Poem Art: The Sentry


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Years of giving

torn from the skinned Birch

to carry others

across rushing waters

while naked the Tree remains

rooted

watching

as the world walks away

Not listening

to the endless clawing on Jesus arms

the sucking tendrils

that have grown up

twisting themselves around

the age-old rings of Her heart

Move on! Move on!

whispering through the thousand hands

waving goodbyes to those

that left her standing

still

and siphoning life from

dirty earth thrown down

around Her

Immobile

a sentry seasoned with sight

the beacon to set others

on their way

But forever bound and grounded

in the place she chose

to be born

 

 

 

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Invisible


While I don’t like to admit it, I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older (and have embraced my gray hair) I’ve become invisible. In my younger life, I was never, ever an invisible person. Even when I felt then (unbeknownst to my then introverted self) that the crowds were getting a bit too much for me. Somehow I still stood out shall we say. My personality was somehow bigger than my small frame… even when I didn’t want it to be.

It was my big mouth I suppose: always standing up when I felt injustice was happening, or whispering an irreverence at inopportune moments. Or when I felt someone (preferably someone of authority) said something I felt stupid and needed to be put straight. Yep, I never held back, and usually got in trouble, bringing attention to myself and therefore was definitely not invisible.
Plus I was never, ever a follower. And in fact, usually a leader. Starting a trend maybe, like the first one to wear hot pants in my high school. To me, they were just cool. Or to bring cloth bags to the grocery store 40 years ago when everyone thought I was nuts. Or becoming a vegetarian about the same time because it simply made sense. And being the ‘class clown’ and ‘most inclined to argue’ also put me in the class of calling attention to myself–just like George Carlin so aptly said…Hey, look at me!

Did I need attention? I don’t know? I just know that I was an only child and loved school and my friends and loved to get into it with anyone who would participate in good debate or humor. Or I did some things simply because they made good sense to me and I believed they were right. It never occurred to me that not everyone felt the same way. In fact, it might be better if they didn’t.
So now that I’m 60, and suddenly a senior citizen–it seems so odd to say that because I still feel like a kid–and part of the class of people who most ignore. It feels crazy. Me, the person that most folks used to gather around and laugh with, or got yelled at, or who got sent to the principal’s office because I was so disruptive. Now I can’t even mange to worm my way into a conversation because it’s assumed I have nothing of value to say. It’s utterly amazing to me.

At least this is what I find among the folks where I work. It’s a mixed crowd of both young and middle aged…not too many my age. I’m in the hub where people come and go and I could just be a chair really. When they bring new people around, most times I don’t even get introduced. I find it rude really. The new gal that does my job in the evening is 27, pretty and has far more attention from folks (men and women mind you) fluttering around her in a couple of months than I do in nearly a year there.

Is it because our society doesn’t value age and wisdom? Certainly I have become less in need of the attention I once did. I’m more subdued and quiet and more observant. Maybe I don’t draw the attention any longer.

It’s quite interesting to watch the squabbles, the dances and cruelties. I’m proud to have joined the ranks of the wise ones actually. There’s humor sitting back while seeing those that make fools of themselves as I once did or listen to tales of woe and know how unimportant these things really are in the grand scheme of life.

I only hope I’ve taught my own daughters to treat their elders better than I am treated at work. And I hope I never acted in this way. We can certainly choose moments to be invisible, but no-one should make  someone feel that way. We all have the same rights to be equally colorful, vibrant and brilliantly seen.

Natural Cycles


This may get a bit down and dirty–and also personal, so if you’re light of heart, read no further.

Recently I had my yearly physical. My doctor is great and does no more than she needs to do. She told me that there are new studies about PAP exams that they don’t need to be done as often as they used to think (once a year). Now the new science is saying more like every five years, if you’ve had clean ones in the past.

This has been the case with me, but there was some other factors so she and I both agreed that maybe it would still be prudent to do this particular exam. Oh joy! The one thing every woman loves, especially one at my advanced age.

Many of you in your late 50’s and through menopause, and all of you who have put your legs in those stirrups, know the drill. It’s not a pleasant experience. It’s not when you’re young, and it’s most definitely not when you’re older. But it particularly shocked me just HOW unpleasant it was for me.

Let’s back up. As many of you following my blog over the last years know, I’ve had my relationships ups and downs. And now, there is no such thing in my life anymore, and hasn’t been for some two years or so. I am single by choice now, and quite happy. It has left my mind, spirit AND body quite happily alone.

So when some strange object began boldly going where no man had gone before (well in a long time anyway), let’s just say, I knew I had reached the stage of crone. My doctor had to speak to me as though I was a child getting their first shot: it’s OK, I’m almost done, I’m sorry….I know it hurts… Why yes, it did indeed.

Needless to say, I was quite shocked and felt almost betrayed by my body–once so lush, open and giving. It made me think.

Most of the men I had dated in the last years had suffered their own ‘issues’ when it came to  sex, performance and their own bodies. They often too felt betrayed, upset and angry. Sometimes this would be turned toward me, often toward themselves, but always the relationships would end because of these debacles.

As much as I tried to embrace and accept these changes in our aging bodies, and try to find someone who could move onto the ‘next stage in life’–it never happened.

It struck me today that our natural cycles should allow us to embrace our metamorphosing selves. This should be a time of celebration and not anger and fear. While I am losing parts of my physical self, I am gaining so many wonderful parts like wisdom and a sense of self I never had before in life.

Such drive seems to overwhelm the men I have met so that they couldn’t move beyond it to the other significant and beautiful qualities that embodied the people they were inside. Instead it was that old sense of performance and need that drove them and hammered each relationship into dust.

I’m sure there are wonderful relationships and marriages where the two have been together for many years that  got them through these changes together. They adapt, accept and blossom together. It must be lovely. I was not that fortunate, but this is how it was meant to be.

So I continue to honor myself and my aging body. I take care of it the best I can and will gently pass through every stage with joy and grace, continuing to be grateful for each day I am here.

Solstice


On this the longest day of the year, as the days will be shortening, I’m reminded of many summer solstices gone by. Many were spent gathering around a fire, doing ritual. Or gazing at stars or simply sitting with my solitary thoughts. I thought of lighting up a bonfire tonight, but somehow I wasn’t up for one by myself. The summer solstice always seemed best when celebrated with others. So tonight I share my thoughts with my friends in the blogosphere.

It’s ironic that as summer begins, I spent last night loading two tons (yes TWO TONS) of pellets in the basement for my pellet stove! One can never be ready too early in New England! I got a pellet stove as I was assured it was easier than dealing with wood. But I can assure you, having schlepped two tons of pellets–for those of you that don’t know, that is 100 40 pound bags–into my basement, it didn’t seem very easy to me! I did have a piece of wood to ‘slide’ the bags down. And after I figured out how not to split the plastic bags open, that helped. But since the delivery person put one ton too close to one side of cellar door, and I’m short, and there were no pallets yet downstairs, and there wasn’t quite enough space down there…well, it was all a challenge.

But I did it! And now winter can come any time! So it will too, with the days shortening now, even as summer just begins. How does it all go so fast now? It seems like just yesterday I was dancing ’round the solstice fires with other mothers when our children were young. Now my hair turns gray and I’m a crone and the dancing is with a practiced step and not the whirling turns.

The wheel turns, the seasons come and go and someday I will be just a spirit seen crackling in the flames of the solstice bonfire.

So to you all: Happy Solstice! And Blessed Be!