Cosmic Spider

She weaves a universal web
connecting stars, sun, and moon.
Silky ties to a world beyond ourselves.

We’re connected just as the galaxies
hold together with invisible strands.
If we trace our web through
time and space –
we find our past, present, and future
along its course.

This is how our lives become
so entangled as to depend
upon each other.

Casting out lines,
in hopes of snagging
tiny bits of intimacy
another soul’s connection
hanging by a thread.

We dangle there
frozen in time until
the ripples of contact subside.

That which we catch
can destroy all we’ve built,
or nourish our souls –
weaving the tapestry of life.

We are mere fractals
of our cosmic spider
as she devours us
one by one.

Advertisements

End of (my) summer reflection…

It’s that time of year again, for me anyway, when I start back to school (work). So I thought it would be good to take some time to reflect on my summer and my thoughts about the upcoming school year.

My summer started out with me feeling vaguely apathetic towards the break. I am usually much more excited to escape the daily rhythms of life as a teacher. The idea alone of sleeping in is enough to bring a smile to my face – hey, getting up at 5:30 a.m. gets tougher the older I get. However, this year I’d managed spontaneously to decide that I wanted to take a position as summer camp director for a nature camp. At the time, it seemed liked a fantastic idea. I’d get to spend time in nature, have some structured activity to my summer, and earn some extra money. But as summer approached I became extremely apprehensive about the prospect of giving up three weeks of my “me time,” the idea that I would be in charge of 35 children and a few teenage volunteer counselors, and that a whole host of horrendous trauma inducing events could potentially occur to myself or the children I was in charge of. (Yes, my anxiety was highly involved with my imagination pertaining to the potential traumas, but that didn’t make them any less real in MY mind.)

As so often happens with my well-intentioned spontaneity, I had begun to regret my decision. What had I gotten myself into? Surely someone was going to suffer a broken bone on my watch, or worse yet, a fishhook injury the likes of which the world had never seen before, or even a snake bite, and don’t get me started on the thought that some child might wander off and drown in the lake. Aaaakk! I couldn’t handle the pressure (self-imposed, yes, but still), how was I ever going to be able to do this?

My first week off from school I spent preparing for the following week that would be the first week of nature camp. I had plenty of activities planned. The campground owner thought I had great ideas, and things would go very well. I wasn’t convinced, but I was going through with it, ready or not.

The first week of camp was a good week. Everything went well, and there were only two bloody noses the whole week. I can handle bloody noses. As long as it isn’t my blood, I’m usually good to go.

After the first week of camp, I had a week to myself to decompress. It was a relief to have made it through the first week of nature camp, and I felt more prepared for the remaining two weeks I’d have later in July.

Then there was a week of vacation with my husband at Rehoboth Beach. Vacation was good though my moods fluctuated frequently. You never think of anxiety and depression fucking with your vacation time – a time when you’re supposed to be relaxing and having fun – but mental illness doesn’t give a shit about that sort of thing, it does what it wants when it wants. Despite that, we still managed to eat several delicious meals out, enjoy kayaking, take two boat rides (an eco tour and a sunset cruise), take a day trip to Assateague, see two plays at the local theater, have dinner with friends, and take two separate nature/bird watching hikes. All in all, we still had a great time.

Upon returning from vacation, I had a week to prepare for the next two weeks of nature camp and the arrival of my two younger cousins. They were going to be visiting and helping me as camp counselors. I was extremely glad to have their company and their help.

The final two weeks of nature camp went fairly well. Only one small glitch with an unhappy parent caused me a significant deal of stress and anger, but in the end, things worked out. I managed to please the majority of campers and their parents who were supportive and kind. I even managed to have some fun in the process.

Looking back on the camp director experience, I think it went well overall; however, I would hesitate to do something of that nature again. On the other hand, it was wonderful to have my teenage cousins visit for two weeks. And we’ve made tentative plans for a visit again next summer.

Following the camp experience, my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a trip to Cape May, NJ. It was an amazing weekend getaway! We went to a crab and beer festival, took an ecological boat tour, did a small bit of hiking (it was exceedingly hot), and again enjoyed some amazing food.

The past two weeks have provided me with some down time for which I am extremely thankful. I’ve spent my days wandering local parks, taking pictures, reading, and writing. I’ve visited all of my favorite downtown coffee shops and just generally had time to mentally relax and feel like I’ve had some much desired time to myself. All topped off with a visit from my mom this weekend and a trip to the Mt. Gretna Arts Festival.

I went into my summer rather apprehensive about what was in store for me, but looking back (as is usually the case), I didn’t need to be so worried. I’m very grateful for the summer that I’ve had.

A lesson I should currently be applying to my impending school year; I’d like to say that I will, but I know myself better than that. There will be anxiety. There will be stress (self-imposed and otherwise). And there will be challenges. And even though I know that I am strong and capable of handling all of that…it still worries me.

I haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights, and I’ve had several stress-dreams, so this afternoon I’m doing something special for myself. I’m going for a massage. I haven’t had a massage since our honeymoon ten years ago, and I’m excited by this opportunity.

So here’s to the new school year:  may it be filled with fun, amazing students, opportunities for growth, and a sense of fulfillment.

 

 

 

Ships

these small candles
float in a sea of black ink
miles from shore

specks of light
in a night dark world
bobbing with the current

provoking acknowledgment,
our diminutive nature
in contrast to raw power,
the forces of nature

yet humans’ belief
fallible skill and wisdom
attempt to tame and harness
these forces, bend them
as to their will

whether fools or daring
adventurers be,
we embark boldly upon
these small candles
afloat in the sea of night

Subjects of Paintings

trees and dew drops
things that capture my mind
stillness, quiet, and solitude
of night

the lake with its reeds and its willows,
islands, and naked ladies on cliffs…
the bay with shorebirds, cord grass marshes,
fiddler crabs and
barnacle encrusted terrapins
to my delight

but images of my heavy heart I reserve
solely to be painted with words
it’s what the world cannot see
and only I can describe

 

Precisely Painful Truths

it isn’t all precisely painful truths
found here in the tapestry of words
my wordly garden
also grows glorious hydrangeas
and roses alongside
equally beautiful wildflowers

but even roses have thorns
and some consider wildflowers
weeds
this gardener, not naive enough
to believe that plucking the
precisely painful truths of life
makes it any easier or more perfect

I prefer my unmanicured
and unruly patch
to the pristine beds of lies
properly curated conservatories
I shall tend my dandelions just the same

 

Mountain

[In response to One Word Prompt]

As a child, my family and I took week-long vacations to Ricketts Glen State Park to camp out in the mountains. We’d spend the week encountering wildlife, hiking the trails and falls, swimming at the Lake Jean beach area, and biking around the camping loops. I loved every minute of it.

I remember one trip in particular that stands out. It was the summer I met Tom. Tom was an elderly gentleman who played the bagpipes at the wooded amphitheater across the lake. He enjoyed playing there because of the acoustics. The beautiful and mysterious melodies that danced across the lake drew me in; I was entranced. I remember racing around the lake at dusk hoping to catch his evening performances. He was the first man I’d ever seen wear a kilt and traditional Scottish regailia and I was in awe of his bizarre plaid-bag-with sticks looking instrument and its oddly haunting sounds. I vaguely remember him letting me squeeze the bag and being delighted by the honk it made.

I wish I could say that I remember more about the man or that I’d somehow remained in contact, but that isn’t the case. I do however remember half expecting and later hoping to hear his music each year as we returned to our family camping spot. I don’t recall ever seeing him again though.

 

 

Stray

Stray

She huddles curling tight at joinder of floor and wall
hidden in darkness below the bed
she shrinks her already diminutive figure.

Uncertainty and fear ripple quietly
beneath her skin, tensing at
every step nearer.

Calling her name soft and low,
I stretch out my hand palm up, calmly,
slowly reaching –
giving no reason for suspicion.

Still she scrunches up further,
a wild look in her eye;
she’s deliberating,
calculating my intentions.

She shifts further out of reach
but gentle persuasion and patience
win her over as she curls into my loving touch.

Nudging my hand with anticipation
seeking scratches behind ears
scooting closer, she eventually finds my lap
a comfortable alternative to the hard wooden floor.

I caress her gently with reassurance in my voice
knowing full-well that even the tiniest creak of the house
will frighten – sending her scurrying,
once again, to the lonely safety of her hiding spot beneath the bed.

Forbearance

Forbearance

my body vibrates with anxiety and caffeine
like tiny hummingbirds fluttering just inside my skin
instinct cries out to fight or flee, but
experience, the wiser of the two,
calmly suggests, “wait and see.”

I lean into it, allowing it to wash over me,
a continuous lapping wave persistently worrying at the shore
sweeping away loose grains of sand
and shifting coastal landscapes in my mind
rolling me inland awaiting the return of the mighty sea

as moon tugs tides astray
I rest upon the jetty
discovering creatures seemingly stranded among the rocks
taking comfort in their innate certainty
that nature taking course will raise high the tide yet again
granting safe passage whence they came

Tree Soul

Signs found in grains

of the wood

polished and stained

in human hands

as though they created

the beauty in nature.

Rough and unsanded

natural beauty

lies deeper within

protected by outer layers,

shielded by thick-wooded skin.

Bark painted with moss

and lichen,

decorated with fungi shelves,

wraps ’round the hidden

rings of maturity

as though putting on

a tough exterior can keep

safe the inner soul.