Danny, dinosaurs and hiccups…

He had wide eyes under long lashes

Sitting criss cross applesauce

In a sea of faces

Intent on every word I brought to life

Danny followed me with those warm brown eyes

Suddenly,

Against teachers and rules

As though guided by something unseen

Danny stood up from the crowd

Stepped over…and between

Fingers and toes

Around the edges of knees and elbows

To come right to my side

Everyone went quiet…

Watching what next

His tiny arms wrapped about me

His face buried against

As though…

He was trying to say…

Don’t go

Please stay

I am so small

And

Life is so big

All of these maybe

And something else perhaps

His gentle arms opened wide

Reaching for a safe place

for a little one to hide

Danny returned to sit with his friends

I finished the story

Together we sang

Of grumpy brown bears

And slow turtles who greet

With a cowabunga dude

As they dance down the street

Years from now

I will not recall the title of the picture book

Or even the weather of the day

But I shall remember

Little Danny

And my tear that slipped away

****

I read to preschoolers twice a week now. It used to be once a week but the younger class wanted in on the fun…and, now it’s twice. The children are from low income families. Some of them are under the protection of CPS and have stories that I don’t know. I only know that when we read together they remind me of many things –

The louder one sings, the better

Which number comes after “2”

Silliness is directly proportional to good health

If you hiccup around 20 children, they will hiccup back

You will have a hiccup fest

The sound a cat makes…in stereo

MEOW!

Batman is pretty awesome!

And Wonder Woman!!

And Dinosaurs…

Oh, and sprinkle donuts make really good mouse ears

Mostly they teach me that the loveliest gifts are simple ones and I am better for learning. It is a privilege and a joy to spend time laughing and singing with them. So, I ask you…

What made you smile today?

Would you read a bedtime story to a chicken?

However do you hug a porcupine?

Are dragons good at hide and seek?

What do you think a giraffe says?

And could he be friends with a turtle?

Have you ever looked up in a dark night sky and watched as animals roller skate across the moon…

And while you were out there did you wish upon a star?

****

ellie894 November 15, 2018

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Dear love,

Let me hold you tenderly

And breathe you deeply in

Trace my fingers lightly

Upon your warm and dreamy skin

**

Let me hold you gently

And gaze into your starry eyes

Whisper all my sweetest thoughts

Into your moonlit autumn skies

**

Let me hold you closely

And sing my love song true

Dance slow my graceful waltz

Across your heart of Texas blue

**

Let me hold you softly

And when there’s only you and me

Love you so very breathless

As the wild wild wind upon the endless sea

****

ellie894 November 9, 2018

I Love Spaghetti!

I Love Spaghetti!

She declared to me

I haven’t had it in four long years

Because…

My husband doesn’t like it

This spaghetti in a can

I’m going to eat if for dinner

Tonight!

He can have a sandwich

Is that bad…

She inquired of me

Before she flew away…

Not waiting for an answer

Not needing an answer

Not from me anyway

How long it took her to find her way here

Tethered me in sadness

But then…

Her moment of unbridled freedom

Gifted me with hope…

I Love Spaghetti!

I haven’t eaten it in Four years…

****

I was at the market taking my time when this woman happened upon me. I don’t know her and will never see her again. Our exchange was less than sixty seconds and yet I cannot forget her. She shared a heart’s love and sacrifice with me in less time than it took me to write this sentence…and left me with tears in my eyes…as she walked away determined and smiling…

When was the last time you ate spaghetti…

****

ellie894 October 21, 2018

It’s always something…

Dogs do not sneak quietly into my life with built in good manners.

Misbehavior! Gasp! Say it isn’t so… First they are overly generous with their friendly greetings and not one of them is under 50 pounds. Then there’s jumping. Mostly they reserve that for me. It is no fun to have your feet swept out from under you so that one lands on unmentionable places with a dull thud. Last but not least there’s rough housing…with each other. That wouldn’t be so bad. I admit it does use up some of their endless energy. The dilemma is that they do it within inches of me. My smallish self becomes an unwilling participant in their romping games. Remember that dull thud I mentioned before. Yep, there we are again…

Yesterday afternoon I set out on a walk with Dobby on a leash – we are diligently working on good manners. Miss Ellie came too, not on a leash – she already has good manners. We three musketeers headed to the pond, as we do everyday. Ah, a lone mower was at work in the field. The dogs were content by my side but definitely curious about these happenings in what they consider “their” space. I could see their thoughts ticking away at the idea of a new friend!

He was preparing for this afternoon. There will be a couple hours of skeet shooting for out of town guests. Miss Ellie will be frightened by the sounds of the gunshots. She would never have made a hunting dog which is fine with me. Ellie will stay under my feet until the shooting stops. She likes it best when I take her to a large closet and turn on a loud fan to drown out the noise. I sit on the floor with her, crisscross applesauce and pet her gently until she calms and falls asleep.

It hurts me to see Ellie so afraid. She doesn’t understand. It’s a helpless feeling for both of us and all I can really do is be near so that she knows I’m there with her.

So, I veered from our usual walk on the north side. We reversed our footsteps and took the path to the south instead. Across the creek, through the young pines, onward and upward. At the top of the hill rests a very small very old cemetery…

I looked once….I looked twice…I looked three times… no doubt about it; there was a young bull inside of the cemetery!

My first thought was that there must be a break somewhere in the fence – I explored carefully. The chain link fence was completely in tact and the gate was quite closed. Hmm… He stared at us. We stared at him. All of us were perplexed at such a strange occurrence.

My second thought was to simply open the gate and let him out. I wasn’t afraid of him. But, after all he is not my bull. Perhaps he was separated from the herd temporarily for a reason that I didn’t know. You never know…

Meanwhile, a lovely milk chocolate brown cow wandered up to give us a verbal “what for”. She must be his mother. Now, whether she was admonishing us to go away or to open the gate and set her son free, I can’t be sure. There we all were locked in some sort of weird time warp event. No one in any danger. No one knowing quite what to do next.

Now came the phone call which began like this – hello, this is suzanne. I have rather an odd question… I heard light laughter on the other end and the phrase – it’s always something! The friendly lady said – thank you samantha, I’ll be right over to let him out. Yes, samantha. I guess on the phone on Wednesday afternoons suzanne sounds a lot like samantha. I’m good with that. It makes me think of Bewitched and what girl doesn’t want just a hint of magic in her days.

My musketeers and I continued on our walk content that help was on its way. Yet, I was left wondering of the young bull. However did he get in there. How long had he been trapped. I’ll say this much, the cemetery does Not need to be mowed. How long would it take a bull his size to clean up a grassy area that way. It’s a riddle I’ll probably never have an answer to…

I could have stubbornly kept on to the pond as I usually do and not ventured to the south. But, you know that feeling when something changes. You can’t quite explain it but, there it is. And you change with it… Maybe you ease into the changes or maybe you fight them. Either way, you find yourself on a hill next to a cemetery staring at a bull who needs you. Only five minutes ago you didn’t even know he existed. Now, he’s touched your heart and you are forever different for it…

I know…forever is a long time…but sometimes the biggest changes happen in the smallest moments…

I could write all day about what brought me to this one place in time. Every moment is that way though, built upon others before it; a single step on the winding way to an unknowable future. To be honest, there were storms on this path that I would have gladly done without. Nevertheless, there I am… learning from All of it…not just the good stuff.

Simple really… I walked a different way, saw a bull, made a phone call, the end. And yet, it stays with me. I still see him alone and helpless with no way out looking into my eyes…the key to his freedom as simple as a hand upon a gate.

At times in my life I am Ellie shivering with fear of what I don’t understand. Other times I am the bull alone and helpless…not seeing the gate…not knowing how to open it for myself. I am even the cow unable to communicate my heart’s desire. I hold all of these moments until I need them again, the lessons of them. I need reminding often.

When something lands softly before me or crashes, as something always does…to remember how it feels to be on the other side of the fence or to shiver in the unknown…to give from my heart with compassion and my hand in gentle kindness. I’m never only on one side or the other.

There will always be something and the answer will always be love.

****

ellie894 October 11, 2018

Trucks and Stuff

Nothin’ quite like an old red truck

To let the miles and the minutes slip away

Miss Foxy doesn’t have any seat belts

They weren’t a thing back then

And she doesn’t drive as fast as she used to

But there’s no hurry

We’ll get there when we do

Where is there?

Why, there is just there

Any old where!

As long as it’s just us two…

It’ll give me plenty of time to sing

As the wind lets loose my hair

And think the thoughts

The gentle ones about which I truly care…

Taught myself to drive standard in this very truck

And That, brings me Joy!

But…Miss Daisy is an altogether different tale.

There’s room in the front for me

Plus one more

Will it be the Juice Box or Dear Dobby do?

George Bilbo Bumpus got to go last time

Climb in

Scootch over now

More than that

No, you may not sit in my lap while I drive

Yes, I know my window is down

Here, let me get yours too

See, I knew it

You just wanted to hang your head out

Pretending you can fly

Your ears look funny when they flap like that

Don’t slobber on the other cars passing by

It’s not polite

The bed is empty now

as we venture forth into the day

We’ll fill it soon enough

With treasured memories that we make along the way

Or…if you get very very wet and dirty at the lake

I’ll put You back there

And not think twice about it

That’s right,

I most certainly would!

Sit still while I open the gate

I’m watching you

Keep your nosey nose out of those snacks

They’re for later

In the shade of that grand oak tree

You know the one,

His branches reach every which way

Gently and strong

Holding those who call him home

I know right?!

The bestest place ever

To drift into the sunset

And let all the warmth and color

Rest upon your face…

What do you mean, why didn’t I say so?

I just did!

Ok, ok, I’m ready too

No, we won’t miss it

We have all the time in the world…

Miss Foxy is warmed up now

Wanna go for a ride?

****

ellie894 September 28, 2018

The Quiet Cottage by the Everlasting Sea

Will you, asked the girl

Yes! proclaimed the boy

I didn’t ask yet, giggled the girl

Go ahead, said the boy

Will you love… began the girl

Yes! exclaimed the boy

I didn’t finish, smiled the girl

Go ahead, said the boy

Will you love me for all of our days, asked the girl

Yes… said the boy

And all of our nights too, asked the girl

Yes… said the boy

And the boy gathered the girl in his arms

And he loved her

For all of their days

And for all of their nights

And she loved him too

For all of their days

And for all of their nights

In their quiet cottage by the everlasting sea

****

ellie894 September 2018

Sweetly Unnoticed

There are a thousand ways

And more…

To love

Without ever touching…

How very brilliant is that

And yet,

How often we forget…

To quietly create a home

Within a tender heart…

Sweetly unnoticed

By the busy world

****

ellie894 September 15, 2018

the sleepy edge of the world

Darkest night waits outside the window. Morning doesn’t look like morning yet. Satie’s piano calls softly to my pen. The feel of it is as easing to my heart as my gray dress is to my skin. In my china cup the tea leaves born in distant lands come to vibrant life and warm me through. A flame licks at the coolness from the confines of the yellow glass scenting the air with wild honey. It intrigues me so… and I wonder…

Where do I belong in this sleepy edge of the world…

Here at the kitchen island…far away across the sea…soaring a vast blue sky…peacefully amongst the stars…

I am in all of those places because they are all within me. It is only that I must remember to visit them. One needn’t go far by foot to be far in thought. You may go to the stars as often as you like, drift and dream and linger.

You may dance upon the crested wave in time with the universe. Sailors will gaze into the dawning light and smile to see you there and catch themselves swaying to the rhythm of your soul.

You may float the sky so that those who journey far below will stop and wonder at how gently you fly. You lift their eye and their heart follows. They take their own next step because they’ve caught the feather of your hope and seen for a moment…joy.

Each time you travel the wild places alone you somehow take others with you, show them something new, whisper in their ear, gift them with hope…

They follow and reach out to touch you because there is a blush of forever upon your cheek and they yearn to feel the warmth of it.

I wish that I could recall my dreams. Perhaps I do when I write of wings and oceans and heartbeats. Perhaps even in not recalling…I remember…

So much happens to you in a lifetime. Where does it all go to wait for you to catch up. Or do you not need to catch up. Are you only called to be here…

I am in a kitchen

Listening to a piano

Watching a flame

Smelling warm honey

Tasting tea leaves

From far off lands

My senses caressed

And my heart beating

One precious note at a time

Into the wildness

Of far away places

That are as close as

My own dear thoughts

I am the music and the dance

I am the ocean and the wing

I am the darkness and the light

Will you soar with me to unknown places

Will you take my hand and kiss my cheek

Will you follow me in the silence of my simple steps

And lay with me among the shining stars

Let now be now

And let always be forever ours…

****

ellie894 September 4, 2018

listening to Once Upon a Time in Paris by Erik Satie

If I should write of the wind…

If I should write of the wind

Until my hands are sweetly sore

And the ink in my quill has all dried up

Until it isn’t anymore,

I wonder if my windy words

Would soon begin to bore…

But then…I pause to ponder love

That has been written so dearly of

A thousand, thousand times before

How love once true never tires

Of climbing its towering castle spires

Laced with delicious phrases

Edged in luscious mazes

Of many a moment

Tenderly spent…

Why then should the wind,

Be any different

As gusty he sweeps

and blustery he blows

Lifting me high from off my toes

I need not touch

The sturdy ground below

As He tickles away my fear

To softly declare in my listening ear

All the beautiful wheres

That ever we shall go

All because…the wispy wind does blow,

Rather the same as love I muse

If the wind is such

And love is more and much

Why then should life be any other way…

Than to carry me in the very heart of it

And rock me slow in passion’s sway…

****

ellie894 August 2018

Beauty Between Dreams

In fairy tales and dreams we bestow things with life! The most delicate flower and the most grizzled bear take on a contentment or a sorrow that mirrors our own. We cry and laugh with them, as we see ourselves.

I love this spot, just here, where the meadow gives way to the forest. On a hot summer day it offers the respite of cool shade. In the midst of rain it promises shelter. In moments of despair it is safe to let go of my tears. And, in times of sheer joy…I dance as the faeries do…unseen, unbidden, and all the more brilliant for it…

See the timbers lining either side of the path drawing you forward. They have been waiting in that same spot for a long time now. At least three seasons have come and gone. I don’t recall the first day they came to be here. But I do remember wondering why. I decided they were probably meant for the pier, some freshening up.

Winter covered them in a pristine blanket of snow. Spring burst forth with flowers in every hue darting up between them. Summer days are still upon us, dusty and hot and buzzing with dragonflies. The timbers wait. The pier waits. And so, of course my thoughts turn to waiting.

How much of our life do we spend in waiting…all of it, really. I imagine there are a few dear souls that embrace the now so completely that they are exempt from the waiting that fills my days and nights. I have much to learn from them.

As I think again of the timbers, I giggle. To write that they are waiting somehow gives them character and personality. How often do we do that as well, imbue life and voice to things that cannot speak for themselves. Don’t get me started on Toy Story 3! I will absolutely not go there!

When I was a very little girl I had a beloved Raggedy Ann doll. She had shiny black eyes under triangle lashes and hidden beneath her calico dress was a red heart in just the right place that declared…I love you… I never went to sleep without her tucked securely into the crook of my arm, hugged tightly against me.

I imagined that she waited for me as well. When I was away she rested on my pillow ready to greet me with a smile upon my return. I always did return. I loved her so long and so hard that her face began to wear away. I can still see the blue threads underneath. I grew afraid to hold her…that my love would cause her harm…

My dear Mimi came to the rescue with a gentle and skilled hand. The waiting was awful! But soon enough Raggedy and I were back to our nightly snuggles.

Ellie and Jack, Bo and Dobby watch my every move with eager anticipation. Keys mean that I’m leaving them behind. A resigned sadness seems to descend on them that makes me want to stay. Whereas, phone in my back pocket and earbuds nearly drives them through the roof with excitement! Shoes tied…check. Bag of bread…check. Little white rectangle box…aka phone…check. Long white chord attached to ears…we don’t really get it but…it’s something she seems to like…so…check! Aargh! We’re going walking! Right this second! Jaw in paw waiting…all worth it!

A few weeks ago I dreamed of a time and a place spent in a brilliant pause before what would come next. I was taken ahead not left behind. It was the sort of dream that leaves me wishing that I could photograph the images that light up my own night sky. Perhaps I’ll play with my words until I get it all just so and share it…but for now it isn’t ready…

It’s not a bad thing. A thousand times before it has been written – we live in the waiting.

Some waiting is so much harder than others it seems. Maybe. We fight at it instead of resting in it. I don’t know what it is that you wait for…

the reassuring smile of your beloved…

cookies warm from the oven…

the tiniest egg to hatch with new life…

your train to arrive…

a glass of wine to be shared…

the gate to open wide before your eager paws…

a sigh of grateful relief…

rain to fall or skies to clear…

sweet news from afar…

the melody of song to fill your heart…

your best friend to be repaired…

or simply the next breath to come…

Ever so gently and quietly beauty waits for us as we dance between dreams and responsibilities.

In the brightness of a summer day when the stars have gone to shine elsewhere, will you wait with me in the cool shade of a grand and silent tree…

In the darkness of a winter night when the sun burns far away, will you wait with me in the glow of a warm and crackling fire…

In the heart of waiting there is love…always, there is love…

Will you wait with me…

****

ellie894 August 2018

Thank you to my dear friend G for the photograph of the train station in loving memory of my father.