Returning Light

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He always said the wind blew like the devil the night I was born. And as I grew in years, the wind increased. He’d say that and then out of the corner of his eye he would give a stare to me. Then the laugh, the gruff laugh so I never knew if he was kidding or if there was a serious tone to what he said. 

Maybe I did believe him; the wind did whip around the house stronger and with more anger every year. I didn’t think it was my fault. The wind was part of life where we lived. Part of everyone’s life. But In his mind that wind demon grew right along with me. Kindred spirits there to plague his life and the wrath he felt he deserved. Somehow it justified how he never deserved me.

I don’t have memories of being a bad child. He said I cried a lot, especially the first few months, that I added misery upon misery with my shrilled cries. Was it this that made me a bad child in his mind? Wasn’t I also cute? Lovable? Didn’t I grasp his large thumb in my fist, like all playful babies do? There must have been some redeeming qualities I had.

“Such a rotten child” he would tell me on his worst nights. Nights when the moon didn’t shine and dusk came into the house covering it like the coldest midnight. His dark words sucking the light from the rooms, making even the bravest heart want to hide. He could rampage the entire house and never leave his Lazyboy. Bellows echoed through the rooms, screaming with the wind until they would reach my ears, trying to settle within my being, quaking close to my heart.

Did I cry during those nights? I don’t remember. I may have looked for shelter under my thin bed covers but I don’t think they would have ever helped me.

“I can be better, I can be more,” I whispered to my small being

We developed a rhythm, him and me. He taunting my useless person and me aspiring, trying to excel, trying to change the cycle we were in. Why did I bother? Shouldn’t I at some point have believed and accepted what the bellowed voice said of me, what he thought of me. How dense is a body that can’t accept what it is told?

Evidently, for me, my thick denseness sheltered my form. Somehow his message, in all of its loudness, just couldn’t find my soul to settle in. So many nights were spent with his darkness how could the cruel words not be there when daylight came through? Did the sun have so much power that it killed them all?

Yes, I believe. His words sent from the rage of the wind, loomed over me, ready to suck the life out of my body.

But the sun, the power of light would come streaming through the thin curtains of my room. Its rays would extend to all the corners and kill the vampirism words before they could strike. And my life, my life was then left untouched, unmarked by the untrue cruelty of his rage.

That must have been what happened.

He used the wind as his enemy, and the reason for his anger. He brought the dark words to be his friend, a comfort for his rage.

In my world, in the lonely small room under my covers, I had the morning, its light, its energy.

He never figured that out I think, smiling to myself. The light always returns, always. I just had to wait for it.

 

Delarde copyright,2016

 

 

I escaped into the world of the garden behind the house, walled off from the world…Serenade of Silence

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Serenade of Silence

 

There were days when the quiet fascinated me. It kept my attention for hours on end, as if through my concentration on it I would find my deep long-sought answers. The lack of noise toyed with my mind, and I found myself waiting for the moment when one single sound might bring me back.

At times the sound never came, and like a person in a staring contest, I would lose by breaking the silence with a slight cough or a rustling of a small paper. The room itself never had the need to offer up a noise, a pittance of a sound. Nothing ever to break the silence it offered.

I came to look forward to the challenge of the quiet. Daring myself to stay longer and longer, and linger in the nothingness of it all. There were times I held my breath; afraid that just the slight sigh of air would signal the end of the silence.

Yet, with all the quiet around me, my thoughts spoke, entering in and out of my consciousness. Some were welcomed; others formed a conversation of their own begging me to emerge from the silence to utter a comment or two. There were times when I was tempted to join them. Perhaps even stand and walk, and give into the conversation or my internal debate. But I knew I would lose the connection to the silence so I forced those thoughts that tempted me to move on.

It was the room itself that began to betray the vow of silence. A sound from the street would enter through a window. Or a creak would escape from the wall perhaps adjusting itself to the heat or the cold of the day. A fan moving the air, making a whirling noise that were never evident before. It was the room that tired of the game, it gave distraction and sound which took away my lovely silence.

I began to resent what it took away. Not finding value in what the room now offered. My days within it were restless, not at peace, not achieving what I thought  I gained from quiet. It made me pace, made me think. Walking back and forth through a familiar path I would stop and wait; had the silence returned? But more and more I heard sounds never evident from my first days in it. I swore, even the beat of my heart became stronger and stronger. I heard it through my chest, through my ears, its pulsing beat so distinct. My breath took on a raspy sound, clearly whistling with each intake. In or out, my breathing defiled the silence.

Then came the voices, the ones that at first stayed within the realm of my mind, then escaping the confines of my internal world echoing within the room itself. Not agreeing, arguing their purpose, their intent. Loudly they tried to sway each other, louder and louder their purpose became.

“Silence!” I would scream at them, but silence was a command they could not or would not hear.

Steadily over time I moved from the confines, the former comfort of a room no longer silent, trying other areas of the house. When that wasn’t satisfying enough, I escaped into the world of the garden behind the house, walled off from the world. I walked among the flowers, the pansies with their eyes all on me, the tulips bright with their spring colors. Within the overgrown plants and trees were the many winged creatures; birds singing or bees making their trips between hive and flowers. They all made sounds and refused to let silence drive them.

I caved, after a while I just surrendered. I sat in the garden without panic accepting noise, the life of the creatures and plants around me. Letting them all be, letting me be. One early morning I was startled to find myself whistling along with the sounds of the garden. Trying to be part of the world I for so long tried to avoid.

It felt good to let the whistled melody rise and fall just like the wings of the creatures around me. I was part of it and they part of me. It made me smile within, like some cosmic joke I had succeeded in inserting myself, bringing sweet music where it seemed so impossible just a short time ago. I walked the garden in victory, in confidence of that victory. Long strides moved my paces back and forth, urging me to extend further, perhaps beyond the wall, the latched gate of the garden.

Standing on the tips of my toes I looked over the gate, into the world that held more noise than I could ever imagine. I waited for the push or a sign to be offered, calling me out. Not hearing it, I returned to my pacing, my life around the garden walk.

Then came the day when the lure was too much. I took bold, strong steps and defied everything I had known and marched to the gate, flipped up the latch handle and pushed it open. Voices tried to stop me, but my mission, my plan was clearer than it had ever been. I walked through it, out of it, into the world at large. Conquering the gate had been easy, I thought. The courage of that victory led me further from the garden, along the side of the old house to the side steps of the large porch.

Grabbing the banister and I danced my way up the three steps and stood in my victory, surveying the world from the new dimension. Evidently, not ready to stop my advancement, I continued along the porch, passed the potted plants and the swing old with age, needing new paint. I leaned over the front of the porch railing, hands gripped around the old wood, stretching myself as far as I dared, looking outward into the world.

There I waited for what I didn’t know, perhaps a voice to congratulate my great victory. Perhaps a hello, a welcome into the world I had so long avoided. I looked to either side, searching for someone to bask in my great win. But the world seemed more silent than ever. It confused me; apparently I didn’t remember where silence could also be. Trusting myself further, I cleared the steps in the front of the porch and walked the path which led to the street.

It was then that I heard it, another voice, not of me, not of my head. I looked around to see it, to find it and hopefully understand what it said. It was a small girl, a young child four or five, calling out from the house across the way. Every time she called hello a small arm shot upwards, adding a small wave at the top of her fingers. I looked at my arm, my hand wondering if it could do the same. And it did! It did the wave, feeling good as it created the friendly movement. Now, my turn to call back, a small hello would work, even a quick hi would work. Some voice to reply to the little imp’s greeting.

I couldn’t find it, couldn’t find the words, the sounds to return back to her. Disappointed she turned away, starting to return to the garden on the side of her house where her mother was weeding.

Wait! Don’t go! I wanted to tell her, my eyes following the movement of her body. But I couldn’t do what I couldn’t do. Turning in disappointment I started back to the porch. It was then I formed the melody, the sounds extending from me through pursed lips. The serenade I had worked on for so long with the bees and the birds of the garden. I turned back to the street and worked passionately on the sounds which came from my lips. It was enough! My small hello imp turned back and began to dance with delight. Her mother, stopping her task, rose to watch both her and me. I let the melody take me, just like the silence once did. I swayed my body and arms to feel each note, each sweet sound.

The last note seemed to linger, seemed to take its time fading into the wind. I was done. I had given it all that I could and I was done. The young girl and the mother clapped their appreciation. The mother yelled out bravo! And the small girl joined in with her.

I laughed and bowed. Yes, I actually bowed and floated myself back up the steps, pushing the swing as I danced along the porch. I then skipped my way back into the garden. Enough I told myself, yes, yes, very much enough.

 

DElarde,copyright 2106

Eclipsing Morning … between the spaces of our homes came the silence, the art of avoidance

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For months he wouldn’t speak, wouldn’t acknowledge or say a word.

It was confusing for me, how he could live next door and never raise a hand in a friendly, or even unfriendly gesture.

Perhaps my neighbor didn’t see me or hear me, I questioned to my neutral-on-the-issue husband. Shrugging his shoulders, my husband had no answer or ideas.

At first I thought, well I will keep on waving, saying hello in hopes I would turn the tide.

My greetings were met with the same blank stare as all previous attempts, falling short of my expectations. And there they stayed, in the empty space between our houses.

After a while I questioned my gestures, actions. Perhaps instead of creating good will, I was creating negative. Clearly, he wanted to be left alone, wanted not to have to raise his hand, or use his voice.

Between us, between the spaces of our homes came silence, the art of avoidance played out nearly daily. I got in my car, he in his truck on mornings when we left at the same time. And, while our engines of our vehicles spoke, no words came from either of us.

It was unexpected, the interchange of words. Never as I thought it would be. It happened on a brisk cold Saturday morning still in darkness while the moon was transformed by the shadow of the sun. I stood in my driveway facing the western edge of the sky watching the sun’s shadow engulf the image of the moon. Walking from his house, I clearly startled him standing there with my cup of coffee watching the celestial event.

He stopped for a moment, not sure of what to do

“The moon,” I indicated, pointing up into the general direction. Explaining further I added the words eclipse and sun, purposely limiting words for him to process.

Turning, he too looked up and stared at the partially covered shadowed moon.

Looking back at me, he said in a quiet voice, “I didn’t think anyone else got up this early.”

“Every day,” I replied, wondering how he missed our early morning drives from our houses.

“Have a good one,” he offered before climbing in his truck.

“I believe I just did,” I silently added, my hand slightly raised in a friendly wave.

Eclipse/DElarde copyright, 2016

 

 

The Weavers’ Threads

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The Weavers’ Threads

By

Diana Creel Elarde

 What they called him and who he was, wasn’t the same. After a while I think even he forgot his real name, his beginning and the people who named him. I can’t say I respected him, but I didn’t mind sitting and hearing him speak. His voice was pleasant enough and he told a great story. Story was certainly his gift.

Unless you consider sitting around and waiting for handouts to come to you, he could do that too! And there are many who think that’s a talent.

I was just passing through a rough time when I met him. On my way to a new life plan I had, or thought I had. I wasn’t going to stay down and knew I could come out on the other side of a good dream. As determined as I was, he was not. I never met anyone so disinterested in their next move, their next plan. He never went beyond the moment, the here, the now.

All of life’s time seemed to matter to him in the one exact moment he was in. Had no real opinions and he never thought he needed one. But his audience, his camp followers grew every day. Simply enough he took them out of their lives into the world of his story. They laughed when he laughed and they sighed right at the spot where a good writer would have placed a comma. They sat unaware of the noise, the smell or the dilapidated buildings around them. His power of story so strong they believed what he created.

Soon they too felt no need for shelter, for ambition, for food. They had only a need for him.

I sat to the side and listened to his story, to the smooth laughter and sing song words he wove. They didn’t have the same affect on me. Granted they were good words strung together just right. But I was given my own words and they were the only ones I would listen to.

Still, I was fascinated by his art. It was like watching a weaver choose their colored yarns and weave them together in such a pattern, that you would spend hours absorbed on how well they matched, and the story the threads told.

Up the empty streets away from where he spoke, I sang my own words to keep myself sane, to keep my ambition in order to move out of the world of despair.

One day a man stopped me on the street, asking about the man with the story. What does he say, I was questioned. I took it as an opportunity. Would I say he spoke of the goodness of man, the flight of the people or words to create personal power and dissention? I knew in that moment I had the power to weave whatever story I saw fit. And I, like the creator of all words, could honor or condemn his words, even his life.

Knowing the heart of most men, my decision was easy. My ambitions led me to the obvious answer, really the only one he wanted to hear.

Why the negative I told the man, smiling slightly as I began to weave my own story. By the time I was done fear walked with us. Even I was afraid of the person I had been able to create. But it worked! The man wanted more, wanted to pay me for more. Wickedly, I counted on that and on the payments he would give me.

I counted the cash as I walked away, knowing this would be only the beginning. Not only would he be willing to pay, there would be others, so many others. All I had to do was create the fear, the worry they all wanted to hear. Their troubled souls would make it easy. Easy, peasy, I thought as I flopped the money down for shelter for the first time in weeks.

It was in the night, in the bed I had paid for that conscience came calling. It woke me so clearly from my paid slumber, wanting justice for the injustice I had created. I argued at first, tried to dismiss it and then settled for looking at a dark ceiling as it went through the stages of my crime.

Would it have been that hard to tell his message of peace of love? Could I have created profit from the serenity of spirit he so created with his words?

Only a small profit I argued back which would not sustain me. I rolled to my side blanket tucked up over my head and clouded out those voices that would argue with me and my plan.

And life became good. More people came to me, to hear the story, my opinions and methods to deal with the growing concerns they had.

Why is it fear can grow so much faster than love? What makes us latch on to the negative words that were spoken and create a life, a meaning, that was never there?

So easy it was to control them all. I laughed while upping my life style, never giving a thought to anyone or anything except my next great meal and the comfort of my new shiny shoes. My crisis of conscience was quite gone as I waited eagerly for the next tale I could tell which brought me more dollars.

I can’t say I felt bad the day they finally came for him. It took so many words from me to get them to finally act. In a way I was glad it was over. I could go on now and create a different story. So bored I had become with his. I was surprised by his followers, the ones who moved in closer trying to stop his removal. They were adamant in repeating his stories of peace, his message of love, but they had no power to get the fearful to listen. Those words had no meaning without the weaver’s voice. I almost felt sorry for them.

But, it was so much easier to walk around in my lovely new shoes, I wasn’t willing to feel that bad.

 

copyrightDElarde, 2016

Perception – Which Glasses Do You Wear?

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Several weeks ago at a party, my husband and I were talking about the wasps which plagued us while we were in our pool. It seemed we could sit by the pool for quite awhile and not have a single one of these visitors. Yet the minute we got into the water, a small group of them would arrive and offer to swim with us.

“They are yellow in color” my husband described, “like a yellow jacket.”

“Yellow?” I questioned, “clearly they are a dark gold.”

“Were you two in the same pool?” joked one of our friends.

Good question, were we?

It wasn’t until a week or so later, that something interesting was discovered. Joining my husband into the pool I took a close look at his sunglasses. They had a bluish tint to them, as opposed to mine which had a brown tint.

Same pool, same wasps, different viewing filter.

It was a pretty easy to understand why his view of the wasps and mine were different because of the tint of our glasses.

What about perceptions in general? How is it, even without the tint of glasses we may see and feel experiences so differently from our spouse, our parents, children or friends?

Psychologists have shown our perceptions can be influenced by our history, our beliefs and certainly our emotional state. Most of us realize a bad day out in the world can slant our perceived interactions to the point where we may be embarrassed or apologetic for behavior not indicative of us. And isn’t amazing how well our days go when approached with an uplifting attitude.

Certainly there are those times in the heat of disagreement when we dig in, refuse to accept any other interpretations for words said, action taken and emotions expressed. These hard-line stands leave someone in the right (usually us!) and someone in the wrong (the other person!), giving no one a graceful way to make peace. When we are cornered we either strike back or cower. And many times when our adversary admits defeat, it may be more of a response of, done talking here, than their agreement to our point.

Perhaps it would be easier if we all accepted we wear different colored glasses. In the end, does anyone really care what color the wasps are, as long as they find another pool to swim in?

After all it wasn’t a heinous crime, nobody died from the lack of truth, but nobody lived either…Face of the Hidden

Face of the Hidden

By

Diana Creel Elarde

 

I didn’t try to change her words, her rationalization. When she spoke them I nodded, like I was agreeing with her. I was, in principle, in the abstract world where silent words are used without feeling. But the truth was, her words were hollow, not true.

It began to be easier and easier every day to engage in her lie, the truth we never spoke about. I had let the opportunity for truth go by without a word of protest. My agreement became our reality. My lack of denial became the words we then lived by.

It was years before I tried to deny to her the words we had agreed on. The shock, the residue of months upon months of living with the lie had built too many walls, built a new way of life. She looked at me blankly when I tried to tear down the lie. Refusing to acknowledge, the look, her look, stared through me, around me and then moved her on to another task. She hummed when she turned her face, her eyes, from me, perhaps pretending I wasn’t even there. Her hands hurried, stumbling to get all the items in her hand straight and in a line.

I felt foolish standing there unacknowledged, watching her retreat into the web of the lie. Too late for truth rang in my head and I moved out of the room, leaving her to be.

I stand at her grave now, truths and lies buried below my feet. The clouds above me break up and clear to blue skies. Are they an indication of what I should be doing as well? Clear it away, forget it. After all, it wasn’t a heinous crime, nobody died from the lack of truth, but nobody lived either.

I shuffle my feet along the old grass which is still undisturbed from the burial. It is still damp with dew, drops of it cling to my black shoes, causing sparkles of color to appear. They mesmerize me, making me look to examine their color, their form. People walk quietly by me, by the sparkles on my shoes, leaving me in what they perceive as my grief, my loss. I let them leave; relieved to avoid further conversation. How many times can you express grief, sympathy, sorrow? When do the words run out? When are they enough? I wait until I hear the collection of car doors close, one after the other, before I look up.

He’s the only one left. But he will stay silent. He will know by my look, by my walk to his car, not the time for words, no matter what he wants to say. My car door sounds like the others, hard and metal, closing away this time, this grief. And, closing away the lie.

I look back to her site, imagining the stone which will soon mark her place, mark the few words of her life. Born here, died now, lived in-between. Time will cast doubt on what she said, what she believed. Will the day come when I will doubt it too? When time and space will alter my reality and I will accept her words as what was, as what is.

I watch through the car window as we drive away. My face, my eyes reflecting back to me as the sun, the clouds combine for me to see my image in the window. I angle my eyes upward, moving away from my reflection. Not wanting to see either tears or traces of grief in my eyes. I move my sun glasses to my face, becoming now the face of the hidden. The sun, in its wisdom, moves from my window leaving me with only a clear view of her grave.

 

copyrightDElarde,2015

Play like a girl – GO TEAM USA~

LESSONS FROM THE SOCCER FIELD

For nearly twenty years I experienced life from the sidelines of a soccer field. My son was four when he first played. His first kick off resulted in a goal which unfortunately didn’t count because two players had to touch the ball before it could be considered a goal. (Follow that?)  From that moment, game on!  And still today his first love in sports and perhaps in life is soccer.

My daughter too, had her love of soccer and played during her teenage years. It was a great thrill for her to experience so much success through her competitive years.  Later, as a young adult she taught soccer to small children around the Seattle area.

My actual playing of soccer involved one brief 5 week period when the moms and dads of my son’s team decided, wouldn’t it be fun to play indoors.  And after being reassured we would be in a forty and over league, what the heck, let’s try it.  After all how hard could it be? Unfortunately for us the only team over forty was our team!  We could have easily called ourselves the Groan Team, because during and after that’s all one would hear from us. Clearly, my kids didn’t inherit a soccer gene from me.

After all those years of being around soccer I couldn’t help to hear common comments from the array of coaches.  With the World Cup playing center stages, I tried to recap a few of these

  1. Go to the ball – if you won’t others will

How many times do we stand to the side, either in soccer or in life, afraid to move forward when someone with a tad more courage  out plays us, or suggests the idea we had also thought of or speaks to the girl or guy we were thinking of approaching. Sometime we have to move ourselves forward before our opportunities passes.

  1. Play fair, but send a message when you need to –  

This can be a tricky one – when you have someone continually after you (or biting you!?) there does come a time to take a stand.

  1. It may not be a fair call – deal with it 

I think this one might be repeated over and over again, not only to players but to fans and especially parents. The refs call them as they see them and with all the action on the field, sometimes calls from the best refs aren’t good calls.  Well, sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug.  Move on!

  1. Ignore the score – play with your heart 

Don’t you just love those players that continue to play their hardest when the score says their team is losing?  Soccer changing in seconds, as demonstrated many times in the World Cup. Play your heart out until the end!

  1. It’s a running game – run 

It’s the expectation of the game. If you only want to meet the expectations, try another game. 

  1. Your team mates are just that

They are the people you play with, some you are friends with, but many years down the line, they will be people and names.  In other words don’t take their criticisms to heart.  In two years, five years and even twenty years will be matter what they thought?

  1. Keep your eye on the ball 

Watch your intention. If your intention is to win, make sure you keep your attention on what will get you there. 

  1. Don’t get sucked in 

Team success (and perhaps your success) involves keeping in touch with your job and what you need to do.  Getting off course or paying attention to those things which may cause you to play “off sides” doesn’t help the cause.

  1. Sometimes you have to take one for the team 

You may be asked to play a different position or even sit along the sidelines.  And yes, it is hard to understand or even accept those requests, but grace goes a long ways

  1. It’s a game – have fun! 

It is a game and a fun game!  Enjoy every minute that you can, because some day the sidelines will be your only view.

                                                                            GO TEAM USA!