Tangled Webs

Me :

 

Every morning,

Every single one,

For the past eternity

(Or maybe just a week)

A spider

(It looks like a wolf spider but smaller and fatter. Maybe a fox spider?)

Has built his hunting lodge

Across the top of my porch steps,

From post to opposite rail,

Perfectly at head height.

 

Every morning,

Every single one,

(Except this one because, apparently,  even I can learn)

I’ve left home

And found my head unpleasantly wrapped

In sticky gossamer silk.

 

To me it’s an irritant.

Startling and atavistically creepy perhaps,

But really, no more than annoying.

To the spider it must be a disaster.

His home is daily destroyed.

 

Why wont he learn?

 

 

Spider :

 

Every morning,

Every single one,

For the past eternity,

A moron walks through my hunting ground….

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Blue Gate

Image

See those old blue boards.

Mismatched.

Every one of them.

Warped and cracked and a bit twisted,

By time and weather.

Held fast together by old nails.

A brotherhood of memories

(Nothing holds stronger than memories).

The old paint is cracked and peeling

And underneath is more paint,

Down to the root of the wood.

A deep, rich blue.

Bluer than blue.

It’s the memory of blue.

 

The old gate swings wide,

Open to a path of cut stones and dark gravel.

 

How many?

 

How many feet have passed here?

 

There seems to be a garden beyond.

Dark broad leaves speak of a seaside town to me.

I imagine a narrow street in front,

Once for carriages,

Now maybe for cars,

But for passing people either way.

 

A gate is a border,

A frontier,

A mark of separation,

Discreet to discreet,

One to the other.

 

How many crossings marked by that gate?

 

I think, sometimes, that the whole weight of a life

May be left in a footstep

Each step carries the permanent ghost of a life.

I think, sometimes, that if I just knew how to squint my eyes,

Or cock my head

In just the right way,

I might see and hear the lifetime of memories

Pressed into each footprint.

 

How many stories carried through that gate?

 

That old gate stands,

With its curved top,

As it has always stood,

Against the weather

And against time.

Truthfully, for all I know it may be less than a year old.

No.

That’s not true.

The truth is, that old gate has been there forever,

Carrying and holding and bound together

By memories.

A brotherhood of memories.

 

Nothing holds stronger than memories.

Raw Heart

Raw heart.

 

That’s how I was born.

My heart was created raw,

Open,

Fresh,

Touchable.

 

Our hearts,

From our first breath,

Cascaded into the world

And the world cascaded back.

Open to every touch and sensation, every beat expanded us outward.

Love,

Joy,

Like sunlight on our raw hearts.

 

Sunlight burns as well as warms.

 

Disappointment.

Loss.

Ache.

Tiny cuts and gaping wounds.

 

At some point I began to make my armor.

Carefully (though unconsciously) crafted,

Soft and supple as fine leather,

A case to stop the wounds

And hold in the warmth against a cold world.

 

Leather, over time, becomes stiff and inflexible.

That which holds in warmth also holds it out.

 

All unawares, I found my heart constricted by the armor of my making,

Wrapped and numb,

Barely able to beat.

 

Time to rip the cover off.

“Foolish,” I hear them say.

“An unprotected heart is doomed to pain and

The unexpected fatal blow.”

True enough.

I accept that.

A heart constricted will die as surely,

More slowly,

And perhaps more painfully.

 

I’d rather be a fool.

 

I want my raw heart.

Still

Still.

Quiet.

The pause between…

 

 

Inhale…

 

 

Perfect moments.

 

The world is made of perfect moments.

 

Each moment perfect for something,

 

One thing.

 

One.

 

 

Exhale….

 

 

We careen through life, never in one moment,

Never in one, always looking ahead to the next or the next three, or the seventeen moments from the moment we never saw,

On to the next, on to the next, on to the next, on and on and on and on and on and on

So quickly the world becomes a blur

And our memories are built from the thoughts we had of anticipation of a moment that came and went unrecognized because when it arrived we were thinking or another moment in the future so that our past is created from our thoughts about what the world will be.

 

Phew.

 

 

Inhale…

 

 

Life lives between the breaths.

Between heartbeats.

 

In the quiet.

 

In the fall of a drop of water

From my body

After the shower.

 

 

Exhale….

 

 

Still

Quiet

Be still

Be quiet

 

Just for a moment…

 

Be.

Choice

I was having a conversation with a friend tonight and the subjects became quite deep (cause as intelligent, deep-thinkers that’s how we roll) and slightly maudlin.  I have some thoughts I want to get down before I lose them.  This might ramble a bit and may not make sense.  Be warned.

One of the topics we discussed was being true to oneself.  Living honestly and unapologetically without fear or shame or guilt.  That’s big topic material.  I’ve had a very long struggle with these ideas.  For a long time, some part of me has believed that living like that would be living self-focused.  Selfish.  It’s always seemed a bit Ayn Rand to me.  I’m starting (slowly, because apparently slow thinking is also how I roll) to come to a different perspective.

I think a lot of people, myself formerly included, view living without apology as a license to do whatever we choose and if someone else doesn’t like it well then, screw them, that’s their problem.  That can be blatantly defensive and blatantly aggressive at the same time.  It elevates the self to the ultimate moral authority and excuses any action as valid because it’s “true to who I am”.  It’s self-centered.  I think self-centered behavior always carries with it, a core of guilt.  Even if it’s not consciously acknowledged, guilt wears away at a person.  Guilt makes the defensive more defensive and the aggressive more aggressive and if a person is their own highest moral authority then there is no way to get rid of the guilt.

Here is my recent perspective shift.  I think if you really want to live unapologetically, then you live by always trying to make the right choice.  Rather than making the choice that’s best for you, you make the choice that’s best for the situation and that automatically become the best choice for you.  So, how do you make the right choice?  What’s the moral yardstick to measure by?  I’m a Christian.  That means the yardstick is love.  God is my moral authority and God says that I’m always to operate out of love.  Note, however, that the loving choice is not always the same as the fun choice, or the nice choice, or the friendly choice, or the “I want everyone to like me and think I’m sweet and kind” choice.  Sometimes the loving choice might make the ones you love unhappy.  Frankly, always making the choice that makes other people “happy” is generally very selfish.  It becomes more about having others think well of you than helping them truly.

I’ve wandered.  The point is, if I’m always making the best choice I can, based in love; I never have to apologize for my choices.  Even if others disapprove, I’ll know that I made the right choice as best I could.  I still might make a mistake but the mistake will be an honest one.  I’ll know I did my best.  Then I can release the guilt.

Ok, I really don’t know if this makes sense.  I just wanted to get it down so I’d understand it.

Midnight

Midnight.

Midnight is the time of cats.

It creeps in quietly.

I should be sleeping

But this time,

This quiet and soft time of peace

Is my favorite of the day.

I don’t like to waste this middle of the night,

Though I know I have to wake early

And I’ll regret missed sleep

When the sun is in the sky.

Still,

This moment of quiet,

Of solitude,

This time without demand

Sings quietly to me.

“Welcome to midnight “.

A Moment of Your Time

I blew a tire at speed on the interstate today.  The van I was driving along at seventy-five (yep, seventy-five is what I’m claiming) suddenly popped up in the air with a resounding bang.  I thought I’d hit something for a moment until the weaving and shuddering started.  I was in the left lane and a semi was pumping along not far behind in the right.  We managed to switch places fairly promptly without hitting each other.  I made it to the shoulder at the far end of an entrance ramp, where, interestingly enough, someone coming onto the interstate much too fast came pretty close to creaming me in the back (yes, he was on the shoulder as he was trying to merge).

I was never really scared.  I was definitely startled, but not scared.  I didn’t even get enough adrenaline to get the shakes afterward.  I suppose I could have died.  The guy in the semi could have died.  The mentally challenged person merging could have died.  I didn’t really even consider that until hours later.  I’m not bothered by death, at least not my own.  No fears for me beyond that gate.  I do have some fears about causing pain to loved ones who might miss me.  The whole incident did, though it’s rampantly clichéd, cause me to think about how quickly things can change.

Every breath you or I take, something changes.  Every heartbeat we have, someone’s life is permanently changed in a large and shocking fashion.  Sometimes it’s our own.  We tend (at least I do) to roll along, blithely assuming that each next moment will be just like the last and that the one after that is a guarantee.  We assume this in the face of a staggering mountain of examples that this is simply not so.  We do it, I know, because life would be too much work without those assumptions that fly in the face of reality. Joys and tragedies happen constantly around us as the world shifts from discrete moment to discrete moment.

One of my favorite authors has pointed out, in many clever and entertaining ways, that boredom is an amazing invention that humanity has come up with to protect us from the constant, astounding wonder of the universe changing around us.  I think that’s true.  I also think it’s needful that, every now and then, we take a moment to recognize, no matter how clichéd, that life alters every single moment.

Pay attention to your moments, as often as you can.