Who are these silent strangers waiting for me to know who they are?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Woman on the Edge

Woman on the Edge

I stand
A woman on the edge of two worlds
Both are beautiful
On the right side is the world of beginnings
Filled with youth and innocence,
With children and laughter,
Hard work and sweat.
On the left is the world yet to be
Filled with memories of the other,
But also wisdom and peace,
Joy and shared tears,
Hard work and deep thought.
In the first, I learned that I am alone
I must stand for myself
Or be lost to myself.
In the second, I am beginning to learn
That I am not alone but part of everyone
Through the love they carry in their hearts.
Here I am a mature woman
But I must learn to stand with those I love
Or be lost to the world.
Far in the distance I see the beginning
And know that these hoops of life have no end

Friday, June 29, 2012

RIP Zombie

As I sit before my computer screen this evening I find myself contemplating being human. There are times that I fail to see any benefit to being one. It might truly be better to not have this useless intellect powering an over active imagination and fueling the unstoppable thoughts that are torturing me. Two weeks ago I lost my young cat in an unexpected and shocking death. My brain will not let the image of him lying on the floor lifeless be put to rest. I keep seeing him in the days just before, careless, adorable and so loving in stark contrast to his still form. At first, I just couldn’t believe it. Then my brain began to try and find a reason for it. Certainly, there must be a deeper reason, something that gives meaning. But there really isn’t. He is gone, just like that. I have lost many people that I love and many have gone after an illness. A few, like Zombie, died abruptly. I have missed some of them terribly with an ache that is indescribable, like a hole torn in my soul. But Zombie was my baby. He was my comfort when I felt inconsolable. Like all felines, he never judged and always  trusted that I would be there to care for him. Why? I ask myself this all the time. Why would he be taken from me? Was it something I did? Did I fail to notice some dire symptom? And what am I going to do now?
We all seem to race through life, dimly aware that someday we’ll die. We watch in horror as those we know grow older also and shy away from the looming reality of our mortality. There are times when the death or illness of someone close to us smacks us in the face and forces us to see the inevitable. At those times, I have taken stock, changed my priorities and tried to live my life as if every second counts. To me, people mean more than anything else. Yet, here I am once again being smacked in the face. There was no reason, no indication that Zombie would soon be gone. Now, I look at all the people I love and feel panic that I will lose them. That they will be gone before I ever have a chance to tell them, or show them, how much I love them.
It has been two weeks now. Last night I finally said to myself, “I can let him go.” In some kind of unreal, nightmare, I buried him in the backyard. The next day I built a cairn over him and covered it with roses. I knew that he was at peace but I was just numb. We left the day after that to go to IL and I feel like we abandoned him. I had nightmares about finding him and nightmares about him not really being dead. In my waking hours I know that he is gone and my grief is about me, not him. The numbness has worn off and I can’t bear to think of returning to my home in WV without my baby there to greet me. Maybe there’s a small comfort in the Navajo belief that we return to the earth and become a part of her. A friend sent me this poem:
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brewing tea

Brewing tea I have been brewing tea for a long time and the secret to the best tea is steeping for just the right amount of time. No over brewing or you’ll end up with a bitter nasty flavor and of course, under brewing leaves you with warm water that tastes faintly of something you can’t identify.

The same could be said of steeping thoughts for just the right amount of time. I find I can either blend them all together and come up with an amalgam of flavors or I can single them out and enjoy each one separately, leaving possible blending for a future brew.

So, here I am in the midst of an emergency brew. Concentrated. The main ingredient is self-hood. See, since I was very young, I have done this thing to myself. When I care about a person, really care, I end up giving them a figurative piece of myself. Then when I am with them, everything they feel and think, becomes what I feel and think. No one taught me this, no one asked me to do it, but I have nonetheless. Now, as I try to figure out what is my feeling and my thought, I am flummoxed, confused and lost. I began brewing a couple of weeks ago but last night, a simple phone call propelled me into some serious and frenetic brewing. There is not much harder than having too many people all wanting me to do something different because I get so mixed up in everyone else I lose my self. But as a mother, the worst is feeling the heartbreak, grief, despair of your child and not being able to do anything about it. It is counter productive and actually destructive for me to feel his problem so deeply that it seems like my own. So, I sit and brew like I've never brewed before. I feel sad but I have finally clarified my brew to be my own emotions and thoughts rather than his. Panic is all strained out and my brain is now functioning like it should. I can't fix anything I can just let him know how much I love him and that if he gives himself time, it will get better. And he can breathe. Just remember to breathe, deep oxygen rich breathes.

 My tea today is: I am not my son. I am myself and I can do this.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Red Sky at Morning

Today, I decided to go back to getting up at dawn. I nearly mad it, about 10 minutes after the official dawn. It is so peaceful in the house early in the morning. I made a pot of coffee and had a cigarette out on the porch. For the first time in a couple of years, there was a red sky. Of course, my brain went immediately to the saying, "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning, Red sky at night sailor's delight." I am not a sailor, and I am not at sea, but I can't stop myself from wondering what kind of hideous weather will plague my today. We are expected storms later this afternoon. (insert mysterious and suspenseful music here)Anyway and nonetheless, I am looking forward to a productive day of housework (yuk) and book research. I am finally multi-dexterous and can operate my mac and my pc with proficiency. I am re-acquainting myself with MS Word.Even with the handicap of years on the mac, Word is so much easier than Pages. Yet, I have to add 'curses to windows' at this juncture, having just experienced an unexpected update. Inconvenient that. So, rather than a Red Letter day, I am having a Red Sky Day. Wahoo. Maybe I should go back and read some of Cicero's orations to see what ancient wisdom and philosophy has to offer me. Right now, I will settle for some more coffee.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Wednesday - I am contemplating a few odd stray thoughts. Like, for instance, did you ever pass an old, neglected house and see numerous windows missing their glass? These houses seem like caves, dark and somehow foreboding inside. There's that indefinable feeling that blends the "something's not right" uneasy feeling with the "how did this happen" what's inside there feeling. Sometimes, when I see an old building I just feel sadness or regret. So, why do certain ones creep me out? Certainly, driving along a single lane dirt road in the hollers of WV adds to the creep factor. But in the middle of town on a sunlit day, there is a certain house that screams "DON"T ENTER HERE! MURDERERS, RAPISTS, PIG SQUEALING PERVERTS ARE LURKING." It is right next to a quaint, and respectable house with a little pink bicycle on the porch and Yellow flowered curtains in the window.

And, why do certain old books make me want to hold them like priceless treasures, while others just need to be thrown out. Their weight is part of it, I think. A heavy, ornate book with rag paper pages, printed on letterpress and illustrated lavishly with beautiful, crisp wood engravings and bearing gilt designs on the cover is much preferred over a light weight, dried out brown, wood pulp paged volume that threatens to disintegrate if you actually turn a page. It's true that the one I prefer to hold is the Chemistry textbook from 1890 and the well bound but brittle book contains Thackeray's Vanity Fair.

And speaking of books, over and over I find books that are lost gems. I look at them and think, someone, somewhere would love this book. I mean really cherish it and read it and appreciate it. But will they ever even know it exists? I have this delightful Travelogue by Burton Holmes. He was a guy that simply traveled and took photos and movies - and then returned to the States with his beautiful works and went on tour. He performed six shows a week, sometimes in six different cities, in which he just talked about the people and places he had seen. In this particular volume from 1910, he was talking about Korea and Japan. The images are stunning and his stories so interesting. The book itself has beautifully designed pages. Somewhere out there, is a person who would appreciate his photography, stories and his subject. So many orphaned books!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fight for myself

I don't know! I DON'T KNOW! I'm lost! I'm scared! I feel like I'm disappearing! MY SKIN'S COMING OFF! I'M GETTING OLD! Nothing makes any sense to me! NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE! - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

It is Thursday night. The night barren of anything redeemable on TV. I have just gotten a brand spanking new HP laptop computer that I feel handicapped when using. The conversion from Mac back to PC somehow seems like I am going simultaneously forward and backward. I feel hopelessly confused when trying to get all my documents from mac to pc. I have already been going through an identity crisis. I have not had a cigarette in 8 days and I would cheerfully steal a butt off a helpless old lady if any were available for the hijack. But I can't, because my husband won't even give me a hug if I smoke. I smell like an ashtray you know. In the interest of actually being shown some affection, I will quit. It's a dirty, selfish, expensive habit and it disgusts him. Some how in all this mess I call a brain, I feel like I am losing my identity. Bit by bit, a slow millimeter at a time, I find myself shutting off all of my preferences and newly discovered joys to please my husband. Not that he is asking me to do any of that. But, his constant criticism and air of disapproval is wearing me down. Even when he is not really disapproving, it feels like he is and furthermore, like he is mad at me. A month ago, I didn't care. A month ago I felt like I was making progress on speaking my mind and discovering what my mind really has to say. It's sort of like brain washing, I am rarely alone and at any moment he will decide to play the bag pipes or read posts from his Survival forum, or ask me questions about what he is working on. If I sleep late he glowers his disapproval. If I sleep late and then I want to etsy rather than go out, he really radiates displeasure. OK forget all that, I am just repetitively whining and I hate to hear myself. In fact, I am finding myself teetering once again on the brink of hating myself. arrrrgggghhh. Is it just withdrawal from nicotine? Am I going crazy? I promised myself that I would not sit and catalogue my stupid self imposed "rules."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Sailor

I researched this book today about a young man who runs away from humiliation and becomes a sailor. At the beginning of the book he is drunk, and depressed. This is an excerpt of a couple pages about his attempt at suicide. For some reason this just gripped me and I couldn't stop reading.

For some odd reason which he couldn’t explain, the feeling of excitement began to grow with the certainty that he was on the line. He cold feel the metals, icy cold, smooth and slippery under his feet. He limped along until a dim shape loomed ahead. It was a signal box. By this time his excitement was almost terrible. . . .

“Now’s your chance, “ said a gentle voice deep down in himself.
Instantly he lay full length in the six-foot way.
“Set your head on the line,” said the voice.
He did as he was told. The sensation of the icy metal under his right ear was so horrible that his heart almost stopped inside him.
“Close your eyes,” said the voice, and then it said a little more gently as if it knew that already he was half dead with fear, “Stay just as you are and you’ll not know nothink about it.”
He closed his eyes.
“Don’t move, “ said the voice. “Stay there and it’ll not hurt you.”
If he had had a God to pray to, he would have prayed.
The engine seemed a long time on the way. He daren’t move hand or foot, he daren’t stir a muscle of his body. But as the seconds passed an intense desire came upon him to change the position of his head. It felt so undefended sideways on. Surely it would be better if he turned it round so that . . .
“Don’t move,” the voice commanded him. “Keep just like that. Quite still.”
He was bound to obey. The voice was stronger than he.
“Eyes shut, and you’ll not know nothink.”
It was as a mother would have spoken had he ever heard a mother speak.
. . .The engine was coming. He could hear it snorting and tattling in the distance. He simply daren’t listen. He tried to imagine he was already dead. But a frightful crash suddenly broke in upon his brain, and then another, and then another . . . he never realized how much it took to . . .
“Fog signals, “ said the voice. “Keep just as you are . . eyes shut . . .quite still . . .quite still.”
There it was, grunting and rattling . . . Know nothink! . . .there . . .now . . .
Grunting, rattling snorting what a time it took! In spite of himself he opened his eyes, and found that he was still alive.
“You were on the wrong line after all.”
The sound of the voice turned him faint.