Alive, Please Be Alive
My tears soaked into the hospital sheet, turning it’s opaque white a soggy-transparent.
Tears of relief, and of worry...
The warmth of post-partem euphoria still lingered,
Taking the edge off the agonizing chasm of fear.
window; early morning, winter.
I took stock of myself: A beached whale.
Breathing salty silence, barely able to move; totally aware; hopelessly mammalian.
When they extracted that little lump of bundled newborn bliss out of my coddling arms
to insert him into the cold plastic medical sorcery of the NICU ward,
The rampaging maternal beast inside my ribcage was constricted,
Reduced to helpless pleading;
Alive, please be alive...
He was breathing he was snuggling into my chest
he was holding my finger he was so little.
....what if they don’t bring him back?
Post script note for those who like happy endings: The nurses brought him back to me safe and sound. He slowly but surely (though not without pitfalls) grew into a fat healthy baby. And, as I’m writing this quite a time after the initial scene transpired, in a few days he’ll be a gumptious little munchkin of 2 years.
Post post script note for those with ample patience for oversharing: This scene from Dumbo always brings at least a lump to my throat if not tears to my eyes:
I know exactly what it is to be that ‘mad’ caged elephant.
I know why you’re hiding
in the back
so you would not get called on
to speak in front of the class
hundreds of faces
turn to look in my direction
his chalk poised on the board
ready to write my responses
the lights shimmered
and I felt my lips form the words
I didn’t know I knew
and that’s what it is
to exist in the present moment
all eyes on you
Etched on the backs of my eyelids is one of those dusky nights,
threadbare tires and music that tastes of static and somewhere else.
Outside autumn is taking its final rattling breath,
the cold just shy of being cruel,
though I will only notice this later.
For now I lean against the backseat window,
watching streetlights flicker lazily to life,
pretending I cannot feel your hand in mine,
the way you trace the ring on my finger,
and my world snaps into focus.
I try to find something pretty to say,
but my prose has always looked better on paper,
and there is a simplicity in silence, too.
Foolish legs flying
Past towering oaks we’d sprint, my dog when I was ten
foolish legs flying up muddy trails then.
Tethered to beast on leather leash, a hundred pounds of dog
just as fast as me, the fool.
An Irish Setter, mud and drool, we’d race to the pond and bog. At speed in his glory, russet fire in the wind.
One day he started sprinting for no reason, so I thought, but then I saw the squirrel, just asking to get caught.
And to the left, at speed he broke, the rodent fled to a nearby oak. I tried to stop, but I broke right, the leash stuck firm so I took flight.
And so physics did their bit,
and so the oak tree I did hit.
The rodent laughed as he scampered up, the flying boy and his earthbound pup.
So I lay dazed, yet nothing broke, the dog was barking up the oak.
I laughed at the squirrel, and he laughed back, at the flying boy oak tree attack.
So we walked home as it got dark, another day spent in the park.
A decade later, his legs turned weak, his dog days ended one Winter bleak.
I still remember our travails, of flying and crashing and other tales.
Taken By Surprise
There's no tomorrow.
There is only hope.
Past conjures sorrow.
The sting of course ropes.
"The road is narrow,"
you coax. As I cope.
Home is a word that beckons the feeling deep within our being.
It’s an indescribable sensation that permeates the soul
As it reaches inward, striving to create a sense of foreseeing,
Enveloping and molding all that’s derived to make us whole.
Life is full of twists and turns and yet to home we always return
For a sweeping comfort and peaceful security beyond the norm
Looking inward we pull from ourselves, desiring that which makes us yearn
As we feel undiversified acceptance, having no need for others to perform.
Home is a feeling beyond measure and beyond the scope of lands
Derived of endless days, nights, and years spent doing what makes us who we are
It’s peace, tranquility, individuality, and all that comes together to expand
Our sense of worth, preservation, and all that’s unique, like a brilliant star.
So for that which you may call home, look deep within your mind’s eye
It’s there you will find what you know so well and that which you always seek
And it’s there that you will find a release which will make your heart cry
With resounding happiness and alignment as home you will meet.
It's very easy, I've found
to become lost in the sound
the bustle of life which is always around
the booming conditions in which I have drowned
But when I sit still, without moving a muscle
when I pay no attention to all that does bustle
when I separate myself from the world that shaped me
that, my friend, THAT is when I am set free.
There is no other time in which I understand
the sound of life, so glorious and grand
the knowledge that Earth, so scarred and hurt
is far, far more than a just pile of dirt.
She breathes and sings her gentle song
for listeners, anyone, to sing along.
Because I have immersed myself in what I thought to be living
that cold concrete towers had a heart that was beating,
I have become uncomfortable with the peaceful feeling
of stillness and silence, short of her singing.
For what am I without my busy way of life?
what would I do without my troubles and strife?
I have yet to hear her answer, that I know
all I can do is wait, and listen to her song ebb and flow.
I take a quiet stroll on the beach
as the golden streaks spread their charm
all across the swirling waters of the sea,
my naked feet sink slowly into the soft grainy sand
that clings to my toes,
each step I take I feel their gentle cuddle,
a soothing feeling envelopes me,
the tides advance slowly,
they rise and fall over in jubilation,
their gurgling sound fill my ears,
they splash their surf on my feet over and over again,
adamant, like a little toddler that won’t give up,
they urge me to stay, as I move away
the gentle breeze joins in, nudges me to give in,
I take a deep breath, relent,
stretch my arms wide,
take a deep breath,
fresh, rejuvenated I feel.
Though I lay here in my bed
As the moon is rising higher
My thoughts spin in my head
And my mind goes out to wander
I’m not sure where it goes
What it plans to do or see
When the night falls dark
And the trees hover over my balcony.
Does it go to different countries?
Is it living a different life?
Did it somehow learn a life lesson?
Will it come back to tell me its strife?
Sometimes it seems so far away
I don’t know what I’d do without it
So when the night turns into day
I’ll admit I’m pretty happy about it.
Because no matter all the adventures
My mind takes in the night
It never outdoes the adventure
That I call this here Life.
I lived in Fort Collins for a good chunk of time and there was a popular hike nearby that I loved to do. It was short and strenuous, perfect for someone with a busy schedule. The views from the summit were incredible with the blue reservoir and the red sandstone rocks below. I have a vivid memory of going on this hike on a beautiful spring day. It was the perfect temperature with very few clouds in the sky. I found myself lucky that I decided to go on a weekday because there were very few people on the trail. Solo and isolated hikes have always been my absolute favorite. As I hiked on this particular day, I noticed that the vegetation was damp due to a recent rain and it brought out many refreshing smells. I could smell the pine needles and the butterscotch scent from the Ponderosa trees. I hadn't realized how much I needed the hike until I was already well on my way. The thing is, hiking is like my church. Anytime I hike, I'm able to go into a deep meditation and become acutely aware of my surroundings while being cognizant of all the outside blessings of my life. It is spiritual, moving, and healing and I always leave the mountain feeling grounded, stronger, and at peace. This particular hike brought that and then some.
When I reached the summit on Arthur's Rock, I was all alone as if it was my own private peak. I sat for awhile eating a snack and taking in the views. The rolling green hills that slowly turned into plains seemed to go on forever. As I was sitting there, I heard a peculiar sound of a light, almost inaudible rustling. I looked up to see a few turkey vultures soaring close to the peak I was sitting on. The rustling sound I heard was the feathers on the turkey vultures' wings cutting through the air. I became overwhelmed with awe and gratitude that it was silent enough for me to hear such a subtle sound. It was beautiful and one of the most peaceful moments I've ever experienced on a hike. I laid back and watched them soar around for awhile. The other beautiful part is that I had no obligations that day, no one was expecting anything from me and I was not on any time limit. So, I sat, watched, and took it all in. I felt as though I was breathing in the mountain and all of its life and breathing out love and peace. On the hike back down, I felt light and rejuvenated. I ate a delicious meal when I got home and slept so soundly. I don't think I'll ever forget it.