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. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Sojourner

A rare Saturday at home, and I need to be doing things, but here I sit at the computer. I have not blogged in a week, the days just seem to pile up sometimes. I was off work my usual Tuesday and Wednesday - but my dear sweet Shirley at work brought me three books last weekend, so I read three books on my days off. Actually five books, because one was a three-in-one softback. Light, easy reading. The 3-in-1 was a trio of modern romances, ala Silhouette and Harlequin. There was also a Nicholas Sparks novel (he always makes me cry!) and a John Grisham book about a quarterback playing NFL-style football in Parma, Italy. 

Here in pictures I present our week at Little Beaver Creek. 

Pendant from a piece of Black Walnut

The back is beautiful as well 
A piece of envelope art 
We now have business cards

Gourd Harvest

Dalek gourd and four baby boos

Mabon is two years old this weekend

Smokie is so laid back

and totally uninterested in the camera

She actually tried to take the Dalek out of the basket

A box for a totem made for a friend

Elephant totem from creek rock - The twine is hemp
Now I am going to shop a bit. We need cat and people food.

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