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.


How To Train Your Fruit Fly In Three Easy Steps

Lesson One
Toss and turn. At 1:30 a.m. open e-reader. Commence reading compelling novel. Your fruit fly will eagerly respond. You will know he is ready to begin when you sense a tickle on the fine hairs of your right index finger. The timing is right. But, in your all absorbing book, you may forget that this is a fruit fly lesson. You’ll think that the tickle was imagined and return to your chapter. No worries! This is normal fruit fly owner behavior.
Continue reading uninterrupted for a full 30 seconds.
Wave away that irritating tingle at the entrance to your left nare. Return to reading. Then on the right nare. Repeat thrice.
Go back to your book. Observe that the letter (i) is double dotted and letter (T) is double crossed. And the one of them is crawling. See it crawl in circles, spirals, ovals and figure eights. Watch it feign leaving the page via the upper right hand corner. See it prepare to abandon the remains of T and i. Blow a short burst of breath onto the pest in futility.

Lesson Two
Get out of bed. Switch the bathroom light on. Observe the drosophila perform aerial acrobatics up close before your half-closed lids. Blink. Blink. Blink again. Frantically grasp at thin air in random directions.
Return to bed thinking, “Freaking fruit fly is following me.”

Lesson Three
Snuggle into warm bed. Reopen e-reader. Become all consumed by current chapter. In horror, watch the winged fruit bug chapter-bomb the page. Feel your pulse quicken. Your pupils contract. Steady your breathing. Imperceptibly wiggle your right thumb. Prepare for battle.
In your minds eye you see the drosophila melanogaster distort on the page taking over it’s entire space.
Stealthily now, with your right distal phalanx, go in for the kill.
See the winged tipped micro-monster vanish!
Repeat these three easy lessons times three.

Drosophila has tricked you into a few rounds of hide and seek.
No worries! This is normal fruit fly owner behavior.

Safety first. Do not order explosives from websites found in search for “ways to get rid of fruit flies”. 😅

N.B. Wilde

What Tell

What tell of this November chill?

Of midnight strolls through angled paths, cobbled roads,

ghost-yard vessels holding still?

Of seeking only state of heart

with crumbled leaves on summer dreams until,

oaths of trees ring fertile ground to till

Of silken indigo nights lit by brilliant borrowed parts

Of eastern orbed amber shock,

your own reflection mottled flaws, perfect art

Of fragmented sailing lines and ends of ropes

of untethered moon, celestial hopes

of circles cycled round,

of answers lost and found

without, within,

once again

beside you still

What tell of this November chill?


Superman’s Threadbare Towel

Chris landed with a staggering thud in the middle of the floor between the two beds. Sure, we girls watched him climb up to the top bunk in his Superman costume. Which, by the way, consisted of a large threadbare towel pinned around his neck for a cape. For his torso, one of our leotards with a capital “S” plastered to his chest. And to complete his super-hero costume, his tighty-whities.

We four girls listened to Chris as he proclaimed that he was really and truly Superman. Bursting into laughter, we told him how silly his idea was. Chris, having a full six or seven years of male mettle under his belt took our ribbing as a challenge.

“Oh yeah?!” He shouted. “I can fly! You just watch me!”

My sisters and I giggled even harder. Our brother was no stranger to teasing.

“It’s only a stupid Halloween costume, Chris. Take it off. Let’s empty the pillowcases and trade up the candy.”

“It’s NOT just a costume. Mom said I am Superman.”

We mocked, “Well Chris, if you’re so sure of being Superman, go ahead and prove it.”

“Okay, I’ll fly right in front of you. Then you’ll believe me.”

Hilarious girl guffaws now as he climbed the ladder at the foot of the bed. I, for one, didn’t think he’d actually jump, or if he did, he’d at least make it clear across.

He reached the top. Then, in one swell foop, my brother thrust both arms straight out in front of him, flattened his body, and shoved off the mattress with both feet.

Splat! He hit the floor spread eagle, face down. Towel-cape draped over his torso, skinny body splayed across the bedroom floor. Capital “S” for “Suckered into that one” buried underneath. After Andrea’s initial screech we all stared, aghast. For a nano-second in time, we four sisters were silenced. Chris? Dead at the tender age of six? Then the horrifying realization that our own untimely deaths were imminent.

“Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph-God-forgive-me-for-swearing what was that bang!” Mom careening down the hall in her typical “one of them broke their neck” panic. Sometimes she was dangerously close to the truth.

Chris, the future four year college hockey defenseman/real life hero made a snap recovery. Oh, the concussion? Back in the day we took our lumps.

We enjoyed Halloween. It was good, simple, cheap fun. Costumes consisted of ghosts, goblins, witches, fabled characters and cartoon heroes. Door to door trick-or-treating was relatively safe. We dressed up only once, ran through the streets, collected our stash until exhausted then hit the pillowcases.

Over the past four decades it seems we’ve witnessed a surge of Halloween inspired violence. An obsession with the grotesque and macabre. Prolific gruesome imagery, grisly scenes of killings. Pitch dark trails with hatcheted, dismembered bodies. Acts of bloody, perverted violence performed in the name of entertainment and profit. Halloween and its agents have carried their game frightfully too far.

The line which separates fantasy from reality is normally blurred at certain stages of development. Unfortunately, some experience difficulty establishing that line throughout life. Unquenchable violent themes play no small role in our world where mass killings have become common quasi solutions.

Halloween ought to be bettered, simplified, focused on tradition versus revolting horror. If you’re not an ostrich, you’ll encounter plenty of that in real life.

Let’s take the terror out of Halloween. Eliminate adult competition. Give it back to the children. Allow their innocent imaginations to run free. Let threadbare towels be capes, six year olds to be homespun Superheroes, kids to take their lumps.

The holiday could fall flat.

Or, kids being kids, they might just fly.