Daily Prompt: Ovation/Interlochen Muse

via Daily Prompt: Ovation

mothers-day-2010-003

And the breathless offerings were more than one might think could be born of those urgent youthful times. It was a sweep of spirit, of lightning, a reckless musing, an underground current that struck between soul and head, then landed in folded hands back stage or in laps awaiting plenty in auditoriums. And, better, sitting before an open-air stage, imagining what was to come. To step forward, to sing like that or caress strings with bow, to interpret and let go night’s starry dustings and old earthen secrets that left one wordless. And sky then unrolling from striated heavens, the lake water a veil of golden days and a remembrance of underwater survival, and wisdom rising to the top like flying fish: it was that sort of Interlochen I knew. Its fallible prodigies, miracles sprung between measures, fantasies danced right into the open with arms flung high: this was knowing that music was God’s mouth. That Art being made was not only a dream but the truth. The only necessary truth.

When they all rose and applauded as if the offerings were worthy of critical minds, those hands coming together–what then visited me, us, was that piney wind of the North scenting our thrilling hearts. Time caught in a fine web like a jewel, even that could remake things. And how crystalline a sound those invisible currents, free of strife, wild with powers of life, burnishing skin and all beneath it with simple beauty. The blood ran swift, if yet not fully fathomed. A blessing or a curse?–to create, be recreated in every moment of labor, surrendering. It was the way we reached and moved, as if nothing, no one knew better that living was an act of funneling those riveting forces of life.

And an ovation–a bow, a smile given– was only the beginning for any who felt deeply, privately that call like shy, enchanted lovers to the beloved–audience or not.

They were the breathless offerings, more than one might think could be born of those urgent youthful times. The heartbreaking and lustrous times. And the urgent leaning in to art, the making and giving of it–these live on like ancient creatures we will always care for that will not, cannot bear forgetting.

Angel Reckoning

img_2705

In the mammoth auditorium–
chairs lined up in new territory–
we waited, restless,
infused with anticipation for
a long awaited event to unfold.
I sat alone, self firm with who I was and where.

Then the room spun, time accordioned,
chairs pulled about by tides as if on
a silvery ship into a sky-bound sea.
It was not expected nor desired
but what the moment offered, I well accepted.

Are we taking off I shouted to the captain
who looked like a musician or a man who knew God.
But others were not pleased; the vessel shook, skidded.

And then your beautiful head and vaporous body
glided toward the flowering horizon.
I fumbled toward you, touched your shoulder.

Are you getting off now I asked
You half turned, a fleeting smile, nodded,
were gone, never intending to wait for me.

I know you oh yes, good sister.
You came to check on this world’s conundrums,
the family’s status, to greet my soul,
warn perhaps but all that commotion did not
spoil your peace worn like a crown,
a sign, a promise of eternal life
you assured me would happen.

Your presence lingers, indelible
despite vagrant wants and needs,
a bold light firing up dim shards.
You let me find you in that milieu
then returned to a celestial beyond
until it is my turn to come, be done.

And that second of beauty reminds me:
may love lead and follow as I yet go on.

(for Marinell– and Roland;
you know I know about angels)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Better Way Through Hardships

026

The breaking news of my day included the younger of my two brothers–the one not in the Northwest– being in the hospital with serious heart symptoms. Again. This was not long after a surgical procedure that was to fix significant electrical anomalies deep in a heart chamber’s tissue. The gist of it is that he has dealt with a difficult situation for awhile–far more so than my own heart issues of late. And resolution is yet being sought.

We are a family rich in figurative heart, I think, being  musicians, writers, artists; makers of things and seekers of knowledge. It isn’t so simple or easy being in this family–all that temperament  get deeper and more tiring than one might desire, myself included. And we are a family with literal heart problems, ones that can take us down. It seems to be one or the other of us during each year, sometimes two or three of us as during this year. And we lost our oldest sister  two years ago to congestive heart failure/heart attack at just 78. I am dearly hoping to keep my other three siblings around much longer.

I called him when he was able to talk. His equanimity and good nature were holding steady. He explained the problem, his organized, logical nature routed past the acreage of feelings (of which he owns large amounts in addition to a fine intellect). I understood the medical issues. It was his mellifluous voice I needed to hear. His presence I wanted to access. It was, in truth, reassurance I sought, and it was enough for now. And “now” is exactly what there is at any given moment.

But after I got the first messages I tried to simply prepare for the day. Soon I found myself singing “The Lord’s Prayer”, a fine song based on the prayer that I cannot recall singing in years, as I am a singer who no longer sings much. Gratitude bloomed within me. The energy that arose from the very act of singing of faith as well as my human need rendered me still within. And also readied me. I felt able to pray deeply for my brother’s well-being and felt imbued with a sense of God’s awareness of us here on earth. (Both the making a mess of it and making things better.) It may sound strange, but it is what it is–I just do feel God (assuredly, many do). I texted friends and family who might not have received the news, asked for offerings of healing energy, a few words of prayer, their generous caring. I believe he’s getting this from people all the way to the other side of the country.

He is somewhat better by now. He has had ongoing confidence that there will be a way to amend the problems. He has faith in good medicine, yes, but he has an abiding hope in his beliefs and great zest for life, as well. He has been through many ordeals, the Viet Nam war and more. I know he is in the right place with his steadfast wife and a competent staff. He is certainly not alone.

I think of how often life has brought scathing, disastrous, alarming or grievous times. We all have them. We every one of us toss and turn through wretched nights and cast about for peace as we endure. How do we manage to make do in the worst of it? How do we determine a path to a cohesive balance? The options may include escape, sharing the burden with another or sinking into solitary perseveration. We can become outraged or self-pitying or go numb. We also can try to change what we can and learn how to accept life on life’s terms as, for example Twelve Step programs state. We are not the only ones who gain such coping skills; its been going on for thousands of years. It has got to be in our DNA by now: humans typically do not give up that easily. We are willful–and resilient.

I am pensive tonight. About my brother’s well-being, yes, but also about the order (or lack) of various matters in my life. Plans gone awry. This shouldn’t be a surprise since nothing is for certain except change. But the past few months leading up to Christmas have been different this year. My husband, Marc’s, health has plunged into crisis twice. My chronic issues have given me a some hard days though I manage quite well, overall. Then M. traveled on business for longer than expected. Christmas preparations were partly delayed. There are activities we always get excited about that we have thus far been unable to do. What happened to our big annual, handmade holiday calendar in bright markers that shows all we plan to enjoy? It never even got made. We missed two special concerts, as well–the weather interfered, then my own faulty heart.

Yet I am nearly ready, accept for cookie making which will have to be shared, happily, with my first-arriving daughter. And oh, yes–every single gift for twelve people still needs to be wrapped. But I just take it a step at a time since there is no other choice. I get done what can be done, work faster, but I know much is overlooked by my family and forgiven with good humor.

In a few short hours, my East coast daughter will be arriving. And a few days later another one will be flying in from another state. And when I think about them, everything finds its place inside my teeming mind. Because they are so brave, I can at least be present, accountable and entirely ready to offer hugs. I did as much when I worked (well, actual hugs were infrequent, sadly) in mental health and addictions treatment for decades–it comes more readily with the kids.

The first daughter was born two and a half months early, weighing only two and a half pounds. In the 1970s, there should have been no way she would survive. They understood preemies very little then, and interventions were few and often little help. She barely fit in a nurse’s hand; her skin was so ivory-translucent that the map of her veins was visible. She wore a heart and respiratory monitor that went off with terrifying regularity as I lay aching, way down the hall, craving just one touch of her. She did not come home for over well two months; I did not get to hold her, to nurse her during hospital time. The one time I was allowed near her, she turned blue as I tried to bottle feed her. Allergic to almost all formulas, she was allergic to many other things, too. Her father and I pressed our hands against the nursery window, gazed at her in the cage-like Isolette. My spirit felt like it jumped out to find her, hovered near her, longing for her, sad but full of a new and complex tenderness. Her tiny fingers were tapered, artistic, I thought; I wondered who she would become. I did not think she would not be able go on; she had come to us, she was breathing.

Each additional day she lived, she began to thrive. Her presence altered everything, changed what mattered in ways I never imagined. She was fortunate to not have any intellectual deficits or physical problems. Later labelled a talented and gifted child, she was so shy she barely looked at people or spoke for years but she paid strict attention, mind percolating a brew of ideas. She sat silently with a pile of blocks and built, then rebuilt structures for hours by the time she was two. She began to make things out of odds and ends that were unusually complex. She later became dedicated to opening up her life and fulfilling her dreams. Has pushed forward to become an artist; has shared kindness, made tremendous friends as she’s traveled the world. The child who hid behind my legs is, it turns out, fiercely independent. A quicksilver mind allows for lively discussions and intrigues people, including us. She keeps going forward, creating sculptures, teaching, finding more adventures, all 100 pounds of her.

The other daughter coming was born with serious hypopituitarism, in layman’s terms severe growth hormone deficiency, a rare congenital condition that became apparent at about six months old when she nearly stopped growing, then barely inched along the next months. She was overflowing with energy and laughter. But very small. Testing of endless sorts began in earnest within a few months, some very painful for her, frightening for us, but after a couple of years the culprit was exposed. When treatment of daily injections of DNA-recombinant biosynthetic growth hormone were administered at age four and a half, she began to grow better, more steadily. More evaluations at medical research centers, blood drawn, dosages altered, statistics charted. Growth hormone cost two thousand dollars a month. Soon she was entered into University of Michigan Medical Center’s free research study protocol for just 200 other GHD children across the U.S. The idea was to try a new kind of growth hormone, in other words, for her to become a study subject. It was scary decision to make–a child depends on parents doing the right thing.

After awhile her skin became less baby-soft, voice slowly gained a richer timbre, her very face changed before us–she finally looked older. Everything is affected by growth hormone if one does not have it in proper supply. Think how everything in our bodies replicates, our very cells. Without proper hormones, things fail to act correctly. She became used to the shots. Still, in kindergarten she was yet the size of a toddler. When anyone said mean things, she wiped her tears and carried on. We so wanted to protect her but what good would come of it? She was to add good to the world and explore its variety, not be afraid of it. And she was thrilled with learning, loved chatty socializing.

It took years of injections she learned to give herself; additional hormone replacements needed, it turned out; of trial and error in treatments. She was nonetheless a child who celebrated life, gabby, given to spontaneous songs and dances. She endured the rest, accepted the frequent medical visits, shots, routines. Strangers were drawn to her when we went to the store, the library. It was her size, yes, but also her easy smile and bright eyes. My child smiled at everyone, just started up conversations so I had to keep an eye on her. This daughter wanted to pull life to her in a full-on embrace.

Eventually, slowly, she grew enough so by 16 she came to be considered just a rather short person at 4 feet 10 inches or so. Her medical treatment did not end because she got taller. Severe GHD is a complicated medical condition that requires lifelong monitoring and treatment with several hormones. The shots continue daily. She often doesn’t feel well; her immune system is less defended. She quickly can overheat in the sun. Her muscles tire more easily than many her age and her joints ache. More easy breakage of bones is a risk. Yet she was a roller derby skater and enjoyed every minute–until she hurt her knee. But she is indefatigable in her arts career goals and is moving ahead. Her leisure time is spirited; her marriage, a good one. And unpaid work embraces the disenfranchised, undervalued and forgotten.

The point is not that my daughters are spectacular, even if I love them profoundly and thus suspect they may be. All of our daughters everywhere are extraordinary, unique–and also our sons. (I have also written of my son, who survived a ruinous, near-fatal motorcycle accident in his early twenties, then went on to success as a pro skater.) No matter who they are or where they live in the world, they each must learn life’s twisty lessons, meet untold challenges, be inventive enough to nurture contentment and what can seem like elusive joy. But my children taught me more than they’ll likely ever know. They are beacons for me, all five of our now-adult kids. I only want to share a fraction of what these two have faced, gotten through, plus a  view of what we, as parents, have had to learn about adaptation, unerring hope and tenacity. We have been on a journey that has been hard–not as hard as for many, that is certain, but what we each experience first is our own particular sort of pain, and our smaller and larger triumphs. We can come through more than we think we can and be the better for it.

As I finish writing I hear that my persevering, optimistic brother now better rests. A new heart medication is working to bring down weeks-long, dangerously high heart rate to a workable 75 beats per minute. I am hoping for even better news tomorrow.

How we address life’s hardships and trials, how we manage to live through it: this is much more the issue, not the difficulties themselves. And then not only through it all but beyond it to the next step, and next and next. What choices can we still make if and when faced with powerlessness and hardship?

I yet choose–my family chooses–to believe in the transforming power of an intricate, numinous design of life in this realm and beyond. I cannot imagine managing the deep ruts and landslides of life without wonder or hope, without manifestations of love. These give breath to breathe, light to shine upon winding paths.

Ready or not, Christmas will happen in my home. This is not the case for everyone who desires to celebrate it–or other religious occasions or holidays. We are well aware, are we not, that there is heartbreaking suffering going on in this often-sabotaging, murderous world. Our own country is approaching a perilous time of change. So much more reason then to trust the impulse to reach out and aid one another, to connect our lives with generosity of Spirit. To endure what may come with even a small dignity. To tend a creative faith in something finer, something brighter than what we think we can see. There is a sort of heaven we can encourage on this small, spinning earth. We can make it happen one moment at a time. Here, now. Trust the possibilities of living this life with expansive charity and a wellspring of hope. Take hold, hang on, share whatever good you can. Welcome Divine Spirit into your dreaming and doing. You will make such a needed difference.

066

Off to pick up our oldest daughter. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. May the blessings of healing love and strong peace take root and grow well in your lives.

(Note: I will write my usual shortest post on Friday, then will not be posting until January 2017.)

Fragrance of Life

DSCN1074

Carolyn was getting sick and more than tired of the holiday hullabaloo. It was not going to happen for her. Why would it? Bills were starting to pile up, the building’s ancient heating system eked out puffs of tepid warmth, an upstairs neighbor’s recently rescued Border Collie puppy was looking for sheep to herd, his restless whining keeping her on edge. And it had snowed. Not a drifty dusting but a raging snow. She couldn’t see a well-defined anything from her second story window, just pillowy lumps of whiteness, nearly blinding her. The courtyard and beyond were slowly vanishing in thick swirling snowflakes. A wave of panic swept over her; she hugged close her ratty navy wool sweater and looped a thick gray scarf twice about her neck.

When she’d taken the airy, high ceilinged vintage apartment at Mistral Manor, Carolyn had harbored such hopes. But that was two years ago. The past year had been one of plenty, then rent by piercing losses. In November she’d finally gotten news of the end of her marketing job. The company’s local office had been downsizing awhile so she had half-expected this. Just much later. The resumes she’d sent out had thus far garnered only a couple of nibbles.

She let the sheer curtain flop over draped white twinkling lights she had put up before the news. They gave off a sparse but steady glow that proved heartening despite her distress and the cold that crept in through every window, sneaked under doors. She went to the hearty wood box by the fireplace and set about making a fire. She had first relied on childhood memories of helping her mother with the wood stove,  hands warmed by her mother’s as they directed hers: splintered sticks that way, smaller pieces this way about those, bigger kindling crisscrossed and then pungent split logs placed just so. The fire always responded to their joint (mostly Mother’s) efforts. Her mother said being a fire tender was woman’s work as it took equal parts ingenuity, delicacy and strength.

Once again being a fire tender felt like second nature as it had so long ago. Now the aged wood combusted and crackled, a fragrant offering of another downed tree permeating the rooms. Carolyn sat on her one overstuffed chair, slippered feet splayed before the plain, companionable hearth.

It felt, however, disorienting to have so much time to herself. She had grown accustomed to the chatter and bustle of work, lunches out with two good office mates, the critical demands of a trying boss with such large perfect teeth the woman scared Carolyn for a bit. She’d liked her business coursework, had done very well and enjoyed two other positions before the last. But her current job’s reality had been tough to embrace with gusto. It was tedious too often and unlike her friends, who’d fought their way to better situations and were now being dispatched to new offices, she had begun to flag.

She had thought it all mattered less than it did, even the friends. Now as she let herself be mesmerized by her fire’s erratic dance she realized she had taken the situtation much too lightly. That’s exactly what Damon had told her six months ago before he walked out. He’d found her lacking in ambition, something he fairly burst with, and it made him impatient. Carolyn was also smart and energetic, attractive in her off-beat vintage way, yet she had so much less enthusiasm about business than he desired in a partner. He had set up shop already, a small kitchen store that sold unusual, surprisingly handy items. It was her lack of aspirations that came between them, he said. But Carolyn knew better. It was his self-importance and her lack of true commitment to him. There was too much of the first and not enough of the second to make it work–better despite advantages of a lively companion, observing business success close-up, even sharing a passionate bed amid gross uncertainty.

What did she actually want?

First, to pay the most of the nagging bills on time. Second, to enjoy the effects of sustained heat with rest. Third, to just skip Christmas. Without her mother–living a deserved life of leisure in Florida, enjoying sunshine with her third husband– it meant so much less. But this year money was too scarce to flee like royalty into balmy days and nights unfolding way across the country.

Fourth: to stop feeling so damned lonely. Hallelujahs were lovely for others but to her were more like a too-long intermission with no second act to attend. Where was even the next two line paragraph of her story? In limbo, that’s where.

The tea kettle’s whistling startled her out of growing self-pity. She let it softly shriek a moment or two more; it sounded like comfort. As she dunked the cinnamon and orange tea bag up and down in the heavy white mug and sat again, Carolyn inhaled deeply. She jumped when someone pounded on the door.

Through the keyhole she saw Mr. Carpenter’s fuzzy white head. He didn’t peer back as he stood with a package, hand readied to bang again. He might have pressed the doorbell. When she opened up the door a crack, he looked up and she noticed his glasses were still held together with duck tape.

“Got a package here for you,” he softly growled and it was not an attempt to be ornery but his ordinary voice. He did not own the sort of voice that offered soothing words. Yet, they tended toward kindly.

She swung the door wide open, gesturing that he step out of the cold, drafty hallway.

“Thank you for bringing it to me. You dared go out on that porch to get the mail today?”

“I did! And it is blowing out there. No need to come in, thanks, I will get back to my reading–a great Sherlock Holmes.” He gave the package to her, leaned his wrinkled face into the room a bit. “It feels cold in here, too. Okay, you’ve got a roaring fire, that’s good. I need one.”

“Why don’t you come in, get warm, at least. I was just making tea.”

She didn’t want to sound desperate as she held out her hand to him. He was, after all, an old man, much older than her mother. Since she’d lived there they’d exchanged reasonable pleasantries, not overly friendly, not so aloof. Most all the tenants did when they bumped into someone. She felt welcome enough, but Carolyn had yet to get to know anyone well. It was the sort of bohemian community she had imagined she’d like to make home, creative types, young entrepreneurial sorts, old and young mixed together, some having been there for decades. But she hadn’t had the time.

Mr. Carpenter sniffed the air with his fine long nose. He had been a successful perfumer once, another tenant told her, but his smell had gone haywire or got worn out –he’d been ill, perhaps–and then he’d worked at Macy’s for a decade or more.

“Is that a grand old fir tree you’re burning?”

“Why, yes, lodgepole pine. How surprising you’d know that! I wanted to save the well-seasoned red alder and some madrone for a hotter, longer fire.”

Mr. Carpenter stepped in and looked around. She took the package, likely a gift from her mother, to the circular dining table.

“You might need that if the weather report can be trusted. Say, I guess I’d take that tea, after all, Miss Havers,” he said. “Any hearty black tea in your cupboard? With a dash of vanilla, too, perhaps”

“I do. Exactly that one, Mr. Carpenter, what a lucky thing.”

She took his faded black fleece and hung it on her coat tree, then prepared the tea. When she returned he had pulled up to the fire in the creaky rocking chair, the one she had found at roadside and had always planned to paint or refinish. His head bobbed up and his eyes smiled above his damaged glasses when she brought his mug. Taking her seat and settling again, wondering over how much warmer the whole place felt already, she sipped as they watched the fire lick at the air and twist about.

Mr. Carpenter cleared his throat though it made no difference in his gravelly tone. “You have any family coming around for Christmas?”

“I don’t. My mother and her husband live in Florida. I usually go there, but not this year. It’s…tight financially. Bound to get even tighter.”

“I don’t see you heading out at seven in every day, anymore.” She threw him a frown but he was still staring into the fire. “I often keep an eye on our people here. Not much else to do some days. You and most others leave each day for work. I did, too, but no more, of course. They threw me out ten years ago with flattery and persuasion and a pin of honor of some sort, but the truth is I reached seventy so that was the end. Imagine that!” He slurped from his mug and stretched out his spindly legs, then gave her an appraising look. “Beg pardon, I guess you can’t, Miss Havers. You’re a young one yet. But working hard comes naturally to you, I think, you carry yourself with confidence.”

“Maybe once upon a time. Not anymore. I lost my job last month. I worked in marketing. I’m not so valuable in the working world, either, it turns out.”

“I am sorry to hear it…well, on to the next good thing. I was a perfumer with my own shop for thirty years. We crafted bespoke fragrances as well as sold the most excellent scents. I dearly miss that work; it is an art, making perfume, and it well suited me. But I got sick with the cancer; my sense of smell was affected by chemotherapy. So I turned my business over to niece and nephew. They’re doing a capable job. After I got better I just took a job at Macys selling lesser scents but it was distraction, a paycheck. I tried to teach a little about perfume as I sold each bottle and had a ball. Then I was done there, too, so that’s how it goes. Life just flings surprises at us, distressing ones, sometimes beautiful, you know.” He stopped his gentle rocking and turned to her. “What’s next for you if I may ask?”

Form the corner of her eye she glimpsed the snow like a passing drape of white velvet, a near-ghostly thing. It struck her as wonderful. “I like design, maybe create packaging. That might sound odd but I like to draw and used to make things. But my degree doesn’t really support that wish. So I don’t know yet just what to do.” She closed her eyes, warmth flowing to her toes and calves and thighs and into her core and chest at last.

“It’ll come to you. Something always does if you’re willing to reconsider things. To try new avenues. I was glad to have my Macy’s job in the end. It saved me from deadly boredom, kept me engaged with people and, well, it was still perfume!”

Mr., Carpenter ended his sentence on such a gleeful note that Carolyn felt a pang of envy.

“I wish I had a deep passion like that…”

“Maybe it’s there and you just haven’t given it due respect and attention.”

She pursed her lips. “Maybe.”

They listened to the increasing wind and talked of weather, the endless oversell of a commercial Christmas, then the sorts of music they preferred–he, the old standards and opera; she, electronic and jazz–the food they wished they might eat and what they settled for on a limited budget. His late wife, gone long before he retired. How he’d then taken up painting after many years of forgetting all about it. He admitted to being fairly bad at it but no matter.

“Well, enough of an old man’s ramblings. I’ll head back upstairs, you have better things to do,” Mr. Carpenter said when their mugs were empty.

Carolyn bit back the words, Not really, please stay a bit longer. She could tell he was ready to go home; he probably had more to do than she did.

At the door he put his jacket over his arm and smiled sincerely, his wrinkles deepening about lips and folding around eyes. “Thank you kindly for the nice tea and talk.”

She felt overwhelmed by his friendliness and seized with a desire for another visit. “Want to come by for dinner Christmas Day? I’ll try to make something decent. Maybe start with a good glazed ham?”

His thin white eyebrows hovered above his glasses, then he stared past her, perhaps out the window, and for a moment she thought he’d gotten lost in thought, forgotten her altogether. Then he came back to the moment and rubbed his whiskery chin.

“I think I still have a scalloped potato recipe tucked away. Do you want to try a hand at throwing a small Christmas party–together? Invite a couple more folks? Mrs. Mize is alone this year, and so is young Trent Rafferty.”

Carolyn felt a small jolt of nerves as she imagined her apartment occupied by people she barely knew. She’d have to clean and maybe decorate. She hadn’t fixed a ham in a long time. They needed candles, too, and she was out. She knew wise-cracking Mrs. Mize but who was Trent Rafferty, a new tenant? Whatever had she been thinking, inviting him in for tea, then impulsively inviting him to dinner? Him, not three!

“Yes,” she heard herself say, “that’d be a good thing, I think. If they bring some dishes, too.”

“I’m sure of it. I’ll call them–or better yet, we’ll stop over later this week and figure it out better. They’re good folk. How about it?”

“Okay, Mr. Carpenter, sounds like a deal. And please–call me Carolyn.”

“Carolyn, then. I’m Elwyn, if you like, either way is good.” He nodded approval, as if of the way things were going. “And also, I’ll ask my niece and nephew if they need any good marketing done. Or package designing, perhaps. I still hold a place in our business. Oh, and maybe you’ll burn the madrone and oak for Christmas? Love those fine woods. I might have to steal a piece or two…”

He exited the doorway.

“What was that you said? About the work?”

But Mr. Carpenter’s thin, energetic visage, in burgundy flannel shirt and baggy dark chinos, shuffled down the hallway to the elevator.

After she shut the door, she poked at the fire to coax a hotter flare again. It’s tangy, sweet smoke smelled of well being, of good times, of a life lived better if only she could figure out how to make it happen. She moved to a frosted window, fingers splayed against sharp cold, melting icy filigree. The snow had stopped lambasting everything. It now lay upon the space below in a sparkling landscape of small hillocks and valleys. Streaming light created a bejeweled dream of a courtyard. She wasn’t entirely sold on a potluck for Christmas and she missed her mother terribly. But home had sneakily become Mistral Manor with its creaks and dripping faucets and chilly spots, her serviceable fireplace and small balcony that was a boon even in winter. It’s curious inhabitants. With Mr. Carpenter–she might call him Elwyn, more likely not–as new friend and perhaps adviser, anything might be possible, after all, given time.

 

Friday’s Passing Fancies/Poem: Sledding

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson
Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

With such action the day became
what it was only meant to be,
careless of strife and competing,
far gone from remove,
crash landings of happiness
splayed across the white canvas.
Father with sons created a pact,
unearthed and sealed it in good snow.

It was all of this once for us and ours,
five with their ten legs and ten arms,
voices warbling, wrapping up air.
Soon, petty border disputes forgotten,
jealousies waylaid, hurts vanished,
that madcap gang spilled into
cold sweet banks and each other.
Laughter was life heat, grasping
the game with each other.

This was the way it was. I was there.
That was what we meant it to be,
love masquerading as riotous fun.
Their overlapping echoes boomerang
through thinness of memory,
fluid and crisp as a five part harmony,
those feathery humming arrows
that fly to target
in the center of me.