Friday, December 30, 2011

A Quick Note...



I started “Lens and Pen” at the beginning of 2011 as a challenge to myself.  The plan was to compose a post that blended a photo and creative fiction on a weekly basis. Not only did I manage to mostly stick to that plan, but I also garnered some lovely company along the way. Thank you for coming along for the ride ~ your friendship and comments are greatly appreciated.    

Wishing you beauty, bliss and all the best in 2012!



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice


Earthbound,
Autumn leaves
Chant ancient words and
Secret tunes transposed
by midnight wisdom.

Skeleton trees
Cackle and dance, snake
Pointy twisted fingers
Into a sky that is
Sprinkled with stars.

Smoke and moonlight spill
Scattered trickster fortunes
In shiny crystal globes
Tossed carelessly
On frosted earth.

Hearth and home
 Are hung with shadow,
Shaped and spun
By candles lit
Like little prayers

To welcome back the sun.


*  ***   ***   ***  *

 Happy Winter Dreamtime!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Words


Autumn’s parting words,
Scattered leaf-shaped letters to
Welcome in winter.



Friday, December 9, 2011

And She Dances...


She was always jealous of my evening adventures. “But you get to dance with Princes,” she said, giving no thought to the price I paid with my own poor feet, not to mention the effort it took to get through the day with next to no sleep at all.

“And those jewels,” she continued. Call me blasé, but I was a little sick of sharp-edged shiny things weighing my hair down and pulling at my clothes. Oh yes, the clothes. Keeping up with current fashion trends was wearing on me as well.  Clearly I would get no sympathy from the baker’s daughter, though. I doubted that my sisters would understand either; they seemed quite content to continue with the nightly games.

I was secretly pleased when our routine was revealed. I saw my father smile for the first time in years and I thought that maybe things would finally change. The young man who figured out our late night scheme is now married to our youngest sister, Corrine, and they are blissfully happy in the home of their making. But the rest of us? Well, eventually we went back to doing the same thing all over again, sneaking off to dance the night away under the watchful eyes of the Princes, who applauded our appearance and sweetly held our hands while we swayed in prescribed circles and wore out yet another pair of shoes.

One night, on the way across the river to the revels, I watched as the rowing prince shifted uncomfortably in his starched jacket. His eyes were focused somewhere in the distance and I wondered what kind of dreams he hid behind them. When a tree limb snagged my sleeve and briefly jarred the boat, he blinked several times, sculpted his lips into an attentive smile and raised an enquiring brow my way. “Just a stray branch,” I told him, as I brushed the offending golden leaf and several shimmering others into my palm, “Of course I’m fine.”  When we reached the shore, he took my elbow with polite concern and steered me towards the music.

Upon our return home that morning, I stood aside as my sisters fell exhausted into their beds. My fingers closed around the precious leaves I had gathered and I made my way toward the door. What difference did a few extra dozen steps make at this point?

I ran off to the baker’s daughter’s house and hung my glittering gown on the clothesline there, with a note of introduction to my family and the sparkly leaf-trinkets tucked inside the pocket for her. I left my shoes on her porch and then snuck into her house, where several trays of still-warm muffins were cooling on the table. I took as many as my hands could hold and slid away from our village in my simple tunic, dancing with welcome abandon across morning fields in my bare feet as the sweet taste of fresh pastries and freedom filled my mouth.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Untitled


My mother named me Deirdre. Mom got the name from a book of legends and most people ‘round these parts have never heard of it before. The tale of Deirdre is an old one. In it, a baby girl is born and it is foretold that she will be the most beautiful woman in the world. Unlike the famous Deirdre, I can only pretend to be beautiful. Here, sitting in the half-light of dusk on the rusty old porch swing, you might say I’m a little bit pretty, at least.

My mother named me Deirdre, but it must have been a leap of faith, really. She never stuck around to see how I’d grow up. It’s been just me and Dad in this rickety old house since I was seven. But I remember the tales my mother told me. Deirdre’s story is my favorite, of course. Deirdre did grow up to be a beauty and men couldn’t help but love her. I guess that’s kind of true for me, too. Dad has loved me lots. “Making up for the whole lack of mom,” he’d say.  See, I know he loves me well and I’ve got the belly to prove it. People have been shaking their heads about it, though. “Fifteen,” they say, “And already pregnant.”

In Deirdre’s tale, she was so beautiful that men were always fighting over her. In a way, that’s happening to me now, too. Do you think mom knew? I watch the sun go down and I wonder what ever happened to that fairy tale book, and where Dad is. He hasn’t come home yet and I wish he would. He knows the man will be here soon, the one with the slick suit who wants to take me away. The one who said “You should be in a safe place where you’ll be taken care of properly,” all in smooth, confident tones. I’m sure Dad wants me to stay here with him, but this guy told me there will be some sort of battle over it.

I know what I will tell him though, this fancy creature coming up our gravel drive all the way from the big city.  I’ve been practicing the words all day. “I am already taken care of,” I’ll say, “I’m loved, fought over, sometimes even told I’m pretty. It’s just like a fairy tale.”


My mother named me Deirdre, and Deirdre I am.  But what’s in a name, right?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Old Lace


Treasured legacy,
Laughter and love like old lace
Woven in my soul.



Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fisherman and the Mermaid


They meet where words are drowned
In wave-crashed pools.
She reaches out to him, silent
While hook-cut hands
Navigate her body, sculpting
An ocean-pulse merger of worlds,
A liminal love, now
Newly moon glazed.

Siren song floods the night
As lips and hands
Weave enchanted bliss. She
Shapes their dance with
Tide-flow rhythms;
A slippery warp and weft
Which he perceives
As heartbeats, echoed.
Thus it is so:

He mistakes passion
For longing, the wind
For her sighs,
Wet kisses for love until
She is called by the stars,
Back into the deep.
Dawn finds him dew-clad,
Dream-haunted by something
Rich and strange, but
The only thing he remembers
Is the taste of salt.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

IMO Anne McCaffrey

I've never posted juvenilia before, but that's what I am going to do now, as today marks the passing of Anne McCaffrey, author of the well-loved "Dragonsinger" series.

Like many others, I was utterly enthralled by those books. They taught me a lot about courage and community, about living joyfully and about the rewards of working hard towards a goal. They often provided a welcome respite from the trials of youth, but the foray into the fantastical wasn't simply about escapism. In her books I also found role models that left me with an ingrained sense of strong female heroine, long before I had ever heard those three words strung together. Important stuff, that.

And those books prompted me to write poems, even though I only had a rudimentary idea of what poetry actually was at that time. In retrospect, I was writing fanfic, long before that label was coined. I'm sure I'm not the only one that was so inspired ~ there will be many songs resounding through the halls tonight in McCaffrey's honor, and much praise for the legacy that she has left behind.

RIP, dear author. Your stories were the shining stars of my childhood.



Of lands of old and days untold and masterharpers singing,
Located all in harper hall, the tower bells are ringing.
Where masters teach the children young,
The songs and how they should be sung,
And those are picked with careful eye
To ride the dragon through the sky.
With fire lizards blue and gold,
They live with music 'til they're old.
Their fingers deft, their voices sweet,
A greater sound you'll never meet,
Than those who young were taught the craft,
Though they worked hard, they also laughed,
And brought the news in form of song
So something new is going on
For those who lived across the land.
They sang the song from sand to sand
And lived their lives without a fear
Knowing they could always hear
A ballad, song or saga soon
Or barring that, they'd write a tune
To greet the multitude of ears
And carry through the many years.
I wish I lived back in the time
Of flying free and music fine.








Friday, November 18, 2011

The Last Leaf


Autumn displays its wares;
A shameless foliate spread
Of gold and cinnamon gems and
Flirty sprays of ochre and amber
In seductive abundance.

There’s red in there too;
Shades of love and blood
That fade into russet temptations
Waving coyly along
With their showy orange sisters.

The spectrum changes daily;
A shifting pallet
Of light and shadow
So enchanting
That the wind cannot resist
The playground of colors.

Limb by limb,
It lover-rustles its way
Through the wood,
Breeze intent on
Passion-crazed caress,
False fingers lingering,

Until it shapes the branches
Into twisted nakedness;
A blustery skeleton dance
Of rebirth in waiting
As the last betrayed leaf
Spirals down into ghosthood.




Friday, November 11, 2011

Out of the Night


Waves murmur,
Tumble, swell and tease,
As twilight falls upon the beach.
Dusk slowly weaves a subtle spell
Of brine and bliss
And timelessness
Dissolved
 Into a sea-wrapped kiss
Of spiral gleams and mermaid dreams.
An old enchantment, this one is;
The sweet caress
Of secret things,
And fingertips
Of breeze-brought myth and
Promises the darkness brings.
 Forgotten tales steeped in delight;
Out of the night,
The ocean sings.



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn, Interrupted...



There is something magical about autumn light. Pair it with the scents and colors of Fall, and everywhere you look, enchantment abounds. It is hard to stay indoors when Mother Nature wears such brilliant finery ~ I've been off in the wilds absorbing and harvesting beauty.



Yesterday, though, Mother Nature had something of a surprise up her sleeve. It snowed.



It was a full day of wet, heavy flakes and accumulation the likes of which I've never seen in October.


I suspect the trees and plants were also surprised.



Though the birds weren't bothered a bit.


Julius just tucked in, while I got out the boots and gloves.



I am remembering wool and hot chocolate and wishing for more Autumn!

In other news, I've also been busy preparing for my first Tribal dance performance. Back to the regular schedule of photos and fiction soon... 


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Way the Wolf Woos



She knows better
Than to wear silk now,
Though the crimson cap
Is still a tradition.  He
Takes joy in toying with ribbons,
As he nibbles lightly

(The better to taste you)
Down her newly-bared neck.
Spellbound, she wonders
Not about granny (who
Lies abed elsewhere)
But why mother

Failed to tell her 
About any of this.
Claws tickle and tease
With utmost care
As he watches with joy
(The better to see you) her

Goose-bumped response.
And oh, the seduction
Of words! They
Drip from his tongue
Like a basket of goodies
Spilled out on the sheet;

Honey-tinged vowels,
Growls barely stifled, and
Consonants filled
With the promise of heat.
Such sweet delight found
When cheek to cheek,

Or head on chest,
Pulse beat rhythms and
Slick skin echoes,
All (the better to hear) him
Say, “Come closer child,
Let me tell you a story.”


                           _________________________________________________

* Figurine in photo created by Jim Shore

Friday, October 7, 2011

Today's Fairy Tale is Brought to You by the Guy in Overalls



Kudos to the farmer;
An unlikely, field-bound
Fairy Godmother (of sorts)
Who breeds his own brand
Of orange magic. Purveyor
Of a dream-smattered harvest,
Rife with promise
Of imminent transformation
For just a few pennies,
So now neither
Princess nor pauper
Will lose out on a dance
For want of a pumpkin.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dryad Song



Tree breeze harmonies;
A sky full of dryad song
To welcome autumn.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Corn Night

This is a true story. Corn Night is an annual gathering that takes place at a pub where I used to work. Even though I am not there anymore, every year around this time, I still think about it...




It’s always held on a Tuesday, once or sometimes twice a year as autumn draws near. The men stroll in; groups of two or three or the occasional half dozen clumped together. They are clad in dusty jeans, T-shirts and work boots, the kind that aren’t meant just for show. A few wear button down oxfords that look stiff and scratchy. It ends up being about forty men altogether and they exhibit an easy companionship rarely seen in such a setting.

On this night, the dining room of the restaurant is theirs alone. They sit at long tables that have been pushed together and drink pitchers of beer out of ice-dripping mugs while the local corn boils in pots on the big stove in the back. There’s not a female in sight, except for me and a stray waitress or two. The group’s woman-folk have already done their job: the behind-the-scenes ritual of hand-chafing shucking and cleaning, a chore that inevitably leaves everyone covered in tangled lengths of sticky vegetative finery. Days later they are still pulling the golden strands out of their hair and clothing.

The waitresses are cheerful. It’s long past the dinner hour and their work is done for the most part. They know that all they have to do now is hand out the paper plates and butter. The collected farmers tuck in to their bounty, sharing with anyone who happens to be around this evening and with the staff, of course. The corn is sweet and tender, the best yet this season. The youngest of the group sets the record for the night: ten cobs down in easy succession, it is that good.

As the waitresses clear away the plates, the men begin to sing. A quartet starts off with a big band tune; more join in as they get going on the classics. They know their stuff, these men do; the transitions are smooth, the dynamics effortless and effective. Soon the whole group is singing, obscure songs with intricate primal harmonies that raise the hair on my arms, even though I’ve witnessed this gathering last year and the year before. 

I watch the smattering of patrons at the bar who have stopped by for a brew or a quick, late night snack. Surely the last thing they expected when they came in was to be seduced by song, engulfed in a shimmering haze of vocal virtuosity. Their food and drink are quickly forgotten and they smile, incredulous, charmed, utterly enthralled. 

The enchantment continues as the singers edge their way towards midnight. No one has moved, tomorrow morning will come quicker than usual for those unpracticed in nocturnal wanderings. There will be no regrets though; this music will shape their dreams for days to come. As the last note drifts down into a thick silence, I finally remember to breathe.

And I imagine that somewhere there is a harvest god who is very, very pleased.





Friday, September 16, 2011

Love Happens




                         With eyes closed tight
                                He conjures her up and
                                From out of a dreamscape
                                She emerges, bliss-struck.

                         She weaves her own spell,
                                All gossamer and silk,
                                Believes his is the face she
                                Can look upon forever.

                          Both are so very pleased;
                                 As if they willed into being
                                 This wild magic. As if Nature played
                                 No part in their pairing. As if

                           They were the only ones
                                 To lay claim to this garden,
                                 To steal kisses in shadows
                                 To try and woo fate into

                                   Making love happen...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cupid's Poppet


I always seem to fall for his type; the kind that makes your blood sing with a simple grin, the kind who always seem so sure and knowing, the kind whose terms of endearments almost never include actual names.

I really try not to be so easily enchanted. I understand this pattern has to end, but sometimes I think my heart and body conspire against me. My mind says no, but when he stretches out his hand, I take it.

I follow him into the fields, into the mists where all color is muted, where the scents are wild and earthy. As I lie with him, I imagine his wings, the downy kiss of soft feathers folding gently around me. For a handful of blissful moments, I feel like I am loved. “Oh babe,” he sighs.

He falls asleep with a smile on his face. Soon he’ll wake, pick up his bow, continue his pranks. He’ll find others who will worship him or curse him, but now I am the one with wings. I fly further than his trickster arrows can follow, beyond words, beyond sound, far away from the laughing eyes of cupid’s poppet.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Into the Green


Light at summer's end
Rife with imperfect beauty
Goes into the green.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Night Depository



Asha creeps down alleys and lanes, eyes downcast and pockets empty. The only thing she carries is a folded slip of paper tucked into her palm. Her fingers are ink-stained; she believes the magic will only work when the letters are penned in the deepest purple she can find and the paper has been hand-made from her own secret combination of pulp and ephemera.

Her pockets are empty because she knows the night streets are dangerous. If confronted, she will have nothing of worth to give, and Asha recognizes that this, in itself, is almost as dangerous as traveling around with a fat wallet and a neck hung with bling. What she doesn’t know is that she shines anyway, with an elusive glow obvious only to those familiar with the characteristics of hope.

Sometimes the letters that Asha delivers are relevant to her own needs and desires, but they are just as likely to contain the wishes of others, garnered from long telephone conversations with friends, bits she’s observed on the internet, or snippets overheard on street corners. Her writing is almost illegible, a tightly cramped scrawl filled with loops and curves that bend into shapes resembling ancient symbols whose meaning has long been lost, faded into obscure history texts or books on alchemy.

She approaches the cross streets and pauses. There is rarely anyone else in the area at this time of the evening but she wants to be sure. She quickly scurries forward, pulls down the lever on the night depository and stashes her letter inside. She checks to make sure it is secure in the metal box, but she doesn’t linger.

On her walk home, Asha imagines what the morning tellers make of the pages she leaves there. Do they laugh, she wonders, or do they covertly add their own wishes to the list?  She hopes that what she’s doing isn’t some sort of federal offense. Upon her return, Asha’s boyfriend gives her an indulgent smile and goes to put the kettle on. He is used to her nocturnal outings and knows he cannot stop them.

Back at the bank, another figure emerges from the shadows. The woman is slim, dressed in tight jeans and a black tank top. Her cheeks are round, but she wears a much different face than the one usually portrayed by painters or prophets. Anyone mistaking her for human would know otherwise if they were there to see her reach into the depository and retrieve the slip of paper from the impossibly small chute.

The Moon Goddess cups the letter in her hands and murmurs a brief chant. When she opens her palms, the page has crumbled into thousands of tiny pieces. A light breeze emanates from her fingertips and, for miles around, people smile in their sleep, dream-fed. The Moon Goddess lifts her hands towards the sky and watches as the shredded bits drift silently upward. “There you are, my children.”

The stars hungrily devour their meal and the night echoes with their thanks.






Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beauty's Garden

* Changing things up a bit this time around... Instead of using one of my own photos for this post, I am fiction-riffing in response to a painting called "The Turret Stairs" by Frederic Burton, as a part of a book giveaway challenge over at "The Merry Sisters of Fate." * 




~ Beauty’s Garden ~

Is it the scent of lavender
That enchants you so, dear prince?
Eyes bright after your briar bashing
Success in the labyrinth of thorns and now,
Yes now you've finally met
The girl with poisoned-apple colored lips.

Does the rosemary help you remember?
Strains of first true love,
Long forgotten songs,
The sea and stars vying for your attention
In a night of wonder when you first
Put your foot upon this road…

Or is it the thyme, sweet thyme,
That hints upon the magic
In this place full of possibilities where
Blissful flora and a beautiful face
Seduce your senses, fuels
The shape of your desire...

The roses charmed you, no doubt,
Soft as sleeping skin, daisy chains and
Pale breast blushing invitations
Of young love pure and
Intoxicating eternal bliss that’s
Yours for the taking. So.

You stand surrounded by Eden’s splendor
Finer than your wildest dreams,
The crushed scent of fragile orchids and
The pleasure jasmine’s promised plunder;
Both girl and garden. Enough
Beauty to fill a thousand lifetimes. But oh,

Dear Prince, beware the foxglove.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

At the Center of the Garden



There is a ghost who lives at the center of the garden. In the heat-haze shimmer of a summer afternoon, I can almost see the face of the man he once was, busy with spade and shovel, planting bloom and blossom, carefully carving out the flagstone path that leads to the whimsical shelter quietly nestled in the depths of green. It isn’t hard to imagine its former glory and, dozing with eyes half shut, I listen…

It is here that the wind whispers his tale to me, that stories spill out on rays of sun and spin lazily on dust motes to bee-drone melodies. Sometimes the long grasses rustle their own version, or the cicadas add an aside. This is what I am told…

It is here that he seduced his love with flowers, pressed roses into her gentle hands, wreathed her hair in violets, covered her face with jasmine-scented kisses so fiery that even the lilies blushed. He crushed herbs between his fingers and caressed her cheek with promises of remembrance. This is what he remembered…

Late-night lovemaking. Picnics with his children. His daughter’s graduation and his son’s wedding. Dancing in the moonlight on his fiftieth anniversary, wondering at the quickness of time. Twilight smiles.  Cutting flowers for his wife’s grave. Long stretches spent silently dreaming of the day he would see her again. His eyes closing and then…

It is here, at the center of the garden, tucked among the overgrowth, surrounded by scattered memories and conversing with ghosts, that I am reminded of the fact that nature always takes back her own. It is here, where the scent of passion lingers and the pollen is thick with secrets, that I also realize something else. This is what I know: even in death, love prevails. 



Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Mermaid's Gift


Memories of waves and seaside bliss
Spiral in the mermaid’s gift.


*** *** ***

There's a heat wave going on here, and it makes me nostalgic for summer outings to the beach.

(I'm the one with the bucket)

These days, though, I prefer to visit the beach off-season, when I can poke around in tidepools and search for sea-brought treasures without all the hoopla of the "Jersey Shore." But even now, many years after that photo was taken, I am still enchanted by the notion of merfolk.

Perhaps part of the Mermaid's Gift is a lingering sense of wonder, the belief in something *other* that swims in a sea of possibilities, the knowledge that folk and fairy tales are more than just words on a page meant for children only.

Fairy tales follow us into adulthood, shape-shifting as our paths broaden, marking the sea-changes of our lives. Recently one of my short stories that explores what happens beyond the "happily ever after" has gone up online. I wrote it with a specific piece of Parrish Relics jewelry in mind, and you can see both the gorgeous necklace and the tale by clicking *here.*

Friday, July 15, 2011

Frog Prince?



The story starts with a golden ball gone rogue and a bargain ~ not exactly a great premise for a romance. “Kiss me,” the frog pleads. The princess tries to be polite, but disgust wins out over obligation. One minute he’s sitting in her hand and in the next, SMASH! He hits the wall, bounces twice and, instead of squashed amphibian parts, out pops a prince. Go figure.

Somewhere in that tale, there’s a lesson for little girls, everywhere. Right?

For the record, this scenario has never happened with any of my boyfriends. But then, I’ve never dashed any of them against the wall. Perhaps I should try it sometime? I don’t imagine the ensuing inquiries will be assuaged by my excuse of “But I thought you were bespelled!”

So much for that idea.

To be safe, I just stick to the kissing part. I paint my lips ruby-red, secure in the knowledge that sometimes magic happens. When he leans in close, I tremble in breathless anticipation, poised on the hopeful edge of imminent transformation, and then I cherish those sweet liminal moments when infinite possibilities and fairy tale endings sweep between our pressed-together mouths.

What happens after that is anyone’s guess…

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dream



Behold
The power of a dreamer;
Poet, shaman, child,
Painter, lover, you ~
Creator of another world.

Follow
Colored threads, winding.
 Know the mystic scent of hope.
Feel the sense of wonder
Spiraling, and then

Wake
To a vision-kissed
Shape of a tomorrow,
Newly made. Not lost,
But found in a dream.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Summer Girl



The summer girl wears lilies in her hair and sunlight on her skin, always. She favors skimpy silk dresses and is partial to boys with curls. She kisses a number of them, lips reckless in the moonlight, until she finds her favorite, the one without tan lines. 

He is so smitten that he forgets his own name until she gives it back to him, murmured over and over into his hot skin while the rest of the world slumbers. In the morning his eyes shine and his limbs glow. All of his friends are jealous.

The couple spends long afternoons lounging on the beach or splashing in the sea and at night they chase fireflies. They have not spent more than a few moments apart since they met; their entire world is comprised of one shared delight after another, each pursued with a leisurely disdain for time. And then the nights turn crisp.

He is surprised to discover that she owns neither jacket nor socks. He slips his sweater over her head, but it is not enough to stop her shivering. The next day he wakes to a cold pillow and a puddle of silk on the floor. He cradles the dress in his arms and weeps her name into it, but the summer girl is gone.

For months he pines for her touch, dreams her shape back into the bed beside him. He sees her face in every passing cloud and shouts his love for her into the sky until he is hoarse with longing. Eventually her memory fades to a whisper only, but for the rest of his life, the scent of lilies instills heartache.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Angels in the Necropolis

Layered photos taken at Laurel Hill Cemetery


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This post is dedicated in loving memory to my hero, inspiration and soul friend ~ my Dad. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Here be Dragonflies



Once
There was a time
When the world was filled
With dragonflies, only.
The sun’s rays shimmered
In delight at their song
While the wind sang harmonies
And it was oh, so pretty.

It was almost perfect, in fact,

Until they finally realized
There was no one on earth
To dance along with,
To record their flight,
To share in their beauty.
There was no one
Who would ever
Dream  
Of wings.

Monday, May 30, 2011

On Thyme


Thyme in the garden
Transports a mere, mortal girl
Into fairyland.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Into the Woods



Mother always told me to stay out of the forest.  I tried to heed her words, of course, but the longing to explore was stronger. Only a few steps in, I’d tell myself, but that was just enough to be seduced by woodsy scents, by sun and shadow, by moss and stone. With each broken promise, I’d find myself further down the path.

I’d bring home secret gifts; stray bird’s feathers, bluebells by the bunch or a scattering of acorns. Each one was a silent plea: Mother, share in my found beauty. Mom only grew more distant. We were two ghosts living in a silent house. I don’t know which of us felt more betrayed.

One afternoon, I stumbled upon a cottage deep in the woods. It was surrounded by wildflowers and row upon row of vegetables and fruit trees. I raised a perfect peach to my lips and as its juice dripped down my chin, I heard a song drift through the window. Each charming note rang with the sound of my name. It was hard to leave, but I plucked three red apples and brought them back with me.

When I went to my room, I discovered a brilliantly colored leaf tucked between my pillows. It trembled in the light, all glow and shimmer, and I saw that the veins spelled out a single word: COME. I didn’t even bother to pack; I left the apples on the kitchen table, put one foot in front of the other and fled into the forest.  I hope you enjoy the fruit, Mother.

I ran through the woods in the fading light. By the time I got to the cottage, my hair was filled with brambles and burrs clung to my limbs, but I saw that the door stood open and just inside there was a table set for two. A woman was bent over the oven, obscured by a cloud of steam rising from a fresh-baked pie. “Sit,” she said, and I did.

She set the pie between us and I stared into her face. How could I fail to notice that the green of her eyes so closely matched my own? She had soil under her fingernails and bits of bark clung to her apron. She took a single key out from her pocket and placed it in my hand. “I’m glad you finally found your way here,” my mother said with a radiant smile, “Welcome home.”




Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Moment of Zen


Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Be still.
Become
A wish
Suspended
In the moment.