Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Awake August 2016 - Twentythree and Twentyfour



"attachment unavailable"
day to day distractions
"installing updates"
mindful observations
"uploading software"
small stones

Prompt Response : When the Truth Sits Over my Right Shoulder

I bent over in the kitchen, to retrieve something from the bottom of the baker's rack, and the black cat peered over my right shoulder from her perch above me - you know, just to see what I was about. Then she was joined by her partner in crime the calico. Quickly losing interest - within seconds - they set about grooming my hairline and forehead. The Truth here being that either they are human or I am feline, for they surely see us as being a common species. We are family. I raised them both from orphaned rescue status.



quiet before sunrise
calm the chattering demands
day yet to begin

Prompt Response : When the Truth Sits over my Right Shoulder

When the truth sits over my right shoulder
And worry settles upon my chest like a boulder
When concern drapes a mantlila over my head
And confusion reigns when lies I am fed

An arsenal lies within reach of my left hand
Tools to help me know exactly where I stand
A sketchpad, colored pencils. a book being read
Notecards, my journal, an extra pencil lead

Words will be written, sketches drawn
Interspersed with watching cats on the lawn
Knots are unravelled, tough decisions made
And bit by bit all but mindfulness fade

I have a vision of Earth, Healed .... 
will you share my vision? 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Awake August 2016 - Twenty-Second

What is going on Ellen? It is as though you disappeared for a few days. You were here, but not here. Is everything okay? 

Well, here is the thing. Too much.
Too much on my feeble old brain. Too many things banging around in my head. Worrying too much, trying to do too much. 

Just too much.

So I stepped back, just a tad, for just a bit. To recharge, regroup. 

And then I had a mini-epiphany today.

This morning at work, I was standing outside taking a quick smoke break, and looking up at the sky. Lady Luna was saying her "good days" as she hung there, translucent and beginning already to wane from her fullness just a few nights ago. I then looked out across the parking lot, towards Lebanon and Big A Mountain in the distance. The heavy fog from earlier still hung low and dense, while higher in the sky the clear blue was breaking through. 

And I decided I need to find a way to see inwardly more clearly, to get my fog burned off. 

This is what happened over the next few hours:

Most people who talk to me in person on a regular basis will tell you I do not speak kindly of myself. I truly am my own worst critic.I say things like, "Roger is the best person I know, and he needs to be since he has to put up with me." 
and, "I need to be better at {fill in the blank} because I am just not nice enough."

Then, after I came home, I started seeing a theme, a pattern, to the things that caught my attention as I was scrolling through Facebook.

My recurring message, for a couple of months now, has been

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... be kind

I am just not sure I have been kind to me very much - ever.

And this, I realized, is a big contributor to the 'funk' I have found myself in. 

So I am going to try to choose to be happy.

To love myself.

To learn to be a light.

To be kind to me, to better be able to be kind to others.

Because if I want the Earth - my Earth - our Earth - to be healed -

I need to start with me. 


Clear sky
Translucent moon
As the sun banished
Morning fog

Prompt Response:

"When the truth sits over my right shoulder"

Outside my window sunlight glitters on diamonds strung on silver thread
as the last vestiges of overnight rain return to from whence they came. Sir Spider repairs his web.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Awake August 2016 - 17-18-19-20-21- Too Many Words

All the words, so many words ... not enough time to read them all, not enough time to release the ones fluttering around in my brain, looking for a way out. Words jealous of the sleep I take, and still they pile up, faster and faster ... 

Empty mailbox
Draped in finery
Busy spider overnight


Small Stones

Prompt Response:
He slowly walks through to the other room, watchful for abandoned cat toys, like an infantryman traversing a minefield.


Overcast skies
Segue to showers
Full Sturgeon Moon


Small Stones

Prompt Response:

That moment when you realize the person you said was as dumb as a box of rocks may really be gathering a cairn of small stones through silent mindful observation ...


Shyly she peeked around
A veil of luminescent mist
Silver pink blessings spilled
Across my upturned face
Ah, my Lady Luna


Small Stones

Prompt Response:

Seeing the first brown leaf of the season, caught in a cobweb on the porch eaves, is like stepping into the ocean and finding the bright sun lied about the warmth of the water. Instant regret, for what might have been ...juxtaposed against what is.


Semiannual NASCAR event
Guaranteed inclement weather
I love living in SW Va.


Small Stones

Prompt Response:

Thunder rumbles, like a drummer laying down the beat for others to follow,  as rain pours down and strikes a staccato accompaniment on the shed roof.


People watching
Bodhran rhythms on the radio
Synched to the gait
As a man stomps to his car


Small Stones

Prompt Response:

Like a day old helium balloon, the cat is draped across his lap, looking deflated and supple in repose. The man snores softly, unaware of his temporary role as a pillow.

I have a vision of Earth, healed ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Awake August 2016 - Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth

Few things equal
Seeing a familiar face
Getting hugs hello
Then hugs farewell


The congestion and pressure in my head a harbinger of the weather we shall have today.


Color tinges the sky
Another hot day forecast
She survived surgery


We each live our life, I believe, with an internal soundtrack. Songs and rhythms and soundbites that accompany us throughout our days and nights. Layers of sound only we can hear. Our blood as it flows, out breath as our chest rises and falls, the beat of our heart that is always there. A soundtrack that is felt as well as heard. The ripple of a breeze caressing our hair, the onrush of warmth as we step from a cool room into a summer day,  the comforting rough rub of a lover's thumb on our palm while holding hands. Our inner dialogue as we converse, or write, choosing word and inflection and tone to best convey our message. 

The song of our spirit.

The dance of our soul.

Ours and ours alone. 

Not a cacophony of confusion  - rather a symphony we are composing and performing from the moment we take our first breath until we lie in repose at the end of our path. 

I believe ...

That our soul language, our spirit composition, is shared in bits with others while the entirety is known, heard, and performed only with our own mind.  When we read of seeing someone's emotions flashing across their face in a varied series of expressions, that is what we are sharing - a bit of their internal and eternal soundtrack. 

That our truth, our honesty and our reality are revealed in those bits and bytes we allow others to see. 

That our struggles to understand and comprehend the influx of experiences and emotions are played out in our dreamtime, when our minds remix times and places and events and other faces to show us what was, what could have been, what perhaps really is, what could or could not be ... 

That our unique and singular soundtrack is a part of a wondrous and intricate collaborative chorale of the universe, melding with all others to create perfection. All are equally important, and none is unnecessary. 

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... be kind, we are all sacred compositions. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cairns of Memories

The calendar in my heart
A lifelong accessory
Each date a place to start
Cairns of memories

Small stones worn smooth
Rubbed between worrying fingers
Cumbersome boulders
Where the pain still lingers

Not linear or flat
As calendars are wont to be
Too predictable that
For a cairn of memory

Days are laid down
In rich fertile soil
Some fed with a frown
To others smiles are the toil

Squat and flat
Tall and lean
All just that
A cairn of memory

Built not to rhyme or reason
Like a calendar on the wall
Eschewing year and season
Mindful when teardrops fall

My soul-felt offering
My private grief
Some life altering
Others a relief

Destined for the ether
When my last breath is drawn
Yet setting my life meter
In the gloaming and at dawn

~ Ellen Apple 08/13/2016

Awake August 2016 - Thirteenth

Awake at my workday time
Today is a day off
Excuse me, I have an indulgence nap due


This is edited from a Facebook post a year ago:

Never underestimate the power of a hug. 
Tragedy hit the family of dear friends, and I took sandwich fixin's and myself to their home the following afternoon. 
Here in the mountains, that is what we do. We drive across the ridges and through the hollows, toting cakes and casseroles and loaves of bread to people who are hurting. 
I felt ill-prepared for that afternoon journey, and made a pound cake that night to take to them the following day. 
Anyway, as I was headed back home I contemplated (as I am wont to do when I drive). It occurred to me that when we carry food in to grieving families there are layers of meaning. We know we cannot alleviate the pain, or traverse that horrific path of grief for others.
We can feed them, however, a tangible expression of the connection and concern we have for our friends and neighbors. 
And it gives us the opportunity to hug. 
To clasp the hurting heart close to our breast, and wrap arms of love and compassion around them. 
To feel the wet heat of another's tears on our cheek or neck, and let them sob against our shoulder. 
In this, we take on for a brief moment a small small portion of the weight they have been encumbered with, if only for a few minutes, to ease the crushing grief and perhaps give them a chance to catch their breath. 
The hug is what feeds the hurt, not the peanut butter sandwiches or the pound cake.
The food is the conveyance of something far more precious.
The food brings the comforter and the grief-stricken together, for the healing to begin.

The Meaning behind the meaning ...

"Is there good rubber on those tires?"
A frequent query from my father regarding my transportation.
I last heard those words in late Winter of 1986. I had driven 1037 miles, from Fort Pierce FL to my hometown here in the mountains of southwest Virginia to attend the funeral of my mother's mother, MawMaw Slade. I had made the trip alone, and being just months into my 27th year, I still carried the arrogance of youth and the blind belief in the reliability of cars and equipment that was old and worn. dWhat I id not know, that day, that in two months we would have buried PawPaw Slade and Daddy as well.
The first few months of 1986 were very rough.
Daddy was ill, complications of diabetes, and I was getting ready to drive back to my home in Florida after the funeral. Mom had already gone to work, and I had packed the car and was ready to leave when I went to his bedroom to say my goodbyes. He was not given to saying, "I love you." Not really his style, but he always made sure we had plenty of fuel and reliable tires when we travelled.
"Is there good rubber on those tires?" was his way of saying "I love you. Be careful."
I just did not realize it at the time.

Humankind is hurting, and our precious Earth is as well. There is grieving all about us, and hugs being ached for. There are lonely people who just need to know someone cares if their lawn will be cared for, or whether the spare tire in the trunk will share the load if pressed into service.

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... hug the hurting, listen to the lonely,

be kind

Friday, August 12, 2016

Awake August 2016 - Twelfth

Heavenly blessings for the day
Meteors escorted me across the mountain
Perseid Meteors 2016


I was not expecting to see the meteors early this morning as I went to work, but was gifted a few brilliant flashes on the way in. Living rural as we do, though there are drawbacks, we are blessed with beautiful skyviews. Our night-sky is relatively untouched by light pollution. 

Years ago, when I was still in elementary school, we used to lay in the yards at night, preferably on a gently sloping hillside, and look heavenward. We would talk quietly of the stars and speculate as to the reaches and limits of what is outside of our Earth. I am a child of the Space Age. I can remember when we went to the moon, and gathering around televisions in school rooms to watch spaceships splash down in the ocean. 

Countless times through my almost 58 years I have stood and gazed skyward. I watch clouds, and wish on rainbows. I moon bathe in Luna's ripe fullness every opportunity I get. I stood on the front porch of a century old farmhouse on North Carolina and watched for Hale-Bopp in 1997.

When I lived in Florida, we lived down coast from the Cape and I stood in my front doorway and watched  as Challenger fell back to Earth in 1986. Then, in 1988, I stood so close to the launch of the Discovery that I could feel the ground shake and was so hoarse from cheering that I could barely speak, as I stood with tears streaming down my face that warm September day.

I love to watch the moon and stars as I drive at night, and derive a sense of continuity and security by knowing that while my meager little existence may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, that as Carl Sagan is purported to have said, we are all made of star stuff. There eternity and endless possibility in each living being here on this planet. 

I love this photograph of Earth, wrapped in clouds: 

As I do this one without the billowy cushion, and a favorite quote from Wendell Berry:

I had planned to do a light-hearted post for this Friday in August, because I know so many hurting and grieving hearts right now, I guess I wanted to bring a smile to some faces for a change. Instead, Universe gave me lagniappe of meteors this morning, and this is the result. 

Life is timeless, and as fleeting as the light of a meteor streaking across the nightsky. We are never alone, though as humankind we often isolate ourselves. There is a sacredness to our very breath and a purpose in our every step. Every great philosopher and religious leader I have ever read, every sacred text I have ever seen quoted, in the end says one thing : Love.

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Awake August 2016 - Tenth and Eleventh

Snowy white moth
Grass green grasshopper
Crows cawing in the distance
Early mountain morning



Duality at daybreak
Metal gray mountains
Silvery blue sky



Which would you rather be - A cloud or the rain?

Some days I am the cloud, some days I am the rain. Being the cloud means I can filter the glare and being the rain - well then I can refresh and revive the weary.

I sit and gaze out the window at the beauty of nature, admiring the silver glints of cobwebs as the evening sun arrives,dappled by the leaves of a tulip poplar. Sir spiders work shall survive another day. My attention is captured by nature's muse once again.

It is painful, and cathartic, to take a good honest assessment of things. Most relationships don't have winners and losers, do they? Just varying degrees of pain and ecstasy all muddled together until the one overshadows the other.

Butter Rice - Meatloaf - Creamed Corn

Butter Rice is so easy. One cup of rice, one can of condensed French Onion soup, one can of beef broth, sliced mushrooms are optional. In a 9x9 dish, cut one stick of butter in slices and put on rice mixture, cover and bake at 425 for 30 minutes, uncover and bake another 30 minutes.

I make meatloaf easy too - I put all the ingredients in a zipper gallon bag and squish it to combine. I bake it in a pyrex pie pan, along with the rice. If I put the rice in first, then make the meatloaf and put it in, they are done at the same time. 

I am getting more food oriented - one way I can tell the Summer is moving along. 

A miscellany of sorts today, as I sit and ponder the importance of  keeping balance in my life. I have to see to my good, to be able to try to be the positive difference in the lives of others.

I know so, so many hurting people. Emotionally, physically hurting people. 

Wanted to share this (again). The Four Agreements :

And this as I once again say, I have a vision of Earth, healed ... be kind - to yourself and others. It is the greatest gift we can offer and accept. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Awake August 2016 - Ninth

Later light
Earlier dark
Autumn is in sight


Mindful Journeys

is poetry 
the physical expression 
of love 
is prose 

Take a moment to feel the air, smell the earth, hear the sounds of life vibrating around you. This day, this moment, is as unique as any before, and any that will follow. Savor the varied and intricate threads that weave the life you live. The love, the trials, the triumphs, the tears. See the lover, the friend, the stranger you meet as you go through your day. Celebrate that you have this opportunity to be a part of their reality, and strive to make a positive impact. Speak your words with care, not haste. Laugh and enjoy the moments that bring a smile to your heart. 

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... 

~Ellen Apple 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Awake August 2016 - Sixth/Seventh/Eighth


Pretending the tears are from allergies

My eyes leak for a 24 year old woman
Cancer Sucks


Mindful Journey

Prompt Response:

Attachment Unavailable
Affection Unneeded
Affinity Unwarranted
Agreement Utilised
Until something I can provide
Is desired
Then I am of infinite value ...
The status quo
grows old
and cold

We all have those days, I think, when we are just not 'feeling" it.

Today has been like that for me.

It is hot, humid, overcast.

I am tired, restless, listless.


Through the Glades
Plump groundhog munching chicory
Utility truck repairing phone lines
Crows caw from a corn field
Hazy Sunday morning


Via @artiewu 


Saphro Gratitude encompasses my being #AwakeAugust

Prompt Response:
The Meaning behind the meaning The Meaning behind the meaning Subtexts say it all The tears behind my laughter No one will see fall The fear that drives my confidence A large and driving force The overwhelming insecurity Sees me always saying yes

Courtesy wearesoulsparks and Evolver Social Movement

So I was at a saturation point, I suppose. So much energy spent, and taking little if any time to recharge. All at once, I was not just tired, but exhausted. So I took a respite. I ate, and slept, and laughed with my Roger. We had deep, and shallow, conversations. I cleared some clutter from the kitchen counters, and from my mind as well. Some Olympics have been watched, and a few science fiction and classic horror films.

I have a vision of Earth, healed ... be kind, to yourself as well as others. Take time to just 'be'. Take notice of the souls you encounter, not just the human shells, but the soul within.

We are all we have, and this is our one shot at making it count.

~Ellen Apple