February Art Challenge: Write A Poem

Have To

I can feel it moving,
The blister on the bottom of my foot.
I know it’s going to hurt when it pops.
And it does…
It hurts more than I even imagined.
I walk on.
Not because I want to,
Because I have to.

The wind brings cool, salt tinged air
Across sunburnt shoulders.
With each step the pain dulls,
But I’m limping to compensate
Creating tears on my toes.
I walk on.
Not because I want to,
Because I have to.

I’m lonely here.
Pictures are the only companions
To memories better shared.
I should call a cab and go to the room –
Sleep away the hurt.
Still, I walk on
Because I want to.
Because I have to.

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February Art Challenge: Take A Picture Outside Your Home

This past week has been interesting weatherwise. Sunday through Monday it snowed. It didn’t snow on and off. It didn’t snow a little. It snowed consistently for at least 24hrs.
Those in the northeast will mock me. Those is the deep south will be horrified. Here in my little part of eastern Kentucky, we got between 15-20 inches of snow.
Thankfully, it was light snow. If it was the heavy stuff, a collapse in society may have taken place. More on that shortly.
The light snow came, then the below freezing temps, then some more snow (the heavy kind), then the sleet, then just ice, then the temps went up above freezing, and finally the rain.
The light snow from earlier in the week had melted and refrozen where the salt trucks had scraped and have created barriers to the water causing it to sit in the roads. Water that does make it to the creeks, along with ice chunks, have caused some flooding. To add to the water misery, our water utilities have been shut off.
I could go on a tirade about the water, or how people seem to believe that it is OK to put your truck’s front bumper right on my back bumper. Yeah, I’m looking at you large pickup truck obviously bought to compensate for SOMETHING…ass…but I’m not.
As much as I hate being stuck, it has been nice to just read a book, do a sketch, play the ukulele, see my parents, and not feel like I need to run anywhere. The snow was beautiful…the ice, not so much. I got to spend my birthday with my parents just enjoying the day. I was able to help my Dad shovel his road and I’m really thankful I could do that on a couple of levels.
So, while I probably will gripe about certain aspects of this last week, particularly that douchebag in the pickup, there are a lot of things I am truly thankful for.
I’m going to try to remember that while I boil water for my sponge bath.

Oh! Here’s my pic from outside.

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This was taken while on a break from shoveling my parent’s driveway. My Uncle Preston and my Papaw built a treehouse for me and my brother. Since our home burnt down in ’04, it has served as a storage place for items we are still too bound up to look through.
We always say we’ll go through it, but we don’t. Maybe it’s easier to forget what you have than remember what you lost?
Still, it’s one of my favorite places and seeing it reminds me of games played, times with friends, and, most importantly my uncle, grandfather, and brother – my first friend.

February Art Challenge: Abstract From Nature and Photo Edit

While on my mini-nerdcation to Gallifrey One, I had the opportunity to spend a day checking out the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles. Canals, the beach, shops, pier…saw it all. I also walked 12+ miles because I was determined to stick with a plan that didn’t pan out quite like I thought.
But I digress….
The following are my attempts at completing two parts of the EE February Art Challenge. The first image is my photograph of something in nature that looked abstract to me.

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The light was coming through a fence around a golf course and the leaf seemed like a nice break in the lines.

My edited photo comes courtesy of the canals around Venice Beach.

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I only used editing tools available on my phone. I liked how it turned out and wouldn’t be opposed to working more with the editing tools.

Sharing A Memory, Remembering A Promise

The adage, “you don’t know what you have until it is gone,” is probably the biggest understatement one can make.

It isn’t until something, or, more importantly, someone is gone that we truly see the impact they have had on our lives. That’s when the questioning begins. Did I tell them how much they meant to me? Did they know that I loved them? Were they scared? Could I have done more?

Then the promises come. I promise I won’t let another person not know that I care for them. I promise not to assume people know that I love them – I will tell them. I promise not to forget how empty I feel with this new hole ripped in my heart. I promise to keep filling it with love. I promise to hug more, kiss more, share more, live more….
I promise not to forget.

That’s the beauty of the human brain, though. It doesn’t really forget, but time dulls that hurt. You can’t live constantly trying to be there for everyone. You can’t live with the fresh hurt replaying over and over again. So, as time passes, the bad is replaced by the good, crying gives way to laughter, and sooner than you ever imagined – or promised yourself it would – life settles back into its rhythm.

That boldness you promised yourself to let those you care for know your feelings, fades back to complacency.
It’s not that you care if they say it back to you or not, you just want them to know how loved they are. Hugs, kisses, pokes, prods, all those small signs of affection, all those clues that tells others that they mean something to you, become reserved for those that don’t tense at the overt showing of affection. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to be a cause for their unease. So, we quit doing the things we promised. We stop ourselves short and walk away a little less fulfilled because our brain starts to tell us – well….and the excuses begin.

I have to admit, the happiest times in my life have been when I didn’t think beyond that “moment.” The older I become, the more I think on a feeling than act on it. Of all the things age is bringing me – aches, pains, the need to be in bed before 2am – this is what I fight against the most.

Which is why I try, and many times fail, to remember those moments when the hurt of loss, or the thrill of trying, made me promise.

Matthew and the Church Van
One of my happiest memories came sometime in 1997. My church youth group had been somewhere – pretty sure it was Chief Logan. The whole gang was there, but what I remember was coming back and Matt sitting beside me. It was chilly as he scooted closer and took my hand. I had liked him for a while and thought he may like me, but I could never allow myself to believe that. Claiming he was cold, we held hands all the way home.
It was the only time we held hands. He died soon after that, and my first wave of promises began.

Maybe it’s because his birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because after all these years I can remember those promises, and how I have failed time and time again to honor them. It may be due to the fact that I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like a birthday to make you look back and remember the good and the bad.

I will fail, people tend to do that, but I am going to do my best to remember those promises and keep to them. I want to hug more, kiss more, share more, laugh more, cuddle more – I just want more. I don’t want to be afraid of what may happen and just enjoy what is happening.

Matt helps me remember that. So does Chris, Papaw, Jeff, Granny, the many others gone….but let’s not leave out the living: Johnsey, Tracie, Mom, Dad, Bobby, Dō, Mernie, Mari, Max, Maddie, Cam, Justin, Jami, Dez, Sara, Mike, the Duncans, Brandi, Ramin, Patty, Tommy, Sherri, Matt, Aunt Pat, Peggy, Kam, Joe, JP, Kelli, Nick, Daniel, Brad, Adam……to be honest the list could take pages and pages because I am actually very fortunate and have many people I truly love and care for – even if they aren’t fully aware of it, which is on me. It is something I plan on correcting as well.
It is because of them all I will be better to remember how full life is and how much better mine has been because of the love I have for them.

So, it with tears flowing that I will end my rambling thoughts on my memory.

Go out and let those you care for know it. For me, I will remind myself that even if they don’t say it back, it’s OK. The point is that they know YOU care for/love them.

A Haiku or Two…Maybe Three

As a part of the Errant Easel February Art Challenge (#19 for those playing along), we were asked to write a haiku.
I would like to say that this has been very therapeutic on what has been an “eh” kind of day.
Also, I hope the way I count syllables works for you people. Please don’t judge too harshly if they don’t.

Day
Cold winds blow even
With the winter sun shining
Burning, cutting, sharp.

Loss
Everyone leaves
Moving forward to better
Here I am alone.
.

When
One day it will stop
The flirting, wanting, waiting
And where will you be
?

Len – A Character Sketch

The following is a character sketch written as part of a series of artistic challenges to take place through out February. It is an awesome idea Dez had and I look forward to what is next:

It was hard not to watch him as he moved across the classroom. Thick, black, hair stuck out from underneath a well worn baseball cap and curled slightly around his ears. You wouldn’t know it was his first day in a new school. His ease was impressive. His crooked smile even more so.

It’s funny what you remember the most about a person, even after all the time that has passed.

Len was more of a man than a boy when he came to our school. I guess most 18 year olds are more men, at least physically, by that point. Built strong, as my grandmother would say. It was the end of our senior year when he, and his family, moved to our little backwoods area from the big city of Lexington.

As he moved down the aisle, he nodded his hellos to those paying any attention to him. Sitting himself down into the desk beside mine, I couldn’t help but smell the faintest hint of cologne and see the off color patches on his denim vest. The flannel shirt underneath was wrinkled, but clean.

I looked at him constantly throughout that class period, stealing glances when I thought he was writing notes in his composition book. The stubble growing on his face was the same color of his hair, with flashes of red throughout. His blue jeans were torn at the knees, and his tennis shoes were plain and scuffed. His accent, when he answered questions, was not nearly as pronounced as ours, but light and charming.

It was after answering a question that he caught me looking at him. I knew then that I had blown it, as only a 17 year old can know that kind of devastation without proof. My chance to meet someone who didn’t know me, who I wasn’t “just a friend” to, was over before it had started.

Red faced, I looked down at the floor. Then – for a reason I still can’t truly explain – I looked back up and he was still looking at me…waiting…and smiling that crooked smile that I was already falling in love with.

Hello…
Hello….

Run Away, Run Away!

A friend recently asked me, in so many words, how I handle living here in eastern Kentucky because I don’t belong here. In all honesty, it is probably one of the nicest things anyone has said to me.
Before anyone gets too fired up, I took it as a compliment not because I hate my home, but because it feels like I have defeated the stereotype.
Unlike the image of the ignorant hillbilly that has been burnt into the social consciousness, this person sees me for who I am – an art loving, Star Wars fan that loves to travel and learn….a person that refuses to be defined by where she is from, but, at the same time, is trying to find the positive in living in an area that is, sadly, dying.
I don’t plan on discussing the economic life blood of my home (it’s coal, if you weren’t aware). I could give you my thoughts on how a middle ground could be reached to improve the area, both economically and environmentally, but that is for another day.
Right now, it’s taking a lot not to run away. To run far and fast towards something different, something promising, something – anything! – other than……other than this place where progress seems to be stalled by greed, corruption, and snuffed out by those who don’t see beyond their own bottom line.
I moved back home for a variety of reasons – to heal a broken heart, figure out my next step, spend time with my family. It’s the spending time with my family that is keeping me here…for now. Beyond that, and the fact that I love the students I work with, there really isn’t a lot to hold on to.
I’ve become very proficient and making the arguments to myself to justify staying: It is easier to hop in the car and go spend one…two…seven days somewhere else and then come home to family and some close friends. In this Age of the Internet and interstate highways, that long distance affairs can be maintained – and I believe they can be, if both parties are interested. Anything is possible if you try….right?
What I want is it all. I want access to things that will make my life more vibrant and what I want it to be, but I also want to be an active member of my family, spending time with them and having those all too precious memories with them.
As those who float into and out of my life keep reminding me, you can’t have all the things, all the time. I also can’t keep running away; from home, from possibilities, from the uncertain, from x, y, and z, from myself.
At some point a decision will have to be made. It will be difficult, it may not make a lot of people happy, but it will have to be done for myself. Until that day, I will keep making choices and decisions that let me be happy and hope that, along the way, where I should be becomes a little clearer.
At the end of the day, I’m just getting tired of running.

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