Am I the same spirit, the same being, who came to this place on earth so many years ago? Water’s Edge

WATER’S EDGE

By Diana Creel Elarde

It irritated me that she could so quickly go off, leaving me to deal with the swirling emotions tied with her departure.

So innocent her move; so potent the action.

What depths of despair I felt when her car door slammed and her engine started. I stood in disbelief until the sound of her car was just a memory, a something that could have happened. Yes, it was like that; dream-like in the sense when your body and your mind don’t feel connected. Each seemed to be experiencing something different, separate from each other as if they were in altered realities at the same time.

My walk away from the parking lot was mechanical in nature. I had to dictate each action, each tiny movement. My brain sending commands in its loud clear voice, left foot, right foot. It was my ego which rebelled trying to order me to stay until she returned. Quite clear it was in the idea she would be back. The ego in its tirade, I decided, had tied itself to inflated ideas of what I had meant to her. Today, it will have to find another way to save face.

I rapidly moved into the woods to be among the tall full trees of mid-summer. I listened for the water, trying to concentrate my efforts outside of my fragile sense of worth.

After a few moments I stopped, taking my shoes off I walked bare footed among the trees, not caring what my feet would find. Pine needles pricked my delicate skin, but I continued to walk. In my younger years, shoes during the summer months were nothing more than a nuisance. I played along the tall grass, the shore and the woods without fear, without trepidation, my feet leathering as the summer continued.

I have infant skin now on my aging feet; feet I rarely allow to touch the earth with their bareness. Within this experience today, I don’t know if I should feel delight from the needles and dirt sticking to me, or brush it all away regain my needed comfort with my shoes.

There are days I am weary of convention and so many rules. I feel exhausted by the narrow, stringent lines I have drawn around my life, like never feeling the earth with bare toes. I can’t remember when I choose to narrow my world or why it happened this way. Is there still time for my soul to feel free, soaring itself far above the earth like a balloon escaping the small hands of a child?

As much as my mind screams for my shoes, I continue on, sensing I know where I want to find myself. Each step becomes freeing; making me feel lighter. In the hurt of my feet I feel the days of my youth stirring deep within my being.

When I finally hear the brook, I stop and wait with ears that no longer hear as clearly as I would want. Was it the brook I had actually heard? Or was it the wish for the sound?

No, I was sure I had heard it and a small smile comes to my lips. I forget the discomfort of my feet and moved to where I knew I could find the brook. Grateful, so grateful some memories are alive inside me ready to be recalled just when I need them. Within minutes I sit in my spot, the spot I had declared mine so very long ago.

There you go I thought, just like you in the past, running for your spot, your security.

Laughing to myself I conclude it was a longer walk and more difficult than I remembered. Perhaps it was my age catching up with me or maybe my narrow lines truly are choking the life out of me.

In our soul do we age I wondered as I gently sit myself down. Or do we age in the time scale mankind has dictated to us? Am I the same spirit, the same being, who came to this place on earth so many years ago?

Shaking my head, I think about how ridiculous these questions sound. Clearly they are ego fancy designed to make my mind feel it has a purpose more than just taunting me about this morning’s fight.

Serious tears start to blink along my eyes as I remember her words. I try to concentrate on the water, but it has barely enough depth and movement to clear small rocks. I need it to be roaring with white water, I think to myself. Yes, my soul needs such a cleansing to erase the years of junk I have collected. Raging water to take away all that keeps my soul grounded, without flight.

It won’t happen today, not with this gentle brook. As I sit, resignation comes and my tears begin to fall into the movement of the water. Swirling in slow circular patterns, they trickle over the small rocks. Finally, they merge into the stream’s waters collecting just enough strength to join into the lazy flow. Gradually, so very gradual they begin to run their course continuing on with a new purpose. I watch as they merge into the current and in their silence, they move beyond me.

 

copyright.DElarde2017

Upside Down Ice Cream Eating

She wandered down the hall when she left me. If there was anger, I didn’t see it. Her hand gently ran along the wall on her way to her bedroom. She never looked back my way.

Was it her indifference I wanted to fight with? Was it her dismissal of me that caused my anger? I watched her final steps, until the closed door signaled her solitude in the bedroom. And just like that, I remain with my unsettled emotions left to solve themselves.

The kitchen became my refuge, my outlet. I looked through cupboards, peering at boxes wondering which would fill my gap, my pain. The nothingness of the shelves led me to the cool comfort of the refrigerator. I roamed through the items, sorting through them and reorganizing as I went along. Nothing, until I opened the deep door of the freezer. Of course, the ice cream. Why is it always ice cream?

My impulsive decision didn’t end there; it had to be the right place, the right room to bask in its creamy delight. After all it takes concentrated techniques and efforts to chisel out the chunks of chocolate, making them the main goal of deep dive ice cream eating.

It wasn’t until I reached the overstuffed living room chair with its ability to shelter me from all the words of this morning that I finally pressed the spoon into the caramel base, knowing the sweet salty flavor would soon pass my lips into my readied mouth.

And it did not disappoint. In all relationships, mine with ice cream has never disappointed or proven to be the wrong path to take. I relished the feel, the satisfaction which passes over my body. Nothing in the world could come close to the comfort I found, the security I have felt and the gratefulness for a relief from all the stresses of the world.

Eyes closed I relished the first bite, my tense body relaxing as deep breaths helped to take in the whole experience. I don’t need her I tell myself, or her smug words or attitude. I am perfectly content to find what I need in the next delightful taste. I smile when I think this. Smile and laugh like I couldn’t do this morning in the long hallway. Maybe she can cope tucked away in the hallowed walls of her bedroom. But I could indulge. I could labor little and get such a delight that it would end all the hostility I ever felt.

One bite leads to another, and then another. I marvel how well it all goes down and then an idea strikes me. Turning myself around I throw my feet up on the upper shoulder of the chair. I lower my head off the chair’s ottoman looking at the world from an upside down position. I force a bite into my mouth and make myself feel the coolness of the ice cream has it passes onto the walls of my throat. Such a challenge to experience the ice cream with my world upside down, with laughter stuck in my throat at the exact same time the ice cream passes by. The laughter starts a gurgling sound, like a baby delighted with the first taste of something pleasurable.

“What are you doing?” comes both a curious and demanding voice.

I catch her face from my upside down, ice cream induced position. I find it hard now to have the rage and hurt I had just a while ago.

She comes closer to me, with a less demanding stance than before.

“Let me try,” she offers with a bit of excitement in her voice.

“Why not?” I counter, scooting my body over for her to lie next to me. Feet up, head down she gets ready to take her first initial bite.

“The trick is not to freeze your brain,” I offer from my moments of experience.

“Ah, Mom,” she adds. “I think I can figure that out!”

And so it seems, even with upside down ice cream eating, my  wise advice just isn’t appreciated!

 

DElarde, 2017

WHAT? AGAIN IN FOUR YEARS????????

This morning I heard my first ad from a Midwest potential Congressperson stating how she would “stand up to Hillary Clinton.” My husband had to stop me from throwing my shoes at the television. Quite frankly I can’t begin to stomach that in four years we may have a repeat of all of this.

I have many, many friends from both sides shaking their heads questioning how we got to this election. Where are the qualified people? Why so much anger, hatred and blame?

Obviously we have created a leadership vacuum in our government that very few qualified leaders want to fill. And why would they? Who wants to lead in a no win situation?

Our forefathers in their wisdom set up three branches of government – it’s referred to as checks and balances. Some, after the Revolutionary War wanted George Washington to become king. King George? Sounds like the oppression many of our ancestors fought against. Washington and other wise leaders pushed for a democratic process.

And so our beautiful democracy was born, which included the process of checks and balances so no one person or branch would have supreme power 100% of the time.

It is our diversity which has made us a great country. Yet it means our government only works effectively when there is compromise. If we continue with the attitude and action of blue/red, I win and you lose, and stop the process of compromise before it starts, we the people will always lose. Like many of you I have a personal agenda or vision of what I would like to see happen. I have both friends and relatives who may disagree with that. But I am betting that if we sat down and listened to each other we would find common ground to move forward on.

Can I live with getting 30% or 40% of an issue approved and moving forward? Can you? Because compromise is what it will take to fix education, health care, failing infrastructures and social inequalities. Our answers are in the middle, not in extreme sides.

Over the next four years I will be looking for politicians that can DO. I want to find those leaders who have the record, wisdom and courage to walk in the footsteps of our founding fathers, cross the aisle, work with whoever is president and find common ground to move forward for the sake of America. And for those politicians who brag about how much they prevented action which resulted in stalemates, the hell with the shoe I’m finding a boot.

Returning Light

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

 

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

 

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