Balking at bullies….

By jennifer | October 30, 2010 |
owl eyesI just walked away from a bully
and his pile of money.It was sparkly, this treasure
piled up high
~a whole trunkfull of nuts and acorns
for the winter months to come
~seductive and shimmery.
I’m sad to say
I followed it for a while
instead of my jilted heart.

But in the end……..I walked.
I never turned the last trick.

I wish I’d been braver
that I’d befriended myself sooner
and been more articulate
and smarter
and stronger
in the confrontations.
…that I’d been less nervous
and hadn’t talked too much
with a voice that never stopped shaking
and worried that I’d hurt the bully’s feelings
and played a fool.

But in the end, I did walk away from a bully
and his pile of money
and every step I took towards freedom
seemed to carve more deeply into my soul
“NOT for sale”
…………….and I think it may be
the closest thing to poetry
I’ve ever done.

 

Soul scraffiti…..

By jennifer | October 25, 2010 |
crop signsWhen I was a girl,
rake in hand,
I loved carving
roads and rooms and rhymes
into bare ground
with the art supplies
dropped by generous trees
(Autumn scraffiti!)Suddenly the sweet-smelling earth
that was my blank canvas
became personal and patterned
with mystery,
like crop signs appearing
with delicious secret meanings.

Then I spent hours playing in the nooks and crannies I’d created,
my imagination happily wallowing
in the newborn spaces.

There were stores to keep
and castles
and cottages in deep woods,
always with a corral for my horse
(my loyal bicycle with yellow banana seat).
I felt fully alive scratching out my art
through masses of fallen leaves.

Now, in the Autumn of my life,
I find myself outside and covered with soil and debris
much of the time.
When I’m not designing and building gardens
I’m doing “manicures” on bits of earth
grown tangled up, troubled and tightly pressed.

I’m thrilled when we’re hired by people
who’ve got a big mess
and feel overwhelmed
and can’t see the small bites.
I love the invitation to draw near to the chaos
and help put things right
…to come to their out of sorts places
and trim, prune, weed, shape and sort
until they’re singing again,
freeing both plants and their people
disentangled and calm.

I love it
….this sense that we’re carving oxygen and order
into spaces clogged with constriction.
I SO dig seeing living things come unfettered,
making room for beauty to stretch out cramped and achy legs
and make herself at home again.

Each time it feels as if,
deep down in my own overcrowded places,
there comes a release from more clutter
and I can see more clearly
Love reaching out to soothe and sort the tangles inside of me,
leaving carvings in my soul
like the paths and patterns
left by my childhood rake
so many Autumns ago.

Tumblings and tremblings….

By jennifer | October 19, 2010 |
hidden gifts I sat outside under Autumn trees
waiting for starshine
under a night sky so young
it still wore periwinkles and
raspberry pinks.
I lit wadded newspapers and began
building a little teepee
with the sweet smelling kindling
my sons had chopped earlier.By the time the fire was
glowing and warm,
the stars had begun to shine through
the canopy of leaves
and the night sky
turned a deep shade of sincerity.

I watched tree branches softly rising and falling
like sleeping giants
as the fire burned below them
and wondered what they dream
as their leaves,
whose days are waning,
flutter above the flames.

Do they long to pull them closer and hold them near a little longer
and dread the letting go?
Or do they already sense
the beauty of this dance with seasons
and relax about the falling
because they somehow know
that their living dreams will survive
even through the barren time to come
and, through no effort of their own,
return with sweet surging comfort
and thrive.

Like friendly ents
groaning under the weight of their wisdom,
they seem deeply at peace
in their willing release
of the leaves tumbling down around me
and so I lean the whole of me
into the heart of Love
and yield up my tremblings,
too.

 

Riverside ramblings….

By jennifer | October 12, 2010 |

fall
fallSpent a gentle Sunday walking beside

the Catawba river
and listening to it play,
strumming my heartstrings
until it’s music smoothed out the
lumps in my muscles and mind.
I joined the universe
in a deep sigh,
my fatigue and frustration
carried away downstream
until again,
I had a fair shot at clarity.
fall
And you were there, too,
my friend,
held close to my heart
as I meandered along.

You’ve been with me
during this often bruising week
….the unique beauty of your life(and blog)
nudging my eyes and heart
wider open to the huge love
crying out
in every color, line and form
….the trees themselves pouring down
tender kindness,
kissing me lightly as each leaf falls.

And as I walked along,
breathing in the Spirit who breathes life into us all,
I mentioned you, as I often do.
~Yes, you 🙂

I told Him how much I enjoy you,
.
..thanked Him for the
gift that you are.
I brought up that when you share your unique expressions of life,
I feel your breezes blow
on my own embers
until I’m energized and more alive.

And then, because you were on my mind, I asked Him to brush over you with His riversongs,
so that your heart lifts and leaps a little
like when we zoom over a rise in the road
and it squeezes ever so slightly with joy and lift.

And that no matter how much disappointment
or pain
or heartache
is a part of your story right now,
that you’d feel His love,
liquid and golden and infused into the air you draw inside yourself.
~That no matter how complicated this part of your path,
that you still live loved
…alive and aware and awake to the huge love that
hovers over you like whispers of sunshine
burning off the fog hanging low over your circumstances
until you can see the warm, engaging smile
that was there all along.

It was such a comfort to talk about you
with Someone who is absolutely crazy about you, too.
Yeah, so I just wanted you to know
that you came up.
And it was good.
And while I’m loving the wildly creative genius
behind your breathtaking beauty,
I’m loving you, too!

 

 

Starlings and snippets…

By jennifer | October 4, 2010 |
water and grassI scooped only a few hours
of weekend
into my bowl yesterday.
It was a generous portion
for October,
the yearly super bowl
for our gardening business.
(And the one month that makes
gentle January-by-the-fire
seem fair).To complicate matters,
my hubby is gimpy with a blown knee
and limping through the season
until he gets a brand spanking new one in mid-November.

And so it feels as if someone has dropped some
extra heavy stones in my backpack.

Today I set the backpack down on a hillside picnic table
and spent a few golden hours
watching horses quietly grazing and basked with them
in the late afternoon sun.

I breathed in deeply that smell
~like a freshly opened bag of potting soil.
And wondered…..fretted actually….over hanging a
“Closed for October” sign on my blog
because I don’t want to post stuff
that’s as mumsy and tired as I feel.

As I rolled this idea around in my head,
I watched a flock of starlings swarming and swooping,
scattering and swirling like confetti on a breezy current,
and my heart began to lift and lilt
with their dipping and diving.

I thought how life is fluid like that
~it’s a dance; the beauty is in the movement,
not in pretty still-life perfection,
and how there is something unnatural about
the idealism I’m struggling with
….something fake (ouch!)

And so I’m tossing the “closed” sign
and opening wide.
I’ll slice from my busyness
the slivers as they come
and write the snippets down
and let them be what they are
and see if the wind just may stir them to a dance of their own.

Soft, slow soaking….

By jennifer | September 27, 2010 |
be cake~It’s raining~
Sweet, soft, soaking rain
has been falling for hours.
First deep drink since March.
First rain at all since mid-August.Daily I’ve worked and coughed
the broken ground
without the gentle rainbreaks
in our schedule,
~felt driven and pushed,
like trying to play jump-rope
when the rhythm is spastic
and “off”.
(Turn slower, please)

Today the turning slowed to a soothing lob.
And I nursed the time
to listen to the sounds
of living things lifting up dry and thankful sighs
of relief.

I took the time to hear the skins come away from potatoes
as I slowly peeled them,
to watch olive oil pool and spread warm in the pan like ink on yupo paper,
to feel the thick plod of the knife as it sliced through rosemary
and lemony variegated thyme,
to enjoy each movement from counter top to refrigerator door
and savor clean water washing blobs of batter from my fingertips
again and again.

I let the phone keep ringing,
messages go unchecked,
and mail sit untouched for quite a while
as I squeezed tears through grateful eyes
until moist and tender again.

Today was a bountiful slow soaking
….the unplugging of me.

Sweet sound rising..

By jennifer | September 22, 2010 |
love healsI had surgery Monday
~oral surgery :/
For days before,
I lost precious moments
of my present,
sidestepping gnarly old fears
until time and energy
were leaking from my engine
as if I’d struck an iceberg
and I wondered
how to stop the hemorrhaging.Led by Love to the site of the wound
I stuck my head behind the curtain,
peered past smoke and mirrors
and looked directly into
old familiar eyes

…..no longer looking like the great and
powerful Oz
but tired and whispy and weak
like a weathered circus add on brittle yellowed newsprint
(only without the charm).

The scratchy soundtrack still blared:
“Be warned. And beware…..what you pray, what you say.
There is no margin for error with God there.
The fragile faith it all hinges on
can be fractured
by a careless slip of the tongue
or the lifeless prayers and dangerous words
of unbelieving ones
with their deadly sympathies and unwashed comfort
so work it alone, girl,
and be strong.”

Once upon a nightmare this sideshow seemed real
to parts of me unsoothed by love and so,
torn by the jagged edges and dull blades of doctrine
turned inside out
my soul froze up tight
and followed those yellowed bricks
until their weight was all I felt.

Like mold in the dank, dark closed-off-ness
where secret terrors hide
it grew the anxiety I was feeling now
in the cellar of my soul.

Now standing in the musty stink
with Love’s disinfecting light
and sweet wild air blowing fresh through open doors
I let the poison out.

And so undrugged by fearful things
I lay my head in surgeon’s chair
wrapped in buoyant breezes of love and prayers
and fresh sounds rising from my basement,
the sweet joyful sighs of amazing grace.

 

Leaping from Ladders….

By jennifer | September 16, 2010 |
crow I’m perched on a ladder
a lot these days
pruning things grown high
in the Indian summer sun.It’s different up here
inside the breeze
where earth seems overrun
by heaven
like a sandcastle mote at high tide.

Something inside me goes
a little weightless up there where unfettered beings set their wings and ride the air.

In all the years before
my white knuckles never brushed the sky like this.
My feet felt enormous on this creaky perch
and my hands the size of hams,
clinging and cringing with dread.

Fear of falling~my whole being shivery with it.
Of losing my footing and slipping.
Of losing my balance and tumbling.
Of losing……..control.

Something has bloomed inside of me,
it’s petals fluttery and chocolaty
against my soul instead,
like the brave pulses of new love.

And I like it up here
where it’s flowy with lift
and if the bough breaks
and the cradle falls,
I’ll still be cradled by strong, willing love
and my heart leaps
with the knowing.

 

Fine-tuning “fine”….

By Michele | September 14, 2010 |

be inspired

“So how are things?”
I’m casually asked.
I know the rote response is “fine”
~with a lilt if I mean it.
~with a measured sigh if I don’t.
Even “hard, but fine”
doesn’t break the rules.

And yet the question
oddly tickles my soul
so instead of sliding into autopilot
I play with the response in my mind
to see what actually fits.

“Well, I have a whole passel of problems.
Really.
Just a plethora of conundrums without obvious solutions.
And I’m feeling intimidated by them
even as I stand here smiling as if I’m on top of things.
Which I’m not.

And yet,
September is singing over me.
And there are real apples at the farm stand
-not the polished Stepford apples in the grocery store,
but freckled and dimpled and blushed.

And there is the sound of sweet soft wood being split for kindling.
And the unrushed sound of a broom slowly sweeping.
And the way wildflowers are spilling down embankments
now that the nights are turning cooler.
(And there is so much more pie nowadays.)

And I just found a pair of reading glasses on my head
right when I wanted to really see the print.
And there were these awesome glass doorknobs on the bathroom door in the back of that store
…..ones like I hope to have someday.

Lots of things are looking bright.
Pansies have just arrived; I can’t help grinning as I greet their pretty faces once again.
And I found the first just right stocking stuffer
and set hopeful baskets in the closet to collect the others to come.

And just this one day I’ve seen twinkle lights on trees,
sleeping bags soaking in fresh wild air on the clothesline
and a pile of stones carefully stacked by little hands
(more beautiful than anything I ever saw in an art museum).

And there were smiles exchanged between strangers,
and the way curiosity lifted me up past the weight of some fears,
and a leaf falling softly on my windshield at a stop light.

And bubbling and brewing inside of me
is the story of the woman who pushed past discouraging things
to break open her alabaster heart
and pour it out at the feet of Love wrapped in skin.

Because she saw all that was real and beautiful in Him
~she saw her everything.
The fragrance of that love drifts over me
even while other things rust and unravel.

And somehow my heart joins with hers
and sees a bit more clearly
which things have longevity
and deserve my attention and gratitude
(And which things don’t).

So I guess I’d have to say that things are, well,
they’re fascinating…..stunning……gorgeous……brilliant!
I’m in a good place.
Things are fine.”

 

Fine-tuning "fine"….

By jennifer | September 14, 2010 |

be inspired

“So how are things?”
I’m casually asked.
I know the rote response is “fine”
~with a lilt if I mean it.
~with a measured sigh if I don’t.
Even “hard, but fine”
doesn’t break the rules.

And yet the question
oddly tickles my soul
so instead of sliding into autopilot
I play with the response in my mind
to see what actually fits.

“Well, I have a whole passel of problems.
Really.
Just a plethora of conundrums without obvious solutions.
And I’m feeling intimidated by them
even as I stand here smiling as if I’m on top of things.
Which I’m not.

And yet,
September is singing over me.
And there are real apples at the farm stand
-not the polished Stepford apples in the grocery store,
but freckled and dimpled and blushed.

And there is the sound of sweet soft wood being split for kindling.
And the unrushed sound of a broom slowly sweeping.
And the way wildflowers are spilling down embankments
now that the nights are turning cooler.
(And there is so much more pie nowadays.)

And I just found a pair of reading glasses on my head
right when I wanted to really see the print.
And there were these awesome glass doorknobs on the bathroom door in the back of that store
…..ones like I hope to have someday.

Lots of things are looking bright.
Pansies have just arrived; I can’t help grinning as I greet their pretty faces once again.
And I found the first just right stocking stuffer
and set hopeful baskets in the closet to collect the others to come.

And just this one day I’ve seen twinkle lights on trees,
sleeping bags soaking in fresh wild air on the clothesline
and a pile of stones carefully stacked by little hands
(more beautiful than anything I ever saw in an art museum).

And there were smiles exchanged between strangers,
and the way curiosity lifted me up past the weight of some fears,
and a leaf falling softly on my windshield at a stop light.

And bubbling and brewing inside of me
is the story of the woman who pushed past discouraging things
to break open her alabaster heart
and pour it out at the feet of Love wrapped in skin.

Because she saw all that was real and beautiful in Him
~she saw her everything.
The fragrance of that love drifts over me
even while other things rust and unravel.

And somehow my heart joins with hers
and sees a bit more clearly
which things have longevity
and deserve my attention and gratitude
(And which things don’t).

So I guess I’d have to say that things are, well,
they’re fascinating…..stunning……gorgeous……brilliant!
I’m in a good place.
Things are fine.”

 

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