Representation of Me

09-08 Lake Reflection2

Reflections shifting on rippling water,

A breathing oil-on-canvas,

Mesmerizes, hypnotizes…

Introspection draws me deeper.

Only from a distance,

Can I envision the scene,

The lines between colors…

Nature’s representation of me.

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I haven’t posted poetry in a while, so I figured it was about time.  As I’ve done before, I’m going to share what I was thinking as I wrote it.

When I looked at the lake, it occurred to me that the reflections of the clouds and trees on the rippled water looked almost like an oil painting on canvas.  As I often do, I drew comparisons and related this to me and my life.

I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at an oil painting up close, but I find it fascinating how what looks like nothing more than blotches of different hues of green can suddenly turn into a beautiful tree when I take a couple steps back.  This is exactly how my life is right now.  I’ve been in the trenches of difficulty for most of this year and I had been submerged in darkness and hopelessness.  Up close, I failed to see beyond the mess that is “now”.

It’s only been the last couple months that I have been able to take those important steps back so I could see that, although my life seems to be just blotches of colors, it’s the beginning of so much more.  From a distance, I can envision beauty emerging at some point in the future.

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What Remains

Running low, but not dry yet....
Running low, but not dry yet….

As I was running one morning, this drainage area caught my eye.  At the time, I didn’t know why, but I stopped to snap a quick photo.  For nearly a week, this photo came to mind as my thoughts gathered regarding its significance.  Then, it finally occurred to me…

During heavy rains, this culvert fills with rushing water.  Ducks come to check out the new vacation spot and weeds flourish as the abundant moisture soaks their roots.  As sunny days pass by, the water level depletes until all that’s left are eroded indentions cradling the last evidence that a river temporarily existed.  Eventually, only hardened dirt remains, supporting the most stubborn weeds.  This “barely existence” goes on until the next rain, when the process begins again.

I realized I was drawn to this photo because it is a naturally occurring representation simulating life itself.  Specifically, how I’ve felt for a while now:  drained, like I have just enough energy to exist, and no nourishment for parts of my life that used to thrive.  I’m putting more effort into to finding “rain”- seeking out things that provide sustenance to counterbalance the demands being made of me.  This means devoting time daily to prayer and reading, embracing laughter, and taking in the beauty of nature around me.

More sleep needs to also be part of this. I’m working on that.  Baby steps….

Do you ever feel like this?  What is it that makes you feel alive?

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If I normally visit your blog and I haven’t, or if you have subscribed to my blog in the last three weeks  – please know that I will visit your blog eventually 🙂  I have over 200 unread emails that speak to my recent neglect, but other demands have cut into my blog activity.  I am crossing my fingers that I will have an hour each night to begin catching up… before I’m completely lost in the monster that is my email!

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and patience.  I feel stronger each day.

I Won’t Break

01-12 Snow

I bent over backwards,

turned inside out,

to create the illusion of peace.

Whenever the dust settled,

you blew through again,

disrupting the balance.

***

Shoulders hunched, back bowed

from the weight of life,

I wait out the storm.

Each breath anticipates

the point in time

when I can stand tall once more.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Inspiration:  During our recent snowstorm, I saw this young tree bent from the weight of snow.  When I spotted it, I immediately thought that it was nature’s representation of me.  Several times, I went outside and shook the snow off of it and it would spring back to the upright position.  I have hope that I, too, will bounce back like this little tree.

First Snow & The New Year

 01-01 snow on branches

The frigid blanket,

white, blameless, pristine

weighed heavy,

smothering life trapped beneath.

I paused to admire the beauty

transfixed, awestruck, perplexed;

by the paradox before me:

how could such splendor possibly harm?

Too late, I realized my peril-

the prickly numbness

soon turned stone-cold,

my weakness forever preserved.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Inspiration:  When I wrote this, I wanted the obvious interpretation to be about snow falling.  The photo of the recent first major snowfall in my area might have helped illustrate that conclusion.  The underlying meaning has more to do with emotions.  In the first four lines, I was writing about ambivalence.  The next four lines refer to love, and the final four lines are about the end result when ambivalence and love come together.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year!  Did you do anything fun to celebrate?  Did you make any resolutions? It’s good to be back from my blogging break and I will be catching up on reading over the next week or so 🙂

What Lives Within (Fiction)

Dead tree trunk in our yard... my imagination frightens me with possibilities of what has made this home...
Dead tree trunk in our yard… my imagination frightens me with possibilities of what has made this home…

I went inside a beehive for the first time last night.

You think I’m crazy; I see it in your eyes. I know, because it’s the same look my husband gave me when I told him about it this morning.

But it’s true. Even as my husband scans the Yellow Pages for a psychiatrist (doesn’t he know the internet is much more efficient?) I stand by my claim. I have a bee sting on my neck to prove it.

Well, Larry (that’s my husband) says the flaming red welt doesn’t prove anything- except that I’m a raving lunatic with an allergy to bee stings.

In defense of Larry’s skepticism, it seems logically impossible for a woman my size – five feet-six inches tall, one-hundred-forty pounds…. okay, five-foot-four; one-hundred-sixty pounds- to be able to fit inside even the largest of hives. Near as I can figure, the bee sting must’ve shrunk me in some way and they carried me in.

I made the mistake of supposing this scenario to Larry.

One eyebrow raised, he’d studied me for a few seconds. “You seriously believe bees carried you into a hive. Just how many bees did it take to do this?”

***          ***          ***

He looks up at me and reaches for the phone, left index finger marking a number on the yellow page.

The light in the room dims and we both turn toward the window behind him.

“What the-” Larry’s jaw hangs slack.

I walk to the window, almost in a trance. I place my palms on the dual pane glass separating me and the thousands of bees. “They came back,” I murmur.

I hear the chair scrape on the tile. The window grows warm beneath my palm and outstretched fingers. Burning, as if a flame flickered beneath my bare skin.

“Hi, yes, I would like to have my wife evaluated.” Larry pauses. “Well, she says she was in a bee hive last night.” Another pause. “Yes, inside the hive.”

The heat radiates up my arm. I want to scream.

“Um, yeah, that’s her.”

I must have screamed.  His voice is more audible, so I know he’s turned toward me.

“I’m not sure what’s happening,” Larry says in a quivering voice.

I want to tell him it’s okay, but I sense otherwise. I gasp for breath.

“She’s collapsed on the ground clasping her stomach.” Another pause. “Yes, I’ll call 9-1-1.”

“What the-?”

I hear the phone drop to the floor before I cry out in agony.

For a second time, words escape  him. I hear his footsteps retreat and the front door slam. The skin on my abdomen tingles so I rub my hand across it. Puzzled by the moistness, I look and am shocked by the smear of blood and the dozens of bees clustered around my fingers. Gasping for breath, I crane my neck to get a better look.

Hundreds of bees pulse in my abdomen, visible through several holes in my skin. As their energy increases and they venture further from me, my strength weakens. I’d read about the spread of hybrid cleptoparasitic bees in an article on MSN but chalked it up as sensationalizing to get clicks (it worked.)  Now, I know the threat is real.  They have chosen me.

I also know it will be a matter of time before they leave me an empty shell.

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This was a story I started for a writing contest, but missed the deadline. This week of Christmas, you might expect a feel-good story… which is why I decided to finish this creepy/bizarre tale. I’d hate to become too predictable 🙂

Inspiration:  A few fears came together for this one.

First, there is my fear of bees in general, heightened by the increased presence of Africanized honeybees (a result of hybrid breeding), which are generally more aggressive than European honeybees.

Second, in doing some research on bees, I read about some cleptoparasitic bees, which use a host bee’s nest to thrive, eventually killing off the host.

Third, I remembered the horrifying ways of the tarantula hawk. This wasp actually overtakes the tarantula and lays the egg in the spider’s abdomen. Several months ago, I’d watched some YouTube videos of tarantula hawk wasps in action, and found a National Geographic video that gives me nightmares. (Click the link, if you dare… bwahahaha!)

Bringing all these fears together, I wondered, “since humans like to muck around with nature, what if further cross-breeding resulted in bees that thrived in human hosts?”

Normal people don’t think this way, do they?

On that note, have a wonderful holiday! I may not be online much for the rest of the year.  Just wanted to warn you that any absence is only temporary.  I will refrain from typing the obvious 3-word Terminator catch-phrase.  (You’re welcome.) 🙄