Two or three are gathered

In fear and trembling, destiny’s road perishes.
With courage, horizons become light.

This is how I started my thinking in the New Year 2017.  Fight!  Push through this colossal dilemma and latch onto what got you here in the first place.  Birth.  Birth something new into your being.  And with this strength, I set out on 2017’s road with a new hope.

By no means is this journey easy.  Most days, it is incomprehensible that I sit here at my writing desk.  Seldom am I truly sitting here alone.  I have trusted myself into capable hands, caring people who have seen me through obsidian days.  Cheerleaders for my soul.  I have buried myself on occasion, unearthed words from rubble, in order to bring comfort through turmoil and rage.  I have flown skyward, netting star light, to pocket for future days.

So?  If?  When?  Three questions that will never leave me.  I have finished my schooling.  I woke up this morning with no paper due dates.  I heard myself chuckle.  When was the last time I laughed so gaily?  For certain, it has been a while.  If I find myself low, will I recall this moment?  A tinkling in the cosmic dust of life.  And so, I travel on with hopes and new adventures await…

Do not fear the mistake, fear the absence of courage.  Healthy fear grows into strength.  Fear and courage, two strands, binds a marriage in your head. With humility, three,  their dancing commands attention.   See you soon.  Happy writing, Jeanne Elizabeth

Credence Clearwater Revival

Brewing coffee, humming a beat and dancing (it’s great to wake up happy):
Do do do do
Do do do do
Do do do do yeah
Do do do do
Do do do do

I am having one of those mornings when a song gets stuck in your head. Actually every morning the past few months has been this way.

I quizzed my husband to name that tune, I needed to know before it drove me crazy, and after three tries he figured it out. He’s good!

Tree trunks in the grass

Van Gogh, 1890

Visited the Cincinnati Museum of Art, 11/04/2016, to see the exhibit “Van Gogh, Undergrowth”. This painting was on display, and although no photography was allowed, i found an image online. To see this painting up close extraordinaire. 

Van Gogh’s work is sensual. A sexual encounter. This painting a new favorite. The favorite. One to immerse and revel, detail of color to paint a soul. 

This was a prolific time in Van Gogh’s life while in the asylum. He wrote Theo “work is progressing well, I have done 2 canvases of the fresh grass in the park, one of extreme simplicity. I enclose a quick scribble of it”. 

There is a mystery surrounding this painting i have yet to answer. I have Ingo F. Walter and Rainer Metzger’s Van Gogh: The complete Paintings, without this painting included. There must be an answer. As of now nothing to note.  

Van Gogh always of interest to me. 

love not understood
keep me pining for more.
love that saved me
fathom the final score. –J

Space between our existence

I venture to say I sense healing has come my way as I bask in the sun. I discovered a park on my way home from excursions, a hidden gem in Fishers IN, USA. I hear the highway, a steady hum, the car wheels keep on turning. I choose to be still for these autumn moments. A chance to release toxic feelings. 

It is I, the squirrels and dreamy birds, soaring to melodies. I imagine they pray for me. Reaching altitudes high enough, with keen vision, they notice the tears below their wings. I echo their song.

The sky is blue, choo-choo, choo-choo

I shall sing and dance, remember you!!


As I walk, I peer down, leisurely snatch a few red-orange maple leaves to press. It has been a while since I bothered to capture positive memories, still lifes. A park bench welcomes me to sit awhile. I accept, ponder and feel anxiousness creep inside. From where do these thoughts appear? Ghostly existence deep within my heart, beating faster as if I run. The acorns bombing my position. 

No time to waste, the cardinal resumes a song, his red feathers sensing winter soon appears. 

Leaves twirling mid-air, a dance of farewell. 

A bow and curtsy, we bid each other peace. 

All so personal

Taboo talk
everything locked up tight.
Everything
about every neighbor he gossiped.

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Dad and Grandpa, year unknown

Everything has been locked up tight. I wrote feverishly during high school years and burned the papers in 1998. The poems and letters from time I had rather forget. Moving home to Wisconsin, having lived in Michigan (UM-Ann Arbor), Connecticut (Yale) and NYC (Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital) I was happy to return to a rather unhappy place in my mind. I choose to move close to our children’s grandparents so my husband took a job at Abbott Labs in IL. Looking back I regret that decision. I should have chosen to live in NJ, my husband working at Merck. It is shame I reminiscent about mistakes, keeping me from loving my place in life in 2016. All the same, perhaps it will heal the pain, I hid for so long.

I regained my voice in 2008, the urging of my husband. It was taboo to speak of family matters of old, as it spread to my childhood years, with no stopping the gossip about neighbors. Denny, the farmer down the gravel road from my grandparents, could not live up to town standards, nor could grandpa’s children or grandchildren. His row of tobacco, so straight and proud, became the beginning of a tragic downfall.

Grandpa never realized nothing lasts forever, even in desirous wishes and prayers. When grandma became sick and unable to help with farm chores, grandpa was forced to sell the farm. My aunt bought it and grandpa moved into town with grandma, within walking distance to attend church, visit the post office and friend’s houses.

His mental health withered, days turned to weeks and nothing improved in his mind. The slow churn downward was speeding up and on a brisk October day, grandpa lay in bed. The doctors tried shock treatment to no avail. He wintered several months before the morning warmed. Grandma headed to the post office, most likely to pick up a letter written by me, her chance to escape the shackled cell. Upon returning, the house stood quiet and she decided to sit down for mid-day tea. Grandma sat to read my letter, politely folded and treasured it safely away, then rose to check on grandpa. He was gone. (Dad’s family comes from England, Maxwell my surname, and traditions of tea had been passed down since the American Revolution. This another story for another time.)

Scanning their five room bungalow, what appeared were empty chairs and a blank TV screen. She took to the garage, side door open, car in the parking stall, and there lay grandpa, shotgun by his side.

I was working when mom called and told me I needed to come home, fast. Why so rushed? Traveling to Viola WI, the car wheels spinned no faster than my head. Not a thing was said, a four hour drive west. The silence unbearable.

It was Memorial weekend, the end of May, a cheery Spring morning. I was planning my July wedding and quite happy. Upon entering the funeral parlor, seeing grandma stark white, a line of people greeting her, things began to fall in place. Or rather apart. Grandma and I, eyes averted, understood while I wailed in her arms. She was totally uncomfortable.

Grandma and grandpa were Methodist. The congregation sang How Great Though Arta memorial to a man’s love of the land, the hills and valleys of Vernon County, and his prized Jersey cows. He treated his cows to classical music morning and evening, they long been scattered, so they would never know of his departure. Yet I was forced to sit in the pew, thumbing through the Bible, and came upon verses in the OT about sins of the father, generational curses and needing to be the change of the NT. A dawning of life in 1985 that would later be rattled by new news years later.

Today, October 2016, driving down the highway, my daughter videoed a burning car. I had never seen such a sight. I feel naive to think life is invincible while also anxiously awaiting my fate. Danger lurks at every bend. After two suicides in the family, I have become an anxious neurotic. I have been told I am a survivor, strong and courageous to face days, but no one ever feels that way unless armed with a weapon. Emotional resources are absent to me, with no way to construct love from the emptying hope seeping through my skin. I have found words again, though I wish it did not have to be this way. I write down the bricks built, from the outside looking in, to release the pain.

I have approached child-rearing differently from reading those Bible verses in 1985. My children and I talk about everything. Nothing is hidden beneath bushels of bull. My children know as they grow, I will share more, knowing they are mature to handle the unthinkable. I have warned my daughter about men who spike drinks, taught my son to treat women with respect and continually encourage my youngest daughter, who finds high school a mountain too tall to climb. She suffers from thoughts of wanting to die. There is no reason for those thoughts, she realizes, as she tells me thank you every day and apologizes for her agony. I understand her battle, battling those same suicidal thoughts. I believe mental sickness hereditary. A generational curse. Our thoughts take sparks from life to light the inner battle. Some people are strong enough to overcome setbacks and others are vulnerable to the tiniest pin drop. The reverberations strong enough to bring down the most beautiful and loving life.

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”  Ned Vizzini It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Friends

Im left depleted of soul energy and seek solitude from those who only see me as parts. Friends are sophisticated brothers who leave me whole.

Long conversations, solving life puzzles and drinking from the mountain’s cool, refreshing fountain. Reading in silence, glancing his smile, knowing we each have found a world to be free.

Friends are precious in bringing joy to a broken heart. We replenish each other’s emptiness, not expecting anything in return.

Happiness comes from bones covered in skin. The natural glow of happiness comes from within.

Friends as we walk along the shore, hearing the distant echo of past pain. We let it go as fingers on the keys of a piano.

So I invite you to dine at the table. A place is set for you.