431. As with all found work, much has been transformed or changed. Yoga  has been a tremendous gift to me on endless levels with-I expect- more to come. 

 

 

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Looking Out My Front Door

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Tonight I watch gulls

dancing across a steel gray sky

and wonder if they are warning us.

The clouds are rolling north,

the edges like sea foam swirling on an angry tide.

Sea birds are swooping,

diving deeper into the surf,

 becoming milky specks with upturned wings

Their music sounds an alarm

like a tuneless and high pitched gong.

From the left corner of the atmosphere,

thick hot air blows the palm trees up

like the inside of a skirt.

Darkness shrouds the house in an ominous slant.

  I sit while the gulls sing

and wait for the rain to tiptoe in.

 

Day 10: This was spontaneously drafted on Monday the 8th as I watched a weather front move in. Humid days and nights are slowly announcing themselves. The sky looked like the sea, thus the reason for the image.

Safe Places

 

Is home just a place to live?  Is it just a place where we feel most safe?  Is it a place that makes us feel most strong? Is it a feeling, a desire, to be our authentic self? My ultimate desire, my safest place-my querencia- is to be at or near the mountains. Walking in the woods. Pausing to listen to a rushing stream. Jumping rocks to cross to the other side. My backpack hugging my body. My boots helping me find my way. Time is suspended here. Distractions are few. Troubles fade. Hopes soar and the Divine presents itself.

Last summer, I completed my first solo day hike. I had not told anyone of my plans ahead of time. I told my sons the morning I was leaving. I knew the men in my life would try to discourage me, not because of my lack of ability but because of safety.  But jerks exist off the trail and the mountain was one I knew well, having climbed it twice before.

The hike is easy enough, with some hopping over stream beds and slight switchbacks. It doesn’t take long for the sounds of the parkway that cuts through the notch to dissipate. I remember the heaviness of the summer air that day. It didn’t take me long to work up a sweat. My legs easily climbed up and over tree roots. I stopped to pause now and then to take in the green canopy of hardwood trees. I took deep, deep breaths, grateful that the air I was taking in filled me with peace. Can mountain air comfort you like a warm blanket?

The higher I climbed, the more I felt the tension slough off my body. Each step made me feel lighter. I felt nothing but joy as I moved closer to the summit. With this mountain, you know you are getting closer. The sky comes into view above and the long granite slabs replace the dark dirt and fallen leaves on the trail.  Suddenly-it seemed- I reached the top. A long granite bed greeted me with views of four mountains in three directions. The ledges have steep dropoffs.  I gaze into infinity when I look below.

I am alone at the summit but not lonely. I am filled with wonder and awe as I am reminded of the love I have for these mountains. I leave the summit with a renewed strength and the affirmation that this is home.

Writing Spaces

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                   Image courtesy of: Video Blocks

The creative forces inside of me are driven by places and spaces which allow for both an unburdening of stresses and strains-a voiding of negative energies and blockages if you will- and a transformation, an expansion of all my thoughts and ideas into written form where I can express my best self. For me, the craft of writing has become a means by which I have shared parts of my life’s stories in the hopes of helping others as well as myself heal from past pain and challenges. It is through writing that I discovered the poet inside myself. It has also been a channel for venting my frustration at the current state of our nation and world-something that I never expected to write about in a public sphere.

Yet, every time I think of sitting down to write another post, I am stumped. I avoid. I complain. I yearn.  When I think of writing, I visual the small nook, that small corner with its long narrow table top desk that held the laptop in the small Craftsman farmhouse that overlooked the sweeping back yard which led to the stream and woods. The walls were robin’s egg blue and the floors a warm maple.

It was there in that limited space where I discovered a part of myself that I didn’t know existed.  During that time and in that space, I was at my most free even while laden with enormous responsibilities. I think it was the greater setting and the newer incarnation of my family that inspired me to write enormous amounts of material and carve out the time to do it.

Today I write and dream of carving out a newer space in a greater setting that is almost an anathema.  I dream of a woodland retreat. A mountainous oasis.  A place of optimal quiet interrupted only by natural sounds- not sirens and swarms of sedentary traffic. Today I set a new intention. A call for clarity of the mind and spirit.  A recreation of  my own creation.  A Writing Resurrection!

 

Why Write?

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        Since moving to a new state 3 and 1/2 years ago, I have found it difficult to tap into my creative outlet on a regular basis.  Lately, I have wondered why- given that my life is filled with less responsibilities and a bit more time in which to write. I have moved away from the near daily reminders of my past into a space where I can build a whole new life for myself. Perhaps my expectations were too great. Reality has a way of biting into those beliefs, forcing a change to my mindset. So, what’s changed? A close examination bears the following: my job as a teacher pulls and drains at the energy required for such a task beyond the work day.  Each year my school community has challenged me with a new class to teach. The trust placed in me to create (yes!) another new course with its accompanying curriculum is both an honor and a burden, given the high expectations (there’s that word again!) that I place upon myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way, either.  When I moved here, it was important for me to cultivate a community-not necessarily replicate the one I left but it needed to come close. My work environment fits the bill.  It is a place of love and support and laughter as well as being intellectually stimulating.  And herein lies another obstacle to my creativity-a draining commute! I find the endless traffic lights and the strip mall landscape and multi-lane roads unbearable. The lack of investment in modern and efficient public transportation here borders on the ridiculous (no, it is ridiculous!).  There is no time of day when traffic is not heavy.  Local and state leaders truly have not had (and I would argue still do not have) the gumption and vision to move forward in this area. The only exception may be the desire to build highways in rural areas, which is nothing but a blatant attempt to further develop an already over developed fragile ecosystem whose drinking water problems may very well be the death of us. And given the fact that one has to travel over large bodies of water in order to get from point A to point B-not only to get to work or other destinations, but to also evacuate-you would think that this would be taken into account. But I live in a heads- in- sand-state; so again, I have lowered my expectations of things changing anytime soon. For now I have found a route home that is tolerable and calming for the most part.

 After a day spent teaching and a drive spent being grateful for not getting into an accident, all I can muster is a yoga workout and then meditation on my mat! Dinner, a bit of wine and a good British murder mystery is how I usually end my day.

Still, there are two things I truly fear most about hitting the keyboards these days. First, that it will be an endless lament about how much I miss my four season home state and the nearby mountains. If I couldn’t get to a higher altitude, I had the woods and hills. THE QUIET. Florence Williams reveals her own writing challenges in her book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative.  In her introduction, she writes of her family’s move from the majestic mountains of Colorado to the “Anti-Arcadia that is our nation’s capital.” She states: “I yearned for the mountains. I felt disoriented, overwhelmed, depressed.” (p.8)  After reading that bit, I realized that I was not alone; my emotions were validated.  And while I cannot escape the din more regularly, I find myself seeking out the trails in a nearby park. If I turn up my headphones just enough, I can almost not hear the sounds of the sirens that seem to drone on several times within a half-day’s span. Moreover, I head north as much as possible ( five times in 2018!). My soul is fed by time spent with the boys and my closest friends-not to mention mountain hikes and walks in the woods!

     My other fear is that I will devote most of this blog’s posts to the current political climate in our country. When I first started the site nearly 7 years ago, I wanted a space where I could explore and grow my writing as well as offer a forum of hope for anyone who was experiencing an abusive relationship. I wanted to write about my new life in order to convey a message of  triumph and joy and profound appreciation for resisting and overcoming personal tyranny. Well, that is done! But what about the oppression of these past two years? What about the culmination of the hard right turn this country began taking in 1980?  I cannot not write about it.  Writing is an act of resistance that is just as affective as the activist work that I have participated in since November of 2016. Writing clears my mind. Writing raises my voice. Writing sends a message of resistance to the abusive and repressive power structures that seek to quiet us. Writing raises the vibration and gives us energy and hope. So write I will.

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Dancing With the Butterflies

                                      The butterfly garden: A work in progress

I watch in delight as the garden grows and blossoms

Colors of crimson, ochre, amethyst, and tangerine

rest in harmony with one another

Butterflies flutter and swoop

enjoying the variety of sweet nectar selections

 New plantings arrived to commemorate Earth Day

Mona Lavender and Verbena adding hearty and wispy tones to the corner’s growing vibrancy

  A milkweed, on its last legs, became a temporary home for a caterpillar whose demise was met swiftly by the cunning and patience of an unknown predator

My indigo delphinium gave up the ghost just yesterday

But the spaces quickly filled with a robust Penta  and mild-mannered Lantana

  I tend to it daily and fret over it like a mother of an infant

 This tiny space provides a respite from the rest of the world

A place of simple peace where my mother’s spirit reigns 

Day 30. The last. The days are growing hot quickly down here.  Besides running, the garden provides a reason to step outside. I’ll visit it at sunrise tomorrow.

Long-Lost Equinox

Autumn Leaves

A rampage of  passionate pigments

A seasonal swan song

A long last life’s breath of viridian showings

before your shivering branches consent to a dance

in the November winds

Laying themselves bare

A brazen bold maple awaits its winter slumber

Watching while we rake the sepia remains

from the hills and green grass ways

beneath its outstretched arms

Autumn:

A lingering farewell to the year’s most scintillating suitor

An affaire de Coeur

Transitory and temporary and tempestuous

Till we meet again…

Day 23.  I am out of season, I know. I missed Fall in 2016 so a colleague who was making the trip up North came back with the leaves and rock captured in the image. Autumn in New England is something to behold. I took a photo because I knew the brilliance wouldn’t last long, much like a passionate love affair. I still have the leaves and rock: