The Bundle

Our writing group met this week. Silliness was afoot. This is what we needed so desperately this week. Thank you, Thursday Afternoon Writers, for help keeping me sane.

My opening line chosen at random: “Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing

All of us were challenged to use these words: Ire. Spellbinding. Small. Advantage. Trickster

 

The Bundle

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

I started the poem over and over for the last hour and a half. It had devolved into this:

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

Spellbinding words? Nope.

I could feel ire building. Usually, I can come up with something, but today was not that day.

I was writing at the coffee shop next to the park. I sat by the window even though it was cold outside. On top of that, the door opened every few minutes to blow its arctic breath across my back. I have no idea why I didn’t move. I guess it was in the stars that this would be my place for the day. Prophetic? Maybe.

It snowed the night before and there was fog. How could there be fog? Wasn’t fog supposed to happen when it was warm and then moisture and then some cold? The weather app said it was going to be forty degrees. Right.

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.”

There is was again. It was like a bad song you can’t get out of your head. You know when you pass the preschool and they are singing about a llama in pajamas and then you end up singing about that llama and its pajamas all day long? And the librarian shushes you, and the lady in line at the grocery store gives you a weird look, and you wake up in the middle of the night and take a shower to hoping to wash that llama in pajamas right out of your hair and down the drain? Yeah, that kind of song.

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

My nerves were getting a bit frayed and my third cup of coffee wasn’t helping.

The door opened again but this time a strong wind blew it all the way open, and what looked like a small brown bundle about the size of a large garbage bag rolled away from the opening into the street.

What was that? The door shut slowly. No one was standing there to open it or shut it. Did that thing open the door? I watched the bundle.

A car slid around it in an attempt to avoid it and ended up hitting the bench across the street. I could only sit there looking out the window and watch as if the wind had frozen me solid. People ran from the surrounding shops and some trudged through the snow from the park toward the bench, then past the car to where the bundle sat. They almost completely encircled the bundle, which now was motionless in the middle of the road. Luckily, I guess it was luck, people left an opening on my side so I had the perfect viewing of the small brown bundle.

A woman was helped out of the car.  She seemed okay as she stumbled towards the bundle, but it was the bundle everyone had their eyes on. First, it started to wiggle. Then an arm, then another, stretched themselves out from the rounded blob. As if they were on springs, two legs popped out and stretched just as the arms had done. We all just stared, even the woman from the car.

At last a head curled up from the top of the small bundle. It looked up and now it  seemed to resemble a person. Rolling from side to side until it righted itself, it stood up and walked back to the door of the coffee shop.

No one said anything. I couldn’t see its face. I could only make out a long scarf that was wrapped tightly around the neck and head leaving a slit for two small eyes. They peered at the door. Mittened hands and booted feet hid anything else that would have given us more details as to what was inside the small brown bundle.

It waddled with a slight limp. Someone ran to the door to hold it open and with a bit of a nod of thanks the bundle entered the coffee shop and began to look around. The bundle had a purpose, looking for someone or something it knew it needed to find.

As the head swiveled around stopping for a slight pause at each person, heads lined up along the outside of the window staring in at the bundle, steaming up the glass with their moist warm breath and freezing it into a frosted pane, eventually hiding their faces behind a curtain of patterned ice crystals.

The bundle turned with what seemed like straight legged stomps and its slitted eyes rested on mine. Mine!

Did I know what creature lurked inside the three foot brown bundle? Did it know me? Would this trickster take me on a journey to places to where I had never dreamed?

I watched as heads peeled themselves away from the window and went about their day. A police car pulled up to aid the woman and her now crunched front end. And as I turned back to find where the bundle has situated itself, there was no one left inside the coffee shop but myself, one barista, and the small brown bundle.

I was still seated as the bundle waddled up to the empty chair at my table, pull it out with its mittened hand and heaved itself up onto the seat, standing on top of the brown hardwood with brown booted feet.

I noticed I was holding my breath. I think I was afraid to breathe. I let it out and as I inhaled once more I watched as it’s eyes watched mine. The mittened hand began to unwind the rainbow colored scarf from around its head and neck.

Wait a minute. Had its changed colors since it walked into the warm? Wasn’t it brown when it was outside? I noticed the rainbow hued painting hanging on the wall behind what was once the small brown bundle, now a rainbow hued bundle. Was it my imagination, or did it do a chameleon thing and change to match its surroundings?

The scarf was long, longer than one could imagine. It unwound again and again and again until it was a heap on the floor almost as high as the tabletop. All that was left was a head covered in a rat’s nest of dirty golden hair, still with just a slit for the eyes to look through. The small rainbow bundle’s mittened hands made an opening through the hair where its mouth should be. In the stillness of the the coffee shop where I had once found solace to write, the bundle cleared its mucousy throat.

And what sounded like a voice that had not been in use for a long time, maybe forever, scratchy and tiny, came the words that had haunted my day,

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

Fog

98DF2A36-3318-4991-87A8-152930868FF4

He sniffs the damp fence post, a reveal of who came before.
Deciding all is well, he leaves his mark
and we continue on.
Fog sneaks in behind us, a foreshadowing of storm.
We will not venture out into early morning falling flakes,
only because I fear ice that lays waiting to surprise,
A turn of seasons offers its own perspective,
leaving its mark for me to decipher.

 

Undone

When ghostlike fog wrapsDoro3
itself around your arms,
be wary if you stay.
There is temptation
to welcome softness, allow
a mantling about and through
palms outstretched,
fingers sans raiment.
But its demands are fierce.

There is impregnable beauty
if you do pause as cold
descends stilling fog’s path.
Majesty in each mounded
crystal cling, appendages
knitted one to another,
a new glove and cloak.
Astonishment in delicacy,
an artistry in lethal cold.

I reach to you,
as trees on winter mornings,
undone. My once summer
facade laid bare,
a deathly inevitability.
No longer hiding my array,
I am yours to draw,
an artist’s form
for you to mold and pattern me,
a remarkable fragment of
your bewildering eternity.

.

.

.

It’s not always easy to see grace.

It is in letting go of what we think we are that we become what we must be.

You see, sometimes the Divine is not warm and fuzzy. Sometimes our Holy One comes through cold and harsh demands that make it difficult to realize the beauty unless we still ourselves and take the time to acknowledge it and experience it for what it is.

Nature is a threshold into the Divine. The snow crystals on tree limbs in early January were astounding. Fog hung thick as the bitter cold arrived. The fog, no longer able to stay afloat, settled on trees and turned into new forms of winter wonder. Many photos of this found their way into my life. My friend, Dorothea Madry, graciously allowed me to use her photo to pair with today’s poem.

Enjoy the cold. The barren trees. The icy mounds. You never know what gifts they bring.

Lexanne

 

Click here if you would like to receive this as a weekly newsletter, Journey/lex.  It arrives either Friday or Saturday each week. I would love to have you join me along my journey.

Lady Wisdom

Bridge-Bond-Monuments-Places-Fog-Golden-Gate-Pacif-7748The fog is anxious

but the clearing,

slow may it be,

much patience required,

the opening ravishes.

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

The first time I visited San Francisco, we walked the city. We didn’t rent a car but used public transportation. Our first morning out, we took the bus to the bridge.

It was foggy. Just fog and the roar of traffic.

At the visitor center, we asked where the bridge was. From behind the counter came a point to the picture window, “It’s right there.”

My husband and I looked at one another and shrugged.

“Just take the steps up.” The finger returned to the newspaper on the counter turning to the next page.

And an afterthought, “Watch out for traffic. And just keep walking.”

So we walked up the steps and the traffic noise grew, surged through the fog without showing itself.

As we continued, we began to see ghost cars melting into grey. There was one lone figure ahead of us on the wide sidewalk with just enough clarity to make out his form. As we approached, he stopped. The three of us saw only the faintest outline of the bridge, a picture frame flat and almost nondescript.

When we reached him, he turned and handed us his camera. We obliged. He reclaimed it, bowed slightly, and began to walk back to the steps. We shared what we were told: just keep walking. He hesitated and without a reply disappeared down the steps into the soup.

We looked at one another and just continued walking.

It wasn’t long. Rather quickly, as a matter of fact, that as we passed under the first arch we could see the fog clearing. We kept walking. Cars became sharper to match the bluster. I could now see across the traffic to the opposite side of the bridge opening to the ocean and began to distinguish waves roaring in harmony with the rush hour madness.

My husband tapped me on the shoulder in our pause. He whispered, “Turn around.”

There it was, the city of San Francisco, the bay, and the bridge with the fog falling away, candy-colored in the bright morning sun.

Wisdom is there, always.

She waits for me to simply listen, press on in the present moment. There I will meet her.

If I release my worry, my need for control, my fear. If I sit with my choices and understand they are past done, I see her opening the door for me to make new choices to live the life I’ve been given.

I can choose to continue on, or turn back.

I choose Lady Wisdom.
.

.

.

And More:

Thank you, Scott Jenkins, for Celtic Conversations this past year at a Church of the Holy Family, ECC. I have grown and changed and learned to release. You’ve given us time to rest and question in a place of safety filled with compassion. Thank you, Padre.

A bit of synchronicity for this week. Our Celtic Conversations and the Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 11, 2015, from the USCCB.org:

Reading 1 WIS 7:7-11

Reading 2 HEB 4:12-13

San Francisco Bay Bridge Photo courtesy of: Bridge-Bond-Monuments-Places-Fog-Golden-Gate-Pacif-7748

Marrow

I wait upon early morning fog
a remnant of warm days configured
from cold night surprise enfolded
with first light ascending to burn

There is a softness in the brume
that welcomes an alternate seeing
a compassionate new view
a slowing to respond

Sharp edges that cut deep
bleeding my soul onto
grey stone pavement blur
forces inquiry not into vapor
but plunges into my marrow

In the nebula ache disappears
a vacant image I shall not press
I surrender to Intimacy within
the You and me a tangle of
interwoven communion