If you would have a heart to love

I retrace my path of yesterdays, a step and two and three

At the edge of where the ocean comes to land

And where my heart is free…

*

I pause in awestruck wonder…

An enormous hourglass of wood and clearest crystal

Suspended above the terra firma, afloat in a cloudy sky

I cannot see you within, my love

But, my heart knows you are there and I am lost in why…

*

The sands of a thousand days and more

Have flown and settled here one simple grain by one

*

A life they make, full and rich with much of this and that

Yet, as I stand outside of it and gaze at the towering mountain within….

*

I know in my very depths…

My love…he cannot breathe…

For the weight of it all upon him now, he has never any ease

*

The sands of time are closing in with each and every passing day

They tighten so about him

He cannot rest, or find his way

*

Infinitely it swirls upon itself letting not a single thing escape

My thoughts, they spiral in a pleading search

Hoping for an answer robed in grace

*

I am very small…whatever can I do…

*

Within my reach a gleaming sword stands ready

In silence does it wait

I fear it will be too much for me to wield

I fear I will fall short…

But, for my love

I choose and try

To take it firmly by the hilt

And raise it high

I swing with all I am

And although the glass is met…it trembles only slightly

Over and over I brandish the blade

Against the clear enclosure

Yet, to no avail…

Worn and weary…I fear that I have failed

I drop the steel,

Watching as it crashes to the ground

…my heart begins to weep…

…to cry without a sound…

*

This trap of holding time

How smooth and cold it is, and heavy with the world,

I close my eyes

While my fingers, feather soft reach forth in gentle touch…

And, with such as that, in less than a whisper

I hear the echo of a break begin…

A tiny fissure runs along the side…

*

What ray of hope is this!

*

One single grain of sand slips out

Racing through the air to solid earth

Another follows…and another still…

Until it becomes a healing stream of letting go…

*

The sandy scars of days that have been crushed upon each other

Swiftly fall away…

The rhythm of my heart begins to beat anew

As the melody of life does play

*

Soon enough the weight on him will lighten

My love will breathe once more

The morning air of a hopeful dawn

Fresh and simply pure

*

Time is neither linear or by a circle bound

*

One needn’t have an hourglass

To forever turn

And so command the moments

Within your heart to always burn

*

As the minutes and the hours fall

Joy and sorrow, both therein

We seek to collect them each around us

In a vain attempt to hold too many all at once

It is a fearful thing, this holding

And we begin to suffer from the force of it

*

Let the sand slip easily through

And come to rest where it belongs, upon an open shore

Caressed by tender winds

Kissed hungrily by ocean waves of evermore

*

If we would have breath to live

And heart to love

We cannot carry the entirety of our days

We were never asked to…

*

Like the sturdy world beneath our feet,

Moments are intended to hold Us…

Not us to hold them…

*

Mark the days if you must, my love

But only live them one by one

And let each of them gently go when their now is done…

*

Time was never meant to be contained within a glass

No matter how beautifully crafted it may be

*

So, I offer you this…

*

Gaze sweet and long into the endless ever blue

Warm yourself in the fire of the golden rising sun

Wish for wisdom from your guiding star

Dream deeply in the night for all the beauty yet to come

*

And last but mostly this, I hope for you to fly…

And breathe in ease and knowing love

I shall always be nearby…

****

ellie894 January 2, 2018

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Tonight, whether cloudy or clear…

I love the way a note begins with Dear…

I love the way there is magic in the air in the days before Christmas. I love the way people suddenly smile because on my head there are red velvet antlers adorned with tiny bells. I love the way the letter from Francis Church, the editor of The Sun, to little Virginia O’Hanlon fills my heart with believing. I love the way it feels to hold a pen in hand and write to Santa….

Where do you begin when you don’t know where to begin? How do you give a gift to someone you don’t know? It takes me ages to write because I pause often and go back over my words trying to get them just so, for the heart of them to shine through. This early morning with the moon shining and the tree alight nearby I’m simply going to write to you….and try ever so hard not to look back…

Late at night on Christmas Eve I set out a Nativity Tray. It is the last touch of Christmas for me. It is an English medieval custom that I learned about in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance. She states…

“Legend has it that on the night of the Nativity, whosoever ventures out into great snows bearing a succulent bone for a lost and lamenting hound, a wisp of hay for a shivering horse, a warm cloak for a stranded wayfarer, a garland of berries for one who has worn chains, a dish of crumbs for all huddled birds who thought their song was dead, and sweetmeats for little children who peer from lonely windows – whosoever prepares this simply abundant tray, shall be proffered and returned gifts of such an astonishment as will rival the hues of the peacock and the harmonies of heaven.”

So, it is that I quietly gather the best I have to offer and arrange it on my grandmother’s tray. I carry it beneath the stars to set it in its place. I look up into the night sky whether cloudy or clear and send all my love and best wishes to those who rest in my heart…known and unknown.

I have been reading Simple Abundance for so many years that the cover is worn from handling. There are dated pencil marks all through it, notes I’ve made to myself. Here, the birthday of a friend. There, a date I will never forget. Stars and check marks and all manner of special remembrances.

Sarah’s writing has broadened my world and blessed me over and again. Through her, I discovered one of my favorite books of all time, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Next is Elizabeth von Arnim. It took me ages to find her book, Elizabeth and Her German Garden, but it was ever so worth it. And I, myself began to write more because of Ms. Ban Breathnach’s encouragement. She and I have never met as authors and readers so seldom do. Nevertheless, she has become a beautiful part of my days.

Bo is my lost and lamenting hound. He arrived on Christmas morning a few years ago, hungry and alone…searching… He found my Nativity tray. He devoured everything that was edible and a few bits that weren’t. Then he dashed by the window and I thought – what was that?! I bundled up against the cold and went out to see… there was Bo. He came to my side and has never left.

There are so many inspiring thoughts in my heart this morning. There is the girl I don’t know. I heard her story a few days ago and quickly found myself at her age in it. I did only a small thing for her that was in my grasp to do. There are those who won’t be given the time off that their loving efforts deserve. There are those who at the moment have not and cannot for themselves. There are those who help them. There are those who have lost and there are who are lost. And, of course there are the little ones.

I find myself in each of them… Although I have not traveled their path, I have been in so many of those places.

Have you ever read Cannery Row by John Steinbeck? Have you ever donned your best dress to deliver chicken soup….lived in unlivable spaces….gone silent with wondering….captured a kazillion frogs….tried a beer milkshake….been surprised by a poem…have you?

I was so intrigued by the beer milkshake that I couldn’t stand it. I had to try it! I wouldn’t want a steady diet of them but all in all, not bad really. Even now…I recall turning the page and there was the ancient love poem…Black Marigolds. It was new to me. I was mesmerized…

What I really love about the story is this, that there are so many ways to Be in this world. They all look different and that’s ok. Steinbeck does the telling of it far more justice than I do. You should read him for yourself.

I was afraid to come here. WordPress, that is. I have no experience with social media. I have never been on Facebook or twitter or anything else. So, I was very unsure of this unknown space, the ways of it and those who share it.

I had a terrible time trying to decide on what to name my site…and then, what was ok to write on it! Along came your kindness and your welcoming of me…my heart was touched. It was so hard for me to imagine that anyone would care to read my thoughts. But there you were, reading anyway.

And here entered the world of comments and emojis which I confess, were another stumbling block for me. You may not realize it but, I take as much care with my comments and my thank you’s as with my posting. I want you to know how much your time and thought mean to me. I’m certain I mess up plenty. Each time I hope to do better, to get it right….

This place has become a gift to me, as much as The Little Prince or Gift from the Sea or Sarah Ban Breathnach, one that I could never have imagined for myself. You are a beautiful part of my days with pencil marks of remembrance in the margins. You show me all the faces of kindness. You broaden my horizons. You encourage me to write. You inspire me…you touch my heart and I am humbly grateful.

Tonight, I will carefully prepare the tray as I always do. I’ll carry it quietly to its place. I will gaze into the night sky whether cloudy or clear…into the lovely heart of nowhere…and I will send my love and best wishes to you…even now my thoughts turn to that moment and I am mesmerized…

Wherever you are and whatever you celebrate know that my thoughts are with you for peace and joy in all things in all your days.

with love,

suzanne ❤️

Early morning December 24, 2018

My Dear Brave Knight

Bravely He set out to play

A questing Knight on a summer’s day

With rope he tied his wagon to the brightest daytime star

A rolled up map to guide him on his journey far

There were dots and dashes and so much more

X marked the spot of buried gems galore

The wagon was empty

The Knight hadn’t a care

Only to wander and to search

All that was out there

He discovered a stone from the castle of Arthur

An arrow from Robin Hood’s bow

Even the Captain’s hook that Peter took

When he was young and bold

And so many more besides them

At the very least forty and four times four

He marked the map with this and that

Each time to the wagon he added a prize

That very first X…

The one that marked the pirate’s private spot…

Soon it was hidden amongst so many others

And his wagon was heavy

With all he had collected along the way

And the Knight was lost

Surrounded by forest

In the heat of the summer

And nary a breeze

Only the hum of cicadas stirring the trees

With weary arms and downcast eyes

He paused for a spell

In the dragons shadow that long ago fell

Silence descended

What would He do

Dwarves and giants

Threatened his quest

The great unknown would never let him rest

A lone leaf from overhead

Drifted through the air

Coming to rest upon the ground

And with it a notion he discovered

A plan did now appear

His eyes burned with excitement

The fire he did not fear

He must climb the mountain

Search the horizon far and wide

And know the way that called to him

From somewhere deep inside

The map with all its marks was useless to him now

The wagon laden with objects of the past

Was nothing but a burden on this new journey that He faced

Each thing must be left behind like an X upon the parchment

If He would reach the pinnacle

And begin to find his truth

So, bravely He set out to play

A questing Knight on a summer’s day

One step at a time

His tired legs did climb

Leaving the map and the path…

Letting go…

Of the castle stone

…the mighty staff

…the protective cloak

And oh so very much more…

Until, at last he reached the very top

Looking over all the way that He had come

His wagon long empty now

Light as a feather in the fading sun…

Yet his heart was overflowing

Eyes open and searching below

As a smoky mist curled up high

Marking an X in the evening sky

There was the treasure!

So true and so prized

Heart racing wildly

He jumped in the wagon

Pushed off with his feet

He steered with great care

Down the face of the mountain

Quickly he sped….

As It all flew passed him

Every great moment

That lead to this one here and now

The darkest forest

…raging seas

….wisdom of silence

……..knowing breeze

Then…

His wagon slowed and stopped

Before the waiting door

Wide and joyfully it opened

To He…so brave…

And there waited She….

She who gathered him to herself

As the treasure that He was

In a sweet embrace

And a gentle kiss to his dirt smudged face

How I’ve missed you So

My dear brave knight

While you have been so long away

Tell me…

Wherever did you go

Whatever did you see

On this fine fine summer’s day

And He began to tell the tales

Of the beastly and magical moments won

As She listened and loved

And loved and listened

Well beyond the setting of the summer sun…

****

ellie894 December 18, 2018

you always know why

Have you ever noticed how the loveliest things have no real beginning

Or at least not one that you recall

It’s as though they always were…

And never were not…

Once upon a forever fireflies sparkled in a dear night sky

Even now I can see them dancing before us

Tiny stars, you told me

They left the heavens to embrace we two

In a playful magic rarely known

And so we find ourselves here again

Hand in hand at the dusk of a long long day…

Are you hungry, you ask

I only smile in return

You know why

You always know why

Me too, with a wink and a whisper you softly reply

The offer of your strong and gentle arm

And off we go in search of our enchanting corner

Almost as cozy and warming

As your touch upon my skin

I like it best when the space is nearly empty

With only a candle between us

We have it all to ourselves

Inviting soft exchanges

And lingering gazes…

Let us then venture from our blazing hearth

Closing the door in sweet knowing

That soon enough we shall return…

For now we journey outward

Pausing…where no one else in the whole wide world would notice

I love this place

Soft graffiti swirls tangle in brilliant confusion

I tighten my hand in yours

You know why

You always know why

Hidden among the cherry reds and the lime greens

Of an artist’s dream gone wild

Our own initials are tucked safely in an inky heart

I like to reach my fingers out to them as we pass

Recalling another firefly moment

When in silly tenderness

I bade you stop and turn around

Don’t peek, I teased

You knew why

You always know why

I could feel you smiling behind me

As I carved us forever into being

Then you held me close to your heart and

Loved me for it

I like that part best of all…

And so this eve under a soon to be firefly sky

As we slowly make our way

I tighten my hand in yours

Asking, may we pause

You know why

I love the way you always know why…

****

ellie894 December 8, 2018

Rose

I am sweetly inspired by so very many things. Please visit Val at Colouring the Past to see the photo that settled in my thoughts and inspired this….

https://colouringthepast.com/2018/11/24/young-woman-standing/

I was named by my father,

He so loved to give my mother roses

To see her smile…

With a softened gaze and a silent sigh

I look afar to a place others cannot see

I do recall the sweetest words

Of last evening whispered true

Am lost in the hope of what may one day be

My unruly chestnut tresses gathered up

The best that I can manage

Still they loosen and escape

Blurring at the edges

Much the way my heart does

Longing so to fly

My anxious hands held tight behind

Hiding sweet anticipation

Are you nearing now my love

How much longer must I wait

The ivory pinned close at heart

A cherished gift of our last goodbye

And safe within the locket

At home upon my breast

The smile of my beloved

Doth ever and always rest

****

ellie894 December 1, 2018

koko

Last evening I walked the circle of sorts that I so often do. You know the one…dogs by my side… into the depth of the woods, across the gentle creek, careful not to catch on the barbed wire, meadow to my right, pond awaiting me…I wonder if it misses me when I am away as I do it…

I tucked my feet up under me to rest for a time upon the pier. I love that I can be away from sturdy ground for a while and yet so safe. The breeze was elsewhere and I was embraced instead by the stillness of dusk. The mirrored water was broken only once by the beaver swimming across to a new shore. Does he think of it that way – as a new shore. He was barely visible. Only the hint of his head could I see and the rippling V trailing behind him as he cut forth on his determined way.

His journey seemed smallish to me. From where I watched I could see the whole of it at once. He would easily manage it and something very good awaited him on the other side. To him though, it must have felt endless and without view. I know that place…unable to see, nevertheless…keeping on keeping on…

A bevy of doves kept close company, leaving no one behind. I looked that up so I would get it right for you. Doves in a group are called a bevy. I didn’t know. Come along now. Their ebony silhouettes searched for a nightly sanctuary as they cooed gracefully to one another…

Watching them brought to mind a tender moment from another day…

Above me a solitary hawk landed in the topmost branches of a tree. As he left the sky, he dropped a single feather. I stood mesmerized as it drifted softly through the air and I wondered at his letting go of it. I could not find it even though I searched. It disappeared before it came to ground. The gift was not in the having of the feather. The gift was in the being there. I needn’t hold the feather to cherish the lovely memory.

Real gifts are like that. They never reside in a box. They live and breathe in your heart.

Back at the lake sunset played with the clouds until they drifted on and left clear skies in places. I knew it was time for me to go. If I didn’t leave soon, I would lose the light. The woods are darkening then and all of the sounds sound just a little menacing…what was that…probably a squirrel settling in for the night but what if it wasn’t…

Once more the well trod path delivered me to the grassy expanse that I know so well. The sun was fading faster all the time. I love that hushed moment when day is stepping aside for night in quiet anticipation.

A lone bat skittered above me hunting for his breakfast while my own day was already beyond dinner. He moved quickly and was gone almost before I even knew he was there. How much of life flutters passed as I am busy with other living.

And just then…in the tallest pines behind the gentle oak…at the edge of field and night…owls…not one, not two…but three. Three! I have never heard three owls at once. A nearby screech stopped me in my tracks. It refused to give up as it shattered the silence, imploring me to hear. Certainly a nest and a very hungry baby were up there somewhere. There was nothing to see, but the air was brimming with the soulful sounds of the three of them. Who…echoed the parents…soon young hunger was satisfied. It only took their listening to know the answer.

It was enchanting to be there…another gift. It would never need shelf space or repair or dusting. Darkness overcame the moment. My footsteps lightly on the pine straw transported me closer to the safety of home all the time. The wise feathered keepers of the night followed me in gentle protection…and I am grateful…for the real of them…for the goodness of all I cannot see…for the gift of love that surrounds us all…for the magic that is once and always…everywhere…

****

ellie894 November 28, 2018

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

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