Misery Loves Company…

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Ask and it shall be given unto you,

Seek and ye shall find

When you get to the end of your rope

C’mon over and visit mine.

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Just a silly little ditty, I don’t know where it came from really, it just popped into my head. My mind likes to make rhymes sometimes, so don’t worry, it’s just wordplay. I like the company aspect; think how much happier we could be with the constant availability of perfect company! (… see what I mean? : )

Anyone else with useless and nearly-hidden talents, or silly wishes that will never be but do seem to have some practicality? ( Maybe I should write nursery rhymes. Do you think there are career possibilities there?)

~ Lily

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Dreams: New Year’s Revolutions…

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I had a dream last week that I was singing at a coffee house. I have readers and WordPress friends who are real honest-to-goodness musicians, so to them, this dream would be no more than a yawn. But to me–I love music but am Woefully Unmusical–it felt like learning to swim. Freedom, accomplishment. A new form of mobility.

In my dream, it was Open Mike Night and somehow someone Forced me onstage. (Even in my dreamworld, it is well known that there was no way I would go voluntarily.) So I sang a song that I wrote Years and Years and Eons ago. Yes, I used to write songs–lyrics–like I write poetry now; I think in poetry sometimes and I used to think in songs. Since I am so woefully unmusical and unable to write the music that I imagined, I used to sing my songs into a tape recorder (Yes I was a mere child, you are deducing correctly).

Up on that dream stage, I sang one of my ancient tunes, a cappella.

Since in dreams anything can and does happen, it may not surprise you that the audience members Loved my little tune. There was a moment of silence (they were stunned, as was I) and then they rose to their feet in adulation with raucous applause.

Then I awoke.

Darn.

It would have been nice to dream of my continued rise to fame and my stardom, but instead I awoke thinking: I should get a guitar. I should learn to play the guitar. Huh? Where did that come from? I didn’t even have a guitar in my dream. I can only think that on some level I knew just how off-key atrocious I must have sounded, particularly without any accompaniment.

But it does sound fun to write lyrics, like poetry, and to write music in my mind again.

How much stead do you put in dreams? Ever follow any?

Just wondering. Lala la la.

~ Lily


A Walk in Winter.

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A Walk …

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It doesn’t feel cold, though of course it is. I am dressed appropriately. The sun sparkles, happy to see me; there are so few people for it to shine upon outside in this cold. It sparkles on the snow, here and there glittering the grey winter landscape.

At first I choose each step with care, not knowing how slippery the sidewalks may be, then I pick up speed and get up to a hearty jaunt. I try for some cardio so I need to walk at a good fast clip. The cars on the street seem slow, my pace apace with them as they slow for the traffic light.

I cross and head up the hill, past friends’ homes with their well-tended gardens now all withered and snow encrusted. Still, the textures are beautiful: sinewy vines twined on fences of wood and wrought iron with dried grey-brown leaves waving here and there, straight smooth stalks and dried blossoms of hydrangea thrust out of snow, red-hued bayberry all a-prickle. The holly leaves are still deep green and shiny, and periwinkle peeks out from pauses in the snow, ready for Spring anytime.

The first human I meet is familiar, as is his fox-terrier/rotweiler doggie. To myself I smile at the abbreviations that pop into my head: Foxrot (FoxtRot?), Ferrier, Fairweil, Ferrot. I smile and say hello as usual and he does the same. He is younger than I am, most likely, but I look young. (This is not the same as looking stunning, unfortunately). My sister thinks I am aging backwards–does that even make sense? We know what she means– but doesn’t it stand to reason that someone removed from stressful and difficult times and having instead: rest and relaxation, healthy food, fresh air and exercise, might look a tich better? Of course. Stress and sleeplessness alone are aging, it seems to me.

In the chill air it is easy to feel invigorated and able to walk forever. This feeling lasts precisely until the frigid air begins to chill nose, cheeks, then fingers and toes. It is then that one realizes: I have to walk all the way back home!

I am wearing layers of clothing as well as a beautiful hand-knit scarf, boots, a hat, and warm gloves, but the temperature is quite low and the breeze adds a windchill. I duck into a coffee shop for a few minutes of warmth.

I have never been a coffee drinker. More’s the pity, now that coffee is said to have curative or preventative powers. I drink tea. It is the token bit of English in me, perhaps, plus tea lends itself to my creativity. I add fresh herbs, lemon, spices such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon of course, tumeric because it is supposed to ward off some effects of aging (though I don’t like the taste much) and even cumin, which I like very much. It is one of my current fads, along with kale (as in sauteed ’til crisp in olive oil and seasoned, or in a stirfry with fresh ginger and a dash of tamari), and also leeks. Leeks are delicious in soups, this being soup weather as well as tea weather. I am good at soups for some reason and I like to have them on hand, they are so soothing.

After my green tea, I embark upon a different course home. The sun that had shone for me earlier is now on hiatus and the sky is winter-grey with thoughts of snow flurries. Down in front of me flutters… is it a stray snow flake? No, it is a small fluffy feather. So maybe it is actually down in front of me (ha, myself and I can be as punny as we wish when walking). The little feather floats from the sky, slowly this way and that in the bluster of the late afternoon. I see no little birdie. He must have been faster than his falling feather. Perhaps he is flying towards warmth somewhere.

Feathers always bring to mind my grandmother. She dressed well at all times and accessorized in mid-20th-century classic chic, at least so she now appears whenever she comes to mind. She wore hats, hence the feathers, and gloves, fitted suits, simple elegant pumps. Ash-blond hair perfectly coiffed. Lipstick always, and perfume. I used to love to stand at her dressing table as she chose her perfume. It wasn’t that she gave me a spritz of those French scents that most intrigued me, it was the collection of tiny but beautiful glass bottles with their elegant labels that caught my eye. She gave me one, once, when it was empty. Isn’t it strange the things that become our keepsakes?

I nearly keep the feather but in my head I hear my mother saying how germy bird feathers can be and it is flu season and I am careful, or too careful as the case may be. What has a bird feather to do with the flu? West Nile Virus? Is that active in the winter? Who knows.

In my mind, the white fluffy feather joins others on my grandma’s white hat. Feathers, fur… would she even wear those now? I think not. She’d wear other fashionable things, like my hat or my boots or my gloves. This is somehow a very satisfying thought: I have three pence of her fashion sense. However, less of that and I might now be slightly warmer. I might instead have chosen to wear my snow boots. Bulky, heavy. Good for trudging in the snow. I have those for when I am not on a city walk. Those make me think of the children’s book Owl Moon, if you know that story. Bundling, out in the woods, listening for owls under the moon. And mittens. I am wearing gloves not mittens. Mittens… doesn’t the word alone make you think of that wet-wool smell? I wear mittens when walking in the wilderness.

As I head back, I pass a young girl walking with her head down. She does not even look up as I pass and say hello. The cold must have frozen her ears, or she may be deep in thought. Young people are never the first to say hello, in my experience, but they are often the most enthusiastic in their replies, their smiles large and sincere. They are not yet jaded and are reassured by friendliness, or so is my theory. Sometimes older people are friendly too, don’t get me wrong. I try not to take the few compulsory and cool replies personally. How sad is that, to be unable to smile, or, worse, to choose not to smile at friendly passersby? Well you can think about this when next you are out walking. If you are in conversation with someone or on your cell phone, I will not disturb you, don’t worry, but otherwise I’ll likely greet you, so be nice!

A few tangents later and home again, home again, riggety jig. What is that from, anyway? Oh it’s jiggety jig. Mother Goose. To Market to Market… so there is your Random Trivia from my uneventful but refreshing winter walk.

Cheers to you! Stay warm and happy, wherever you may be this weekend!

~ Lily

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Phototropism…

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Phototropism

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The blanket

becomes too warm and itchy

wrapped tight,

the quiet

sounds loud

at night,

the walls in winter

close in

though framed

and bright–

Your spirit

cannot help but reach

for Light.

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Christmas Cooking…

 

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First I scrub the small round red potatoes

let them sit in a colander

Christmas card messages

dancing in my head

melt butter

slice in onions, cook until glassy

slightly browned

why

does he say he misses

my smiling face

when he is the one who

forfeited my smiles?

Slice and layer the potatoes

seasoned white sauce

grated aged cheeses

snip fresh herbs atop

ignore the texts

for the time being

from another who is intriguing

but too persistent

too everywhere

and inconsistent

when I need

reliable and

my own time sometimes

to make potatoes au gratin

on the way to Christmas

as busy-ness intersperses with loneliness

as children come and go

we dash

to gatherings, parties, dinners

then I regroup to contemplate

my myriad fates

while singing to myself

Auld Lang Syne

the potatoes smell divine

I take them out early

anyway

to finish baking

Christmas day.

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Hello dear friend.

I hope good things

come your way.

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~ Lily

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Update.

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One

and the days are so busy

the nights are so long

dark lonely

quiet

but when I wake

there is morning

warmth

morning light

filtered through white curtains

shadows dashed

hopes resurrected

one

day

at a time.

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It is a wet grey day today, but somehow the gleaming dark wash of the street and the stalwart bare trees seem fresh and reassuring. It just goes to show that perspective makes the difference between dreary and cleansed, sometimes. And, as I am an anachronistic Romantic of sorts, this day and this weather reflect my mood. I could be dreary, but I am not. I could sink into the greyness, but I don’t. I feel the wash of the rain, I feel the rinse of the old and the dust, and the chance for something new.

I spent part of Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones, but part of it was necessarily solitary. I needed to be Thankful in my own way, away from the gatherings and feasting, and away from the shopping crowds converging upon the big-box stores like ants towards a bit of fallen fruit.

I went to a park where families and couples were walking, pushing strollers, biking alongside helmet-heavy young riders, or running or rollerblading in black spandex. Pausing to watch and smile at these passersby every so often, I read. I read a book, cover to cover.

Sometimes I choose to read historical or non-fiction books for learning and information.  Other times I read classics and fiction in order to go away, to vacation through the eyes and experiences and thoughts of the author whom I’ll never even meet. I’ve done that literary traveling for as long as I can remember. The challenge is to find a very good book. Its pleasure for me is escapist but also the satisfaction serves as a base for viewing the world, my world in relation to the world out there. It ‘evens’ me, if that makes sense. My far flung and wide-ranging artistic emotions settle down as my world-view stretches. It’s as if I gently allow more of the world in, and that calms me.

When I am feeling as calm and at peace as a restless soul can feel, I tend also toward grateful and prayerful. When I pray, it is to an always-present supreme being who knows me, but I don’t know Him (?) as well, or perhaps not as well as I should, or so it seems to me. I feel held, but as if in a fog or expanse of universal space, as if outer space and the whole of the universe is pulled close, but as a feeling inside. Imagine there is an invisible blanket– soft, warm and cozy. I pull it as tight as I need it and feel comforted. Alright, I’m sure I’m weird and I’m sure most of you know this by now, so let’s just move along…

I re-centered myself, that is the main thing. I thought: “Yes, you feel alone sometimes but you’re not really alone. You’re not sure of exactly what to do, but you know you’re gaining strength and re-harnessing creativity; you are becoming. You are becoming more your true self.  Maybe that is preparation for something, or maybe it simply is as it is meant to be.”

With that “Onward” attitude in hand, I met a friend after work and we laughed and talked as the time zipped by.  Coincidentally, I was invited to a party that evening near where my friend and I were meeting. When she went home to her husband and children, I went back and forth in my mind over whether or not to stop into the party. I hadn’t planned to go as there would be many people and I wouldn’t know them. I am reserved as you would expect, at least at first, but I do love meeting people and hearing little bits about their lives. Once I decide to attend anything I summon my confidence (a remnant from my youth) and have a good time.

I hadn’t been home since early morning but driving all the way home and back to change clothes would take too much time, I’d be too late. The unfortunate side of that is that I wouldn’t be able to change into something dressier or to do my hair or makeup for the party.  I would therefore look like someone who had ambled in after a long day, not someone who had primped to be fresh and festive. But, I do wear a smile well. I had that, anyway.

I also had my re-adjusted attitude. I felt content and I wasn’t looking or yearning for anyone or anything. I felt like I was fortunate to be able to go where I pleased, to smile and exchange a few kind words with other souls on this earth.

I felt good, and happy.

My gumption and I went to the party.

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I hope all is likewise fine in your life. How are you faring, these busy days?

~ Lily

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Love and purpose…

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I was talking with a friend at Thanksgiving. She’s a bit older and told me that considering her age, she is getting to feel that it is best to be accepting of situations and be as happy as possible, in a kind of reverent stoic monastic way. It was kind of odd to hear this coming from someone who appears to be very social and happy, but we don’t always know what others think of their situations, until they tell us.  She said God gave her this lonely fate and must want her to be this way so that she moves closer to Him, when He is her company and comfort.

My view? I am all for faith, and being close to God. Without prayer and hope and answers in my dismal times, I honestly don’t know where I’d be today, or If I’d be today.

However, I also believe that we were given talents, made in “His image and likeness” yet each of us unique and valuable, “a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”  I am meant to use my gifts and talents, and you, too, in your own special way.

I was made loving. I was made nurturing. Those are qualities that are meant to be shared. So, I won’t relinquish any hopes of Love or a truly loving relationship with a man I’ve yet to meet, out there in the universe somewhere.  And of course, kindness too is meant to be shared with others:  friends, co-workers, neighbors, even strangers along my path (you know what I mean, if you’ve been reading here for any length of time : )

Whatever your talents and gifts, be grateful for them, put them to good and honorable use. That’s how the world becomes a better place. That’s how lives become better.

See that sun up in the sky? Imagine it smiles down upon you as it warms you. See the trees and flowers you pass every day? The clouds tumbling by? They are for you. Enjoy, each day, as you make your way through this world. Yes, this world can be harsh, but that’s why we are not meant to be alone, and why we are meant to be kind to one another…

or so is my own personal philosophy. Feel free to borrow or acquire it, anytime, especially if you need to cheer curmudgeons in your midst. Do you happen to run into such resigned souls in your holiday travels, or is it just me? I think that they secretly want me to cheer them. There is no mistletoe up as yet, no eggnog nor caroling, so I do my best!

Wishing you peace, happiness, and of course Love.

~ Lily

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