the fire within

that glint you see in her eye
is only a spark
compared to the fire that burns within

she is our future,
the place where our paths all converge
and her story
is the one that we’ve all been waiting for
to right the wrongs
we’ve protested and fought against
for far too long

her flame can take out
the strongest of them,
the ones whose hearts are soiled
with a taste for power,
and it can burn those who
aren’t ready
to join her on the journey,
the ones who try to veer her off her path

she is intent and focused
and what she dreams of one day
will be
because that flame from within
is blazing the way
for her to speak and be heard
write and be read
lead and be followed
listen and understand
dream and create
act and inspire

such fiery heat can scorch
but for the one willing
to walk alongside
and encourage
and feed her soul
and make her laugh

that one will never feel the cold

img_1274

don’t let them

don’t let them
tell you the stars aren’t really
diamonds
twinkling just for you
waiting to adorn your dreams
while you slumber
where you live out all your heart’s desires

don’t let them
tell you it’s silly to
guard your heart so carefully
or to love him so completely

don’t let them
convince you life isn’t hard
and that the world
isn’t broken

it is

but you in your diamonds
bringing life to your big dreams
holding the hand of the one
your heart calls home
giving from the beauty and kindness
that flows through your soul

you
will
change
it
all

 

Big_Dipper_Ursa_Major_over_Old_Faithful_geyser_Yellowstone_National_Park_Wyoming_Astrophotography

“Big Dipper Ursa Major over Old Faithful geyser Yellowstone National Park Wyoming Astrophotography” by Astroval1 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Big_Dipper_Ursa_Major_over_Old_Faithful_geyser_Yellowstone_National_Park_Wyoming_Astrophotography.jpg#/media/File:Big_Dipper_Ursa_Major_over_Old_Faithful_geyser_Yellowstone_National_Park_Wyoming_Astrophotography.jpg

upon encountering a frog on a mid-winter evening

walking along on this winter evening that has dressed up like spring
meandering really, not counting steps or time or headed anywhere
in particular
just giving her a moment to sniff and smell and do
all the dog things she does
it’s different somehow in the dark
the world seems quieter
calmer
and while there’s so much I cannot see,
somehow it all seems clearer

and that’s when out of nowhere really
the little frog hopped in our path
and surprised both of us

where on earth has he been?
a week ago the earth was frozen
frigid temperatures closed everything
the cold and bitter winds called for hunkering down,
preparation and survival were the code words for the day

and where were you then, little one?
had you yet grown your legs a week ago?
where were you hiding when the world said
there is no life left here, nothing growing
only this harsh world suitable for no man nor beast,
how did you survive the freeze when all else was lost?

and yet you show up
as if you are not the most amazing thing in this world
something that should not be, that logic cannot fathom how–
there you are
hopping across my path
unafraid, not to be veered from your destination
by person or dog

intent on doing what you do

a small miracle, defying all reason

much like the hope that comes out of the blue
when least expected
during the dark and coldest of times
surfacing just in time to tie the knot at the end of the rope
and whisper
“hold on”
and carry us through the dark, cold night
to witness the glory of a new day

img_1396

 

circling the wagons close

some of life’s most sacred moments, holy moments
happen along the raw edges of hurt
and pain
when we circle the wagons close
and sit with each other in the dark

holding hands, hands in laps
fingering the edges of the wrap we have on
to ward off the cold
the cold that is here
the cold yet to come
all of it
the veins a light hue of blue
seen through worn hands that have birthed and washed
and tucked littles beneath blankets and cleaned and prepared
and reached for love one last time
before quietly letting go
and grasping for the good in that

it’s what we do
when darkness
and the cold come to call
we stand together against the chill
drying tears,
laughing and crying all in the same breath,
holding each other tight

it is one of life’s greatest honors and hardest gifts to bear,
to sit with another
when the news comes
and after, when the pieces, shattered and scattered, are there
and we don’t know yet what to do with them

whether around a kitchen table
girding our souls for what is to come
with the laughter of children in the background,
a playful reminder of
happier memories and times,
times when we were those littles and the “old” folks sat vigil,
waiting on the news

or in an apartment with friends we hold dear
pizza and movies a soothing salve for the stinging pain of heartache and loss,
that grief knows no age limits

or sitting in the waiting room
waiting
holding our breath and gripping hands, waiting to hear the words that
will choose the path ahead for us,
always waiting, no choices
only waiting

it is in all of these moments
and all of the emails and messages and cards
and phone calls and trips and opening our doors to pups
and children
and hugs and all the times we say “I love you”
with a little more emphasis
and hug a little longer

all of those precious moments
are
so real
raw
broken
beautiful
holy

and though we may not have the answers
or good news
or the energy to face another moment of this–
we have each other

in the face of questions
and anger
and pain
and sadness
and oh, all those tears we try to keep hidden,
in the face of it all
we have each other

circling the wagons close
to hold all the love in
like lightning bugs on a summer night
strong and moving around through the darkness,
holding all who are near in the Light

and like the circle
never-ending
bathing the wounded in light
and love
and holding each other close
as we let the tears fall

it’s what our people do
on days like this

wagon-wheel-856097_1920

redemption story

the truth is, we are all living a redemption story–
in any given moment we can change direction
make choices that take us on another path completely
rewrite our story
change up the cast of characters
have a set change and cull the props

at any point on our path
we can chart another course
and turn this life around
such that what was born of the dark times
can shine such beautiful light
eventually,
one day

and what was broken and caused all the pain
can lead others to the light, to beauty
and towards their own redemption story

all of us have that chance
for atonement and healing hearts,
as long we are on this journey
and putting one foot in front of the other
it is not too late

there always exists the choice
for small, great things
that can leave an imprint on the hearts and minds
of history
changing the course for all of us
if only we are strong and speak in truth
with courage
celebrating joy and leaving beauty marks in our wake

we are all living out our stories
it is for us to make it a good one

img_1315

be strong, true, joy / Walk in the Light / the story is always redemption

Note:  As I was making this picture with the Latin words, I used an on-line translator, as it’s been just a few years since my last Latin class.  To double check my translation, I reversed the process and learned the truest interpretation of the words here.  The one that made my the most joy-filled, the most hopeful is the last one.  Instead of saying “The redemption story is always possible,” it interpreted it to read, “The story is always redemption.”  So much hope there.  For all of us.  Love to all.  

Watching The Rock Die

So there was this day I found myself sitting at the Emergency Room with my sisterfriend there alongside, and I looked up at the TV right in front of me whose sound was not minimal, and the violence was jarring.

It would have been jarring in any circumstances, but with the background sounds of the young woman in the wheelchair crying out in pain as her husband rubbed her back in gentle circles, and the voices of the nurses insisting that no one else go back to a patient’s room or security would be called, it was dizzying.  Surreal.  Confusing.  Not to mention all the worry and anxiety.

And it was more than I could bear.

When a character on the TV walked into a room and shot The Rock, a man whom I’ve only seen in Disney movies and in brief interviews and that time he lip synced the Taylor Swift song, “Shake It Off,” it sent a shock though my system.  I really like him.  Okay, I’m in the ER, and The Rock is now dead.  Only he isn’t.  But in a room that has seen its fair share of gunshot wounds, it just seemed WRONG.

More than wrong.

Here’s the thing.  I’ve sat here thinking about that day.  And about ERs.  And the thing is, I cannot think of a single reason that wouldn’t be at least somewhat worrisome or troubling that would bring one to the ER.

Let’s face it.  It’s not a happy place.  Somebody is sick or hurt or struggling or something is WRONG and that’s why each and every person is in there.  If it’s not them hurting, they are there because they care about someone who is.

So maybe, could we all agree that these TVs that seem to be in every waiting space there is these days should be tuned to something that would take our minds off of the worry, pain, fear, concern, aches, hurt–or at least attempt to?

Like maybe “I Love Lucy” greatest hits.  Or an “Andy Griffith” marathon.  Or some other show that is devoid of violence or high speed chases or anything else that quickens the pulse and raises the blood pressure.  No more added stress.   I’m sure it would be a different show for all of us, but at this point, I’d take elevator music playing in the background.

Can we just remove the violence, the blood and gore and terror, at the very least?  (There’s enough of that in the world, in that very room, already.)

It seems that the older I get, the more sensitive I am to it.  At this point, I could do without ever seeing anything like that again.

Thanks for listening to my thoughts.  I welcome yours…..what would be your choice to pass the time in a place like the ER?  What do you think is appropriate?

Love to all.

Emergency_room

By Thierry Geoffroy (Thierry Geoffroy) [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Always

The world has lost another beautiful soul.

Tonight I give thanks for this talented actor whose portrayal of Severus Snape as written by JK Rowling in the Harry Potter novels taught some, reminded others, that there is more to people than what meets the eye.  Professor Snape reaffirmed for us the truth in Mary Lou Kownacki’s words:

Engrave this upon your heart: there isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you heard their story.

Many of us spent years until the release of the seventh book in the summer of 2007 disliking this man and his ways, distrusting him.   And then, in that book, the details of his loyalties are revealed, and we learn the story of who he was and how he was treated before and whom he really loved, and what he did for that love. And then…..we realized…..

this is not a world of easy black and white.  There is no all good or all bad.

It’s all grey.  The good with the bad.  The broken with the beautiful.  The light and the dark.

12485977_10153949627089260_5456730872890628332_o

So can a talented artist like yourself.  Well done, sir.  

Thank you, Alan Rickman, for bringing this to life for us–for your part in teaching us to look beyond the story we see–to listen and hear what is not always easily seen or shared.  You shall be missed.

Always.

11866258_10153688814774369_7482591562750031014_n

 

Light and Warmth Everlasting

There is something sacred about sitting around a fire and listening to stories when the weather is cold and the season is dark.

I think we tell ourselves we sit there for the warmth that the fire gives.

But I also think that while the warmth might begin as a spark from the fire that rises toward the sky, it’s only the beginning.  That spark lights a flame in the hearts of those gathered round that is fed by the laughter and love and shared joy in the moment.

It is then that we are loathe to leave, telling ourselves that when we move away from the fireside, we will feel the chill in the air, and the warmth will be gone, and we will be cold and all will be dark again.

Turns out that isn’t true.

Giving thanks for the warmth that is long-lasting, the kind that comes from good friends, good conversations, lots of laughter, and light and love.

Hang in there.  Though the dark seems long-lasting, the Light is coming.

Love to all.

img_0890

 

 

When Time Stood Still

I am one of those people who believes that light will follow darkness.  That eventually the sun will rise.  That the heavy nothingness will give way to little pinpricks of light that will open up the sky like a box being opened at Christmas, until the whole sky is gloriously lit by the golden sun as it rises from its slumber.

That is what I believe.

I have to.

To move forward.

To move beyond.

Today I found myself sitting in a courtroom listening to hard stories and all the pain and hurt from years in the past.  When I first got there I noticed the clock had the wrong time.  That’s annoying, but clocks can run slow or folks forget to set them back, so I didn’t give it a second thought.  When there was a recess I looked up again, and I saw that the clock hadn’t moved it all.  It wasn’t working.  At.  All.

IMG_0746

When we first arrived

I began to feel antsy.  I looked up at that clock a couple of more times during the remainder of our time in the room, and it. still. wasn’t. moving.

Then I began to feel closed in.  All of that pain, all of that hurt.  All of that, and no time had passed?

IMG_0747

When we were about to leave

I know that it had in actuality passed.  I think part of what troubled me is that it was a clock that the only the judge could see easily, and I wondered how on earth she was managing not knowing the time…..

Why didn’t she have that blame clock fixed?  Or replaced?  Why didn’t she do a lot of things?  Did it not bother her?

And I realized that I needed in the very worst way for that clock to move.  I need for the afternoon and then the evening to come.  I need for all of that to happen because if time does not pass, how can we begin to heal?  How can we move beyond?

Though the passing of time can bring more darkness, eventually if the clock keeps ticking, the sun will rise, the light will come, and we can move past all of the pain and hurt and sadness of the now.

Tonight I give thanks for those who remind me of the moments passing and who hold my hand and heart as they do.  I am thankful for those who sit in the dark and are the first to call out “Morning has broken!” as the tiniest bit of dawn peeks over the horizon.  Tonight I open myself to the Light which will I hope will help me see the path a little clearer.

And I’m sure hopeful that someone will fix that clock.  It’s no good to be stuck in the same moment for more than a minute–it’s just not good for our souls.

Love to all.

Hope in the Woods

Last week after I got some hard news, I wrote the poem, “over.”  I was hurting, and I remembered all of the times when I hurt like this–when I had to say goodbyes that I didn’t want to say.  When I had to close the door and not turn back.  Ever.

It was pointed out to me first by someone I know and admire and have grown to care about (though we’ve never met) that in the poem I shared that I had tossed an acorn into an open grave, and that told him something.  Later, another sweet soul pointed it out as well and said she agreed.  For me to keep tossing acorns.

Wow.

Keep tossing acorns.  

Hope.

I hadn’t looked at it like that.

This afternoon I took a few minutes to wander off by myself.  It was a lovely afternoon, just right for a walk.  I went down near the edge of the woods in search of a treasure.  I wasn’t sure if they would be there or not, but when I got there and they were–I was elated.

It was peaceful there, squatting by myself at the edge of the woods, pushing back the tendrils of grass that didn’t die off in the frost a couple of weeks ago, searching for the gifts from the trees there.

Acorns.

I gently picked up each one.  For whatever reason, the caps fell off of many of them, but I tucked each one and its cap in my jar.  I needed them, you see.  It was as though each one I picked up fed my soul a little bit more.  When I rose from the ground, I headed home toting my jar of acorns with a little more peace than I had when I began.

IMG_0745

And I give thanks for that.

I look at these little amazing things, and I wonder if anyone ever told them that simply dropping to the ground and waiting in one place would not get them anywhere.  I wonder if anyone ever told them about gravity and how something that falls to the ground can never really reach the skies again.  I wonder if anyone ever told them that it was all over.  Done.

No.  Of course not.

And even if someone had, it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference because an acorn defies gravity and proves that sometimes good things can come from sitting still, from waiting.  Just simply by being.  By the way it lives out its story.

Tonight I’m thankful for the peace that can be found by sitting in a patch of grass at the edge of the woods.  And for the hope that can be found in a little acorn.

Wishing you all a healthy dose of hope and peace and a little patch of grass to squat in and find it.

Love to all.