One of the weekend's best events is Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus, and this week she has reverted to form with a prompt that stirs the imagination in lovely directions. (I should mention, in the interest of full disclosure, that we owe this golden prompt to Judie, our fellow Centusian.) Much appreciated, my friend!
The prompt, as always, is in red.
Early morning light was spilling into colors on the attic floor when she lifted the stack of letters from the ancient chest and began to read. The script had nearly faded, but the strokes were bold and strong, with just a little nonsense at the edges. She liked him already.
“My Dearest Annie…”
In keeping with the soft, golden light surrounding her, she had intended to savor each word, but within moments she was swallowing whole sentences, eager to know this man who had lived just long enough to sire her great-grandmother and vanish into anonymity.
The twilight found her sated, nearly filled...heartfed by tender roots, still new and green.
I've been writing poems and saying prayers and making promises since I was a little girl, and while I've never "passed the pipe around" (that early lyric was changed for later versions), whenever I hear this song I am reminded of happy days and good memories. It was popular in 1971, a year before my college graduation and marriage. Listening to it still brings back those peaceful feelings of hope and beauty experienced by a young woman with a whole lifetime waiting to unfold.
Now, having lived a fairly healthy portion of that lifetime, I am grateful for music that allows me to recapture those feelings of my youth when I need them. And I'm saddened that John Denver only lived to the age of 53, despite the fact that it "turned [him] on to think of growing old." Life isn't always fair, is it?
Agatha Christie knew whereof she spoke when she said, "I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."
I think Mr. Denver would have agreed.
First poem I ever wrote, at the age of 7:
I have a little sister.
She has a funny smile.
She wants to go to school with me,
but she'll have to wait awhile.
For she is only one year old,
and what would teacher do,
if I brought her to school with me?
I wouldn't know; would you?
The prayer I am praying today:
Comfort for well-loved friends whose son's (and brother's) life, like John Denver's, passed too quickly. Healing for Catherine. Strength and stamina for my own children, who are old enough to well and truly need it.
My feeling today is to let the shrieking begin. Events of the past couple of weeks have brought too much winter to my (old tree) soul, and I'm ready for the chill winds of loss to blow a little warmer, or to shift entirely. Remember when Mary Poppins sailed into town on that bonnie breeze of change? *sigh* It was lovely. Too bad I'm not in charge of the timetable on grieving.
In the meantime, thanks for letting me vent here now and again. I think Shakespeare got it right:
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.
My husband and I did something out of the ordinary on Saturday...something we had disagreed about in the past. Happily, we have reached a resolution, and my wish is being granted. We will (later than sooner, I hope) be buried in the lovely, peaceful little cemetery near our home.
Yes, we have purchased a funeral plot, and it's been a long time coming. We first started thinking about doing this several years ago, when we completed our estate planning, but there was just one catch: His family plot (a rather large one) is located in Salt Lake City, and I have no yearning to be included there. Instead, I have felt a strong preference for spending my pre-resurrection years somewhere in California, where my life and children are. Understandably, he felt pulled toward both places, so we just tabled the discussion for a time.
For some reason, attending the funeral of our friend's son made both of us realize that we would feel most at home resting right here...in this little village where we have lived for the past 21 years.
And that's just what we'll do, when the time comes. It's a good spot. In fact, our little piece of peace can be found midway between an oak tree and a redwood tree.
Some people may think it's an odd thing we've done, but Dave and I are planners. Besides, it will be easier on our kids to make one less decision after we're gone.
Best of all, we will be among old friends. And hopefully, no more young ones.
Saturday Centus is here again, and with it comes a new prompt and a specific genre: science fiction. (ugh) The good news is that we get to add 100 words in addition to the prompt, which is in red.
"Beam me up, Scottie..." Laura clicked off the TV and settled into their new-generation tempurpedic. One more Star Trek re-run, and she’d turn into a pumpkin. “A Vulcan,” she corrected, her voice too loud for the setting. But what did it matter? He’d vanished so silently and completely he might never have been there at all. What kind of man slinks away in the night, without warning? “A Reptilian,” she replied, shouting at the empty room as if he were still there to hear.
Lightyears away, he panics. “Coincidence,” he insists fervently to his scaly superior, but it’s too late. She’s already been neutralized.
In a couple of hours, I'll be out the door...raring to go...chafing at the bit to experience numero dos on my list of fabulous events I look forward to in January of each year. Namely, the physical exam. What could be more fun than undergoing the quizzings and quippings, weighings and warnings, pesterings and probings of a physician who can only be annoyed to find that you haven't improved your health one iota in the past year? (And it's even more fun if you have actually managed to worsen it.)
Ah, well. I'm ready to take my medicine, I guess. Literally and figuratively. I'm even willing to make some necessary changes, because I don't feel as well as I'd like to. But boy, oh boy, do I hate giving myself into the hands of the medical professionals. Having been burned more than once, trusting their "esteemed" counsel does not come easily. Since I don't seem to be taking my own, however, I'm bringing in the big guns to spur me on my way.
Wish me luck! I'm looking to reverse the trend and get healthier this year, and I'm pulling out all the stops to get 'er done.
There is a certain brand of elation (bordering on exultation) that comes but once a year, at the conclusion of the universally dreaded and oft-postponed annual mammogram.
Let's face it. Breasts were never intended to be lifted, stretched, scrunched, smashed, and nearly detached from the chest wall. Especially by another woman! Where's all that "I bloat, bleed, and give birth, too" sisterhood when you really need it? Gone. Vanished, like our pre-mammogram innocence. (And with it goes the not unreasonable assumption that our most vulnerable and tender appendages will always be safe within our purview and protection.)
Hey, those suckers belong to us, right?(Sorry. Poor word choice.)But seriously, isn't it enough that our babies get to do their utmost to drag 'em down to our knees? Now we have to hand the soon-to-be-flattened set over to the evil mistress of the mammogram machine. Whatever happened to the concept of sovereign domain, anyway? Do we really have to let Terri the technician have her way with us?
Of course, we all know the answer. It's a resounding YES!
The sun shone down upon us, and warmth enfolded our hearts.
We mourned together; we rejoiced together.
We remembered a good life...a good man.
A loving mother paid tribute to her son.
Children paid tribute to their beloved uncle.
And we were simply grateful to have known him.
A good friend overheard what may have been the most beautiful moment, for me, of the entire day. One of his dear little nieces whispered to another, "Look, Uncle Matt is inside that big, red treasure chest."
Considering who was laid to rest there Monday, I think she got it right.
Today is a foggy day in Northern California, the funeral of our dear friends' son. I hope the afternoon sun will come out and shine on us...and them. But if not, all is well. We will remember where the real Light comes from, and be comforted.
Thanks for helping me keep my perspective yesterday with all your good thoughts and wishes. Despite some crazy weather, my son did indeed make it to Washington DC and is interviewing even as we "speak." Today, I feel much more peaceful.
Letting go is always a good thing and, for me, prayer makes that possible. Remembering that I am not in charge, and that I don't need to be, allows me to sing life's song with a lot more joy.
And a lot less jitteriness, too!
PS. Did you know it's national blog delurking day? So delurk, my friends. Chime on in and introduce yourself. (You're already welcome, you know.)