#WRITEPHOTO – FEATHER CLOUD #clouds #cloudformations

Honored to have a photo of mine featured in KL’s #writephoto prompt this week and looking forward to reading the creative prose that it inspires:

New2Writing

Afternoon Everyone,

Welcome to the weekly #writephoto prompt!

This week’s prompt is a post with a difference – our JULY guest photo!

Feather Cloud – Image by A Kehas

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a beautiful feathered cloud in the colours of a rainbow.

A great bigthank youto Alethea for agreeing to be the featured photo this month. What a beautiful photo for us. Pop over to her blog athttps://aletheakehas.com/to show her some love!

The regulars already know this bit, but for those that don’t:

  • EachThursdayatNoon GMTI will post the #writephoto prompt
  • Use the image and prompt as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, as long as it is fairly family-friendly.
  • Please have your entries linked back to the original prompt post by the followingTuesdayatNoon…

View original post 195 more words

The Return #return #writephoto #SueVincent

Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

The last star reader was called down from the hills to prophecy the outcome of the divide. He stood on the cusp of the morning, more sure of where he was going than all who stood below. To understand the language of the stars was a gift seeded into the womb and those who received it could not pass it along. Only their words carried forth the song of the light. A light to which he longed to return.

Yet it was his duty to translate when beckoned. How weary he was of trying to reduce the vast into the limited. Minds trapped inside longing were not easily opened, and for the star reader this was another futile effort.

“I see it!” hollered a tiny voice. “I see the dragon!”

“What is she talking about?”

“Shush the child.”

“What insolence. Put her back to bed!”

The crowd below grew angry together, feeding upon the rise of their wrath bestowed upon a wee child who spoke only the truth. The last star reader watched and waited. He listened to the rise and fall of dissonance and sighed.

“See what I mean?” he muttered up to the sky.

“What are you waiting for?” the sky replied.

“It will not work. It never does.”

“Speak to the girl then.”

“Come here,” he beckoned in the softest of whispers, yet she heard him.

Softly she crawled the tangled roots, grabbling hold of the grasses for support until she reach the last star reader. He said nothing, just nudged the staff towards her waiting hand. One finger and then another curled the weathered wood.

No one knew she was missing. No one knew she had left their masses. Filled with their wrath, they had forgotten all meaning.

“Why don’t they see it?” she asked the reader as she peered at the angry mob below.

“Because their eyes have turned blind.”

“But it’s so beautiful.”

“Those who cannot see truth cannot see beauty.”

So the wee child turned her head back to the sky and the dragon, every-so-gently, swooped down to receive her.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge #return.

Christmas Nostalgia #childhood #childhood #traditions #christmas #holidays

Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels

During the quiet moments of yesterday, my mind played back childhood memories of Christmas. In particular, I thought of the holiday spend with my grandmothers when I was eight. I had three grandmothers during most of my childhood, as my birth parents divorced when I was quite little.

The first scenes of Christmas past to slip into my conscious mind were wrapped in favorite gifts from “Grammie.” Grammie loved to shop and she had a wonderful knack for gifting the perfect presents, even though she hardly knew me. The one Christmas I can remember spending at Grammie’s house, when I was eight-years-old, she made me a ruffled skirt of shiny green-and-white plaid, bought me the Sugar Plum Fairy Effenabee doll, and a pale pink satin nightgown with a matching robe. I could not have been more delighted with the contents of her beautifully wrapped gifts nestled under Grammie’s tree and labeled for me.

One of several french horns from Grammie

I never saw Grammie again on Christmas, but for several years she sent her perfect gifts perfectly wrapped inside an oversized box addressed to me and my sister. Inside the brown packing container, a handmade wreath adorned with ornaments welcomed us to the holiday’s delights. Tiny rocking horses, french horns, and silver bells hung from the evergreen boughs until they were untangled and nestled into boxes of ornaments to be hung in later years on our own trees.

One of Grammie’s recycled wreath ornaments

I don’t remember the gifts of my other grandmother gave me that Christmas. Instead, I remember sitting in her green velvet chair in the living room admiring her crystal bowl of ribbon candy almost-too-pretty-to-eat. Yet, it’s enough. A simple memory that contains more feeling than images, but evokes the joy of the holiday in my child self.

These brief, simple memories are from a cherished, yet troubled Christmas now long past. I have many more, filled with vivid scenes of laughter, food, and gifts shared with my stepfamily. Yet not one stands out for me in particular. I think perhaps it’s easier to take for granted what we become used to, even if it only occurs once a year.

I wonder what my own children will choose to cherish from past holidays as they grow older. No doubt they will be different, shaped by their individual perspectives of joy and love.

The Token #Tokens #writephoto #suevincent

Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

The raven circled in wait while the seeker studied the land. The bird knew her in the memory of her bones and the knowing had brought the raven into flight to follow the girl’s path. Finally she had arrived. Millenia had passed and the raven’s ancestors foretold that she would someday be there to recover the magic held inside the stones. They had watched time pass without judgement or remorse, tending the land as they did the skies with patience.

Some who traveled the land foretold doom in the birds’ black visage, shivering at the shadows cast upon their souls, unsettling the darkness they held within. It was not the raven’s darkness, but those that hovered inside their shadows. This the ravens knew as they circled the light and waited for the awakened one.

Still others shot pellets that brought pain and sometimes death to halt the mighty wings and silence the haunting calls, laughing as the ravens fell back to Earth not realizing that the fall was also theirs. Such was the way of the humans who walked with the pomp of fear hidden inside bravado. But the ravens forgave their young minds, knowing that this too was a passage and that each life circles back to the point of union when it is ready.

This one, though, walked as though she was the land and also the sky. The raven could see all elements inside of her, woven into the membrane of life that held her body close but not her mind. Open she was to all before her. Each footstep, each touch of the earth and stone, brought the call of home through her cells, and the girl began to hum the language once lost through the channels of her throat.

Above, the raven resisted the longing to call back. To respond to her and join their voices as one. You must wait until she finds the token, the ancestors had warned. Only then will you know with certainty that she is the one.

Each circling of the girl cast a shadow upon her, but the girl never wavered in her step. She had passed beyond the threshold of fear and the reasoning of the mind to the place of heart-knowing. And she was almost there.

They had dropped the feather under the mound of stones that led to the chamber’s opening, pushing the shaft with their beaks to pierce the ground. Buried under heather and bracken, above layers of soil, the sacred site had long been neglected by the touch of humans. Only the unseen passed its gates now, but the raven knew the time had come to mark the change.

She approached with love only. Slender fingers traced the outlines of form, and above the raven’s body began to rock in rhythm to the heartbeat of the awakened land. The black feather waved, but held fast to the opening. And as the girl entered the channel of the goddess’s womb, leaving the feather behind to dance her joy, the raven burst into song.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt #token. Please click here to see the original post to participate.

The “Shit Show” of Life #joy #fear #life #faith

waterfall-2271231_1920

I have a friend who has been sharing her forecasts for the future with me. Last night, on our ride home together from the lake, passing sign after sign supporting the aggressor, my daughter asked me if I, or any of my friends, had tried to predict the outcome of the election. And so I told her that prediction is imperfect as I began I mini lecture on free will. I didn’t tell her the whole truth, that I simply don’t want to know something that might pull me into hopelessness.

I am finding these days I want to close my ears and eyes to what I don’t want to see. I’d like to hold onto hope only, and the belief that we can grow infinitely closer to love in just one moment, changing forever the outcome of doom.

I used to channel like my friend, and quite often. I still do, but not by choice. When she slips me into a past life regression to heal the physical body, I find the higher self slides effortlessly into the gap to reveal what my dreams bring forth in the night.

The other day, I found myself bemoaning the “shit-show” that this summer has been in so many ways, along with the confession that each “shit-show” that has played out in my own life has come after a premonition as though that self that sits behind the scenes has pulled the curtain down to prepare me for each horror I don’t want to see.

After the complaining, I stopped to peer more closely at the “show,” realizing that I had placed my own value by giving it a descriptor. Without the descriptor, I am reminded that we are always, in sometimes undecipherable ways, given what we need. The struggle is real when we make it so, but I find myself longing for the easy breath. Yet, the breakdown must come before the opening. I am just one tiny mirror of the billions that surround me. We are a world collapsing to unfold.

My friend, when I speak with her, rejoices in the scene she sees, but while she talks I find myself falling into the acts of the play that bring us to the final scene she has fixed upon. We disagree about the necessity of life returning to the great womb until I need to see it for myself. I part the curtain with caution, and as it falls effortlessly away I realize how much I have held onto the notion of pain and fear. How foolish I have been to forget that the love and joy I seek is always waiting on the other side. The veil between so thin it in fact does not exist outside of our own minds.

#Clouded #writephoto

low-cloud
Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

The dream keeper ran through Sky. Unseen by most, his ursine form clouded the blue beyond and brought the west winds to seed the stars’ wisdom into the valley between the hills. Earth waited breathless, opening her womb to receive his air as mist. His shape dissolving into hers as droplets coalesced into the seeds of being and implanted themselves into her cavern. Love stirred the grasses into parting, caressing the memories of stones with light until the sigh released into One.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt #clouded

Flustered Without Mustard: Finding Calm with Angry or Frustrated by Barbara Haas Featured on A Better World of Books #mindfulbooks #mindfulness

It’s my pleasure to add another book to the growing collection of “A Better World of Books.” Today’s feature is brought to you by the self-proclaimed “word wrangler,” Barbara ‘Rhubarb’ Haas and her book for calming emotions illustrated by Mary Ann ‘June Hog’ Kruse, Flustered Without Mustard: Finding Calm When Angry or Frustrated. Flustered-Cover-768x842

Written in rhyme, using playful verse to appeal to a young audience, Flustered Without Mustard offers pages filled with teachable wisdom for taming volatile emotions in people of all ages.

Haas uses a simple narrative of a hot dog vendor who has not ordered enough mustard to meet the hungry demands of his customers to tell her tale of rhyming mindfulness. Although I think her story could be enhanced by more showing than telling, Haas incorporates the vendor’s predicament into examples of how her readers can reign in their emotional responses to stay calm and level headed. This is where her book shines.

More than a story, Flustered without Mustard is a go-to-guidebook for ways to calm one’s state of mind and move through life’s obstacles with centeredness and ease.  Although each tip appears in whimsical meter, much thought and wisdom is held inside of the lines:

“If you’ve let loose, quickly adjust, find your center.

Counting three breaths may help you remember.

You could shake like a dog when you’re really upset,

Or you can sing, or dance, or play clarinet!”

Filled with mindful coping techniques to stay centered and calm, such as the five given in just the four lines of rhyme above, Flustered without Mustard has a place in any classroom or home to be picked up often as a reminder of how easy it is to lose one’s temper and reign it back into a more peaceful state of mind.

Haas’s book, which she self-published just this year, has already received numerous testimonials from educators. The author, herself, has worked in the field of education since the 1970s and offers the arrangement of author’s visits to schools and libraries.

To learn more about Barbara ‘Rhubarb” Haas and her book Flustered without Mustard, you can find her at Rhubarbwisdombooks.com.

 

Are you an author with a vision for a better world? Do you have a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that uplifts and empowers readers to create a more positive inner and outer environment? If so, I’d love to hear more about it. On a “Better World of Books,” I interview authors and review books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world. If you think your work is a part of this vision, please contact Alethea

My Pick for A Better World of Books: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer #betterworldofbooks #indigenouswisdom #braidingsweetgrass

1AE45083-B8FC-4390-A27F-2CFD75444BF8

When you open this book, you begin to fall inside of yourself. I can’t promise you the fall will be gentle or painless, but I can promise you the journey through the path of the prose will be exquisitely beautiful.

I was introduced to Braiding Sweetgrass many months ago by two close friends of mine. “You must read it,” they both told me and so finally I did. For Mother’s Day I requested a copy and got it. It took me two months to slowly devour its pages, savoring a few hundred words each night before I went to sleep. That’s how I recommend reading it. Alone and in a quiet space where your mind can wander into the depths of its narratives and find that sometimes uncomfortable, but always welcoming place, of home.

Naturalist, scientist, teacher, mother, and writer, Robin Wall Kimmerer has woven together stories from her own life, combined with indigenous wisdom, into her book Braiding Sweetgrass. Although there are so many words that rang through the walls of my heart and beat it fiercely with the call of truth, below is the passage that I marked because its words sand directly to the core of my being. In this one small paragraph, I felt the author calling me home. Her longing, also mine. A longing that I believe exists somewhere inside each of our cellular memories.

“I want to stand by the river in my finest dress. I want to sing, strong and hard, and stomp my feet with a hundred others so that the waters hum with our happiness. I want to dance for the renewal of the world.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, pg. 251

The world needs more books like Braiding Sweetgrass, written in languages that are approachable to each of us. Books that stir the detritus of indifference and even despair. Books that break open the shell of the self and allow it to bleed a bit before it seeks healing. Healing that can always be found in the Mother we all share.

About halfway through the book, Kimmerer tells us the story of “The Honorable Harvest.” On page 177 she writes, “I am not the vibrant leaves on the forest floor — I am the woman with the basket, and how I fill it is a question that matters. If we are fully awake, a moral question arises as we extinguish the other lives around us on behalf of our own. Whether we are digging wild leeks or going to the mall, how do we consume in a way that does justice to the lives that we take?”

Indigenous wisdom, as Kimmerer tells us, teaches to take “only that which is given.” How far most of us have traveled from that edict. How far we have traveled from the honorable harvest where we stand before the offering and take only what is offered.

While picking wild leeks, the author pauses and studies the abundance before her. She pauses to ask permission of the plant before she indulges in the taking of its life. In return for a “yes,” she digs into a pouch holding tobacco leaves and leaves a gift in exchange.

I have been practicing “The Honorable Harvest” with the land surrounding my house. Beside my natural lawn there is a patch of wild berries. This year the bushes are filled with abundance. I have formed a quiet agreement with the land and its offering. Take just as far as you can reach, leave the others for the wildlife. Each day, when I go out with my bowl to fill, I pick just as far as I can reach. If I reach too far, I am scolded by a thorn in my foot or arm, and so I back off and remind myself not to give into greed. Each day I fall a little more in love with the wild bushes and their plump purple berries that seem to magically appear while I sleep. And, I think they know it. As Kimmerer shows us in her stories, the Earth loves her children and honors our love with her gifts. When we love her back, the harvest blooms with abundance.

If you feel the calling, as I did, to purchase a copy of Braiding Sweetgrass, please consider finding it at your local bookstore. And when you do, perhaps take a moment to honor, in your individual way, the trees that formed its pages, the soil, water, and sun that nourished their growth, and the author and the bookstore for bringing its exquisite teachings into your hands.

To discover more about Braiding Sweetgrass and Robin Wall Kimmerer, please visit these links:

The publisher of the book: Milkweed 

Dr. Kimmerer’s faculty page at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

Robin Wall Kimmerer on Wikipedia 

Are you an author with a vision for a better world? Do you have a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that uplifts and empowers readers to create a more positive inner and outer environment? If so, I’d love to hear more about it. On a “Better World of Books,” I interview authors and review books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world. If you think your work is a part of this vision, please contact Alethea

 

 

#Veiled #writephoto

veiled
Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

Her eyes searched the mist over-looking the chasm. Sometimes the heart is blind to fear, and hers beat only to the destination. Rocks piled like stone sentinels watched, beckoning her footsteps. “Welcome home,” they whispered. Below three rings shivered in wait.

The pulse grew stronger, urgent, the closer she got to edge. “Come to us,” they whispered. She didn’t care that she might never return. Lost to her was the voice of logic as she hurried onward. The green earth held strange holes that could swallow her whole in one misstep, but she hadn’t thought about the possibility of falling. No, she figured instead that she would finally learn to fly. Again.

She knew she had been here before in some time long lost to the memories held in books. She could see the stars collapsing the veil. She knew her feet walked their pathway to a home that promised so much more than the one she cared little, at this moment, if she left.

At one time, when the fires burned with the dance, the veil did not exist. There had been no separation from what she now sought to what was always there. That is why she nearly wept when the voices of reasons called through the mist. “The time is not right. We must turn back.”

To what, she wondered? More of the same. Yearning for the place just beyond. Now she had only the dreams. The hush of night to part the veil so she could walk the path home before she woke again to frustration.

No, she thought, I will not rest until you call me back.

For Sue Vincent and her #writephoto prompt, #veiled and the opportunity to relive a day I’ll never forget.