Always remember

There are times we are compelled to ride waves of emotion as they appear—whether we want to or not. Tonight is one of those times. I am as ready as I ever will be. I trust my doctor, the medical staff and my own body’s capability of healing. Yet there are these thoughts and feelings that accompany this process that I can’t just brush away. Actually, I am surprised by them since they seemed to have quietly surfaced when I wasn’t paying attention.

I have had some exciting moments in my life like learning how to ride my bike with no hands or making my first meal from scratch and having everything turn out not burned tasty or holding my nephew and niece as babies or making Dean’s list or co-authoring a book or meeting the Dalai Lama.

However, none have compared to the births of my two beautiful children. I can still remember what it felt like to have them kick inside my belly, the late night tangerine raids as cravings hit, looking at their little faces for the first time, the  nights cradling a sick baby and all of the precious time spent watching them emerge into the incredible people they are. I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is the end of an era of sorts. While I knew that 2 was the perfect number of children for me and I am no longer as young as I sometimes feel, there’s something about knowing that this is it—it’s done, over, kaput. Along with the knowing are twinges and hauntings that serve as flashbacks and we wonder, “Has that much time really passed?” “Are we really about halfway done with our lives?” “Can our kids really be teens?”

So we look to the future. I will still have the capacity to give birth—just in a different way. My muses still gaze at me from a close distance, swirling words and ideas and metaphors into my heart and carrying me along on their whimsical flight. I will feel the contractions once more and know the fiery love and intense passion that birthing brings, and I will remember, always remember.

Forget

his eyes
glass reflecting
vacant rooms once
occupied no dog barks
at passers-by from slatted
fences no hydrangeas spill over
borders onto sidewalks his stairway
doesn’t creak memories of silent visitors
treading paths long ago to and fro his attic
forgotten cluttered with shadowy recesses and
memories tucked away in ancient trunks with roses
crumbled given and received as love bloomed precious
lockets house faded photos once fingered by wrinkled hands

© Pamela Rossow

The Swing

 

 

digging climbing her feet grazed pink cotton
candy dipped into aqua oceans she flew up
climbing high above “what’s for dinner”
and “due to insufficient funds” she
soared backward into squishy
lake bottoms netting bass
she breezed forward
past “invoices are
due”

then
she swooped
in reverse finding
herself planted firmly
in childhood green she knelt
down “ready, set, HIKE” toes
in the air again propelling towards
treetops skimming feet boisterous breath
not wanting magic memory motion to just stop

© Pamela Rossow

 

Friday Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. Photos – no words – capturing moments from the week. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments you want to pause, savour and remember. “This Moment” is a ritual found on  Life inspired by theWee Man which I then kidnapped from Almost there by Sarah-Jane and snagged from Alejandro.

Friday Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. Photos – no words – capturing moments from the week. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments you want to pause, savour and remember. “This Moment” is a ritual found on  Life inspired by the Wee Man which I then kidnapped from Almost there by Sarah-Jane and snagged from Alejandro.

Ashes of Soldiers

 
 
ASHES of soldiers!
As I muse, retrospective, murmuring a chant in thought,
Lo! the war resumes—again to my sense your shapes,
And again the advance of armies.Noiseless as mists and vapors,
From their graves in the trenches ascending,
From the cemeteries all through Virginia and Tennessee,
From every point of the compass, out of the countless unnamed graves,
In wafted clouds, in myraids large, or squads of twos or threes, or single ones, they
come,
And silently gather round me.Now sound no note, O trumpeters!
Not at the head of my cavalry, parading on spirited horses,
With sabres drawn and glist’ning, and carbines by their thighs—(ah, my brave
horsemen!
My handsome, tan-faced horsemen! what life, what joy and pride,
With all the perils, were yours!)Nor you drummers—neither at reveille, at dawn,
Nor the long roll alarming the camp—nor even the muffled beat for a burial;
Nothing from you, this time, O drummers, bearing my warlike drums.But aside from these, and the marts of wealth, and the crowded promenade,
Admitting around me comrades close, unseen by the rest, and voiceless,
The slain elate and alive again—the dust and debris alive,
I chant this chant of my silent soul, in the name of all dead soldiers.Faces so pale, with wondrous eyes, very dear, gather closer yet;
Draw close, but speak not.

Phantoms of countless lost!
Invisible to the rest, henceforth become my companions!
Follow me ever! desert me not, while I live.

Sweet are the blooming cheeks of the living! sweet are the musical voices sounding!
But sweet, ah sweet, are the dead, with their silent eyes.

Dearest comrades! all is over and long gone;
But love is not over—and what love, O comrades!
Perfume from battle-fields rising—up from foetor arising.

Perfume therefore my chant, O love! immortal Love!
Give me to bathe the memories of all dead soldiers,
Shroud them, embalm them, cover them all over with tender pride!

Perfume all! make all wholesome!
Make these ashes to nourish and blossom,
O love! O chant! solve all, fructify all with the last chemistry.

Give me exhaustless—make me a fountain,
That I exhale love from me wherever I go, like a moist perennial dew,
For the ashes of all dead soldiers.

 ~Walt Whitman

Smooth Jazz Sunday (not)

Yes, I know, it’s usually a smooth jazz Sunday (and maybe it will evolve into one later).  For now, it’s more like U2 retro.  There’s not a U2 song I can think of that I don’t like but their early years rock my world:  socio-political messages, great music, and more.  I remember when the movie Rattle and Hum came out and my BFF AKA Mel and I went to see it (at least twice).  We were THRILLED to see Larry on the big screen (still mildly obsessed). Anyway, I digress.  Kick your feet up and relax (or don’t). In any case, enjoy!

Monday Memories

Since my friend, Mary, over at Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease, started Monday Memory (which takes place the last Monday of the month), I thought it was the perfect day to reminisce (of course, it’s not the last Monday of the month but, hey, you should know me by now)

Nearly all my best, childhood memories include my family. Sun soaked, water logged days spent swimming in Non and Pop’s pool with my brother, mom, and dad, inhaling the Intercoastal with its pungent, sulphur smell that smacked my sinuses, stalking the brown water, dockside, hoping to see a silver eel streak by.

Memories that also involve the Atlantic Ocean which was just a short walk across A1A from their condo, the mysterious body of water that housed millions of varieties of life.  Whose beaches I lay upon under moonlight, motionless, transfixed, watching as the dark, shadowy sea turtles came ashore to dig nests and lay their eggs. The buoyant salty waves that lapped at my soul. Tides which pulled life’s negativity, ugliness, harshness out to sea till they became little specks on the horizon.  

Just some of the magical powers of memory–like a small town revival with its hallelujahs and deception entangled under one tent.   Fortunately for me (and something most kids take for granted), I only experienced the Messiahs during childhood–the joys and carefree days which blurred into years that formed me like wet sand in the hands of a master sculptor. 

My being, my core, my inner child is grainy, sun streaked, and dampened by salt spray. My remembrances which I keep dusted and lovingly displayed in my heart are happy and messy. They leave sandy footprints behind as they traipse through the years to find me where I am now. They slip into my dreams and cover me in beach sunflowers. They resurrect my beloved Nonnie and Pop-Pop whose wrinkled hands stroke my sun bleached hair, whose dark, Italian eyes speak love, whose lips utter “mange” and “I love you.”

My memories are my buried treasure, coin upon golden coin, hidden from the surface, yet, shallow enough to dive for whenever life becomes overwhelming or hateful or unforgiving. They are my secret to survival. They are. . .and I am.

 

 

 

Bradbury’s Brainy Bites

Work is done for the day so time to ponder.  I was thinking about Ray Bradbury tonight.  He’s the author of two of my favorite texts: Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine.  He has penned so many inspiring words I have trouble choosing only some quotes (a few are taped to the shelf above my desk).  Long story shorter (I can never guarantee short), here’s a few of my faves:

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ~Bradbury

“He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ~ Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

“You’ll find out it’s little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find.”~Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)

“Are you happy?” she [Clarisse] said. “Am I what?” he [Montag] cried. But she was gone- running in the moonlight. Her front door shut gently.” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. “ ~ Bradbury

“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or,”I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” ~Bradbury
 
“You’re either in love with what you do, or you’re not in love.” ~Bradbury 
 

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~Bradbury

Son, I love You

I gave birth, years ago, to a baby boy.  A child who, when I was pregnant with him, had his nights and days mixed up (especially during my last trimester) and one of the only ways he was lulled to sleep was by my movements, specifically vacuuming (yes, I had very clean floors). Who, when I was pregnant, caused me to crave espresso, Jelly Bellies for breakfast and tangerines late at night.  Who told me, with little kicks, that sleeping on my left side was unacceptable.  I must sleep on my back ever so slightly shifted to the right (I was and still am a side sleeper).  So much time has passed since those first years of sweetness (and sleeplessness) yet, if I allow myself to be swept along with my muses, I sometimes end up with snippets of my past carefully cut out with blunt edge scissors (like the way my children used to create their handmade paper valentines or snowflakes).  My past, filled with children, innocence, laughing, crying, healing, loving, draws me in and permits me little glances backwards, a déjà vu of sorts.  A tiny window framed by whitewashed memory, no glass, which I may peer through and view this other world (just for moments at a time). I am amazed, perplexed, astounded when I think about the day I met my son and held him in my arms.  I feel as if I have bitten into a lemon, halved and dipped in sugar, when I acknowledge how many circles those minute hands have traveled since the early days.  My life was altered that morning.  In the birthing experience, there was an imperceptible shift in my core, my soul, my breath.  Life was not ever to appear static again.  There was no grabbing the clock’s hands and halting them.  The button was hit and life began to fast forward.

Dear Son,

When you were born, I loved like I had not loved.  I experienced life in a new, beautiful way that was hidden from me prior.  You changed my life in such a manner that I questioned whether I had ever known love before.  You were, and are, my son.  I am grateful to call you this today.  Happy birthday my man-boy!

With much love,

Mom