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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.

8.9.18

If You Go

If you go
go for me
go for us
go for them
go with love for humanity.
Stand tall
Stand quiet
Go and stand your ground
When they push against your body
or worse, against your cause,
remember to take pause.
Resist their efforts non-violently.
Stand still
Walk gently
Stand strong
Speak softly
Whisper if you must.
Do your ancestors proud.
Never stop your devotion to what is right and just.
Speak, sit, march, stand, sing, write, vote, starve,
art your voice aloud.
Rally ’round the globe.
Lie down on sacred ground.

Remember you are merely part of the whole.
Remember freedom’s vow.
Remember me, remember them, remember to return to us,
if you up and go.

NB Wilde

June 2, 2020

A Trillion Sirens Screaming Foul

I do not know what happens to the eyes when they witness a soft human neck smashed with a barbaric knee.
A casual, cold-blooded hand resting on the side pocket of the law. Only for as long as it takes to collapse his life.
I cannot discern what damage occurs to one’s ears when they hear his desperate pleas choke forth. Child-like, calling out for his dead mother to save him from the savage on the street.
I don’t fully grasp what happens to the nerve endings of the fingertips when they depress the soft off switch to the tragic, archaic news.
My incipient olfactory sense has little wisdom of ancient smoke lofting from the flames of righteous, racial rage.
Nor have I known the taste of malicious, murderous blood.

I am wholly aware of this.
Something smells rotten in Minneapolis.
A trillion sirens screaming foul.
History’s taste of untold lives, vanished.
But alas, the one named George in view of all.
His mothers child, even in death.
Heinous acts that deeply darken the soul.

The world yesterday
Minneapolis today.
Listen up, see it
feel it, smell it’s decay.
Speak it, if you care.
But for the Grace of God
if you dare.

NB Wilde
5.29.2020

The Field

“You can’t do clear observation if you ain’t in the field.
You can’t be a pure observer if you’re now in the field.”
Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident

The reality of crisis is not an arm chair experience. However sensational, to have the news of crisis hand fed to us across a screen is merely the viewing or reading of current events. If we’re inconvenienced in the grocery store or had to delay our plans for making dinner reservations for eight at The Hoi Faloi Restaurant, we are likely not in the midst of a crisis. If we’ve lost so-and-so percent of our million dollar stocks, we will do better than “just survive”. We’re affected, but for us, this is a temporary inconvenience.

We’re not in the field.

If we are to compare our plight with COVID-19 with war and you or a loved one are sick, you have been targeted by a terrorist sniper on it’s own battlefield.
You are in the field if you, a loved one or both are in immediate danger. Perhaps life threatening peril. It may be caused directly or indirectly by the crisis. Metaphorically, random shrapnel blown from an IED. At that moment there is no time to reflect on lessons you or the world might learn from it.
Using the war metaphor, you have been hit by the novel coronavirus atomic bomb.
And you are alone.
You may well be struggling with your last breath.
Your mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin might be gasping with everything they’ve got for a simple breath of air.
A “machine” may be keeping them alive.
And all alone.
Or, you have a mild case from which you will nicely recover, hoping you haven’t infected ANYONE.
The same precious loved ones are possibly seriously wounded from collateral fallout.
A stray bullet, a misguided missile.
Metaphorically a relapse in drug addiction or achohol recovery, a heightening of a mental health issue, PTSD triggers, suicidal ideation or worse.
One may suddenly fall victim to domestic violence, or other violent crimes caused by societal upheaval from the viral bomb.
You are, perhaps a front line medic. A life saving, everyday J.Q.P. turned life risking hero.
If you’re extremely fortunate, your family, friends and all of their families will survive.
There will be time and more time for wound healing and there will be scars.

It is only then, after we’ve returned from the battlefield, tallied the corpses, mourned our dead and begun to heal our wounds, that we can begin to reflect.

We cannot glean lessons from a fire while the building is burning down around us.
If there is a universal message, it will be discovered when all of the victims are rescued, the dead are memorialized, the injured are healed and their scars are formed.

The moral of the story, if there is one, will be buried somewhere deep beneath the cold ashes.
Revealing it will not be an armchair experience.
It’ll be soul-shivering hard work.

In the meanwhile, perhaps we can take heart in the small moments that we’re given.
Understand with compassion that this crisis is a different experience for everyone.
And hopefully cherish every beautiful detail about each one of us that makes the fight worthwhile.

N.B.Wilde
4.9.2020

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 ALL NEED TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE,
FAMILY, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS.
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
3.24.2020

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.