Saturday, August 31, 2013

Unseen Presence

She woke slowly, enjoying the leisure of not needing to wake up to her alarm this one day of the week. With a long stretch, she finally pulled herself out of bed and padded to the kitchen. Turning on the stove to heat the kettle for tea, she suddenly stilled. She thought she had felt the lightest touch brush against the back of her neck. With a sudden jerk, she spun around, pressing her back against the oven. She was alone in her kitchen, but she did not feel alone. With a deep breath, she slowly turned around to make sure that the burner was on, and then made her way to the bathroom. She had just finished washing her face, when the tea kettle started whistling.

She made her way back to the kitchen and prepared her favorite black tea for brewing. Suddenly she felt an arm wrap around her waist, tighten quickly, and then disappear. She stiffened, and stood, breathing, listening. There were no noises, no signs of movement, no evidence that she was not alone in her house. She shakily finished preparing her tea and moved towards her living room. She started, swearing that she saw someone sitting in the plush chair located in the corner of her living room. A second glance showed that the chair was as empty as the rest of her home. She sighed, feeling a bit rattled. Her senses were playing tricks with her.

Adventures of a Downtown Coffee Cafe

I would say the day started like any other day, following the cliche, but it didn't. Not really. The first few hours were fairly standard... and then, downtown decided to remind my staff and I just what it could be like. Business was picking up in the morning and I had just taken the opportunity that a lull presented to deal with the parking meters for the couple of us that had vehicles. On my way back into the cafe, I noticed that one of downtown's regular hang-abouts was in his usual spot, holding court with a sizable group of street teens. As I walked passed them, on the other side of the street, I could hear a conversation that seemed to about fighting, which was accompanied by the expected motions. While the hang-about was known to collect these younger kids about him, it was unusual for him to be surrounded by so many at one time, especially this early in the morning. I thought it wise that a wary eye was kept on him and the group.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Leap into Space

I should have been terrified.  I admit I was a bit nervous when I first approached the bridge, but as soon as the soles of my tennis shoes hit the wooden planking, all I felt was anticipation.  I looked at the grey and green cliffs on either side of the bridge, following them down to where they met the river below.  I leaned over the railing, trying to get a clear picture of the landscape around me, especially the distance from the bridge to the water.  I was alone in a foreign country, about to put my body at risk and the anticipation was climbing.

The day was overcast, threatening rain.  It was not the optimal day to be doing this, but I did not care.  It may have been a dismal winter day in New Zealand, but to me, it was an average fall day and I was going to have this adventure.

Monday, August 12, 2013

You Bastard

You bastard.

You come rolling into my life, demanding that I make changes, that I accommodate you. You blithely enter the fire of my principles and perceptions, demanding that I see them as wrong or too tightly held. You insist that you are right, that I am wrong, that there is no other thought. You force your way into my mind, rattling the shelves and drawers, shuffling the papers, rearranging the labels, and then have the audacity to wonder why my brain does not shut off as it tries to make sense of the topsy-turvy mess.

You bastard.

A routine has been set; daily questioning, considering, revamping. With words and actions, a consistent prodding is being done.  More fool me, I cannot bring myself to completely deny your self-given permission to challenge me, my perceptions, my scruples. You tease, seduce, debate, laugh, converse, and demonstrate in your effort to loosen the hold, change the mindset, grow a different understanding.

You bastard.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

American in Turkey

The call to prayer undulated from the minarets of mosques, mixing with the burble of Turkish voices and the smell of roasting lamb rising from various food stands.  The narrow streets bustled with activity as a crowd consisting mostly of men and a few women went about their afternoon business.  With ease, the Turkish crowd made their way around vendors displaying their wares of cheap goods and name brand knock-offs, while simultaneously avoided being pushed off the high curbs into the manic vehicle traffic.  The noise of honking horns as the drivers wove between the other cars, ignoring painted lanes and most other rules of the road, joined the other sounds of a Turkish city.  Visiting Turkey at any time would have been an amazing and wonderful experience.  Visiting this Muslim country two weeks after the Iraq war broke out added an element of concerned wariness for travelers coming from the West, especially for Americans.

Baby Boy

I walked quietly down the hallway, feeling the weight of Baby Boy against my back.  His little body generated an amazing amount of heat; the warmth and feel of his solid weight against my back something I wouldn’t trade for anything.  My arms were locked under his little rear to hold him up, while the fleece jacket held him snugly against my back.  His head tossed back and forth as he fought against falling asleep.  The little man alternated between trying to keep his head off of my back to watch the activity occurring in the hallway, to pressing his little face against the back of my neck, to tucking his forehead into the exposed skin between my shoulder blades.  His left hand intermittently kneaded my ribs, occasionally fisting in my shirt, and then moving restlessly across my back.  A small sigh escaped, followed by a very quiet “Dada,” melting my heart. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Fey Wind Called

A fey wind called to me and I could not help but answer.

I followed to where it led and climbed a lowly peak.
There the wind and I gamboled, roughhoused, and danced.

I was lifted from my feet and carried to the cliff's edge.
The wind held me upright as I relaxed into its embrace, then with a sudden push, I was sent running across the rocks.
Higher I climbed to brace my feet against a rock and face the wind.

And the game continued, a constant pushing, then a sudden stillness, followed by a shove.
I twisted and turned, balanced and jumped, ducked and leaned.
I would fly, had I wings.
I was tempted, yearned, to try.

The wild, fey wind pushed and pulled and suddenly stilled, only to send me prancing once more across the rocks.
It moved my arms where it would: held them wide, outstretched to embrace the world, or pressed close to my body, or allowed my arms to rest on cushions of air, or posed for a dive. My hands and fingers danced and moved as if playing an instrument in the wind, of the wind, attempting to catch the wind.

The Whispered Story

The wind called, enticing me to come out and play and listen and imagine.

I followed the call of the wind, stood entranced on the lawn, but it was not enough. The birch trees were laughing at some silly story that was beyond my hearing. In my desire to hear the story that was being shared between the birch and the wind, I climbed a trio of trees to be in their midst and to listen. So, with my back on one, feet on another, a hand resting lightly on a third, I sat and listened to their story. The story was told with a shivering and a rustling of leaves, a sway and a dance of the trunks that I could feel under my feet and hand, and the wet tang the wind brought with the scattering of wet drops from the skies. Occasionally, wind and trees would pause in their recitation to watch the wreck of a human vehicle drive by, or to allow silence to return after a particularly loud and throaty engine. They commented on the boys walking down the road with a slap, slap, slap of loosely shod feet, remarked on the hint of smoke from a nearby fire pit. They always returned to their humorous story, however, and were more than willing to allow me to listen in.

My friends, it was quite a good story. You should take the time to listen as well. I am sure the birch trees and wind would be happy for the quiet company.