What Do Yours Look Like?

An always relevant reminder for us.

This Pedestrian Life

C3A64604-476C-484E-9BBE-E276F056D9F0.jpegWe all have these don’t we? These stripes of shame, pain, fear; hurts and scars that make us feel different, less than, unlike any others. And that’s the thing. We all have them. They may not look exactly the same, some may have more than others, but we’re more alike than not. If we are to not only survive but thrive, we must remember that and act accordingly. Golden Rule accordingly. Things just might get better.

Peace and Love

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FLOW

photo credit Arvydas Baltinas on Unsplash

Science tells me that I am mainly a body of water.

60% or so at my age.

Which explains why there are some days

that I wake feeling like a mighty roiling ocean, 

powerful and deep, holding a myriad of marvels

and untold beauty beneath, dancing to the call

of the moonlight and reflecting all the magical

rainbow glimmers of the sun.

Then there are others when I’m more of a narrow creek

trickling down a gently sloping mountain, 

happy to fill the air with a quiet symphony 

of lapping over rock, and communing with frogs and minnows. 

In between I’m a stoic river with a mission 

to carry all of the barges and salmon I can, 

feeling necessary and important

when considered useful.

Last come the lonely puddle days, 

thankfully fewer and farther between. 

Muddy days when I feel stepped on 

and splashed apart, drops of me landing everywhere

other than where what’s left of me was. 

And then I remember to rise. 

Into the air to join all the other tiny bodies, 

molecules who condense and with the help of others, 

become themselves again and have the invisible strength 

to hold life, nurture growth and smooth rock.

Bruce Lee had it right. “ Be water my friend.” Flow…

5-19-21

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Miss You Mom

A tenth Mother’s Day arrives without you,

yet not without the memory of your smile

as it beamed that last time

when your 3 year old great granddaughter

presented you with a bouquet of roses.

You have a dozen greats now

and I think of how deliriously joyful

you would be to see them

all becoming.

How you would call them

by each other’s names and

they would wonder why

until they become parents

and do the exact same thing.

How you would spoil each one

in a different way and brag

about them all day long.

How you would gather them round

for plates of cake and love,

spend your last dime

to gift them with whatever

makes them smile,

your last breath

to say you love us all

and that

you’ll be all right.

CRR 4-13-21

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Mama’s Love

Abiding ,

untainted ribbon of unquestionable love,

thread through each window blind,

both illuminating and shielding me,

through the dawns and dusks of my life.

those days when the essence of my innocent spirit sugar-coated the sands of time,

those nights when the acidic tonic of my misspent youth sought to corrode all that was familiar,

those times when I steadfastly refused any sort of guidance and rejected the very values imposed,

those times when I chose to learn the hard way,

the stalwart champion of landmine decisions,

those when my selfishness should have created a chasm between us,

or at least riddled the ribbon with holes.

But it didn’t.

Always, abiding.

CRR 3-11-11

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May

*originally posted 2 years ago

May. The month of her birth. The month I last saw her 8* years ago. The month of celebrating mothers. The month of missing her most.

I was 15 and my best friend smashed a bologna sandwich in my face. It was 1973 and one of those sticky heat summer evenings in Orlando, Florida. I stood in our kitchen, being a whiney teenager, complaining about having to wash the dishes and getting sweaty. Although my memory fails me when it comes to the actual words I said, I mouthed off to my mother and said something mean to her, prompting the mayo coated meat to become married to my face. What followed is also lost in a dusty mind corner, but I know my friend was appalled that I would be so hateful and mean to my mom. I was appalled that she would smash a sandwich in my face. I wasn’t an easy teen to parent. Being a mom of 2 myself, I’m now qualified to make that judgment.

At our 3 AM meeting this morning, my mind took the floor and proceeded to review a myriad of topics, all reached by some circuitous path that only a licensed insomniac could follow. It could have been a dream state, but I doubt it. I imagine it was just my mind’s and body’s response to what I did today. Signed my official retirement papers. Huge life event. New chapters of my life to be written. A time like this obviously calls for self reflection and that somehow led to identifying the one person who loved me the most purely and unselfishly and never ever did a single thing to hurt me. My mom.

I’ve been on the road to Hana in Hawaii, stood in the Colosseum in Rome, and visited tropical isles, canyons, caves, glaciers and forests in more than a few foreign countries. The oceans and seas call to me still. But the place I’d love to travel to the most is unreachable. There’s no plane, train, or boat that can take me there. It’s by my mother’s side. Just one more time, to hold her hand, to hear her say ” I love you baby”, to say so many things I never got around to saying.

Count yourself lucky if you still have your mom. Don’t wait till Mother’s Day to call her and tell her that. One unwelcome day your chance will be taken away and missing it will feel much worse than getting a bologna sandwich smashed onto your face.

Peace and Love

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Her Story

Our last day with Mom. May 28th, 2011. She had only 6 more weeks to live.

As Mothers Day approaches and in loving memory of my mother, for the next 5 days , I’m sharing essays and poems written about her.

Her story ended 10 years ago. Or did it?

I smell it, the aroma of it, in a Sunday pot roast slow cooking in my crockpot and in the domestic union of fabric meeting hot metal as I iron a favorite linen shirt.

I feel it, the warmth of it, in a quilt the colors of spring, lovingly sewn by arthritic hands and in the sunshine- like memories that my heart recalls.

I hear it, the playlist of it, in my own voice when once youthfully ignored lessons escape from under my tongue and in the beckoning ocean as it welcomes me home.

I taste it, the flavor of it, sliding from spoon to throat, as I spread Virginia apple butter on a sandwich of cheesy grilled comfort and in the salty air that tingles my lungs.

I see it, the purity of it, in my grandchildren’s eyes as they fall in love with lizards and dogs and in the goddess smiles of women as they birth new worlds.

Her gentle spirit departed its malignant body almost 10 years ago but her story didn’t end.

It lives on in the auspicious cells of her children, her grands, and her greats and in all of those souls touched by the goodness of her heart.

Her life here ended ten Mother’s Days ago. But her story did not.

CRR

5-5-21

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Sundays

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I’ve Got An Idea

Like Julie and Julia. (2009 Nora Ephron). Sort of. You know, the movie, where the girl took a year and made it her mission to recreate each one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

Julie Powell actually started the Julie/Julia project on her blog and garnered the attention of quite a few followers, including those who offered her a book deal at Little, Brown and Company. Julia Child was reportedly unimpressed and said as much, although I think that was a little hoity-toity of her. The book led to the movie and the rest, as they say, is history.

But get to the point Carol. Your idea?

One of my first poet loves was Emily Dickinson and the very first poem I memorized was:

“I’m nobody, who are you?

Are you nobody too?

Then there’s a pair of us- don’t tell!

They’d banish us you know.

How dreary to be somebody!

How public, like a frog .

To tell your name the lifelong day

To an admiring bog!”

At 10, just as now, this particular poem seemed perfectly suited for my introverted self.

Being an admirer of Emily’s work, I thought an interesting project would be to attempt a Carol/Emily project, wherein I take the title of each of her poems and write my own, on small pieces of paper and used envelopes, just as she did. And then I remembered that Emily herself titled only a few of her 1775 poems, the others were added posthumously by editors. So much for that idea.

But what about first lines? That could be quite a challenge, given the formality of language during the 1800s, not to mention the colloquialisms of her time. But could it be a thing? I mean Dickinson on Apple TV is certainly a huge thing. I’ve binged both seasons and am suffering in wait for more.

So here we go. I mean, here I go.

New year, new challenge and all that. 1775 poems. Stay tuned. I’m sure some of it will be less than spectacular, but who knows until I try.

Emily herself said,

“Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne’er succeed

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host

Who took the Flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated – dying –

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Break, agonized and clear.”

Stay tuned and wish me luck.

Peace and Love

Update* – 37 poems down- 1738 to go, more updates to follow.

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What’s Super On Super Bowl Sunday?

Or- How I’m Going To Make It Through The Day

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Crawling out of my cozy bed and into another “will this ever end pandemic day”, I thought it best to encourage myself by doing a bit of self talk, repeating “today I will write, today I will write, today I will write”. You see, the words haven’t been coming quite as easy since this whole 11 month shit show began.

January and February of last year were marvelous. Hubby and I were blessed to get in 2 Caribbean cruises, one of which I won a place on with my writing. We had the most incredibly inspiring time and started friendships with some of the world’s finest humans, folks with truly beautiful souls and brilliant talents. (You know who you are Story Summiteers❣️)

In February, I traveled to Tallahassee to see my favorite daughter and grandson, got to meet Boyz II Men ( for real-and I have pics to prove it) and took memorable trips to Target, Publix, the gym, or wherever the hell struck my fancy on a whim. We even had a scrumptious Pre- COVID meal inside an actual restaurant for Valentines Day.

I was approximately 10 pounds lighter and then came March…But I won’t wax poetic about what we now know has been an 11 month funeral of sorts, on so many levels. To be fair, there’ve been some mighty fantastic things that happened in our country as well, but they’re not today’s focus either.

Today I wanted to give myself a pep talk and hubby a break. He’s been doing that for me for the last 327 days, which I’m aware, has been both challenging and exhausting at times. So, here’s my personal list of What’s Super On Super Bowl Sunday?

  1. I don’t have COVID-19.
  2. No one I love has COVID-19.
  3. I’m safe, healthy, and warm.
  4. We just ate some delicious sweet rolls and simultaneously laughed at Dan Levy on Saturday Night Live.
  5. The Puppy Bowl is also on television today!
  6. I have 4 beautiful grands that still get to communicate with through the mysterious to me power of FaceTime and Zoom.
  7. I’m writing this in a room where I’m surrounded by bookshelves, filled with wonderful worlds that I can access at any time, some of them created by talented people I know and love.
  8. I have the second season of Dickinson to binge watch. ( An absolutely thrilling scenario for me!)
  9. I still like my husband after 327 days of being quarantined with him basically 24/7.
  10. He still likes me.

Wherever you are, I hope you can find 10 super things about your life to focus on and get you through the day. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep your mind’s eye on it. We’ll get through. We’ll be better. Together.

Peace and Love

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New Smyrna Beach 1-25-21

A silver-haired old man naps peacefully in his weathered beach chair, mouth wide open, sun-hat blown off and hanging by its cord on his back. It’s almost 80 degrees and the January sun is warming away the winter in our bones, hell, in our souls, with what we’ve all been going through since March of last year.

A flock of Royal Terns have taken a break from their sea foraging to rest together on the white sugar sand. In the distance, an adventurous young girl flaps her arms frenetically and squeals deliriously as she sits in the water and lets the icy winter waves send shocks through her spine.

The old man’s wife marks her place with a bookmark and places her book in her bag, then nudges him awake and hands him a sandwich from their cooler. Two Ring Billed Gulls cower hopefully nearby, staring intently, engaging in a silent solicitation for food donations that never come.

Nearby, a father and his young son play chase. A few minutes in, he allows the tot to catch him, and dramatically falls and begins rolling across the hard packed sand. The little one takes a running leap and jumps on his father’s belly as both of them erupt in ecstatic laughter.

Meanwhile, the waves carry on, roaring rhythmically, white caps creating white noise as the tide kisses the sand and retreats, ever untamable. I’m reminded of an untamable hazel eyed girl, who 46 years ago romped along this very same beach in a teeny white bikini, carefree and clueless, living her best life in every moment, as if each were eternity.

There is so much I wish I could have told that girl, yet there’s so much she reminds me of now. Like how this present moment is all we really have. Like we’re not promised a next, but when it comes, it should always be celebrated. Like how to taste all the bits of beauty and joy we’re lucky enough to come across. Like how she still lives in me and wants me to smile and laugh and play and remain untamable.

Peace and Love

Posted in Appreciation, beauty, joy, life, ocean, Uncategorized | 2 Comments