What If I Missed It?

 

I thought I’d take a walk between the raindrops

A daily morning amble bordering on an obsessive need for fresh air

No walls of snow nor cold spring precipitation can deter me

A funky forest scent greets my nostrils- a deciduous odor-somewhere between death and rebirth  

No one is near to rousing from sleep

The raw gray keeps their wakefulness away  

I turn the corner passing a small grove

SNAP!

Branches breaking?

Squirrel scurrying?

I gasp, covering my mouth in whispered surprise

A trio of does meets my eyes

We stare in respectful silence

The whole world seems still  

Morning mist begins to soak me

The air wraps me in its chill  

Signs of life at last arrive

Cardinals cheerfully chirping

Mourning doves cooing their greeting

along and among and amidst

broken bows and mailboxes

bent from brumal blizzards

Though these days remain anemic and ashen

Small glimmers of a golden vision are emerging

My heart is anticipating a new inauguration

Day 10.  Written at the end of a whirlwind of a work week. Happy Friday!

Roots and Routes

Credit: www.penandbell.com

Roads, paths, byways and highways

Places I have seen

People I have met

Those whom I have loved

They are beginning to exist in my memory

Dwelling in a happy space of a life well-lived

The long flat road of childhood

Pathways of the campus

The bustling avenue of a young woman

The winding lane of a small town

and the rolling hills that I have run upon

Streets pushing the strollers that carried my babies

The muddy country road in the mountains

and the long highway to John’s Island

Road trips, day trips, field trips and side trips

Mystery trips to the notches and beaches

I see them in my dreams

I have not yet reached the mountain top

and gladly so

Now I hold hands with my beloved

We stand at the gateway

Our eyes fixed on a new direction

Our hearts following their own path

 

Day 9. A dream scape poem that needed to be written.

 

The Road to Completion

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The moon was lightly veiled in a frosty mist, hanging low in the western sky. I turn right on the road that serves as a low ridge for a sunrise view. The day was just barely breathing, trying to add its muted glow to this dead zero day. I am encased in Gortex, winter proofed and multilayered. Surprisingly mobile and agile despite being sealed and wrapped from head to toe. It takes mere minutes for my eyelashes and bangs to create miniscule icicles, the results of my warm breath meeting the crackling cold air. I’m reminded that my nostrils have hair, as they,too, stiffen in the chill.

Getting out the door for a walk or run in this long winter requires a different kind of dedication. Smart preparation the night before, added time in the morning to layer up and a sheer determination to just do it. Forget physical ability. If your head’s not in it, go back to bed!

I would like to think that my obsession with fresh air and morning movement helps me be less fearful, allows me to grow an extra skin layer of grit and toughness, maybe even a kind of boldness, a clarity for the day ahead.

I am immersing myself in this season mostly because I know it really is my last in this climate. I’d still be out there anyway but I feel more purposeful now. Time is roaring past me; the days seem to spin into one another. They fold and unfold in ways that put me in the dual role of observer of and participant in each moment.

Would I have this same outlook if I were not departing? I cannot answer that question fully. Would you dear readers feel the same?

Maybe we all need to be right in the midst of the microseconds of our life. Maybe we need to embrace the Grace, the Holiness and the Wholeness, the Light and the Dark, the Here and the Now.

 

There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path

~ Buddha

 

Writing Up a Storm!

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(part of my backyard-a blanket of deep white)

The blizzard has passed although the day is far from ordinary. School cancellations forced me to stay home. Others are digging out, taking another day to reorder their life. We feel lucky not to have lost power even if we got 2 feet or so of snow. It is under 20 degrees and all I can think about is those others in the very eastern part of the state and the islands who are off the grid and cold. We live just far enough from the coast where it could have gone either way.

I’ve got a roast in the oven and potatoes ready to be cooked for my famous mashers. It feels like a Sunday. We went out today, heading to the gym for exercise and the local organic grocery store for dinner ingredients. Laundry is getting done and we are in denial about the workday for tomorrow even as I prepared the smoothies for the next couple of days.

Winter storms shift the beat of daily life. Some panic- rushing to the stores for an overwhelming amount of food, as if Armageddon is approaching. Such a weird response in my mind. We don’t live miles or hours away from the nearest anything. I often wonder how much of the supplies end up in the trash after all is said and done.

So we chill in the chill. We had a great meal together last night-created by what we had in stock. So yummy! And my youngest and two friends took a 2 hour hike into the woods late yesterday afternoon. Refreshed and rejuvenated and ready, they experienced a rare excursion into the quiet. Late last night, the neighbors took their sleds to the street, whipping down the hill in the middle of the road. The travel ban had its benefits!

 

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(another part of the back with the footprints that lead to the woods)

I’ll be up before dawn tomorrow. Hopefully catch a run before the rush. Thanks to all of you for sharing in the tidbits of these last 48 hours. And remember to capture ALL the moments everyday if you can!

A New Take on Being a Bold Woman

Credit: www.pinterest.com

(with Thanks to Emily who sent it to me!)

I love new perspectives and interpretations on ancient stories. Specifically the ones you may hear in a house of worship. Two Sundays ago we heard the story of the three kings and their visit to Bethlehem. These astrologers believed in the messages from the heavens and the story goes that they followed one particular star all the way to the birthplace of Jesus. Their journey was loosely reenacted during a portion of the service with the ‘kings’ passing paper stars out to us. Each of these had a word on the back  and were selected at random; we didn’t know what we got until after we picked a star. Our task was to keep this word with us for the rest of the year and look for moments when we may need it or even use it.

My word was ‘boldness’.  For those who know and love me it’s a word that suits me and one that may not stretch or make me uncomfortable in any way (like a pastor receiving  the word “faith”).  I am a woman who is never afraid to stand up for herself-the strong feminine and feminist figure forthright in the face of unfairness and injustice. Yep. That’s me!

So this word, this word. What am I to do with it?  How will I use it in a new way? Am I already doing it?

Since the publication and reblog of my post On Being a Bold Woman, I decided to contemplate and maybe redefine (at least for me) what it means to be bold. Now, I know the year is young but it doesn’t hurt to at least begin to examine alternate avenues of how it can help me as I move forward into a new life in June.

Shortly after receiving this word, Steve (a fellow parishioner) stated that he felt that it took great courage to up and move myself to a whole new place especially after spending my entire life in this region (now that would be nearly 54 years!). Yeah, yeah. True. True. I am heart and soul a New England girl.  Give me hills, mountains nearby, the brisk Atlantic waters and the big white church in the center of town. A place where practically everyone knows your name. There is a lot to be said for that feeling. I will miss all of it.

 But there comes a time in your life where you have to shake things up. Make a change just for yourself. Small town life can be stifling at times. And things happen where you could feel like a stranger in your own neighborhood. Signals for a change for sure.

Moreover, I spent years needing to be outwardly bold -what with standing up to my ex-husband who attempted to leave me destitute and without shelter. Who, at every turn neglected his financial and emotional responsibilities as a father. Yeah, yeah he is a broken man but he needs to help himself now. No longer my problem. I purposefully carved out a new life for myself and my sons throughout it all. It was not easy and at times truly sucked. But here we are!! The life that was created simply planted the seeds for new growth for each of us.

Maybe this new boldness is a sleeping giant. The big steps may not need to be taken quite yet. In the meantime, perhaps I can rest. Conserve my energy as I prepare to venture into the next wild phase of my life ( oh yes, I do expect it to be!).  In so doing, perhaps I can reshape my definition of a bold woman. In fact, I have already begun.

Ready?

A bold woman does the best she can.

A bold woman asks for help.  She knows not EVERYTHING can be done alone.

A bold woman keeps it simple. She does not create or allow for drama in her life.

A bold woman lets things unfold. She is wise enough not to maintain control all the time.

A bold woman rids herself of unnecessary things. She creates wide open spaces and room to breath.

A bold woman does not engage in negative thinking.  She knows it weighs her down.

A bold woman keeps moving forward even when obstacles are placed in her path. She stays strong.

A bold woman stays present. She knows each moment is precious and rich with positive potential.

A bold woman always offers up to the Universe her highest wishes for the best possible outcome. In doing so, she dreams BIG!

 

So dear readers, what do you think?

Wrapped in a Black Bow

Credit: www.idolbin.com

Today I gave myself a gift. It’s wrapped not so neatly in a word document for now. I’ll unveil it after the new year and I’ll share it with my therapist but no one else. It’s a letter to my ex-one that will never be sent; yet one that needed to be written. One last bit of closure. A chance to shut the final door on the house of shame that I once lived in.

It’s funny how the past reveals itself in unexpected places within our hearts. I understand that it is a normal process when undergoing an enormous life change. (I’m getting married in six months and moving to a new house for those who are new to my site.) It is important to examine these nuggets, these itches that don’t seem satisfied with just a mere surface scratch.

Sometimes I do wonder if I will be permanently scarred by the emotional and verbal abuse that plagued my first marriage. I no longer consider myself a victim nor do I present as one. I am a survivor, I think. Although that seems like such a heavy and misapplied term given that there are worse things that humans have endured compared to my experience. I mean, really, I have an amazing and very happy life now. I don’t wallow in past hurts. I’ve gone through all the stages that victims of abuse pass through on the path to healing. I’ve been lucky enough to have been in therapy two years before the marriage ended; I had acquired the basic tools for surviving the dismantling and its endless aftermaths.

Maybe I am more of a karmic avenger for others who themselves have been or are currently in a similar situation. Because I have lived in my community for nearly twenty-six years, many, many people have seen my transformation. Some have needed an ear, a shoulder to cry on, or words of wisdom to help them through their journey. (And for those of you in blogland, it has always been my sincere wish that this space serves the same purpose through my posts.) When you’ve been there, done that and crossed to the other side, people seek you out. They see it. They sense it in the way you carry yourself. They want some of that! And why not?

It takes supreme psychic bravery to free yourself and move forward out of an unhealthy relationship. The hard work of healing can take you down roads that are often dark and full of pitfalls. It is at times very uncomfortable. Sometimes you find yourself on a temporary detour when you least expect it. (Like me, this month).  Most of all, it takes time, lots of time.

Are you ready to receive the best gift of all?

Firsts and Lasts

 

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We loaded the old boiler onto the truck Sunday night. It died two weeks ago during the last of summer’s heat. A few mornings of cold showers were tolerable, keeping us grateful that we weren’t enduring the endless cold snap of winter. A chilly house is an entirely different story during the dead season. Truth be told, we’ve been hanging in there with the old girl for at least two years. Replacing worn out  parts here and there and enduring the fickle temperatures of the house’s water was all I could financially and psychologically manage. The day the new one was put in was drenched with unusual humidity. My youngest son was called to a job in the city first (but not before his vehicle was hit in the drive-thru getting his coffee!) to fix the clogged drains of helpless college students, leaving his boss to literally do the heavy lifting.  A day of limbo-too hot to move or get things done in the house, so I watched and waited.

Daily life here has taken on a form of time out of mind. September began as and continues to be a state of fervent motion. My job in education this term has found me in a vortex of all-consuming energy leaving me little time to write. My house is full of people. My sons and their loved ones who are in need of shelter and peace take up space. Finding my groove this last autumn season here has proven to be challenging.

Perhaps this is how it is meant to be. I find myself in an acute state of high alert and awareness, this all-knowing sense of the last go round before the birth of a new life in a new place.  (Truly- nine months from Sunday is the wedding day! ) I hear myself saying “This is the last time…” more often.

With that in mind, I am disconnecting and reconnecting to people and places which I’ve known for more than half my life. The town I live in and raised the boys no longer fees like home. The neighborhood-almost a last holdout for regular working class and middle class folks- is undergoing  the transformation to over-sized and up-scaled  new homes. The prices are ones I would never pay even if I  had that kind of money. I no longer frequent the coffee shop  in the busy center either. The familiar faces are scarce and the chances of running into my ex-husband and/or his current girlfriend keep me on edge. Not worth the trip! The shift is palpable; I feel like a stranger in a strange land.

That said, I am rediscovering the mountains that loom just a mere two hours from my house. My youngest son (and my dear friend Emily as her schedule allows) are hiking some of the 4,000 footers. The experience is always unique (see Trails, Tales and Tails) . Labor Day weekend found us hiking on Mt. Liberty, a rugged and steep climb culminating just above tree-line.

Summit

Credit: http://www.summitpost.org/summit/461392/c-151121

The descent was challenging as well and we were briefly entertained by a hiker holding court on the trail wearing only his tighty-whities! I guess Captain Underpants does exist…

Our most recent hike was an easy one; it’s purpose purely preparatory for the 5,000 footer we hope to ascend in October. The packs were heavier and the climb not as steep but we were moved by the bravery of a ten-year old boy with spina bifida who was climbing his first mountain with his family. Tomorrow is a new mountain, higher in elevation than the last with a day that promises to be brilliant.

These excursions (and others in June and last weekend with my fiance’ to other places that I hold dear to my heart) have helped remind me of the beauty in the surrounding region. It is the place where I grew up and grew older- and hopefully wiser! The time spent with my youngest (my oldest works on Sunday afternoons, unfortunately) takes on a deeper meaning and allows for new memories to be born.

Being wholly present during this shifting paradigm has continuously been a goal for me. Allowing myself to partner with the universe keeps me grounded and prepares me for the harder decisions and changes in plans for the future of my home and loved ones. Mostly it is empowering!  The turn of events to come both sheds more of the past and sows the seeds for the future. One where we can all marry simplicity and strength.

 

(I’d like to thank all of you who have continued to follow me as well as my new followers during this unplanned break in my writing. Happy to be back with Kellie’s prompt! )

#FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt

by Kellie Elmorefwf kellie elmore badge

Sideways Stories in Life

Credit: sachakalis.deviantart.com

Did you ever feel both present and nonpresent? Did you ever notice the rapid passage of time and more so, the rapid changes all around you? Do you ever feel sucked into a vortex where your life as you knew it no longer exists? Do you feel that your world is spinning out of control because of one powerful person’s decision that you cannot change? Do you feel that when you’ve already experienced the worst another rogue wave in the tide of life knocks you down?

It is August 1st. The last August in this house for me. Having been away for most of the summer, I have a different perspective on my hometown of 25 years. Some of it is physical. Newer and bigger houses are being built next door and across the way along my tiny and narrow road.  The selling price is beyond belief and the socioeconomic divide just got wider. We miss our old neighbors; the ones you could borrow sugar from or the ones who brought you homemade chicken soup when you had the flu. The ones whose kids you watched over when they were all so young. The age of McMansions has finally cast its net on our side of town.

All change is hard. Neighbors eventually leave. New families move in, taking advantage of the good schools and prime location. Who can blame them? But we already miss our quiet and the working class feel of our spot. What this means for us in the shorter and longer run will soon reveal itself.

The sons continue on. Moving forward in their jobs with possible newer prospects on the horizon. What this means for  them in the shorter and longer run will soon reveal itself.

The responsibilities of my job will be changing at the end of the month. What this means for me and for future job prospects elsewhere will soon reveal itself.

All of what we are experiencing is the natural flow of life. We try not to fight it. We stay positive. Old anxieties creep in, of course. But Heaven knows we have had it so much worse (and this is not bad at all, it is all good, good, good). That helps keep everything in perspective and gives me the energy and wisdom to be there for others.

It is my turn to pay it forward. To give back to others when others gave back to me all those years ago. Good and loving friends are experiencing tough upheavals and wrenching turmoil in their lives presently. I can identify with their pain. I am witness to how it changes both their inner and outer selves, as at one time that was me. Their children were my children.

I wish I had a magic wand. Saying it will get better seems trite and untrue.  Better how? They wonder and worry and grow weary by the moment. It is hard to be present when your past feels like a lie and your future appears bleak. You not only feel like life has gone sideways; you feel sideswiped.

When yet another problem arrived at my doorstep, my father would tell me that it was just another rock in the road that I needed to move. Sometimes those stones were pebbles and sometimes they were boulders. Looking back (and yes  forward, there will be more!), I have come to understand that those obstacles became the foundation for my new life. They didn’t break me. I fashioned them in the form of hope and an inner strength that I never knew existed.

My friends far and wide and those near and dear, you are in my heart and mind as I write this meditation. Stay strong. Be well. Look up for inspiration. The Universe has a message just for you.

 

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

The Man in the Suit

 

Credit: retaingridus.deviantart.com

Dreaming

A premonition in my bones

Knowing our paths would cross

The hundred pounds of nails was removed today

Each purge of your physical reminders lessens the load

Creates space

 Soon to be crushed in some forsaken landscape

Buried in parts unknown

Or incinerated

Mere smoke filtered first before billowing in the Spring sky

We stood in the same line

One you never shared with me so long ago

Your ensemble makes you look important

But I know what it hides

A man who lacks a moral compass

And possesses a criminal mind

Better not to  speak

The atmosphere would be contaminated

Toxified by your breath

False manners emanating from your mouth 

If the strangers among you only knew

What you have done and whom you’ve become

 But I-I am the ultimate stranger

An alien from a former life that no longer seems real

A happy human now

I laugh at the end of the counter with a friend

Awaiting morning warmth

Giggling at the  circumstance

Relieved relaxation

Affirmed in my foreboding

Those damn nails couldn’t hold me in the cage you built

Or was it a coffin?

One hundred pounds laid to waste

Much like you