For The Love Of Words

She was a fashion statement unlike our mothers or other women in our lives. From her tight Levis and earth shoes to her granny skirts and espadrilles, she might as well have worn a sign on her forehead that said “young and cool”. Who could compete with utter hipness and Peace Corp stories of Africa? The more Miss Hunter shared of her personal life, the deeper we dug for more.

That summer I stayed at my sister’s apartment in the town where this teacher lived. She picked me up and took me to the library. She helped me fill out the information for my  first library card. We spent hours reading poetry. I adored the way the words rolled off her tongue and gently hung in the air. I checked out Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Robert Frost.

Miss Hunter let me finger the textures of the vibrant African fabrics at her apartment. I traced the smoothness of wooden African sculptures.  She told me of helping people in the village and all the babies who were named various forms of Betty in her honor. I dreamed of being Betty Hunter. I wove a glamorous dream of African life…some how, mosquitoes, poor living conditions, and hard work never entered my mind.

Throughout the day, I clung to every word she spoke. It was as if I was fed by morsels in the air. For the first time, I not only heard the words of her stories and poems, but I lived them on a level I’d never experienced.

I took my books home with me and absorbed myself in the rhythm of words that flowed like Miss Hunter’s wavy dark tresses. I was between words and worlds as I found a place of peace within myself.  As Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

I wish to thank my role model, Betty, for the magical gift of word. I’ve waded, floated, and swam a stream of words for nearly forty years. The cadence and significance of language has sent me on inner journeys, healed wounds, and created harmony in my life.  Through the love of words, I’ve found my voice which has led me to my spirit.

The Road Not Taken 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

Poem Credit: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-road-not-taken/

Photo Image Credit: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5021/5739209760_968d60715a.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.weby.ch/fotos/potpourri/real-women.php&h=300&w=274&sz=39&tbnid=OIOg-v9LGRp_KM:&tbnh=105&tbnw=96&zoom=1&docid=YhyVfsp1Y6hfvM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EKR1T4GyE4io8gTni_CSBA&ved=0CHkQ9QEwBg&dur=2294

 Spin Cycle: Role Model

Living in the Gap

March 30, 2012 – Welcome to the day

The lush green of the lawn invites me to step in and get my toes wet. The golden rays of early sun push their way through an azure sky. Though I’m warm in the sun, the crisp air paints gooseflesh across my arms. Various tweets and chirps blend to a single song until CAW CAW CAW drowns the melody of morning.

The Beauty Of Blooming

“As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We can not choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” ~Denis Waitley

When we dare to bloom, we live fully.

Love may come in the form of sunshine and rain. We can choose to fold our leaves and hide. Or we can extend ourselves, taking it in and offering what we have in return.

The inclination of who we are is always within…what beauty when we begin to bud and blossom.

There is much beauty and peace in life when we find our place in the garden planted just for us.

Living in the Gap

March 29, 2012 – You are a flower in the garden.

I walk the gardens, absorbing the purple blue of iris and vinca and floating with the soft whiteness of bell flowers. The fuschia of azaleas puts a smile on my face. The sun comes out to play. I love the freshness of spring. I enjoy watching how a bit of sunshine, rain, and TLC transforms a closed bud to a vibrant blossom. We each have a bud within us. Have you blossomed yet? Do you have all you need to flower? Is there anything you can do to help someone you love bloom into all they are meant to be? Wrap someone in a big hug today; be the sunshine and rain that triggers the growth of beauty within. If you haven’t bloomed, stop waiting around and use what you have. All the world is your garden, your job is to bloom!

The Sun Shines Within Our Souls

Even when we fail to feel the sun shining on our backs, it is still in the background trying to light our way and hoping to warm our lives. When tend to look to others for guidance when we have a heart that will happily show us the way. We look to the world for wisdom when our souls contain the knowledge of life.

When we feel despondent it’s good to remember all we really need is within our reach. We often think we need certain things, and are frustrated when we they seem to be out of our grasp. We don’t always know what is best for us. When things pass us by, there is usually something better for us waiting around the corner.

When we learn to be still, peace comes to us.

When we learn to be quiet, we listen.

When we listen, we will hear that voice within speak to us.

When we trust ourselves, we find freedom.

When we are free, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.

Remember whether we see the sun or not, it is always there.

Living in the Gap

March 28, 2012 – Yoyo Temperatures

Pools of water stick to each broad spring-green leaf. Like quartz studs they catch glimmers of sunlight and sparkle in the air as the fierce March winds wave the lilies about. Stems pull their leaves in like cloaks of warmth as they gravitate toward the sun…but the lilies are in on the secret. They know the cold temperature is a trick of nature and the sun will soon stop playing hide and seek and be out to stay for a while.

Cherry Blossoms; Spring’s Delight

My heart that was rapt away by the wild cherry blossoms — will it return to my body when they scatter? ~Kotomichi

(The first three photographs were taken up close after a rain storm. The next three photographs were taken of another tree on a different day.)

The sun peaks through the clouds providing a spotlight on nature’s elegance.

A mixture of sweet cherry and fresh rain scent the air with exotic perfume.

Rain drops glisten upon the petal like a diamond necklace.

The remaining petals glow as fresh and pink as an early morning sky.

A cluster of rose quartz suspends from the air.

Innocent beauty dazzles the eyes and tantalizes the senses.

Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower. ~Shigenori Kameoka

Living in the Gap

March 27, 2012 – Garden Mishap

I scoop dirt into the pot and gently space each marigold. Lightly, I sprinkle the water, sopping the soil as it runs off the yellow and gold petals. I turn off the water and trip over the hose…flipping the pot upside down! I want to cry; instead I curse under my breath. Marigolds lay limp beneath the mud. Gingerly I pick up a stem at a time; fortunately the blooms are intact. I pack the pot with the drenched soil and floppy flowers. I lightly rinse the stems and blooms and place the pot in the sun to dry. Silently, I say a prayer for survival for my golden beauties.

Chasing Shadows

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” ~Stephen King

Spring has arrived in full swing. I’ve been so busy enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and beauty I haven’t taken time to sit and write. I’ve had my camera out and about taking pictures of statues, flowers, trees, and sky. I’ve captured gorgeous pear and cherry blossoms, camellias, and other spring glories. I’ve been gardening from sun up to sun down some days…I mean to tell you I’ve been getting down and dirty! I’m working on redoing all of my flower gardens and making them butterfly, bird, and humming bird attractions. My feet and back are taking a beating, but one thing’s for sure; I’m ready for bed by 8:30 or 9:00, and I’m sleeping soundly these days. I’ll try to post some pictures and words soon. I’ve done my “Living in the Gap” entries though I didn’t get around to posting them. Though I feel as if I’m chasing my shadow, I know in a month or so I will reap the benefits of my hard work. And though it is hard work, I find it quite enjoyable and therapeutic…much akin to writing is to my soul.

Living in the Gap

March 24, 2012 – Wine Tasting

We’ve missed our Friday night ritual for the past three weeks. It is a delight to walk in to the smiles, chatter, laughter, and spirits. Sip by refreshing sip, we savor and ooh and aah over the cutting edge crispness of pineapple, oak, and orange overtones. We twirl our glasses…merlot clings to the glass before it falls into the pool of scarlet liquid. From white to red, we enjoy them all…and the company as well.

Living in the Gap

March 25, 2012 – First garden snake of the season

Bit by bit, I tug and strip the bed of the invasive periwinkle. Just as I step on the shovel to pound it in the ground, I see something dart by. I bend over to pick up the bulbs, and the little bugger sticks his tongue out at me. I drop everything and run to the front of the house and scream forDirtMan.(Good thing he has recovered from his surgery well enough to help me!) Then the quick little scooter slides under the leaves and slips into a tiny hole. Somehow he turns beneath the ground and darts his little head out at the base of a day lily and pokes his tongue out as he wiggles in and out. Just as he comes back out Dirt Man grabs him. At the same time I back into a small limb of pine needles…when I feel the prickle of those needles brush my legs I jump ten feet off the ground!

Living in the Gap

March 26, 2012 – Working in the rain

The sky is overcast…the air and sky blend into a grey haze. A fine mist follows me throughout my pruning and planting. The wet thick soil drizzles across my arms and legs. As I turn the garden hose on to rinse away the dirt, the spray from the sky turns to a light downpour. I lift my face to the sky and breath in the day. Spring is refreshing even when the sun isn’t shining.

Better Than Snow!

“Love consists in sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves.”  ~David Fleming, SJ

Pure.Crystalclear.

Warm and illuminating.

No mistake in feeling the light that fills our hearts.

While it does originate in the heart,

its warmth spreads through the body and results in a smile on your face.

You become grateful for all life offers

and extend your graciousness in action to others.

It becomes a snowball fight of kindness and generosity.

Don’t be afraid to throw the first snowball.

Let someone go ahead in the checkout line.

Offer to babysit for a friend.

Bake a cake or loaf of bread for a neighbor.

Have something you don’t need? Pass it on to someone who does.

Call or visit someone you haven’t seen in a while.

Send a card or flowers to someone far a way.

Loan a book. Invite someone to a movie.

Be a good friend. Be a helpful neighbor.

Most of all just be there; be available to others.

Get the ball rolling…give a hug, a smile, or a simple wave.

When it’s returned, savor the moment. Remember how good it feels.

Don’t hold your love inside; let it touch everyone you meet.

Living in the Gap

March 23, 2012 – Creepy Crawlies

I lift the rock, exposing the earth.Worms, grubs, and bugs scurry for cover. I uncover the ground stone by stone, continuing to disrupt nature previously hidden from my eyes. No sounds emerge from the creepy crawlies though the neighborhood is alive with the noise of lawn mowers, weed eaters, laughing kids, barking dogs, and tweeting birds. I feel a prick, like and insect bite, right above my glove. A red ant is scurrying around my wrist. I look down to see fire ants darting over the stone and swarming in the soil. I look closer to see the architecture of their tunnels through the ground of my flowerbed.

Road Trips Sucked When I Was A Kid!

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes

After my older siblings moved out of state, the folks packed my sister and me up each summer and traveled south to visit. There were certain things we knew to expect. With no air conditioning, it was guaranteed to be hot and sweaty which made everybody crabby. It was inevitable we’d get lost at some point. Mama couldn’t read a map (maybe she could have read it if she hadn’t held it upside down!), and Daddy NEVER asked for directions.

Then there was the potty problem. Unless you wanted to endure Daddy’s fussing you didn’t dare say you had to use to the bathroom because he was NOT going to stop until he was almost out of gas. This wasn’t a problem for me, the one with the teensy weensy bladder, because I didn’t drink anything. I knew I could depend on my sister to be the one whining because she always chugged on her Dr. Pepper the entire trip. Therefore, I’d be saved the wrath and I’d get to use the bathroom….though I’d have to listen to Daddy fuss about having to stop and Mama fuss about my sister drinking so much soda. When we did stop at a gas station, Mama was right there telling us not to sit on the toilet because of all the diseases people have and reminding us to wash our hands and not touch anything when we leave. And how were we supposed to get out if we didn’t touch the doorknob?

My sister and I would try to entertain one another by making up games with license plates and road signs. Or she’d yell at me for poking her, falling asleep on her, or talking too much, and I’d yell back or shove her. Daddy would start cussing. Mama would turn around and give us that “you’re dead if you don’t stop it” look. Then she’d yell at us or swat at us from the front seat. We were pretty good at keeping out of her reach.

Daddy had a lead foot. If there was a line of cars, he’d mash the gas pedal as hard as needed to get to the front of the line. Mama fussed at him for always wanting to be in the lead. Occasionally, he’d slam on the brakes due to some “idiot driver” in front of him. My sister and I would be jerked forward and slung back. She’d complain of car sickness, and Mama would tell her to stop whining. I stick my pillow over my head to drown out both the bickering and the crooning of Meryl Haggard, Loretta Lynn, or whoever was at the top of the billboards at the time.

A bit of excitement arose here and there such as a police car and siren approaching. Mama would yell he was coming after us, and Daddy would laugh as the cop whizzed on by. Once there was a news helicopter towering overhead, a car weaving in and out of traffic and a police car in pursuit. We watched them come up on us, around us, and keep on going. Later we came up on the car with the policeman shoving the guy against the car and cuffing him. Another time there was a guy zipping by and a girl chasing him yelling out the window at him and throwing stuff at him. Daddy said, “She’s mad as hell at him. I wonder what he did.” For a good hour later I wondered what they were fighting about and if they’d make up.

I think the worst trip of all was when we traveled in an eighteen wheeler. I have no idea where we were going with an empty truck. The only thing I can think of is my Brother in law’s friend owned a rig. My parents rode in the cab while my nephew, the dog, and I rode in the back of the empty trailer. It was dusty, stuffy, and pitch black. We didn’t have a flash light or even a radio. We were sitting on blankets and they slid with every curve, throwing us into the walls or sending us spinning into the middle. We took turns clinging to the dog. The only thing we could hear over the roar of the engine and the traffic was the pings of gravel and other debris beneath and against the metal trailer. The noises of the rig echoed and was almost deafening at times. To say we were bored, scared, dizzy, and tired is an understatement. There was no way to contact them if we needed anything. Our only hope was when we stopped moving. We’d pray it wasn’t just a traffic light but a bathroom break. The thud and scrape of the metal bar being slid on the lock assured us the door would open. We had to close our eyes to ease the daylight on them. We knew better than to complain though I’m sure we still whined a bit. However, it did make us appreciate being cramped up in the car. We actually wanted to be hot and sweaty. We even welcomed those country crooners. We were even willing to be in pain trying to hold our bladders.  More than anything, we secretly wished our parents could ride a few miles in the same conditions we had.

Spin Cycle: Road Trip

Living in the Gap

March 22, 2012  – The touch of rain

The rain dropped and plopped upon my skin. It fell in a gentle swoop with a big drop every now and then that splattered when it made contact with the ground. Raindrops glistened across leaves and flowers petals. The rain left a wet sheen upon the cobblestone while the dirt simply absorbed them. My feet chilled as my shoes soaked in the wetness of the grass as I walked around the yard taking pictures of all that came to life during the drizzle.

Laws Of Magnetism

We attract what we emit.

What we give is what we are returned.

Do all you do in the name of love and you will be blessed with love.

Deal in honesty. Others will trust you and be open with you.

Show others you care and they will care for you.

Express an attitude of gratitude. Grace will follow.

Be forgiving. Others will extend mercy to you.

Trust others enough to extend opportunities to them and the same will come to you.

Teach your talents to those willing to learn and listen to those willing to teach you. It will all come full circle.

Accept others as they are without forcing your opinions on them. They will accept and respect you as you are.

Be kind and gentle. Those of the same disposition will find their way to you.

Be giving. Help others. When the need arises, others will be there for you.

Be responsible and accountable. People will depend on you, but they will also hold themselves liable to their actions.

Look for the good in those you meet. They will also see the good in you.

Always do your best. Those around you will expend their best efforts as well.

Peace comes to those who live their lives in harmony with others.

Living in the Gap

March 21, 2012

Darkness is thick in the air, but that doesn’t keep the birds from rising. The cardinal sings and waits a few seconds and slips into another song. He must not impress the female because he tries three more tunes. Other birds are tweeting, twittering and jabbering away. I wonder which bird was early enough to get the worm. I watch the dark roll out as light takes over. A mist so deep it appears as a metallic sheet rises through the trees blocking the sun. Robins make their own sunshine as they flutter to and from the cedar crooning the morning into view.

Open Expanse

Every man dies.  Not every man really lives.  ~Braveheart

Breath sweeps in with the wind

and rolls out with the tide.

The world is open to you.

Choose how you will live this day.

This is your life; live it fully.

Living in the Gap

March 20, 2012 – Yard Work

Spring has brightened my yard with new growth; the green of grass, leaves, and flower shoots and the white, blue, purple, pink, and yellow petals popping up everywhere. The dead leaves lay curled and withered beneath spring. I removed the wasted debris in one of the flower beds and watched the colors intensify as the bed came to life. I mowed the back yard, inhaling the scent of freshly cut grass and choking on pollen. I looked down to see my legs had turned green from grass cuttings…a few days too late for St. Patrick’s Day, but alas I did get that “green skin” my Big Mama claimed I had!

The Crowning Glory Of Spring

Flowing gown of white and tendrils sculpted, she waltzes through the sky. The stars of night hold no candles to her beauty.

Like lovers, the skirted leaves hang on her every breath and move, delighted to be in her presence.

Citrine crowns burst and stretch from within the petals as if they are screaming, Look at me!

As one they sashay in the wind and flirt with the clouds. The blossoms wink and smile and all are mesmerized by her charm.

Stamens drape like tiny black pearls around her neck as she curtsies in the wind. The birds and bees sing her praises and applaud her sweetness. The world adores her poise.

Living in the Gap

March 19, 2012 – Aromas and Tastes of Times Gone By

I am in my kitchen in the midst of replicating some of Big Mama’s Sunday staples. Wylie plops herself in the middle of the floor so I have to step over her each time I move from stove top to wall oven or counter or fridge…Wylie knows she is in the perfect spot to lap up any spills, and she knows good things happen in my kitchen. Red liquid of tomatoes juice and bubble around the bright yellow corn and pale green baby limas. The aroma takes me right back to childhood. The cast iron skillet sizzles and hums with fried chicken. Sweet lemon wafts from the oven where the pound cake bakes. My long fingers knead and roll sticky biscuit dough. I am transformed into the adult side of my childhood. I smile thinking of my family enjoying the tastes that fed my past. No chatter in my kitchen like those from my childhood, but CCR is blasting in the background keeping me company.