Maria of Amatrice

I guess I would remiss in saying that sleep did not come easy in the night. It was so very clear. A beam of light trickling in from either a crack in wall or a distant window, from my point this was not be discerned. Yet the beam was of golden rays, dust motes like gilded fairies danced and shimmered in the light. This was her view, interpreted as a simple “I have not forgotten you” as night closed in again on the stillness. What caught my attention first, to my drifting soul as wanderer, a practice I had honed throughout my years. Was the table top. A simple wooden desk, more of a catch all as one entered the home, steps right past it in the the entry way, now crumbled and inaccessible with rubble. It was there on the wall her to where her eyes guided me , the old lady crumpled on the floor. A simple ancient tile, the frame a turquoise plaster with chipped edges. A rendering of a lovely woman hair piled high upon her head in the fashion of her time. On the table a simple tray, brass? In the tray a Rosary of dark cut glass. Yes, she wanted it, she needed it for solace. Yet again our focus went to the framed ancient tile upon the wall. A cock crowed in the background, an evening cry by a distressed creature who had felt the earth shake, seen his world crumble. The lady so skillfully painted long, long ago on the tile seemed to be watching as well. She was thirsty, the one on the floor. While the tiles were cool, she could not rise, nor would water be the first on her mind, the old Rosary would be the item of her most immediate need. Let it be said, I can influence neither I am simply a guide. A traveler in the night. But I can relate the tale.

There was not a breeze,only the sound of the crowing cock and muted sirens in the distance. But a still silence of stopped humanity and a cloying darkness as if the world had been put to sleep encompassed all. She had awakened in the wee dawn hours by the ever restless housecat. Incessant cries and scratching to be let out had brought her from her bed to the entryway, no sooner was the cat released and the door closed then it happened. A roar, a rumble and a swaying from the bottom up as though the once solid earth was rolling like waves on the sea. She slipped. Grabbed for the desk, the Rosary, felt the cool glass beads touch her fingers,a reassuring surge of energy before she fell. As she went down she locked eyes with the oft ignored decorative tile above the desk, it did not move upon its hook, hung fast to the rocking wall. A family heirloom, an ancestor, yet it also gave instant solace for those eyes depicted in such detail centuries ago, were her eyes. They were the eyes of her parents and the eyes of her children. Old bones and tired muscles gave way to the lurching of the floor. Her hip gave with a crunching sound, her eyes locked on the ancient ones of the rendering, she a saw a resignation, a strength ,a fire, and an acceptance in those eyes of the woman on the tile coming at her like a  lightening flash across the years, it simply was.

She was a young woman alive under a glorious sun. The warm sand was soft beneath her bare feet and the water had been warm in the stream where she had washed off the dust of the day, unnaturally warm. She did not consider that, a young mother in a hurry to cleanse herself and return to her babe. She had tossed back her long dark hair luxuriating in its thickness, feeling refreshed from the water and high spirited for the night ahead. She felt her breasts pulse full at the sound of her child on the bank calling for sustenance. She was so vibrantly alive with every sinew tingling with hope, every breath was an elixir of pure energy. The bath, the sun, the babe, the world was truly glorious and she drank in this moment. Her eyes on the skies, her heart full and the future oh so very bright. She happily admired the painting a wandering Shepard had done of her earlier in the day, her husband would be joyous to receive the gift for his travels took him away for long periods of time. She tucked  the simple tile tightly next to the babe for the journey home.  It all came  about with a crack, a thunderous roar, like the very sky split apart. A deafening guttural scream from the very core of the earth. Surly the Gods guided her feet as she removed herself from the present world and ran to the child. She grabbed the soft blanketed babe and ran. She ran with all the strength she could find and years of chasing stray sheep in her father’s fields, gave her speed. The babe screamed only when she had snatched him from beneath the tree, and had become knowingly silent as the two raced across the rocky field towards home. Razor sharp rocks tore her feet as she ran, but the great female spirit that was mother, that was Lioness in human form, pushed her on. She could hear the roaring sky, feel the quaking earth, sense the darkness growing behind her as ran. It was Sulphur and it was ash. Her breath became short as she reached the road, her heart broke as she realized she did not have the speed to outrun the darkness billowing up and deepening behind her. He appeared through the yellow haze of ash and smoke, whipping his horse to a high rate of speed. Yet he must have seen her in the ever fading light. He reined up fast, reaching down to get her. But upon reaching a complete halt saw the babe. The horse already lathered, had what looked to be miles to go to escape the death rolling across the landscape. They could not do it. He saw a resignation, a strength, a fire, and an acceptance in her eyes. She simply handed the blanket wrapped babe to him, turned and faced Vesuvius for Pompeii was dying. He did as any noble man would, took the babe in front of him, challenged not her decision and allowed her progeny to live, her line to go on.

I guess he kept it for the babe, a noble man who knew the importance of history to the soul. But in any case, line after line, the simple girl so brilliantly captured upon a simple tile had been kept. Now my eyes, my wandering spirit did what I do. I breached the realm. The dark girl haired girl from Pompeii was with me. I could feel her essence, the older one on the cool tiled floor was scared, but watching us both. I guess we were spirits in the darkness as we came through, vague outlines or shapes. I have no idea how one appears when they come over from the other side. I could feel the deep ache in the hip of the one on the floor, hunger long gone now simply overcome with fear and indescribable thirst. But I could also feel a deep abiding peace as like met like and gentle eyes of the same locked gazes.

Yes, my dear, I can smell the bread you baked the night before, even through the musty smell of the rubble. But I have brought your people through. Your ancient one is now here to escort you back to the bosom of what was and what is to be, a Grandmother so great only the ancient codes can tell the story. There  was a moment of nothing, like all the energy is sucked out of a room, the tingling, and then the music. And yes, it is music. Joy is not even word enough to describe the unification of souls. I still could feel her trepidation as my gentle connection from her past ran a calming hand across her brow. I was of her time and I guess easier. “Gentle one, we are done here it is time to go.” I imparted. The music increased in its intensity. I can only say that it is the sound of every molecule of everything that is on this earth,every being, sun, wind and sky singing Hallelujah. Everything. And it is glorious. The earth rumbled and shook once again, the table rocked and fell this time, the Rosary slipping to the floor into the weak, yet outstretched   work calloused  hand, which closed  gently around its care worn beads. At that moment the tile on the wall swayed on its hook and then fell to the floor shattering into a million shards. I saw a resignation, a strength, a fire, and an acceptance in both the eyes of the woman  from the rendering and the woman on the floor. So Lyrica of Pompeii took Maria of Amatrice home that night. Oh the vistas, the cathedral glinting in the valley below as the land rolls out to the sparkling ocean, I can see it now in mind’s eye, yet so far outside of my grasp. Go home Maria. You called me and I found you. I have served my calling.

 

 

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Bad Things

bad1  I guess when it’s all said and done, truth be told, I like bad things. It dawned on me this morning as I stood in line at the local 7-11 with my breakfast of choice, two Slim Jims and a diet coke. Nothing better in my book than the oily texture of a Slim Jim mingling with that peppery saltiness and then washing down each bite with the crisp carbonated tingle of an ice cold diet Coke. Oh and it’s got to be a Coke, no Pepsi or anything like that. I guess I knew I was totally evil when the girl in front of me grimaced at my choices. She was one of those earth friendly ones, Birkenstock sandals, a bottle of Norwegian spring water gripped tightly in one hand, an apple and granola bar in the other, smelling lightly of patchouli. Now I try not to judge, but if daggers could be shot from someone’s eyes I would surly have bled to death right there on gray industrial tile floor  much to the horror of what looked to be the entire Patel family working behind the counter.

bad4  Now Birkenstock girl was one of those with the fade washed organic clothing, tangled curls (rather unkempt) unknown label fabric purse still bearing a  huge BERNIE badge from some now past history rally. (Wonder how she likes his 600 K beach house?) She was pale, obviously a cave dweller and a lover of sunscreen, because  that horrendous global warming was going to fry us all. She gave my Slim Jims an apprising look of utter disgust. Now me, I was born and raised down here in the South, I like big hair, flashy earrings, I am no stranger to the Estee Lauder counter at Belk and it shows. So my Tumultuous Pink Lipstick (freshly applied) and Love Bites nail color (fingers and toes) was blazing brilliantly beneath the fluorescent lighting of 7-11. I had also possibly over sprayed myself this morning with White Linen perfume. All this makes me think she considered that I moved in cloud which was pure and total biohazard. Plus, there was sunscreen factor. I’m guessing it was pretty obvious I abhorred that, since I had spent previous afternoon at the pool slathered in Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil and was that dark golden color one who “Pools It” a lot gets late in the season. So yeah I’m bad.

bad7  I could see her mind working as she quickly made a judgement of my immortal soul, that it would surely burn in hell (if she believed in such) or at least never approach Nirvana. I held up my fancy repast, and said “Gotta tide myself over until Smashburger opens” as cheerily as I could. A look of true horror  passed across her face “I wouldn’t know, I’m a vegan” She replied. Of course I knew that and probably a gluten free, organic free range vegan too. The BERNIE badge flashed in the light. But so did the little pentagram she wore around her neck. Ah, I smiled to myself, presumably a Wiccan to boot. I mean anything to show one she was totally against the Status Quo. What she failed to guess was that the flashy blonde in Tumultuous Pink lipstick smelling of White Linen had just returned from the Carolina bottom land, where she had acknowledged the tree Dryads, said hello to the Water sprites, and even given the Gnome under the water oak a wink.

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I must have made her nervous, myself so obviously a Trump supporter and a flaming ambassador to all things Capitalism. So she opened her oversize bottle of water (probably bottled just outside Waycross,Georgia from a spigot someone named “Norwegian”, you know  advertising and all that) and took a drink before turning to set it uncapped upon the counter. The youngest Patel looked a tad nervous at this, what if she did not have the money? Would they suffer the loss of an entire bottle of water? What were the ramifications? In my mind’s eye I could see my Dryad friends dancing from leaf to leaf and the water sprites splashing amongst the river rocks.

The odor of patchouli drifted towards me as she had noticed the arrival in line of three Hispanic fellows and threw them a welcoming nod, flipping dull, tangled curls over her shoulder. Oppressed, downtrodden immigrants. I could see as much compassion on her face for them as there was disdain for me. The BERNIE badge glinted again in the lights. I turned to meet the eyes of Juan, Pedro and their brother who’s name I did not recall. They were hot and sweaty after a long morning in the heat and I could see her very liberal vegan gluten free organic heart breaking at that sight. Now me, I like bad things. So I asked the three amigos “How did it go this morning?” Juan shook his head and said “Not as good as last time, but we all played under par, the course was rough, anyhow we’re headed up the lake, going to take the boat out” The BERNIE badge flashed in the light. She looked stricken, like the deer in headlights of a logging truck I had seen down on 521.bad2    Now I like bad things. I truly do. My guess was my friends the Water Sprites did as well.. I’m also inclined to do this from time to time, stay in practice and all that. As if by magic, (IT WAS) the still uncapped bottle of Norwegian spring water fell onto its side gushing water out onto the counter in front of Immigrants (Golfing Pediatricians), Trump supporter /Probably fundamentalist right wing Christian (Me , an adept at all things mystical with a penchant for freedom) and the anguished face of the youngest Patel (Who was ready to go back to school and rejoin his soccer team, but was helping Daddy to pay off his Beemer).  A deafening silence, no apology a simple swipe of her card and she fled. I watched her drive away in her Prius with New York plates BERNIE sticker fading out of sight. Magic, it’s not a bad thing.

Larkspur -Prelude to a dance

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Sunday mornings are the best time for reflection. The world seems gentler, almost passive as we take solace in the gentle dawn hours and catch our breath for the week ahead. I guess the ghosts of my history are calling to me at this point. Wanting to be heard, to have their stories saved. Maybe they have a valid justification for that, because such history seems so very sweet as I look back this soft Sunday morning. Maybe my fear is that I will not do them justice, the sagas of the lives we lived not all that long ago. But as I’ve told myself through the years, if not you? Who? So I shall refill my coffee, let my mind roam free through the rolling fields of times past and prepare to save the spirits of the life we lived long gone, but which never should be forgotten. Taking the good with the bad, excoriating my soul and weaving tales of a time that so many hold so very dear.

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Horse traders and car dealers it was simple as that. Or was that simple at all? I remember coffee was on the sun porch every morning at 7am, good, strong ,hot coffee, made in a percolator, an item I’m sure has long since been forgotten. The sun porch looked out over the upper pastures as they rolled down to the creek, the landscape always changing colors and appearances with the seasons. We discussed the weather, the horses, and who did what when. It was South Carolina in the early 90s, situated close to the North Carolina line and the rapidly growing city of Charlotte. I was young then, as I look back on it all today. Half of me wanted the city life with the bright lights and fast pace. The other half wanted what was simply written into my DNA. A love for farms, fields and horses glistening in the sun. The latter overcame the former in the years to follow and I survived that dissection of my soul. Or as I was told one sweltering July day as I slaked my thirst with a long draught of well water from the hose at the end of the barn, “You’ve done drunk the water now this will always be home” .

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I traveled a lot of miles from that day to this. In my darkest times I found succor in the memories I built on that big patch of red Carolina earth that holds swamps, ponds, dark forests and wide open pastures. The people, the horses, the journeys and the history need not lie fallow awaiting a wordsmiths till. For we lived, we laughed, we rode and we cried. So to all that lived that history with me then and still do today for that Carolina ranch still stands. I will try and do man, earth, and beast justice for we all made these stories together. A myriad of intertwining moments. My only hope is that sometime off far in the  future, be it our progeny or simply a seeker’s curious soul, one can look back and say, “ That’s what it was like then” and see that it was good.

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This Sunday Carolina morning I’ll finish my coffee as we always did on the by 8am. Wonder what the view is like from the sun porch, think about the weather, the horses and who did what when. I will ask the memories to come strong and clear, savor every detail and begin a journey not truly forward, but a meandering back in time. May the voices of our history ring out strong and clear like the church bells we’d hear from the hillside on a crystal, clear fall morning’s ride. Simply put “what was lost, must be found”and the restless ghosts of my history are taking me there.

The Songbird Flies

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So the songbird flies, she hears the call in the winds ,the rustle in leaves of the trees, the deep rhythm as the earth surrenders to the ancient forces of time and prepares for her rest . I too feel the  shift  as the seasons  begin their dance from one to the other.  Yet I hold my flight for as long as I can. I want to feel the gentle earnestness of your kiss for a while longer. Run my tongue across your skin to taste the salty tang of  your essence  and to inhale the musky scent of your male being  just a while longer. This is the soliloquy, the finale of us before we part for a time .  I hunger for your embrace , for it to last an eternity, to go past seasons into years , years into decades on through the course of the millennia.

The you and I that once were for so long. I will always hold the memory of you in my heart, back when things were simple, back when loving you was easy as the breath which powers the heartbeat in my chest. Tonight we’re so far from that sweet place of what was, yet let us  take this time to forget the spinning, maddening world around us, to meet each other on our terms. A glance leads to a gaze, a gaze leads to an embrace  and an embrace leads to forces untamable and beyond our wildest fantasies. I can feel your want, your pulsating reverberating  need. Sometimes just falling into your arms is all I need to dust off the tomes of our history and rewrite the legend. To see the sparkle of sweat glistening  upon your chest . To see the burning embers of passion in your eyes during those unbridled  moments when nothing exists but the love slick  heat of feeling of flesh upon flesh, passion upon passion, the cresting and the rising. The moment when the world falls away and we are one in the night. Those times when one wants to hold back, to extend the burn of the deep aching fire and in the same moment to let go completely in to the total oblivion of which  pure ecstasy  avails. To become one together in the moment, the shuddering spark into a white hot roaring flame crackling  and sparking against a world gone mad.  I feel your breath upon my neck, I see the heat emanating  in your eyes from your deepest longing, I feel your kiss on my lips, the scruff of your cheek, there is no yesterday or tomorrow  and we fall with a lovers embrace into each other once again. The world melts around us and drips away.

The crescendo has been reached and like a river running to sea we roll on towards our destination.  One tide rolling in, one tide rolling out, white capping and churning we break apart. We’ll taste each other on the gentle breezes, feel each other on the gusting winds. The leaves will fall from the branches they adorned for a season and the winds will become chill as  the darkness becomes longer than the light . Yet when I gaze into the gentle glowing fire I will see your spark, feel your heat and  acknowledge the abstract power that was you. So the songbird flies.

I am

 

 

am5   I want storms all about me, I want the lightening  to crash around me in a million spiked claws of light. For in the names of the Gods , I cannot hold. This is too much, this time this place, was it not my destiny?  I cry to you now, why me? I saw the fall of my empire. I still remember the scent as the papyrus burned at Alexandria. I was there to feel the rendering of knowledge  held for the ages extinguished upon the breezes of the seas  ever restless for the hearts of man. Oh for the cool mornings I spent with the scrolls, now I feel I have fallen into a hellish descent. My question is? When my lover  led me to the path out of  the city. Kissed my lips and told me to flee, gave up his mount so that I could race to the olive groves on hill sides and beyond, did you not, the all knowing ones that guide fate upon the mountains high, not know our love would transcend your machinations? Have you never as Gods on high, felt the broad back of a winded sweating horse between your legs as you eclipsed the nearest mountain top, only to look back upon the city  of your birth? Watching the flames cresting high into the night, sparks upon the wind , ashes into the skies, alone ,a girl on a hillside who just left the love of her life die in the fight  of the flames  trying to save all we held dear. The knowledge, the fate of us all was written, the girl on the hill that never saw her love again  in that time, but she absorbed that which was written and yes my Gods that which was lost.

am3  My dears she danced, she watched the mists roll in across the Alps as she held a demon at bay.  She saw snow covered mountains, she felt the death and destruction as trains  of death like snakes rolled across the icy plain. She heard their cries, felt their spirits dispatched with clinical efficiency. I watched nails break against metal walls as they clawed to stay alive, yet the toxins were far to much, Dearest Gods I was there. I’m the bright eyed girl that caught the eye of the monster for the songs of so many. Doubt me not. I tried to save you. I remember those days so well, yet the putrid stink of death hangs over them like a haze. If we only had not lost the scrolls. When he held me in the night, I knew he searched for my words, yet  what I knew, held no consequence.  How many hikes to the tea house did I take? Yet I did my very best to hold the demon at bay. Dear Gods I endured his advances in the night and  I cried as the  Arora borealis lit up the mountains resonating with the spirits of you, the Gods. But you were silent watchers as humanity destroyed itself.

But tonight, as the blonde girl  sits on her deck she smiles to herself, as she is here and you are there. She also knows that if she were not of you she would not know you. My Dearest Gods, I have swum the ocean when my world sunk to the sea, I have run through the jungles when you ended a people with pestilence, yet again I danced.  So tonight a simple girl in Carolina  says  “Dearest gods  you’re daughter has got this.” but growing up was a bitch.

Did I love you enough

13932768_1045618258847134_6521554582159172204_nThe grand finale of Summer rolls in accompanied by the cloying heat of long dog day afternoons and the mystical month of August with her steamy, tempestuous nights. These are the times I love to go back up on the river bank, lie myself down in the cooling shade and watch the clouds sail across the sky from beneath the forest’s canopy. The times I enjoy standing barefoot in cool waters, raising my arms to the skies and letting all energy that flows from the earth’s final pregnant months of the growing season seep in and pulse through my veins. Powerful late afternoon thunder storms will soon be rumbling across the landscape as Demeter curses and rages, knowing soon enough Persephone will return to the dark lands. As for me I shall drink them in, the raw natural power filling me with its intoxicating adrenaline as I stand headlong against the wind driven rains and dare the lightning to call me home.13912762_1045618275513799_8372252129615560320_n (2)I shall, at this point in time wonder if I loved Summer enough. If I danced on her moonlit nights in forests deep, swam freely in her sun warmed waters, laughed with the birdsong rising from the treetops or picked that giant bouquet of Roses thorns be damned. Every Winter I dream of these moments when the days are short and slumbers pall hangs over the growing things. I must check myself now before she’s gone, slow my roll and walk shoeless in her grasses, make a point to greet the midnight hour as her final moon waxes full, cast off my garments and dance in her quicksilver waterfall of light. I must certainly make the time to meander further southward to the point where the land meets the sea, waltz upon the beach, let the waves lap gently at my feet and watch that giant warming orb that gave us all the valiant gift of Summer breach the horizon on a newborn day. If not now when? I care not to be sitting by the fire months from today, dreaming of her heady fragrances, warm soft breezes and roaring storms, allowing the realization to cross my mind that I missed these magic times, that I did not take advantage of all my sweet Summer seasons delight.13879310_1045596745515952_4651839907131323521_n (2)So on this misty day in newborn August I find it in myself to curse the mechanics of man that separated us from all that was good, pure wild and free. Mechanics that took the magic moments of daylight and darkness, pillaged and broke them to pieces to become the minutes, seconds and hours that we now use to coordinate our lives. Don’t be deceived, time is heartbeat to heartbeat, one breath to the next, love to heartbreak, life to death. Time is what we all make it surrounded by the magic of the seasons. I would dearly love to smash the clocks, tear apart the calendars and use the judgment of the awakening seed, the unfurling leaf, and the moment when the forests adorn themselves in colorful splendor  wishing summer farewell to judge the passing of my days. If demons exist, those who set it upon themselves to steal our time must certainly be highly regarded in their wicked realm. I so often dream of eschewing it all, yet I must live in my world.

13876376_1045596725515954_5638208358611349419_nSummer if I’ve not loved you enough I intend to do so. I shall give you all my heart in your waning days. Like an errant lover I shall kiss the sweet lips of your gentle breezes, embrace the warmth of your retreating sun and make love to your hot sultry nights. I shall cast off the shackles of the mechanics of man, dance among the spirits of the wild and let the heavens decide my fate. When the time comes for our final farewell my spirit shall not have roamed in vain. For the passions in me you have instilled shall give me succor through Winter’s darkest nights as he runs his icy fingers through my hair and tries to win my soul. A cold, chilling lover I shall shun until I dance with you once again in the newly sprung fields and verdant forests of my destiny. Yet on this day I shall forget the goodbyes soon to come and love you with all my being. In these moments Summer, we are one.