February 10, 2016

Dirty Dancing

February 9, 2016


Turn on some music Carol. Get the music going...get your cells happy. It most always helps.

I plug one end of the adapter cord into the headphone hole on the bottom of my iPhone 4. I plug the other end into the adapter hole on the small stereo unit that sits on a shelf in our old, wooden-and-chipboard entertainment center that still holds concordances and lexicons and song books and Bibles from our Way days.

We acquired the hand-me-down, large entertainment center from the Blackwells when we moved into the Westbook Plaza house around 2001. That old house that had at least six giant, beautiful White Oak trees scattered through the yard. In the fall, leaves and acorns would blanket the large corner lot.

The entertainment center followed us in our 2003 move from Westbrook to our current home on Commonwealth. It houses probably six Bibles and twelve or so study and reference books for the Bible, songbooks from The Way and from Christian Family Fellowship, dictionaries and poetry anthologies, Hubby's and my yearbooks from junior high and high school, a pocket journal that contains all my report cards from 1st through 12th grades, family photograph journals, an old stereo unit which houses a radio and cassette player and  turntable, a newer-but-still-old small compact stereo unit which houses a cassette player and CD player and radio and an adapter port for electronic devices, two shelf-size speakers, a VCR player, a flat screen TV with a DVD player, 33-RPM vinyl albums, cassette tapes,  CDs, VHS tapes, DVDs, bookends, paper weights, original miniature paintings and sculptures, memorabilia from my 2008 hip-replacement surgery, and a model sailboat built from scratch by my son when he was 10 with help from Mr. Blackwell. The boat sits on top, not on a shelf. Beside it sits a multi-blue-colored ceramic urn with a lid that was a wedding gift
in 1984.

The entertainment center is in bad need of a cleanse and some organization. But it just sits there refusing to organize itself. Any organization projects in my house sunk to the very bottom of the priority list once the nerve damage began dictating my life in 2011.

After plugging the male cord-ends into their appropriate ports, I slide my right index finger across my iPhone screen and enter my four-digit pass code. And like magic, icons called apps appear for various applications. I touch the Pandora icon and then tap the screen again to select Last Dance, my chosen music genre.

I need upbeat music. Something to get my happy cells to work. Something to lift me beyond this mortality, away from these circumstances.

A couple songs play.

And then Pandora strikes the magic chord.

"Now I've had the time of my life
No, I've never felt like this before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you.

'Cause I've had the time of my life
And I owe it all to you..."

The words.
The rhythm.
The passion.
Immediately I'm taken to the current love of my life.
My passion.
That which has brought me to my knees in tears and exhaustion and to my highest indescribable highs.

My heart swells.
I turn up the volume.

Eyes close.
Body moves with the rhythm.
Arms in the air, slowly wave back and forth.
My feet and legs take on the life of the dance across the wooden floor.
My soul soars.
Enraptured in other times and places.
Perfect harmony.
Filled with life.
Tears of gratitude trickle.

As my whole being dances, one picture after another flows through my mind.
Just like a slide show.

Hiking the Roan Highlands with Grandpup Yerba and our first sight of those giant bald mountains where a-body can't help but break into singing The Hills Are Alive.
Son and I backpacking the Appalachian Trail and he having to physically help me lift up my body with his arms under my sweaty armpits. And we belly laughed.
And the time I was in tears of exhaustion as Son and I sat behind the large rock to shield us from rain and wind while I ate the best-tasting sardines and Triscuits of my life. And we laughed.
Daughter and I hiking the AT in New York and camping in the field at the monastery feeling very safe with a giant statue of Jesus on one side and a New Jersey State Trooper on the other. And we laughed.

Son and I backpacking Cumberland Island and Ranger Shadrach coming to our rescue in the dark hours. And we laughed.

Hiking the Red Rocks of Sedona and standing with arms lifted high as rain poured down over my head and down my cheeks joining the tears of gratitude. And my whole body smiled.
Hubby and I biking the Grand Canyon bathed in the sunset and then the starlight, the only two humans on that stretch of road. And we laughed.
Biking the Railroad Grade Road between Todd and Fleetwood in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the trees in full fall array and the gentle, giant, evergreen Spruces letting all know they'd watch over the woods through winter. And I thanked them.
Biking the Blue Ridge Parkway with the deer who ran beside me in the field as the sun set to end a perfect day. And I smiled with tears of gratitude.

This slide show, this slide show is mine.
My very own.
It's not someone else's movie.

The Trail.
Appalachian Mountains.

Children of my womb.
Peoples of these Aged Hills.
All of us, children of Life's womb.

My despair is transformed to gratitude.
And life becomes large again.

Yes, I've had the time of my life...
And it owe it all to you...

When I hear love songs these days, I think not of a human lover.
But of the Woods and the Trail and my Mountains.
Sacred dirt and the dance of life.


aww: 2/03/16
prompt or not: college


Carol, this is just silly.

Why are you having a hard time writing?

Is it because you will be reading aloud your writing to others?

But that's one reason you're so excited about tonight's workshop.
Because you won't be writing alone.
You have witnesses, human witnesses.

You will read this piece aloud.
Others in the workshop will listen.
These "others," whom you have grown to know and love and admire over the past almost-seven years.
Yet the only two I've ever met face-to-face are Fred and DeAnn.

That's true of many authors I read.
Through their words, I get an essence of their lives.
I vicariously live their experiences and their stories.
I ponder their perspectives.
I witness, from afar, the changing landscapes that they have lived and that continue to unfold.

The writers with whom I've shared and they with me, we are sojourners together.
Among these artists and poets and lovers of life, I am allowed to be.
My writing is allowed to be.

That's what life is all about.

I recall the first piece I wrote in the Authentic Writing Workshops.
It included a part about a sea bird standing on a million dollar pylon.
The pylon was part of a pier that jutted out from its million dollar home along the waters of John's Pass near Madeira Beach, Florida.
I saw the bird perched on the pylon from a boat where I sat as it floated down the Pass toward the Gulf of Mexico.

That seems like a lifetime ago.

It was in May, 2009.

What about college?

February 2, 2016

Super Hero Therapy

Yesterday, as I pondered my health challenges with trepidation knowing that the temporary relief from the steroid injections I received on 1/25/16 will wear off in a matter of weeks but that I have made significant improvement since adding the hemp oil and that I just need to give my body time to see how much of it will heal, I thought...

...I need an angel.

Immediately an image of Groot came to mind. He stood tall with his right arm-limb in the air boldly bellowing, "FEAR NOT CAROL!"

And I laughed out loud!

Chuckling, I thought...

...Well Carol, whatever helps.
Groot really is the perfect super-hero angel for me.
He's a tree type being.
Trees have limbs.
Groot has the ability to grow vine-like branching networks, similar to my body's networks in its nervous system.

As I continued chuckling with the mental image of my Groot angel-super-hero and thinking of different ways the concept parallels my current circumstance, he took on a more specific form for my specific situation. His head transformed into the bud of a certain type plant. His 'angel' wings were shaped like the leaves of the same certain plant and were spread down and around the circumference of his trunk. My Groot-angel is a giant cannabis plant!

And that caused me more chuckles!

This morning as I pondered, with amusement, my current super-hero therapy, I thought...

...I've never used super heroes as therapy until Mark Watney in The Martian.

Momentary pause as memory checked its files...

...Yes you have; you once believed a literal Jesus would appear in the sky and call you heavenward away from this very-mortal world, and you'd have a supernatural body, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and later a new heaven and earth would appear where there are no more sorrows...

I intend no offense to believers by stating that, for me, that past belief now falls in the category of myth and super-heroes. That's simply where I am currently in regard to that past belief. If it ends up literally true, I'm fine with that. As long as it happens from a Christian Univeralist interpretation of the Bible. Not that I'd have any say-so in the matter.

BTW, I know Mark Watney is not a "super hero," but rather a human in a science fiction story. But to me, he is a super hero.


On Thursday, January 29, 2015, I prayed to a tree. A Spruce that resides along the mountainside on the south side of Massie Gap at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia.

My prayer was simple, "Heal my limbs."

As I whispered those three words, the sole human standing on the snow-frosted mountainside with the cold winter wind kissing my cheeks and tears, gazing up at that tall, strong, graceful Spruce, more words immediately followed. "You have limbs. Strong. Durable. Limbs. Heal my limbs."

And I felt that that deep-green, grandfatherly Spruce heard me.

Since then Trees have become my living witnesses and cheerleaders and teachers.

Heroes indeed.


That same Thursday, before I arrived at Massie Gap and before I prayed to Grandfather Spruce, I had dropped in at Wayne Henderson's luthier shop. His shop and home are at the foot of the mountain, about six miles from Grayson Highlands. The not-yet-finished mandolin in the photo is made from a Red Spruce tree that once stood on local Whitetop Mountain which is probably sevenish miles from my Grandfather Spruce. Another magical story for another time, maybe.

Wayne at work
The master's hands