blogging · creativity · Family · poetry · writing

A Convertible Summer

Summer of ‘67
the British had invaded
and Canada celebrated
100 years of confederation –
and Dad, at the top of his game,
came home with a brand new,
powder puff blue convertible

Eagerly, my sister and I
loaded into the back seat,
laughed at strands of our long hair
flying into open mouths, strains
of our uplifted voices competing
with the 8-track bellowing:
“Do you believe in magic?”

We were so alive then:
I, just barely nine, and my elder,
and idol, rocking sixteen –
she was hippie, go-go girl
and model all wrapped in one
and always humble, never mean.

We headed to the shoreline,
Sauble beach, where muscle cars
prowled, and tunes blared,
and all eyes lit on sister
and I wondered what the draw was,
still too naïve to understand the lure
of feminine wiles, my sandcastles real.

Barbequed steaks and mom’s
homemade apple pie, and
a trip to the ice cream store
if we were good, and Dad
shooed away the men who buzzed
about and lectured sister about “friends”.

I surfed the waves, and
avoided baby sister, her brash cries
and quick, chubby legs a distraction
for our mother, constantly in pursuit;
and observed the life, Neil Diamond
promised I was about to enter:
“Girl, you’ll be a woman soon.”

Ah to be nine, in the summertime,
when cares are few, and ideas
like popcorn, burst and pop,
filling my head with such fancy,
and then to forget it all, plunging
head first into the oncoming waves
still content to be a child.

(Thank you to Laura Bailey at All the Shoes I Wear
for the photo, song and word (summertime) that
inspired this memory.)

culture · Grandparenting · life · poetry · women's issues

Unbridled

Tender as a fledgling, angelic
curls confrontational, she bears
emotions with courage, femininity
unkempt, pridefully engages
creatures – pests to most – believes

in messengers, blessed with manna,
heaven-sent; draws her strength
from within, a daring soul, plunges
deep, pursues wholeness – cherished
vulnerability, unpolished, loyal

mimics nature, her innocence persuasive,
fear and protectiveness retreat, helpless
in face of the adventures that call to her;
she is submerged, infiltrating enchantment,
unruly – does not measure progress by scars

unaware of wounding, responds only
to the magical sense of play – a limbo –
instinctively trusting, sweet, views the
world from perches treetop high, wills
herself to fly with dragonfly wings.

In time, innocence will be intercepted
by practicality: Fate’s swift hand cutting
her down, she will be victim, react to
adversity, learn to mother, the wildness
of her youth chiseled by expectations

She will learn to wade through swamps,
acknowledge pain and her own inadequacy,
overcome and face life anew, the memory
of a freer time, a more wily self, fleeting –
the child in her more myth than memory.

(Photo from Pinterest, attributed to:
Joanne Quirante Escober)

aging · creativity · Grandparenting · life · poetry

Colouring Lessons

Favourite colour?
Black, says she
without hesitation;

I falter, stumble
mind reaching –
who likes black?

Is that a colour?
It’s all colours,
she’s nonchalant

intent on task –
carefully keeping
within the lines

Of course it is,
ill equipped am I
to disagree, images

of dark somber
corners, sorrow
and death crows –

Why black? ask I –
composure forced –
had anticipated pink

equate childhood
with primary shades
splotches of yellow

and rainbow skies
candy red apples
on lollipop trees

but black? no –
black obliterates,
negates, destroys

It holds the colour
inside,
she explains;
It’s the outline.

Not annihilation –
order; her mind
conceives of order

so much to learn
from innocence
have long forgotten

the art of staying,
within lines, finding
good in all things.

(Image: www.siparent.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

adversity · aging · dreams · health · life · poetry

House of Horrors

If life is an amusement park,
then I, the wary visitor, purse
clutched to body, peer about
anxiously, rattled by crowds;

an overprotective parent,
herding my delighted flock,
reigning in wandering feet,
responsibility a stern cloud.

Childlike minds thrive under
blinding lights, the violence
of sounds, smells of cotton
candy sweetness: promises

of thrills, will lead me into
House of Horrors, where I,
lungs burning, heart dying
will plead for escape, run,

abandoning my charges
unable to separate fiction
from lived terror, reveal
my weakness, collapse

while the children, bent
on adventure will thrive
unphased by implications
of real life carnival rides.

adversity · life · memoir · spirituality

Nature’s Voice

The tiny crayfish slowly made its way over the rocky water bed, climbing in and out of crevices, antennae constantly moving.  Perched on my haunches, trying valiantly not to move and startle the small creature, I watched in fascination.  His translucent body moved with such tenacity over what must surely be a challenging terrain for him.  The wind shifted, creating ripples in the water, and he was gone from my sight.

I lifted my head to listen.  There it was again:  a sudden, slight shift in the wind.  Mother Nature was gently tugging me from my reverie and beckoning me homeward.  I stood and shook the kinks out of my muscles, heeding her kind warning.  Time to go home.

As I made my way through the tangle of trees, stepping over fallen branches, and being wary off uneven ground, I noticed the wind shift again.  Her voice was more urgent now, a warning.  I decided to stay off the beaten path, and stick to the cover of the trees.  Noises ahead told me people were coming.  Boys!  As they approached, I noticed there were four or five of them, carrying something like sticks.  No, not sticks, they were carrying snakes.  And they were looking for someone.  Me!

I ducked behind a bush and held my breath.  Elbowing each other with bravado, the boys failed to see me crouched nearby.  Birds and wildlife scurried out of their path, sensing as I did that they meant only harm.  “She’s got to be here somewhere!” I heard one shout.  “Probably by the creek.”

They stepped into the woods, and not trusting my luck, I made a dash for home.

“There she goes!”

I fled along the path, until I saw the opening to the farmer’s field that bordered my backyard.  Breaking out of the woods, I caught sight of my best friend, Scott.  He knew as soon as he spotted me that I was in trouble.  Hailing his brothers, they met me just as my pursuers were catching up.

“You have a problem here?”  Scott’s oldest brother stood, towering over the tallest of the boys.

“Uh no.”  The boys turned on their heels and disappeared back into the woods.

“What were you doing in there all by yourself, young lady?” the older brother demanded to know.

I shrugged.  How could I tell him I was never alone when Mother Nature was looking after me.  I opened the gate and stepped back into the safety of my own backyard.

“Thank you for the warning,”  I said to the Wind.  The trees before me bowed gracefully at her command, and I knew my gratitude had been acknowledged.

At five years of age, it was easy to trust that life was guided by a loving presence, and I lived my life accordingly.

At fifty, I only wish I had such innocence to guide me once again.

(Image: tabbystardust.deviantart.com)

Grandparenting · life · nonfiction

Innocence and Authenticity

I am five.  Chronologically, I am five.  Inside, I feel as old as I’ll ever be.

I am free of the burdens and distractions that surround me, and often, alone.

I have a sense of something I can’t quite articulate – purpose, mingled with wisdom; trust, and a connection larger than me.

I do not question whether I am wearing the right clothes for my figure, or if my hair suits my face.  I do not worry about where the money for the next bill is going to come from.  I seldom wonder if what I say might offend or is relevant at all.

At five, I live honestly; authentically.  I am all that I’ll ever be:  undefined, yet confident.  I am alive for a reason.  I feel it.

All I have to do is be patient and wait for life to unfold.

My true self.

Half a life time later, I still remember her:  that girl with such a full future ahead of her.   Such an innocent.

Like a treasure, she is buried within me, holding space.  I look for her in the mirror, but her light no longer shines in my eyes.  I search for her in the clutter that has become my mind, yet her clarity eludes me.  In the eyes of others, I am mother, friend, teacher, lover, and adviser, but not innocence; never my true self.

So, I seek to ignite that sense of self, through the inspiration that is my granddaughter.  Her smiles, her tears, her constant curiosity and unabashed response to life is a reminder:  somewhere in all of us there is a simplicity of being that defies any other reality.  Our true self.