Sunday, October 14, 2018

Blue snake

A blue snake was chasing me in one of my dreams last night. In the dream, Robin was going to someone's house to get tomatoes. It was dark out, and even though I was across the highway from the road that led to the house, I could see a blue snake behind him. I ran across the road to tell him to be on the lookout for the snake before he started walking home. I could see the snake winding its way around a screen door which had been left ajar. I was still trying to call out to Robin, who was nowhere in sight and not answering, when the snake noticed the flashlight from my phone. It slithered off the screen and started coming toward me. I started running and trying to remember what I had been told about snakes. I ran straight ahead and then turned around in an attempt to confuse the snake, but it just kept following me. When I woke up, I was breathless from running. I have never seen a blue snake, so I looked up snakes this morning. There is a beautiful blue snake known as a racer snake. They are non-venomous and largely stay far away from people. I also looked up what it means when a blue snake appears in your dream and I looked up the animal spirit meaning of snake. It's actually quite positive to dream of one--especially a blue one. I don't fear snakes, but I respect them and don't want to come across a rattlesnake nor a water moccasin/cottonmouth.
"But then the color blue is indicative of the conscience and evolution in somebody. So perhaps the dream is hinting at a new found consciousness that is deploying this energy in a positive way, because the snake in and of itself is a ‘’cold’’ energy that requires to be warmed up in a loving context, to be chanelled and transformed this way."


I also dreamed I had signed up to take 4 classes and couldn't remember if I had been attending class. As it was already October when I started questioning whether I had attended class that semester, I went to ask one of my professors. His eyes looked like fried eggs with yolks the color of his irises (hazel). He had on glasses twice the size of his eyes. I had a copy of my schedule and my classes were: OB/GYN, Philosophy, English, and a 4th I can't recall. I was so worried that drop/add had already passed and I was going to get a fail in every class. I knew I could not get caught up if I started attending classes, and old egg eyes was no help. He never spoke. He just handed me my schedule back and walked away into the glaring sunlight, and I stopped worrying about me and wondering if his eyes were going to start sizzling.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Raking (revised)

Soon, the neighborhood boys will knock
on my door, ask if today is the day.
For three weeks now, I've put them off,
ignored their knocks, hidden
behind doors so they couldn't see me,
held my breath so even I would stop
believing I existed. Because they wish
to rake my leaves, earn some money,
speak the way excited children do
when someone takes a chance on them,
make my world a bit tidier, I cower? Perhaps
because their eyes belie the facade, my own
cannot rise to meet theirs, to see yesterday
looking back at me, to stare into memory
until she becomes incarnate in her plaid
shirt and worn jeans, and her reluctance
to go home will surround me like the fine
webs which clung to her face as she bedded
down in the leaf piles, no mother calling
her in for dinner from the chilled house.
So, they frighten me, these boys, for all
they are or could be or may possess.
But today I'll answer. I'll go to the potting
shed and dig out two rakes and the leaf
bags from last year. I'll give them an hour
or so of good raking time before I start
the milk for some hot cocoa, watch them
through the back window, allow myself
to disappear into the shadows of a childhood
never fully realized and only partially true.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

The Art of Filling In The Hours

The Art Of Filling In The Hours
They would come out of the dryer
wrinkle-free, their blossoms and stripes
asking to be tended. My grandmother took
them from the heat, and gently placed
her loving hands into corners as she taught
me the nuances of sheet-folding--this a message
of certitude in the midst of the storm. I watched
those hands work their magic, those same
loving hands that patted my back when pain
would find me seeking my own refuge and she
would whisper, "There, there now, little
one. It will be alright." She taught me the nuances
of how it was done, this folding of linens, this
unselfish extension of time. I tried to do
what she showed me tonight, folding the gold
800 count Egyptian sheets, but I was all thumbs
and failed miserably in my attempt. Maybe
the trick only works on 200 count Sears
or JC Penney's sheets. Of course, I make
the numbers up. Based on conversations
and memories. I guess it all counts, no matter
the type of fiber, no matter the number of years
that have passed since she and I stood there
by her dryer in the late afternoon light, the smell
of clean linens and roast in the oven. I think
of her this night as I try once more to get a firm
grasp on what matters, whether it be the thread
count or the methodology of folding. I revel
in the message that reveals itself: there is a way,
and there are many ways, and that's what speaks
to me tonight, awake and alone, trying to make
sense out of the things I do to fill in the sleepless hours.

Sunday in Macon (revised)

Sunday in Macon
My mother, nearly blind
from cataracts, follows me
through the courtyard. The pool
is covered in its winter black tarp.
Though I assume she cannot see
this closure of a season, she finds
a reason to remark: "How many
little feet must have trod this path
all summer." And I think, "People
see what they want to see even when
they cannot see." But I only follow
her comment with some helpful
advice. This way, Mom. Step up
here, turn right there, the coffee's
over here, the doughnuts are old,
the milk outdated at the Deluxe Buffett.
And she just follows me, listens to my
advice like I'm a sage or a saint. Gives
herself in her stockinged feet to my
every suggestion. I even tell her
which container is the strawberry
jelly, which button is caffeinated coffee,
which chair is clear of crumbs
and relatively safe to sit in. I almost
unwrap the jelly and start spreading
it on her toast before the oddity of this new
role halts my hand as quickly as a hand-
smack for disobeying, whose phantom sting
haunts the skin's surface long after childhood ends.

Monday, August 13, 2018


13 August 2018

Just finished reading Brene' Brown's Rising Strong, and though there were times I felt like I was attending a seminar for work (she is a social worker which was my field, so that's not surprising), there were also parts of the book that spoke to me and begged for some introspection on my part, so I decided to utilize the Questions and Topics for Discussion pages. This is the fist page. First, there is a reference from page xviii in the book regarding vulnerability. The questions (and my responses) follow.

1. How do you define vulnerability?  I thin of vulnerability as an area of weakness in my character. I see it as something similar to my Achilles tendon. Vulnerability is putting myself out there knowing I could get hurt. Vulnerability is letting down my guard and waiting for the chips to fall. It is exposing myself to what could be something damaging to my psyche but rising it anyway.  It is letting others know something about me which I have, for the most part, kept hidden or protected.

2. When do you feel vulnerable?  How do you experience vulnerability?  Hmmm. When do I feel vulnerable? When I accept an invitation to a party (which I don't these days), I feel vulnerable. Even if I know everyone there, I feel there is an expectation for me to participate in the gathering. After all, why go and why have a party?  Recently, my daughter surprised me with a small gathering of friends at The Crowded House in Madisonville to celebrate my upcoming retirement. I was surprised and honored that she would plan such a wonderful evening for me, but I was also uncomfortable. I sat next to a friend I haven't seen in several years. At one point in time, we were very close friends, but as the years passed and our lives went in different directions, we no longer called one another on the phone and no longer visited with one another.  When Facebook came along, she sent a friend request, and we correspond on there, but we never see each other. I was glad she was there, and at the same time, I felt vulnerable. I felt like surely she was looking at me and thinking: My god, Margaret's aged and gotten really heavy. She looked amazing. Nice clothes, cute hair style, overweight but not like I am, and she was just as gregarious, funny, and complimentary as she always was.  Then, there were several of my former coworkers who became friends through the years. I sat across from them and didn't get to visit much, but I still felt anxious and really wished I had had time to down a margarita before going so I wouldn't have been much more relaxed. My neighbors were there, my sister-in-law, two of my children, my grandchildren, another friend,  whose son was tragically killed in a car accident in 2007 and who happened to be one of Lauren's closest friends was there, and one of Lauren's friends from Nashville. I didn't even open my gifts! I mostly held Zollie and made small talk. I didn't give a speech. As things were winding down and people were saying their goodbyes, I thanked each of them for being there and told each of them how grateful I was to see them, but I suppose my vulnerability or introversion prevented me from doing more.  All in all, though, it was a lovely night.

I feel vulnerable when I am in a group of people I don't know well. I used to feel vulnerable at monthly staff meetings or when a head honcho from my organization was at our clinic, and I knew they may stop in and see me. I feel vulnerable when I am trying to explain my opinion but can't seem to find the right words to articulate how I feel. I feel vulnerable in almost every face-to-face situation.


Okay. I think that's all the introspection I'm up to right now. Short attention span. Something has been terribly wrong with me. All I aspire to do most days is play solitaire on my phone, which won't stay charged. Maybe I'm still feeling the burnout from the job I just left after 10 years. Loads of vicarious trauma with that job, but I'm retired now. Maybe as I adjust, my enthusiasm will return. I have projects planned and have completed two of them. I painted my outdoor bench red and I planted a white hydrangea in front of Dad's memory garden. I have a new porch swing cushion and a cushion for the outdoor rocker ordered, and I know what color I'm going to paint the floor. I'm just not doing that today.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Revised poem

What They Found
A container of wrapping tape, three
cookbooks with handwritten notes,
fifteen hardback journals filled
with rhetoric of homespun, volumes
of poetry with sticky notes holding
hands with the pages, dried flowers crumbling
at the touch. In another room, outlines
of an English garden and plans to extend
the back room, replete with French
doors and a deck, boxes of baby
items, each neatly noted, half-worked
crossword puzzles, some with notations
scrawled in the margins regarding the limitations
of language, dental floss on the bedside
table & Kleenex wadded up and scattered
like magnolia blossoms after the storm.
Room by room, they go, these who were left
behind, these who thought they knew.
In the kitchen, this: colorful asides
on the O'Keeffe calendar pages, musings
on the finer qualities of cabernet, Almanac
facts regarding the heat, enigmatic inscriptions
with no apparent relevancy: No phone call
from B , 15 Maybe 20 at the best, trade offs
seldom pay off. This is all that is left
of her life, all that remains of a body
that lived among them, attached to them
like tendrils of wisteria vine, clinging
tightly to the closest storm-proof refuge,
rising and falling above them like no sky
they had ever seen, below them like strange
organisms of the deep they considered
a time or two when pondering the mysteries
of the unknown. Work not done, they enter
a sanctuary, a refuge when they were frightened
in the dark and the straight way was lost,
the room where she held them to her breast
and stroked their small heads as they clung to life,
where she kissed tears and patted the shoulders
of worry when the long, long nights turned longer,
where she curled herself up, fetal position.
There, a lavender pillowcase littered
with fine brown strands, some smeared mascara,
the stains of a mouth-breathing sleeper,
clothes cast off in the night, no longer willing
to be confined or defined, a ceramic cherub-embossed
bowl with trinkets and jewelry, a mother's broken watch,
a dead friend's amethyst necklace, a strand
of Job's Tears beads they never saw her wear,
a class ring with some forgotten sprinter
breaking the tape in a race that mattered
far too much many years ago, a faux Celtic
pendant engraved in runes, a shiny and radiant
lock of auburn hair, clipped in a moment of abandon,
saved for a purpose, for a memory of a time
when cutting a lock meant something.