Musings, Unbound

Hope and Purpose

As the year wanes towards the New Year, we seek resolutions to work towards in the coming days.  I don’t know about you, but I have yet to carry through a single resolution since I remember making my first one back when I was fourteen or fifteen.  Still, these resolutions give us a sense of purpose and determination, however fleeting, as we return to activities long since dropped since March or April of the year before.  In this sense, we find some renewal.  Some hope.

As an educator, I am afforded two weeks at Christmas as a “vacation”.  I use quotations because anyone who has worked or is working in education knows that we only dream of vacations when we’re really attending professional development, pinning lesson ideas, wondering how our students are doing, or just generally curled up in a ball binge watching our favorite shows while we anxiously obsess over all the things we know we should be doing to prepare for students to return but find little will to actually do it.  Maybe that last part is just me, though.

The truth of the matter is celebrating Christmas is hard.  With all the good cheer floating like snowflakes through the air, the loss of my dearest loved ones fills me with a chill.  It’s hard to let the season fill me when the absence feels so deep.  Sometimes crying can break the ice, so that other emotions can fill up the well in our souls.  My tears just won’t fall.  With this in mind and knowing I can’t let my heart freeze, I’m going to looking forward.  I’m will break the ice with hope and purpose.

Carrie’s Top 5 Determinations for Hope and Purpose in 2017:

  • Blog at least twice a week: You can dust off and brush up something you’ve written before, but be sure you are actively writing.
  • Keep track of at least one happy moment during the week with a “Ray of Sunshine Jar”.  Open it up and read a few if you need a little sunshine in your life!
  • Be healthy enough to wear the sailboat dress that Mom always wanted to wear
  • Tell someone you love them – every day.  You never know when it will be their last time to hear it or your last time to say it.
  • Read, read, read!  Seriously.  You’re an English teacher.  It’s kind of in the job description, anyways.
In response to Daily Prompt: Renewal
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Sparkler” by Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain) 
Poetry, Unbound

Vanishing Point

There is a vanishing point well off in the distance
that signifies the end of the world as we know it.
The fallibility of the human eye cannot see beyond it,
but as sure as we know the Earth is round,
we know there must be something there reaching out to us.

Vanishing points don’t just exist on the horizon.
They exist in the human soul.
What lies beyond this precipice of our humanity?
Could it be we are each born with a black hole at our center
ever consuming the light within us?

But vanishing points don’t just diminish the light
as it tends towards evening twilight and darkness.
They also herald the coming sunrise,
meeting it head on and erupting the sky into
sprays of warm golds and brilliant blues.

This is the moment where there is either
life or death, love or loss, light or darkness.
This is the moment where we meet –
The vanishing point between
who I was,
who I am,
who I want to be.

In response to Daily Prompt: Vanish
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Horizon” by diego_torres (CC0 Public Domain)
Musings, Unbound

Hollow Year

What is existence?  How do we construct its purpose?  When we do manage to wrestle some menial sense of direction, how do we know it’s not something contrived, something shoehorned in in the last moment?  These are questions I have been wrestling with, and they’ve only become more prevalent and urgent in the past couple of weeks.  

When I was younger, I had many ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  A marine biologist discovering the secrets of the Marianas Trench.  A paleontologist filling in holes in the historical timeline.  A secret agent protecting the world from untold doom.  An astronaut and first woman to have her baby on the moon.  What grand dreams!

I also wanted to be a teacher.  I wanted to be one since I was in kindergarten.  It was the safe dream, but it was my dream nonetheless.  I made it happen and loved every minute of it.  Until, I didn’t anymore.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are still days when I believe that I’ll only be alive if I work with young minds.  Then there are the days, even after eight years, where I sit in my car during lunch and cry.  It used to be these days were few and far between.  Now, the marks on the calendar tell me this is more than just a passing phase.  This is where I am, that bittersweet moment where you know the dream is ending.

So, I ask again what is existence?  How do we construct its purpose?  Do we define it by what we do?  Do we define it by who we become?  Do we define it by those we keep in our life?  Do we define it by family?  Do we define it by those things we have left undone but intended to do all along?  Really, I think all of these just ring hollow through the years.  Really, I think the answer is there is no answer.

Perhaps, it’s because the summer of my life is tending towards fall, and I have no real harvest to speak of to bring in that I am asking all these questions.  Perhaps it’s the impending winter days which seem much shorter and the nights much colder that I am seeking to rekindle some truth to keep me warm.  Perhaps, I should take the wisdom of a student who passionately interrupted our discussion on the fallibility of mankind in “By the Waters of Babylon” earlier in the week with “Miss, it’s too early for an existential crisis!”

In response to Daily Prompt: Construct
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Hollow” by Daswortgewand (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Unbound

Summer Storm

On lazy mornings as the sky’s tinder caught fire
We would sneak out in bare feet
To get drunk on wildflowers and honeysuckle wine

With red stained hands and jellied mouths
We passed the time playing ring around the rose bushes
And hide-n-go seek with spiders

In the afternoons we painted our skin gold
And washed our naked bodies
In sprays of falling rainbows

At dusk we caught lightning in a jar
And stretched out under dewy stars
To watch the strikes zing around

That night clouds rolled before our eyes and
In the distance we could hear the runaway potato cart
Rumbling down the hill

Grandmother set the storm free saying
“Child someday you’ll understand”

In response to Discover Challenge: One, Two, Three!
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Storm” by Dimitrisvetsikas (CC0 Public Domain)
Musings, Unbound

Taking Flight

A little over a year ago after my mother passed away, I sat down and created a space to share my thoughts and writings. This space, actually. In my ambition, I thought: “Surely, I am at the stage in my grieving process where I can begin to write and heal my heart.” Turns out, grief is a tricky thing, and it is not as linear as I once believed.

On July 8, 2015, my mother passed away. Even today when I say this out loud to people, the air goes out of my lungs and there is the sting of tears as I remember the switches being turned off, the audible silence of breaths being held, the unending screech of a flat-line, and the soft, damp patter of the CPAP machine artificially inflating her lungs even though she had already flown away. Then this millisecond memory passes, my breath returns, the tears don’t fall, and with a bittersweet smile, I can say, “My mom passed away. She prayed for God to take away her pain, and He did.”

It’s hard to deny that she’s no longer of this earth, no bargaining to be made, so I’ve spent the better part of the past year and a half between anger, depression, and acceptance. Admittedly, acceptance has been tough. It’s hard accepting that the world just moves on when you know it’s lost something so precious. Yet the sun continues to rise, oceans continue to kiss their many shores, oxygen continues to fill your lungs, you wake up, you go about your day, you go to sleep, and you find that, after awhile, you are moving on, too.

That’s really what this is all about. Moving on. Taking flight. Letting go of the pain and filling myself with purpose. Finding truth and solace in the infinite arrangement of 26 letters. I am still grieving and wrestling with anger and depression, but I accept that this is natural. I accept that, though this will never go away, it will lessen over time. I accept this grief, slightly cracked and antiqued on the edges but beautiful nonetheless, is a part of myself.

A little over a year ago after my mother passed away, I sat down and created a space to share my thoughts and writings. Today, I give true thanks to her memory and take flight.

Featured Image: Pixabay –  “Dandelion” by Comfreak (CC0 Public Domain)