Day 4: 31 in 31 (Poems that is, precursor to Nanowrimo)

This place I learn, was once called Frogpond

Until Mr. Thomson brought the train right through town

No presumption of progress or high ideas of culture then, just crops and sweat and slavery’s shadow.

Then money road in on the railroads back

And changed all that.

Bustling bank managers and lofty tradesman

Dressed their pale wives in diamonds and paid their pennies to hear Blind Willy sing the blues.

But progress took it’s dollars back

as century turned again, freeways failed to follow track.

Main street storefronts stare vacantly at empty sidewalks.

And only the shadows are the same with the harsh demarcation of white and black.

Day 3:31 in 31  Front Porch Epiphany

It started in the west, behind the break of trees

A racous caw of alarm,

“Coming, coming, coming!’

Other corvid voices adding “Closer, closer, closer!”

“Coming! Coming coming!”

“Flee, flee, flee!”

Innocent of cause, I watch and listen.

I cannot hear the engine noise carried on the breeze

until long after the Chikadee aand whipporwhill, the finch and jay

join the siren song.

“Evacuate-ate-ate, Evacuate-ate-ate!”

“Fleeeee we will! Fleeeee we will! Fleeeee we will!”

“Go, go, go; hope, hope, hope”

“Fly fly, why?”

“Not me, not me, not me”

“Shhh,”the mother sparrow says to her late brood, “we stay stay stay.”

“Danger! Danger! Danger!” the murder echoes through its ranks.

Even the donkeys on the next door farm begin a warning bray.

The mockingbird, city born, makes siren sounds as it flit from tree to tree.
Then I hear the engines south of me, and see them come

the metal beasts that eat the trees.

The roads needed clearing, a man a house,

and every pen a page.
I understood the need they met, these ripping, gripping teeth of steel

but never understood before, how those who live there feel.

Day 1: 31in31

The men and women clutch tight to other’s rumored failings,

the straws of a destiny gone wrong, greedily gathered.

The branching differences of vision chopped away,

opinions carved to suit and

Stuccoed with a righteous judgement,

motes of mismade choices in mud smear glue

fortify the icy glass walled houses

Sheltering and unifying fear.

All the voices swirl in moldish mist;

“If you can’t say something nice, come join the fun.”

“Maybe sit a little closer to me,”

“Have you heard about the latest scandal?”

“Did you here what So and so said about them?”

“Politics today…”

“Society today…”

“If it wasn’t for them, I would be…”

“Well if it wasn’t for you, they’d be…”

“If you don’t believe like me, you’re wrong…”

“If your not with us….”

But the chorus of the sun and dandelion heads are calling me to hope

With relief, I slip away.

What would you do if I sang out of tune…

So my last blog mentioned a third person in Connecticut to thank for keeping me alive, but this will not be that story. For one thing, so much of that story is their story, and for a second, two stories are more than enough to establish the fact that my guardian angels wore very human faces.

I did thank Grace face to face, and we talked of her daughter Marie, who died of breast cancer as an adult, and who I knew and loved as a child. Grace and I reminisced, shared stories of our lives and current paths. It was lovely, I was thankful for a chance to say thank you.

Gratitude is the theme of this rock star farewell tour.

From Connecticut I took the train South to Georgia, my foster mother Connie met me at the station after the train paused an interminable 2 hours just 10 minutes from the station waiting for freight trains to pass.

Staying breathing, heart beating is not enough, I needed to learn how to live. I needed to finally experience the foundational Maslowian need of safety, unconditional love. Connie and Ed met that need for me.

Connie loves to quilt. Nothing is trash in her scrap bag, and color studies of otherwise incogruent prints bow to the will of her quick fingers and become a warm and cozy work of art.

Wiz(Ed) sits like Yoda, laughs like a Buddha and facilitates the most FUNctional outcome in whatever he is facing, whether it’s pruning a storm torn tree or picking the evening movie.

They are the seed source for so much of what is right with me. I worry that I am a disappointment to them. I have nothing to give them, not even the comfort of knowing we walk the same spiritual paths.

Which is how I am reminded that this is where I learned the taste of unconditional love.

I ask in my meditations for a chance to be a small service to this family that has been so much for me.

In the car with Connie that morning, Heather (third child) calls soliciting an adult to vacation with them to Orlando. Three children, all with some level of special needs; three adults pretty well necessary. Connie has prior appointment with soon to pop pregnant woman. Other Grandma has health issues.

I have no unchangeable plans. I may not be capable of full shifts, any real level of lifting, making the split second life saving decisions, or verifying med calculations anymore, but the rest of my job I am still pretty good at; the playing games, singing songs, observing and being present.

We negotiate my restrictions and I get my questions answered and suddenly two dreams, two more of my twenty wishes, are coming true.

It’s Tuesday morning. It has taken a whole week to complete and edit this entry, but one week ago I agreed to be here, in Orlando, being of service to Connie and Ed grandchildren and daughter at ( wait for it) Universal Studios Orlando aka Harry Potter paradise.

Sunday I sat in a church between Connie and Ed, unfamiliar with the hymn, the phrasing and notes escaped me and my voice carries because I love to sing, but nobody even flinched.

I am so grateful. I am useful, even as my skills change.

And today, I am seeing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I am happy.

I more than get by with the help of my friends, I am high on the joy of this chosen family.

Who are these children who scheme and run wild…

Three is a magic number, three legs stabalize a stool, three points define a space and tragedy they say comes in three; there were three distinct times between the age of 12 and 19 when a small blip of kindness on the part of a person with no investment in my existence made all my crazy adventures possible.

My last blog told the story of the first, This is the story of the second, a time in my life where joy was as hidden as the sun this misty, moisty seaside morning. And very fitting for a second story, it involves two boys, well men now, and men we thought then, and I woman quite grown. Reality was we were merely puppies, rolling and growling at shadows; tumbling and rolling,  tugging at the seams of real life with our sharp milk teeth.

It was spring, and I was truly alone in the world, hungry for food, hungry for meaning, hungry for touch and thoroughly adverse to anything that looked like love. My heart had been ripped away by my mothers slow death and scattered to the tides by abandonment.

I practiced laying on the train tracks, rolling away as it hit the turn. I was afraid of hurting anyone else.  No, I could not do that to the conductor. No thought of razor blades this time, to risky that someone I knew would find me, and I wanted to be gone, but an accident would save anyone from the guilts and regrets that plagued me from one I loved’s suicide attempt.

Don’t understand why I am wired this way, perhaps the need to take on the worlds pain made my adolescence harder, but I was and am wired to be kind and to be useful, nothing more and never accepting of less.

So now I knew this ending would be a a carefully orchestrated accident. I would start swimming out from the shore as the tide turned and swim until exhausted, I was known for taking risks, and at night, sliver moon, I would not be visible.

The 24 hours passed, the deep mist in my soul had not cleared. I changed to jeans, their weight would make it easier to accomplish my goal. But then the phone on the wall rang, TC said he was home and bored. the sun was still up, I had time to go over, hang out with him, listen to music, make him laugh. And then there was his brother Danny. Adorable, funny and unpredictable as everything. 

The details of the late afternoon escape me except for a small collection of Emily Dickinson poems from Danny, Elton John on the stereo and lots of talk about death, life, a favorite snippet of lyrics, the meaning of beauty, whether this girl or that girl was hotter, and always a bit of talk of the ever enigmatic Carl Frye III. We would lay on our backs on the bed next to each other, usually more interested in the way our thoughts entertwined bodies melding. But we were puppies pretending to be dogs and just discovering the magic of libito, and I was so empty that the evening was inevitable. and for a moment I was real again.

But then I noticed it was dark and I wanted to leave, your voice sounded a little hurt when I started dressing, and I said, “I’m done.” You asked my just to stay. And your brother came in and made jokes at us and so somehow I stayed.

And like so often happens if we just stay, for the night cares slittle about our faith, it just ends.  The morning dawned golden, the cold grip on my heart loosened, and as I lay listening to TC and Danny lightly snore, I was horrified how close to the edge I had come again, how they had saved my life.

I never told them thank you until now.  Actually admitting to planning a suicide isn’t something one does lightly, to admit it happenned 3 times, each three years apart, is well, crazy.

 When I entered the military I turned my back on my childhood, cut my ties that remained, and sought a new beginning. 

But whenever  another circle to close.  I have been trying to make this trip for 7 years. I guess it was time.

 TC and his wife hosted me here in Mystic with unequaled hospitality. A sincere thank-you and watching the two dogs are hardly a fitting reward for saving a life. 

 Monday I leave on the train. I am not sure that TC and Danny and I ever really understand each other, they are golden haired, silver tongued, blue bloods with wives and refined tastes, and I am a red-headed pirate who only loves her children, the road and the sea. And my friends. I love my friends.

and they are these.