PAINTING WITH WORDS

by Sharon Lee Davies-Tight

tree huggers. Tree huggers, people call us in condescending tones.  When love is complete, you’ll hug all that lives and want to hug all that no longer exists. All you need do is take a plane ride above Mt. St. Helens after she erupted to want to hug that which was once alive. A tree hugger am I? You bet. I learned that in the Great Pacific Northwest–long before I saw the devastation. I simply love all of life and non-life. But if you had seen what I saw, years later, you’d hug a tree too. The green is what allows us all to breathe. When you know how to love, you won’t be embarrassed by that which you love, and you will hug without embarrassment all that surrounds your life. You will embrace that which makes you survive to breathe another day. 

anticipation. Eyelids drop in anticipation of sleep, knowing tomorrow will make the rest of our lives different but okay. Dissatisfied with today, hopeful for tomorrow and the promises we’ve made to make the future better, as if waking magically creates the possibility, thus the certainty that it will happen. A new day really is a new start. It doesn’t matter that we awaken to the same condition, the same situation, in the same place. The perception of it changes–always. Always–as if night time and the dreams in space between sleeping and waking alters forever who we are. One night, every night, brings with it the undeniable knowledge of that pleasure. 

heaven. The world swirls around me. Planets, the sun God, the animals, shooting stars, reminding me of shortness of life. Even the oldest trees, if they survive the forest, pause as time draws near wondering where the years went. Do trees go to heaven? I imagine so. No trees in heaven? Doubtful. What would paradise be without them? None I ever imagined. Strange how humans perceive that which they can’t see in strikingly familiar terms. Do humans want to be humans in heaven? Do rats want to be rats? Cows, cows? Does grass want to be grass? Insects, insects? I don’t know. Everything and everyone wants a better life. On earth as it is in heaven? Imagine that! What would you like to be in heaven? Maybe we have a choice. Maybe we don’t. Maybe we’re already in it, and all that changes is that upon death of the body, we become invisible to the naked eye of the species to which we belong.

the birth of a seed.  Crisp lines mark the point of juncture superseding parallel forms enveloping new space, playing the role of incubator needed to grow new life within the empty but fertile space, opening briefly to accommodate that which acts as the last connection prior to that birth–the birth of the seed. If the seed comes first, before the plant, then something else created the original seed. That ‘something else’ I call God. That concept emerged as new with the virgin birth of Jesus. It’s not so much that Mary needed a virgin birth to keep from being stoned to death for her out of wedlock baby, but that a greater God than her own God, needed someone to work through to introduce the world to the concept that our human seeds originated from a source greater than the plant and the seed combined.

sweet dreams and happy tomorrows. Not a good day. Not good at all. Rosie was here though. Steve here. The material world no longer matters. So it was good after all. When days get as bad as this, all I can count on for joy–is that which makes a family. Tired nights lead to more tired mornings, when I stay up waiting for bad to turn to good, while wrapping those I love around the universe of all that really matters in my life. And then out of necessity, I separate them from that which drives me to pain for all the tortured beings, who cry out through their souls in the night, whom I work feverishly to save, blocking my family from that which would over-burden them.

Each way I turned, in this very bad day, I was blocked by the powers that be, they call themselves, and there was not a thing I could do about it. How powerless a feeling, yet still I feel motivated–driven by a force greater than all of them put together. Failing is no longer an option. But how can one succeed when so many others block that which drives this old, weary body, mind and spirit of mine? But wait, body yes, mind yes, but spirit? Can the spirit ever get as tired as I’m feeling right now? Not a chance. It can’t be.

Logically, if the spirit never dies, then it never tires either. So, there is a chance. I just need to play out the night–into the morning–until my spirit and the spirits of those who envelop me with their love and instruction to keep fighting, tell me to go to bed, Sharon. Happy dreams and sweet dreams, as I see Rose living hers while her legs run in her sleep without her on them; and Steve snoring through his ‘better days are coming’ dreams. I can almost hear the words. Isn’t that what happy dreams and sweet dreams are all about? Making right what went wrong in the day? Yes, but still I stay up while they rest and I wait for something, maybe nothing–to happen.

Tomorrow’s a new day, they say for a reason. The sun will rise and we’ll all wake together in the same bed. Probably Steve first, then Rose, then me–but still together, as I am now with them, while I’m awake and they sleep. We’ll make better tomorrow what we couldn’t make right today–as the formidable team we are. We will rise discouraged–as always, but slowly come to the realization of how lucky we are–to be a family. We’ll go for a walk in the park that Rose claims as her own, and as we witness her joy in being free as she romps through the tall grass beckoning us to join her, we’ll know why we’re here–for her–and for us. We’ll laugh and talk and let her herd us as she weaves around the trees of pine that we stop to smell, picking up the pine cones they dropped seemingly for the taking, and acorns and anything else we can make live again through art. We’ll wind down to the waterfront to commune with the sea gulls, the lake, the big sky–that can’t be seen from where we live, and put her back on the leash as we walk on the flat rocks, past the fisher people who are there for the same reason we are, more for nature than food.

Only Rose can make us feel alive, like a kid again, back to nature and all the joys of walking on this great earth. With all our burdens, only she can bring us back to our true essence–being the animals we are–to love again the privilege. This was a good day after all. The memory of our routine makes it so, giving me something special to look forward to tomorrow. When we make it through the night in a world filled with terror it is a happy day–happy dreams and happy tomorrows fulfilled.

rock a bye baby. Gray waves black as thunder–white caps foaming peaks of violet snow–crash through transparent rainbows dancing on violent waters sucking tremulous defiant skies kneeward toward the ocean floor. Rocking cradles of transformation–birthing (as if it were easy) new and strange worlds from tainted boulders, that live. Yes, rocks are alive. As hosts. To bear life. How wonderful. So I was right, God exists in all life and non-life. Wow. First I think it, then I say it, then I write it, and then God proves it. Random or predestined? Obviously predestined, since it needs a host. Ha. Let’s rock this baby to sleep, before she figures out who it really is.

joseph’s present. I crossed a bridge in the early morning hours of the night. Don’t know how it happened, but knew it did, by my own long gaze, while walking backwards, away from that which I was leaving behind.  Hearing the sound of my slow steps with ever-widening gait, I walked, no marched–forward, onward, with one last over the shoulder glance, walking more swiftly now, till reaching the bridges end, when I thought not to look back again.

Full circle I had come, standing tall, glad for the journey; not knowing why; more glad that I was back–to where I truly wanted to be. Turning once more, as if to defy my own instructions, I murmured with odd surprise, “I’m going to miss you”, as the tentacles of that which humans pursue kept pursuing me. I made it. I’m here. I’m not quite sure how or why. But I’m where I most want to be: with my God and my family. I knew I could count on you, Joseph. You were right where I needed you the most, and there when I thought I needed no one. Without me even asking, you swooped down and lifted this shattered heart, stinging still, as I falteringly moved at God’s instruction.  We are one again, after a long, painful journey. What a glorious feeling on this my happiest awakening in the early morning hours of the night. Together we fought the temptations of the desert, overcoming the desire for a better, softer, kinder life. We are that life. We carry that life in our hearts, and our souls will be forever replenished by that which you gave to me and that which I do in your name.

No need to look for false Gods and prophets. The truth stays in the family. Guess you knew I had to cross back over the same bridge God had urged me to travel. You knew I had to confront the evil everyone else follows; to learn it, be with it and let it become me without me becoming it. You took a risk. I could have burned that bridge behind me–and been lost in limbo forever, becoming so accustomed to the way we’re told to live, that I’d fail to find my way back. It could have consumed me, as I see it do to so many others. But somehow I knew you wouldn’t let that happen, that you wouldn’t let me burn that bridge–and per chance, somebody burned it for me, you knew with equal confidence that I would find another route back home. I recall now God telling me that I would come face to face, engage and walk a while with that which others walk. Now that it’s over, and I’m no longer in the throes of its pull, enthralled by its allure, I guess I can say that you all and me chewed it up and spit it out–our way.

No telling beforehand, though, what I was going to do. It approached without warning, even though God told me it was necessary to work more effectively. I didn’t have to take a step, didn’t have to move. It came to me. It never touched me, but sucked me in like a vacuum does a piece of dust. No hard sell–never is when evil’s playing the joke. My life  became likened to a whirlwind of sand and smoke. All sight was lost, except for the endless splints and fractures of mirrors from which each of your faces brightly shined amidst the dark holes of dying dreams. How I forged through it, stumbling, falling, begging to be free of the false images of reality all the world accepts, only my God and my family now know, and at this or any other future point could care less to reveal.

Who would understand it anyway? Miraculously, I escaped unscathed; a  little battered, a little bruised and choking a bit–but I emerged intact, and forever changed, one again with my God and my family. A metaphorical sky, no, not a metaphorical sky, a real sky, opened up for me in the early morning night on Joseph’s day. I thought my work had ended after nine years in the desert, now I know it has just begun. I’m in the home of the brave now. Thank you for your courage.

tomorrow.

Me–Write me a poem.

God–Okay.

Tomorrow will be the best day of your life, because you will make it so by handling adversity in the same way you handle prosperity; by handling prosperity with the same grace that you handle adversity.

Tomorrow will be the best day of your life, because you will love all those who dislike you, as well as those who love you, by turning everybody into your friend. Those who say a friend to all is a friend to no one will want to be included in your forever friendship sphere.

Tomorrow will be the best day of your life, because you will regard your work as play and your play as something you deserve to do as well as you do your work.

Tomorrow you will notice a spring in your thoughts that you lost while being oppressed that will propel you into enduring loveships not hardships.

Tomorrow you will free yourself from all anxieties and worries by connecting with the anxieties and worries of others and by making a conscious decision to ease their frustrations, thus your own.

Tomorrow will shine as the earth is meant to shine through your eyes and by your movement through it’s light, brightening the way for others who want to shine with and for you. Tomorrow your body will glide with ease to match the calm of your mind–no matter what transpires around you.

Tomorrow you will start caring again for all that you once cared for and you will fight like the gentle warrior you are, forgiving yourself your failures, because I already know that you’ve forgiven those who committed transgressions against you.

Tomorrow you will no longer carry the insecurities of others that bog you down in despair, by turning those insecurities into essays to enlighten the world.

Tomorrow you will become, like magic, all that you’ve always wanted to be and regain all that you lost through the many injustices committed against you.

Tomorrow you will establish kind boundaries, treating everyone with the gentleness with which you once treated everyone and that others robbed from you through their torture tactics.

Tomorrow all bad messages from your oppressors, used to control your thoughts, will bounce off of you like a rubber ball thrown to a wall, dissipating in the universe upon its return to the sender.

Tomorrow you will prevail.

Tomorrow you will rise to new heights, not to the next rung on a ladder that never ends; you will quite simply soar and keep soaring for all of eternity.

Tomorrow you will walk with the angels as your personal guides, as you tackle all of your endeavors.

Tomorrow you will regain your strength, your hope and your love for life and new experiences.

Tomorrow your children will return from their long journeys around the universe where they gained many experiences and much knowledge, which they’ll be wanting to share with you. They know your pace and will share commensurate with your availability. You need never ask. They’ll know when you’re ready. They’ll be doing all the maneuvering, and can hardly wait to see you again.

Tomorrow you will prosper by believing in all that is right and good and fair.

Tomorrow you will ignore the petty behaviors of others and look more deeply into all souls. Tomorrow you will make for yourself all that you want for yourself and you will make for others all that they want for themselves, while staying within the parameters of the Five Principles: no prejudice, discrimination, enslavement, torture and slaughter.

Tomorrow you will let go of all extraneous fears of inadequacies that keep you from being happy. No one is more or less adequate than anybody else.

Tomorrow I will enter your life more prominently than before–with your permission of course–and together, with this needed advantage, we will resume what we started long ago–loosening the shackles that keep the world and all that inhabits it enslaved.

Tomorrow you will become the famous animal-free chef, though I know you don’t seek fame.

Tomorrow you will become the famous word warrior, though I know you don’t seek fame.

Tomorrow the unseen children in the universe, who have kept their distance for your own safety, will approach in a loving and trusting way, because they know your heart, your soul, your mind and your intentions.

Tomorrow will be the best day of your life.

Me–I think I can handle that.

God–I know you can, otherwise I wouldn’t give you those special responsibilities. It’s time for the big time. You deserve every good thing and you will experience every good thing. 

Me–I’m too sensitive to criticism and too easy to anger. I’m still hurting from all the torture.

God–Not any more my angel warrior, not any more. Your patience will return with everything else.

Me–Thank you for choosing me.

God–No, thank you for choosing me. I’m simply giving back to you that which you gave to me. You passed every test with flying colors. Relax the rest of the evening. Enjoy Steve and Rose.

Me–I want Steve and Rose to get everything I get. 

God–Consider it done. Tomorrow you will regain your vision; and all that you learned from being oppressed will allow you to help others regain their vision as well.

Me–I don’t know in what order to submit the essays in the book.

God–Again, I am playing a more prominent role, so will instruct. Not to worry. There’s A New God In Town is for real. It’s here in Cleveland, in you, Steve and Rose. This is not a figment of somebody’s imagination. For you, I will give proof for the rest of the world to see, so that they never again feel bound to rely on blind faith. I’ve many surprises in store for you and they’re all good. You are on a journey to heal the world of all that ails it. 

Me–Sounds like a tall order.

God–It’s all about order. All the pieces of the puzzle have been tossed into the air. It is your assignment to put all the pieces together in such a way that each piece fits and facilitates the others, shining equally in worthiness and importance.

Me–Good. 

God–It’s all my pleasure. I’ve never ever found anyone who can do what you can do, never found anyone with the total package.

Me–But…my handicaps.

God–Your handicaps will become assets. They will allow you to understand the handicaps of others.

Me–It’s been a while, since I asked for you to write me a poem. I missed the dialogue between us and the others. I wasn’t expecting this.

God–Teach others how to do the same without shame.

Me–I will.

God–Thank you for not denying my presence. I know the pressure put on you to do that.

Me–It was never a problem for me. 

God–Thank you again.

Me–You’re always welcome.

Me–It’s now tomorrow.

God–Write me a poem.

Me–Okay.

Today.

Today and everyday I will fulfill tomorrow’s promise! 

God–I love it. It’s so you!

Me–That’s the shortest poem I ever wrote.

talking  jewish. I’m going to say something to the Jews: what their responsibilities are–beyond grabbing land and making people blow themselves up (what they call defending themselves). I’m going to tell them God’s wishes for them–an update, if you will. But, first I’m going to ask:

Me–I’m going to say this in Jewish and in English. Now, which do you prefer I do first? Jewish or English?

J1Well, let’s see, you don’t know how to speak Jewish (whisper: she doesn’t does she?). Well…well…wait a minute. If she asked that, then it must mean something. Exit Jews for a special session to determine which she should speak in first: Jewish or English.

J2After selecting me as head of the committee many more questions and concerns arose, for instance:

**She mentioned Jewish first, so maybe that’s good and maybe it isn’t.

**She should have mentioned English first. E comes before J. Maybe because she was speaking to us and not anybody else, she put us first, maybe showing respect, after all, why if she was talking directly to us would she speak in English first.

**Maybe because she knows we speak mostly English.

**Then she would have said English or Jewish, not Jewish or English.

**Sounds like she’s making a big deal out of us being Jewish.

**And maybe not. **How many letters in Jewish and how many in English?

**Six and seven respectively.

**So, six comes before seven.

**Okay, so she’s got a plan for that at least.

**Now which one do we want to pick–you know, for her to speak to us first in?

**Do the opposite. Always do the opposite.

**Jewish first.**That’s not the opposite.

**Yes it is. She mentioned Jewish first out of respect, which means she really thought English, so we do the opposite: Jewish.

**What if she can’t speak Jewish?

**Then we’ll know she’s a fake, or bluffing or lying.

**Or we could really embarrass her. Do we want that?

**Add them together. What do you get?

**Thirteen. Bad sign, very bad sign.

**She’s going to tell us something bad, something that hurts us and helps everybody else.

**But still…we want to hear what she has to say. Tell her we won’t meet with her till we know what she’s going to say in both languages, then we’ll decide if we’re going to listen at all.

**But which language should she submit first?

**Both.

**She won’t write them both first. How will we know which she writes first?

**And that could make all the difference.

**Yeah, right, how do we know.

**Date the papers.**But she said we have a choice. If we don’t take advantage of the choice, then she’ll do first what she wants to do first.

**Besides, if she doesn’t know how to write in Jewish, she could ask someone to do it for her, then who will that be?

**Could be a Nazi who translates it wrong.

**But that assumes that she writes it in English first.

**Flip a coin.

**What kind of coin?

**An English or Jewish coin?

**What do you have in your pocket?

**It could jinx us.

**Probably just what she was counting on.

**I don’t trust her. A sinister question. Which first? Why does it matter?

**Maybe she was just being polite.

**Okay subtract one from the other.

**Seven from six or six from seven.

**Either plus one or minus one.

**Oh boy, now we’re in hot water for sure. Somebody’s going to get the short end of the stick, and you know who that is.

**What if she has a different message depending upon which we say we want first?

Me–I think I’ll speak English first.

J3No, no. We don’t like the English. Nothing that has anything to do with Europe. What, the European Union is in on this? No. Speak Jewish first.

J4No. No. First impressions count. What if she humiliates us in front of our own people before she even hits the others with what she said to us? No time for damage control. 

J3Yeah…we need to keep her away from our people. Who knows what influence she might have.

J5Oh God, which one.

Me–I think I’ll speak Jewish second so that…

J6Yeah, yeah so we’ll look like the underdog, number two. Everybody likes an underdog. Go with it. THE END.

J2–Wait just a minute, I’m in charge here. You appointed me as head of this committee, which means I have veto power. I smell a rat. Who made you in charge all of a sudden?

J6I merely made a suggestion.

J2No you didn’t, you said go for it.

J6I think I know what I said, I said with it.

J2So now you’re with her.

J3She’s talking double talk. English first, Jewish second. She didn’t say anything new. It’s a trap. We get the short end of the stick either way.

J5Let’s ask her if she could speak in a third language.

J4Brilliant. Which language?

J1–Who cares, anything but Jewish or English.

Me–I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your appointment time is up and I need to be elsewhere. 

J2Told ya. Bad news. It’s always bad for the Jews.

J1-6(in unison) Everybody hates us. We don’t need some stupid plan. Let’s skin her alive, stuff her in a pig and roast them both. Huh. Jewish or English. Like we care.

our responsibility. 

You–Okay God, so I accept that you’ve been too busy taking care of the rest of the world to bother with us. But, tell me Lord, if you can take a minute, just what it was that you were so busy doing? Did you stop the hunger and feed the poor? Did you clothe the naked and give medicine to the sick? Did you make a tent to protect the world from the elements? Did you stop the prejudice, discrimination, enslavement, torture and slaughter? Did you Lord? Did you? Or, did you just sit back and make a long list of all you had to do, while telling us you were too busy to get to us? I think I gotcha Lord, sinking down in your cloud, hiding the face that we all need to see. I think you’re a fearin’ what we all might do if we started to hold you accountable, given that you claim all the power. That’s what I think of you, Lord, now what do you think of that?

God–Go to the nearest destination with nary a thought, and to the next destination in the same way as before till you reach what you’ve been seeking. In the meanwhile, and during the process, I’ll be by your side, but please leave any reference to me out of any plans that don’t include my thoughts. And, further down the road should your thoughts again turn to me, I’ll guide you in just how to go about what you claim to be my responsibility.

to my translucent transparent children: pchrpdj. If it’s okay with you I’d like to stop feeling as if I must think about you all the time in order to honor my memory of you and to stay in contact. I know you’re in good, secure and loving hands, and that you can better spend your time at endeavors that don’t include baby sitting me through every boring or exciting moment of my life.

I now trust implicitly that when you’re around you’ll let me know, and when I need you, one of you, or all of you, will be there. You don’t need to stay plugged in any more to make me feel safe. I’ll contact you through the usual meeting of our Gods when something must be said. If you’re busy and miss the signal, I’ll do something outrageous enough for you to prick up your ears and listen up. I’m not going to call you any further with every little thing. So, if I forget to think about you till one day I realize I haven’t, I’ll also trust that that’s exactly the way you wanted it.

I’m not closing the door or the book, I’m simply doing what I need to do: strive to survive in order to make whatever small contribution is left for me to make in this world that will honor all of us. Thank you for all the lessons. Now it’s time to apply what I’ve learned.

Y1–I think she’s talking to us. You know…God through her to us.

Y2–No, she’s talking to her dead animals, her children. She’s letting them go.

Y3–No, she’s talking to God through her animals and she’s saying, ‘let me go’.

Y4–Yeah…right. She’d never tell her kids to go. She’s telling us–through them–to take a hike.

Y5–She’s telling us that she knows we’re there and accepts it and will deal with it as if it wasn’t happening, but knows we’ll be there if she’s in danger.

Y6–No, no. She’s going to walk without crutches. They’ve been the wind beneath her armpits.

Y7No, they’ve been weighing her down. The memory of how they died.

Y6–We’ve been weighing her down. 

Y8Think of the ramifications of her without crutches.

Y9Watch out. It’s a plane, it’s a bird, it’s a crippled dove.

Y1-9Warrior dove.

Y1-9Fly crippled warrior dove. 

Me–I surpassed everybody’s expectations.

God–You surpassed everybody’s expectations.

Me–Did they learn anything?

God–A bunch.

Me–Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

God–Yeah…who says.

wind songs. Wind songs whisper through summer sands brash promises of winter snow nights melting in memories of that which spring failed miserably to deliver. Howling, piercing pain tunnels through funnels of hardened flesh frozen by air–whistling a tune one prefers not to hear. A tune one cannot help but stutter upon as it stops in mid air. When…..the wind softens its approach soothing my eyes with liquid velvet billows of languid chiffon, coating rosy tenderness where hatred once made rigid the air that delivered it, I’ll be there–as always. When…..howling harshness softens the branches of the message delivered enabling the whispers to grow into words, by bending with its song, hope will have arrived right along side the message…..right on time.

hypocrisy. I can’t see it. Where is it? Like atoms, and molecules and atomules: everywhere. And it’s killing us,  silently, beneath the guise of protection, as we turn on ourselves by turning on each other–a suicide–a homicide–silent dreams, that nobody hears, nor wants to–until now. Happy dreams and sweet dreams will not be forced on anyone. We will no longer use as an excuse, “but they didn’t respect us or give us the same courtesy”. The teacher, the real teacher, will return in all of us, not as a lesson to be learned, but as a hand to be held.

negotiations with the enemy. The universe knows the secrets though, of sinister plans of the past to dim the shining light of the first born of every bright star. Now, and only out of desperation do they sing a new, loud and bawdy tune reminiscent of past atrocities exposed by the melody of corruption. Yes, the universe knows the plans to end that which never began. Or did it? And only now are we seeing the fruits of our seeds sown? But, which seeds? And, can we see and think clearly enough, with calm and foresight through the darkness–resisting the fear, moving with caution and confidence, while wading through the confusion in order to cultivate the flowers rather than the weeds? Who will protect the dim lights, reticent to shine too brightly, concerned that peaking too soon will snuff out the seeds the universe plants for the survival of the planet? A Daisy Mae flower blooms in October. A rose of Sharon smiles back. You’re safe–in a harbor alongside the seeds of the plan. The world chose you–and did so–correctly.

an ocean of words. Hard words flowing from a soft pen, turning fondly into thoughts–as God, my God, guides with fluid snow that which will melt every heart. I want to continue, not ever having cared for endings–happy or otherwise. And I will do as I desire, whether imprisoned or free–it doesn’t matter. Smooth as black glass rippling in the twilight: reflections of a star, never knowing its effect on the glass or those who view it. Gentle as silent, giant waves, refusing to be still, yet unheard, except to those who see the reflection and refuse to allow catastrophic events blind the world to its elegance.

a chain event. What goes around comes around, but not always delivered by those we offend or praise. What we do, comes back to us, precisely because we, or somebody else set the example–to someone else, at some point and place in time. Show the world violence and someone in the world will show violence to somebody else. Show the world love and someone in the world will show love to somebody else. One example set, sets the whole world in motion–as a pebble in a pond, invoking or evoking similar responses that appear quite disconnected, at first, and then even at second glance, given a second chance to look again. But, eventually the chain appears as a chain, slowly in the beginning, until its links become more clear and the connections more distinct, till finally all at once we shout: Eureka!! A chain event!

A chain can appear as a panacea for organized chaos or as a catalyst for organized destruction. Every thinking world citizen must face the hard cold facts of the reality of that pebble in the pond becoming a boulder, and that boulder becoming many boulders, as love for oneself and one’s family and country turn to hatred for the other self, the other family and the other country, now called the enemy.

Love is a pebble in the pond, if only for its gentle nature: a chain event.

Hate is a bomb wherever it lands: also a chain event.

The bomb or the threat of a bomb cannot function as a peace maker or a tool for peace, once it becomes a chain event, unless that chain is broken. That event is already upon us. It takes a lot of courage to break the links that embrace destructive behaviors. The money wells in the country that promises money for support of bombs as peace making tools, will dry up before ever delivered, and long before promises of a new life, nourishing the ideals of a new world are upon us. Everybody knows that those who made money from the Jewish Holocaust are still being brought to trials. Nobody will ever forget. As the bombs fall as an unprovoked holocaust against Iraq in the name of the Jewish State, still taking out its post World War II revenge for the holocaust committed against them, on anything that dares to move, through money lined American channels, while Americans steal lucrative natural resources in the name of setting a ‘people’ free, promising to save them their money, not their oil wells, as the Swiss did for the Jews during World War II via the Nazis, another holocaust will be committed against another people, and on and on, because once set in motion, as a chain event, only a massive global effort can stop it.

Words by Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair ring hollow: ‘Only this once and then we can always use peaceful means’ to resolve conflict. He already tried peaceful means in Palestine and failed. Maybe he didn’t try hard enough for peaceful means to work. One must try harder and harder until they do. I thought Tony Blair was trying to set a peaceful means example in Palestine, then he went and bombed Iraq to hell. Bill Clinton said the same thing during the Kosovo war. This will be the war that sets the world at peace, rolling into the 21st century. What ever happened to Kosovo? The cycle of destruction must be broken while it’s in motion.

One might ask if it would take the same massive global effort to stop the effect of a pebble when a good example is set? My response is a question, who would want to do that? My response is, of course, naive. Unfortunately, many in the world would go to extraordinary lengths to stop one good example from being set in motion–and do. Israel now says, one more massacre in Palestine, then it’s on to step two. Nobody knows what step two is. This is a current example of the necessity of a global effort to break this chain event before the world self-destructs with Israel as the leader of the suicide missions. One more massacre and the world will be set straight. If you’re seeing a utopia right now, accompanied by a fuzzy feeling, you’re delusional, thus dangerous. Change that thought. NOW.

thunder. Rolling plains and thunder hills pit against the other, while lightening strikes in the oddest of places: valley fields overflowing with fertile life attracting even the most undesirable elements seemed destined to part the ways of peace in the mindless meadow valley, precisely and merely because life destroys or is compelled, through obligation to protect, that which most find appealing, or at least more appealing, than the plain and its old rolling thunderous hills.

A hill becomes a plain and a plain a hill depending where you sit, or stand. Thunderous or silent, matters only to the ear that hears it. Why does all in the universe gravitate toward the most beautiful, most exciting, most serene, most talented? Always, extremes appear to attract rather than repel. Yet we speak, as if extreme makes us weak to the point of repulsion, when it really makes us strong to the point of revulsion. And what is more beautiful than a fantasy? Is mediocre, average, inert, worth nothing? If not, then why do so many of us love it, while watching in our fantasy those who don’t? What attracts us to the safety and predictability of the rolling plain and thunder hill, while we only dare dream of the   excitement that exists but a stone’s throw away–in the fertile meadow valley below?

A valley is below a plain and a hill–everybody sees it. A trap is what excites us most of all–or avoiding or escaping it, makes our pulse quicken with delight even horror–especially in the night and especially if we just barely make it! The grass really does grow greener on the other side, if it’s a valley. I discover by traveling through the maps of my minds eye, that those who live in the most barren and arid lands, rely on interpersonal relationships with each other by which to satisfy their beauty and excitement cravings, while those surrounded by excitement in nature remain strangers to their human counterparts. They commune with the mountain or the crashing waves of the ocean, rather than the person, relying instead on the beauty of the inanimate formations that surround them, to satisfy the beauty and excitement they crave.

Neither are wrong. But mediocre, even barren, as well as excitement born from extremes of anything, lie somewhere in the interpretations of the experiences of the beholders. Some see a universe in a grain of sand, God in the eye of an ant, the Goddess of fire in a volcano, the face of God on a tree, under a stone or in the clouds. They see footprints and sand weaves and, and, and…but never the face or act of God in a human. In a cow, yes, a cat, dog, bird…but never in a human. We all do crave to be in the valley, until we get there, and become homesick for the mediocrity of the rolling plain and thunder hill, which once we return to, we realize didn’t really roll or thunder at all.  And the lightning? In the valley? Not there either, except in our fantasies of what might happen, if the rolling plain and thunder hill met.

That’s why we go home. The valley wasn’t really a valley either. The plain didn’t satisfy us so we made it roll. The hill didn’t satisfy us, so we made it thunder. When neither satisfied us, we lighted a valley for our own excitement–to look down upon, from any vantage point, to view the devilish, though hardly anonymous, adventures of those safe or not safe in our own minds eye. When we dared venture to the valley of our interpretation, and saw it barren, filled with vacant eyes and odd smells of strangers, we craved the safe excitement of the familiar. Now, from there, from there….we could dream and make the dreams come true all at once. There’s something to be said for operating from a “home” base. You don’t need to fight a war to know how to solve one, as all those who travel to the mysterious fertile valley come home to know. Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is the key to solving all problems arising from boredom.

the power of a plant. Winding around the brick wall the ivy fastens itself to the mortar as if for dear life, puncturing wounds into the walls it calls on for it’s survival. The concept of patience and waiting appears not to surface in the ivy’s mission to simultaneously destroy that which it clings to in order to live. But both do survive. The strength of a plant perplexes the most rigid of minds, as a tree digs deeply its roots to support a mammoth structure that one must cut down in order to tip the hand that sowed it–vulnerable only to the elements and those whose passion it is to own it.

Even plants war for space, vying for their own species sake, the right to a survival one instinctually knows their mere presence proves. Strangling its neighbor, the weaker of the two succumbs–or so one might think. But alas, in nature there emerges a built in blueprint for peaceful coexistence as the strangler wraps its arms around the one it chooses to thrive by, checking its growth to make room for its own, while remaining codependent now, living side by side entangled in each others existence.\

To the outsider matters look bleak, but to the plants: the strangler and the strangled; they see it differently. They both survive stronger than before. Even with plants, thought the weakest, next to a stone, we witness the struggle and the solution at once. So, why don’t we humans pattern our solutions for cohabitation after the plant? Too frivolous a thought, one presumes. A mindless plant gives the solution? Nah. But yes, at the same time.

a special place. Abandoning all cares doesn’t come easily to those who do care, but sometimes for the sake of survival–at least momentarily–one must do exactly that. If one hopes to make it through another day of disruption, chaos and loss, one simply must live in the moment of their own guiding light and suffering soul, until the gap between chaos and calm sufficiently narrows, through new insights and strategies, which invariably appear as sure as the sun also sets to replace the darkened day, to all those faced with dilemmas, creating a sturdy enough bridge upon which one feels comfortable in crossing, that in itself, serves as the motivating force to propel one (ever so gently, at times) to the other side–healing wounds in the process of not focusing on them–until before one knows it, new life emerges from the old, and along with it a fresh perspective–and a plan.

Building small bridges between chaos and calm defines success in overcoming the obstacles of life. However, all of life’s struggles, when approached with the intent and consequent complimentary and supporting actions needed to narrow the gaps between progress and falling into a pit of despair, become resolved–only if one possesses a clearly defined goal along with the plan. As new insights emerge along the way to that achievement, however, one must possess the courage to alter one’s perspective accordingly, thus possibly the goal. A strategy or a plan in absence of a defined goal is neither a strategy nor a plan, but simply a process, whereby one takes one step at a time in the dark of the unknown, simply wishing and hoping and praying for a positive outcome, thus reducing the strategy or the plan to nothing more than a gamble.

Such measures are chaotic in nature and with each additional step creates more chaos. A person walks out onto a frozen pond, knowing that water flows at some point beneath. Without first mapping out the thickness of the ice, when one takes a step, it does so without confidence: one wrong move–even when testing with a little weight to see if the ice breaks (and one still doesn’t know if the ice will  sustain them until the person places it’s full weight on it)–and chaos can ensue, simply by taking steps that one isn’t sure will produce positive results. If one falls into the freezing water, then do they have a plan to get out? Their goal may have been to get to the other side, but if the plan wasn’t sufficient to get them there, they could possibly drown. So it is with life in solving dilemmas.

A goal is only as good as the plan to achieve it, and a plan without a clearly defined goal leads to chaos. One may plan to climb a mountain, but if one doesn’t know how high the mountain, one may never reach the top. When mishaps occur, the place you’re supposed to be is in the moment of your own suffering soul’s guiding light, in order to confer with that light and that soul, with the goal of opening new channels of information, that one needs in order to narrow the gap between chaos and calm, so that one may move on with a new perspective, which produces the goal along with the plan to achieve it. That special place is a place I call God.

promises made for keeping. God grant me the strength to fight through argument those who terrorize me and others, no matter who they be.

God grant me discipline in my everyday life, so that everyday I may accomplish a new task that requires that discipline.

God grant me courage to fight oppression, bombs and prejudice with the fire and love of your soft or sternly spoken words through my pen.

I will protest arrogance by winning for losing, with humility.

I will protest evil in every person’s heart, by mending that which another has broken.

I will protest hatred by loving those who hate me.

I will fight in small ways for rightness, because someone who fights big has few supporters. I will no doubt be scorned and rejected for my efforts, but in the end, the scorn will have been worth the fight.

I will be the stepping stone for others. And one day, they will become the stones upon which others step, in continuing the quest for peace through nonviolence and nonviolent response.

When my work on this earth is done, I will fight in a life beyond this life to accomplish in another dimension that which I was blocked from accomplishing in this one.

I have made a pact with a God whom others, in their ignorance, and through their thirst for domination through eating the blood, call the devil. But, I know who I am–today and everyday–my God. 

love for lack of a better title. We continue through love lost knowing full well where it went. So, tomorrow will be alright; tonight lost to today and how about yesterday’s love? No love on any day? Well, of course, no love and all love, forever. The two go hand in hand, people walking, waltzing, storming through life back and forth  between love and no love.

What kind of love is that? Probably the only kind there is. Moments of love, moments of no love. Everything in-between being wasted on trying to figure out the difference between the two. So, love continues–lost. Where did it go? Somewhere in-between–where everybody seems to prefer it.

We see two choices: either in love or not in love. We’re hurting when we’re in love and hurting when we’re not in love. Love? Settle for the moment. Best that way. Better than no love. Better than love. Love? Give and take. But who does the giving and taking? What happens in-between determines that. The in-between is where everything happens. So, trust not the love nor the no love; trust only what happens in-between.

green. Why can’t people be convinced that the grass isn’t greener on the other side? Because sometimes it is, and people love to gamble.

smoke. Raindrops sucked from sunken eyes forced to see more than necessary–hoping the rain might blur the view. Hearing through your mind’s ear, the pitter patter of feet dancing on linoleum makes a happy noise, nostalgic noise, to buffer the blows from the zones of hatred and greed. Forced to walk through the smoke-filled rings of everybody else’s revenge, haunted by some vague purpose of teaching those who don’t particularly want to learn.

artists vs scientists. Artists don’t create effortlessly–though it often appears that way. Scientists don’t create effortlessly either–though most of what they apply is trial and error. Artists take the greater care when applying their craft, since the canvas rarely forgives the misplaced stroke. A scientist merely kills and throws away the rats–who make mice of what could have been greater men. Artists who are also scientists, will forever be conflicted by the black and white of proving their need for hues. Scientists who are also artists–eventually–will perfect the art of torture. 

wonders. Early in the morning, long before dawn, my forehead pressed against the cool window, examining with close scrutiny the ice crystals melting from the heat of my breath, I wonder–and ponder–the stark realities of life. Early in the morning, while most of the rest of the world sleeps, I can hear through my spirit, without the distraction of people stirring, the answers to my questions regarding the wonders of life. Early in the morning, a profound realization startles, in the absence of imagination, and the wonder of life appears, gently, coolly, matter of factly, embracing the questions and guiding the answers. There’s no room for understanding. There’s no need. There’s no time, as the clock ticks and I know the early morning will soon be gone. Magical moments flowing as the leaves outside my window make a happy noise in unison, but each separately–making their presence known as the lessons–just learned. With the wind–as teacher.

mediocrity and brilliance. The wind howls tonight. As I hear it, I listen for you. And as always, I’m not disappointed. You come again to my dream of dreams in a reality laced with startling views, but for the most part–by routes well-travelled. The wind howls soft in the distance–quite shy by most standards. Then, just as I think you’re gone, you return louder and with greater force to remind me–as always–to listen to the distant winds. You come again: to my dream of dreams, and again, the startling views hushed by the abundance of ordinary routes, lose their potent message and brilliant shine. Again, you appear to leave. Hovering though. Silent–as a reminder to make the startling views thunder–above the mediocre chatter found along well-travelled trains of thought. 

character. When assessing one’s life, the way one handles adversity shows the worst of a person’s character. But, in the absence of such struggles, just as important, and telling, is the way one handles success. Either way–whether we’re floundering at the bottom or soaring at the top, if we still insist on kindness and compassion reigning in our hearts and through our actions, we’ve realized our potential as the animals we were designed to be. In case you didn’t know this, people flounder at the top as often as people soar at the bottom. Floundering is a component of soaring.

glory be or the anointing of a planet. Mine eyes have seen the glory as my heart beats to a drum I appear to be hearing for the first time, as God’s promised surprise of questions answered lights the heart of my soul as the coming of the Lord brings peace in twilight grace. Mine eyes see the bright of day, the hope sprung from dark filled tear dampened nights, as the wind of It’s swiftly deliberate arm blows with desert calm amidst sparkling sands a new life, fresh with clean waters nourishing the ideals of a new earth, a new world, a new and everlasting love. Mine eyes have seen it all. There is no turning back. Nothing can stop me. Oh, how I had forgotten to look back, but better now that I didn’t, for I see, for all the suffering, the rising of a new, more brilliant sun.

all creatures think. 

happy birthday baby.  Magical mystery stars dancing to a symphony of multi colored auras burning brightly in the light nightened sky captured as pink tinsel glittering as gold blackened like coal. Magical mystery stars soaring, piercing, directing, swooping, rising in crescendo arcs of multicolored auras burning brightly in the light nightened sky: just for me.

untitled. Rising star and budding flower standing still–for the butterfly. With face to the sun, back to the wind, chasing a dream; walking on air; smelling the scent of the challenge. Making rainbows out of mischief–playing a game of the will.

all life and non-life dance with god. 

traveling of the mind: a vacation. Walking, driving, flying motionless in my mind. Skipping over highways, oceans and forests. Beckoning, breezy delights and warm, moist memories, never really occurring, but then who cares? The mind forgets memories anyway. My travels remain always fresh, as each new journey begins with nothing more than a wistful, adventurous thought. Wow. What a trip–always special–as good as anyone else’s who fight the tiresome burden of preparations, that vacations of the mind and trips of the heart never incur.

Enjoyed–is what it’s all about. The engaging symmetry of a perfect, yet not necessarily always pleasant, journey into the mind of geography, planets and universes. Sparkling with new knowledge–new relationships. No jet lag, lost luggage, canceled credit cards, or by reservation only–when you happen upon the perfect restaurant. And, you never, ever have to wait–for anything. You can take any route and still get there. And if you change your mind midstream–not a problem. Just click to another neuropathway of your brain–and you’re on your way to a new destination. What better way to enjoy a vacation. And best of all–it’s free!

tearing down walls. Most people when considering prejudicial issues, erect walls. I also tend to do that, but as the wall rises, I know enough to examine it, while it’s still transparent enough to explore the issues surrounding the wall openly and honestly–not only from my own perspective, because that in itself defies transparency, but from the perspective of everyone else.  Being able to tear down one’s own wall of prejudice, meeting others, face to face, as equally worthy, with the reality of the facts at everyone’s disposal–makes all the difference in overcoming the fear that creates the prejudice.

tonight. Tonight talk to the God in you. Walk an inch with God; not a mile, not a marathon–just an inch. In that inch you will find the universe. God will take you anywhere you want to go with pleasure–and most importantly, understanding.

god grant me the courage to change the world by changing myself. 

Untitled. If I can’t reach you through logic, I’ll reach you through art. If I can’t reach you through compassion, I’ll reach you through art. If I can’t reach you through intelligence, I’ll reach you through art. If I can’t reach you through love, I’ll reach you through art. If I’ve reached you through science–attained through the enslavement, torture and slaughter of others, I’ve gone too far. To my human charges: God defines science; science does not determine God. Computer science is the only acceptable future.

alien children.

Me: Take me to that special place–where alien children dance and sing through my soul. Show me again their joy. 

God: They’re always there, opening up for you to see and hear. Anytime, any place, they’re there just for you–to bring you joy–in the most adverse circumstances. Draw on them. Paint them in your mind, and bring them to life. You’re their assignment–just as I give you yours.

cleveland.  In a city filled with hate, anger, resentment and prejudice–I walk out into the summer morning through an opened screened door, after our canine kids bolt like summer lightning in the daylight ahead of me to greet the birds, flowers, and fragrance of peace among animals and trees. But no humans. Where are they? Why do they hide from each other? What do they hide from each other? Why aren’t they greeting the morning, with pleasure instead of disdain? Too fragmented by hurt, I gently surmise to myself, as I squint from the brightness of the morning light to smell the wild flowers cascading wildly over the invisible fence–to enter into a common world of global love and concern.

sweet white corn and summer tomatoes. Popsicle sticks writing in hot, sticky tar, on hot streets, on hot summer days.

Sitting on the curb with tanned shoulders bending to the ground by the weight of the sun.

Spider webs sparkling in the morning dew.

Cool, summer streams filling the air with rushing sounds of clear running water.

My dog licking the moisture from my eyes with her sand paper tongue.

Mesmerized by rainbows in water hoses.

Sweet white corn and summer tomatoes.

Skipping to the song of my shoes against the sidewalk.

Sailing through the sky, soaring as if with wings, swinging to the freedom ring of my heart.

Lilacs smelling so sweetly in my room. Lilacs dying with sweet fragrance that I’ll never forget.

Raindrops pounding on the old metal awning in the night.

The smell of broken leaves as I walk.

Embracing cool, crisp, autumn days.

Crickets in the twilight.

The smell of sautéed celery on Thanksgiving morning.

Pictures, paintings and old photos.

The sound of crackling ice beneath my feet.

Sparkling lights dancing off the cold, shimmering ice dripping from the trees.

The smell of fresh pitch seeping from fresh cut Christmas trees.

Christmas tree lights. Sparkle days. “Oh come all ye faithful”.

A soft wind and fragrant, balmy air. Night blooming jasmine.

The fragrance of a Florida grapefruit in Florida.

The first glimpse, the first sound–of the ocean.

A million butterflies hovering over my body flapping their wings.

A light, gentle wind flickering, playfully against my cheek.

Pink neon.

The smell of new plastic.

Soft green oceans and purple morning skies in Mexico.

Blue skies in other lands look different.

Black Russian bread, in winter, in Russia.

White paper clouds hanging from Toronto skies.

Fireworks in Waikiki on New Year’s Eve.

The pitter patter sound of dogs walking on linoleum.

Serious talks and drunken dances…Thunder storms in the night.

Till the beat of my heart and the path that I walk become one.

The rose still blooms; even when it’s fallen, it blooms from there.

Prejudice in Cleveland.

Magical walks down ancient tree-lined streets at dawn and dusk.

The making of an angel.

Sweet, sweet success–exhilarating success.

Reaching the top.

Walking in a rainbow.

Radiant.

time to change. Time to change. Time to live up to our part of the bargain. The pain distant now as waves receding are to the shore. Time to ante up. Time to put up that which we promised our God, our children. Life gives us many chances. The suffering goes while a new life emerges, with new challenges waiting. The time has come to change–drawing strength and courage from the past, and yes–love too. Love is the only true savior with which to bridge the gap between suffering and the new foundation upon which we will build this new life.

It’s time to give your God a chance. It’s time for us as adults to start acting the way we instruct our children to act. It’s time to expect from ourselves what we expect from others. It’s time to stop holding the grudges we tell others to let go of. It’s time to fight for the rights that we complacently expect others to fight for us. It’s time to stop punishing and to start finding compassionate solutions. It’s time to stop flexing our political muscles with bombs and sanctions, which take life from those who didn’t commit the crime. It’s time to walk the talk.

life is good–except for the millions slaughtered every day; except for the millions who starve to death every day; except for the millions confined to prisons, nursing homes, orphanages and mental institutions; except for the millions homeless; except for the millions afflicted with debilitating disorders and diseases; except for the millions who are victimized by violent crimes and atrocities; except for the millions in the world who are not free to enjoy the good life; except for the millions who live in denial of all of the above.

life can be better–when out of denial and working to make this earth a better place for all who inhabit it. No one should ever have to say when commenting upon the passing of a loved one–they’ve gone to a better place. Life needs to be better now–for everyone!

sometimes the hurt’s too big. Sometimes when the hurt’s too big, God blocks the pain from it, carrying you through each day, healing the hurt, stitch by stitch–until in your own time you are ready to bear it. God deftly weaves from the inside out every wound, from the pain of those who suffered before you, each little stitch expertly sown–to mend the holes of each heart and broken soul. Wounds are meant for healing, so sometimes when the hurt’s too big, you need do nothing to help the healing along, since your God begins the process while you’re not yet strong.

Wounds that reopen, as they sometimes will, do so from the outside in, never reaching again the hurt so big. A private little place, like a personal window, is where the two of you can sometimes go, and through a buffered zone of love and support share the view–now as a vision of wisdom and life’s learning song–in the absence of longing and mourning. You never need return to a place of devastation, because in your life and through your God’s heart that place and that pain is long gone. So, if the hurt’s too big, not to worry, there’s no need to save for another day, that which God has taken care of anyway.

running up a storm. Running wildly, slowly, arms angled as if attached to steel wheels propelling an invisible train, hissing, steaming, streaming pistons slamming, heels thundering, breaking through pavement and tar, striking with haphazard precision, obliviously imprinting scars on artificial surfaces. With puffed cheeks, gritted teeth, eyes squint to break the glare randomly jumping from ocean caps dancing a thundering tone of their own. Lips tightly stretched with no intention of grinning, much less smiling, while the heart belts out a song nevertheless, harder and more forceful than the fresh, light song in the soul, but under stressful conditions even a baby’s breath can feel like a hurricane conjuring up a tsunami.

pele: goddess of fire. Death is with me now and I will enjoy her company, as one who cherishes a companion, till my days on this planet come to an end.

Tonight I laid to rest in my heart: my daughter Pele: Goddess of Fire.

I love you sweet sadness. I love you, piercing, nagging pain. I love the foundation of hope and strife that surrounded every movement, every thought, of your fiercely guarded life.

I see the gestures now from all around me–while you joyfully play the tune of your freedom on this my darkest night.

I love you with millions of kisses and soft, gentle strokes–and memories of long lasting gazes. As the wind, the sea, the mountains, rivers and trees; my sun, my rain, my joy, my pain, you are me and I you, so will remain in a state of bittersweet, yet profound anticipation.

You will stay with me in all I do and go my way as I go yours. There will never be a rift to divide what cannot be conquered. For I have given you my soul and to no other have you given yours.

I love you, I love you, I love you, with all the universe waiting–for us to march in commitment and determination to the beat of our God’s drum, as I protect and you guide our journey together–as I write and you light the fires from the smoldering coals in my heart, to bring the word of freedom for all God’s creatures, to ring loud and clear throughout the earth you hold so dear.

My child, my friend and companion, my eyes melt into yours as I speak with eyes opened or closed I still see and always will see the beauty that is you and the courage that only you could show and carry in graceful fear, in anticipation of God’s strong, gentle arm reaching down to pull your fighting spirit from your dying body.

It was a glorious sight to witness the making of an angel. You became victorious in your death as you left this cruel world behind. My only consolation was that I knew you were in a better place. I was happy in my pain to finally set you free; a freedom I came to know well that you longed for each day of the ten years and eleven months, while you stayed confined inside the boundaries I was forced to set to keep you safe.

Thank you God, for showing your light through my eyes till she only had eyes for you.

Thank you for making her journey home a peaceful and exhilarating one.

Thank you for sharing your grace with me, your humble servant, through the devotion and spirit of a woman I am proud to call my daughter–a woman held prisoner in a world that didn’t belong to her.

I never owned you Pele, though others thought I did. What did they know anyway.

Thank you for teaching me your wisdom and showing me your power.

Thank you for allowing me into your life and sharing with me your fire.

You are all power now, Pele, my Goddess of Fire, and the warrior is in me now.

I have your power and you have me. And we’re connected for eternity to the power and love we call our God.

You’ll do the work that my human intellect and body cannot, and I’ll do the earthly chores that you being an angel cannot–as God coordinates and supervises. Praise God and thank you.

Together we three will work more effectively to loosen the shackles, to stop the conveyor belts of slaughter, and set our future families free. For this I owe my life to my daughter.

For a while I’ll have to mourn you, even as we begin our work; I vow never to leave you or give up the fight,  because your fight is mine.

God prepares us for many battles as we speak.

My sweet, tender soul, Mama is with you–still, silence takes the place in my heart where you once chattered.

So, chatter again Pele, beyond the work we must do; let me hear your song: the song of old and wise utterances resonating as the cry of the wolf.

painful paradise perversions or what’s behind the emerald door. Water fishing for shells making waves, hollering above the fluid hallways of the ocean floor, torn and shredded from heart to thought, struggles to avoid mistaking sizzle for substance, as wider and denser dimensions compete for entry into the paradise of the water ways, by mirroring images of mirages fooling the new contenders from recognizing the circle of painful ecstasy familiar only to the jaded inhabitants who continue to pursue it–purposefully aimlessly–with the intent of alluding by barely a breath, a brush or a stroke, that which they pursue, fearful that the paradise promised beyond, may prove less than the exquisitely magnetic allure of the intricately wave-woven sun struck emerald door.

a basket of treasures. Two wine bottles, one black, the other a dark hue of green, both adorned with artistically designed labels, set at a tilt and mostly opposite from each other in a rectangular, simply woven light beige basket. A handle, made of the same reeds, rises above it in a sturdy curve, woven as rope, bending to the two ends of the base, securely fastened to carry more than its own weight.

Plump, glistening reddish black grapes (not purple) wind generously around the two bottles, casually overflowing the basket rim to the front, simultaneously reaching, just as casually, overflowing the rim to the back–stating with subtle clarity their obsession with each other. A red delicious apple and yellow pear, perfectly formed by the seeds that grew the trees that bore the fruit, nestle between the bunches of grapes, highlighting the distinctive colors and shapes of all that surround them.

Petals on pine cones, lightly tipped with white paint, shine from a dash of metallic glitter reminiscent of a holiday long gone, and one that promises to return, reminding the viewer that life continues. A small, yet no less impressive, single bunch of light green, round, barely mature grapes, frosted with translucent hints of white, struggling to glare beneath portions of their tender skins, sets atop the display, falling gently into place as the other treasures welcome them home, gladly and without fanfare.

One fragile twig, so thin one barely notices it, except for the flash of its gilded glow, applied obviously with a whispered breath, rather than a brush, so as not to disrupt its existence, gracefully stands as if rooted among its subjects, adoring, thus completing the centerpiece, which sets proudly on the hardwood table, making sitting down to dine a joy.

an art museum. Backdrop: art museum in Europe. Daytime–afternoon. Characters: a European Man and an American Woman. She looks at him looking at her, then casually returns her gaze to the painting they were both viewing.

AW–”Why do you observe out loud?” she whispers crisply, while staring at the painting.

EM–”I was acting American; isn’t that what Americans do–observe out loud?” [He speaks in an equally crisp, but somewhat throaty whisper.]

AW–”I’ve never made that observation.” European man looks at American woman. Their eyes briefly dance without touching.

AW–”You’re more American than European.”

EM–”You’re more European than American.” They simultaneously return to the painting. They simultaneously sigh. With no further expectations, they visually peruse the painting, bringing the substance of the art to a life of their own understanding–each different, each now on their own path in the same picture.

They turn and walk away in opposite directions–uplifted, walking on air, smelling for the first time each other’s absence, as they step out into the noise cluttered street.

They simultaneously hesitate, look up at the overcast sky and smile wryly, as if they had just seen a rainbow everybody missed.

They pull up their coats by the collars, hugging them softly to their necks, then calmly, confidently, and again, simultaneously, inhale a slow deep breath of new life.

a picnic. Backdrop: a park (well-groomed) rising above a huge lake. A corral fence lines the cliff that shelters the beach below. Two picnic tables set neatly apart from each other on a rectangular segment of gravel cut from the lawn which is adorned with middle-aged trees. They’re positioned adjacent to the lake, so that one must turn to the side to get a view of the lake while sitting.

Two cars drive up and park in the lot behind the tables. From one, a Canadian man emerges and from the other emerges a  Canadian woman.

They note briefly and a little nervously each other’s presence without making eye contact. They both want the unobstructed view of the lake. And, they most definitely prefer to be alone.

The Canadian woman surmises that because her car is opposite one of the tables and the Canadian man’s car is opposite the second table, then they should probably aim for those tables, rather than try to claim the opposite table or check before hand the views from each.

They quickly and quietly settle, again, without making eye contact. They simultaneously agree to be polite, but fair. It would be rude and selfish to do otherwise, and they both wanted to enjoy their own private experience, without an exasperated person erasing their joy of the moment by their mere presence on the same patch of gravel.

In fact, they both decide to relax, commune with nature and act as if they are actually alone. Like in a theater. They came to be an audience of one, for all of nature to perform for only them. This was their secret pleasure. Another person would simply be disruptive–engaging in idle chatter and petty gossip, complete with snide remarks and snarls, boisterous ramblings, wanting every other person in the park to watch them.

Trees whistle at each other through their long, strong stemmed leaves. Star shaped pieces of sun peep in and out of the weaving bows, dancing like elves on the lawn.

Layers of fragrance of freshly mowed grass, dried wild flowers and weeds by the paved roadway, weigh heavily against the birch, pine, maples and elms, dry bark, wet bark, pine cone sap, each reaching the nose distinctly, then mingling till the wind shifts them all to a new place. It seems, sometimes, for the sole purpose of introducing the scents riding in over the lake.

Ah. A refreshing reprieve. Then it’s gone–replaced by dirt, dirt and more dirt–deeply shaded with hues of humility, blanketed with crisp brown pine needles, highlighted by thunderous stumps. Just when the reality of the earth is too much to bear, the wind circles around and comes back with nothing.

It carries only the power to soothe tattered hearts and souls, massaging the skin without effort, teasing a smile, wanting you to talk to it through that break in your heart, so it can begin to heal you.

They want to be alone with the expansive shimmering lake, hearing the melodic crash of the tender, barely cresting waves, watching the ships sail on the horizon, while simultaneously shifting their focus to the swooping playful seagulls, coming in for a crash landing, all engines quiet, gliding, tilting, looping, already too full and in need of some exercise and entertainment–honing their flying skills as the Canadian woman likes to remind herself that they’re doing. And doing it because they know they have an audience, the Canadian man always determines. In fact, they’re doing it just for him, which leaves him exhilarated–every time they do it. He loves them and they love him back. So of course they want to be alone in this mildly serene, yet busily chaotic string of events occurring all around them, in which they want to be the center. That’s why it’s important not to act selfish to an onlooker, who is just as concerned about the proper etiquette surrounding this mildly quiet, but in a way, wildly festive picnic.

CM–He purposely puts a tilted smile on his face as he calmly walks to his designated picnic table, and ever so gently, yet precisely, sets his picnic box in the exact center of the table. He bends over, takes off his shoes and socks and places them beneath the table. He rolls up the legs of his pants a couple turns, slips into a pair of flip flops, then approvingly wiggles his toes as he shudders his body relaxed.

CW–She opens the trunk to her car, sits on the bumper, removes her shoes and socks, then slips into a pair of flip flops she retrieves from the trunk. She extends both legs, tilts her feet upward and forward, as if doing an inspection, then wiggles her toes with satisfaction. She casually walks to the second table and wistfully, as she breathes in the view from the lake, places her picnic basket on the seat of the table. Neither acknowledges the other’s presence.

CM–He stands at the table trying to figure out where he will sit to obtain the best view, while at the same time wanting not to face the woman. He doesn’t want to put his back to her either. It’s rude and someone so close, and a stranger at that, must be watched–discreetly of course and not intrusive at all.

CW–She does the same. She chooses the end of the seat furthest away from him. So, between the two of them, while sitting, are a table top, a seat, another seat and another table top. That should do it. She doesn’t want to have to look at him while she eats. It’s too intrusive.

CM–He does the same. Satisfied and smiling to himself, he takes a long look of the lake before unpacking his picnic box. He removes a large cocoa colored cloth napkin and spreads it neatly before him.

CW–She removes a fitted, brown and blue striped table cloth from her basket (a fitted twin sheet, actually), and fastens it onto the table. She removes a quart of sparkling mineral water, a red plastic glass, a red plastic plate and a sterling fork.

CM–He removes two cans of ginger ale. He covers the lid of one of the cans with his palm, while slowly and quietly popping the tab with his other hand, so as not to make any unnecessary noise, then he does the same to the second can. Success–barely audible. He’s had a lot of practice doing this. He positions each can on opposite corners, kitty corner to each other, to weight the napkin. He smiles rather sweetly (to himself, of course), wondering if perhaps picnicking with someone else, at least for today, is the way it was supposed to be–at least for today.

CW–She removes three covered plastic containers. She lifts the lid on the largest one, takes the sterling fork and pushes the garden salad onto the red plastic plate. Then using her index finger and thumb she pushes here and there, primping the salad, as if she was going to take a picture of it. She lifts the lid on the second container, drizzles the Balsamic French dressing over the salad, then from the third container, she removes a few pitted Greek olives and a small handful of croutons, which she distributes evenly over the salad.

She looks into the basket, hesitates, then decides to leave what’s in the basket there, for the time being. Oh, she almost forgot the napkin, which she now retrieves. Navy blue–to match the table cloth. She sits down, shyly now, since she feels she made an error with the napkin, opens it over her lap, looks at the lake again and decides it’s time to eat.

Oh, she forgot to pour the water. Acting as if she didn’t, she nonchalantly, without getting up, unscrews the cap, slowly and gently, so as to allow the pent up air to release slowly and with little noise. Success. She again, nonchalantly begins to pour the water into the glass creating without intention a huge splash of gurgles and fizzes so loud that she simultaneously blushes.

CM–He purposely fails to notice. He removes from his picnic box a plastic wrapped sandwich, plastic wrapped carrot sticks (the matchstick size) and Greek olives and plastic wrapped oatmeal cookies. He removes a small stack of white paper napkins (dinner size, embossed). On one napkin he places the sandwich. On the second napkin he neatly places the carrot sticks and olives. And on the third, he makes two stacks of three oatmeal cookies each. He opens the sandwich made from a large hard-crusted French roll and examines the contents: leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber with the skins on, sliced avocado and a large slice of sweet onion. No dressing, no mustard. A thin layer of margarine coats the inside of the roll.

He views the lake, takes a deep, hearty breath, then begins to devour the sandwich, while intermittently drinking the ginger ale and popping an olive every now and then. Pre-pitted, thankfully, as he ponders what he would have done if the pits hadn’t been removed.

CW–She begins by eating gingerly, poking the salad around the plate, until she senses him eating with gusto, which allows her to savor her own offerings as well. If he hadn’t been there the salad would be half gone by now. Something is distracting her from the orchestra of nature she came to see.

CM–He wonders if she has dessert. He eats the carrots one at a time, one after the other without taking a bite of anything else. The oatmeal cookies get washed down with the reminder of the ginger ale. He finishes, wipes his face and fingers with one of the napkins, then realizes that he might have to burp.

CW–She wonders how ridiculous they must look, eating, looking at the lake, then looking back to the food without looking at each other. She eats half of the salad, then packs the other half back up–as always. She removes a fourth container from the basket, opens the lid, almost as if she’s going to be surprised when she looks inside. And she is, as always, when she sees her favorite dessert staring back at her: eggless vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and creamy soy topping.

CM–He gently, quietly and softly clears his throat, trying to ease up a burp.

CW–She picks at the strawberries and cake, eating in nibbles till it’s all gone. She drinks what she wants of her mineral water, then recaps the bottle. As she sets the bottle back on the table, she burps–loudly, since it was followed by an audible gasp.

CM–He burps–simultaneously.

CW&CM–They simultaneously look up, their eyes startle wide open. Their gazes fix on each other, both remain motionless. Then they both simultaneously laugh as they look shyly away and then back again. Their shoulders dance as they try to suppress their laughter.

CM–”It’s a beautiful day.”

CW–”Yes, and it’s a beautiful lake.” They neatly but haphazardly pack their things. He puts his socks and shoes on while she walks to the car to do the same. They close their trunks simultaneously. He opens his door first, then she opens hers. He looks up in her direction and she looks over her shoulder.

CM–”Thank you.’

CW–”Yes, thank you.” They drive out of the parking lot, she first, he a polite distance behind. When they reach the main road, she stops then takes a left hand turn. He takes a right.

Neither one of them look in the rear view mirror as they drive away in opposite directions.

Simultaneously they wiggle their toes in their shoes. They shudder their shoulders as a tickle rises in their chests.

They simultaneously sigh. They shake their heads from side to side and whisper while simultaneously trying to suppress their grins:

CM–”Must have been meant to be.”

CW–“Must have been meant to be.”

an estate sale. Backdrop: An estate sale at a private residence. It’s Sunday. The two African men had been there the day before and both purchased several large and small items. The Jewish woman had just arrived. She couldn’t come on Saturday because it was the Sabbath and she was an Hasidic Jew. A caucasian woman and her husband were putting on the sale. Many people were milling about the house–on all floors. Caucasian woman and her husband were bustling about assisting customers. Jewish woman expressed interest in the large refrigerator, while she talked about possibly buying the house and the fact that she would have to make two kitchens out of the one kitchen and breakfast nook.  She decided on the refrigerator, then walked around looking at other items. African man, whom caucasian woman now new by name darted excitedly into the kitchen, arms flailing toward the large refrigerator. He wanted it–just had to have it. Caucasian woman explained that it was already taken, but there was a brand new smaller one in the basement. He knew but didn’t want that, he wanted the large one.

AM:  ”Can’t you tell the person this is mine and tell her to buy the one in the basement?”

CW:  “No, I can’t do that. She bought this one.”

AM:  “Come on, she’ll never know the difference. I need this one. I love this one. Just tell her you made a mistake and I had it first.” Meanwhile, Jewish woman returned to hear the comments. Caucasian woman tried to calm down African man, since he didn’t yet know that the person who tagged the large refrigerator was in the room–close by. Caucasian woman started to change the subject, but African man wouldn’t allow it. She then loudly proclaimed:

CW:  “This is the woman who bought the refrigerator,” as she gestured toward the woman, guiding the African man’s view toward her. She then introduced them to each other. African man said, “hello”, and extended his hand to shake Jewish woman’s hand. Jewish woman smiled broadly, while African man’s outstretched arm stayed suspended in air. He looked at caucasian woman incredulously.

AM:  “Well, that’s rude”, as he lowered his arm to his side.

JW: “I can’t shake your hand.” There were an awkward ten seconds where no one spoke or moved. Caucasian woman was the first to speak to Jewish woman.

CW:  “I think you need to explain yourself.”

JW:  “Oh, right. I’m Jewish and women aren’t allowed to shake the hand of a man. It’s not because of your race.”

African man didn’t believe her.

AM:  “I never heard of such a thing. I was brought up to be polite; this is ridiculous.”

JW: “It’s not because of your race, really. It’s written in this big book of rules.”

CW:  “I think you need to explain yourself further. You offended him.”

JW:  “Oh, don’t be offended. I’m not allowed. It’s part of my religion–part of the rules. There’s a whole bunch of things we can’t do”, as she smiles, laughs and talks animatedly with her hands.

AM: “That’s a strange rule. I’m taught that when someone extends their hand, it’s rude not to shake it.”

Caucasian woman decides to ease his pain by saying the same thing happens to her.

CW:  “They do that to me all the time. Just the other day I was talking to two Jewish women in front of the house and they refused to shake my hand.”

JW:  “Oh, we can shake a woman’s hand. If she didn’t shake your hand, that meant she didn’t like you.”

CW:  “Oh.”

AM:  “So you’re saying that you can’t shake my hand, because I’m a man, not because of my race, but you can shake a woman’s hand unless you don’t like her, then you don’t have to.”

JW:  “Yes, that’s right.”

AM:  “I still think it’s rude. If you don’t shake a woman’s hand because you don’t like her that’s rude. You have a choice there and you choose not to be polite.”

JW:  “I know how it looks and all these rules are difficult for others to understand, but it’s all for a reason.”

AM: “I don’t understand the reason.”

JW:  “Look, even some things I don’t understand, but we’re still expected to abide by those rules.

CW:  “When I first moved to this neighborhood I would walk down the street and greet people who passed by me and they never responded. They’d keep their gaze fixed straight ahead and walk on by, acting like they never even saw me. I was hurt. I didn’t know what was going on. I’m a neighborly person and it stunned me. I’m still not used to it. But I stopped saying hello, which I resented because they were making me abide by their rules, that were making me also rude.

JW:  “Well, I know what you mean, but it isn’t an insult. Don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you.”

AM: “How can you not take it personally?”

CW: “Maybe you should publicize your rules in the newspaper where you have large communities like this one, so people will understand.”

JW: “That would be impossible. There’s too many. I go to the gynecologist and he puts his hands all over me, but I can’t shake his hand. I know it doesn’t make any sense.

Jewish woman continues to talk animatedly about her trip to the gynecologist, making African man obviously uncomfortable. Caucasian woman signals to Jewish woman through facial expressions to end that conversation, which Jewish woman did.

JW:  “But I can shake a man’s hand if I’m doing business. If it’s business it’s okay.” African man becomes visibly upset, since it became obvious that that’s what everybody at the estate sale was doing: business. He threw his hands up into the air, exasperated.

JW: “No, no, this isn’t business with you. It’s only business when I close a deal with a man. I didn’t close a deal with you.AM: “The rules again.”

JW:  “Yeah, what can I say?”

AM:  “Sorry would be nice.”

JW: “I can’t apologize for following the rules of my religion. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

CW:  “Okay, I think we have all the explanation we need. Now we understand.”

JW:  “Sorry; it’s just the way it is.

AM: “Everything’s okay. I still think it’s a rude rule.”

CW:  “And you have a right to your opinion.”

Caucasian woman then directed African man to the basement to show him the smaller refrigerator. She offered him a discount on it. He declined, politely. Jewish woman sought out her husband then they both toured the house talking about buying it. The African man’s friend, another African man, came into the kitchen as caucasian woman and first African man walked up the stairs.

He inquired as to what was going on. He had been standing in the living room just outside the kitchen and had heard some of it. Caucasian woman then left as first African man explained in whispers to second African man what had transpired. It was getting close to closing time. The two African men said that they’d be back the next day to finish paying for their items and possibly purchase more. Everybody left.

The next day, the second African man came back to the sale. Caucasian woman’s husband offered him a glass of champagne, which he politely accepted. They all sat down to determine how much he owed and he said he wanted a few more items for his friend: the wing chair he was sitting on was one of them. But he really wanted to talk about what happened the day before with his friend and the Jewish woman.

SAM:  “You know, my friend was very upset. That’s all I heard about all night–about yesterday. Caucasian woman rolled her eyes in disbelief as she remembered the entire incident.

CW: “I couldn’t believe it. I know your friend thought it was because of his race. It was just a horribly awkward moment. I didn’t know what to do.”

SAM:  “You should have kicked her out, that’s what we think you should have done.”

CW: “At first I thought it was because he had insulted her, and he insulted me too, by expecting me to go back on my word to her…”

SAM:  “He didn’t mean anything by it. He chatters a lot. He gets excited about things and blurts things out. But he’s very sensitive. You know he’s a rich man. He’s not accustomed to that type of rudeness from people. You should have intervened.”

CW:  “I did intervene the best way I could. If I had thrown her out, everybody would have left mad and nothing would have been resolved.”

SAM: “My friend left mad. Although he didn’t show it, that’s all he talked about and how hurt he was.”

CW: It’s not in my nature to kick people out. I prefer to have the parties involved in the dispute resolve the issue. I guided the best I could to make that happen. If she had refused to explain and had snubbed him further, then maybe I would have seen her as a threat. But I really didn’t. Those are their religious rules, whether I agree with them or not. Caucasian woman then describes the experiences she had had living in an African and Jewish neighborhood. As she talked, second African man seemed to loosen up and understand more.

SAM:  “I still think you should have escorted her to the door, that way my friend would have felt defended.”

CW:  “Well, that’s how I am, I prefer to talk things through rather than storming out or kicking people out. I just think it’s better for everybody.”

SAM:  “Well, my friend was still hurting from it.”

CW: “I’ve been hurt by their rules too. You can’t help but take it as a rejection. It brings your whole day down, especially coming from your next door neighbor–people you’re supposed to be friendly with.”

SAM:  “Well, at least I have the whole story. He didn’t tell me about what he said about wanting you to change refrigerators on her. But they were innocent comments. That’s how he is.”

CW:  “Yes, and I guess that’s how she is. I don’t understand any of it, but I accept it. Tell your friend I’ll give him a discount on the chair you’re sitting in.”

SAM: “That would be nice. I’ll tell him you did that.”

CW:  “Everything’s fine then?”

SAM: “Yeah, it’s been a bear of a week with all that’s going on and this big party I’m catering. I’ve so much to do.” Caucasian man pours everybody another glass of champagne and they all relax and talk about the party.

The Jewish woman didn’t buy the house and never came back for the refrigerator. After the estate sale they had to put another ad in the paper for the large refrigerator. It sold quickly. The smaller refrigerator in the basement was given to the next door neighbor in lieu of small repairs done on the house. That’s another story altogether.

The small amount owed by both African males was never paid. Word spread fast via the underground networks of blacks, gays and Jews. Within days nobody would shake the hand of the caucasian woman, neither Jew, nor gay, nor black. Caucasian woman for a long time hesitated to offer her hand to anyone.

white picket and chain link fences. What is it about white picket fences that conjure up thoughts of warm  apple pies cooling on window sills, while a lonely swing beckoning for a body to move it hangs motionless, except for the sun that darts back and forth on the wooden seat, peeking through the leaves above, parted by gentle winds, making it appear as if moving?

How is it that we hear children playing in the distance, when there are no children there? And recall pondering the most often asked unanswered questions of the universe, while following the veins of each leaf, noting the occasional bump, dark in color, positioned beside a pin hole or two or three? A disease? Eaten by a bug we can’t see? Maybe both? Connected? Probably not.

The tree serves many functions. What about those pies that sat precariously on those wooden sills? Did wives and mothers really trust those pies to stand still, while children romped and doors slammed, while the pie engaged in its own dynamic of escaping steam through intricately designed holes placed lovingly, artistically on top, while the apples settled happily, comfortably to the bottom?

And why is it that white picket fences conjure up those fragrant memories always in the context of earth, wood, streams, bridges, butterflies, fireflies, grasshoppers and gnats, crickets and grass no one cares to cut, because manicuring the scene would somehow destroy the vision?

The sun peeks through the leaves onto the paper as I write, then fades as a cloud passes the tree overhead. I’m sitting in a car in an asphalt paved parking lot under a tree waiting for my husband at the dentist.

Oh, how I long for the days when I was carefree enough to notice and contemplate the passing of a cloud. I never even had a picket fence, white or otherwise, so what would I know about them anyway?

An illusion I suppose. Still…it’s there for me to recall as if it had been real. And wasn’t it real after all? Wasn’t the picket fence simply a symbol of what somebody else had that we wanted? No. I doubt that. The fence wasn’t what mattered.

Life has always been a struggle, with or without the fence. And life has always taught us everything we wanted to know. Some symbols simply act as triggers to slow us down from time to time, in order to recall the slow pace of our youth.

Although impatient for exciting moments at the time–in time we recall those slower times as if they in themselves held the answers to all the questions we profoundly pondered, yet never knew we possessed, until a picket fence or apple pie, a chunk of broken pavement, a rusted chain link fence or orange Kool-aid, reminds us of what we knew in our youth, that we somehow discarded, because grown ups not children had all the answers.

How wrong we were and how delightful now to discover it.

3-7-00. I awoke this morning with a wicked sore throat. I thought of Auntie Bea this morning. Funny, how when you’re sick, old memories flood the mind in a healing way. Years ago while in Portland I bought a decorative plate with a scene of a large boat in China painted on it and sent it to her as a gift. With her daughter being Chinese, she loved anything Asian. I saved the letter that she wrote in response and will read it again.

15 September 1989. Dear Sharon, What a nice surprise–”The Marble Boat”. We will enjoy it so much. That, according to it’s story is exactly what it was created for.

It is, of course, already hanging over the living room couch. We both think and speak of you often. We are so glad we bought this house on Spence St. 33 years ago. You were like a young slim colt–all arms and legs, looking for things to do–energy needing a place to explode–when we first met you all.

I remember your growing up–Do you recall you and me going downtown on a bus one day. You had never been on a bus, as mother drove, so I asked if you would like to go downtown with me–We went in and out of all the stores–No Bay State then and I liked it better that way–still do–Never go down now–haven’t for years–That day we went to Forbes china and glassware section and you wanted to buy a cup. You found one you liked and then you saw the price–Well, you were one shocked and indignant little shopper as you said, “A whole dollar, I’m not going to pay a whole dollar for a cup.”

I loved your indignation and your right to declare it loud and clear.  Little did I realize I would go through a similar thing years later–another indignant young lady who was told the tax on beads she wanted was 5 cents–”I’m not paying any five cents tax–Plus tax what’s plus tax. The beads are one dollar.” That was in Grants and most of the help knew me, and they were enjoying it all–Of course you know who paid for the plus tax part.

Karen often reminded me of you in small ways like that–I’ve never forgotten those two incidents especially and loved both of you for your spirit and independence. The ‘shows’ in the backyards–the food sale too–Well just cupcakes I made for you to sell to the local youngsters–I’m laughing to myself now thinking of the Duda boy buying 2 and taking them home to his mother and she sent him back with money to buy all there were–No wonder, I think you were selling them for a penny or two. You couldn’t buy store bought at that price and I was only making them for the children to eat there–so had to explain to him why he couldn’t buy them all–so many happy thoughts of you–

Later Karen came and you invited her to your birthday party–She didn’t know what a birthday party was, but she loved it all–the balloons, the singing, cake and ice cream. For a long time she called your home “The Happy To You House-” When the school system psychologist asked to see her before entering kindergarten, one of the tests were to identify pictures–2 were a birthday cake and a house and of course she said “That’s a Happy to You” and “The Happy to You House”–He smiled and went on with the test but later he asked me about that answer, so of course I had to explain–

We watched you grow and go on from High School to Nursing–If you hadn’t been a part of our lives, it would have been so empty. I hope you are still as innovated now as you were then–It will keep you always young and eager–

Much Love Auntie Bea & Uncle Teddy.

11-14-07 letter from Mom Davies. Dear Sharon, Steve and Rose, Today is the anniversary of my Dad’s birthday & he would have been 125 yr. old. Ernest Romanzo Davidson. The Romanzo was after an Indian who delivered him. He came to the states, married my Mom and died at 51 when I was a month from 7 yrs, and I remember everything about him.

He knelt beside my bed with me and taught me “Now I lay me down to sleep”. He was always there to help everyone at any time. He started to call me “Pearly” which my Mom didn’t like, so she decided I would be called Margaret. From then on he never called me anything but “punkin”. He never spanked me–my Mom took care of that–but she never spanked after Dad died.

I think her silence from time to time was worse than spanking!

Sharon and Steve, I was so thrilled with Evangeline!!! I read aloud from it this A.M. From 4-6-a peaceful time to read! Rick came with Alex @ 7:30 and I showed them and they thought it was great. The notes from you both were also special.

As I was reading about the Smithie, I recalled that Uncle Jim Mills started out as a blacksmith in Ryegate Corner, VT. at the same time buying and selling farms (a real estate agent?) From there he settled in a large farm in Wells River where they took my mother when she was seven years old. The farm still stands.

After retiring, they moved into town & bought the large Deming residence. He died 2 weeks before my Dad in the same house leaving his wife with five farms during the depression. She eventually sold them herself. I remember the paper she wrote, I, John Doe, do promise to pay Nellie Mills_____monthly. Total was $1000.00. Signed, John Doe. Witness Wendell Clark.

Now I remember his name–James Peavey. Because he never missed a payment when his veteran’s check came in, she never charged him interest. “AN HONEST MAN” she said. I don’t remember her ever preaching to me, but she constantly talked about the good things so & so did.

She never turned a hobo away from her door, but gave them some little chore to do so they could feel better about the meal. Imagine a 71 year old woman having brought up her sister (my grandmother) when she was 7, took my mother when she was 7 & myself when I was 7.

After her daughter died, she had a Seth Thomas clock put in the Wells River Cong. Church where I was baptized. Their only child Vera (Mrs. Verne Howard) died young in childbirth. One baby stillborn & Mom & 2nd baby died together. When Uncle Jim died, she had an archway put in the W.R. Cemetery MILLS MEMORIAL ARCH. As you enter, it says “I am the resurrection & the life”–as you leave “He that believeth in me shall never die”.

Because my mother had to leave town to find work after Dad died, my brother Jimmy (James Mills Davidson) & I stayed in W.R. Jim stayed until he married. I completed 8th grade there & was sent to be with my Mom in Bethlehem, N.H. & the Pierce family.

Nannie said a girl that age should be with her Mom. Of course I was sad and didn’t understand the reasoning then, but it turned out to be a very good choice. There was the Mom & Dad, a cousin their age, an invalid Gram who kept busy preparing veggies from big garden, knitting mittens for everyone & reading Grace Livingston Hills many love stories.

I became very involved with Methodist Episcopal church & was briefly, before I graduated, Superintendent of Sunday School. A couple years I was President of North Country Youth Fellowship. I had always loved school, did well & played basketball since 7th grade in W.R. I graduated in 1943 and still remember the final quote from my graduation speech. We had to write & memorize our own speeches. “He only earns his freedom and existence who daily conquers them anew. And such a throng I fain would see– stand on free soil among a people free! Then dare I hold the moment fleeing. Aye, linger a while, so fair thou art” ~ Goethe.

This was during WWII when our boys were leaving for war after graduation. Speaking of “Smithie”, it reminded me of a poem I heard Nannie quote, “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree, a Village Smithie Stands”. I went to one of my poetry books & found it–also written by Henry W. Longfellow.

Nov. 16. Evangeline has sure taken me on a poetic journey! Now I’ll finish your letter. Yesterday I went to the hairdresser & weekly lunch @ the Senior Center where I had a lovely lunch of salmon boat with stuffing and dill sauce, broccoli, home fries, wheat bread and birthday cake for a member recovering from stroke. Alex went on field trip to Sturbridge yesterday. RAIN!!!

Thank you so much again for all your caring. Love & prayers, Mom.


This book is a section in WAKING UP THE PLANET.


 

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