The sultry voice of a woman filled the small room. Notes rose, hit the ceiling, dropped. Words teased and enchanted as they wrapped humanity. “The High Priestess of Soul” punched the tiny kitchen with passion and spirit, nestled herself into every corner, tucked inside each drawer.

Absorbed in the magic, he forgot last night, forgot time. The notes brought dignity into the room. He bowed, gripped the counter and let his troubles slip off bone.

~ Maybe Love Will Save Us

A feather drifted to the ground…

Blood Moon.jpg

Through an open window she heard notes. At first the soft pitter- patter of sound that quickly gathered to pounding momentum. Outside, a staccato rhythm clipped the walkway. From the heavens came the boom clap of thunder and then a whisper in the pause: I love you. I am by your side.

Slowly she rose to standing. Broken memories glittered about her feet.

A current hummed within the stillness. Fireflies flitted through the open window to hover above a wooden desk. The glow from a hundred glimmers of light lit upon the blank pages of a waiting notebook.

The story was hers to write in all of its beautiful form. Piece by piece, the memories altered, mended, whole. The largest piece, the foundation, evidence of a fierce strength and an enduring love, shone brightest.

***

 

Her fingers reach to lift the fallen pen from the ground. One hand shields her eyes to the sun. She gazes up to the place he waits. The clouds have thinned. The air is silent. The storm has ended.

Bare feet stand in a small pool of freshly fallen rainwater. Sunshine warms the asphalt. She takes a breath and lets the steamy heat rise up through her lovely bones. A hot breeze playfully slaps her cheek.

From the pecan tree comes birdsong so lilting, notes mirror a symphony.
Electric, she has risen. A tingling races down her backbone. She envisions the feathers that flow from her spine. Wings. Arms lift in unison.

Truth and love are resilient. She casts one last look back before soaring on.

 

A Lady and A Crown

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Sometimes it’s the small things that hold the most meaning in our lives. They show up as everyday actions, expressed through the simplest gestures and the gentlest of comments. Yet make no mistake, this is what love looks like.

This Mother’s Day my mother wants only an ice cream cone. She says, “that will be enough.”

Mom opens the passenger door and slides onto the empty seat. She smiles from under her new straw hat. “Do you like it?” Her words sound timid.

My fingers reach to adjust the brim of woven straw. “It’s jaunty, Mom. Wear it lower on the forehead.” She pulls back. In that moment I catch my tone.

A memory returns. It is of a different mother.

This mother waited in the car or stood on the street. This mother adjusted and rolled the brims of her sweet babies’ hats, made certain they were safe.

This mother’s children scampered down the steps from school or daycare, their small heads bobbing, their hats askew. Her fingers reached forth to roll and adjust. She was the mother who smoothed the cloth, caressed a cheek.

Voices warbled as chubby little hands rifled through backpacks to produce a rumpled painting or a sample of schoolwork. “Do you like it, Mom?”

I always did.

There is something achingly similar in the whispered words of young and elderly. The shy questioning notes that search for reassurance and approval. The eyes wide, searching.

My mother’s voice calls me back to the present.

“Do you like it?”

I nod. “It has flare, Mom.” I smile and tug it closer to her ears.

A truth snags hold. Some days, I am mothering her.

While I steer, Mom shares a happy story. She speaks of a friend. “I was just about to sit down to eat when the phone rang. It was Francie.” Breathless words continue, “ She tells me there’s a new park bench across the street and insists we go and sit on it. Christen it.”

At first she resisted this adventure. There were excuses. The dinner, the six o’clock news- Francie persisted.

My mother sighs. “I told her, dinner could wait.”

I nod. “Good choice, Mom. Sometimes we need to lose the plan.”

My mother’s world is small. She plans each day around breakfast, lunch and dinner. She eagerly awaits the Friday paper, the daily news and me.

She explains how they ambled to the nearby park and sat on the wooden bench. “Two old girls,” she laughs. “Francie told me I needed a straw hat. When I told her I didn’t own one, she pulled a floral pop up umbrella from her bag.”

Mom acted the part, raised her hand above her head, lifted her hat and shook loose her fine grey hair. In that moment she was twenty-five. I glimpsed the shimmer in her eyes and felt the swish of hair.

She is beautiful.

My hands flutter and smooth the top of her head. She eases the hat into place. “Francie held the umbrella over my head,” she says. “I felt like royalty.” She pauses and raises one hand. Fingers lower the car’s visor.

“I’m looking for a mirror.”

I lift the cover to reveal one.

She gazes at her reflection. “Do you like it?”

“You look pretty, Mom.”

Sunlight streams through glass. She looks in the distance. Swiftly her fingers reach. She shuts the cover over the mirror and lifts the visor.

“We’ll do something for Mother’s Day,” I say.

“Nothing fancy, just take me for ice cream. That’s enough.”

Silence fills every bit of space. A silence so vast it reminds us of all we never said. A veil of crepe settled over memories, the years spent tip- toeing around the shards that filled up spaces. Somehow we managed to hold to one another. I told her, “You are worth so much more.” I vowed that she would never break again.

The car pulls to the curb and I watch as she walks the short path to the front door, see her turn the key in the lock and notice that she looks back to wave good- bye. This is her signature.

It is the hug I will not receive, the kiss on the cheek that is missing and the spoken words I will never hear.

I imagine my mother walking through the lobby and checking her mailbox. She stops at the elevator and pushes the button. As the door opens, she smiles.

Her finger touches the second floor light. She stands and absorbs the familiar creaks and groans of the pulleys that lift her higher.

At the second floor the elevator stops and the door clunks open. My mother exits and begins the short climb up the three stairs to her suite. Her veined hand grips the rail as she slowly places one foot ahead of the other. She hears the familiar sound of voices chattering down the hall. Laughter rings, a television booms. She inhales the spiciness of turmeric and smoke that seeps from beneath a door. On her head is perched the new straw hat. She smiles.

 

If I wait long enough my mother will appear in the apartment’s window and look down upon the street.

Our eyes meet and I see her, a beautiful woman wearing a straw crown.

Midnight

You were born beneath an ireful star, launched into a destiny predetermined by a past. So, it is fitting that I wait for your arrival at the darkest hour of night.

In dreams, I am certain you return.

It is winter’s cusp, a time of confusion and crossover. Hail mixes with sunshine. Green shoots wither with frost. A time of sorrows passing and joy’s celebratory re-birth.

I wait on a barren beach, protected by crisscrossed driftwood, tucked in and sheltered from raging winds. Even the gulls have left.

In the distance, the thundering rollers call. Waves tumble and break to slip upon the shore. A heavenly mess, the water’s advance and retreat orchestrated with military precision.

From a safe vantage point, I see only unending swaths of gloom. The sky beyond is thickly brushed with inky, blue-black strokes. My eyes glance up toward the heavens. There waits the moon, full and ripe as a melon. Flickers of starlight sparkle through darkness.

A grey drop cloth of cloud obscures the distance. A split begins to form. Winds rip asunder the gauzy veil. A moon beam illuminates the watery path ahead. In the distance a red rowboat approaches. A man holds an oar.

Slowly, the shroud rises, carried off, held by the beaks of forty-eight diamond doves. Their wings rustle and heave as the curtain rises. You return in peace.

Lost at sea, a drift with one oar, the tides have brought you home. I leave my wind worn shelter and stand at the water’s edge.

Sailing closer to land, you fix your gaze upon mine. The ocean’s song rocks the rowboat with a final push to settle upon sand. My hand reaches out to steady you. Once on solid ground you straighten and pause. Reaching into your pocket, you pull out a stone. “This is for you.” You look away and lower your head.

“Thank you,” I reply.

Cool to first touch, the stone becomes warmer; a talisman nestled in my palm. I turn it and note the imperfections, see the flaws beneath a smooth surface. The passage of time has softened its form. The stone is actually glass. Once fragile and abandoned, its story has shaped over time. It ends in the form of a heart.

“Don’t cast it,” you say.

My fingers reach for a stick that rests upon the sand. Words whisper through wind, “This is for you.”

I press letters at the ocean’s edge.

D-I-G-N-I-T-Y

That is all I seek. It is the gift you gave back to me.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Learned

As we age, we gain wisdom through the rear view mirror. Pay attention to that view.

I’ve learned that having the last word doesn’t mean you’ve won and that silence doesn’t sound like defeat.

Appreciate everyone “messes up.” Some of the best people are the ones who have pulled themselves from the ditch, straightened, and dusted off the debris.

Vulnerability of heart is the most authentic rendering. Seek it in others and treasure its glimmer.

Be brave. Tell your story. You never know who might relate or be inspired from it.

Listen to others. That is how we seed the first stirrings of compassion.

Imagine. Pick stars from the heavens. Toss them about. Let their light shine through you.

I’ve learned that when others belittle you- walk away. Their words say more about them than about you. Keep your head high. And that one kind word can make a difference in the life of another. Go ahead- send that letter, speak those words, reach out and make the call.

I’ve learned you will love and lose; love anyways. Good byes are meant to be difficult. Only then do we appreciate what we had.

It is a universal law that you will be tested. Take the test and learn from your mistakes. Then wallow in your blessings.

Learn that friends can circle like family and that’s okay. Remain loyal to your tribe.

When you have, give. It just feels better.

Always find a way to forgive. Tattoo it on a wrist. People that hurt you are “hurting” souls.

Learn not to kick someone when they are down. Remember you’ve been there and that at any time, it’s a short tumble back.

Do at least one kind action a day. The world is starved to feed from gentle acts.

And at the end of the day, degrees and diplomas mean nothing. Pretty things fade, and your net worth will mean little. It isn’t about status or assets. People will judge you on how you made them feel.

And wear the gold sequin dress.

 

Three Words

Peace On Earth Postcard - Rifle Paper Company
Peace On Earth Postcard~ The graphics and colours are oh so lovely.
– Rifle Paper Company

https://riflepaperco.com/

Peace on Earth. Three blessed words. We hear the phrase spoken, breathe the message. Why then, is it so difficult for human kind to live the credo?

Once children, we played by The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. ” We grew up, we forgot.

Three words. A stretch of the heart; the pull a reminder to soften. Peace on Earth, an opportunity to show compassion toward another.  We cry the same tears.

“Hush,” you say. A hand reaches forth, a light shines in darkness. “Walk with me,” is the whisper.

I cast a stone to the ocean. Who am I to judge? The waves lift and carry the offering

to land at your feet.

Do you see now? Connected, our actions ripple and roll from shore to shore and heart to heart. Stand with me. Hand to hand, our fingers weave together, arms reach around the globe. Peace on Earth.

Three words.

The inspiration for this passage came from the Rifle Co.- Peace on Earth Postcard. As we move toward November 11, the Canadian Remembrance Day and American Veteran’s Day, I felt the message timely. Peace on Earth. 

x

 

The Messenger

This is a draft version of the narrator’s “voice;”I will continue to polish the piece. The narrator’s name is, Justus and he is about to leave on a mission. It is from a fictional piece I am writing. This chapter is in the narrator’s POV.

 

“Justus, Get up! Hurry.”

 

Urgent words enter my dream. Their pitch notes rising as I attempt to ignore. The voice calling in my ear speaks louder. “Justus wake up.” I push the covers away from my somnolent body and rise.

“It’s your turn. Go.”

Hurrying to the meeting zone, I stumble, the residue of sleep lingering in its peaceful hold, as I step forth. Pushing back a lock of dark hair and coughing to clear my throat, I straighten. It is time.

I belong to a group of watchmen, messengers from the past; we work for the present and future. Our mandate: listen to another’s story, understand and give voice to it; we are conduits between the souls and their living. The universe is made of tiny stories.
Some people call us angels, which we are not. We are messengers, invisible souls; we walk alongside those lost to grief and sorrow. We know your stories well; we are kin.

Imagine a crowd of people, all strangers. Yet, you pause, turn around and take a second glance back. There is familiarity in a gait, knock, or smile. Something about the way that individual speaks captures your momentary attention. You swear you’ve seen that someone before. The sighting haunts and returns. You believe in happenstance yet you are wrong. Events occur for a reason.

You are never alone. That deer you saw, at the precise moment your mind recalls a loved one’s fondness for all rural fauna is not coincidence. The clock that chimes on the anniversary of a loved one’s death, the one you thought broken, is planned. Consider carefully. The face you see, as it flashes by, in a newborn’s glance. Remember these souls from your past.

 

Every family is an infinite circle of souls. It helps to envision this symbol of continuous unity. The circle enlarges when new members are born or brought in. When death knocks, the circle shrinks. As long as the members hold to one another, reaching forth, the thread that connects remains strong. It is only when one lets go, steps away; when no one reaches back, that the thread that binds, breaks. That is when we enter your world.

It has been awhile since my last assignment, * years to be exact. I recall the details of that mission: to stand beside a family member. Can hope triumph? Love heals; there is nothing it cannot conquer.