Winter retreats, and I find my writing voice again

I haven’t written on here in a while.  I thought maybe my muse had gone on vacation, but further inquiry has left  me to believe that I’ve just been stagnant in regards to my creative thoughts.  I usually undergo a flurry of writing activity during the wintertime, as the weather and the landscapes awaken my sleeping creative genius.  I’ve certainly felt the silence of the frozen landscape beat a tune within my heart (a love song of snowy interludes) many times this winter, but my days and nights have been spent composing exams and lectures instead of poems and thoughtful essays, with no energy leftover to devote to my writing.  I shall break that stagnancy with a short poem about winter’s retreat (I don’t think it’s a proper sort of poem, it is just what decided to come out.  Which makes it proper enough):

I have gotten used to the silence of the daybreak, broken only by my own footsteps and softly whinnied ‘good mornings’ as breakfast is delivered, hay spread across the ground with hands that freeze if left ungloved for too long.

During the heart of winter, the only time the breath is truly considered is when the water vapor freezes in a crust on your upper lip, and every indrawn breath crackles across your lungs to remind them that they still have to work, even in unpleasant conditions.

But now, the morning is a time of exaltation.  Coatless is the new cool, a cold is considered as a herald of significant weather changes, and sometimes I get in my car and drive it off right after starting it. Just because I can.  But I will feel bad about that for at least another few weeks, because it is still a wee bit chilly early on and the car doth protest too much.

I stand outside well into the evening, daring the night to push me inside.  It dares, and I resist, in a sweater no less (while my warm barn coat seethes with jealousy inside).   I take a few extra minutes to scratch the horses, and though my hand comes away covered with the first of the spring season’s shed of hair (which will inevitably find themselves attached to my face and clothes), I smile.  Because Spring is on it’s way, giving Winter a laugh and a gentle push out the door.

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Blessed Be

I had forgotten about this poem I found a few years ago.  I just spent an agonizing 15 minutes trying to find it, not remembering anything about it except the words ‘blessing’ and ‘glass’, and the general idea of the poem.  Somehow, I found it (I’m still not sure how, seeing how there are lots of poems out there about ‘blessings’).  You know how you might try really hard to remember something?  There are clues as to what you’re trying to remember at the forefront of your brain, but you’re still blocked from complete remembrance?  And then, all of a sudden, it clicks into place.  I love that feeling, almost like a wave rushing over your brain, smoothing out the wrinkled spots from trying to remember so hard. Anyway, here’s that poem I searched so hard for, by Jeannette LeBlanc.  It seems to sum up life quite well:
Blessed be the long, slow slide into desire. The swift plunging wound to the heart. The bleeding out onto the kitchen floor.

Blessed be the fierce of want and the howl of despair and the swan dive of surrender.

Blessed be the indignation of right and the never more naked of wrong.

Blessed be your strong smooth body and your roadmap of scars and brittle bones that give way under the weight of lives unlived.

Blessed be the unmet passion, the relentless boredom, the absolute certainty of regret.

Blessed be the sweet laughter. The hard fuck. The bitter fight. The soft of impossible forgiveness.

Blessed be the restless seeker.  The relentless urgency. The unanswered call.

Blessed be the giving up. The hope unraveled. The void at the end. The clenched fists and the desperate grasping and the way it all slides away when the time comes.

Blessed be your trembling breath and your strong knees. Blessed be your siren song and your briny tears and your frantic prayer.

Blessed be your violin body, your electric hipbone, your staircase ribs.

Blessed be your slaughtered dreams and your cynical projection. Blessed be your fire of initiation and your ritual of comfort. Blessed be your secret shame. Blessed be your whispered confession. Blessed be your primal roar.

Blessed be the rejection. The hollowed out, disregarded heart. Blessed be the end of the rope, the absence of expectation, the way it all gives way, eventually.

Blessed be the blood and guts and gore of it all.

Blessed be the emptiness of lust and the brutal havoc of love and the way peace grows in between cracks in cement.

Blessed be the dirty street corner hustle and the pretty surface of things and where they meet in the most sacred center.

Blessed be the harsh divinity. The winged flight. The salt skin. The symphony of lust.

Blessed be the holy and the worship. Blessed be the sacred mother. Blessed be the faithless edges. Blessed be the ritual of liturgy and agnostic faith.

Blessed be the profane and the provocation. Blessed be the solitary pilgrimage and the long journey home. Blessed be the one who contains herself.

Blessed be the truth that demands reckoning, and the goodbye that wrenches long held secrets from behind closed lips.

Blessed be the sucker punch bruises. Blessed be smooth slide of sun behind the mountains. Blessed be the wise desert and the pounding sea.

Blessed be the sweet swell of words. The silent spaces between bodies. The ragged sigh of breath on bone.

Blessed be the poet and the poem and the one between them who has no words of her own. Blessed be the plagiarism, the thievery,  the rash disregard for origin, the gratitude for the beginning of things.

Blessed be our free fall into destiny.  Our slow burn. Our consuming fire. Blessed be the breaking and becoming. Blessed be the ugly. Blessed be the sweet sin. Blessed be the rage. Blessed be the grace.

Blessed be. Blessed be. Blessed be.

In the end, all words are just another way to say Amen.

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An ode to life, and death, and life again

I awoke with a start last night at an hour long before the moon was ready to give up its place in the sky.  My mind was foggy, confused.  I tried to go back to sleep before I could remember what I was holding at bay with sleep, but it all came crashing back with a whoosh, so quick I could practically feel the thrum of the after burners in my mind.  And then I remembered what had happened earlier- My horse got sick (mine by default but not on paper; she was loaned to me on a sort of ‘long-term lease’ to be a companion for my horse, the one who captures my heart with his ‘hello’ whinnies).  It happened so quick, but it seemed so harmless at first, that when she couldn’t breathe without rattling or eat or even drink without water and food particles rushing out her nose and throat, we were surprised.  And when the vet said it would be inhumane to help keep her alive til morning, let alone a few extra days to make preparations, we were unprepared. I’d never seen death before, not really.  So when, a few minutes after the vet administered the first vaccine, she crashed to the ground in a full-body paralysis (she was not in pain and was not even aware of what was happening at this point), the accompanying thud reverberated in my ears, and I felt her last ragged breaths as my own.  The emotions were so high (her rightful owners were with us through the whole process), and the tears so real, that my heart has been depressed since last night.  So, here’s to Indi:

An ode to life, an ode to breath. An ode to the inability to know what will happen next, but to hold a seed of faith that all will turn out as it’s meant to. An ode to the tears of sorrow that follow a being’s suffering that turn to sorrow at their passing; tears that hold the sweet truth that nothing really ends, just changes form. An ode to Indian Doll, may you run freely once again.

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country living and exotic baking don’t mix

I love baking.  Really, I do.  Cooking…eh, the jury’s still out on that one.  Baking, however, puts me in a state of ecstasy obtained by nothing very little else.  I have a favorite cooking/baking website that I attend on a regular basis, and if you watch me looking through this website at the recipes this woman gives, you’d think I was privy to a ‘firemen gone wild’ site.

I have just one teensy little problem- I live way out in the country; I’m at least 30 minutes from any respectable grocery store (out here, grocery stores come connected to our gas stations).  So, when I’m ogling these recipes, getting excited with visions of friends coming out for a weekend party with a planned spur-of-the-moment menu of chocolate souffle, sweet corn spoonbread, and tortilla de patatas, my entire demeanor deflates when I realize I’m missing crucial ingredients.  Like, flour.  Or chocolate.  And I can’t just make a ‘quick’ run to the store to pick up what I’m missing.  So, I usually just shake my fist at my cupboard (“damn you!”) and make nothing.

The one ingredient I never run out of is eggs (except when the ladies are on strike due to some unforgivable act, such as going two days without letting them out of their run).  And for that matter, chicken.

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Lay it down in prayer

I haven’t prayed in quite awhile.  Why should I?  Everything I send out in prayer most likely ends up turning around and dive-bombing the Godly entity that I’m sure resides in my cracked heart.  There she reposes, making a home among the bruises and heartache.  Campfire lit, she hunkers down, finding refuge from the storms.  Rather than storms of rain and hail and high winds, these storms consist of much more dangerous items- anger and sorrow that can pierce through the toughest walls.  But here, the beauty is also much more fulfilling.  Azure skies, brilliant sunrises, shimmering pools of nourishing water.

So I lay my prayer down in writing.  I lay down all the uncertainty of my existence, all the times I’ve asked over and over, “WHY AM I HERE???”.  I offer forth the times I’ve shut my body down, the times I’ve opened my heart and let it bleed, the times I’ve had no other reaction other than to cry in shame.  I lay down the lack of compassion I’ve felt as well as the times I’ve become paralyzed by too much feeling.  Anger, rage, feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy…

I lift up my open heart and ask for love to slide in and fill the cracks with grace as thick as honey. I seek the whispers of the flowers and the music of the stars.  I look for the God outside of myself, seeking Holy footprints across the planet.  Are they infinitely large?  Are they imperceptibly tiny? I see the sacred signature of Holiness in the faintest outline of a full moon, becoming more apparent as the day fades and dusk creeps in.  The softness of my horse’s nose which speaks of tenderness.  The iridescent feathers on the back of my chicken which hold Divine secrets, as do the bell-like sounds of my talkative barn cat as she follows me around during chore time.  Beauty replaces fear, beauty that is made all the more miraculous not despite, but because of, the sorrow it replaced.  The most ordinary things can display the most loving grace.

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A dark woods

This morning I am sitting in my sunroom looking out the window at the rain (so, rainroom would be a more suitable name).  I don’t think there’s been more than 2 days in a row here in southern Michigan without rain.  I like it, but rain always brings its own worries with it.  Today, I am musing on the concept of the pathways of life.  I would imagine that if we were to turn around and look back at the paths we created along our life, that it would very much look like a system of river channels, branching out every so often as we make a choice at a crossroads.  Or it might look like a leaf.  Or a network of veins and vessels in a body.  Or…you get the picture.

I wonder what the consequences really are when we look back at our decisions and try really hard to imagine what life would be like if we had chosen differently.  Is there a reason we do this, or does it really serve no purpose but to create a stumbling block in front of us?  Think about it this way. Your life is a large forest, full of twists and turns and small deer paths.  Large meadows melt into shadowy woodsy parts. Streams and pools and raging rivers can be found everywhere, but you don’t always know they are there until you stumble into them.  The way ahead of you is dark, but everywhere you’ve been is alight.  You keep walking forward, but your head is turned around so you can see the light behind you, and every time you notice a fork in the road, you sigh wistfully and try to send some light down that path to see where it might have led.  Walking this way, you don’t notice what’s in front of you.  Predators are unseen until it’s too late, and so are the abundant joys found in the little pockets all along the way.  Unless you notice them out of the corner of your eye, *just* before it’s too late.

Many of us walk all along the pathways of our lives like this.  Are you one of these people?

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Your potential for potential never ends

Somewhere within all of us, whether we know it or not, there exists a seed of possibility.  As soon as one seed starts sprouting, another one develops.  Therefore, all those who strive to reach their full potential shall never succeed.  For there are always new possibilities, new heights to reach, new discoveries as to what it means to be human (to be alive).

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