About A Door

Tears slip behind doors. Slammed. Sorrow’s shelter from Storm.

Love reigns behind doors. Quiet, stone still. A soft head against a shoulder.

Doors close. Locked. Listen as our footsteps flee.

Doors whisper, tell the stories of a life.

 

I’ve fallen hard for old doors. Chippy paint, cracked glass,

hand-hewned architecture . Bespoke.

~ A Sunday Moment

• Photographed  by my sister x

I Remember

I remember you.

A father and my rock

“Let’s go,” you said.

Long car rides, the songs we sang off-key.

Rebels in the wind

I remember.

 

I remember you.

Reaching for the dial

Slam up the volume

Me. Switching the station to Jim Morrison’s lyrics

Rebels in the wind

I remember.

 

I remember you.

The rock candy laughter Saturdays

The ocean we sailed

The campfires and crab shucks on the beach.

Rebels in the wind

I remember.

 

I remember you.

Once lost, then found anew

Your lowered mortal head

The words you spoke, wary, shielded, and broken

Rebels in the wind

I remember.

 

I remember you.

Late- nights under glittering stars

The biting scent of cigar

“Sit awhile,” you said. Together wrapped in silence.

Rebels in the wind

I remember.

 

I remember you.

Your compassion and your wit

Where have you disappeared?

A presence sensed; hidden, you pace alongside me.

Rebels in the wind

I remember.

 

For You

Overhead, dark clouds rip open. Raindrops slip from the car’s windowpane; I watch them disappear. The clouds cover the sky like gauze, softening a wound. Loss festers. Heaven’s tears spill forth as Angels witness an aching sadness that can only be found on earth.

Today I uncrate grief. Yes, I miss you; wish you here, returned to earth. It is true. Sadness shadows me in odd moments. Today the veil of cover hid her from the light. As she snuck up behind me, I sensed your presence. She’s aging. Pulling away. You heard my unspoken words.

We sit to rest. Her words spoken, tossed like rocks, hard hits to the heart,

“This was your father’s favourite place to dine. You enjoyed coming here, too.”

Not today. In that moment, shame surfaces. I rush my mother too much. It stems from a fear of regret, this desire to hurry her, pack up the never- ending stack of fries that she barely touches, drink the brimming coffee placed before her. I steal our time, afraid of growing old too fast, waiting.

As ifsensing my inner thoughts, she fumbles, wraps her lunch and requests a cup to go. It’s enough for today.

We drive along in silence. Rain thrums a pounding rhythm upon the roof of the car. She slowly walks to the front door of her building, turns and waves. I wonder if she cries too. I want to rush to her, hold her frailty, stop time.

You interfered again, set yourself down like stone between us. There are beautiful moments I recall, snapshots in time I cherish. Yet, just to sit with you under the stars one more time would be enough. We could talk.

Today you haunt. Images flash. One repeats for no apparent reason. The stray pointer you snuck into the kitchen; its big eyes shone light from beneath deep, muddy pools. The old blanket you wrapped around the creature’s shivering bones, your concern for  another’s well being. In that moment you taught me compassion. You were kind.

You stood strong in the world. You believed in right and fought for it, demanded it. Your words became my truth, protected me with steadfast might. You taught me to be brave.

You believed in me; said I could be anything I wanted to be. The world I lived in offered opportunity. When I faltered, your words echoed,

“Work hard.”

That was the mantra you spoke. It was called responsibility. Do you recall how, each morning, you left a never- ending list of chores for me to complete? Each evening, I’d hand you the crumpled list, proud to have crossed off each and every item. The following mornings found longer lists waiting on the kitchen table. You taught me to persevere.

If I could bring you home we could talk. My tears, the proof of enduring love.

You sit upon the usual chair. Hyper vigilant, I notice a repetitive twitch of your left thumb as it strokes a finger, sense your anxiety. You avert your gaze, turn your head and look away. This time I call you out.

stone angel
stone angel

Prepare yourself. Pent up words unleash a spoken fury, slice through the thorns and twisted vines that wrap your soul. Unafraid of the tangled silence you grew, I press on to satisfy the wondering that buries me alive with a never- ending grief. That is the legacy you left.

Once satisfied of atonement, I polish you, ask how you came to be so aware of vulnerability; I ask after your youth, your dreams and wishes. There is still a moment of time. Share your regrets.

Please banish your shame. My hand reaches forth and gently takes your palm. I press your knotted fingers to mine as we sit, now in silence. You can leave, rest in peace. Know that you taught me well. I can finish our story, put back the piece you fumbled. It’s called loyalty.

Always loved.

Memories

My grandfather had a green- thumb and passed it on. Growing up, we always had a beautiful garden filled with hedgerows, sweet jasmine, pansies, Cherry Blossom trees, and Japanese Maples. At night we sat outside and talked under a blanket of stars. One of our homes had a small pond complete with painted turtles (they always slipped out and escaped the yard). A Brave Girl, my sister climbed fences to hunt them down.

We don’t talk about it much; I was caught breathless by my sister’s beautiful, tiny garden. We remember.

IMG_0364 (1)

Writing Contest Stories

I’ve been testing my wings.  Writer and Educator, Luanne, from the blog, Writer Site, recently hosted a writing contest.  The story entries will be posted on Luanne’s site, writersite.org  throughout the week.  My story, The Lady’s Coat, is posted today!  Please take some time to read the judged entries.  Writers can appreciate the process of writing and the brave spirit necessary to “publish” one’s “darlings!” A special “thank you” to Luanne and the esteemed judges,

Wilma Kahn has an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, as well as a Doctor of Arts in English from SUNY-Albany. She is the published author of poems, short stories, essays, and a detective novel, Big Black Hole. Wilma has led writing classes for adults in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, since 1987. In her spare time she tends a little wildflower garden with ironweed seven feet tall.

Kimberly Keating Wohlford is a writer in Charlotte, NC where she free-lances for the arts community.  In 2011, she left an established career in newspaper advertising, to pursue a dream to write her own stories.  Kimberly is currently working on a memoir that follows her journey to Glastonbury, England where magical things happen to redirect her path in life.  She will receive a certificate in creative writing from Stanford in March 2014.

for offering this exciting opportunity to the writing community.  With my amazon.com award, I have ordered a hard cover version of the Newbery Medal Winner, Where The Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin http://gracelin.com/.  I chose a hardcover, paper to touch book as a gift for my “dear” one and my hope is that she will treasure this gift through time.  I want my dear to enjoy print and words as much as I do.  Follow your dreams!

My entry, The  Lady’s Coat, is posted onto writersite.org

I hope you enjoy, The  Lady’s Coat.

Thrift Store Coat
Grace’s Thrift Store Persian Lamb Coat

writersite.org

Sincerely,

“Grace”

~ Lynne

x

It Is Always Winter

When I recall my father, it is always winter.   I’m not sure why that is.  Upon calling forth memory, I visualize his smiling face, then, a postcard-screened scene of the perfect winter appears.  Snow, blanketing the ground.  Frosty shades of blue, the softness of the scene, like peering through mohair.  Sunlight streams through the dancing flakes of snow. Evergreens dusted, branches bending, sunlight streaming through the limbs, frost glistening, sparkling diamonds upon the earth.  A deer standing behind the tree, alert and frozen on the landscape.  Perhaps, winter evokes a memory of fragile beauty, frozen in time, a precious beauty that will fade and disappear.  Some of my fondest memories are of times spent together, shared during the coldest winter months.  My father died on winter’s cusp.  My sister was born as winter peeked through the window, nature’s gentle touch, leaving a dusting of frost on the windowpane to prepare her for the cold nights ahead.

I recall one particularly harsh, relentless winter, unusual for the West Coast.  The snow piled halfway to the roofline of our house.  High banks of snow massed at the sides of the driveway, the endless shoveling, forming mountains of snow, standing fort like in front of the house.  My father decided that the conditions were perfect to create an igloo, for you girls to play in.   My sister and I waited impatiently for him to finish carving out the igloo’s entrance into the perfectly shaped dome.  Wind swept snow compacts well and interlinks the ice crystals.  Perfect conditions, girls!  My father dug, shaped, and carved away at the mountain of snow until the rounded pile was formed into a perfect dome.  We lost track of time; it blurred from morning to evening as we created our snow ice masterpiece.  Finally completed, my sister and I crawled inside of the structure.  The solid white walls, smooth and damp to the touch, leading upwards to the rounded roofline, the cold air inside, chilling our rosy cheeks and little noses.  Our pure delight in the simple beauty of the snow house.  Awed by the effect; we discovered that we could almost stand inside the structure.  Inside the dome, my father placed two small, wooden crates for us to sit on.  We collected a plastic tea set, apple juice, and a sleeve of Saltine crackers to dine.  Bundled up in snowsuits, scarves, and mitts, we played inside our frozen playhouse from dawn to dusk.   It was if we were miniature characters, enclosed within the simplest of snow globes, frozen in time.

My sister and I were the friends of choice for the neighbourhood hooligans who scampered into the yard, just to get a “pass” into our wonderful world.  We had a small window to peek out of and through it we could view the twinkling stars in the inky sky. We rolled snowballs to keep handy incase of a rogue attack.  Protection.  Our snow house would endure that winter.  Finally, slowly, deliberately, the sunlight warmed and melted our magical world away, until we were left with pieces of dirty bits of snow, reluctantly melting on the ground.

Another memory.  The temperatures dropped below zero for a prolonged period, causing the local lake at the end of our street to solidly freeze over.  Some of the neighbourhood children were taking advantage of this gift of nature, skating on the lake’s frozen surface.   We longed to join them.  One evening, my father arrived home, earlier than usual.  Inside the Sears Roebuck shopping bag was two brand new pair of skates.  Gently, touching the soft, chalk-white leather, my fingers slipping over the surface of the boot, I could imagine wearing the skates, twirling pirouettes upon the lake’s surface.  The steel blades, shiny and sharp.   Aching to try the skates on, would they fit? They’re a bit big, Grace.  Wear an extra pair of socks.  You’ll grow into them.  A perfect fit!  Driving the short, never-ending distance, to the edge of the lakeshore, headlights shining onto the icy surface to light our way, my father tested the thickness of the ice.  Never walk onto ice, girls.  Ice must be thick and tested by an adult.  Pushing the snow shovel, dad cleared a patch of ice.  Smooth as glass, I wondered, could we see the fish below the frozen surface?  Carefully, dad tied our laces, giving the slightest tug at the beginning of the skate boot to offer support to our wobbly ankles.  Next, my father held our hands and walked us onto the ice.  We were apprehensive, What if I fall, Daddy?  Will the ice crack? Coaching and encouraging, Hold your arms out like wings, Grace. There you go!  Holding us, gliding us along the slippery surface.  It’s all right, Grace.  I’ll catch you if you fall.  The car’s headlights illuminating the surface, under a moonlit night, stars as our witness, we learned to skate on the arms of our father.  We learned to be brave, to fear less, to fall down, to get up, and to try again.   More than that, we learned that the man we called, dad, was kind and gentle, a man who enjoyed spending times with his little girls, our hero, a man who would catch us if we fell.   It was a magical moment in time and if I had the power, I would have conjured a lifetime of magical experiences.  Alas, as with all that is magical, there is an elusive, fleeting quality, that in the end leaves the audience wondering, What happened?

On a chilly December morning, earlier than usual, I would awaken and go to the window.  It was as if a conjuror had stepped forth to create a beautiful, magical show to delight my sleepy eyes.  The perfect postcard picture of winter. Transfixed, I watched the sunlight’s brilliant rays streaming through the window, illuminating the sleeping garden.  This morning, there was an unusual clarity to the view. The winter colours, brilliant in nature, a staggering beauty to behold, more than an everyday occurrence.  Tumbling snowflakes perfectly spaced apart, falling to earth from a cloud placed overhead.  For a moment I was transported into a magical kingdom of beauty and light.  Standing in the middle of a snow globe, a magical space, the flakes like glitter raining down upon us, my sister delighting in the scene, my father holding her close.  In that moment it felt as if we were connected by a mystical love or energy, interconnecting and binding us together for eternity.  Later that morning, the telephone’s ring and the words, Dad passed away early this morning.  I already knew.