Where are you now? With the audience silenced. Can you return? Can I find you? The critics miss Your beautiful voice speaking, drawing visions Of life and time, of vision and hope, a woman in yellow. Her hat as is held in place by a hand, a pin, A ribbon. Slipping on and off the bus. I miss you with the audience gone. Quiet air. Friends are far apart these days, Imaginary, real, internet friends, have life. All kept apart by electrons rotating, holding hands Turning in waltz time, 3/4 time, one, two, three Heard beyond time as planets revolve blending with each other Cosmos tracking galaxies, so the revolution Relies on you, a woman scorned, no, not you. You, a writer, spectator, talent, rider of buses But someone said, and someone did. Hurting, You left us, all alone, missing the train you Put before us to ride, taught to negotiate with our souls. I call you as your grandmother might, cheerfully Near the clothes line, over a fence, worried At tea with a friend. Where are you now? Traveling back and forth, seeing a desert, A plain, a woods. The Cat seeking your hand purrs. Comfort from warm sunny days on the porch swing. I read them over and over, your words, hoping that I'll see A sign of life, a breath, star dust, your smile. Are you coming back? Be brave. Words are only words. But they live for us, grow as infants, loved, Even when they scold, they love. Eyes smile, arms hug, Don't leave, don't run away, by bus, train.
The simple sounds, A cat on a step, A bark from a dog, The silence of the eleventh hour As it breaks after the chiming of the clock. The simple sounds, A creak on the stair, The rustle of the leaves, Which break through the glass of The bedroom window where the curtains peek out.
The simple sounds, A cat's meow, a creak, A bark outside, within the rustling, A clock which chimes, which calls, The hours pass the midnight hour, and the dance. The simple sounds, The quiet cat's step, the bark, Dreamers toss, turn, still fever sleeps. Broken glass, wind whipping curtains Which tip the lamp, a spark, a flash, tis one. Lightening sounds, Fire erupts, lamp burns, Stairs creak, cat flees, Dog runs in, barking, yelping, searching. The sleeper starts, all is calm. Eerie.
Tonight is dreamy eyed dogs with heartfelt snores. They burble as they snore and their happy feet thump. Suddenly the sleep bark begins. A squirrels runs before them, rabbit and such joy away they run in their sleep calling to each other, the paws in unison.
Frankie sits on the bed amusedly watching the paws run in tandem. I wiggle my toes near her and she pounces: Once, twice, thrice. Then she sits still and waits for a wiggling toe to twitch again.
I count the hours between now and morning and decided to join the hunt in my sleep. I have no appointments until dawn, when the squirrels will greet my bird feeder with actionable intel and the birds will fly around in circles in protest. I’ve already set the seed by the back door and will wear my rubber boots out into the muddy grass left by warm air today. The dogs will circle and demand breakfast immediately after, Frankie will sit in the window tapping on the sill and we’ll all settle into the day as if our routine was just beginning.
Good morning world.
Blog #3 Learning to be Warm
This time of the year is hard on me. There are the usual reasons; family missed, short days, money, and Multiple Sclerosis. That’s my secret. I’m not alone either. Yes, 400,000 of us try to adapt our schedules so that we can be with family, avoid viruses, and hide our secret thoughts. MS is that which causes me to write, to photograph the world, to try to remain as human and hopeful as I can and which causes me to fall off the precipice of who I was. MS is the lassitude which prohibits me in strange ways. It is the challenge I mentioned but did not clarify before. There is company, PatientsLikeMe.com is where I can go to feel normal and pass on what positives I can when others need to hear them. They made me an Ambassador this year, seeing in me something I can’t always find. What I find is that life lurks all around us. Hope is the most important link to being alive.
Hope is an astounding emotion. The wings it gives to you so that you can fly somewhere you had lost are astounding. It can lift you from the depths of despair and let you soar among the stars. I need that hope. I can find the dark moments with no trouble, but the light, that is what I find lifts me out of the house and into society again. Clouds are places to rest, marvelous palaces of cool vapor waiting for angels to sing their choruses and composers to write them down.
My dogs and silly cat keep me warm in the evenings when the alone monster comes to call. Foxy will “Yarf” at me; waiting attention, to play chase, to go outside, and to have dinner. We eat together. Tigerlily, the oldest pup at 14 1/2 carries my heart in her dancing. She doesn’t like to eat much anymore so I spoon feed her. She is so happy just to be with me, to sit on a sofa and nap. Frankenstein is a long haired tortoise shell cat who at ten pounds thinks she is the Queen of Quite A Lot . She bosses the dogs around, moving them out of their food bowls to check and see if they have something tastier than the fish in her bowl. She tells us to go out and in. The door needs no bell, it has a cat waiting. Leave your name and she will pass your message on. I can’t forget the dogs outside, because she waits at the window for them. She commands with a low growly voice and I obey. Eat, go to the bed, behave, she tells me all of these things and then drifts off into thoughts which only a cat can know. T.S.Eliot understood cats well.
I drift into my music: Barber’s Adagio, Fanfare for the Common Man, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Thomas, Bach. I find the tears on my face, the glow of harmonies, the waves of humanity and heaven filling me full. This is one of the secrets I have. My music, which should have been my life, has returned to greet me at the moment when I most wish to give up. When walking is stumbling, treasures dropped, and the company of man is gone, music fills that hollow space in my chest with memories and love. I remember my childhood, my father, uncles, grandfather, aunts. I remember my friends, mentors, and teachers. It’s okay to miss them, and even to talk to them still, as long as I have something worth saying. “A Place for Us” has begun to play. West Side Story balanced what I knew of the world and racial prejudice as a teen and resounds still in my mind. The stories of today are seen in vivid noise on the news, but I can still believe that somewhere and sometime society will fix its ills.
Now you know two of my secrets, the MS and my fear of not having done what I was born to do. Every one has regrets somewhere. Mine are no more special than anyone else’s. I have tidied my corner of the world as best I could. I have pride in having done at least that much.
The lights on the house and the Christmas tree are a gift from my children. They want me to remember when I gave them the miracle of the dark giving birth to the light. They have given the light to me this year. I want to embrace the shine, the purity of color, the smell of pine and cinnamon, and the feel of a family come together to laugh. It gathers around me, holds me, pokes me in silly places and it gives me shelter from being lonely. I am a lucky woman, many don’t have that support. The pillars are there so that I will never have to be totally alone. The lights on the tree will last me until April when growth becomes obvious.
Go and hug those who are dear to you. I can wait a bit for you to return.
Ann WJ White