~ Claude Monet
The corners of the Diamond Club were lit up by the glow of cigar embers. He saw the familiar high rollers mingling in the shadows, highballs sloshing in cut glass. Sexy women wearing rich silks and party attire slipped through the hazy layers of smoke or clung to the arm of a wealthy, married man. Everyone was high on vice.
It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down to “free” write much of anything worthy of eyes and time. So, here goes a draft of something that has little relation to anything, other than a fledgling writer’s recommitment to practice her craft~
Perched upon a twisted branch, nestled deep within the tree top’s canopy, a raven hid. Beneath its view, a woman lay sprawled upon the mossy floor. Tousled locks, the colour of spun gold, fanned over the green that bedded her body. She was covered in tapestry, its richness deeper and bluer than the ocean that smashed beneath the hillside cliffs at the forest’s edge.
It was the glint of diamond pinned at her neckline that caught the Raven’s eye.
A woman’s body, once an empty vessel, was filling. Was she drowning? One hand slid over her heart. The steady rhythm, a comfort. She stirred, grateful to be alive.
What all knowing presence had snuck beneath her skin? Its comforting warmth now surging through her veins; its wisdom trickling down in whispers, “seek and you shall find.”
Full lips parted and she drank the words as quenching to her hollow as a downpour over parched earth. As a seed unfurls, she felt herself transforming back to life.
Once again, the voice spoke. This time the words were audible, “You are not alone.”
A flash of black broke through the verdant canopy. Eyes wide, she knew the answer to her question.
This ephiephemy hadn’t come about in easy fashion. Rather, it had been a journey of twists and turns, thorns and roses, darkness and light. Steeped in the brew were moments of glimmering truths.
Beauty is found within shambles. A gritty truth she understood. Glances back through time, a particular poem cut from a Daily, a chipped, floral tea cup, a photograph and an untold story. All small, cracked and torn moments forged to memory.
She stood, a forearm shielding her forehead and faced the dark fury. A lone voice commanded, “Be not afraid.”
She straightened. The others had circled, an army of silent souls. Sentries, they stood guard. Step for step, they had matched her pace along this journey, only pausing when she had collapsed, to rest her cheek upon the carpeted forest floor.
Pamper yourself with ingredients you may already have on hand.
I’ve adapted a sugar scrub recipe to soothe and exfoliate skin– a simple Cranberry Sugar Scrub that you can make at home. It’s the perfect DIY to make with a teen.
Please check the ingredients, in case of allergies.
I purchased my ingredients and oils at Trader Joe’s.
You will need,
1/2 cup of Coconut Oil, partially melted
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of frozen cranberries
4 drops of cinnamon oil or an essential oil of your choice*
- I have used Peppermint oil.
2 small Mason Jars or jars of your choice* I sprayed the lids white.
Place the frozen cranberries into a blender and press “Pulse.” Continue this setting until the berries are bitty.
Into a bowl, add the sugar and cranberries. Mix together by hand. Add a few drops of essential oil. Stir the oil into the sugar berry mixture. Pour the semi melted coconut oil into the bowl. Combine all ingredients.
Spoon the sugar scrub into jars and seal.
Store your Cranberry Sugar Scrub in the fridge. Chilled, it should keep for seven to ten days. For skin use only.
Give a jar to a friend.
It snowed this weekend and the world became just a bit more enchanted. Layers of water and ice glistened over the street. Ribbons of snowflakes tumbled and bedecked the boughs beyond my window. Lights twinkled, evermore bright, as darkness dropped a veil atop the blanket of white. A hush settled upon the land. The world was beautiful to behold.
I’ve learned to look closely, to appreciate the layers of a life.
Everything layers. The snow that buries treasure. The cut pine boughs that house an errant spider. The branch of Winterberries that feed the birds. The words we write; the silences we keep.
My eyes scan the room to view a mother’s treasured sideboard. Once it stood stained and polished, waiting for Sunday. On that sacred day, she’d set out the silver and china serving dishes. Her best effort. And we would celebrate family.
A patina of paint and wax covers the oak sideboard. The top sanded, the edges worn. The silver stands in a cast iron urn, a twist on up cycling. The china serving bowls rarely make an appearance. I see the candle burning down. A daughter’s attempt to hold on, let go, to illuminate the night.
My fingers lift a gilded frame. The sepia photograph is of a woman. I trace her portrait. She is standing on a deck, leaning against a railing, looking out to sea. Dressed in her finest clothing, her fingertips hold a hat. A lady always wears a hat. She was a believer in proper etiquette. Beyond her rolls the Atlantic.
I recall her eyes, shades of indigo grey. Behind their depth is another layer. Doubt. I imagine her pausing, pondering, “Should I leave England?” I dust off worry and discover bravery. Carefully, I lift another layer to expose joy ~ he is waiting for her to cross an ocean. On another continent, he goes about his life, planning, constructing, beholden to a dream.
A certain magic fills the room. A whispered breeze kisses my forehead. I see my Grandmother; she is still beautiful. Time has gently taken its toll. Her once bright eyes have paled. They glimmer, wet pools of faded blue. Her finest dress, threadbare. A pin of pearls is elegantly placed beneath the collar of her blouse. Beside her armchair a weathered curtain hangs, the faded Irish lace rustles.
Everything is layered, weathered, chipped, cracked and broken. Be still. Pay attention to the forgotten. It is within glorious imperfection that we find beauty. Lift the layers gently, see beyond the cracks. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. The magic of the world works in whispers. You only need a heart that feels to see the wonder that surrounds us.
Beyond her window, the world rests
As snowflakes tumble
It’s quiet out there
Her eyes look up
For a moment
Imagines herself a child again
beneath a halo of white
While the world stands
And it is achingly beautiful there.
in a softened moment
under a veil of grey
tipping my world
each flake, a scattered memory
a reach across time
you, always choosing december
to withdraw and return, to withhold and offer up
the spoils and riches of a life
yet within this silent moment
envisioning you near
choosing to believe
in everlasting love
my footsteps circle, pause
eyes cast toward the heavens
palms lifted to receive
between worlds we stand
to never-ending love