The River

Some days the river runs wild, some days it’s calm and slick. This early morning it just rolls by to the sea. My friend the water is tired of the chill this blustery April morning. Ready for the Sun’s rays to shine upon it casting a million diamonds of reflection upon the now dull surface. The river is weary of Winter’s slumber and longs to be once again pulsing with life. Life that only the return of the light with its vibrant warmth can explode into existence. But today it’s still a catacomb of darkness. The life is there, but like myself, everything above, below , and beside, all seems to be holding its breath. Afraid a gasp of air will feed the harsh grasp of the cold and allow such the strength to hang on a few days longer.

The fields around us have turned the deep emerald green of new growth . Lengthening  hours of daylight have called the juices to run in the grasses . Such as the light does in every living soul that gains sustenance from this land. My still winter shaggy horse paws impatiently at the rich black earth. Ready to be off. Either back to the sweet hay in the stable or on a leg stretching bolt as if together we can out run the chill. Its here on these riverbanks that I find my muse. The winds of history are strong here. The memories passed down from times before are encoded into my soul. Should I choose to wheel my steed around and run for the copse I will feel the pulse of the land in every stride as my sisters before me. A thing done wild and free away from the eyes of humans, just myself, horse and all that is nature. I think the big Oaks smile when I do this, oh not a visible one, but a smile all the same. For they are the sentinels that have been here hundreds of years. They watched us come to this land. Live, grow and die. Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust. They remember when few of us were here. Oaks that were small when my great grandmother rode her pony to this same riverbank to search for the signs. The signs of the turning of the seasons. A clarion call that life would proceed.

Time and tides have often not been gentle to this land. The winds of war have blown through feeding the soil that nurtured us with blood of her children . Long hot summers brought the fever and bodies sustained by this very earth were returned to lie beneath. The cycle began anew. I’ve often paused my mount out here and wished the Oaks could speak. Tell me what they have seen. Lovers trysts, mourner’s cries, and the joy of new lives arriving on this ancient landscape. Now I wonder what they would say? Why are you gone from us for so long? What has made your mind recede from the songs of the land? We hope you have not forgotten us for we are the guardians of your core. We know you better than you know yourself, for we’ve been with your people for many seasons. Your blood is in us and we are in you. Be still my child for your very essence hums upon this earth that gave you life.

I guess that’s why this chill grey April day. I chose to saddle up and ride the river bank. To once again become one with that which knows me well. To ponder the oncoming season and to make a cognizant act to slow down. To take the time to embrace that which knows me and that which fires my spirit. To gird my loins to wage a heated battle against time and for it. The for is to gather the most out the years one may run wild and free with youth’s strength yet to ebb. The against is to find the ability to hold off those robbers of our time. To possibly forewarn those coming after me that its not about what they have been led to believe. Its so much more. Today I find my course to finally ride free. The trees are smiling.


Clearcut- Coming Summer 2017



I guess she swore off love somewhere between Tennessee and Montana. The pain she felt as she rolled through the hills of North Carolina, the tears that rolled down her cheeks as she crossed late night into Tennessee dried with the sunrise. The world behind her, a miasma of pain and loss. Who was he? The man who brought so much to her heart and yet destroyed her world? A world she’d built from pain and sacrifice. Did he even know what his machinations has caused? She hit the gas as she rolled for the Kentucky border. Who was he and why had such a brief encounter disturbed her world so much? She could still smell the fresh cut earth, she could still feel his embrace that made everything good in a bad and evil world. She could smell the musk of him as their eyes locked, the magic of their embrace that night under the hot Carolina moon . But she’d read him wrong, or so she guessed. The look in his dark eyes was fire, passion and eternity. Yet he’d sold out. She reached a hand over and caressed Duke the ancient hound that had refused to leave her rig when  she’d loaded Lycan and rolled out. Storms a still arching  behind her over the Carolina hills. Yet sun was cresting over the great Mississippi as she rolled into Missouri, gateway to the West. She wiped her eyes and drove on . He was simply, not what she had had thought.


Ash Denton stared in the mirror as he straightened his tie. The tinkling of glasses at the party below a background to his existence but not to his heart. He raised his eyes to the TV on the wall. A news story played out from one of those small towns that never really effected a man of means such as himself. Yet it rolled across the screen. His blood drained, there she was, the blonde from his project, his saboteur. And by all the Gods known to mankind the woman he loved more than life itself. “Don’t deny it Ash” he told himself. Not a minute had passed since he had touched back down into his world of high rollers and city lights that he’d not thought of her. Smelled her essence and  felt her heat which had absorbed his soul under that hot Carolina moon. The news story was simple, a dam broke in the new development up on the hill, flooding the low country. His dam. His project. The blonde stared at the camera, golden eyes, heartbreak and tears running down a gilded, freckled cheek. As the story rolled the sound of gunfire echoed in the background. The announcer said no lives had been lost but a mule had been put down. Luke, his breath caught in his throat. He stared at the screen, the gun fire, and the blonde winced in pain. Here he stood, millions at his disposal, a party in full swing celebrating some achievement, of his of which he had no clue. His body went limp his breath would not come. Ash Denton, always so in control felt his world spin.


Tessa Mcreary pushed her rig across the river towards the Missouri countryside. She had stopped along the way to walk the big stallion Lycan and the acceptance at the truck stops had been great. A leggy golden blonde accompanied by a golden horse, well the thumbs up had been many. A girl in love with a black eyed city man who had broken her heart was another story.  A story that was one she would never let anyone read. The gunshots from when she’s lost Luke the mule echoed in her brain and she so wanted to hate him, the man from the city who had destroyed her gentle world. But by all the stars in the sky, she could not. She could simply follow the only path she’d ever known and run from the pain. So she rolled west, towards the big sky, anonymity and freedom. Put that time with him in her past if she  could, but she could still feel his eyes, those moments of being lost in them, his touch,moments complete.

Some point before the acceptance speech, Ash Denton, man of fortune, leader of business, just went crazy . He had heard the gunshots , seen her pain all on a video screen and felt detached from his world, yet it was his world, this one of power in which he reigned.  yet, he couldn’t smell the earth, hear the roar of the waters, save Luke, nor her. With all his power, all his money, a world outside of his grasp had spun wildly out of control. The crystal glass of high end vodka turned end over end as he threw it at the screen. A man who had just realized being a man meant so much more than accolades and millions. A man whose heart pulsed with a wild undying love written on the stars and uncompromised by the restrictions of society proper. He tore his tie from his neck and headed for his car, I-95 would take him south, he’d hit the blue ridge by dawn. So this is the story Ash Denton, a man of incalculable  means chasing his heart into the night and this is the story of Tessa Mcreary, a runner from a world that had caused her pain and heartache.  Yet this is the clashing of souls, the story of destiny and the story of love beyond the boundaries.

Roses to run for….


What the heck has happened to the Kentucky Derby? The Run for the Roses? My Old Kentucky Home? Where are those folks that prayed over a blue grass field on a cold January day as a new foal tested its legs on the winter hard ground? A smile of understanding on their faces as legs new to this world found their strength and gave flight to the babe across grasses green. Where are those who live and breathe the scent of fresh pine shavings and horse sweat as the summer heat swelters in across the pastures? They struggle, they budget and they do without, yet they embrace the passion of something deeply encoded in their DNA and keep going even though the odds are long. All I’ve seen today is some sort of detached Red Carpet Gala. Who’s wearing who’s what and who’s with who. Where are those who mucked the stalls and mowed the fields, cutting back here and there in hopes that young colt they’d been raising could run for greatness? But Oh look Boink Boink has on Givenchy!

Well to be honest I’ll tell you where they are, or to be more correct where we are. We’ll be the tired lady who’s pulled a 60 hour week in a world we detest, but the one who does it with a smile because it allows us to be here. No not sipping champagne and hoping to be the next viral hashtag of the moment. But here, here in the seedy sale barns and desolate kill pens that are located all over this land. We won’t be dining on Lobster or winking at Billionaires. We will be cracking that ninety nine cent can of Vienna Sausages and watching the kill buyer. Yes, if we’ve got to wink, we might and yes, if we’ve got to do more, well, we may. But somewhere this side of a Lady on TV with more names than a Hanoverian Warmblood Stud who’s telling us the pedigree of her billion dollar bet. We will be the ones with our hearts caught in our throats as a beat up, half-starved relative of Hanoverian ladies billion dollar bet stumbles into the auction lot. We will hope and pray. Sometimes we’ll remember the payday loan place we passed a while back, add, subtract and calculate that we’ll have the money the pull the beaten soul from this hell. Somewhere in the back ground we’ll hear the semis rumble as they fire their engines and get ready for long, cold, waterless, hungry, journey to the north. We will smell the diesel, our blood will run cold. A journey that will carry the beat up, half-starved gray filly a relative of the fancy ladies bet, north to have a bolt shot through her head. Dead or not even quite, she’ll be chopped, minced and packed. Brilliant eyes will shine no longer, a gallant heart will beat no more and hooves will never again find their flight across the grassy green earth. But oh look, Edna Farquar Mills Helms Rosenburg Jones is wearing a daringly short skirt at age 78. Who’s it by?

The winds will blow, the kill buyers will shout and the scared filly will run up and down a 20 ft lot. Miles away surrounded in glory and grandeur a well attired man will smile to himself as he places his money on a colt. More money than the lady in sale barn has ever known. He does it simply because he likes the dam’s name. The same dam that gave life and nurture to the terrified filly now shuddering under the vicious crack of the sellers whip as she runs back and forth with nowhere to go. The well attired man sends a text to his well-heeled buddies to take the gamble on the colt upon which he’s laid his thousands. At the same moment the tired lady places a post on Facebook to her friends begging for money, if she just had enough she can save the gallant gray filly. The filly, it’s in her eyes, she has fire, and she deserves a chance. The whip cracks again and the scared filly runs.

A busy café in downtown Manhattan. The place to see and be seen. Two wealthy businessmen dine on filet mignon, sucking down gin and tonics. They both grasp their phones as the incoming texts vibrate the table. Their well attired boss at the Derby just gave them a line on a horse encouraging them to place a wager. The waitress at the bar, waiting on another round of gin & tonics, cringes at their stares and checks her phone. She sees the post, a wild eyed gray filly scared to death, in a kill pen in Montana, a lady she’s never met, but has followed her threads needs money. She’s trying to save the starved terrified filly. She loads the drinks on the tray and heads back to the businessmen. They are not so busy texting that they forget to ogle her. She smiles to herself, here you go girl, maybe I won’t ever run free, but by God in Heaven, you will. She smiles at them and leans in close as she serves their libations. She cannot stand their eyes upon her, nothing more than an item for their play, but she sees the filly spinning in the kill lot, hears the crack of the whip and decides her path. The men smile as their phones go off once again, the well attired man informs them of the windfall. The bet he made on the horse by simply the name of the dam had paid off. They smiled, polished off their drinks, asked for her number which she gave and left her a more than generous tip. In busy café in downtown Manhattan a waitress makes a call.

The lady at the sale barn cold and exhausted raises her hand, offering her last dollars in a final plea to save gray filly terrified for her life. It’s not enough, her world spins. Her phone vibrates, a girl in New York who she’s never met has the balance, and she’s sending it now. She places the bid, the filly turns sharp in the far corner of the pen and crumples to her knees as the whip licks her sweat tendered flesh. Time stands still as the words “Sold” echo across the pen. They did it, one tired lady, one fed up waitress and somewhere unbeknownst to him, a well attired man, saved a filly to run free another day. Oh but did you hear? Instagram sensation Lula broke a seventeen thousand dollar heel coming back from the paddocks and had a wardrobe malfunction.

So what have they done to our Derby? But more than that, what have they done to our horses and to us? In any case a well-dressed Billionaire has just decided to go into the horse business deciding to follow a certain mare’s bloodline. A waitress in Manhattan has just packed her car, picked up her last check and is rolling for Montana. One exhausted lady is kicked back in her pick up eating the last can of Vienna Sausages with a tired gray filly munching hay happily in her two horse trailer and damn they taste good. The woman with more names than a Hanoverian stud? She doesn’t give a crap, but hey neither do we.


The winter storms came blowing in down the mountains and in to craggy little Montana valley. All was good in so many ways. But it was also unsettling in so many others. I took a long drought from the cold draft my favorite bartender had pulled for me in the local dive. Yes, I could have called it a pub, I could have called it bar, but it was simply a cowboy dive. Dim lights, a couple of pool tables and not the most appetizing bar food. We knew each other there, no putting on of airs. Our hope, dreams struggles and heartbreaks had been shared in this little building at the base of the wild untamable Rockies. It was simple , a highway ran through , accompanied by railroad tracks and a sometimes gentle ,sometimes roiling river which had been the creator of this s valley ran through this place we all called home.

Yeah, no glamour here, but a cold beer after a hard day’s work , the sparkle and laughter in the eyes of friends. It made it a reality that gripped my core and bound me to this wild land. I finished my first beer and the second was already waiting .Oh my friend Snow Eyes Crystal, how different our lives had been, but you pour the libations that send my mind off into the thoughts pertaining to the amazingness of destiny. Myself, a southern gal who spent her younger years on the manicured equine jump courses of the South. A fine thoroughbred between my legs, the passion I felt for all things equine deftly encouraged. Such a pastime would allow a girl of breeding to find the perfect match. I guess my sear suckered, cigar smoking, banker daddy never guessed that his blonde beauty would go rogue. But yes, it happened. That first week of sorority rush when the skies glowed Carolina blue. I sold the entire contents of daddy’s well-furnished condo to a guy named Mike Levy from New York. Took the money and headed west. That boy from New York probably knew me better than I knew myself due to the fact that he left an eagle feather in the envelope that held the cash when enabled my flight. So much for freshman passion under the Carolina skies.

Now Snow Eyes never gave up much, a Blackfoot, born and bred in the wild country we now called home. The “we” are wild girls and quite a bunch we are. Ranching is tough and you either have it in your blood or you just need walk away for you won’t make it. So as snow kicked off western boots dried in the hallway, I waited on my roommate, my buddy and my truest friend. My cold compadre finally wandered in, one Saanvi Patel. Herein lies the rub of risky horses and wild skies. It attracts a myriad of spirits and unbridled souls. Maybe it was the trip to Yellowstone in her youth, but Saanvi saw the wild ones running free across the open range, a storm rolling in across the mesa and the best directions of family simply fell on deaf ears. Two years into college Saanvi loaded her barrel racer “Sam” in his trailer and headed west. Oh and yes, the whole equestrian thing had been great with her family until she choose barrel racing and penning calves. But to be honest rodeo pictures of Saavni decorate Patel businesses all over the east coast. A photo of a long dark haired beauty in a Stetson cutting cans in a wall of horse and rider kicked up dirt. Large brown eyes, dark hair blowing behind the mistress of the powerful, nostril flared steed she rode, both united and running against the clock. Not something one expects to see beneath a picture of Ganesh and a peacock unfurled. My girl Saavni, colt breaker extraordinaire. I laughed and offered up a toast as she walked in. Snow Eyes smiled behind the bar and pulled Saavni a cold draft.

Now these wild lands of Montana are big skies, tumultuous weather and nothing about life out in this big old bad country is easy. So I guess the question that needs to answered is how did three girls, wild free spirits find each other? The stockyards. Yep, Billings, Wyoming. Just like those fashionistas stalking the garment districts of New York hoping to be discovered. The runways of the sale barn were our catwalk. Truth be told, two of us could have done the NYC catwalk thing. Myself and Saavni, Snow Eyes not so much. For myself and Saavni came from families with dreams of MRS degrees, well made matches and futures defined by family connections. Snow Eyes on the other hand was reservation bred. Many stormy nights huddled by the toilet in a decrepit mobile home, tears flowing freely as her father disagreed with her mother, drunken battles brought about by no hope for the future. Just a government check that changed little from time to time. Her cousins had a barn full of Appaloosa horses and she found her soul bareback out beneath the Creators skies. To be honest there was not a horse gone rogue she could not bring to heel, but odd girl she was, she only picked some and let the others fly free. She said she felt their spirits were more of the big lands and maybe they should be allowed to perish at the hands of the killers than live a life of slavery. But I digress, it was a stormy night across the big sky when the three became one. You see the talent to run an unbroken steed through the sale, up and down the ally comes at a price and for those looking to get rid of unwanted stock, putting a pretty girl on the back of a wild horse ups the price. So we hung out at the chute picking up rides at twenty bucks a shot. Yeah, it’s odd three girls, backgrounds diverse, hanging at the gates, trying to pick up rides. But Snow Eyes talked to Saavni and they both talked to me. We pooled our money and got a place on a ranch running Angus and quarter horses. So this Friday night as the snows blow in around our world, we embraced each other’s spirits and celebrated the weeks end with warm embraces our valley bar with the winds whistling through the pass, the days of the cowgirls of the big sky were good.

The Emirates airliner banked right over the Pacific, a runway illuminated with brilliant lights, Aakar , stared out at the runway , so many miles, so many long nights of study. Yet here he was in Montana, the USA, he knew little of this place. Maybe stories of cowboys and the wild, the rugged lands haunted his mind, but this night, exhausted after miles of travel all he could do was focus on the job ahead. ….More to come


The Machinations of Men

I never understood the machinations of men. The mountains to be climbed, the conquests to be made, nor the empires to be cherished. As a woman of many passages I have seen empires rise and fled the bloodshed, smoke and fires as they fell. There will be no wounds to be healed by mystical skills in this present. No herb infused fires to burn upon the crackling hearth and no gentle rubs of healing oils to remove the pain of loss this time around. I myself am a soul of many victories and equal defeats. A walker of times and viewer of worlds. Yet in the great unwinding I am woman complete. Let it not be said that I miss my kindred. Oh how I long for the gentle evenings with fragrant candles, the multicolored rippling’s of brilliant fish as they dart about the waters surrounding our candlelit terrace. The stories of the ancient houses whose fame includes the provenance of a certain honey that adorns our bread or textures of the water like flowing silk of a soft shift or trouser. Why I walk this world is still the most subtle mystery to me. Birth to life, life to death.

Love, I assume, is the passion that endures a million lifetimes. Something ones soul follows from the cracking reverberation of a sinking Atlantis, through the burning salt of the sea waters in which we held each other as the waves roiled about us when a continent sank forever in to the history of mankind on this swirling blue orb . To our newfound home of Ern, the emerald isles where a brilliant mind guided a magical and noble leader to place his foot upon a Kingstone which cried out with the magic so accessible at that time and assumed the leadership of a mysterious land. Arthur we salute you. You were a golden leader in a turbulent time. I can still taste my lovers kiss as I sailed off for Avelon, I can feel the waters around my ankles as I boarded the boat from the mists and I can see his stalwart gaze and the sparkle in his eyes as we knew what must be. My spirit was his spirit, news from Arthur’s realm showed my loves hand as easily as the handiwork of the Creator across the nighttime sky. We went out gallantly, he and I, swords drawn and magic lit the night. We fell together. May the legacy be blessed for Arthur was a noble man. Birth to life, Life to death.

Rome, she was a magnificent place. Those nights on the roof top gardens where there was no mankind, no earthly world and no Creator. Just you and I locked in the dance of love uninhibited , a million stars in skies, the sweet smell of beeswax candles, the musky scent of your pure maleness, and the coarseness of your unshaven cheek on mine as we gripped each other with a passion that had been proven for eternity. I think those nights were the sealing of our fate together. A coupling proposed on far away stars that united itself once again in the realm of magic. The spinner of history, the creator of destinies viewed us together once again and saw that it was good. So with the magic of our history my love once again guided a nation and in this sweet, sweet time I had nothing to do but love fiercely. And there we bode together breathless and one, glorious nighttime unification in each others arms. Birth to life, life to death.

The years between become as dense this night as the mists to Avelon. I could go there and in time I may, but man’s inhumanity to man is a perilous path to take. Tonight I reside in a different realm. I never understood the machinations of men. The mountains to be climbed, the conquests to be made, the empires to be cherished. But I will give you this. I saw the serpents at the gate. As I tossed in my slumber between darkness and dawn I choose to battle. Yes, we held them back. The girls of old, Morgaine, Myself, and the ancient of healers met them, in the end we had had to invoke the name of the Creator. The battle was ugly, brutal and for the first time in many passages on this beautiful blue planet I fought without you by my side. Yet in those pre-dawn hours we brought magic back to this world.

Love I assume, is the passion that endures of a million lifetimes. Just remember as the moon waxed full and the months of darkness fell upon this world magic returned and it is a sacred gift. So if I don’t hold you in this time, know the battle is yours and victory inevitable. Be it your choice darkness or light. Birth to life, life to death.

For now this country girl is going to enjoy the rising sun, the returning fowl, and the changing of days. My sword is for now sheathed, my cauldron cold, and for those on the blue orb, you have one more chance.

The Cider Press

The final day of September and the cider press has arrived. It showed up in all its glory packed in Styrofoam peanuts and bestowed upon me by the brown uniformed UPS man. Needless to say my world is all abuzz with excitement. Great plans for this fine item. Of course I do have to note that we are short apples, to be exact we have only three. Now the fact that no one’s been home in the past few weeks to add such necessities to the cupboards might account for this dilemma. Of course I think my significant other’s purchase of this item had been prompted by visions of a late afternoon drive, top down, up to the orchard with the goal of obtaining locally grown crisp red apples. While the image of shifting up through the gears and putting a well-crafted Italian engine through its paces on an early fall afternoon may have been enticing .The fact that the needed several bushels of apples would in no way fit in the fine automobile seemed to have eluded his grasp. But I’m not going to judge at this point. I am simply going acknowledge that we are now the proud owners of a cider press.

My best friend and purveyor of all things southern, New Yorker Edna Greenburg joined me on my patio to await the arrival of, as we were now calling them “The menfolk”. I had strategically placed the box containing our exciting new item” the cider press” on the long table in the hallway where it would be a joy to great my beloveds’ eyes as he returned from a hard week of annoying people in boardrooms all across this great land. Edna had switched from a summer of White Linen perfume to her fall fragrance of choice, Marlboro Light and Private Collection. Now to be honest, I was sure that Estee Lauder had stopped making it ,but my husband had alluded to the fact that he found it somewhere and had Saul, Edna’s other half, stockpile it in a warehouse or something. That being said the Marlboros were from the 7-11 and they had plenty. But Edna was a longstanding Friday cocktail guest at our little week’s ending revelries and we loved both her and Saul dearly. Not to mention, who was to aid in the assembly of our fancy new cider press? Both Edna and I were fairly certain it would end as had the deep fried turkey of 2014. We went out of town Thanksgiving 2015 and thank goodness because there were rumblings of another fried Turkey event. All I can say about the last one is that the new deck on the Mountain house is very nice. And who can forget the GD Christmas lights? Since pre lit was out and it had to be a fresh evergreen, plus we were not about to be so frivolous as to buy new ones every year.Oh well, I’ll never know how they braided themselves into such a tangle and of course ours had the magic one light to magically expire  which took out the whole lot of them once he had them perfectly aligned. GD Christmas lights!   But tonight in the three apple house was  the assembly of our very own cider press and the acknowledgment that wifey hubby time roaring through the foothills,top down,  would be in the backseat of Saul’s SUV to pick up apples.. Both Edna and I cracked open a beer.

Amazing how the whole house vibrates when the garage door opens or is it the fine Italian engine which is supposed to purr like a kitten? Anyhow the first of the menfolk had arrived, the owner of the cider press and the one I laid claim too. Being a early fall afternoon the windows were open allowing the breeze off the mountains to blow in through out the house and sounds to carry. I heard the jingle as keys hit the slate entryway floor and I knew my lover had dropped them as he spied his latest acquisition. Edna and I looked at one another as the sound of tearing into the box emanated through the house. I turned up my beer. What no kiss hello after a week apart? Ah, the sound of metal parts hitting the table. Footsteps down the hall and my dreamboat appeared waving a paper. First a quick kiss, no passionate embrace, but I must see this. Instructions. Assembly required. Oh dear visions or flaming turkeys and arching Christmas lights flashed before my eyes. Luckily the cider press required neither electricity nor extreme heat and boiling oil. Edna and I both heard the heavy tires on the gravel road as Saul, Seer Sucker Saul as my husband called him, due to the fact that he wore nothing but during the summer beach months, pulled his Ranger Rover onto the drive. Now he would be in khaki slacks and any of a number of shirts adorned with their favorite college football teams logos. Schools neither had attended, but both were totally enamored with to the tune of thousands in Athletic fund donations. My precious one smiled to himself as I noted his realization that there were only three parts of “the cider press dreams were made of” to attach together before pressing could occur. Which would not take a hot second with three pithy apples. Oh but wait a minute, I heard the back hatch of Saul’s SUV opening. Dearest sweetheart looked up from his “Cider Press Assembly Instructions” stared straight ahead, and the only way I can describe it is how one looks when one clicks on an interesting Facebook post. Blank at first, then a sparkling recognition and finally understanding flashed across his face as it always did when a plan came together. Saul had brought the apples. Edna across the table simply admired her new nail color, slick and glossy in favorite team colors. I simply shook my head, they must have coordinated it from the air. My ever astounding life’s partner tracking the shipment on his IPhone, and  I hoped he had made dinner reservations too for the larder was bare.


Now there is nothing like an early fall afternoon in the Carolina Mountains. Everything seems to be holding its breath waiting on the heat to break and first nip of cool to roll in over the forests. This time of year is also a feeding frenzy for all creatures great and small, the last chance to put on needed weight before the scarcity of winter. I could smell Saul’s cigar floating on the breeze as the master of the Cider Press instructions trotted off to meet him. The excitement was too much. It was also possibly sheer joy over the fine aged Kentucky bourbon they planned to mix with said Cider, but the excitement of presenting the concoction to fellow rabid football fans at tomorrow’s game was palpable. So much for Stan Hicks succulent slow roasted barbeque which was a mainstay and a long held tailgate tradition. I would say since boyhood college days, but since neither Saul nor my love attended during those days, I just have to guess they met through some fundraising function and bonded over their mutual passion for the team. In any case we’d been tailgating with Stan for as long as I had been attached to the man of my dreams and that man challenged the fame of Stan’s barbeque every chance he got. As for barbequing a pig himself, let’s just say we had been down that path and the new garage is very nice and even bigger than the old one. But for this game it is going to be fresh pressed cider and a very fine aged Kentucky bourbon. Edna and I cracked open another brew.


In the activities of all things female vs the activities of all things male. We discussed our ensembles for tomorrow’s game and festivities. Yes we had brought sweaters, but if it was going to be as hot as it was today, so we probably would wear sundresses, team colors of course. The heat of this Friday afternoon was palpable and somehow being too heavily dressed and imbibing Bourbon Cider cocktails did not seem to have a promising outcome for even making it to halftime conscious tomorrow. I watched several Yellow Jackets and assorted other insects feast on the last remnants of nectar in the flowers around the patio, semi oblivious to the hurry of activity as my soulmate and his accomplice brought one now fully assembled Cider press, apples and large jugs to collect the sweet juice to the corner of the patio so Edna and myself could bear witness to this noble feat. In his glee to pursue the art of cider making, darling hubby still had on his basic oxford cloth shirt although untucked from the shorts he had managed time to slip into, sleeves rolled up, a man on a mission. Saul on the other hand simply wore his well tucked polo and long khakis. Edna and I watched the process, absorbing the warmth of the day in that peaceful haze one gets when all seems right with world and those you love the most are with you. The freshly washed apples went into the press, the manual gears  turned by the man I had given my hand in marriage, a joyful boyish glee in his eyes as the sticky sweet apple scented juice flowed into the large jugs purchased for just  this sacred occasion. Saul stood back, cigar in his mouth and watched the apples being pressed into cider, remnants tossed aside onto the lawn. Rather organic to return them to nature I thought. A gentle breeze blew over us fragrant with apples as my husband attended diligently to his task.


At first it was about five, drawn from the surrounding woodlands by the scent of sweet apple cider. But a clarion call must have gone out across the valley for they came from all points on the compass and they came quickly. Yellow Jackets, those voracious southern bees that bite and sting. They came by the hundreds and soon they were busily hovering swarming and landing on all things apple cider and more. The top of my beer, Edna’s ash tray, the remnants of pressed apples, and the jugs of juice. They simply dove into the tops of the jugs and floated to what must have been a death in pure apple ecstasy. Saul was blowing smoke at them, which seemed to only heighten their intensity to feast. My beloved? He was a man demon possessed, swatting, and stomping trying to knock them away. My protective instincts must have been nonexistent as I opted for self-preservation and retreated behind the screen door to the interior of our happy home. Outside my heroic knight in shinning armor was on the defense, trying to seal his open jugs and move his now Yellow Jacket covered Cider Press. Oh I could hear his many well executed obscenities as highly irritated Yellow Jackets flew up his shorts taking bites of delicate nether regions and stinging his hands when he slapped them. But always a trooper he grabbed the jugs and with hungry yellow jacket hoards in hot pursuit made haste for the garage. Saul had the forethought, Cigar still dangling from his lips to hose off the cider press before carrying it to  perceived safety . The last Yellow Jacket covered Bushel of apples would have to wait. I heard the front door open, a multitude of choice curse words targeted at the worlds entire population of bees, car keys being grabbed and the door slammed shut. Edna pulled two more beers from the refrigerator handed me one and a Marlboro light. As I flicked the lighter I heard the sound of fine Italian engineering firing up, a car door slam shut and the garage door being lowered. The gassing of the bees had begun. It would be awhile before we knew the outcome of my dear ones revenge upon the voracious Yellow Jackets of the South,but hopefully the cider would be safe.

So this fine Carolina evening my heart of hearts began what would become a passionate romance with Benadryl and Cortisol 10. Tomorrow he would itch beyond his wildest imagination, as for the cider and bourbon? Well he has cracked open one bottle of Bourbon , my suggestion he bathe in it was not accepted in manner it was delivered, but we had overcome moments like this before.He and Saul retreated to his office. I looked at the all knowing eyes of Edna who had ridden the waves of many a turbulent “Really Great Idea” with me, they were sparkling in with some mischievous humor. She extended a well-manicured hand with next week’s football tickets, Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets. Well let’s just be thankful for small favors it was not this week’s opponent because we had already lost. So this last Friday of September Edna and I toasted each other and froze as our eyes locked on  the man with which I planned to spend eternity’s misplaced cellphone as the screen lit up. An order had been placed, look out world boiled peanuts are coming!


The tapers in the vestibule must have been beeswax this morning for Alexandra’s eyes did not burn after Midday Mass as they did when the simpler ones created from fat renderings were used. This was a good thing all in all, for she bathed this morning and wanted the scent to linger. The copper basin had been filled in the pre-dawn hours with water hot from the kitchens below. The boiling liquid had been infused with oils of rosemary and lavender. She had luxuriated in it as the fragrant warmth had brought her to the world after the night’s gentle sleep. She was not afraid to say she had admired herself although vanity was a sin Brother Barnababus has lectured her on from the very first days he noticed her budding beauty. Yes, she had raised each of her slender creamy legs to the sides of the basin propping them one at a time upon the soft rolled copper edges and admired their toned perfection. She had also taking the blade Mira the girl from the spice road had given her and shaved them slick. It had been weeks since they’d received the missive, a simple statement from her Father in Outremer and she had allowed a time to pass before beginning her preparations and questioning its content. Yes she had even taken the blade and sculpted the growth in her nether regions into a perfect triangle. Dear Brother Barnanabus would have been apoplectic if he knew she had admired herself in the long piece of polished silver she had in her room. If he knew she had smiled when she noticed the delicacy of her waist, the full ripeness of her creamy bosom and how her long legs flowed down from the now perfectly sculpted golden V of soft blonde hair the held her innermost secrets. Brother Andreas on the other hand would have lauded her embracing of her womanhood in all is raw uncovered glory. He would have approved of her taking what the hand of God had so perfected and making it better with the hands of man, or in this case woman.

Dear Brother Andreas, Alexis smiled to herself as she climbed the chiseled stone steps to Parapet high above the city. He may never have danced to the music of passion but she was certain in the dark hours after Vespers he choreographed many a play. Even today as they recited the long remembered prayers she had seen his dark eyes sparkling as he noted how her dress, how her very presence electrified what should have been a dark and Holy room. Alexandra had been tightly laced into her finest frock of emerald green. Created from a soft delicate fabric found only the spice lands. A weave so fine it shimmered with every breath in the very the faintest of light. The low cut bodice trimmed with black lace at her décolletage allowed the snow like whiteness of her plump firm breasts to glow magnificently in all their splendor against the darker fabric. An eye drawing outline if she must say so herself. Brother Andreas had not missed it either. She had passed close to him as she left the vestibule where the simple daily prayers were recited. She had noted the beads of sweat upon the darkening growth of a midday beard across his upper lip. His dark eyes may have held firm in the solemnity of the moment but deep inside them she could see the flicker of a flame, the caged passion of a lion roaring to be free. Alexandra always wondered what tortured demons lay so deep in the soul of such man that he had pursued the way of the cloth. Too many times she had found herself adrift in his smoldering black eyes, felt her blood run hot when she passed close to him and smelled his musky male scent, he was coarse and vital is so many hidden ways. She paused a moment on her climb to lift her thick honey covered locks off her back and allow the sweet air drifting down the stairwell to cool her. It was brisk and refreshing allowing her once again to feel the full vigor of her womanhood, the subtle yet all-encompassing power of a life giver in her most powerful time.

A few more minutes of climbing the spiraled steps and she would be almost to the Tower’s top which hosted her secret room, her look out and her shrine. Oh the rotund and fretful Brother Barnanbus had riled against it, such isolation was not proper for a lady of breeding and shouldn’t she be in the nursery learning the ways of her kind. But her Father had overruled him and allowed her this concession knowing in cases of the spirit they were much more alike than further apart, and he himself was a thinker a brooder, a solace seeker. So thus Alexandria had her sanctuary.

Suddenly she was upon it, her priceless perch from high above the castle walls where one could look out at the mountain valleys, weave her fantasies and craft her dreams Oh the room, round with a large window overlooking all that she could not touch and lands where she could only dwell in the wild regions of her mind. It seemed lighter this time than upon her normal entry and she noted that the thick candle was already lit in its cradle upon the wall. Had she left it glowing the previous day? Surely not for it would have long since melted away. Quite possibly a member of the garrison had come to the Armory next door and entered her abode instead. She thought of the missive from Outremer. Although she knew not what it had said, she was truly hopeful her father would be returning from his service to the lands of his rule.

She fluffed the overstuffed goose down pillows as she positioned them next to the window. A steady rain was cascading down from skies and glazing the expertly set stones that formed her immediate world. It was a candle glow day she thought as the mists crept down from the mountain peaks and settled in around her tower top obscuring her view but the burning candle flames gave the room a dim golden quality with only light issuing from the burning candle on the wall. She lit a taper and gently moved around lighting her myriad of assorted candlesticks adding more of a golden glow to her eyrie. The brillaint jewel toned pillows she had fluffed combined with the earthy scent of rosemary branches and pines boughs gave an exotic quality to her surroundings. If Brother Barnabus were to see her now stretched out languorously on her pillows amongst her softly glowing candles he might have felt cause to burn her as witch. She smiled at the thought as she kicked off her slippers letting her feet be bare and removed the cumbersome petticoat to allow the silken emerald material of her dress to caress her now slick shaved legs. She untied her long hair letting it cascade around her head and loosened her restrictive bodice so her tightly bound breasts had some freedom of movement. She was catlike, she was raw. She radiated the unbridled femininity of a girl rising to the precipice her power and she was certain that mages throughout the land could feel her vibrant glow emanating from her tower to theirs. Alexandria settled back to dream.

She was not long on the pillows in the lands of her imagination when the door to her sanctuary opened, a figure entered turning to face the door as he pressed it shut, and yes it was a male. The identity of the being was less than discernable as he simply leaned face forward, back to her upon the large oaken door and stilled. Hands above his head, a simple piece of paper in his right as he took breaths of such depth she dared not announce her presence. She simply watched, feeling no danger and waited for him to turn. Oh but when he did. Alexandria felt her heart leap, Brother Andreas. But not as she had known him. The restrictive collared garments of the priesthood gone. Tight chamois leggings defined his thighs, a sweat stained linen shirt cut low at the neck showed a swath of dark curly hair that adorned his chest. Although sometimes given to heft, too many cakes she thought, and the animal power of his being pulsed from his very skin. Dark eyes appraised her, they were not solemn, and they were all at once those of a predator and then again those deep dark eyes that sparkled as a lover. Aware that her bodice was open at the top and her breasts all but visible, Alexandria shifted on her cushions in a fashion so her long golden hair would at least cover her somewhat. Her brilliant blues eyes locked with his dark ones as she did, but he was not man who needed glimpses. He was man that could take in the whole picture, at this very moment still waters rose as they drowned in each other’s gaze. Time ceased to exist between the two, a million thoughts one or the other had in the deep hours of the night passed through their minds  In the end Brother Andreas broke the silence. He simply raised the parchment in his hand and said “Outremer, your father has requested a Knight, a Templar. I am to serve”

The rains on the castle walls could surely have reversed themselves and poured through her window overlook upon her for the icy chill that ran down her spine. The large dark eyes of Andreas besieged her, and brought to light a fact she had denied for many months. Albeit untouchable, a Priest, one committed body and soul to their God, she loved him. She took in his visage, tawny skin, night black hair, a boyish charm when he laughed and a dark brooding look when he was lost deep in thought. Templar she thought? For a man such as this given to overindulgence of cakes and hours of study this was a death sentence. But she also knew quite possibly she was missing her mark in her assessment. The man held the fire of genius in his eyes and an indomitable spirit. She felt herself go slack, “Andreas” was all she could say as she stared into the mesmerizing darkness of his eyes.

The man she’d loved through times turbulent and testing stood at the door to her eyrie. The reality of the missive hung between them and was cast away. Brother Andreas was no more, he was simply Andreas as he moved across the room, grasped her close and buried his face in her golden mane. It was the power she felt within him as he was upon her, a masculine heat long held at bay, the rippling muscles of his arms as she ran her fingers down them, curious inquisitors, yet finding their grasp and holding on he was all and then he was not. She had never known the male body, only renderings, depictions, and stories passed by scullery maids in the night. Yet his lips found hers, both salty and sweet. The course hairs of his cheek caused a bit of discomfort, yet she felt her body submit as he arched above her, the weight of his loins upon hers, the scent of man and the power of desire. The mists rolled and the sweat poured, the hardness of his manhood pushed against the untried regions of her womanhood, and she succumbed to the weakness of submission, the two became one. So they united there overlooking the valley deep. A woman bred to the Throne and a Priest resonating with all the power of the dark lands. She tasted the salt of his sweat as he arched above her and he felt the sweet succulence of her surrender as she took his member time and time again as the sun sank over the valley. They were what they were meant to be, neither Princess nor Priest just lovers embraced in the ecstasy of what had been preordained for a millennia and they had no clue, just joy and a love that would outlive the world.

Ash Denton sat on his Jet, the results were back. Darn he open the folder? He had come miles, made millions and yet his true birth right remained a mystery. So now the Church had released the age old documents. Ash Denton the mogul, the billionaire was about to know exactly who “HE” was…

The Shore



I loved to sit on the porch of the old beach house, watching the moonlight reflect off the slick gray, weather worn boards . From my vantage point I could look out upon the waves crashing onto the beach, smell the sweet sea air and embrace the night. It was the last of the summer season, a season like so many before that this old home had seen pass by into the remembered years of history. Laughter and joy, old romance and new love right here beneath its ancient eaves. The old wood floor was satiny and well used, it had remained unpainted possibly since the first coat had been worn away by salt air and damp sea winds. I loved how it always felt slick and cool to my bare feet. A veneer given  by the passing of time, the tread of many bare feet before me, sandy and fresh from the beach below. Tonight was one of those close August nights, humidity thick upon the landscape holding the essences of the wave danced ocean air from in front and the rich pungent odor of plough mud from the tidal marshes behind. Oh the last kiss of sweet summer before the fall season, it was incredible and it was mournful all at one time.

I watched the lightning strike far out on the open water, took a sip from my lime laden Gin & Tonic, the southern ladies drink of choice for the summer months and sighed. I was glad we had come. The forecast had been ominous, yet rainy days on the shore held a certain magic to me, the heavy mist and ever changing ocean vista was cleansing in a very spiritual way. We were coming and then we weren’t, this had been the conversation all through the proceeding days. Yet my husband had struck his final punch at the world in general for the week, shaken his head, then decided we needed this place and this time.

I felt the infusion of alcohol and sea air take its heady effect on me. So many had graced this porch before this storm rocked evening. Hopes, dreams, plans of fortune and plans of failure had been hatched upon this time varnished wooden porch overlooking the Atlantic. I cannot say we were any different in or electronic age than any  who surveyed this coastal landscape long before us. Those who had sent ships and riders out with dictates delicately inked upon parchment, sealed with wax and stamped with seals instead of emails and never ending texts. We just moved so much faster now, yet that was why we were here, to slow it down a bit before time moved fast  and blazed white hot into the busy fall. I could hear the thunder roll  somewhere beyond the horizon. The sounds of muted conversation and tinkling glasses drifted from the main room of the house out to my porch. So this was peace or some form of it anyhow.


I let the wind and wild take my mind for a bit and pondered those who wandered this sugar white beach before me. The women who had stared out at this grey blue expanse of ocean and waited. Waited for lovers to return from far off travels, from despotic bloody battles and sometimes from simple disgrace. I heard the door behind me open and the scent of heavily applied Shalimar wafted through the air. Oh yes, even on short notice the guests had come. Almost by rote the email had been dispatched, as it was every trip we made to the shore. This time being no different, albeit short notice. Light repast and cocktails. It was what it was and truth be told these were our friends. The Shalimar trail was omitted by Edna Greenberg, a New Yorker who had long since fled the city and made it her mission in life to embrace everything southern.

We were her family now since the immediate relatives kept kosher and had long since decided The Hamptons to be the seaside venue of choice. I will be the first to say that Edna’s sausage biscuits dripping in thick sawmill gravy were quite possibly the best in the world. I guess the thought of her pork tainted kitchen had long ago cut her off from the chosen people. Edna said nothing and quietly opened her latest in designer cigarette cases to procure a Marlboro. The multitude of cigarette cases she owned confused my husband. He had once stated , staring at me out over his fancy leather encased cell phone while unstopping his favorite Crystal brandy decanter as we clipped along in the plane at a 3 thousand feet. He did not understand “People who bought equipment for their vices like Edna and her cases”. “No clue babe” was the best answer I could give. We were enroot to an auction seeking hand blown venetian glass Romanov Dynasty swizzle sticks or something like that and there was no point discussing it anyway. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s a remarkable man and one hell of a lover, but sometimes the limbs of his mind just reach too far out for me to dare to climb. I watched Edna take a long drag off her Marlboro. The poor lady must have been dying making small talk in the big room while lusting for a long drag off a Marlboro on the porch. Something about good booze, excellent food and the beach just calls for a cigarette and although I knew my devoted other half would smell it on me later I plucked one  for myself out of the fancifully designer initialed case on the table. Stiff Gin and Tonics, a storm tossed ocean and a Marlboro, quite the way to send off the Summer I must say. I raised a toast to Edna who was firing up cigarette number two and she quickly met me in my salute.


“Where to now Sweet Jesus?” I said. I think it was line in a song, not sure which one but Edna got my drift. She threw back her head with the deeply dyed red bobbed cut that  naturally fell back into place with every toss and laughed. “Not much in there” she looked towards the big room where we always entertained these evenings on the ocean. “Real Estate” Oh good I thought as I texted my husband who probably had the glazed look in his eyes he gets when someone discusses stationary fixed items that cannot be duplicated and sold in mass. “Sweetie, are you doing what I think?” the truly Southern New Yorker Edna   asked. I smiled up at her. Why yes I was, I was texting the hubby to bring us a drink. I knew he would glance at the message, ignore it for about two minutes and then decide to extract himself from the conversation and mix the drinks. “Let’s just say I’m saving him and getting us both refills in the bargain” I told Edna. She laughed as she grasped both sides of her slick turquoise silk skirt, gave a great tug and adjusted what must be some pretty unforgiving Spanx. She actually looked terrific in her matching turquoise silk caftan top and white beaded earrings, New York black long since forgotten in her Begonia raising, country bake off, Southern world. “Seer Sucker Sal”, her husband, a nickname my heart of hearts had given him years ago was a titan in the poultry industry and indulged her every whim. This lead them to become the proud owners of a sprawling southern manse and two standard Poodles, Bobbles and Poot. He was truly the hubby’s ally when it came to all deals coastal, a cigar smoking bear of a man who bore allegiance to the same college football team as my dearest and had also never attended its hallowed halls. Edna was like myself, no children, just a multitude of hobbies and like myself, one destined to be alone in her diminishing years. So we simply grabbed life by the horns and drank it in while it was good.

The drinks arrived, my gallant knight butt closing the porch door behind him since both hands carried what were probably Gin heavy cocktails. He handed Edna hers and placed mine on the table with an obvious glance at the ash tray, yes two different colors of lipstick on those butts. The door behind our winsome trio opened and closed again behind the towering figure of Saul who now joined us upon the porch. We watched the squall line move in towards the beach proper as the whitecaps increased upon the ever maddening Atlantic. The guests in the big room,two real estate salesman who talked of nothing but golf , their wives who talked of nothing but grandchildren, a boat dealer from up the coast with his just past teenage girlfriend, and the local magistrate who came simply to drink.  All but forgotten as we watched the storm.


My husband reached across the long patio table, unlatched the well camouflaged humidor, obtained two fine Cubans, handed one to Saul, clipped the tip of his own, looked out upon the shoreline and said “Where to now sweet Jesus?” to no one in particular. So thus we began our Labor Day weekend, the last glorious celebration before Summer ends and Fall begins. Flip flops, swimsuits and hot sandy beaches will give way to school colors, logos and packed football stadiums. Fancy iced drinks and Shrimp cocktails will give way to barbeque and beer. The sweet song of Summer will just be another breath of a memory stored away for the times when we await our final call. Edna met my eyes across the table. We had a pact, if God so willed it we would do our best to see one or the other off this planet when the time came.So one or the other was never alone. But for now we were going to intoxicate ourselves with love, life, laughter and also a good bit of booze mixed with a few cigarettes. My savvy mate must have caught our exchange for he reached into his pocket and extracted a smaller bottle of gin, topped off our drinks and raised a toast. “ I don’t know where to now, but I bet we got this” So welcome Labor Day 2016,  winds and rain and storms of life , I do believe he’s right. In fact I’m betting on it.

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.



The Songbird Flies


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.