hitting bottom on my second glass of wine
hearing laser sharp, vision glazing
crumpled paper menu and sleuthing pen
seated at table
situated near bar
and men wearing baseball caps
she’s a wanderer
always wants to walk back to Florida
…like a two year old
yea, my mom went through that
got her in a place now
thought she was back in high school
said she was prom queen
that’s when we knew
God bless ’em, when you can keep ’em
better sometimes forgettin’
don’t wanna remember mine
maybe we’ll see grandma dancin’ on a pole
she did think she was prom queen
Didn’t think much about it. I seldom do. Heard it was difficult. It is. She’s going off to become whatever it is she wants to become. She will be a student of sustainable agriculture. I ventured into Mad Men territory while in school. We are different that way. The best way possible. She will try to effect agricultural change. Make an earthly impact. Walking our Dachshund this morning (still miss my Shepherd) gazing down at the road thinking back to those days–trying to remember lessons for her. The rocks and tar rolled out then rumbled flat. There are cracks and joint fixes. Sparkles of glass and dull-faced stones. Her life will be like this road. Combinations of things adhered together, splitting sometimes, getting fixed or not, hot in the heat, icy in the cold–dangerous at times. Her feet will walk as she destines they should–barefoot or booted. She will be smart and she will not be smart. Go off to study abroad. Maybe fall in love or at least what she thinks is. I pray she will be happy. I know to ask for ‘always’ is unrealistic. She is so much more confident than I was at that age. I’m hoping enough to keep her out of situations. When one doesn’t like who they see each morning in the glass, trouble follows. I didn’t think she would be teary-eyed. She is. But she is also excited. Imagine, it’s all shiny right now…may it glisten for a long while. This place is more raw than ever. And they all know it. Let them enjoy the sparkle in a bubble while they can pretend.
photo detail-Caroline, age 18
above, painting detail, from a larger portrait-Caroline is 8
There is a pool I go to early Thursday mornings with my mom. The pool is crystal. He is a beautiful blue like my mother in moonlight. We swim, jogging across the earth only wetter. Millie wears funny goggles not as large as Snoopy’s but funny just the same. The blue lenses match the water and when she goes beneath the surface half her face disappears. We had to make a no laughing rule, because I swallow too much water. She thinks I’ll sink like a stone if I suck up the entire pool out of happiness. And Rita swims to the right on mornings Millie and I don’t get a proper lane to share, because the dude who can do twenty butterflies across the pool and the flip thing at the end of each lap (I think he’s showing off for us old gals) grabs a lane early as does the gorgeous, petite Asian woman with the flawless skin. Rita, I adore. She wears a white bathing cap with flowers like Esther Williams and when she smiles, I swear the flowers change color and grow a little. Water is kind to Rita. To all the ladies. He’s a charming fellow gently embracing their bodies. He grants them a weightlessness that time steals once they ascend those metal steps. He is the lover. We love him. How kind, the pain floats away for awhile. Every brash sound in the world seems to disappear when he whispers bubble mumble into our ears. So we all will keep at loving him. And he will always remember when they wore deep red lipstick and used their mouths well. Now, his formal rectangle with proper scrubbed edges tends and respects our lady-ness like back in that day, when gents tipped their fedoras and newsboy caps to beautiful Millie and flower-capped Rita.
These words were inspired today while early swimming with my beautiful mother in a crystal blue pool. I was reflecting on my new age of 53 (technically not 53 until May 20th;)) and thinking how I don’t care much (can’t say completely because that would be a lie) mostly because I’m blessed to have Millie and Billy for as long as I can keep them. I hope to enjoy every precious perfect and imperfect moment with my parents. Thank you.
The art was created last year – hey, it was either the mermaid or a fish:)
wishing them closer for awhile
now that while has arrived
in a few weeks time
8 minutes door to door
8 minutes door to daughter
in a new year
destined to be filled with surprises
rediscovering parents from a new perspective
the wisdom of years they will bring
along with ailments
both still dogmatically independent
a beautiful thing
in a world they’ve watched
grow older too
more stripped of dignity
not always, but often
I hope to learn
I hope to help
as they have helped me
in more ways than
I will ever understand
in this reversal of life
art previously published
the young athlete in purple and gold was trying to escape
his muscles maxing out in length beneath his sweating skin
each time crawling on knees and palms to reach the outer ring
every wrestler knows when you reach that white circle, the whistle blows
out of bounds
you get another chance
he was fierce
yes he was
in his determination
the other wrestler wearing the baby-blue and white singlet
continued lunging at his fleeing opponent
baby-blue and white wanted the win badly
purple and gold was trying with all his power to escape
on the other side of the large wrestling mat,
a bulbous-bellied man in a bright yellow shirt
was positioned like the sun
he stood there eclipsing all else around him with
his giant flashing camera and smashing fists
he was a bright star
without the warmth
but with all the heat
loads of hot air bursting out
through a constant barrage of bellows
screaming at the young wrestler–his son
“YOU HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT”
“GOTTA PULL YOUR LEG ‘ROUND FASTER”
“QUIT RUNNING FOR THE RING”
“YOU’RE NOT TRYING”
and secretly, the young wrestler in the purple and gold and I both knew
he was trying
trying very hard
to reach that white circle
and never stop running
art previously published
unfortunately, this is a true story, colors of singlets were changed to protect the innocent:)
There is a tale I’d like to share with you for gentle thoughts heading into 2015. It is a story of life’s fabric wearing thin but the threads holding true. It is the rich tale of a poor farmer. His name was Happy.
And Happy Knew Here
Happy received his name upon reaching his fifth birthday. Until then, he hadn’t a name. His parents didn’t want to name him until they knew him. Happy’s family was poor. They survived by toil and love. The only gift Happy had ever received was a long, blue coat. It was made from a wealthy chef’s discarded blankets. The handmade coat wasn’t intended as a birthday gift, it just happened to be finished on Happy’s fifth birthday.
Each night after their son was fast asleep, Happy’s mother and father worked on the coat. Happy’y father patiently braided together dog hair, crow feathers and wheat stalks to make coarse thread. His mother then painstakingly sewed the pieces of broken blankets together. It was a long and arduous process. When they finally gave the coat to their son, he smiled. He was jubilant. He was Happy.
Happy’s mother and father’s lives were spent harvesting, selling and preparing crops for the long, cold winter months. The only rest they ever allowed themselves was a few moments each day when they’d sing to Happy beneath the shade of a magical Weeping Cherry. Now the tree wasn’t really magical, but Happy believed it was. The Weeping Cherry’s fragrant pink and white blossoms sparkled like starlight. The tree’s long limbs sheltered the family like a warm embrace.
Time and toil eventually took Happy’s parents to a place of everlasting rest. Happy continued working in his family’s field and finding rest beneath the starlight of the Cherry Blossom. His old blue coat, now a waistcoat, had survived many, many harsh winters. One day while Happy rested beneath the Cherry Blossom, his coat rolled up like a pillow beneath his tired head, he heard his mother and father singing. Happy’s life had been hard. Happy’s life had been long. And though he lived a solitary existence, he never knew loneliness. Happy’s blue coat had protected him. The Cherry Blossom’s limbs had embraced him. His parents’ love had filled his heart with peace and joy.
And Happy knew here, beneath the magical Cherry Blossom tree…he’d lived a rich full life.
Thank you. I hoped you liked my little story of a man named Happy. May you dream of peace within a warm embrace.
Happiest of joy in the New Year…
Robin’s Tree painted on request several years ago as are all requests for dear friends.
If it were humanly possible I’d wrap time up in a sturdy box. I’d bind that amazing box with ribbon so secure, time would have no other choice but to stop.
I’d paint portrait after portrait to freeze my children’s beautiful faces in their most innocent moments.
I’d fill our home with festive balloons year round so my children would stay young forever.
I’d bake rainbow cakes piled so high with color, all escape routes would be blocked.
But there is no sturdy box to hold time, only birthday gifts wrapped in pretty foil bows and birthday pizza cookies.
I can paint all the portraits I desire but each canvas will only reflect an older face.
And my children will continue growing up and growing wiser than their silly mother…
Happy Birthday, dearest delicate daughter.