Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fragments from a Friday

Driving across the ridge today, I encountered a slightly scary situation. A pickup truck, in a curve, in front of which was a very startled young deer. Skittering on the pavement. Thankful I have new brakes on the car and I am going very slow. I and the truck both come to a complete stop. The deer makes it to an embankment, and bolts to safety.Later, as I am driving through Glade Hollow, a trio of brilliant red cardinals sweep up and around and into the treeline. Mother Nature thanking me for not injuring that graceful creature just minutes before? I like to think so.

From Buddhist Boot Camp : Yesterday someone asked me a question that I often ask others, "What is your biggest struggle in life right now?" Initially I said that witnessing so many people create their own suffering is heartbreaking, and it is, but upon further reflection, I think that what hurts even more is that it has somehow become socially acceptable for people to publically express frustration by yelling, slamming doors, copping an attitude, giving someone the finger, or storming out of the room. It's true that television depicts this behavior as normal, but it's television, not reality (we used to know the difference between the two), and now we not only accept this behavior as "normal", we actually feel validated because "everyone else is doing it!" And yet vulnerability and sensitivity, which is truly our greatest strength, are still frowned-upon as a sign of weakness (especially with men), with grace and honesty being significantly more courageous than a bad temper, if you ask me! Let's not accept rude behavior as a form of entertainment, it is adult bullying at best, and downright violent at its worst. Treat others the way you would treat the Buddha... always.

I love the serendipitous twists and turns my life takes sometimes. I went to C&R Variety, and found these three HooDoo soaps for $1 each. The Sandolo is sandlewood complexion soap. They were made in Peru. I love the packaging. Yes, they will be put within a wooden treasure box ( I like the term casket for this particular box  ) Shari gave me.

Self-Indulged today. Because I decided I deserve it! Drove to Abingdon to Kroger and bought their store-brand of French roast coffee, my favorite already ground coffee. Browsed around C&R Variety (lordy, I live junked up thrift stores) then went to The Old Pioneer Barn and bought BBQ sandwiches for supper. Came home, made a pot of coffee, and had a mug with Southern Butter Pecan Creamer (omg!!!) and a slice of Sock-It-To-Me cake.

“As long as you fear judgment, there is a sensed lack of freedom to be who you are. Be finished with the prison of others' opinions.” ~ Gangaji

Deer bone, with design burnt in then painted, Arrow head hand knapped and the owl was then carved out then painted, As you can see it fits in the palm of my hand. Native owl design. The "x" on the back of the deer bone is Roger's mark that is incorporated on everything he makes.

“There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading in the same direction, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.” ~ Hindu teaching

Owl came in from work Thursday night, and Apple had documented his cat sitting success - Smokie is there too, she just isn't as colorful as Mabon!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

bloodless battles

We are entering that time of the year
When both young and old in turn
Search out the spirits to taunt and to fear
Rake up piles of leaves to burn

Haunted houses and listing gravestones
Are suddenly all the rage
Swimming pools give way to bags of bones
As the calendar turns a page

It seems to me as I read scary ads
For pumpkin patch and corn maze fun
Thrill seeking and gore are ageless fads
A way for bloodless battles to be won

I do believe the dead are still with us
They populate cities and farmland in turn
But not that they are here to make a fuss
Rather to help us grow and learn

~ Ellen Apple 09-11-2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September Sojourns

Swirling whirling breeze
Leaves that dance and then are still
Fall lurks in the air

~Ellen Apple 09-07-2014

Last evening, I observed the tenacity of nature once again, as the dauntless spider has spun a larger web where the day prior another was swept away by broom and man. Spanning from canopy to eave, already ensnaring several gnats, Would that I could fearlessly and with great determination keep coming back when my efforts have been summarily dismissed,

~Ellen Apple 09-09-2014 

~Roger Apple 

~Roger Apple

~Roger Apple

Cold Night of Rain

By warmth of day or in cold night of rain
With love and support there for the taking
Just unable to scale that cliff again

Daily routines and dreams keeping me sane
All the while something inside me breaking
By warmth of day or in cold night of rain

The constant spent sobs unrelenting strain
Anticipating more years of aching
Just unable to scale that cliff again

Should each day be such an energy drain
Leaving one's soul numb with spirit quaking
By warmth of day or in cold night of rain

Once again thinking the dragon is slain
Knocked off kilter confidence left shaking
Just unable to scale that cliff again

Deciding at last to have no more pain
Not rash - it has been years in the making
By warmth of day or in cold night of rain
Just unable to scale that cliff again

~ Ellen Apple 09-09-2014

Written in memory of Scott who could not scale that cliff again.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Moth

A jagged peak against the cold blue sky

Reaching forth to claim the promise unknown

So delicately wrought in times gone by

Keening sobs for dreams lost echoing why

Torn and leaking life from a hopeless throne

A jagged peak against the cold blue sky

Is hope so senselessly now gone awry

Can eleventh hour acts help to atone

So delicately wrought in times gone by

Desperately searching with jaded eye

Once young fresh maiden now age burdened crone

A jagged peak against the cold blue sky

When blessed joy returns then hope shall fly

Such depth of resilience will be shown

So delicately wrought in times gone by

The follies of man all nature defy

Look closer - it's a moth wing fully grown

A jagged peak against the cold blue sky

So delicately wrought in times gone by

~~~ Ellen Apple 09-06-2014

Photography by Rachel Westfall Taylor 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fairy Song

I felt a whisper in my ear
A gossamer tickling thing
"Look close to heart and ever near
'tis time to see the wee one sing"
Puzzled a bit? Oh, yes,  I confess!
My senses were all a tingle - 
(I held my breath to acquiesce
With wee folk I yearn to mingle)
A taste of magic on my lips
As shimmers - there to the left -
(Unparalleled joy in my grips)
Then in a twinkle I am bereft
I wanted it too deep
As slowly my vision clears. 
I must have been asleep!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Labor Day

Our nation pauses 
takes a rest
Closes the chapter 
on Summer's best
Late night games
of hide and seek
Parades and picnics
Politicians speak
Children prepare
new clothing galore
Backpacks and shoes
and so much more
Crisp autumn days
await the sigh
As August heat
says Good Bye
Seasons change
The page has turned
Time marches on
with lessons learned

~Ellen Apple 09/01/2014 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Awesome August 2014 - and it's a wrap!

A miscellany of items, many from Facebook over the past days, and a few last day of the month musings. Very stream of consciousness, so also a glimpse into how my brain does (or doesn't!) operate without much editing. 

The last week of this month has flown by. I knew I would have problems getting blog posts written, I am in the middle of a 5 day straight stretch at work ( Friday and Saturday combined I worked 20 hours.) I am not complaining - still so grateful for my job, and loving the people I am meeting and getting reacquainted with others I knew from my 4 year stint at Wal-Mart from 2002- 2006. Not just co-workers, customers as well.

One of the joys of rural life in the Appalachians of SW Va is the closeness of community. The person who inspects your car is the cousin of your hairdresser who is the high school friend of the mail carrier whose brother works at  the school where your neighbor's child is in first grade - that sort of thing.  The closeness of community is in great evidence this week (August  29 through September 6 I believe) of the annual Russell County Fair and Stock Show. The county residents turn out in droves, families and friends, co-workers and competitors, for a week of celebrating being who we are in this corner of the Old Dominion. I was told by a customer at the store last night that the fields were packed with cars and the mass of people milling about the rides, horse arena, exhibit halls and live performance stages was an awe-inspiring sight.

49 Winchester is a Southwest Virginia Folk Rock band fronted by the son of my dear friend, Debbie Necessary-Gibson. They were on stage last night. These boys are young, engaging, and so talented. Click on the link and check them out. Issac is so full of energy! I was not able to attend the show, but his mother reports they were very well received.

From Monday: 
Standing outside in the evening yesterday .. the sky a perfect blue baby blanket, scattered with cotton balls masquerading as clouds, fuzzy little circles waiting to be swept up and put back in their canister. Ah, the regret of turning and going back indoors, returning to the labors that pay my bills, when my soul longed to linger and watch the light fade from the sky, morphing to a dark dome littered with twinkling fairy lights.

I participated in a Positive Challenge on Facebook this week. Here are my posts, with my cumulative 15 things:

Day 1 of the "Positive Challenge" for me. Three things that I am thankful for:
1. The legacy of a love of reading from both of my parents.
2. Having had all 4 of my grandparents long enough to understand the resilient nature of my heritage. 
3. All of the tears and laughter (my own and those of loved ones) that have healed me when I thought I was broken beyond repair.

Day 2 of the "Positive Challenge" for me. Three things that I am thankful for:
1. My job at Cargo in Lebanon, Virginia. I had no income for 3 1/2 years, and the experience was not one I ever want to repeat.
2. Siblings. My sister Virginia Carol Hart and brothers Larry Smith, Steve Slade, Danny Slade, and Ed Smith. (and may my deceased brother Gary Smith ever be remembered)
3. My daughter Johnna and her husband CJ, but most of all the grandson that will arrive in November.

Day 3 of the "Positive Challenge" for me. Three things that I am thankful for:
1. Roger, my husband and friend, my mechanic and gardener, my confidant and protector, Meeting him healed me in innumerable ways, and he is the best person I know.
2. Having been able to meet people from so many diverse backgrounds in my life. 
3. Air conditioning. Sound odd? I lived in South Florida for a few summers without anything but a poorly functioning window unit -  believe me, AC is a blessing.

Day 4 of the "Positive Challenge" for me. Three things that I am thankful for:
1. Still having both the mental and physical stamina to work a job where I have to count money, be on my feet for 9 hours at a time, and deal with the public face to face.
2.  The honor of living in a rural setting, where wildlife is the norm and I can see the night sky without light pollution. Some people never see the stars.
3. Sweet Iced tea, my favorite beverage since I was a child. Hot tea to curl up with a book, or when I feel sickly, coffee to get me going in the morning, carbonated drinks on occasion, but sweet iced tea is what I truly drink most of the time.

Day 5 of the "Positive Challenge" for me. Three things that I am thankful for:
1.  Friends, and the kindnesses they show in myriad ways, I see and hear so much negative about Facebook, but the small community I have built for myself here has enabled me to maintain old friendships and foster new ones.
2.  My mother. She will be 82 in January, and I am aware every day what a gift and blessing it is that she is still living in the house we moved to in 1967. 
3. My incessant desire to write. Many words I form into poems and stories may never be read by others, but the process provides a catharsis and fulfills a soul-need that is as much a part of me as my ample build and love of chocolate. 
This brings an end to an interesting experiment. I have struggled with the three things each day, and life has thrown me a few curve balls in the process. Life is interesting. 

The challenges I mentioned on Day 5? The brakes went out on my car, and due to brake dust and road grime, it took Roger about 7 hours total, and retooling a hexhead bolt, to put on new pads. Thankfully, the rotors are not ruined. I drive across a ridge from our little acre to my job and the curvy mountain roads while very scenic are tough on vehicles, especially tires and brakes. And



The day after I listed AC as a blessing, the AC in the house
quit cooling

Roger tried, couldn't repair


Dale's in St. Paul once again came and performed HVAC sorcery, and though we are a bit lighter in the bank balance, we had the funds to cover the unexpected (again I am thankful for Gedie Cox and Cargo!) and we are once again in relative comfort. This is so funny in a not funny way because this week is the hottest we have had all Summer.

A thought I had, and posted at random on Facebook:

It is often just being there at that time that is our purpose - not to fix anything, not to exact revenge - just to be there, a shoulder to cry on or a person to laugh with, a hand to hold or an ear to listen.

Roger the Tall sits outside (weather permitting) everyday and flintknaps, feeds the outside cats, and watches nature in all of her beauty and complexity. He saw this occur this last week in August:

Roger saw an ant rappelling down from a poplar leaf using a spider's silk - it was a carpenter ant and he had killed the spider, had the spider in his jaws, and was using the spider's silk to go down to take food to his colony. Nature is incredible.He said it was like watching Army Rangers rappelling from a helicopter.

This is the final installment in my Awesome August 2014. 

Not sure what I will call September yet, I am thinking you will see more poetry next month, and hopefully more pictures of our little acre here on the creek.