Holding on to the light

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It is the eve,

not of the approaching holiday,

but of the shortest day of the year.

Darkness will swallow this landscape tomorrow,

giving us the fewest number of hours

to enjoy this beautiful sky

and create a seemingly everlasting night.

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 But through that darkness,

the light will grow strong once again.

The days will battle the nights

and the warmth will conquer the cold.

The blue of the sky will be deep

and the setting sun will linger,

allowing us to once again hold onto the light.

Under the night sky

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Dusk descends.  The deep blue of the night sky edges its way into darkness and evening begins to fall.  Stars mottle the nightscape and any heat the earth consumed during the day is slowly released back into that vast open space.  The long spindly finger of Old Man Winter begins to caress the world and the cold enters everything it touches. Trees snap and groan in their defiance of the stinging night air and animals have long since retired to the protection of their dens.

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The smallest portion of exposed skin is ambushed by the cold and is threatened with the repeated gnawing jaws of frost bite.  It hurts to breathe, but the beauty of that cold winter night is unparalleled.  The sky seems anxious to introduce every star in the milky way without the intrusion of clouds and the silence is deafening.

This is my winter.  These are the nights that I am drawn into the cold for the sole purpose of watching the stars put the sun to bed for another night.  I tilt my head back to take in the constellations and wait for a shooting star.  This is life in my Northern town.  This is the pastel portrait that saturates my brain before I go to sleep.

It’s all fun and games until you run into the Minister

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Lately, I’ve been happily ensconced in a world of avoidance.  The less I think about Christmas, the fewer the number of tears that threaten to roll down my cheeks.  I have only managed to put up one Christmas decoration in my house so far.   It didn’t come with shiny lights or reminders of Christmases gone by.  It stands alone,  in a spot that has never adorned a decoration and really looks as sad as I had been feeling.  But it gives me hope that I can find some of the joy the holidays are meant to bring.  If Charlie Brown can do it, so can I.

CB the tree

But recently I’ve felt much more like Peter Pan than a forlorn Charlie Brown.  My mind has been filled with happy thoughts.  Although none of them have been about the holidays, they have been happy nonetheless.  I have been blissfully distracted by work, by the return of my writing muse and by reacquainting with a dear old friend.  The big phantom red X’s on the calendar to indicate the counting down to the big day have gone unnoticed.  Until today.

It was during an innocent trip to the Post Office when I saw him.  Stealthily, he crossed the street like an apparition.  His white hair and white beard made me recognize him immediately.  Had he been wearing red suit, I would have thought he was Santa Claus but the all-black ensemble with a hint of white on the collar to match his beard was a glowing reminder of his true identity.  He was the minister at my mom and dad’s church, a dear friend of my mom and dad’s and a good friend to our family.  I knew as soon as I saw him that I would end up in tears before getting back into my car.

It’s always tough putting on a brave face when the person you are facing knows that you are struggling.  I like to think I walk around in a suit of armor but on the bad days that suit is filled with nothing but a puddle.  Today, seeing the sorrow and understanding in Steven’s eyes converted me from brave face to wet face in mere seconds.  I knew the happy bubble could only float for so long but I certainly have been enjoying the ride.

I know my mom is around.  She is the positive force making the good things pop out of nowhere when the sadness comes calling again.  I can feel her energy and that makes me happy.  And though this Christmas is going to be filled with some sadness and many changes, it will still be filled with a family who loves each other and cherishes the memories of the people they will be missing, especially during the coming holidays.

 

 

Oprah has a name for this…….

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Not everyone has the opportunity to experience a full-circle moment in their lifetime – that epic twist of fate when something you had spent so much time dwelling on in your past creeps up on you in your present.  I had one of those moments today.

I am a product of the 80’s.  I was never a slave to the hair and poorly-chosen fashion (most days) but the movies of the 80’s live on in my current reality.  I can recite those movies verbatim and I recognize a bit of myself in each one of those iconic movie roles that I watched as an impressionable teenager.  And though there were fleeting moments of seeing similarities between the starring roles and my teenage psyche, I always felt a deeper connection with the weirdos, the poets, the dreamers.

It was this truth that bonded me to Andrew McCarthy’s character, Kevin,  in St. Elmo’s Fire in 1985.  Though his role was meant to be a bit of an outcast, Kevin was the definition of how I saw myself in those days.  He was a creative soul, misunderstood on many occasions but he held true to himself.  Unlike me at the time, Kevin knew who he was and, although he struggled, in the end he wasn’t afraid to be that person.  He wanted to describe what he saw in a myriad of ways.  He wanted to describe life by every little detail and not just watch it go by.  He wanted to write.  And he was going to see his way to his future on his battered Underwood typewriter.

That line stuck with me.  It haunted me, actually, and I have seen that written line in a loop in my head for many years.  Like a headlining banner at a movie theatre,  the words “battered Underwood typewriter” scrolled incessantly around my brain.  The image of that machine, the clacking of the keys, kept me bonded to that dream of writing.  And now that image has become a reality.

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In a moment of complete serendipity, I have been gifted an Underwood typewriter.   I have been given a battered, plunking, beautiful, historic typewriter that could write chapters of its own given the chance.  Its stories are burned into the keys.  Its ribbon holds a wealth of ideas and the rest is not history, but my story.  It is up to me to cajole the remainder of the tales from this relic.  This battered Underwood typewriter could be the one thing that reminds me that I can write and, just maybe, will help me get to the next stage of my writing success.

 

Finding the colors

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When sadness overwhelms us,

Mother Nature is there

to help us find beauty,

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to make us stop and absorb the moment,

to find peace in memories.

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to find the lining of colors

in an emotionally gray day,

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and to make us see the spirits,

free in the sky,

 to feel their presence and find our smile.

The long journey of picking up the pieces

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“All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.” ~ James William Elliott

I would never describe myself as a wallflower.  I’m very willing to stand out, stand up for myself and take charge of my life.  If something is not working I will give one hundred percent to fix it but, if it is beyond repair, I’m not afraid to walk away knowing I gave it everything I could.  Thus was the lesson it took me half a lifetime to learn and thus was the story of my marriage.

Hindsight is a giant pain in the ass.  I don’t care if it is 20/20, it still sucks.  If I were completely honest with myself, I should have known better before I made that march down the aisle, with my brother on one arm and my mom on the other.  As I stood waiting for the music to start, I looked at him waiting for me at the other end of that runway to my future.  I really looked at him.  And for the first time I could see how truly broken he was.  I knew in my gut that this would not be my forever but I wanted so badly to fix him.  I wanted to be enough to make him want to change but his demons were bigger and far more powerful than any strength or love I could throw at them and I finally had to admit defeat.  It was time for that broken duck to find a new pond and keep himself afloat without using me as his water-wings.

After he left something happened that I had not anticipated – I immediately found my joy again.  The saddest part of that statement is that I didn’t even know it was gone.  I was so lost in the spiral of break and repair, I didn’t have time to notice that I was unhappy.   It’s sad to say that it took him leaving for me to be myself again but that is exactly what happened.  When that reality hit me, I cried.  I cried for the pieces of myself that I lost through the process and I cried because I had just given myself permission to get those pieces back and put myself  together again, to become whole.  If I performed an autopsy on the relationship, perhaps I would realize that the cause of death was that I was the one that had become broken.  Somewhere, in what should have been wedded bliss, a small crack had pierced my armor and my happiness began to seep through that fissure. I was like a tire with a slow leak that you don’t notice until it is completely flat.

love puzzle

(image credit: vi.sualize.us)

A very wise fellow blogger once said something that has always stuck with me “the steeper the climb, the better the view”. (Thanks Ned)  I began my journey back to happiness by taking that first giant step and, although my gait was awkward in the beginning, I continued to put one foot in front of the other to reach that summit.  The pieces of myself that I had lost were scattered along the path to the top and I collected them as I endured the uphill battle.

During the climb I paid money for my property (again) but that money also paid for my peace of mind, my dog’s happiness and well-being and the key to the door that had kept me locked away from my true happiness.

Being on the pinnacle of that mountain I am now able to clearly see the type of love that I want, the type of love that I deserve.  Never again will I give away the pieces of myself to try to fit them into someone else’s unfinished puzzle.  After several years of restoring my sense of self, I am stronger than all the King’s horses and all the King’s men.  I was able to put myself together again.

The only one

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The night lay in wait.

The sun fell through the sky

and the trees held the ball of fire close to them.

The air grew cold and the stars lit the sky with their light.

Dusk had come

and lent calm to the end of the day.

The songs of the birds has ceased

and the sound of night crept up on the pair

as they sat with wine in hand.

His stare caught her off guard.

She brought the glass to her lips and drank.

She could feel his gaze burn her skin

and his smile made her heart warm.

The fire roared and the sparks lit the sky.

This was the night.

She knew it, she felt it.

He got down on one knee and gave her the box.

It was carved from a branch of the tree they knew,

a tree that saw two friends grow since they were young.

The ring and the box were pure love.

She lay a kiss on his lips

and said yes.

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This was written in response to the Daily Prompt that was my suggestion today!!  Write about anything you choose using only one-syllable words.  It was also inspired by a friends recent engagement and the ring box was carved from a branch of a tree they played under as children.