Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Sin-Eater

Drink full of life
Gulp and swallow the all
The joy and pain mingle
And lie replete 
Full of hope
Feel the truth 
Rest in the nght
To rise again with 
Vigor comes light
The sin-eater has come
and gone

~Ellen Apple 11-02-2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Unanswered Call

The Unanswered Call

A ringing summons
Who misses more
From which side of the chasm
Is the message more
From the sender
The recipient

Abyss in the interim

~Ellen Apple 10-16-2014

Apple (Roger, the calm - the gentle - the artist ) has been feeling under the weather for a few days, and I in my own way have been very concerned. From the time we met his essence was the perfect shape to fit the void in my life, his grounded ways and creative flights of fancy were just what my own oddities needed as a counter balance. We have been pretty much inseparable for over 13 years, and have created a reality for ourselves here on the creek by the river that suits us well. When he is not feeling well, I become very concerned.

I worked last evening, and about half an hour before I was to clock out and come home, I called the house to see if there was anything he needed, some tidbit to tantalize his taste buds, a craving for food or drink that was not on hand here at the house. 

I called, the phone rang ten times and went to voicemail. I hung up, redialled, no answer again. 

When I got home, he was sound asleep, resting well, the cats spread across his body like extra furry little space heaters. The phone was in the floor, I am sure pushed there by Smokie, who has loved the act of clearing tables since she was a wee thing. The back had popped off, and the battery connection jarred loose. Dead phone. That was why he did not answer. 

He was fine, and I was relieved. This small poem was written as I contemplated missed calls.

I hope your day is well. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


My first husband, 25 years my senior, would have been 81 today. We divorced in 2001 and he passed away less than 7 months after the divorce was final. He was an alcoholic, and his disease was the end of us. This poem reflects how hard it was for me to leave, how he wanted me to not go through with the divorce, and how rough that particular 18 months was. We were married for 15 years. 

All the days
All the nights
All the sounds
All the sights
All the words
All the ways

You tried to tell me
I should have listened

Try again
Try anew
Try for me
Try for you
Try for us
Try I beg you

I am listening now

~Ellen Apple 10/15/2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

It is a rainy afternoon here on Little Beaver Creek - we have had much rain this month, and the creeks and river are fierce in their fullness. These pictures were taken by Apple on Monday afternoon, while I was at work. The weather yesterday was indeed glorious, beautiful skies and mild temperatures. I knew the weather forecast was for rain today and cooler tomorrow, so I am pleased he got these shots.

It is a read a book, sip a cup of hot coffee, snuggle under a blanket kind of a day.

A young girl who would have turned 11 in December lost her life in an accident on Sunday in our area. A tree, root system made unstable by the recent rains, toppled and crushed her as she was out squirrel hunting with her father. Life is a fragile thing, not promised for any length of time for anyone.  We have to live and appreciate what we have now - it may not be here tomorrow, life may be better it may be worse, it may be altered in our experiences forever with just one act. 

I wrote in a message to someone last night "Don't borrow tomorrow, it will be here soon enough".
We do that, you know, we worry today about the myriad what-if''s of tomorrow. We stress, we panic, we theorize, and our now, our today gets wasted, frittered away. I am not advocating a life of not planning ahead. Dreams are planning ahead, retirement funds are as well, along with home purchases, budgets, all manner of things. Setting goals and working towards their completion, learning new skills, expanding our experiences and communities. These are wonderful, marvelous, fulfilling endeavors. I am speaking (or writing) of being so consumed with the worry of all the negative possibilities that we see littered about in the nebulous future that we are not seeing the "now". Prepare for the worst and hope for the best? Yes. Become obsessed with the worst and getting stuck there? No. 

The time shall soon be here when the trees along the mountaintops have shed all their leaves. When the air is cold and clear, the clouds are heavy and gray, the trees in their bare beauty look like fringe on a rug rippling along the contours of the mountains. I am going to try to remember to take a picture of this gift from the season this coming winter - it is especially striking when there is snow or heavy frost scattered along the hightops. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Morning Musings

There is comfort and a wee bit of decadence to my mornings these past few days. In addition to my Kroger French Roast coffee with caramel creamer (International Delights), I have been savoring the taste and texture of Biscoff Lotus biscuits.

I enjoy these coolish mornings, and the variegated colors to the trees that surround us here in the Appalachians. 

I was reminded this morning of how wonderful the world works, in such a complicated synchronized dance of ebb and flow. There is inconsistency and permanence at every juncture, a dichotomy of light and dark, birth and death, that carries us along such a poignant and exhilarating ride that we call living. The moments seem fleeting yet inexorably long at the same time. We think we shall ever remember and then forget. 

Enjoy and savor wherever you are now, because this life you have today cannot be repeated, or kept, or altered. We get through a day, a trial, a joy, and new ones await. Lessons learned, at times. 

Laugh until you cry. Cry until you sleep. Breath deep and full, drink long from the cup of this day because once it is gone you will never have the chance again, but a new one awaits, just as full of possibilities as the ones long since passed.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

To my daughter on the birth of her son

I carried you in my womb
Whispered secrets for only your ear
My heart became a tomb
I surrendered you never to be near
My love for you never waned
Days slowly gave way to history
With one photograph sustained
Your beauty was never a mystery
My second miracle years in the making
When I looked at you and saw a better me
My soul was suddenly no longer aching
Now you have a child of your own
Maybe you can understand 
The lengths a woman will go to
How far the heart can expand
When a new life is a part of you 

~ Ellen Apple 10-01-2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Mantle of Guilt and Sorrows - Wearing my Past

On a regular basis, you can see my little red car making the trek from our little acre at Nashs Ford to my mother's home about 25 miles away. If the weather is cooperative, and there is not road construction to worry about, I take what I call in my mind the back way. I drive out New Garden Road to Honaker, turn left towards Swords Creek, drive through Raven and Doran and into Richlands. I timed the drive Wednesday. About 40 minutes. US 460 is the main route through Richlands, there is a 460 Business and a bypass. 460 through town is interesting, because most of Richlands' business district is one way streets. 

I could almost write an unofficial history of that little town. I was born there in 1958, and my father graduated from high school there in 1931(?) Confession time: Details like dates often scramble in my mind, not because of age - I have always been this way. From the house we moved to when I was in the second grade (at The Trinity House) to the middle of town where the old National Guard Armory/current Police Department is located is about a mile. The Mullins Professional Building is across Second Street from the Police Department and was previously part of a complex of about four buildings that comprised the Junior High School where I was schooled for grades 7 and 8. I walked to and from school frequently when I was in Junior High. 

Very close to the old Junior High building (about a block to the east) is Richlands First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church. We began attending 1st Christian before I started school. I frequently walked to and from the church as well. Further west was the Flannery Theatre, where I saw Gone With the Wind whilst still in elementary school, and the fascinating combination swimming pool/drive-in where I learned to swim as a preteen and watched MASH as a teen. 

There were very few places that were unexplored by that young Ellen throughout the 1960's and 70's. Whether on foot, by bicycle, or 'cruising' with friends in cars, I was intimately familiar with all neighborhoods and most streets and alleys in my hometown.

Now, when I go to Mom's, to that same house I spent about 16 years in, I drive those same streets:Front Street going east through town to go to Mom's and Second Street west to return to the land I now call home. I am usually alone, and I drive through layers of memories each time. Past events drift through my mind. The silly and the sublime. The ecstatic and the pathetic. There are days when by the time I have made that 3 mile drive from the spot where once there loomed a drive-in screen over a swimming pool complete with diving boards (!) I am weepy nostalgic. Other days, I am almost bubbling with laughter. But that drive through town always has an effect. Always. Often, I will return home by another route, because I have picked up too many wisps of the past on the way into town and I am apprehensive of the ones that are waiting for my next pass. 

There is that time of the evening, when the sun had almost dipped below the mountains and night is edging in across the valleys that is called the gloaming. Yesterday I headed down US 19 in the gloaming, thinking to avoid those lingering ghosts of times and actions I had stirred two hours earlier and I knew again a truth I have carried with me for most of the past 30 plus years. I wear my past like a mantle of guilt and sorrows, have done so for years. There are memories so sharp and intrusive that I can hardly allow them to rise from my subconscious long enough to admit their reality. Events and actions that I carry heavy in my core, never sharing or unburdening onto another. Bit by bit, at sporadic intervals, I will gingerly, delicately cup them in my soul's palms, trying to smooth the cutting edges and ease the raw pain that echoes across the years. These ghosts that I drive through each time I am in the town of my youth, they are persistent, but I have decided I am tougher.

I rant and rail against being defined by my childish errors and youthful abandon. In my own way I have been bloodied in battles few will ever know were waged, and my losses though many do not add up to the sum of who I now am. 

So yes, I do indeed wear that mantle of guilt and sorrows, too often it settles on my shoulders, not bringing warmth and comfort but rather a dragging weight I know I can not long bear. It is now time for me to weave a new cloak and wear it well. One of fine spun silk gathered by in the misty promises of hope and comfort that will settle well on the present Ellen, and stand the test of the decades I have yet to add to the beauty I know my life can yield.