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A long time ago, on a riverbank in a small town, a few friends and myself found refuge underneath two very tall Weeping Willows. Their long, sweeping branches concealed us and the sloped ground underneath was the only seats needed. Beneath those trees, we dreamt of futures, shared stories and jokes, ran and rolled then stretched out on our backs and absorbed the hidden world that was our own.

Cars coming on and off a bridge yards away, drove past but never looked in our direction. The sun light sprinkled its rays through the branches as we danced to music from a boom box someone brought. Hours passed before we even thought about time. The moon replaced the sun and its beams weaved through branches illuminating the earth. As we stood and twirled our shadows mimicked us across the grass.

We grew up and moved on and abandoned our trees. They still stand tall, but they lost their youth. Their branches no longer hide the earth below.

My husband listened to my friendship stories for years while we were dating. He understood how much I loved those friends and the trees. He planted a Weeping Willow in the backyard of our home the first year we were married. It was one of the best surprises of my life. I have this irritating ability to inadvertently ruin surprises for myself. I love surprises. I’m not the person who snoops to find out what gift I may be receiving. To me, the anticipation is just as much fun as the reveal. The fact that I hate to stumble upon a gift or gifts (An organ for Christmas, a Texas Instrument Computer, A new winter coat) may be the very reason Life arranges for the surprises to be ruined. But the day he planted the tree, I had no idea or any knowledge prior that he was about to present me with my most cherished gift.

After a long day of work, my stomach grumbled, and my feet were tired. I wanted nothing more than to retreat into our new home. My husband had the day off. He had plans to clean up the yard and cut the grass. He was a landscaper and was using our yard for a new cut he learned. As I pushed opened the back door, he was walking up the back steps to come get me. “Look at the grass do you like it?” I did like it. The diagonal lines gave a neat effect. As I looked at the grass he again said “Look, do you like it?”  Again, I replied “Yes, I love it, but I’m starving let’s go eat.”

As I turned to go back into the house, he yelled “Mar, look all the way back.” My eyes moved from the grass to the back of the yard. There stood my very own Weeping Willow. It was love at first sight. It was not yet grown and had many years to become the type of Willow that my friends and I once played under, but in a blink of an eye it rose and showered its branches over the yard and provided a new hidden world filled with new dreams, more children and refuge from the sun when the day was too hot.

I spent many afternoons under the tree writing as my children played and imagined. We studied the trunk of the tree and swore we could see faces within the bark. They used its branches to make crowns for their heads and swung on a tire that hung from one of its limbs. We decided to give the tree a name. Beauteous felt right. Under a Willow feels like a forest filled with fantastical beings or a magical land filled with fairies, talking trees, and all other whimsical creatures to a child. As Beauteous grew so did they. The children from yesterday no longer wanted to frolic under the tree, but they did enjoy laying blankets beneath its branches to find shelter from the sun. They gathered their friends under Beauteous when they wanted to share secrets while listening to the music of their adolescence. Our Beauteous was strong and tall and so loved. As the tree aged, intruders descended upon its sturdy shell and set up their infantry inside its trunk. No matter how we tried to save Beauteous the army of pests fought harder to destroy.

The once bountiful tree was becoming frail and the ground beneath exposed. A stormy night and high winds were what got Beauteous in the end. I didn’t witness the fall, but I will never forget looking out into the backyard and seeing our tree splattered across the lawn. The invaders weakened his soul enough that when the big storm came, he didn’t have the strength to weather the storm. There he lay and there we cried.

“I’m going to polyurethane the trunk and build a rock garden around it,” my husband said when he saw how sad the death of our tree made me. We moved it to the side of the yard, replanted the trunk into fresh dirt and built a flower bed around it. The week we were to go get the polyurethane I noticed a few doves trotting around in front of Beauteous. I inched closer to the tree to take a photo. As the birds flew away a glimmer of green caught my eye. New life was sprouting from Beauteous.

I’m sure there is a scientific reason as why this tree decided to grow back, but I choose to believe that this tree/ Beauteous loved us as much as we loved it. Its trunk may never again rise to a great height. It may look disheveled and its branches awry, but as long as it keeps sprouting, I know Beauteous continues to flourish.

Remember every choice has a consequence. You may kid yourself by convincing yourself that a bad choice feels right. The bad choices are the easiest ones to make. It’s the right choices that feels like work.

You can fool some people but there are others who will always know your true intentions. Often, they are the ones that keep quiet.

Don’t fool yourself, you are not fooling them.

Tonight friends and I engaged in a deep conversation about relationships. Everyone has had relationships that they needed to end for one reason or another. After listening to many different stories I came up with a conclusion. If you see a quality that you hate to love about yourself inside someone else maybe it’s best you choose to let that person go before you become the worst that you could be.

Hello everyone. Have you missed my Friday’s Song? I have. Today I took a quiz to see what Dave Matthew’s song I would be and the result was Grey Street. I love the song and was pleasantly pleased. After listening to the lyrics more deeply I realized that yeah, this could have been me. But the difference is, I am happy with the life I have been given and do believe that someone hears my prayers and they listen.
Have a great Friday and enjoy listening to some Dave. He always sings to my soul.

Lyrics

Grey Street lyrics
Oh look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out on to Grey Street.
She thinks, “Hey, how did I come to this?”
I dream myself a thousand times around the world
But I can’t get out of this place.
There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’ll do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart
How she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears it doesn’t listen
There’s still a hope in her it might
She says “I pray But they fall on deaf ears,
am I supposed to take it on myself?
To get out of this place? ”
There’s lonliness inside her
And she’ll do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart
There’s a stranger speaks outside her door
Says take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
It’d take the work out of courage
But she says “Please
There’s a crazy man that’s creeping outside my door,
I live on the corner of Grey Street
And the end of the world. ”
There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’ll do anyrthing to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart
She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart
It breaks her heart
To Grey

Today is one year ago that my father passed away. Not one day has gone by that I haven’t thought about him. I will miss that man forever and wish that other people have the chance in life to meet someone as extraordinary as that man.
I wrote a poem for him.

It has been a year but in our hearts you remain
Time heals wounds but doesn’t lessen the pain

You were a man that so many aspired to be
We were blessed to be part of your family

There were so many things that made you unique
A giant smile, a genuine laugh, an honest critique

A man of virtue who eloquently guided his clan
A man God sought out to follow his plan

Heaven’s gain, unfortunately was our disaster
We were left behind. We lost our master

No one will ever replace the man you became
Even a sunny day will never be the same

All the riches couldn’t buy the happiness you supplied
Our lives forever changed the day that you died

Until we meet again, our sweet, kind, loving man
Save us a spot on the other side
If you can

Reflections and Recollections stir in my mind
What I am searching for, I cannot seem to find

A day, a year, a second, they have all gone away
If only a thought could invite a memory to stay

I would dance longer, hug tighter and recognize
That everything worth loving meets its demise

One of my most embarrassing moments happened at a roller skate rink when I was about eleven-years old. Tonight, twenty some years later, I had another experience that will forever make me cringe. Or maybe laugh out loud.
Let’s rewind a bit and go back to the first occurrence. I was an overweight pre-teen doing to the best I could to look graceful on a pair of roller skates. It was a school sponsored event and everyone was there. I was zipping around, noticing a group of very good looking teenagers huddled together at one of the side resting places when I felt myself lose control. I desperately tried to regain my balance as I flew across the floor toward the very good looking teenagers. “Please don’t fall into them,” I repeated to myself.
They frantically waved their arms screaming, “No!”
I plowed into them like a bowling ball. They were struck down one by one by the overweight chick on skates. I am certain at least one of them never forgot that night.
Tonight I was at a roller rink with my children for a birthday party. My husband, being the sport that he is laced up. He took the three oldest out while I stayed back with my ten month old. I pushed her stroller over to an indoor picnic table and attempted to sit down. Immediately, I realized I misjudged where the seat was in relation to where my ass was. One cheek grazed the edge of the bench and I felt myself losing balance. I desperately tried to stabilize myself. I spun around and tripped over my own feet and slammed against the floor. Directly in front of me was no other than a group of teenage boys. So, if you suddenly find a you-tube video of a mother falling flat on her face at a roller rink, chances are it is me.
To think, I wasn’t even wearing skates.

Today wraps up Poetry month. I had fun writing poems but I will be the first to admit I have much more to learn when it comes to writing poetry. Still, I gave it my best shot. The prompt for the last day of poems over at Poetic Asides was Farewell.

To bid farewell to someone or something is not always easy and sometimes heartbreaking. Everything that lives must die. But everything that dies does not need to be forgotten.

Memento Mori

Chats on the backyard swing
Smoking under the train bridge
Sunday dinners at noon
Life is passing by

Laughing at an inside joke
Cookouts in the country
Walks along the railroad tracks
Days forever gone. Why?

Curfews and crazy days
Sitting on the front porch
Loving for the first time
Everything born must die

Farewell to all things loved
Cherished memories will remain
In my dreams, you all resurface
One day, together we will fly.

Never Give Up

Even when they tell you no
Even if you doubt you could
Even if you tried and failed
Believe, Hope, Trust you would

If you believe you can’t. You won’t.
If you believe you can. You will!
It may take a while but keep reaching
Learn a lesson then keep teaching.

Everyone dreams of something
Nobody wants to be nothing
Never give up and you will see
Yourself become what you were meant to be.

Happy Earth Day! I intended on posting this early this morning, but as usual the day went by too quick.
The older I get, the more I appreciate our Earth. When you are young, (at least when I was) you take the Earth for granted. If you live in an area filled with mountains (which I do) they eventually become invisible unless you make it a point for them not to. This is the sort of thing I have been making a conscious effort to not do lately. I want to take a moment to cherish the beauty in the mountains, breathe in a breath of fresh air, and marvel at the blue sky.
Appreciating our Earth on a daily basis will change the way you look at life. I recall my father saying “It’s good to be alive.” He loved a beautiful day and never let one pass without recognizing how lucky he was to see nature at its best.

Wake up. Take in the view. Open a window and enjoy what you have today because tomorrow it can be taken away.

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