Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Illusions

Witnessing the passage
of tired apparitions
fabricated by these eyes.

Breaths of perfume
of the twilight's primrose,
reaped by the will to capture its scent.

Taste of a drop
of golden honey
created by the wish to taste.

And the kiss
of winter wind departing,
a desired, gentle touch.

I run deadening races
with ephemeral illusions
and short-lived signatures
conjured by these frail fingers.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fireflies

I'd always loved the woods. I loved it for its sounds, its scents, its colors and its profoundness. I loved it for the way the slippery earth held onto the roots of tall life and vice versa. It seemed like cooperation and understanding. I loved the inclines and the valleys. I loved the sensation of entering another dimension, the lack of souls that resulted in a comfortable silence. You see, it was always quiet but not too quiet. Birdsong still resonated throughout the area. I also found it fascinating that the leaves could cast shadows on the green carpet or mud trail below. What I didn't have much patience for was the gigantic backpack that hung on my shoulders. It held the necessary items like canteens, changes of clothes, matches, bandages and other first aid related things, binoculars, a sleeping bag, some food and yeah I can go on.
I shrugged uncomfortably, feeling the weight. I was probably just tired but the thing felt like it weighed several tons.

"Hurry up, Rose!" Jamie called. She flicked her bouncy, red curls slightly annoyed at my slow pace. It wasn't the angry type of annoyance. It was more towards the affectionate type that a best friend might use. And that she was.

I glared at her. "I'm carrying two elephants over here." I reached back to pat my enormous backpack. "You take a turn. There's some of your stuff in here too." I said.

"Emmett!" She hollered. Emmett was her steady, unwavering boyfriend. The boy came barreling toward us. He kissed Jamie on the cheek and smiled at me. Jamie gestured to me and told him, "Rose needs help."

"Matt! Logan! Give us a second!" Emmett called loudly to the boys ahead. "Alright, give it to me." He snatched the bag from off my shoulders. I didn't know how he would manage it because he had his own backpack to carry as well.

"You don't have to-" I began.

He cut me off. "Oh relax." He laughed. He shifted some things around. "Okay, there." He said, satisfied. I shook my head, half in awe and half in disbelief. He stomped ahead, breaking a perceptible path through the underbrush. I heard him chortling with the boys ahead.

We got moving too. I nudged Jamie and she blushed. "You should keep him."

"I'll think about it." She said jokingly. "I'm on the fence."

"I heard that!" Emmett called.

She laughed, glowing. She practically skipped through the forest. And she had reason enough to be that happy. Emmett was caring and protective, her knight in shining armor. I had to admit, I was a little envious of their bond. They had been together since the first grade. The love at first sight garbage was disconcerting, hard to comprehend. Though, that could have been because it hadn't happened to me. I wasn't jealous of their years. What irked me was their devotion, compatibility and just plain easiness. It was hard to picture someone ever loving me that way. Jamie interrupted my thoughts. "I can't believe your mom let you do this."

"What? Camping?"

"Yeah."

"Ah well. She knows that dad used to take me. She knows it means a lot to me."

"So she lets you get eaten by bears but freaks out if you go to a little party?" Her tone was skeptical.

"We won't find bears here and those little parties are insanely wild. I never mind missing them."

"You gotta learn to live a little. Getting a little tipsy isn't a bad thing."

I ignored her words as I held a mesh of plants to one side, letting her pass.
"You can't stay cooped up in your room all day, reading."

"I don't do that." I said, miffed.

"Yes you do."

"Okay, fine but I like it that way. Butt out."

She ignored me. "What about dating?"

"It's been a while." I confessed. "Look, you don't have to play therapist. I'm fine."

"What about Logan? He's pretty hot."

"Jamie!" I groaned. I pushed past her and trudged on ahead.

I heard her chuckling behind me. I was irritated. For some reason, dating was especially difficult for me. Mr. Right seemed a million miles away.

When we finally arrived at the lake, we were all exhausted. The boys set up the tents while Jamie and I arranged a good meal. Tuna sandwiches, chips and soda. The group dispersed after lunch. Everyone just started to drift off in different directions. The lanky red-haired boy, Logan went to skip rocks. Soon, his best friend, Matt joined him for a 'friendly' game of wrestling. Their playful sounds gave the forest a cheery atmosphere. I didn't even want to imagine what Jamie and Emmett were doing. All I knew was that they had left our little campsite with a thick quilt. I pulled out the book I was halfway through reading and leaned against a rough tree trunk. I was content to lose myself fin the book, easily picturing the impossibilities it suggested. It required a lot less effort to do so in the timberland. My dad always said that there is quiet magic in between the trees. I didn't know how long I sat there but the sun was already slowly disappearing behind the clouds. I started when someone snatched my book away.

"Hey! Jamie! I was on the last page!"

"Okay, Emmett." She said.

Her boyfriend swooped in, picked me up as if I weighed five pounds and ran for the lake.

I screamed, "Guys! No!"

It was too late. He threw me into the lake. I came up gasping and shivering as the chill found me. "Emmett!"

He laughed then dumped Jamie in as well. Jamie giggled and came toward me. "I told you to stop reading, didn't I?"

The boys jumped in soon after and we frolicked in the water like children for a good two hours. It brought back a thousand childhood memories. When the sun finally set, we all cleaned up and put on some dry clothes. Soon enough, we were all huddled together by the blaze, drinking warmth.

"This is a complete cliche. I can't believe you packed marshmallows, Rose." Matt said to me, eying the marshmallow on his skewer.

I reached for it. "If you don't want it, I'll take it back."

He chuckled and popped it in his mouth. "I'll live." He smirked.
We played a board game that Matt had thought to bring then went to bed. I ignored the rough nylon surface and closed my eyes.

The whoosh of wind brought me back to consciousness. I sat up and rubbed my eyes, still half in dreams. There was a flicker of something in me. It was a dying flame of a candle maybe. It was ephemeral warmth. My heart rate was a little faster, my palms were slick. I quickly straightened out the mess that was my tangled locks then grabbed my coat from the tent floor. Jamie was fast asleep, snoring softly. I didn't know why I stepped out into the night. Perhaps it was the mild claustrophobia I felt or the restlessness that suddenly occupied my body. I was too wired to go back to sleep. The lake looked mysterious and sleek in the light of the moon. A part of my mind was aware of my lack of concern regarding my safety. I didn't take so much as a stick with me as I ventured into the forest, east of the lake. There was no telling what time it was. The sky held no clue. The stars however were glorious. I hugged myself as the cold breeze blew past me and rustled the leaves. The trees seemed to accept me as one of their own. Oddly, the roots that were all but invisible in the night seemed easier to avoid. It was easier than the hike I experienced earlier that day. I didn't question what I was doing, not really. There was no reason to. I would have wandered anyway. I followed a little lightning bug through the trees.

Before long, before I found my sanity, I stumbled upon a meadow. It was easily the most spectacular thing I had seen in the forest since I entered its depths. There weren't many striking flowers, just a lot of tall grass. Now and again though, I spotted puffs of color that upon closer examination, proved to be blooms of some sort. I picked one and sniffed at it. The scent wasn't cloying or bitter. It had the scent of sweet innocence. Without comprehending why, I took several more steps forward, freeing myself from the clutches of the trees. My heart skipped a beat when I spotted the backpacker walking deliberately into the area. When he saw me, he stopped short. He looked confused. I didn't know what expression was on my face. In the minute we stood unmoving, we examined each other. He was young, tall, had dark hair and a harmless stance. I didn't know if I should have been a afraid. Eventually we walked toward each other. I ignored the rational part of my mind that instructed me to stay away.

"Hi." He said when we were close enough. "I didn't expect to bump into anyone so far from the trails or so deep into the woods."

I felt as though I should explain. "My friends and I are camping out here."

He nodded. "Oh so. What are you doing out here?"

"What? I thought I just told you." I looked at him, puzzled.

He grinned. "I meant what are you doing out in the night at," He paused to check his watch. The light from the watch gave his face an eerily beautiful, emerald glow. "at three in the morning?"

"I couldn't sleep." I said.

"Why not?"

I didn't want to get into the whole odd tale so I just said, "The sounds."

He was taken aback. "The sounds are resplendent."

"Maybe that's why I'm up." I mumbled, feeling a little awkward. I quickly changed the subject. "What about you?"

"I like the forest at night." He said.

"Oh." I looked down at the pristine flower I was twirling around.

My heart rate stuttered when his hand brushed mine. He took the flower and pushed a lock of hair behind my right ear. The boy carefully placed the wildflower in my hair. "There. Perfect."

I blushed. "I should be going."I told him. I turned, planning to head back the way I came but his voice stopped me.

"Do you have to leave? Don't you want to see them?"

"See who?"

He smiled and folded himself on the ground. He patted the grass beside him, asking me to sit. I sat across from him. His expression was amused as he opened his backpack and pulled out a mason jar. I stared at it, confused. He gestured for me to wait. Then, I heard him flick the glass. Suddenly, there was something in there. There were lights, floating lights. My eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"Lightning bugs." I said finally.

"I prefer fireflies." He sounded content and thoroughly absorbed. There was not a trace of sadness in his tone. I liked that.

"Isn't that mean? Keeping them in there... they don't have any place to fly to."

He stroke the glass as he thought. "Yeah I suppose you're right."

"Where did they come from?" I asked.

"Turn around, slowly."

I did. Fireflies were everywhere. Their lights made the scene so incredibly, astoundingly magnificent. I turned to the sound of him unscrewing the lid of the jar. The three bugs inside took to the sky.

"You never told me your name."

"Roselyn." I said quietly. "And yours?"

"Connor." He told me as he slyly took my hand.

I didn't pull away. I watched the fireflies bring light to the darkness of night in the most enchanting way possible. They sprinkled stardust as they danced. I sat happily with an alluring boy I barely knew. Dad had been right all along. The forest really was magic. I owe a lot to the little creatures.

Years have gone by like rainbows and sunshine and people still ask us how we met. When they do, I gaze into his spellbinding eyes and say "Fireflies."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Strokes, Notes and Words

Last night, I couldn't seem to drift off into the oblivion of sweet slumber as early as other nights. It was, however, an eventful night. Many of you no doubt comprehend the sensation of not being able to fall asleep. I tossed and turned in the dark, staring at my old nightlight, at the glow in the dark stars that paved the low ceiling, and at the unassuming clock on my nightstand. What had I to lose? I released my thoughts, let them run wild and let them frolic around and around until they satisfied themselves enough to bring me sleep. They danced inside my mind to a melody only audible to them. Anyway, eventually, my thoughts wandered down a familiar path.

I thought about writing, about every form of art really. From what I gather, being an artist is fairly challenging. Are there any artists who are reading this right now? Are you a creator? Well then, if you are an painter, have you ever looked at a blank canvas and felt anxiety bubbling up inside? Have you ever looked upon that empty awaiting canvas and then glanced at your brush feeling panic? Do you ever wonder "Can I fill this up? Can I make it worth looking at?" For a musician, have you ever looked upon an empty page wondering if you can fill it up with notes and harmonies that will conjure nostalgic images within someone's mind or touch a long hardened heart? Have you ever looked at those talented fingers and thought "What if I can't make magic anymore? Worse, what if I never did?" I believe writing is a form of art as well especially writing poetry. From the perspective of a writer, I can tell you this. I have thought this a million times. Every single time that I lay my eyes on a sheet of blank, expectant paper, I feel the beginning of a mild hysteria. No joke. I wonder if I will ever write as well as I did yesterday. I wonder what lies ahead. Is it more inspiration, more surrealism, more felicity or simply dullness, mundane routines and boring faces? I always fret that it will be the latter set of words. I don't know about anyone else but to me, finding this. . . I'm not even sure what to call it. Some say it is a hobby but that seems too unimportant. I suppose it could be called a form of repose or evasion. Anyway, finding this form of escape has been amazing. I found myself peeking behind the curtain into a world I never knew existed. And, the best part was, the citizens welcomed me with open arms. We always worry that the things we care for the most will be taken away from us, don't we? I always fret that this is a temporary thing or that it is something that will be taken away sooner rather than later. It may not make much sense but such are the thoughts that swarm my conscious mind.

It's difficult. It's no wonder many avoid and stray from it. Then, I thought about how some people I knew were once so very passionate about the art they did for it quenched a raging desire for expression. But, like a dying flame in the glacial winter air, that desire eventually extinguished. Now, all these people do is meander the streets at night, wondering where their love for life has gone. Was it even possible to find that love again? It's tragic, really. I found myself fretting that one day, I would become like those temporary slaves of art, of expression. I worried that like a star, I would sooner or later lose my luster. I wondered if anyone else felt like I did. Did any other artist wonder constantly if they still had the ability to create? There was only one resolution in my line of sight. I had to keep creating. Stopping meant the possibility of never being able to start again. And, naturally, I couldn't risk that. Nope, not in a million years.

I hope I did not bore you to death with this long post. Well, even if I did, on the bright side, this empty page is filled. I am thankful. I can rest easy tonight.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Blacksmith

Have you ever paused one day and immersed yourself in memory? Perhaps you were watering the cheerful flowerbeds in your garden. Perhaps you were shooting hoops in the park. Perhaps you were walking your dog through the neighborhood. Have you stopped suddenly and thought about everything that time has taken from you? I find myself doing that more often than not. There are a lot of things that I should have done, should have said. That got me thinking. Is it worse when you say something you wish you hadn't or when you don't say something and end up wishing you had? And then, in the dead of night, those 'What If?' moments come back in to haunt me.

If you had the chance to go back in time and alter a specific incident, would you? After a lot of thought, I realized I wouldn't. Every second of agony is experienced for a reason. Every hardship is occurs for some purpose. The pain of our pasts has shaped all of us. It is the well-known blacksmith. We may not understand it but I feel that it does us good.
This is me being thankful for everything, the good and the bad. The process of self-discovery is heartrending but enlightening. I hope to see you on the other side of the tunnel with a bright smile on your tired face. 
We are all famous. We are famous in certain minds, in certain hearts, in certain lives.