The Blush of Being Still

My life has been sectioned off pretty securely. There was being a child, a ‘tween, a teen, etc. But when I thought the chrysalis sucked close to dry, I experienced a rebirth. Every time. The assuredness of God chucking me under the chin.

I focused in on a quote today. It’s been on my desk panel for months, now. I decided to read it at least once each day going forward. I believe it’s from the movie “Pacific Rim” which I’ve not seen.

Today, at the edge of our hope, of life at the end of our time, we have chosen not only to believe in ourselves, but in each other.

Today there’s not a man or a woman in here that shall stand alone. Not today.

Today we face the monsters that are at our door, and bring the fight to them.

Today we are cancelling the Apocalypse!

Somewhere, in the mind-altering moments, tiny switches are flipping. Or something like that is happening. Words that brought up powerful reactions are neutralizing. When I remember the story to tell about that word & that feeling, it is no longer of any stir in my life.

I can feel them switching in others too, as we share thoughts & ideas, discoveries & dreams. To even be speaking of dreams, the wishes culled from THIS rebirth…polar separations dissolve, my “personal poles” come together, in the form of a plug going into a wall. And I’m not afraid of the electricity bill anymore.

Everyone I speak to is more “themself”, more genuine, more interactive with me than before when I’d see them for a “Hi!” Now each encounter means a deepening of soul in order to respond to where that person is…especially if I feel like I’m watching a first grader. Until the next Teacher finds me so as well. Beginner’s Mind allows my interactions with the world to flourish.

So, there’s no smart ending to this one. It’s been in ‘drafts’ for days while I figured the rest would come through. But I think it really ends here.

Loveya,

Carol

“Officer Carol” comes out: Tut! You ‘re just getting that?”

Journeying to One

We wore fringe like the Buddhists wear bracelets: we became aware, the world danced around us, the lightest breeze lifting our spirits & our connections. Downward to earth, upward to sky, midline for the horizon. We honored the Directions, we knew when to burn sage, and how much. We sometimes walked through great clouds of it when in Ceremony.

I know all these holy words, trigger words, careful-of-spirit words… like rubbing up against Spirit can be done wrongly. I knew the words for the Iglesia too, didn’t I? I have worshipped in so many places. I have heard the camels crying in the back of the Cantors’ voices.

I have no real idea how I got through to this life; I have been scrambling to find a place for years. And places were found: little nests to nestle in. And then, that hop to the rim, the peeling away from what is behind to the incandescent world ahead. One final look good-bye & I spread my wings for flight.

I am voracious of appetite, appealing of sight, aware out to the ends of the fringe, the sensing antennae probing its own night, calling in the breeze to dance. I am not perhaps the woman I was meant to be (whatever that means) or the woman I wanted to be. But, hey, this one’s interesting. I’ll hang here awhile, put my Spirit-Arms around this one & walk here alongside.

If each generation of Guardian Angel is a future self, I’m all in. You’s are my antennae out into the Cosmos of Order. You each have touched a place I still move toward. I’m getting there, but far too many distractions need to be explored to complete the arrival.

What Gifts I am given!

For most times, this feeling has brought about geographic change: but there is no place other than this one to be in for Now. so I’ve set out journeying compass inward, to other levels. I feel the tiny arrow dancing delicately over my organs. With each tic, I am touching other faces of the person whom I purport to be today, knowing these are filaments, not tethers.

Of course I meet myself coming & going! No wonder I get the tracks mixed up & find myself in the spot I started out from, just in another place. There was only one of me here all this time?

Yes this takes hold once more. How many times have I read about One?

Times like these, I feel I am raking around the edges of the path going awa’. I greet the travelers & offer water to the weary. I am wearing soft shoes. I am not the spiritual countermeasure to my own development any more. I am connecting to the upper just a bit more than ever before.

This move is dimensional. I am systematically unlocking all of the gates. Usually there is ritual with this, & groups entering their energetic support in ceremony. But it’s not me & a memory at play here. If I ask them, they will attend in their hearts, which is our meeting place of ever. In these moments, abbreviated & elongated simultaneously, I must prepare.

Some friends don’t get onto the inner spiral. Some friends loop out & away from where I am called to be. I hear myself, at times, & I can be giggly-appalled at how I’m dealing with situations. But overall, I’m playing another level of sound, light, frequency, vibration of perception. I like what’s over my inner horizon more than the light limning the sunset desert, tho this captures me well.

All of it so beautiful!

I have made a big deal of Spirit – I’ve cloaked it in beads of lucent knowings, I’ve crowned it with my dreams, I’ve set its feet to dancing my music. I thought I was honoring Spirit in these tiny ways…and rightly so. But now I understand that Spirit has been my shadow always with me, always pushing with the same strength I ever pushed. We’ve been In It since the beginning. We will see it through to the end.

We have permission to live forever.

Microcosmic Magic

I am losing height. I refuse to say “shrinking.” I say, instead that I am “condensing.”

The saying about the teacher appearing when the student is ready & v/v takes on a new depth of character when I impose upon it my idea that an avatar is a teacher. Avatars are icons, a ton of activation lies under one button, one that responds to heat.

A legend exists powerfully around Eagle & Condor. There is much information available & it is an Old Tale carried forward in all cultures on some level or another. Could this be an equivalent logic for the “lion laid down with a lamb” that we see so familiarly?

A teacher is now represented by an icon or a logo, activated by touch. When the teachers determine it is time for learning what can only be pursued under the guise of teaching, they start pushing buttons. My lessons need to continue; now they come by offering to teach. This is the time to build on new glory: not rely on old laurels.

Teachers all. Students all. Who am I to ask for the youniverse to line up just with li’l ole me? Who am I not to do so when I’m assured it IS all about me? Your God & yourself should be at least synonymous, if not twin-headed. Avoid symbiotes here, at all costs. The only worth-ship is Equality. It is said worthship=worthship.

Last Monday, a friend & I drove to Socorro, taking the old road. We stopped at the Bosque del Apache where I beelined to the gift shop & bought bookmarks of beautiful shots taken in the Bird Sanctuary by a worker. Saturday I found a Mexican bobbler, which I believe, a representation of a condor. And something eerie about that white-painted head. Vultures are the clean-up crew. You may not want to know where its head has been.

The energetic environment shifts around me as I do minimal rearrangements of what is already here – acquisition of a black n white lamp triggers a scene including my Unity White Stone Ceremonies. I suddenly “see” the shift & make it so. That this is in preparation for my own shifts, I know.

(A short aside: I picked up a cloth elephant at a yard sale, putting it in my living room. Two days later I realized I had put an elephant in the room…and the day after that, I realized no one had said anything about it. That point made, I gave it to Rain’s granddaughter at the Farmer’s Market yesterday. Now there’s eagle & condor? A language of avatars is coming to age here.

First Rung

The thoughts sometimes gang up on each other, yeh? I catch myself in the  midst of one even as another is waiting offstage, tapping a toe. So many analogies can be drawn: the next wave in the ocean when I’m still tumbling from the last one.

I live near the Rio Grande, a handy river from wherever you look. Come, drift with me awhile. Hook your arm through mine or maybe catch onto the rope of my innertube… where you going in such a hurry anyway?

I had two monkeys worth of weeks lately – let your imagination punctuate that. A double trip to Hillsboro, my former neighborhood, close-knit & off-road. Dipping in & out of that energy was enervating to Spirit. Each foot of height in the road lifts all of me together.

An Aside: My client is an 89-year-old woman celebrating 90 this weekend. The family gave her the “easy job” of selecting the photos for the family collage. But, 89 is 89 & more inclined to sitting with a good radio program…than to sort through thousands of photos. Now I ask you, ‘was that fair’?

You know, there is a story around everyone, like the tail of a comet passing by. As I learn these, I can tell them well. I’ve written years ago about writing Truth. I have a habit of telling people, go look at my blog, & then if anything happens with them I want to document, guess whut [sic].

Well, those eddies spun me away from the stream! Are we still threaded together? There is, of course, always more.

The longer story I love to jaw with friends disappears at times. I am acquiring a reputation as being curt, abrupt with some; especially in a business transaction. But business has blurred in practice, hasn’t it? When not otherwise actively engaged, I turn into “Officer Carol”, my Libran balance kicked in the shins by the singular impoliteness of a worker on her phone in lieu of hired duty.

These situations rush by me now differently because they no longer rush. Circumstances & situations have slowed down to a manageable pace. I am practicing hard to embody mindfulness – also far past due. It’s arrived with an entourage as well as a flourish.

So, I’ve designed a line of postcards. Plain white, 4 x 6, unusual fonts, thoughts from mine own mind in writing for all to see. I am calling these “Subtitles” since they are the part of the interaction which runs a stealth program under that mindfulness. Diversions. “Somethings Shiny” to use the proper pluralization.

Déja vu … My life in two words.

Do Angels have Tattoos?.

My roommate said red rocks are just sunburned.

I need to invite in the audience for this line of cards; most traffic here is after the memory evoked in a photo & we have umpteen terrific photogs in town. My cards are spare, kinda Art Deco pieces, each one a standalone for sending a friend, making a bookmark, propping on the bedlamp… How much will you pay for a relevant thought?

Meanwhile, I’ll start sending them to my friends all over. How many pictures of them will be taken before they arrive – & after? I can only think in these terms since I believe this line to be captivating & mostly funny.

Well.

Hey, thanks – this is my fork right here … see ya next time. Downriver, right?

Wolves

Going up the stairs is so different from coming down.

The wolves at the door watched, silent, as I left

Growling as I returned

My stare equal to the threat.

There is a way around this

Yet to be found.

So I enter the waking day through the Door of Dreams

Destinations unknown, glowing in the distance.

œ

If all dreams come to Truth, and all wishes are granted

You will come to love me again, or never quit…

The day for that may choose a future I do not.

I travel towards Heaven by nightlights, kind deeds, by song lyrics.

I smell roses – their scent lighter than air.

I flick through sturdy white promises

Made on different days.

I drive a chariot with blind horses

Whose eyes glow green at night.

I give no order to gallop:

The whip is still, more antenna than goad

A bit of me is still impetuous & unguarded

Shall I free the harness, or leap?

œ

I want you to burst within me like fireworks:

I contain your color, your fantastic shapes, your dragons with emerald eyes.

I want you weak as putty in my arms with barely the strength left to hold me there.

I am the womb that can contain you –

The Stargate you wish to transform into; fluid with mystery.

There are no flaws inside of me where only essence reigns

Where mirrors matter less than a sigh.

œ

Somewhere is a life I lived loving someone

Without giving myself airs; I held a hand; we walked together.

I slow-danced with one man in a tidy room

I offered my face for kisses

As he held me tighter to comply.

Somewhere we ran together into cold ocean

From hot beaches

Laughing at being touched by water

In places we touched by hand

Or planned to.

That somewhere is not my place

That time is not my now.

My choices bring me to Silence

In peace & a kind of purity

I rest my one wild life.

œ

Mindfulness

                                                                                                                            (To GE*)

I named this journal, Whimsey. (http://www.teues.com)

This essay is about discovering mindfulness.  Oh, not in the Tibetan way.

I am reading a book called “Belladonna” by Anne Bishop.  It is the second in a trilogy – but I have missed the first one, as usual.  Second books of series build the plot, layer the pot: the villain darkens, the heroes & heroines journey to find their best weapons & refine them.  In the book, what the characters think manifests in the landscape.  For example, anger will come up somewhere as rocks & stones.  Next comes clearing the garden of rocks & stones.

I am following the word “mindfulness” around in my head.  Like connective tissue, it wraps every thought & idea.  How can I just be coming to Realization with this? The word has visited before, like a butterfly, noticeable, distinct, unique.  But it seems it has never lighted for long: a quick appearance, a fanning of wings (tasting my energy) & off to the next.

Today it is hanging on a bit, winking in & out at me.  This is not a ‘gratis’, or pro bono appearance.  I must pay for it with my attention.

I was able to bring my focus back to what I was doing in the when of doing it.  Wow! This is a huge shift for me.  Putting one foot in front of another while consciously feeling what each movement accomplished in my body as it was being made. 

I wonder, is the sea conscious of every wave?  Of course.   This is the Sea of Consciousness.   I notice an old joke: The old man fish swims by two younger ones & says, “Enjoy the water!”  The youngers pause for a moment to ask each other, “What’s water?”

I notice my attention favors the future.  What has been happening in my wake? Have I been knocking folk about like tenpins as I pass – the rush to achieve my future overwhelming my present?  Have I been bathing others in a warmer flow where they may take a deeper breath? Is my landscape sandy beach with prickly sawgrass, or towering misted mountains with meadows afoot?

As to manifestation…a short tale: there is an aggressive boxer on the next block up.  This morning, his maybe eleven-year-old master held his collar as I passed.  I thanked him, telling him the dog had threatened me in the past to the point where I turned around to take the next block over.  He apologized. 

I neglected to tell him this dog also jumps the back fence to threaten my way down the alley.

As I walked the alley home, I mused on whether Boxer would be “out back” & he was.  [Location of Thoughts?]  He leaped the fence growling & in stiff-legged advance.  I used my MOAV** on him, faced him, walked at him on loose legs with a stiff back, shoulders up, handweights bristling.  Boxer backed off, but too reluctantly, this time, more ready to engage than when I threatened him off before. 

I will not walk in the alley on that block anymore.  Why resist?

I was lit up with anger, ready to wrangle, on DEEEfense.  “Dog, just walk this way & see where these handweights line up on your short-ear, square head.”

I understood what I was bringing to myself as I formed the thoughts. Is the dog to blame?

 I was able to let it go by the end of the block, a scant 40’.  I feel tingling again as I write of this, yet I know it is of no profit in this when.  I cannot live today doused in a simmering growl.  I choose to let it go & re-breathe my day.

I think this might be Mindfulness on approach.  Gaining? Landing?  Thank you, Butterfly.   Please, would you stay for just another moment?  I remember now: it’s the only one I have. 

  • to Gina Emerging **Mother Of All Voices

Moonrise: 2:30 a.m.

WalMart Entertainment Section for Seniors

I woke at 1:30 a.m. I often wake during the middle of the night if I’ve not had enough physical activity during the day, but more if I have something pending, when Mind wants to work out that event, that idea, that problem. I try not to wake up to worry, tho that happens occasionally.

In this instance, I woke because I am giving a talk soon on public speaking. It was Time to design the workshop, scribe my thoughts on how to handle this exchange with others. I anticipate my audience will be friends, acquaintances & strangers – some will know my style of storytelling; others will be unfamiliar to my ways.

I first learned I love to speak in front of others in the fire circle at Girl Scout Camp. My co-leader & I brought the troop to summer camp – the culminating reason of our cookie-selling success. The highlight of a weekend campout was always the Fire Ring, during which we sang songs, acted out skits, practiced fire safety & prepared s’mores. The minute the Song Leader opened the circle & the silly songs began, I was entranced. I remember turning to my co-leader & breathing, “I want to be that person!” So I set about learning every ditty I could, all their complicated motions & how to laugh at myself & with others. It was wonderful for me!

And now I continue to teach the topic of speaking in front of groups, leaving behind most of the silliness, but none of the humor.

After designing the workshop’s talking points, which will become the handout for the class, I walked outside to enjoy the total stillness.

The sun rises over our beloved Caballo Mountains with a slow flourish, illuminating every growing plant, every sentient rock, awakening the songs of birds as it spreads life & warmth to the desert. Although I’d never really thought about the moon in this way, of course it rises in the same way & amazingly, in the same place where the sun will later replace it.

I leaned my back on my car to watch…my first thought, “Oh, this’ll take too long to stand out here for this.” But I’d no sooner finished thinking this than the horn of the half-moon glowed above the familiar mountain crest. The rest followed within a minute – what I thought would take too long was accomplished in three long breaths. I felt dizzy; the earth was turning I knew, but this fast? I felt it a good thing I had the car to support me. I felt the night air, cool but welcoming, through thin silk pajamas. I know sunlight on my skin (I still love to be recipient to its rays, to tan with oils as I sit, eyes closed, feeling Vitamin D coursing into me. I am a sun-worshipper to no small degree, almost welcoming the wrinkles & the dryness accompanying this habit.)

The moon knew its path, had obviously climbed this particular mountain many times before. I could feel the sleepy wakefulness shared among all the life out there as it made a way to that starring position overhead. Even knowing all I know about the moon from more esoteric fascinations, there is nothing like being “out in it” to appreciate how an entire planet can so lightly make itself known so swiftly, silently, thoroughly.

The workshop will be a success. I’ve no worries on that score. Later in the morning I will prepare a handout from my notes poured out, accompanied by honeyed coffee. I wrote these notes quickly & carefully – I’m famous for profound & totally unreadable midnight thoughts – so I erred on the side of penmanship.

When I give my talk, the moon will rise again, outside & behind my eyes. I will watch faces light in understanding, smile back at the learning, enjoy the idea that one day they will be in front of a group delivering their knowledge to waiting ears.

So do the macro & microcosms entwine & blend. So does a little dream of one day holding many minds in mine develop & manifest. I no longer fear holding the attention of many who may be looking for flaws in me – I surely have plenty to share among them. But tho grounded from silliness to strategic information, that thread of humor runs through it all, lightening  & lighting both.

I am calling the talk “Making Yourself Comfortable.” The thoughts will continue to arise; may they be as smooth & homey & as mystical as the moon finding a place to shine the sky.

And, if the audience wants a follow-up to this introduction, I still know all the moves to “The Donut Song”

Well, I walked around the corner & I walked around the block, And I walked right into a donut shop, And I picked up a donut fresh from the grease, And I handed the lady a five-cent piece.Well, she looked at the nickel & she looked at me, And she said “This isn’t gonna work, you see, There’s a hole in the nickel & it goes right through. So I said, “there’s a hole in the donut, too!” Thanks for the donut, so long! (Sing to tune of “Turkey In the Straw)

Happy Easter, World

To my sister, Teri. I love you, dear.

Come, sit awhile in my stony yard, remember with me. Here, in New Mexico, where grass is a rare commodity, one dares not venture outdoors barefoot. But I don’t worry about my feet when my face craves the sunshine. I look up & close my eyes to its caress. I feel my mouth curving into a smile, even as my heart expands under its rays.

I have read in some blogs that the sun is actually an entity named “Ed.” Well, Ed & I have had a lifelong affair. I treasure sunshine like I treasure love. I crave it in the same way, with a similar longing & a powerful responsive opening of every cell to take it in. The sunshine here is like oranges, clearing the palate, a breath of gold, a blessing of warmth in which to sit &, in simplicity, To Be.

When I was little, when church was the biggest commitment of this day, I woke to an Easter basket of plastic-color straw & chocolate. Ah! Chocolate for breakfast! In a household where treats were always fruit, chocolate for breakfast was an unheard-of peak experience.

We dressed in our best for Easter… white gloves, hats, black patent leather shoes. We were given a dollar for the collection plate (the usual Sunday contribution being 50 cents, at least 25 of which went for a sugar cookie at the bakery en route.) I was in choir, we sang in clear-child voices, singing the glory of God, powered by Hershey’s Kisses.

(I lived in Hershey, PA at one time, The 6 a.m. exercise class smelled of hot chocolate, the afternoons of Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars, the nights of syrup. But that was later, far beyond childhood by the sea.)

I still believe in resurrection after years of insurrection, misdirection & sporadic, sometimes unsteady, affection…

I still believe!

We walked to church, unless it was one of those lingering winters when there was still bits of snow on the ground, I recall my first pair of heels – little bump-buds far unlike the shoes I’d wear later in life. And if the shoes were new & there was snow, I had to fight to wear them (Mom throwing up her arms over her head, (Pazienza!), but New Shoes! even with bobby-sox holding them on – looking a bit patched together, all dressed-up for the Lord. I was shivering, but set for Spring underneath the heavy coat, the ear-flapped hat. The church would be warm in the rafters of the choir box – we were songbirds coaxing in a season of change.

Years moved along, crisp & uncompromising. When I was a child, my Mom prepared huge dinners that started with salad (ensalada), that coursed through soup, buttered Italian bread, pasta & turkey. Sometimes ham appeared on the table, of which I was less fond than a turkey drumstick. Sometimes relatives drove the long distance from up near Philadelphia to the seashore. Relatives were a kind of blessing – they meant crisp dollar bills to buy ice cream with or hoard in tiniest slot of the rolltop desk. They also meant pinched cheeks (Que Bella!) hugs from folks with hearty garlicked breath or smelling of cigarettes, in scratchy woolens & practical footwear. They meant much chattering in Italian, waving of arms & hands in conversation which could take out water glasses on the table or Easter decorations walking to it. They were filled with chesty laughter, family reunion, exclamations, questions, (How old are you now? What grade are you in? Look at how much you’ve grown – this a nuanced, side-eyed comment since I never made it into quite fitting the clothes I was wearing, always pushing my glasses back on my nose with a finger I’ve learned not to use in traffic.)

My Mom had us living at the seashore – a commonplace to us – but a rare & wonderful ride for the others. Ah! Salt Air! Names morphed into exotic pronunciations (Carol drew into Carrrro-lena) as the jokes & comments around the table flowed from language to language.

The adults would make knowing remarks, heads nodding, all gossip & glamor. At some point the oft-repeated “Go out & play!” would herald the talk’s real beginning into the state of the world, the old neighbors, who had died & who still lived – names I heard only on holidays, only in the context of the visits; people I would never meet or know. I would hear the conversations on my way out the door, the voices lowering only to rise again in loud laughter. A jug of wine would be on the table when I got back from my bike ride or climbing the tree in Mrs. Cannon’s yard, or the hideout behind the yew bush clutching a handful of candy to be devoured in sticky bliss.

However, I have never, ever, liked jellybeans, so all mine were roughly pawed out of my basket by my brother, as I watched ferociously to assure he took none of the hollow-core bunnies. And those marshmallow chicks were challenging to nibble all the sugar off of without devouring any of their white fluff.

My hair, done in sausage curls for face-time with God, would straggle & eventually be pulled (with much force) into braids that made my eyes Chinese. Still, I would come home sandy, or with twigs & greenery tangled into it, the rubber bands of control loosening or lost…for all of my good-girl ways, I was a fierce, feral child who favored trotting over walking, who wore a clothesline belt tied tightly around my narrow waist.

I would never change my childhood, although it was fraught with fear & what is now called stress (Catholic School & nuns), My part-time mother – the ocean – never changed, never gave up on me, smiling her waves every time she touched my toes. My bike never wobbled once I was up to speed, pedaling madly. I sailed the bumps of the boardwalk like a mobile Queen, thin legs churning, braids streaming behind. I explored for shells, I stole candybars from the corner store, I saved pennies, cherished new sneakers. devoured books about horses (The Black Stallion!), wrote poems & stories generously plagiarized from these.

I grew up in the sun: I so love it still. I climbed dunes, scratched from sawgrass, sported mosquito bites all over, danced on beaches, suffered unholy disciplines from “holy” women…

I am the me I am because of it all. I did pretty okay, yeh?

So I thank the universe for Ed, for sand, for the kind of bubbling energy stoked by a sugared childhood. I thank my Mother & my family, I thank my distant, divorced-with-a-new-family Dad, for pinching Aunts, for tobacco’d Uncles with Aqua-Velva cheeks, waving crisp dollars – “Here, honey, go buy some ice cream!” I thank my comfort of home-made pasta, for the sweat my mother wiped from her hot-kitchen brows with the dishtowel plugged into her apron.

I am alive: I am Spring: I am holy. I am still a Carol, singing the glory of God!

Only One Friend Away

My friend went into Silence at a retreat recently. I did, too, in a way. Somewhat in honor of her spiritual commitment; somewhat in just that she is someone with whom I correspond every day & for two days, there was no word. It was okay. I guess I am just being conscious now, perhaps because of the silence.

I have no close-up relations. I used the last of my minutes talking with my daughter of everyday lives, hers & mine. “How are you, Mom?” she asked. I’d just awakened from a nap, the prescience of a phone about to ring bringing me to wakefulness. “I’m a little depressed right now,” I replied. “What’s up?” “Oh, just an old sadness returning, an emptiness in an unexpected place; but I’ll get over it.” And we talked.

My lover said he would meet me in a week. A week doesn’t seem so long & faraway, does it? But as they say, time is relative, devious, grinding away at the clock in a relentless circle. I am still more than 24 hours from seeing him. There isn’t much of me left.

I have read six books, eaten many meals, fulfilled my volunteer obligations, answered emails, acted “normal,” hosted Open Mic with my stand-up comedy routine – jokes about churches this time. I did a little job in Hillsboro, picking up chinaberries from sidewalk cracks…seated on a yellow plastic bucket that sagged ever so gently, depositing me flat on my back & laughing.

I washed into & pulled myself out of a tidal cold, drinking more water than I ever have before. I wrote off a disappointing friend & wondered what to do with the card when it was returned to me as a wrong address. I wonder if that means we are still friends. She, too, let me down in a show of non-support, collapsing under my expectations, depositing me flat, but unsmiling.

I feel as though I am at the center of a map compass, all around me dials spin, decisions are made, lives are lived. I offer ideas to others seeking input & they sink below the radar quickly – all my questions unanswered, all my ways to set things straight set aside for no apparent reason. I am left once more with silence. Why did they ask me to help?

My body longs for a cigarette, it’s been weeks now since I last smoked & in my mind & heart I’ve quit… But I have said often that addiction is a comforting habit, familiar & ritualistic, a place where it isn’t just so alone anymore.

I buy hats made of feathers & wrap these around my plant holders. I walk the flea market, finding a perfectly-fitting blue ring with daisies in a wreath, a frowning half-moon pendant. Acquisitions like this are cheaper all around than smokes. But no one sees them & the gap they fill yawns once more after swallowing them whole.

I understand the deep feeling that causes one to walk off into the desert, to lie down until snakes slip close for body heat. I understand the wakeful wind pushing me into foolish choices, like a moonstruck cat. I sit, stolid, like a pole in a pier, holding up wood & fishermen while an ocean salts my feet.

Sometimes, there is only one thing to do: that is to endure.

I endure.

Black & White

I arrived at the Grill for lunch with a just-returned friend – two girls about to dish on food & lovers. I made a u-turn for a great parking place, trying to avoid the black dog & her white-spotted friend, obviously just escaped from their yard. The pair lolloped up the street, stopping to sniff the dirt-rain-laden air. I honked my little clown-horn to get their attention. I emerged from the car calling to Blackie, thinking to get a collar address. White ran on, into the town’s main drag, as Black paused & turned towards my call. Relieved, I reached out a hand & then heard the loud, solid crunch. White never got across Date Street.

My hand rose to my mouth, trying to hold back my screams, “No!” echoing across the pausing traffic. Cars scattered, pulled over. A girl ran up the near side – I thought her a jogger until I saw her little red car pulled over a block away. I staggered to the street, still bent over in horrified grief, still screaming, still holding the raw shock & horror back, as if one hand over my face could overcome the suddenness of a life ending. I stopped to hold onto a railing. People gathered, leaned over the dog, spoke together only a moment as the girl & a man picked up the sagging body & hurried to the red car. I walked into the street with hands up, holding the traffic for the moment they needed to cross, to carry White past me. I hollered “Did  you get an address from the collar?” A man yelled back “Yes.” Justin pulled up in the Animal Control van right in front of me, blocking my view. The black & white police car stopped across the street, conferred with Justin & left.

My friend emerged from the restaurant, “Carol! What happened?!” I stood a little straighter, turned to her, “A dog,” I said. She covered her face said, “No, I can’t,” as she walked to me, searching my eyes.

We touched arms & she (a dog owner herself) walked back into the restaurant head down. I thought, “Lunch? Now?” And yet…

We ordered wonton soup & salad, a rice n chicken bowl. We portioned out the food. We talked about her lover leaving & mine arriving, about the echoes & throughways of life & quick, merciful death. The death of her relationship, the life about to arrive with this spring rain.

I didn’t feel the angels so close until I sat to write this. But their wings hold me in hover. Whispers surround me. I am calm, eyes liquid. I was there to Witness only. I was there to scream so loudly that Black spun on her tail & winged home, ears flying. From the window, over our soup, I saw Justin turn up 8th, heading toward the house where death had flown over, following the dogs. Where two of my gentle friends had started walking immediately upon finding the address on the collar, to offer awful news & dear comfort in person.

There is a first nations tradition that holds when an animal is taken from life, his spirit continues on while the body remains. I understood that White was still headed for that inviting, open street across Date, that he had been caught up by angels running suddenly alongside, calling his name in joy & familiarity; that the rain for him had stopped & a bridge opened before him, so he ran faster, straight up & over into the loving Light awaiting.