Tag Archives: love
As she drew the curtains to let the sun in, her Big Ben door chimes rang out. The bay window afforded a view of her front door, but no one was there. The bell rang again, this time, with a strikingly sweet diinnnng! She entered the hall to find that her roof …was gone! The sky seemed to envelop her, sucking her in; no boundaries, no past, no future, no time – just – unfolding present. The deepest blue she had ever experienced evolved into a permeating nurturing pink – a conscious intelligence that knew every moment of her and it loved her without limit, without judgment, without expectation of any kind.
Behind her hundreds of “her” people had gathered, and their arms thrust her with such enormous speed – Whoooosh! Like child on a swing – it took her breath away, though she had no sense of breathing, only of the white light – closer and closer – it should have blinded her eyes with searing pain, but didn’t. She couldn’t look away. It, too, knew her with complete, perfect, and even amused love.
All too soon, from light years away, a pin prick voice called her name. Immediately she began to fall and the light, still brilliant, grew smaller and more distant, and she knew it was consciously letting her go.
“Don’t send me back! Please,” she cried. A sound – a loud, sharp CLAP dropped her and she was back, standing at her open front door where a ragged stranger was asking for a glass of water.
“Of course, come in,” she said and gently ushered him to a chair. At long last, she truly understood: the only reality and the only real choice is love.
As she waited to hear back from the hospital she found herself thinking about her brother’s bedroom – magical, mysterious, and strictly off limits unless she knocked and received permission to enter. A rare treat that he gave only when she promised not to ask too many questions….
“Brucie, what’s this?” she asked, fingering a fishhook from the tin box on her brother’s workbench.
“Put it down. If that gets stuck in your thumb, I’ll have to push it all the way through and you’ll cry like a girl.”
She examined the sharp point and barb, then dropped the hook and picked up another one. “What’s it for?”
“Fly fishing.” Her brother set a small hook in the workbench clamp. Taking two scarlet feather fronds from a cardboard container he placed them against the hook and spiraled golden silk thread round and round the ends, flush to the base of the curved steel, transforming the hook into an alluring winged insect.
“Wow, that’s pretty. What do you do with it?”
“You tie it on your rod like this…” Retrieving a spool from his tackle box, Bruce threaded nylon through the fishhook loop, then tied a knot and cut the line in one deft movement. He tossed the hook into the air and flicked the line back and forth. Light from his workbench lamp glinted against the shimmering gold and scarlet.
She forgot it was merely feather and steel and sat mesmerized by the dancing insect that responded to her brother’s hand.
“When this lure strikes the water,” he said, “the trout thinks Supper! He leaps to the surface, gulps the insect, and snap!” Bruce jerked his wrist. “That’s when the fish becomes my supper,” he said with a laugh.
~ * ~
It was the jangling telephone that dragged her back to the here and now. After the call she sat in stunned silence. “He’s gone,” was all her sister could say.
She imagined the neurosurgeon tying silk stitches, closing the hole where the tumor had been. The surgeon’s thread was shimmering gold.
At the corner of her vision, something flickered past the window drawing her attention outside. There an incredibly beautiful, scarlet dragonfly danced in the morning sun.
“Hi Bruce,” she whispered. “How did you do that?”
My daughter, Terry, teaches yoga on Wednesdays, so every other week I get my youngest grandson, Jesse, for the day. The other grandmother takes the opposite weeks. Terry refers to the plural version of us as “the Grandies.”
It was mostly drizzling yesterday, so after we walked Tess, my golden retriever, Jesse and I decided to go to the Williton library. When he first arrived at my house, he’d been fascinated with my wheeled computer case which was still in the living room from my previous day’s visit to the Somerset Cancer Care group where I gave a 1 ½ – hour talk about Bernie Siegel’s books and a 20-minute meditation that used his creative visualization methods for healing.
Jesse zipped and unzipped the various compartments, and I showed him how to extend the collapsible handle so he could wheel the case around the room. He put a big book in the case and transported it all over the house. Could we bring it to the library? Okay, I said, what a great idea! Jesse insisted on wheeling the case (nearly as big as he is) out to the car and lifting it into the back all by himself. He’s incredibly strong, adept, and patient for a nearly-three-year-old.
When we got to Williton all the car parks were full, so I parked way down a back lane, leaving Jesse and I a fair hike into the town. The minute Jesse got out of the car he unloaded the wheeled case, determined to do it himself. He then proceeded to pull it behind him all the way into town and over to the library at such a fast pace, I had to trot to keep up with him. Occasionally the case would catch on a building corner or pavement edge, halting him with a jerk. Not a problem for the imperturbable Jesse! He’d look back, adjust the case onto the narrow path, and take off once again at full speed. In the meantime, I was his wingman, making sure no vehicles or other pedestrians could be run over by my grandson. God help them, if they got in his way – He was on a mission!
When we reached our destination, the library had two automatic doors to navigate, these being part of a wheelchair friendly, s-bend entrance. It may have been friendly for wheelchairs, but it constituted quite a challenge for a toddler towing a 2-wheeled monster, nearly as big as him. I was directed by my grandson to stand aside, for he was capable of getting it through those doors, all by himself. Having been the youngest child in my family tree, I understood the importance of his request and said, “Okay, Jesse… go for it!” And go he did. The quiet library became a lot less quiet upon our entrance, but nobody seemed to mind when they saw the cause of the minor commotion. Smiles and charmed expressions of “awhhh” followed Jesse’s stage-left to stage-right entrance.
We parked the wheeled monster in a safe place then navigated over to the child’s reading corner. The library has a wonderful assortment of colorful, creative seating for kids – everything from a wooden steam engine filled with books and bench to pooh bear cushioned cubes. Jesse led me straight to the “oooh oooh train,” sat down on the bench, and pointed to the 8” space beside him. “Sit here, Grannie C.”
Now the last time I looked at the width of my derriere, I’m sure it was greater than the space Jesse’s chosen seat afforded. Being a very special grannie, however, I prepared to wiggle my butt down into that wedge of space, which seemed to shrink in size the closer I got to it, while my bottom appeared to grow proportionately bigger. As I squatted my knees creaked like a door in a haunted house.
“Let me know if I’m squashing you,” I said to Jesse, realizing that I’d reached the point of no return. If he squealed now, my only recourse was to fall forward onto the floor, flat on my face in a most inelegant, but perhaps entertaining way for grandsons. The things I do for love…
After we read about ten very entertaining books, Jesse popped out of the train seat and I did the grannie version of popping out – a much slower unfurling in an upward direction, using book shelves as props. Thank goodness they were bolted to the floor.
Jesse retrieved the parked black bag on wheels, which I now realized could be mistaken for a UED (unexploded device). Luckily no alerts had been declared, no armies called upon, no panics risen – this was just a quiet little village library where nasty things don’t happen, and all is well with our little world – thank goodness.
Jesse’s exit was smoother than his entrance, proving that practice does reap positive results. He high-tailed it back towards the town center, ‘Grannie C’ doing her best to keep up the pace and protect passersby, while alerting Jesse to the dangers in his environment. “Puddle ahead, Jesse! Go AROUND it, please, not through it. Mind that lady – don’t knock her over – there’s a good boy. Let the lorry go first, Jesse. Not a good idea to challenge lorries. They always win.”
Jesse came to a sudden halt at the café we’d passed earlier. The cakes in the window had missed his glance before, but not this time. “How about stopping for a piece of cake?” I asked. Apparently that was the right question.
I quickly learned that the fewer choices a child is given, the better. Decisions between one good thing and another are nigh impossible to make, so I said to the lady behind the counter, “Jesse and I will split that big chocolate brownie.” He looked pleased and relieved at my taking the bull by the horns to make such a crucial executive decision. In return, I let him choose the table. We stored the UED-on-wheels under the table and sat down to a chocolate indulgence. I was glad we split the bar in half; it was so rich a whole slice would have been too much for me, let alone for Jesse.
After our café treat, we clambered back to the car and drove to the beach so Tess could have a good run. While Tess had her explore, Jesse did what kids do, no matter the weather. He got down in the sand and started digging. His little hands grew red from the cold, but they worked diligently nevertheless. Woe to any rock that thought it had a safe haven from weather; as soon as Jesse uncovered one he’d toss or heave it out of the hole and onto the beach. The rocks would have to wait for the next storm to provide a sandy cover again. For now exposure to the elements seemed to be their destined lot; it’s a good thing they’ve got hard skin.
Lungs filled with fresh air and clothes with wet sand, we drove back to the house and had a late lunch together.
Finger food is Jesse’s favorite. Those crunchy, dried green beans from Africa always bring a smile to his face, plus the sharp cheddar cheese that I tell him “will knock your socks off.” He looks at his feet and back at me, then laughs at the joke. Chopped apple, a sprinkle of cinnamon, some cranberry/pumpkin seed bread toasted and buttered with Terry’s plum jam, a few grapes, and we’ve got a feast fit for a king, let alone a nearly three-year-old boy. He slowly devours them all while we talk about things boys like.
Today’s subject covers favorite songs, Jesse’s currently being a condensed version of Baa Baa Black Sheep, and I tell him about the Take Me Out To The Ball Game song that everybody sings at baseball games in America. I realize he doesn’t have a clue about baseball, so I take the opportunity to introduce my grandson to the American tradition. This is, after all, essential education!
We go into the living room to my big screen computer, and he sits on my lap while I find a YouTube video with people singing the song at a game. We watch the baseball play and sing the song along with the crowd, and every time we come to the end, Jesse wants to do it again. I fill him in on the roles of the batter, catcher, and pitcher, and we laugh at the men sliding into each other at the bases and the guy who leaps to catch the fly ball but takes a dive over the wall and lands on his nose, feet flapping in the air, as the crowd behind him clamor to catch the ball. “Batter’s got a HOME RUN!” I shout, and Jesse gets excited, though he doesn’t really understand why.
Jesse asks for a digger video next, so I find a 20-minute video of three diggers, cranes, and dump trucks working on clearing a building site. He is transfixed by these machines and talks about what they are doing – the size of the load – where they are dumping – the difference between one truck and another – the distance the digger arm reaches. I can’t help but get enthused with him, for he’s showing me how to see them through his eyes, and it is impressive – almost miraculous – what they are capable of. While I give Jesse some Yankee culture, he gives me an education on big plant machines.
After a while, I go over and sit on the sofa next to Tess, leaving Jesse in my chair to watch the last few minutes of a scene with power jack hammer digging up the pavement. When I look back at him, he’s seated in my chair but he’s not looking at the screen. He’s looking at me. His eyes land on mine, and he holds my gaze for such a long time with what can only be called an eye-hug. The love in his eyes is so obvious it brings tears to mine. I gaze back at him and stay inside the moment, sending him an eye-hug back, soaking up everything this moment contains, knowing it won’t last long. One day Jesse will be grown and he’ll be interested in doing all kinds of things – few of them involving his grannie. But now he’s honestly enjoying his time with me, and I’m treasuring my time with him.
A few floor games later, we realize it’s nearly 4pm, time to get his sisters. Though we usually walk, I decide to drive to the school because it’s started to rain again and we’ve already been wet and dried once today, which is plenty enough for me. Izzy and Raffy look happy to see us, pile into the car with their stories and school gear, and off we go to their house. A hot mug of ginger tea and a couple card games of rummy at the kitchen table are a fun way to enjoy the girls. Terry soon arrives home with Farley, the oldest grandson, and as she and Jim go about making supper, Farley joins the card game, only to slaughter his grannie and sisters with his rummy hand.
Finally I head home for my own supper and an evening’s appointment on Skype to record one hour of Ted’s story interview for his memoir. The nearly ninety year old glows as he recalls his working days on Panama Canal, his time in the Navy during WWII, and 14 years of mining gold up in the Yukon during the 60s – 70s. As I listen to Ted, all I can see in my mind are Jesse’s eyes, not blinking, not averting, but really looking into mine, sending a love message, a hug like no other.
And I know I have the best memories of all.
Before the leaves left their branches
Orange and gold burst from their flesh
and verdant meadows, thick with green
cushioned their fall
and the rains chased them into rivers
My grandson watched the thousand boats of gold
swirling, disappearing under bridge and walkways
and he called out to them,
“Bye leaf! Bye, bye!”
I smiled at his hand, waving like a puppy’s tail
and at the joy of knowing
I don’t have to say goodbye
At Keystone Café, the radio plays
and words of a song from the sixties pierce my coffee-bred thoughts:
Always something there to remind me…
Trying to forget, I know this world is but a dream
a temporary mirror of the other
that place where you and I reside in eternity
mere cells within the One Great Plan
where time has no meaning
and words don’t exist
and love is a given
Yet here, amongst dog rose and lupin
she, open and pink
and he, closed and blue
we became like them – rooted in sand
surrounded by stones and their stories
drinking summer grey mists
on salt water taffy mornings
but rose petals fade and lupins shrivel
their seedpods of black
hanging like coffins
in this moment
eagle perches for the view
and fish dance
and gulls dive for the feast
this is mine
All the while
the ferry inhales and exhales passengers
like a heart-lung machine
a blood bank of journeys
a breaker of waves that crosses the synaptic sea
and, locked into terminal, transmits
holders of keys to neurons
In bursts of energy
flowing down rivers of roads
streams of pulsing potential
these elements of the greater intelligence
try to carry its message
this for the arms that yearn to hold
that for the aching walk-alone legs
and yesterday’s broken dream becomes
one Sunday transformed
A poem is born in words that don’t rhyme
as the radio plays another song:
Can’t you hear the pounding of my heartbeat,
You’re the one I love…
Holding the mirror close, all I see is my own breath
and waves that drill the shore in a tumbling roll
while the ocean remains constant
and eagle takes flight
My first old golden planted himself everyday
in the garden by my patio chair. That’s where he took his nap.
At thirteen, all Arlo needed was water, food and tennis balls
and, of course, he needed me.
It wasn’t until he died that I realised
how much I needed him.
If he’d been a man, I probably would have married him.
That dog set roots in me,
roots so deep, that even after he was gone,
within a week, they sprouted another
homeless old golden named Shadow.
Shadow lived to be fifteen and a half.
Then one night his eyes looked into mine, and they said
The next day he died, and I missed his golden
shadow beside my chair, and under my feet,
but I felt his soul staying right with me for six weeks.
I buried some of his fur in Arlo’s garden.
Then it took root, blossomed and brought me Libby.
She’s thirteen and real chipper. Kind of bossy too.
She’s not like the boys, but I love her anyway.
I understand her. We both think like girls.
Libby lays on the lounge chair cushion
that I took off the chair and put on the patio floor
so she could lay beside me as I write.
She likes her comforts and I like her company.
Today I looked up, meaning to say a word to Libby
let her know how much I appreciate her help,
but her cushion was bare.
She didn’t raise her head to smile.
I saw some dirt strewn on the ground; I gazed across
to the strip of garden where Arlo planted roots
and where Shadow’s fur blossomed.
There Libby had planted herself, fast asleep and dreaming.
I couldn’t help but wonder as her paws twitched
and her muzzle nursed a bark
if two big goldens weren’t running beside her,
chasing balls, catching skunks,
and swimming the deep spring river.
Spent the day with my grandson,
took him to the baseball game
and showed him how they play over here;
Here, where it’s not cricket and cream teas,
but hot dogs, coke and dusty diamonds.
Taught him all the words that frame the game
and that made him sound cool when he spoke them,
and the other kids looked at him and smiled
like they understood, like he was one of us.
We walked up the hillside, behind second base
where the grass is left to grow tall,
and I showed him how to pull a straw, suck on it
and chew the end, getting all the sweet goodness out,
letting the wispy fronds hang down like a half-woken flag,
too hot and too humid to raise itself and wave.
Bought him a piece of bubble gum and watched him chew,
saying with a wink, it might be best not to tell your Mummy
about this, seeing as she pays the dentist bills,
and then I showed him how to blow a bubble
and slap that darned gum all over his face.
And we each took a blade of grassleaf and I showed him
how to hold it – real taut – between his thumbs
and keep them stood straight together, side by side,
and we blew until the screeching whistles made us jump,
and then his sounded like one of his Daddy’s farts.
Boy, you should ha’ seen his smile.
I could have canned his giggle and kept it
for cheering me up on lonely days.
When he stood up, leaned over and spit,
just like the pitcher and the other big boys,
I suggested that was one habit he might not want
to bring home to England from America.
They wouldn’t think it was too cool over there,
and he could even get arrested for doing it in public.
His eyes grew big and round, wondering if I was just
‘pulling his leg,’ another american turn of phrase,
but I didn’t see him spit anymore, and he sort of stared
under heavy, shaded brows every time he saw
one of those boys lean over and spit, as if
he was trying to figure out for himself why
they kept committing crimes in public.
I hoped I wasn’t confusing him too much.
After the long, hot day that passed in record time,
and after he turned the bath water brown,
I wrapped him up in a fluffy big towel,
held him on my lap, sitting on the porch rocker
and we sang the take me out to the ballgame song,
and his eyelids started to hang heavy, and I thought
I’d better get him inside and put his pj’s on,
before he’s too heavy with sleep to carry.
But then his eyes opened wide; he squirmed
and pulled his clean arm out of the towel wrappings.
He looked up into the sky, a sky that wasn’t quite sure
if it was finished for the day, cause it was still hanging on to the blue,
and the moon was rising up like it had places to go tonight,
and my grandson pointed to it, and he said,
“Look, Grannie Cindy, there’s a fly ball!”
Thursday Poets Rally http://thursdaypoetsrallypoetry.blogspot.com/
You sit, absorbed in another thick spy intrigue murder mystery political uprising story with just enough sex in it to keep you checking the this-has-all-the-right-ingredients tick box, designating the author as a best seller, stellar tale-teller who makes lots of money writing. His books fill your shelves to prove it. We had to get rid of some last year to just make room for more.
Meanwhile I reside here on my chair with a fifty-page volume, so slender it could be mistaken for a magazine – if only it was taller, wider and the cover more flimsy than it is now. My book is one of only two that the poet ever published before he died. I need never worry about running out of room for his books or becoming bored with the same shape, plot and characters that, reworked one hundred and one different ways, receive new names and settings in each predictable story.
There you, enmeshed with the pages of your New York Times book-of-the-week, engaged with fast-paced heros and caricatured characters – thinner than the paper that holds their names – eat cereal and read, oblivious of my thoughts or even aware that I share the table with you, along with the salt, napkins and sugar bowl. I bet my poet would have written about the bowl; how the lid always drops sweet crumbs on the table; how I carefully wipe them up, look at you and smile.
Photo courtesy of Diane Waldron
4 Thursday Poets Rally week 28
Feel free to comment and star-grade. Thank you for reading!