Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's Enough To Make You Wonder

It's no secret that I have a sense of the spiritual world.  Not in a wicked kind of way but in an palpable awareness of more than meets the eye, an internal knowledge that something lies against my peripheral - that cotton wisp shadow that dances on the edge of my attention.  There is some comfort in sharing my existence with their secrets - some affirmation to my faith in the unseen.  Of course, it could be the curse of a creative reality - these lenses that look upon the world with more heart and less brain - this overactive imagination that let's me build worlds of wonder and possibility and metaphor.  Who knows.  I only know that there are truths around me that can't be explained with intellect or reason.  Like God.  Like angels.  Like...ghosts?

This home that holds my history has also held the history of something more - something that hangs about the stairs and teases with a darting shadow - never dark - never ominous or dangerous.  Playful, even...

Midnight begs heavy eyes and the movie has ended - warm blankets a siren call from the bedroom.  He's going for one last cigarette, beginning the climb from the basement.  Only a few steps up.  "Oh - that's creepy," he says.  "Did you put that doll there?"

"What doll?" I ask.  "I've been down here since the kids went to sleep...and nobody's been up since."

"It's just staring down at me..." he says and an uncomfortable chill raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

I unfold myself from the couch and come to the bottom of the stairs.

I think it might be her sweetness that is most unsettling of all.  Hand-stitched by my grandmother, dress crafted from the same material of one of my own childhood dresses, face painted on creamy cotton by those storied hands - the same that braided the yarn hair and brushed my own to sleep as a little girl.  And I cherish her - this doll made for me when I was already an adult.  And she stares down at us, acrylic blue eyes alive with mischief...

Logic would say that she was knocked from her perch upon the ladder shelf on his last pass down the stairs before we started the movie, bumped softly to fall softly - to land perfectly on her bottom on the top step, facing forward, innocently eerie - a completely coincidental accident.

But my adventurous curiosity begs another explanation...

"Too creepy," he says again and moves her from the step to a spot on the floor by the fake, potted tree.  "I'm not putting it back up there." And he means on the shelf.  Because it might happen again. 

He's never shared my belief in anything beyond what we can actually see.  He's too logical to waste energy on it.  But he was rattled for a moment.  So maybe I'm not so crazy after all...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whatever My Lot - Thou Hast Taught Me To Say

As a child, peace was defined by that moment when night fell silent and the sky lifted her skirt to reveal a breathless expanse of forever - clouds inhaling to dissipate - painting my view with an infinite glimpse of possibility.  All those stars.  All those wishes reflecting, winking, daring.

The best was in the old police cruiser - the old, dark Oldsmobile repurposed for family travel - the one where dad found the drugs tucked down between the seats - the one with the huge back bench that meant I barely had to touch my little sisters.  That one was the best.  Tires would crunch along the pocks of highway spewing it's yellow ribbon into a map to magic and night would creep around us and hitch up tight against our margins and the clock might turn past bedtime and the radio rarely played and silence was golden and we were too tired to sing 'Father Abraham' one more time and I would scooch back tall and let my hair rest wild across the rear dash and gaze out through that wide screen window at that HD sky.  Often, the highway would reflect upon the window, perforating my view with a vision of traveling backwards, that dashed line zipping across my vision like a hypnosis - arbitrarily shooting across the heavens and I thought, if only that yellow line caught the trajectory of a shooting star, surely then my wish might come true.  And I thought I could exist there forever - gazing up at this proof of creation, wrapped up in the monotony of an engine and the soft breathing of my sister who would fall head-heavy asleep beside me and the way my father would reach across and take my mothers hand and naming the stars for the way they made me feel and how emptiness and silence made me smooth and soft and so, so safe.  And I thought I could exist there forever.

And I want nothing more than to return.  To be, once again, blessed with that peace like a river because my soul needs attending and I don't seem to find it in this busy crapped up mess that bubbles up wild.  There are moments it feels like this hope I'm clinging to is not but a gossamer thread and to put my faith in it is to break it and to break it is to drown.

Don't misunderstand me - I am surrounded by blessings that I count and cherish every single day.  But I am also in garbage and garbage reeks of apathy and it really, really means something to actually give a damn about it all.

So I will.  I will take that gossamer thread and I will knot it and braid it and tie it and twist it and trust it so radically that it is remade in the image of beauty.  I will not be defined by the ugly.  I cannot cast my burdens on this home that nearly bursts with wanting me to step beyond the shadows that follow me here.  I will lay my head wild upon the proverbial rear dash and mediate on the peace of all those stars and whatever my will be well with my soul.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Make It Monday: Chore Chart Glory

Apparently, all they needed was a little motivation.

All I needed was a little inspiration and some input from the eldest: "We need a reason to do it, Mom.  Don't give us allowance for doing chores, take it away for not doing them."  Brilliant!

Some barn board, mini masons, picture frames and nails, a little template creation...and voilà: chore charts that are functional and lovely to look at.

The Rules: Their allowance goes in their respective jar at the beginning of the week.  For each task incomplete a coin will be removed.  They get the contents of the jar at weeks end.  Easy peasy.

"Moooooommmmm!" Zander yells,  "I need the vacuum!!!!"
"No, I wanna vacuum!" and Liam's jumping on one leg, dry erase maker in his hand, counting his check marks to make sure he's a better worker than Zander.
"But Mommy," Noa adds, dejectedly, "I wanna vacuum!" 

And their arguing makes as much noise as a vacuum and it is sweet music to my ears.

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