Butterfly Balm

When I awoke from my sleep walk I knew that the danger had passed. And that when you’ve not a thing left to loose, you fear not a thing. It’s taken me years however, to realize that there are few who share my perspective.

There are those who advise me not to walk or ride along the side the of the road, only on a bike path. “It’s too dangerous.” They say. “Aren’t you afraid of walking alone?” A friend once asked. “Afraid of what?” my honest reply.

You may think I’m a danger seeker, an adrenalin junkie. You are largely wrong and slightly right. You see, I’ve already lost all of the things that many may be afraid of losing. Oh, I won’t try to kid you. It wasn’t easy. It was really bad and for a long time. But while I slumbered, fear in and of itself disappeared. Fear of the worst because the things I’d feared most in life had already occurred. Fear of losing my child, my family, my home, every tiny scrap of possession and even my beloved dogs. My future, my present, my life. Yes, I faced the lighted tunnel. The fear of multiple coinciding, life threatening health issues. Fear of anxiety.

Fear of fear.

It all came to pass in a number of bloody battles, an unintended war fought by a weary woman on a war torn battlefield of a life.

As I lived my previously ordinary middle class life of relative caution and calm, the dangers of simply living it held tight their grip. My sleep walk years, a nightmare when merely waking up was fraught with danger; breathing itself, an insurmountable challenge.

They’re a blur to me now, those years. Thankfully, they were even then.

But I am given today.

You may wonder why it is that I so thoroughly enjoy my nature adventures, my attention to subtleties. I want to experience the clarity of it, the crisp, clear rawness of it’s detail. I want to feel the wide-awakeness of it on even the minute level. For in the minute lies the grand. Danger be damned.

Through the sultry sulphorous air I pedal to the Point, to Breakwater Village despite the breathing alert. Breathing I’ve finally mastered. At waters edge I lighten upon the most magnificent butterflies flittering in a butterfly balm bush for souls almost found. My eye strikes upon brilliant speckles of white, yellow, divinely detailed splotches of orange interlaced with intricate strips of dusted coal. Winged daydreams flit across blue, grace green, fly above fuchsia, lace into lavender, touching softly onto castles of vapor.

I am awake. I stay myself under a searing sun. I breathe salve of sweet, salty air as butterfly balm infuses my life like a dream.


What Will Define You Tomorrow?

A dear, kind-hearted friend offered to pick up groceries for me over the weekend. I had a short list which she filled without complaint. We met at a local park where she placed them safely in my possession and surprisingly said, “Pay it forward.”
We then safely walked our dogs. With her Bentley and my Red between us we strolled and discussed the sadness we felt over the current social climate. We shared a couple of laughs also, because this is what we do.
While talking with another dear friend and neighbor who called to ‘check up’, I happened to mention that my TV hasn’t had a picture since last October when it fell off it’s stand. “But, the sound works great and listening to the news is indeed shocking.” I did also mention that I stream much of the news on my phone. We talked about family, three of which in hers are in question of having “the virus”. That in itself was shocking. I know all of them well and have spent many holidays in their fine company.
Cathy and I bid a telephone farewell with hopes of walking together soon.
I don’t have cable or internet but I am up to the nano-second with the news.
The first thing the following morning, she texted me saying that she and Bill have an extra TV and would I like to use it. ” We can’t believe you can’t even see what’s going on! We’ll bring it over and drop it on the back porch.”
I said, “Oh my God. Yes, Cathy, thank you!.”
I have reached out to family, friends and neighbors. In my large family I have more than one first degree relative who is high risk with multiple underlying medical issues. I’m concerned daily about losing them.
We have some who have already lost their jobs and are dangling by a thread of financial hope.
I feel helpless in helping them.

I do have humble hopes that through the sharing of my photographs and my written word, I’m able to lift the spirit of at least a few.

I’m a former operating room nurse so I’m well educated about infection control and how to implement it.
I’m well aware of how to triage. The tragedy of real life and death triage.

And I’ve gone through some lengthy dogged hard times. Hard enough to know that when the chips are down as they are today for ALL of us,
We need to prioritize each other as we go about prioritizing ourselves.

There is no room for infighting.
No place for grudges.
No time for narrow mindedness.

It is clear.
These may be our last moments.
Yes, even you.
Do we spend them quarrelling over perceived past transgressions?
Obsessing about trivial backyard matters amidst a global disaster?
Inflicting deliberate hurt upon our neighbors who kindly extended offers to help? Such as what happened to me today? I want to believe better.
In a time such as this, these are actions that reflect a hopelessness in humankind.
Indeed, the pressure of what is wrought upon us by the coronavirus may be exposing serious fraying of a certain moral fabric.

And tears burn down my cheeks.

This is, for each and every one of us, our defining moment.

What defines you today?
What will define you tomorrow?

NB Wilde

Spring Knew

That year Spring knew to arrive early. It knew in it’s heart that the humans needed it and soon.
They needed purples and blues. People were in desperate need of pinks, reds, yellows, oranges and greens.
The humans were depleted of each other and so had to return to the earth, her atmosphere and everything she encompasses.
Winter knew. Spring knew.
They sensed that we’d need to breath fresh, clean air. That we’d need bright colors breaking from the ground, signs of new life bringing hope.
Some say “It’s too early.”
I say it’s just in the knick of time.
I’m starting to think that we should listen to the 2020 off-kilter wisdom of the seasons.
Perhaps they’ve known all along.

Four Leaf Clover

Running in place
in an unending race
against a clock without a face
each in our own
sequestered space.
While we reduce
the company we keep,
four walls transform
into two as we sleep.
Contact with humans
to save us is scanty.
All the while
we take stock of our pantries.
From your life, a warm embrace might shave off minutes.
An extended hand is far off limits.
The spread of the virus might be in it.
But there is good news to spread
Spring, though subtle, is rearing its head.
Outdoors in nature, friendly smiles from afar
can take your world out of it’s own glass jar.
But please, four leaf clover,
the sooner the better,
let this King horror novel be over.

My Bubble

I’m going to wand a great big bubble
a bubble clear and free of trouble
This bubble will be safe
from viral school-kid waifs
and kindly older folks in homes
where corona germs free-roam
You’re welcome to share this bubble
Even if you’ve got a flaw, a nubble or a stubble
Or we can build a double
if you rather choose
Across the air we’ll free-float
Blissfully we’ll snooze
on an airy cleanroom, germ-free, double-bubble cruise. 😉

Speak Up and Don’t Shut Up

The Day The Colonel Cried

They granted him permission to record an audiotape for his Dad and I. All the while he was held captive and gravely ill. All of which they caused through neglect and lay the blame at our feet.
We rushed to retrieve the brown paper package from the post office. Wrapped up like a school book he may have carried to class, had he gone to school that day, that year. We drove around Dale Carlia Corner to the KFC parking lot to listen together to our lost boys voice. The voice we hadn’t heard since he’d been stolen away from us eight weeks earlier.
In his treble he sang out under the sign of The Colonel as we listened. While we trembled. He spoke of bellyaches, force feedings, solitary confinement, vomiting and J tubes. He spoke lovingly of Ejama. He spoke of missing us and love and longing to come home.
“But the worst thing is Mom, my most horrible fear is that I’ll grow up before I ever see you again and you won’t recognize me anymore.”
He, still in his boyhood, locked behind bars in Boston Children’s Hospital, far beyond our reach.
In Wakefield, RI my husband choked. Pummeled both fists into the dash.
Through his tears The Colonel grinned for appearances, ole’ boy that he is.
It is said, “You only live once.”
But how many times do you die?
As for me, I lost count.”

Trauma changes you. Processing it often triggers reliving it.
For this very reason, my loving son and I travel a long, hazardous road to recovering one another.
He has been lost for so long in so many ways but we are going home.
A BIG forever thank you to a rare validating life force, an advocate, teacher, healthcare educator and revolutionary and dear, dear friend, Joslin Leasca, RN, MSN, Ph.D.
I am eternally grateful to God that my beautiful boy is still alive.
And that I am here to say it.

I know that you don’t know what to say anymore. That is okay.
But I was silenced, in seclusion and in a state of shock for many years. This is called oppression.
I hope I’m making some sense here.
Whether it be bullying, intimidation, assault of any nature, verbal abuse, physical violence, or any form of abuse of power over a more vulnerable being,
Speak Up and Don’t Shut Up.
Advocate. Advocate. Advocate because maybe no one else will.
I’ll never be silenced again
neither should you.