Thoughts on Gates and Fences

My childhood home was surrounded by fence, bordered by tall cedars – we had a secret to keep. I learned not to trust neighbours. I learned the price of shame.

At the back of the yard was a gate that opened onto a field and beyond that a wooded area. There I found serenity, connection, and a knowledge that what happened within my father’s fortress was not the totality of life.

I like gates.

I vowed not to need fences, that my life would be an open gate, but that was senseless. I was accessible to anyone who wanted to trample my garden.

Took a few dents and whole lot of pain for me to realize that gates and fences coexist for a reason. Boundaries are healthy, and at certain times, locks are mandatory.

(Photos for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: fences and gates. Thoughts part of my process. I’ve been obsessively photographing fences and gates recently. I’ve been sketching them too, trying to figure out the draw. Guess now I know why.)

Here’s one of my sketches:

Sculpting

The best openings are the one’s we carve for ourselves.

We spent New Year’s Eve reminiscing about eighteen years of togetherness. Stayed up past midnight, and talked about our future. Hope coloured our words.

Sculpting has been on my mind – not literally, but in the sense of chipping away at the outer facade to invite emergence.

Ric has shed fifty pounds of excess weight, and I am now joining him in that quest. We are entering this new decade with renewed vigour. There is much we still yearn to sample.

I’m lining up my tools, examining the material before me: changes lie ahead. Bit by bit, I will ply my craft, shed the excess, intuit the contours of this life I’m co-creating.

Emergence takes time, commitment, and a willingness to be open.

(Image taken from The Grand Trunk trestle. This town we have settled in stirs my impulse towards the creative. So grateful to be here. Hope it inspires you as much as it did me. I will be back Monday with a new weekly challenge.)

Wintry Rebellion

Tracks on ice remind me that even in the depth of winter there is movement. I am conflicted by the onset of cold: resigned to spending more time indoors, and already feeling the restlessness set in.

Art projects line up, encouraged by the many related gifts I received for Christmas. Writing calls to me too – so many unfinished works vying for space.

Perhaps it is the confinement itself that I fear, having known what it is to be truly homebound, and never wishing to relive the experience. I have come to love the outdoors; have embraced nature as my sanctuary. Can I tolerate the separation?

Ice crusts, encloses,
yet passion flows – fire carves
path – driven to thrive.

( Happy New Year all! Image from personal collection.)

“It’s the Best!”

“Wait till I tell my Mom I’m having hot chocolate for dinner! Do you have marshmallows, too?” she’d excitedly asked the waitress.

“No marshmallows, but we have whip cream.”

“Oh yum!”

Children are so easy to please. I’d been in emergency all day, but didn’t want to cancel plans, so Ric picked her up from school and we three went to a local diner for early supper.

Able to read her own menu now, her eyes lit up at the sight of her favourite beverage. No vegetables touched her plate that night, a sin her mother is sure to scold me about, but in light of the day I’d had, I just wanted to soak in her joy.

Afterwards, we drove around to see the Christmas lights and then home for some television, a snuggle, and bed. All pretty low key.

“Staying at Grandma’s is so so fun!” she told her sister when they came to pick her up the next morning. “You get treats, and to stay up late.”

Don’t worry Mom, she didn’t even finish the hot chocolate.

As for me – my cup was overflowing.

(Thursdays I dedicate to celebrating the blessings in my life, which often translates to sharing Grandma stories. Can’t help it. They are the best, through my eyes.)

More Hole Than Whole

The woman in the mirror is flawed
age spots where freckles once sprouted,
streaks of white, peppering former auburn,
inner scars marking discontent.

How then is she expected
to know wholeness?

In days when mind was sharp
self-confidence wobbled;
when spirituality was planted,
self-judgment undermined.

The path to wholeness
pitted with potholes.

How often emotion overrode
common sense, and choices
led her astray, how thick
the mud of guilt she mired in.

Repulsed at her own reflection
she was anything but whole.

Less self-defacing these days
she examines the worn bits
with wry acceptance –
acknowledges the toil.

If wholeness is perfection,
she’s ready to let go.

****

This week, I challenged us to consider the concept of being whole. I know it turned out to be a workout for me, so I thank all who took the time to participate.

Proscenium
Reena Saxena
Poetry Pallette
Stuff and what if…
AWISEWOMANSJOURNEY
CURATING THOUGHTS
one letter UP
Sgeoil

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

(Watercolour from personal collection)

Friends are Blessings

Over brunch, my new acquaintance and I discover we have a lot in common – both former teachers, interested in art and poetry, with a love birds. She is just getting back into life after a long stint of caring for a sick husband, who died a year ago. I am finding my footing in a new town, after years of my own isolation.

The friendship feels natural, and when we meet up again at the next poetry circle, we make more plans.

For most of my life, I have felt like the lone bird, perched below the gathered flock, wondering why I’m left out. A loner, is how I described myself in high school – a cover for shame and never feeling good enough.

I’m too old for all that self-deprecation nonsense now. I am an adult women who needs relationships.

So these days, I am letting my guard down, and giving thanks for the friends in my life – old and new.

Connection, after all, is what the heart craves.

Frames

I’m trying to frame my life with gratitude, adding structure to the chaos I’m experiencing within.

So much of life is a gift, and the troubles, minuscule by comparison.

Life changes, and along with it, so do our perceptions, our abilities, and our dreams. Sometimes it is a hard pill to swallow, and then; other times, we are able to grasp the miracle in it all:

For Lens-Artists photo challenge: Framing the Shot

Blessings Plus a Year

Sunflowers and chocolates kick off my birthday week. Delivered by daughter and her family made it all the more special. I share my birthday month with now seven-year-old Sloane and our youngest, so July is filled with blessings.

We are adjusting to the role reversals here – I now drive Ric to appointments, and do the waiting. Lots of time to think. Lots of time to count the “thank goodnesses”.

Thank goodness we were home when this happened. Ric had planned on driving down, by himself, to Arizona to sell the RV, but that was thwarted by paperwork.

Thank goodness he didn’t ignore the signs and wait until things were much worse. “Prevention,” the doctor told us, “saves a lot of damage.” We are waiting on further instructions, but the test results indicate he will need some sort of medical intervention to clear blocked arteries.

Thank goodness I had been practicing driving, so I already had the confidence built up – not to mention that Ric is a patient and gentle passenger.

Today I feel the blessing of being watched over and protected.

Life is good.

(Images from personal collection.)

Creativity Is A Blessing

Ideas follow me around like little children tugging on my pant leg, begging attention. I’ve been brushing them aside, too unwell to give any them any energy, but with summer’s arrival and pending visits at Grandma’s camp, I push myself to get out the paints.

Untrained myself, I watch videos to gain knowledge and inspiration. I look for ideas the children will want to do,
and try them out to make sure they’ll work. The stack of pancakes, I discover, is easy and definitely doable with a 6 and 7-year-old.

The girls are eager to paint with Grandma, and naturally, full of their own creative ideas.

We play with the paints, and working with these uninhibited minds helps expands my own possibilities.

Each girl leaves at the end of the week with a framed masterpiece as a memento of our time together.

Sloane is a week shy of seven, and when I ask her what she would like me to paint for her birthday, she is very specific: two unicorns with the colours blue and purple.

“How on Earth do I paint unicorns?” I mention to Ric.

In his usual smart ass way, he responds: “You draw a horse with a horn on its head.”

Argh! I’ve never drawn horses before is what I meant. So I research again. This is the first attempt.

It feels wonderful to be sketching and painting again. I have one more birthday gift to attend to and then I’ve completed my year and I’ll start listening to those ideas tugging at my pant leg.

Blessing of Serenity

Settling in a small town, especially a senior’s community, is not something I would have ever envisioned, and yet; here we are.

Funny how life works like that, and thank goodness it does. I appreciate this place that we have landed more and more each day.

It has not been without difficulty, this move away from the city. One daughter balked that we would choose to distant ourselves from grandchildren. Another worried that I would be okay should anything happened to Ric.

There is always resistant to change. As the children have made time to visit, they too are coming to love what makes this place unique.

It’s the little things that fill our hearts with gratitude. Here, away from the noise and bustle of the city, my heart finds fulfillment.

(Thursdays, I have committed to expressing gratitude. I’m also linking this up with Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: serenity.)