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.)
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.)
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.)
“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.”
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.)
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.