Shards

Our writing group meets occasionally. It’s not nearly enough. Today we met to eat and catch up and laugh and revel in one another’s company surrounded by Christmas cheer. And we wrote. It was a joy. Thank you, Diane, Sandy, Dorothea, and Crystal. And always in our hearts, if not present – Niki, Sheila, and Annette.

Today we grabbed some chapter titles out of several books on the shelves surrounding us for our story starters. Five words trickled off the pages to be used as we wrote. You can see them following my story.

 

 

Shards

“Never keep the fork in the left hand while drinking water.”

“Excuse me?”

Looking down through her wing-tipped glasses, past her long pointed nose, and across the table, she bullseyed onto my left hand and repeated, “Never keep the fork in the left hand while drinking water.”

Then she returned to pick up her fork with a dainty bit of Christmas pudding placed every so politely at the tip and raised it up to her pursed lips, only to pause as they unlocked to allow the sweet to disappear.

I felt a sharp jab at my knee under the table as Connery whispered into my ear, “Stop staring.” The jab hit just right to cause enough pain to startle me. I dropped my fork and water glass onto the white dessert plate rimmed in gold and trimmed with playful green holly leaves and three teeny tiny pricks of red.

The quiet was deafening as everyone froze to stare at me. Again. Shards flew everywhere. There was a gasp out of the old lady’s locked lips, a sigh, a roll of the eyes ending with an excruciating “Humph!” while her boney long fingers settled not so delicately into her lap.

I stood. Short curtsied. And excused myself before the tears in my eyes sealed off my exit.

Instead of running upstairs and barricading myself into my room for the rest of Christmas Day, like I always do, because “God only knows what she will do next!” had become the expectation, I turned right instead of left. My quick step turned into a full out run as I made my way down the long hallway past the ornate mirrors and around the center table with lion’s claw feet balancing a Christmas tree that reached higher than my apartment ceiling. I continued across the Persian runners to the door hung heavy with evergreen boughs and chartreuse bows and gold and silver balls larger than my head. It was her kingdom. She ran it well.

Charles was not there to open the doors for me. It didn’t matter. With all my might I pulled the double doors open and ran down the icy steps across the newly snow covered drive and into the woods that lined the road into my grandmother’s estate.

I wouldn’t be missed. Everyone could now relax without me there to cause more damage. Peace would quickly descend with my exit leaving only the whistling breathing of the grand dame rising above the stilted tea sipping and gazing out the window into the crystal white jungle where freedom called everyone, most too afraid to answer. Inheritances have power, even more than howl of the wolf or the glow of the full moon or the sea blown wind as they beckoned to the souls encased behind glass and bricks and wrapped in velvet. Some ignored it completely. Others wished. I answered.

Once hidden within the trees, I stopped to look back. I touched the necklace that hung around my neck to be sure it was safe. It was a habit I formed when I first received this lucky charm. Ignoring the cold and wet snow seeping into my required lace covered slippers, my first thought was to wonder how much it cost the old woman to pay the window washers to keep all those windows clean.

They were always spotless, clear and crystalline. One of my earliest memories of summer visits at the estate were of window washers arriving early morning as the sun rose after an evening storm. It didn’t matter that an afternoon squall would again throw its tears against those rectangular eyes hoping someone would notice. No, the window washers would just stop where they were to return the next day. Not to pick up from where they left off, but at the beginning, the windows the old woman used.

I enjoyed watching them. They would laugh and joke and sing. Something seldom heard in this house. I looked forward to the thunderstorms, not only because I liked to stand on the veranda and let the rain pour over me. But I knew I would soon be in the presence of joy.

Once a window broke accidentally as they were going about their regular post-rain duty and glass shattered into the library where the old lady and I were reading.

The window washers were immediately dismissed and told to never return. She had some cruel words for them. They had put up with so much from her for so long I wondered why they ever returned at all.

I stood back holding my breath as the old lady scolded them. One of them noticed and winked as if it was all in a days work. I think he was glad to be released from the prison.

I slipped away as they were packing up their tools. She would never miss me. I was never missed, only tolerated when I was noticed. So I needn’t worry about being caught talking to the freed criminals.

“I am sorry I won’t see you again.”

The one who winked at me smiled, and held out his hand. “Open your hand and promise me to always be yourself?”

His words confused me, but I obliged.

I extended my hand, palm open, “I promise.”

He dropped a small crystal into my hand.

“It’s a glass goose. I wash windows for my father. But at night I spin glass for me.”

“Hurry up!!!” called his partner now in the drivers seat gunning the engine. “Let’s get out of here. Good-by and good riddance.”

“Promise?” He winked again and I noticed that he had one green eye and one blue eye.

“Promise.” I smiled and closed my fingers around the goose and brought it to my heart. My other grandma always told me that when I got something I loved to place it next to my heart and breath in deeply so our heartbeats would become one.

As I looked through the boughs draped with snow into the lighted windows, I reached to my heart where the crystal goose hung on a silver chair around my neck.

 

 

Our prompts:
Opening line chosen at random:
1. Oysters and other shellfish
2. Your mustache attracts baby goats
3. Backbone pie
4. Her new perfume attracts circus folk
5. Never keep the fork in the left hand while drinking water
6. Don’t let your elbows stick out like buttresses
7. A Key to Good Digestion
Words to be incorporated:
kingdom     lucky charm   window washer   jungle   knees   chartreuse

Plume.jpg

Immutable

Why, in the end, was it a magic trickImmutable
that was needed to get my attention?
I can be so jam-headed.

At first You didn’t make sense.
A gentle healing in the same way
You are on snowfall mornings
when crystals, each one an individual
creation, brush by in winter wind
to ice my skin. Your immutable
presence underscored in deep silence
beneath the storm holding me dear.
Instead, I settled behind closed doors,
warm and safe.

I was not yet wild enough to hear
Your fathomless love song.

It’s not my sins that need to be forgiven
in an act of terror or a rising again.

It is knowing in the sweet cry of a babe
on his birth-day that we are the Same.
I know You walked on feet sore
at day’s end, slept fitful with worry,
struggled to be understood,
yearned for a gentle touch.
You were just like me.

This knowing heals my shards,
smoothes my edges, tames my fears,
what some may call forgiving my sins.

You and I are One this holy season,
this new start we begin again,
remember Grace in what You did
to realize I can do it also.

It wasn’t a magic trick in the end
that Oned us, it is the birth into this life
as we walk together.

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If you would like to see the entire post, it is available in my weekly reflection. Sign up here. There is no cost and is usually sent on Saturdays. Thank you, Lex.

Unfolding, An Advent Meditation

Announcing the publication of my new book of poetry and prayers.BookCoverImage

I know it is a bit early to announce. But if you would like to share this with your community, below is a sample page.

 

Tuesday
For Our Earth
Luke 21: 25-28


Breathe

Unfolding
The earth declares your Wonder,
winds roaring over plains,
snows laden heavy on our land,
waters in contempt of their barriers.

It is in your delicate disclosure
I still myself to hear
the bleat of the infant voice,
the One who will bear us home to you.

Selah
Nature moves with force, but also in whispers. Can you make time today to slow down and notice the world around you to allow yourself to enjoy a bit of nature?

Mantram
Immerse me in your promise.            

Blessing
In praise of sleeping roots wintering
underground, may I take time to rest.
In praise of darkened nights,
may I find peace enough to slumber.
In praise of water icebound,
may I make time for transformation.                                          


Breathe

Unfolding is a daily devotional for the season of Advent. Beginning with the first Sunday in Advent, Lexanne Leonard brings a gentleness to the days through her offering of scripture, poetry, and prayer, ending on Christmas morning. It is a breath and pause to reconnect with the Divine in these busy days of Advent.

Each meditation was written through lectio divina from the lectionary readings for each Sunday of Advent, Cycle C. Every day a piece of the Sunday scripture is expressed through poetry, prayer, and reflection. Also, each day of the week is dedicated to bringing to the forefront compassionate concerns for our world.

Through Lexanne’s own practice of Passage Meditation, she presents a “mantram,” a short phrase, for each week. It can be said throughout the day to bring one back to the present and to draw strength from the scripture passages, poems, and prayers offered in the daily meditation.

“Here, within her words is the rhythm we all may be seeking. Instead of clamor, there is quiet. Rather than over spending in order to give, there is the offering of gift which no money can buy. We will not faint under the pressure to get things checked off a list, but instead simplicity is called upon with bible, candle, silence, and reflection.” – Scott Jenkins, Director, Celtic Way

It is now available at Amazon.com or your local independent bookseller.

 

A New Christ-tango

Nativity by Lex, Brushstroke on iPhone

Nativity by Lex, Brushstroke on iPhone

Receive joy
look through the dark
to the shining light
there, yes, right there
inside, don’t deny, it’s
yours

Receive joy
leave behind your broken
mirror for just one day
there is your joy
patient for you, it
awaits

Receive joy
see all your beauty
given with love, not
in comparison, your
beauty calls
to be painted on the
canvass for all

Receive you
you and our One
cannot be separate
We are Light
We are the Mirror
We are Beauty

This day receive Joy
and dance with abandon
a new Christ-tango,
your heart is full,
let it overflow.

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Merry Christmas, all.

Advent Geese, A Solstice Consecration

They were there.

In the silent sky early on my daily
drives, wings flapped. Although they
were too far away to see motion’s grace
or hear wind rush over and under
hollow-boned arms, I saw them.
A patterned V placed their purpose.

There were geese this fall with each
journey outside. It must be true
of this time of year, a thing
I never noticed.

Seldom did they make their voices known,
but they were always there. Gliding in front
of a full moon, a photo unable to impress
upon an iPhone screen.

They were there in afternoon walks, in
sun and grey filled skies. At night when
words flowed from my fingers in depths
of darkness. Then I could hear the cry,
in midnight still, their cry to me.

On this morning of Winter’s Solstice, four
times an Advent celebration, a new moon
soon to birth her smile, they were there.

Fireballs falling from a sky kissed by a
rising sun. A fairytale vision. Golden-winged
snitches raced across the blue, soared
over rooftops. The end of a fireworks
display, that last brave spark to shower earth
when all color has spent itself and drops only
burning embers to please the eye.

They were there. Not alien ships as misunderstood
by more fantastic eyes, but geese reflecting an
ascending light, pointing to a new beginning,
a path to take, a voice now heard, a song in
tandem harmony.

I stepped once again into this morning one last
time, three flew as one. In a moment’s breath
one departed on a path laid down only for a sole
navigator. Alone, and yet, eternally Three In One.

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Author’s Note:

I had quite an interesting experience this morning and wanted to capture it. However, I think the explanation below will help with understanding my words above.

I was sitting in the family room this morning looking out the top windows when I saw this big ball of light falling from the sky. I said to Leroy, “I just saw a falling star?” He said, “Meteor.” It’s a joke from the past. (Apparently, some amateur astronomers (not my husband) have little fancy about them. I was sternly corrected when I mentioned falling stars in the presence of one of these amateurs while visiting a local star night at Gates Planetarium a few years back.)

I looked up again and saw another. It looked like it was on fire. I know I will sound crazy when I say this, but it looked like a Quidditch snitch. It was a ball of fire with wings.

He stood up and as soon as he looked out the window there was another. Spooked, we went outside and looked up to the skies. One more and then nothing. After about a half a minute of searching the skies, a flock of geese in a V pattern flew past lit by the sun.

Even though these beautiful creatures were also ablaze, they were white light, so bright they didn’t look real. The other single ones were golden fire. We watched and realized that the falling balls of fire we both saw were individual geese lit up by this Solstice sun.

What a blessing to see these balls of fire flying through the air.