Contented Flowers

Poetry is the ticking of my heart. Energy from words flow through my veins as music might through my body. The light of each syllable sparks from a newly created flash.

CONTENTED FLOWERS

Carefully, the day grows with colors encroaching.
Flowers press the top layer of earth.
So tender are the petals.
They pretend to be silk dressings of garlic cloves.
They breathe as if they’re recently incubated.
They turn the page of top soil.
We tend the garden of them.
They are where our memory lives to unfold their story.
Spun around, their centers feel yesterday and soon to be – today.
The planet’s dream takes each drop of breath.
The glitter of butterfly wings releases a breeze.
They zigzag through tufts of foliage.
Those wings appreciate the lopsided curves of earth.
The lands are where seeds scatter.
A script is being written.
Each word is savored by the sacred colossus.
Moments are elevated with a harp’s sunlight.
There is a mythical heart beating out prose.
If unfurled, each flower’s price tag exceeds the cost of glory.
Harvested terrain renders a journey of tomorrow.
Vining roots, venturing stems, and leaves are all exposed nerves.
Contentment grows steadily within rich loom.
Blooms stand like sundials.
Mysterious, shadowy agents tame the light.
Canonical rolls of rays dash the fields.
There are flowers growing with sampler colors.
As if kissed on the inside, petals are dipped in a multitude of hues.
As if caressed on the outside, leaves shelter.
Cast in the wonder of wilderness, blooms lift their heads.
And we recognize the side-effects of contented flowers.
Copyright: Kieran York   

 

Please check out my poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2, edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. The latest volume, Roses Read, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3, will be published this month.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

van Gogh’s Message

Over a year ago I visited the Denver Art Museum’s “Becoming van Gogh” exhibit.  Those of us in the area had awaited the exhibition for months, and years.

The career retrospective of Vincent van Gogh included seventy paintings, drawings, and prints. These masterpieces were borrowed from forty institutions and private collectors around the world. It required seven years, and twenty-two separate shipments.

Some wonder what is so important about seeing actual paintings. The answer is that in books and reproductions, so much flavor is missed. Lost in imitation of the original.

I have never been more impacted by artwork than seeing the van Gogh collection. I wanted to know his soul. I’d reached into the words of hundreds of letters he’d written during his lifetime. They were of his odyssey as a misfit and an artist. His exuberant art mirrored letters of elation. His depression was also captured in both word and paint.

But nothing prepared me for standing near his work – near enough to hold out a paintbrush and dab paint as he had. I witnessed it from his vantage point. It was like falling into the magic of the canvas.

Works were thematically selected to show van Gogh’s beginning. Early art, yet each seemed to forecast the explosive, unique, and emotional images. With his well-executed striation, he rearranged reality. From the density of paint evolved tremors of visual elasticity. Great tangles of brush strokes radiated energy. Bold nuances allowed exotic pictorial resonance to bloom.

How did Vincent van Gogh become the master of the Post-Impressionist period? Many critics consider him to be the greatest painter of all times.

From the amazingly different way the Dutch-born artist approached his art, we all came to look at art differently. Other artists were influenced by his thick, heavy colors. The public was impressed with his enthusiasm, and coloristic warmth. Across the surface of his canvases, and paper, we saw intensity, and felt his restlessness.

I’m not an art critic. I’m not an art expert. I’m someone who simply loves the creation that art is. So I shall not attempt to do anything other than give my own slant on what that marvelous day spent with Vincent meant to me.

Van Gogh wasn’t a perfect human being – he was admittedly flawed. But his search to give the world perfect art was not flawed. After reading his entire collection of letters numberous times, I found so much humanity – in both the man and his art.

From a letter written to his brother on July 26th, 1882: If you work with love and intelligence, you develop a kind of armor against people’s opinions, just because of the sincerity of your love for nature and art. Nature is also severe and, to put it in that way, hard, but never deceives and always helps move you to forward.  

His words and his works tell so much about his becoming his own artist. The essence of the man is difficult to know. But I know more since seeing the monumental exhibit of his works. Viewing the herculean collection was up near the top of my bucket list. Achieved!

To share with you what I felt when I was within the interior of this group of paintings seems an impossible task. What I can say is that his work displayed in books does not touch the surface of emotion. His soul seems to have bled onto each canvas – which is visible in person only.

The downtrodden, bedraggled, eccentric had the melody of genius tapping to the tune of his brush. Of that I was convinced as I moved toward the painting A Pair of Boots, I heard the click of the boots as they hit the cobblestones. Van Gogh had recorded the battered worker’s boots – giving them their own dignity.

His paintings Peasants Planting Potatoes  and The Potato Eaters are done with a combination of reality and reverence for their work ethics. In one of van Gogh’s letters he explained: I plow my canvases as the peasants do their fields.

He had painted and sketched those fields. He filled his brushes with paint and exacted elliptical, dynamic strokes, and repetitive linear structure. He worked quickly, producing a treasure trove of work in a short lifetime.

And when criticized for the rapid creation of his impressive oeuvre, he responded to his brother Theo: So if people say that my work is done too quickly, you can reply that they have looked at it too quickly.

Thankfully, he continued to rapidly thrust pigment in his unique curvilinear flow – creating surface rhythms. As I walked through the museum’s rooms, I was in no hurry. I wanted to memorize the magnificence of wheat fields, portraits, and still life.

Works such as Pollard Willows at Sunset, Basket with Oranges, and Head of Gordina de Goot, brought tears to my eyes. One of my very favorites, Cineraria, bound me to it for nearly twenty minutes. As did Peach Tree in Blossom and River Bank in Springtime. As if being embraced by the paintings, I did not look too quickly.

The exhibit’s exit was with one wall of three of van Gogh’s self-portraits. They had never been together before. I looked into the agitated eyes of Self-Portrait. I saw the dignity, and tenderness of Self-Portrait with Straw Hat. And the many expressions at once in the eyes of Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat. I saw in three sets of eyes that he was probably self-critical, intense, autodidactic, and acutely aware that his life would be one of struggling.

“Becoming van Gogh” had indeed shown the roots of his trademark style. The exhibit made my pulse rush, my mouth become dry, and all else in life paused to make way for the viewing experience.

If he were to have whispered to me, what words would the great artist have spoken? Perhaps he would have told me his style had made him an interventionist of modern art – without his having known about it. Or in secret, he might have mentioned that his paintings were devoid of props. Life was his only prop. More likely, he would have smiled, saying only one of his paintings sold during his lifetime.

Maybe his tears fell in tune with all other artists. His works were selfless gifts to humanity. For van Gogh, it was a canvas, a paper, and his image of the world’s metaphors.

For me, that would be like a poem unclasping itself and falling into the enormity of existence. All those who create seem to echo one another’s achievements.

In his final letter to Theo, he wrote: As for my own work, I risk my life for it and my sanity half shot anyway because of it – fine – but you’re not one of those dealers in men as far as I know, and you can chose the side you’re on, it seems to me, and act with genuine humanity, but what’s to be done?

His words seem not so insane. It might be a message to us all. We can select to act with genuine humanity. 

  

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If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Please check out my poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2, edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. The latest volume, Roses Read, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3, will be published in January, 2013.

The Win Column…

Life is remarkable!

Last night was no more or less remarkable than any other night.

I stood on my deck looking out at the constellations above. Through a wrap of tree branches, I spotted a thin curvature of the moon’s glimmer. Both moon and stars seemed to be punching out through the darkness.

I wondered, as I examined the heavens, if those great constellations ever gave themselves a self-exam. Probed around, checking celestial interlopers?

When it got too cool for shivers not to have arrived on my arms, I closed my eyes. For whatever reason – well, my mind scurries at times, I was thinking about life. Large screen, double-wide – well, my mind races at times – I was thinking about 2012’s win-loss column. A bittersweet spring, summer, and autumn, to be sure. Wanting now, to turn my thoughts back into happiness, I thought about my nine wonderful great-nieces and great-nephews.

For whatever reason, my mind sprinted to when my five and seven-year old great-nephews and I played kickball. One of our favorite events, for sure. Cooper, Brody, and I get plenty of exercise.

Brody, the seven-year old is, just as they all are, very special. He was diagnosed with celiac disease a couple of years ago. So he is on a rigid gluten-free diet. He has never complained when being served something different from everyone else. I’ve never heard him complain – period.

He’s a tough kid, and tough contender. When he’s on a field, a court, or in a conversation, he gives it his all. And when we play kickball, he is a champion. I am no such thing, but the exercise and enjoyment does me a world of good.

I recall one game when there was a lot of scoring. I’d lost track. I asked Brody what the score was. He replied, “I don’t keep score – but I know when I’m winning.” Although I smiled at the time, I hadn’t allowed the wisdom of his words to resonate.

Last night, on the deck, I allowed them to ricochet through my mind. My world is family, friends, and writing. I count my schnauzer, Clover, in both family and friend category. My world is rich, and wondrous with what I do have. I should never consider what or who I don’t have in my life.

For instance, I wrote most of the day, yesterday. Words flowed through my brain faster than they could be transcribed. My body performed in every way that I needed it to – including a couple hours of raking leaves. I love the melody of crunching leaves mingling with birds scolding me for intruding on their world. I love the fresh air and exercise.

So last night, as I looked up at the sky, I realized how truly splendid the world is. It probably is a good thing I don’t keep score. Yet as my little hero, Brody, would say, “I know when I’m winning.”

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Appointment with a Smile is a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in the Romance Category.

Books are available through www.bluefeatherooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon. My latest fiction is called Careful Flowers, and will be released in the autumn of 2013.

Please check out some of my other poetry in collections called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2,and Roses Read, Volume 3. Edited by award-winning poet Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

 

Ranger’s Cough

I’ve always believed narrative poetry is perhaps the most difficult to write. Maybe it is just difficult for me to write. It should tell a relatable story. The narrative is a simple subject with a meager plot. 

The surface remains effortless. The hidden event, however, must more substantive. It should touch nerves far deeper than the story line. It requires that both the writer and the reader become cognizant of other profound levels.

There is a need to delve into thought. The mind’s plow should drag upon earth’s hidden trenches of stone and of rich loom. The sharp instrument should carve within to expose some circular, formerly indigent belief, thought, or dream.     

It should guide us to our own wisdom, making us finer, and more engaged in life – and living life with one another. If “Ranger’s Cough” discloses any part of us – the collective humanity of us, I have not failed. If I have failed…It’s okay. It certainly hasn’t been the first time, and It won’t be the last time.  

RANGER’S COUGH

Limping on a swollen paw, with torn pad, was beneath his dignity.
He’d hobble before when vicious fights nearly incapacitated him.
Years ago he would lick his wounds like a pedigreed canine.
He was barely aware of oozing blood.
Now, each crevice of his foundation required tenderness.
Ranger was a scrawny, piebald-colored mongrel who had lived forever.
Startled, he paused, gasping for breath.
His blurring eyes were matted.
He watched the once familiar woman emptying trash in the dumpster.
A rattling cough escaped from Ranger’s throat.
The young medical resident pivoted to see the bony, old dog.
Hey, Ranger, Justine called out.
Still tormenting everyone in the neighborhood?
Stooped, Ranger backed away, growling as he cautiously retreated.
The young woman laughed as she indicted, you’re a miserable old mutt.
Walking nearer, the woman inspected the torn, matted fur.
Clumps of bloodied matter smeared his haunch.
Clotted splatter nearly covered his paw.
Droplets of pink spittle strung from his teeth.
He wobbled with each breath.
The woman suggested, you could use a dose of antibiotics, pal.
Her words were hollow of confidence and optimism.
She would treat him, and bring him some food.
At least we could give you a chance, old fella, she called out.
Ranger snarled with recognition.
This was the girl, now grown to a woman, who had given him his moniker.
At twelve, young Justine had referred to him as the Lone Ranger.
‘Lone’ perfectly described Ranger.
He had no pack; he had no friends.
Nor did he encourage canine or human companions.
Justine recalled how Ranger had never resided at any one place.
A neighbor took him in for awhile, thinking Ranger could be a guard dog.
Ranger had been tied to a post in the backyard.
Justine’s mother had instructed her daughter to take
the poor, mistreated pup some table scraps.
When the preteen girl offered Ranger food, the mottled pooch took it.
But it was with a menacing glare.
After gulping dinner, Ranger barked.
Girl Justine had garnered courage enough to untie the rope confining Ranger.
With a dangerous, warning whine, then howl, the dog snapped at the youth.
As the rope loosened, Ranger’s caustic rage exploded.
Justine’s hand was torn.
With a quick retreat through the gate, Ranger fled.
The girl was left behind, tears and blood streamed.
Now, memories took Justine back to childhood.
She looked down at the scar on her right hand.
Dozens of stitches, and two surgeries had knitted her shredded flesh.
Suspiciously eyeing the woman, old Ranger coughed again while crouching.
The hack released a hollowness in his lungs.
As he staggered, there was a sound of his deeply ragged panting.
Stay, fella. Let me get my bag,  Justine instructed.
I’ll give you something to help,
she promised as she hastened back to her parent’s home.
The young doctor devised a plan as she retrieved her medic’s case.
She would first throw her jacket over Ranger’s head.
She would then jab antibiotics into the old dog’s hip.
It might give him some relief.
She returned several moments later.
Justine hoped her other hand wouldn’t be torn apart.
She was confident that Ranger was so far gone,
he wouldn’t have the strength to harm her.
Yet even as a youth recovering from a vicious dog bite,
she’d recognized the terrifying emergency room event had changed her life.
After surgeries and stitches had repaired her hand,
the girl was determined to become a doctor.
Now, glancing around the empty alley, she wondered where Ranger had gone.
Justine wadded across a weedy field to Ranger’s favorite hiding place.
She stopped momentarily, summoning youth’s bravery.
Then she entered the leaning henhouse.
Inhaling the stuffy stench inside a dusty, rickety hen-coop, she blinked rapidly.
The young medic’s eyes flooded.
Her throat constricted.
Ranger had folded himself into a tight, motionless circle.
Death’s mask had converted his muzzle to the smile of a benign puppy.

COPYRIGHT Poetry of Kieran York

Please check out some of my other poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2  edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

For an excellent poetical experience, please don’t miss the link of Meli’s Musings: https://www.facebook.com/melismusings. Acquaint yourself with a true poet’s heart.

In you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Prelim Insights on Book Creation…

There is always more than enough to do with house, yard, my trusty schnauzer – Clover, correspondence, watching and interacting with my nine great-nieces and nephews, etc.

I’m between a major project (book writing) and next major project (book edit) – and it is a book heavy on my mind. Although it will probably be out Spring of 2013, I wanted to share my preliminary thoughts on this book.

It is titled Careful Flowers. I began writing it a couple years ago, and it is a story very dear to my heart. All an author’s writing becomes important, if not – how can it be important to the reader? As most writers know books of fiction become personal – and we think of them as family. Selecting a favorite is difficult. I’ve come to conclude that each of my endeavors is most loved when I’m writing or rereading it.

When the growing of CF began blossoming in my mind, I felt it was something very important that needed writing. As it began blooming, it took on its own meaning and messages. Uncertain if it would be of interest to my publishers, I wrote only fifty thousand words. But more was needed to be said.

I am so blessed! Blue Feather Books courageously takes chances on controversial material. With my last book, AWAS, Blue Feather Books published a romance about a senior Sapphic woman.

After submitting CF, I was encouraged by Blue Feather Books to write an additional fifteen-thousand words, expanding on my universal messages. They are bravely willing to publish controversy.

Fleur Hamilton is a botanist, is in a relationship, and finds crossroads before her. Life isn’t as simple as she had believed before she entered her fourth decade. For me, her story was written through my own obsession to detect and relay historical truths. Love, hatred, kindness, evil, and the decency of both forgiveness, and remembrance, became my starting point.

A manuscript that means so much to me was expanded to allow the flowering of my completed fictional treatise. Interweaved with the main character’s emotional journey, a tour of history is included. It takes her on an odyssey to discover both her personal past, as well as her unique humanity.

She locates her true past as she glances back into the unwrapping of her parent’s Hippie Era. She more importantly uncovers her beloved aunt’s understanding of both love and hatred, as the world of a Holocaust survivor unfolds. And as these two worlds converge, Fleur Hamilton locates herself.

________________________________________________________________________

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Please check out some of my other poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://www.ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

LOVER WOMAN

I preface this poem with a message. “Lover Woman” is about someone in my past. 

I think it takes viewing the early days of a poet, to understand the updated version of poems. And so, I’m inserting a days-gone-by poem. I have also written another poem to this woman, which was included in Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. The poem in Wet Violets is titled “Bluejean’s Youth Blues.”

It is one of many poems I’ve written for her over the years. It was self-delusional to have lent my heart to a Sapphic butterfly. Perhaps it better prepared me for understanding the relationship in which I am happily involved. .

The book I refer to in the final lines of this poem, is a book written, yet not published. I hope one day it will be. For knowing BlueJean, as with every brushing touch of life, impacted me. She is someone every woman who loves butterflies should know. She is indeed a lover woman.

I have been blessed in my lifetime to have known many wonderous women. In my past, yes.  And I’ve never been more blessed than I am at this very moment. 

For now, regressing –

LOVER WOMAN

BlueJean extracted my vow.
I was to write poetry by taking a direct line
through my heart and soul.
Then, I was to dedicate that trek to her.
The heart is a muscle
and the soul is perhaps softer than air.
What path was it through my beating sack of a heart?
What trail leads across my mystical, compartmentalized soul?
My lover woman’s description defied explanation, or excuses.
I’d witnessed some of her casualties with grumbles on their lips.
She’d left sad women in her wake.
Those poor left-behinds warned me with garbled, static messages.
Warnings told me to beware.
Rational inquiry didn’t help irrational decision.
There was the passion of her.
Her smiles deflected my doubt.
Caresses were not platonic.
We’d both maneuvered away from love’s clutch.
So taking a chance on a bad bet was a two-way gamble.
Answers came in mildly adequate proportions.
Depth, width, breath, and mystery were all visible.
Audible were her words, philosophies, and hidden gazes.
We pointed toward the skies and swore on constellations
we would remain within one another’s hemisphere.
Communication was from her skin to her soul.
She’d unlocked; then I unlocked.
Belonging was an exploration into sensory paradise.
We were both blatant transgressors in the land of love.
She taught me nothing is absolute.
We undressed; we occupied one another’s loneliness.
I’d believed in inertia.
We were saturated with our garbled thought’s best promise.
We believed, at least until morning when our star-ride ceased.
My Lover Woman’s previous Love Stats had come and gone.
That was little consolation for either of us.
However, I later wrote a book about her.
It was a love story of BlueJean and when I was part of a 1970s band.
The promised poetry would come later.
COPYRIGHT Kieran York
From BlueJean’s Sonnet

Please check out some of my other poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s’ Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://.ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through amazon.

Writing Appointment with a Smile: First Glimmer – Senior Sapphic Sensual!

Recently I received a review of my latest book, Appointment with a Smile. It made me consider my good fortune. All my reviews have been wonderfully supportive of my writing a romance about mature senior Sapphics.

Some writers are very nonchalant about reviews. I am no such thing. Are you kidding me? I devour them, memorize them. Absolutely. Good or bad, they’ve enlightened me, and assisted in forming my direction. And I appreciate each of them. Appointment with a Smile reviews were welcomed and embraced.

Earlier this week one review published, was written by Sage 320. And it beautifully encapsulated my message about women of a certain age. Love transcends increments of time. It just does.

So from where did my story about wrinklies (as my Brit friends would say), in their dotage years emanate? Well, I looked around at my own vibrant, intellectual, passionate friends. They have been enhanced by age, experience, and their zest for life.

Yet general fiction does not reflect them, nor does it cater to their quest to read about themselves. In fact, the aging Sapphic topic is shunned – as if  irrelevantly hidden.

The message is If you’re between fifty and death, get over the emotional lift of love. If you want to read about yourself in a romance book, locating one is tough. You’ll find empty bookshelves filled with nope. We aren’t sex in the city, or anywhere else. Our aisle in the bookstore is relegated to menopausal reading. How to identify, how to cope, how to – everything.

What about the equation of love? That other facet of our being?

Within my first glimmer was the desire to write about a woman of age, falling in love. My main character, Danielle O’Hara, is passionate about her art, yet stagnating in both painting and romance. Her own passion shriveled at the side of the road – like lost heart songs unsung by those of us over fifty.

My novel explores love’s remembrances, as well as the igniting of romance within Danielle’s aged soul. Is that so impossible to imagine?

For me, writing Appointment with a Smile was a compelling journey that required I take it. Mature adult, Sapphic romance category? Previously vacant, or nearly so – but I would add one more voice.

I began with the premise that the book must honestly concern itself with the myriad of events culminating a life’s span. Years, emotions, joys, losses, gather into each of our lifetimes. Some events overlap, some are deleted, but all have constructed the wonder of us.

I didn’t want to ignore, or minimize the obvious. Through the decades, losses become reminders. As life pulls aside of us, we may lose our sculpted goddess bodies, and perhaps youth’s glib attitude. But replacing that loss is the ability to dabble in new and exciting wonder, with a fresh perspective.

Age offers the magnificence of reexamination. It shows the overview. Affords a glance back. There is a subtle nudge to make sense of our life’s relevance. Achievements are glory. Mistakes are life’s tuition.

Writing Appointment with a Smile was cathartic. That was a bonus. My objective was to capture an artist’s soul. I wanted to spotlight the topic of Sapphic ageing . And the importance of love. And I hope with all my heart I did that. I want to believe this unusual love story will matter to the golden, matured Sapphic.

Perhaps women in other age brackets will read it. They might want to imagine the existence of romantic love in their futures. The expedition of love beyond fifty, sixty, and on, awaits.

Encountering romance – well, that miracle simply is ageless. Being receptive to love’s possibility – beyond priceless.

Appointment with a Smile is not just for older readers. There are points here that can appeal to many ages. However, it was nice to read about life from a different perspective.” – Review by Lynn Pierce. Amazon. You can read the thoughtful review in it’s entirety here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2WWZMWV1ROXB0/ref=cm_cr_rev_detup_redir?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx7D6LJ16ZFVD4&cdPage=1&asin=1935627864&store=books&cdThread=Tx8JQCEPEAS7AN&newContentID=Mx82F67CN2HDDQ#Mx82F67CN2HDDQ

Avery’s Morning…And the Colorado Wildfires

Avery landed on earth mid-March. Parachuted in by a special team of stork/angels. The infant’s condition required a guardian angel as well. It took some fine medical assistance, and the protective cherub.

It would also require an infant’s heart telling her to hold on – to wait for help.

The cord that had twice wrapped around Avery’s neck was released. Breath returned. Avery’s color went from bluish-purple to bright baby pink. The birth canal ride had been rough, but Avery survived with only a mark above her left eye that soon faded.

Avery, my great-niece, is now in her fourth month. She’s unaware of the wildfires within her home state.

In the last few days, updates have continued charting the many devastating fires of Colorado. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes – vacate their special corners of the world.

Neighbors helping neighbors have tried to move one another’s livestock to safety. Small pets and belongs have been packed into vehicles. And a reverse call arrived, telling them it was time. Residents moved out, saying goodbye to the areas that would never be the same again in their lifetimes.

Maybe they glanced back to see ground squirrels scampering away, and a few birds with wings beating as they forged through the smoky airways. The hummingbird feeders, so lovingly filled, remained behind.

With a fire’s mass evacuation, there are often perilous escapes through blinding conditions. Gridlocked drivers searched out new shelter.

Walls of flame that climbed ridge after ridge will be reduced to embers and ash. Ferocious winds will rest. The horizon’s darkness will unclog, and blue will one day resume.

What can be saved, will be saved by heroic firefighters. The fire crew’s harrowing efforts to save homes, to rescue life, and to smother fires, are sagas of dedicated courage. I applaud them. And may they be blessed. There would be far more destruction without them.

Residents will mop-up. And many will rebuild. Their pain and fear will not be easily washed aside. Yet most will continue on as our forefathers have. Taming the lands, for we’re a tough breed.

The many who will return to see burnt out, scorched, and smoldering patches of land will remember. Their eyes once filled with wonder. For I believe there is a part of us that can actually fall in love with place. It is not only where we live – but where our spirits claim and are claimed.

Many of the most wondrous places of Colorado are now scarred. Our nation, and indeed our world, mourns the loss of this grandeur. They have visited us.

Yesterday Avery’s Mom sent me a video of Avery. She entitled it Avery’s Morning. It showed a brief clip of baby Avery saying good morning with smiles and infant eye-beams twinkling. Her mouth contorted into babbling and cooing translatable baby-talk. She issued her own optimism of the day.

Undoubtedly, she’ll one day be told of Colorado’s summer of sorrow. Her first summer. Stories about when fires lifted, and rampaged through entire communities. Where an exodus included thousands.

Perhaps as years pass, she will visit mountainsides with partial growth reaching toward an azure sky. And her cooing will have converted to words. Words of amazement. This land is returning to Colorado’s unique splendor.

Just as Avery’s beginning was a struggle to live, our lovely lands will brawl their way back to beauty.

I’m partial to smiles. Our Colorado smiles will also return.

Slow News Day – So I’ll revert to my memories…

Although my area of the world certainly has news – Colorado’s wild fires – that’s been ongoing for weeks. It’s painful, nearly to tears, to witness so much of our loveliness transforming into charred ruins.

To know that my fellow Coloradans have lost their homes saddens me beyond words. Creatures of the forests have been lost, and others retreating, outrun the fires – yet are thrown into their strange new worlds.

As each dot on the map erupts in flames, I recall times spent in that place of wilderness. We have a major fire outside of Estes Park. And I am familiar with the area.

Memories directed the flashback to Grand Lake. Years ago I’d taken my nephews, Robbie and Dusty, horseback riding around the lake. At the time the boys were about ten and seven.

From the stables, I’d requested gentle horses. With safety in mind, I’d asked to please give us the tamest of nags ever known to small cow-pokes. Especially for the little fella, Dusty.

The day was lovely, clear with an invisibility of fresh mountain air. The ride through the wilderness allowed a kinship with nature. The hooves of the horses were trotting over the footpaths of all that had gone before.

Along the metrics of civilization, were grottoes of sojourners, pioneers, and our ancestral bloodline. The pristine ride on horseback allowed our spirits to rendezvous with perpetuity.

For me the remembrances were congruent with an inspiration. I have always felt the Rockies are the vertebrae of the most wonderful, blessed country on earth.

And while the mountain peaks dwarf the slight package of flesh that we are, there is an invincibility also. And the groves of lush forest around the lake’s edge became our spiritual protection.

The horseback ride went great. Until passing back through the small community on our return to the livery stables. An ear-splitting, nerve-jarring sound blared from a power tool.

Dusty’s horse bucked, nearly throwing him, then galloped back to the stable. I rushed after my small nephew, my heart pounding with prayers. When I lifted him down, he was shaking. Safe, but terrified.

And so, a day that was to allow the seepage of history and reverence for our path, became a terrifying epochal moment of fear we all remember.

Dusty and his beautiful wife are now raising their own trio of strong, wonderful boys.

Dusty has never again rode a horse, and I can’t say I blame him. Nor that he requires additional steeplechase training. He keeps his feet on the ground. A lesson of great wisdom. The horse ride told me he wants no part of bucking, charging horses.

It also told me he knows how to handle emergency adversity with grace and a champion’s heart.

Right now, our nation struggles with wild fires, drought, and a multitude of other adversity. And a gigantic thanks to all those good thoughts, prayers, and rain dances from throughout the world.

The human spirit never fails to hold on tightly to the reins – just like Dusty.

Maybe slow news days are their own beautiful lesson requiring my gratitude.

Why Don’t Lesbians and Gays, Etcetera, Go to Hell!

A re-blog!

Sinners are told to make reservations, be packed up, and ready to hop on the slipper-slide ride down to hell. Upon their demise.

I don’t know about my sisters and brothers, but I can’t follow directions to the nearest convenience store – much less some fictional flame pit that laps at our souls.

However, upon contemplating it – it might not be a terrible alternative lodging. If as all the bigots espouse, they are going to fill the rafters of heaven – it’s probably already over-populated. A little ‘no vacancy’ sign would light up as I neared the outskirts of the celestial heavens.

And if it didn’t? Well, I’d rather reject my invitation. I don’t even like a chat with an intolerant crowd. Gives me a headache. And a heartache. So why would I waste eternity when my ears hurt from the hatred spewed?

Maybe hatred is synonymous with hell.

So I’m planning on going to hell, like the haters promise that I, and my ilk, will indeed be located, post-life. And the haters have done their job in prepping us for hell with their blistering bullying and their searing words.

Since my body isn’t bikini perfect, maybe I should just pack a t-shirt and cargo shorts for the soul vacation’s sweltering. A mug of iced-tea and a six-pack of cool brews would be nice, too. And if it got too hot, I’d like a fellow traveler to stand beside me, so we could shade one another.

Could be that’s it! Maybe shade, and warmth are the answers to what happens here on this glorious planet we share. If we shade one another, and if we warm one another, perhaps there is hope.

A poem I revere is titled “Birches” by Robert Frost. I’m going to borrow a few of his exquisite lines: I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

Much of the Holy Bible is poetry, and much poetry is my personal Bible.

I’m resigned to being the person a loving creator plunked down here. So, I’ve got my marching orders when final directives approach. Grab my gardener’s hat to shield my eyes from the fire’s glow; a nice pair of sandals to give some protection against the lava’s spit and spume; and an ice tray. Okay, I’m an optimist.

I’m uncertain if I belong in hell because someone says all my sisters and brothers and I should be there. And even if I planned on, per instruction from the haters, going to hell – I probably couldn’t find the damned place. I’ve been known to read maps upside down.

Hope I always remember what the elderly, white-haired prophet said about earth being the right place for love. Love I can easily locate.     

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