Baa … d

Sheep herd

~*~

Aren’t you going to write something?

I don’t know what to write about.

That’s awfully rich for someone with a head full of words. You keep telling me you see things to write about all the time, and yet you can’t put pen to paper?

I can’t explain it. It’s easier said than done. The words are there, but I can’t just conjure them into something of meaning. They need to find that meaning for themselves.

Nonsense! A pathetic excuse.

It’s not nonsense. For me, at least, words cannot be conjured. They simply need to find their place. But there’s so much going on in the field of my thought right now the words feel lost. Like sheep. They need a shepherd.

Shepherds guide their flock. I thought you just said that words need to find their own place.

They do … but they need some guidance, too. It’s complicated.

Aren’t you the shepherd of your words? Don’t you need to step into that maelstrom of wooly thought and create some order?

Ah … that’s baa … d. But you are, to some degree, correct. Word herding! I’ve never thought of it that way.

Of course you haven’t, or we wouldn’t be having this ridiculous conversation. Now, herd those words into that pen, for goodness sake, and get on with it. You’re beginning to sound more like a lost sheep than the guiding shepherd you claim to be.

Perhaps you are the writer, not I.

Give me that pen.

~*~

After a bit of a drought, a free writing exercise to get the sheep moving. ;-)

Nonsense, indeed, but fun all the same.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

 

The Stranger

 

Night Light

~*~

“There’s a gentleman I’d like you to meet,” announces my dear friend, Sara Bartholomew-McCreedy with a rustle of silk and wink of an eye.

I’m a young, childless widow, thanks to the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, and this outing is a rare treat after a year of mourning. They say “Missing in Action” is as good as dead, and since my William has been missing in action since that dreadful battle, he may as well be dead.

“Crystal Barton-Lane, listen to me!” Now Sara’s most emphatic. “He’s an officer of our age and station recently back from the war. Most pleasing to the eye, in fact. A friend of a friend of a friend. You know how it is. Not my type, but you’d like him. He owns horses and goes to the opera.”

Is she having me on? I roll my eyes. Sara’s at it again, trying to matchmake me out of social purgatory. The war has taken so many men of our age and social rank it’s hard to know where one stands. And those who have come back are often so traumatized I’ve all but given up any idea of finding a man to fill my dear husband’s shoes. Sara knows this, and still she persists.

We alight from the shiny motor carriage owned by Sara’s wealthy uncle who has offered both of us refuge in his sumptuous Bartholomew Hall until we find our feet, and make our way through the thickening London fog to the Savoy entrance. It’s 4 p.m. of a late fall afternoon. Darkness is setting in and we’re meeting this man ~ and one of these friend’s of which Sara has spoken ~ for tea at the Palm Court.

“Really, Sara, I wish you wouldn’t meddle in my affairs,” I turn to her, my annoyance on my sleeve. “I’m not quite at your level of joie de vivre yet. It’s only been a year and I still miss my William.”

Sara sends me a disarming smile.

“Crystal, darling,” she stops me before we enter the fine hotel and looks me straight in the eye, “it’s time to lift that dreary veil of tears and live. Live now! I don’t think William would want you to be moping around for him. You know how he loved life ~ the next adventure. I’m sure he’d want that for you.”

A vision of my handsome husband all decked out in top hat and tails that last night at Covent Garden and enjoying a fine performance of La Bohème makes me shiver. How excited he was about soldiering and leading a troop of his own to battle victory.

“Crystal! Snap out of it!” Sara’s voice brings me back to the present. “There he is …”

Through the amber vapours of a flickering gas light and beneath the lamppost a stranger emerges.

But he’s not a stranger at all … he’s my husband.

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday

This is the word bank prompt:

Fog – Lamp post – Veil – Top hat – Carriage

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

Peace Rose

 

Peace Rose

~*~

“The world is bent on destruction at the hands of those who would themselves destroy …”

Grandma Rose raised her tea cup to her lips and sipped. She seemed unperturbed by her words, while I sensed my rose-coloured glasses slipping.

“Fighting for peace is not the wise course, but those who know not how to love themselves can never demonstrate love, or offer true peace, to others. It is not possible.”

I felt hopeless. She’d lived her life while most of mine was still ahead of me. The world seemingly falling apart around me. Still, I could see her point. How many times had I witnessed the mask of love a-kilter on the faces of those who felt nothing but self-loathing? Their acts of redemption couched in resentment and frosted with anger. The glass half empty with a cracked smile on its face.

Fighting for peace ~ the greatest oxymoron of all.

“What is to be done?” I asked.

Grandma Rose raised herself up, replaced her tea cup to the coffee table, and focused her attention on me.

“Love yourself. Genuinely love yourself ~ warts and all. Look inside your soul. Whatever troubles you, address it, embrace it and love it away. Even those we consider unworthy just want to be loved. They act out for attention. They act out because they don’t understand the source of their pain. If people would just look inside to find, address and love away their suffering they would feel no need to cause suffering in others. Only when the people can find this place of peace in themselves will there be peace in the world.”

A sigh rose from the depths of my own suffering; a tear pooled in my eye. I knew she was right. I had learned a long time before that love begins at home ~ the home of my soul ~ and that it resonates and colours the lives of others according to my intention. Love begins with the inner journey ~ a painful journey I understood all too well. A journey that creates empathy and a liberating knowledge of self that disengages the power of pain and sets us on a course of love in its purest sense.

Grandma Rose, ever the philosopher, noted my discomfort and offered this consolation:

“When you ask the meaningful questions, my dear, it is my privilege to give you the meaningful answers. As my wisdom is born of the inner journey so will yours be. It is a hard road but one worth travelling. Remember, the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have have them do unto you.’ As long as you live by this treatise you will not go wrong … as long as you understand how you would like to be treated … and why.”

~*~

A free-writing exercise …

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

 

Lost and Found … Part III

gypsy

~*~

The gentle gypsy gestures for me to stand beside her. I move over yet keep my distance, still feeling my uncertainty.

“Good,” Erzebet’s voice is comforting. “Just a few things I would say before you enter the Sacred Circle of Hidden Wisdom.” She smiles reassuringly, noting my discomfiture. “Don’t worry, you are perfectly safe as long as you follow my instruction.”

I offer a loose smile, my thoughts wandering to wondering what on earth I’m doing here.

“Grace, please … your attention.”

I bring myself back, embarrassed.

“Good … thank you,” Erzebet says without the least bit of impatience or reprimand in her voice. She shows me a long twig the end of which is held firmly in her hand. “With this wand you have the power to establish a protective boundary through which Chiron may not pass.” She demonstrates how to use it by forcefully drawing an arc in the dirt in front of her. “You stand your ground, creating a space for Chiron to respect. Only when you invite him may he enter. You understand?”

I nod my head. She gives me the twig. “You try.”

With the end of the wand firmly in my grasp I sweep the tip of it through the dirt to make an impressive arc. It feels good. Empowering. I sigh and smile. Erzebet smiles back and shares more.

“The safest spot for you is in the centre ~ the heart ~ of the Circle. From here you can see wherever Chiron moves. You can follow him simply by turning your body wherever he goes. You hold this space. Move if you wish but return here for grounding. Do not get trapped between him and the edge of the Circle where there is no escape. There is danger there. You understand?”

I nod my head again. She hasn’t finished.

“When you feel secure, place the wand on the ground beside you. It will be there if you need it. Time slows in this reflective space; it is on your side. From the heart of the Circle, and when you feel ready, grounded, you express your heart’s desire to Chiron. The same desire you expressed to me. Through your breathing seek a heart connection. He is waiting for it. When the connection is made … and you will sense it … you may begin your dialogue.”

I nod my head in understanding, sort of. Even though I have spent a life time with horses this is all so new; so unfamiliar. Still, I am here, drawn into this moment by something I know not. When the student is ready the teacher will appear, comes to mind. Something my mother used to say. Regardless, somehow I am unworried. It feels right. And besides, I don’t want to leave.

“Oh, and another thing,” notes Erzebet firmly, “No judgement; no agenda. Be in the moment and allow it to unfold. The ego has no place here. It will sabotage the true nature of your experience, your true Self. Do you understand?”

Turn off my tornado thoughts? Wow! There’s a notion. Still, I nod my head, and sigh.

“And lastly,” she adds with utmost importance, “thank Chiron before you leave the Circle, which you may do at any time.” She smiles a broad, comforting smile. “Are you ready?”

“Yes.” The word comes out choked. “Yes.” I repeat more firmly.

The beautiful gypsy ushers me into the Sacred Circle of Hidden Wisdom and, taking a deep breath, I walk alone to the heart of it. Chiron stands at the far edge, quiet and attentive. For a moment I close my eyes; take a deep cleansing breath remembering the odd pressure in my jaw. Finally, I place the wand on the ground beside me and wait. After several minutes Chiron has still made no attempt to acknowledge my presence.

I feel sad. Still, I continue to breathe into what I believe to be a heart connection and without speaking make a misguided attempt to convey my heart’s desire by some weird sense of osmosis ~ as if Chiron should be able to read my mind. Erzebet hovers quietly in the background, observing.

Chiron ignores me and ambles over to the spot where I entered the Circle. He paws at the ground, the sound of crackling twigs and sticks and leaves shredding the air. I don’t understand. Not knowing what else to do, I walk over to him and stop a few feet away. His pawing stops but beyond that he doesn’t acknowledge my presence.

The judge in me brings down the hammer of disappointment. Confused, I start to walk around the Circle away from Chiron, hoping he’ll follow. I clutch at my lucky labradorite pendant, an intuitive stone, hanging on a white gold chain around my neck and wonder what the heck I’m doing.

When my walk around the Sacred Circle is complete I return to its heart and wait, wishing, hoping for something, some sign of acknowledgment from Chiron. But he has not moved. I feel numb; a verdict of failure delivered by that inner, unwelcome judge.

Dejected, I collect the wand from the ground and walk over to Chiron again. When I reach out a hand to touch his silken mane he walks away. I thank him anyway and leave the Sacred Circle with a singular feeling of unworthiness. A nearby fallen tree trunk invites me to sit.

Erzebet takes a seat beside me. “When you are ready, tell me of your experience,” she says plainly.

For a moment I have no words. That lump in my throat is back, my jaw tighter than ever. The beautiful gypsy waits patiently for a few moments and then asks a question.

“Why did you not speak openly with Chiron?”

I sigh. I don’t know.

“I see it is difficult for you. Have courage. Feel the heart connection; express your heart’s desire,” she says with a firm kindness that buoys me a little. “Chiron reads your body, not your mind. Speak. He hears your words and reads your intent. As you are closed so he too closes. It is up to you.”

A tear springs to my eye. Erzebet continues:

“When Chiron was standing at the entrance and pawing at the ground making all that noise he was inviting you to a new way of being. To me he was telling you to ‘make noise.’ And yet the entire time you spent with him you said nothing.” She admonishes me gently, “If you want to be able to speak freely and without judgement you must first speak. Yes?”

I nod my head, acutely aware of the fact that even now I am afraid to share how I feel and what I am thinking.

“Grace, would you be willing to visit with Chiron again and speak to him?”

I smile weakly and manage a “Yes …” and, with a deep breath, draw myself up from the tree trunk and walk once again to the edge of the Sacred Circle.

“Enter when you are ready. Remember what I have told you. Speak your heart, freely and without judgement. Where’s your wand?”

I retrieve it from the ground where I’m standing and wave it at her.

“Good … now proceed.”

Taking a deep, cleansing breath I move to the heart of the Circle. As I ground I notice Chiron is standing where he was the last time I entered, however this time he moves to the entrance almost immediately, and waits. A second chance. I drop the wand at my feet. Gather myself. Here goes …

“Chiron …” His name comes out garbled. I clear my throat, say it again and continue, “Chiron … you are such a beautiful boy … It is such an honour to stand in this Circle with you today.” He begins to chew.

“A good sign,” calls the gypsy gently. “He is acknowledging your authenticity. Continue … “

“Chiron,” I continue, “You are named after the Wounded Healer. I don’t know what your wounds are but I’m here to ask for your help with mine.” I hesitate. “My heart’s desire, Chiron, is … ” I struggle with the words ” … is to be able to express myself freely and without judgement.” I take a breath, a knot in my stomach seems to release as I forget I’m being watched. My throat clears. “The problem is really old and I’m weary with it.”

A tear of weariness masks my vision. With the back of a hand I wipe it away and then focus my eyes on the gleaming black and white of his beautiful piebald colouring for a moment. “The dark patches of your coat remind me of the shadow I’ve been dwelling in all my life and how so desperately I wish to move into the light; to shine … to be heard.”

There is movement in the noble one. From his position by the entrance where he has been standing so quietly licking and chewing affirmations of peace, he turns to face me, as if to acknowledge some kind of understanding. My heart leaps. Has it been heard? He starts lumbering calmly toward me. The sobs of my soul begin to rise from deep within until I can contain them no longer. I double over in the most exquisite emotional pain as the tension of my self-enforced silence is finally released.

Chiron stands still beside me, his head lowered, his body relaxed, as if to honour this moment with me. His quiet manner soon calms me.

“Be the light you are,” he seems to say to me. “Speak and be heard by those who would listen.”

A profound feeling of peace fills me. Somehow in this quiet place, in these quiet but intense moments, something has changed. I seek his permission to stroke his neck. He stands quietly, waiting. Gently I run my hand along the smooth white hair that runs almost the full length of his muscled neck before it turns dark at his shoulder. It is soft and warm, glistening in the last light of the day’s dying sun. We stand like this for a couple of minutes, basking in an open exchange of heart and soul and then, as if to signal his work is done, Chiron walks away quietly, leaving me to stand alone and strong in this healed emotional space we have created together.

In awe of the gentle power of this moment, I turn to thank him as he rests once again at the edge of the Sacred Circle. I leave feeling lighter and somehow more present. My tears dried. The pressure in my jaw gone. My lost voice found; my heart heard.

Erzebet joins me at the tree trunk and we sit quietly for a moment.

“You are okay?” she asks.

“I feel marvellous,” I answer.

Erzebet smiles. “Tea?”

“Yes, please,” I respond, and then stop, overwhelmed by her generosity of spirit. “How can I ever repay you for how you have helped me today?”

“You must remember first that is it I who repaid you for bringing home my wandering Chiron,” she reminds me, smiling and patting the handsome horse. “You have the soul of the Wounded Healer also. Now your voice is free use it wisely and to good purpose. It is a great gift.”

Chiron snorts in agreement.

“Extra carrots for you, my darling boy.”

THE END

~*~

The final instalment of Lost and Found ~ my response to a free writing exercise prompted by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday two weeks ago. If you’re interested in reading the first two parts, click on the links below.

Part I

Part II

Your comments are welcome. This last part became a bit of a marathon.

Thank you for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Lost and Found … Part II

The pathMy heart leaps. What could this exotic woodland gypsy possibly mean?

She doesn’t stop to explain, but continues her slow march through an archway of Sumac and into the thicket with the noble Chiron by her side.

This twist in our encounter intrigues me. My power to resist squelched. Chiron has shot his golden arrow into my heart and hit a bullseye. I am hooked. Whatever medicine the Wounded Healer has to offer is worth my curiosity.

So, I follow.

The walk becomes a meditation. I don’t know where we are going. I lose all track of time becoming acutely and, perhaps, even primitively aware of my surroundings. Not in a fearful flight and fight way, but with a feeling of wonder. Shards of late afternoon sunlight flash warmly through the trees. Leaves and twigs crunch underfoot along the grassy trail leading I don’t know where. Squirrels scurry in the branches overhead while crows caw their eerie cries somewhere off in the distance.

And still I follow deeper into the woods, the legion of maples and ash and pines standing sentry-like, protective and true.  Finally, we enter a large circular clearing ~ a small meadow, perhaps ~ which appears almost as if carved out for a purpose. The gypsy and her noble companion stop in the centre of the circle and turn to face me. I stand my ground some 20 feet away. A shaft of light illuminates her countenance in an ethereal, angelic way I find astonishing. I sense empathy there. Tears well. I dam them.

Chiron stands quietly beside her, his tail relaxed and brushing away the flies that dare to alight upon his muscled rump. He, too, is aglow with an energy which, though it comforts me I find difficult to comprehend. I feel a lump in my throat, and then hear the gypsy speak.

“I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”

I hesitate. Confused. Why is she talking to me as if we’ve never spoken before?

She repeats.

“I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”

Still I hesitate.

She sees my confusion and responds.

“We are now in the Sacred Circle of Chiron, the Place of Hidden Wisdom. Out of respect it is customary to introduce ourselves to each other, and thus this sacred place, before we begin. Please … ” she repeats again, ” … I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”

I swallow once in an attempt to clear the lump from my throat. “Grace,” I finally choke out with a degree of reluctance and then repeat for clarity … “Grace.”

Erzebet nods.

“Greetings, beautiful Grace. You are welcome in this Sacred Circle where the healing powers of love and truth are gifted to you inasmuch as you are able to receive them.”

“Whose love? Whose truth?” I ask, confused.

Erzebet looks at me quizzically.

“Why yours … of course.”

She smiles and nods her head gently in my direction to acknowledge our connection and steps away from Chiron toward the edge of the circle.

For a moment confusion continues to reign. While the horse stands quietly but for the occasional toss of his head to disarm the flies my heart beats profoundly against my rib cage as though it might burst through. I gasp for breath.

“Breathe, dear Grace,” the beautiful gypsy bids as she glides calmly toward me in a cloud of lavender perfume. “You must breathe, deeply. In through your nose to the full capacity of your lungs and out through your mouth to a complete exhale. It is the first step to healing. Come … breathe with me.”

Erzebet stops a few feet away and begins to breathe in a way that compels me to follow her lead. Her intonation is that of a soothing chant. “In … through … your … nose … breathe … into … your … heart … release …” And as we proceed and after a few of these deep, clarifying breaths my body begins to fill with an unfamiliar warmth. My feet feel heavy and glued to Mother Earth. I am grounded. My eyes closed. Feeling.

“Send your awareness to your feeling,” the gypsy directs. “Where do you feel? What do you feel? What is it telling you?”

For a moment I’m unsure what she means. I hesitate and then offer, “My jaw feels tight for some reason.”

“Good. Now,” she continues, “this tightness in your jaw … it brings with it a message, yes?”

I shrug.

“Focus gently … this pressure in your jaw has a message. It is your heart’s desire for you, in this moment. Speak it … please.”

The notion of listening to my heart through my jaw seems strange at first. How is such a thing possible?

“Do not judge, dear Grace. Let the mind go so your heart may speak freely.”

With another deep breath I make the conscious effort to clear my head and focus on this tightness in my jaw. I am impatient, I can feel that too, but again, that is my mind getting in the way. Another breath, the prison of thought cleared, a moment of peace and then … dare I speak it?

“Go on, Grace … you have something to say, I think. Please, you are safe in this place. With me. With Chiron.”

Chiron is close behind me now. I feel the warmth of his breath against the back of my neck, comforting somehow, as I exhale deeply. “I want to be able to speak freely and without judgement … that is self-judgement.” Tears mist my eyes. I choke them back. Not even these are free.

“Thank you, Grace,” assures Erzebet. “Now … we meet with Chiron. He waits.”

~*~

You asked, I delivered … here is Part II of a free writing piece started last week courtesy of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

For Part I click here.

Yes, it seems there will be a Part III.

Thanks for stopping by … and a sincere thank you to those of you who encouraged a next step in the story. I hope you have enjoyed it.

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

 

Lost and Found

gypsy

Prompt: Late summer. You’re wandering, lost in the woods. You come across a gypsy wagon, and you call out…”hello?”

~*~

“Hello! Is anyone there?”

The Gypsy Vanner stands quietly beside me. Such a docile giant I’ve just found wandering lost in the woods. I give him a gentle pat on his strong yet soft piebald neck, his thick mane tickling my fingers. He followed me willing, as if grateful for the company. Surely his people must miss him.

I call out again.

“Hello! Hello! Hello!”

The handsome horse tosses his flowing mane and let’s out a powerful whinny.

Then, a woman’s voice.

“Chiron?”

Finally, from between the curtains of the brightly coloured wagon she appears. Middle-aged and quite beautiful, her dark hair knotted in a nest on top of her head with tendrils of its brunette silk dusting the sides of rosy cheeks. Dark brown eyes dart while acclimating to the daylight. She sees me holding onto my belt which is loosely tied around the horse’s massive neck. It was how I was able to lead him here. The gypsy’s eyes widen in horror.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing with my Chiron?”

She jumps down from the wagon, skirts flying, and rushes over to where we’re standing some 20 feet away. Immediately she grabs the belt from my hand and releases it from around her horse’s neck, throwing it then to the ground where it withers into the grass like a dead snake.

“Answer me,” she yells to my face, “what are you doing with my Chiron?”

For a moment I am taken aback. I watch as she runs her practiced hands over her horse to make sure he’s okay. She plants a gentle kiss on the end of his muzzle and turns to me again, her expression not so tender.

“So?”

I don’t feel like defending myself. It was she who allowed her horse to wander and I who found him and brought him back.

“Next time I find your horse wandering in the woods,” I answer in a tone every bit as strident as the gypsy’s, “I’m taking him home with me. He’s too beautiful to be left to the wolves.”

I lean down to retrieve my leather belt from the grass and turn to walk away. To hell with her.

“Stop!”

And I do because I’m unhappy with the way this has resolved. I turn back. There’s a tear in the woman’s repentant eyes, her arms are wrapped around Chiron’s massive neck. I walk closer.

“I’m sorry,” she says haltingly in a thick Hungarian accent I didn’t recognize before. “It was unfair of me to take my anger out on you. Chiron means the world to me and I am angry at myself for not securing him properly so he wouldn’t wander off. Thank you for bringing him home.” She brushes the tears from her cheek and stands once again upright. “I am Erzebet. Except for my cat and my horse I travel alone. I am a fortune teller. Please, let me speak yours in gratitude for the return of Chiron.”

Now I’m uncomfortable in a whole other way.

“Really, it’s fine,” I say. “I’m just happy to have been able to restore him to you. The woods are a lonely place for the lost ones.”

Erzebet’s eyes seem to deepen in colour; almost mesmerizing. She turns to Chiron.

“What do you think, my beauty?”

Chiron puts his muzzle against Erzebet’s chest and sighs.

“Come … what is your name?” she asks me.

“Grace.”

“Come Grace … let Chiron, my wounded healer, be your guide.”

As the two of them walk away, bidding me follow, I feel their heart connection.

Erzebet calls back to me …

“You think you found Chiron in the woods today,” she stops, turns and smiles knowingly, “when, in fact, it is he that found you.”

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nMy response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

It Takes All Kinds

bride-of-poe

~*~

“Oooh, will you look at that! Look at what she’s wearing?”

Ethel did as her sister bade and turned to see Poe’s bride sashaying formidably down the aisle.

“I say, isn’t that a treat, then?” exclaimed Ethel with some enthusiasm.

“Whad’r’ya sayin’?” moped Mable. “It’s ‘orrendous!”

“What are you saying, you myopic mad woman? This is tremendous! Dark and sullen. Suits her perfectly!”

“But it’s a wedding, Ethel. What’s with that crow?”

“Mabel, Mabel, Mabel,” Ethel whispered to her sister, “Don’t be so blind. You had to know that Poe was going to choose a dark one. You just had to. His mum’s been dressing like a Gothic princess for years since our Malcolm died in that horrible spelunking accident. Always in mourning, that one. I mean, I miss our brother too, but at some point you have to move on. Still,” Ethel came up for air, “poor little Poe has never known anything different than the dark princess and it seems obvious to me that he would choose someone like his mum, so why would you be surprised? Besides, Isabella looks beautiful, don’t you think?”

Mabel pulled out a cotton handkerchief from her handbag and sniffed into it, dabbing at the tears that spilled in memory of her brother.

“Oh, Ethel,” she moaned as the shiver of fabric advanced sinuously down the aisle, “I know all of that. And I know Isabella is lovely, and Poe ‘as ‘ad to put up with a lot since his dad died, but I do prefer the traditional approach. This is a little bit too far off the tea wagon for my taste.” Mabel stopped and wiped her nose before finishing her thought. “Still, you’re right, it suits Isabella.”

“Yes, it does suit her. And they suit each other. It takes all kinds to make a world, and thank goodness for that or what a boring place this would be.”

Mabel turned to look at Poe waiting at the alter, darkly handsome and hormonal. Three bridesmaids adorned in black and carrying black and purple lilies and tulips with just a spray of baby’s breath here and there for contrast, wore make-up darkly contoured and defining. Almost haunting. The whole proceeding seemed more like a dark cartoon than a joyful tradition, in Mabel’s mind, but then, she was a simple woman with simple tastes, not prone to wandering into extremes. She offered up a deep sigh and an accepting smile as Isabella kicked the feathered train with a black-shoed foot and rustled by, leaving a wiggle in her wake.

Mabel turned once more to Ethel who was herself smiling at the independence of thought on display.

“Ethel?”

“Yes, Mabel, what do you want now?”

“Do you know if Hortense has set up tea during pictures?”

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nAnother free write courtesy of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

Thanks for stopping by …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Ignorance Is Rarely Bliss

vwquote

“It might also be possible that the world has whatever meaning you attach or, perhaps bring, to it,” Aunt Rose cautioned Sally. “Never take what anyone says at face value. Always explore something and measure it against your own truth. And, if you don’t know what your truth is, seek it out.”

“How do I do that, auntie?” young Sally asked.

“Open your heart to other possibilities. Use your mind to examine the evidence before you. Employ your gut instinct ~ that is, how does what you see or hear make you feel? If you are uncomfortable with something, it’s possible the meaning attached to it is not for you.” Aunt Rose considered further, “We all approach life from different departure points. My experience is not your experience. Our opinions may be the same on a matter but we will have to have arrived at our individual conclusions based on our own process if it is to mean anything. We must go through the process of personal affirmation and not allow ourselves to be bullied or blinded into something, it doesn’t matter what it is. And that includes your understanding of my point of view on this conversation.”

Sally thought for a moment. “Can you give me an example, auntie?”

“Well, dear, you know how your aunt Melanie, my sister, is uncomfortable around dogs?”

“Yes …”

“Does that mean you should be uncomfortable around dogs, too?”

“Maybe …”

“Why? Have you ever had a bad experience with a dog?”

“No, but … “

Aunt Rose interrupted.

“Why should one person’s bad experience with a dog put you in the position of being afraid of dogs, Sally? Your aunt loves dogs but was attacked by a stray as a little girl. Since then she has kept a healthy distance from them, especially dogs she doesn’t know.” Aunt Rose paused for a moment, and then continued, “I ought to say, to be accurate, that she isn’t afraid of them as much as she chooses not be be around them. … That’s a healthier way of looking at it, I’d say. But should her experience make you fearful of them?”

Abbey copy 2Sally thought for a moment. “Perhaps the lesson to be learned, Aunt Rose, is to be mindful in the presence of dogs unfamiliar to you. For instance, I know I can wrap my arms around Abbey, our collie, but I would never do that to the neighbour’s doberman. He doesn’t know me and I don’t know him well enough to be that familiar. It’s about respect, isn’t it?”

Aunt Rose smiled.

“Yes, dear, if that is the meaning you wish to give it, it absolutely is. But that is a conclusion you have drawn yourself based on your own experience, and this is healthy. To assume a meaning without first giving something due consideration is born of ignorance and ignorance, as the great Charles Dickens said in his Christmas Carol is the most important thing of which to be aware. Remember the Ghost of Christmas Present when he said ” … beware this boy [who represented ignorance] for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”? Ignorance dooms us to misery. Look around you … how many miserable people do you know whose life might be changed for the better if they chose to look beyond their own ignorance?”

Sally recalled the scene from the old Alistair Sim movie, and and thought of her friend Francine who’d been peer-pressured into the drug scene and was ignorant of its long-term effects. She shuddered.

Aunt Rose leaned forward from her seat of power toward Sally seated on the sofa next to her and patted her niece on the shoulder.

“You’ll be alright, darling. Just keep asking questions and never be satisfied with assumptions. Ignorance is rarely bliss. Find the truth within yourself and you will find whatever meaning the world holds for you and be able to stand up to those who would lead you astray.” Aunt Rose’s mind drifted to her own friends ensnared in their own misery, and gave her niece’s shoulder a squeeze. “And for you, my dear, I hope it means a lifetime of happiness. … But that is up to you, of course.”

Sally smiled. “Of course. Thank you, auntie.”

“Now, young lady,” said the older woman, “let’s make some tea and find the chocolate biscuits. That was hungry work.”

~*~

Prompted by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_n©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

Music Never Dies

 

fog

Credit: Favim

~*~

Abandoned in the woods of my mind

The music I used to make.

The songs I used to sing.

The choral symphonies and

A cappella wonders that resonated

So deeply at the time I could never

Imagine my life without them.

Then life happened.

A new chapter unfolded.

A change of direction.

The company of composers

Receded to the heart chamber ~

Gone, but not forgotten

So that when the music played again

Every note; ever nuance

Every syllabic turn

Emerged from the foggy forest of my mind

To live and lighten again.

The pleasure of musical moments

Shared and memories of

Glorious music made live as though

Created yesterday.

But then, I realize, the music we inhabit

Never dies ~ it simply dwells

And resonates in every

Cell of our being to live another

Day, to uplift or

Devour the spirit according to

Our desire. Of course, only the

Heart knows the

Difference.

~*~

Music has always been an important part of my life.

I’m a singer. A soprano. Not of the operatic variety ~ that’s been done in my family. No, I’m a soprano hybrid, I guess I’d say. A little bit of everything.

For 12 years I sang second soprano in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir ~ Toronto’s esteemed symphonic chorus ~ and loved every minute of it. The rehearsals, the performances, the way 180 people from different walks of life could all come together and create music magic together. Swept away by Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven, Faure, Vaughan Williams, Gabrieli and so many more of the classical and modern repertoire ~ for those moments our troubles disappeared as we focused our minds and hearts on giving voice to music that never dies.

I sang Handel’s Messiah 60-plus times. I know the soprano line (solo and choral) in my sleep. Every Christmas we go to hear the Choir and symphony perform this incredible oratorio and the part of my heart where this slice of heaven dwells opens up and I feel the joy of its presence in my life once more.

And this is so for many, many more wonders of the choral repertoire I had the privilege to perform.

But it doesn’t stop there.

All the music I’ve ever experienced in my life ~ opera, jazz, country, rock, blues, bluegrass, folk, R&B ~ resonates within and reflects who I am.

To me, the type of music we invite in to inhabit our world is every bit as important as the books we read and the people we choose to associate with. It colours who we are and our life experience.

I have heard of people who choose to live their lives without music and I am, frankly, floored by this notion. Still, each of us must walk their own path and live according to the dictates of our own hearts.

Among the music I miss singing the most is a cappella. To me, little can match the purest form of the human voice. “Hear My Prayer, O Lord” by English Baroque composer, Henry Purcell (1659-1695) has long been one of my favourite a cappella pieces, and the first time I sang it with the Mendelssohn Choir it moved me to tears. If you would like to experience this short piece, click here. It’s lovely and meditative for a Sunday morning.

I realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it. It’s part of who I am and one of those things that reminds me how good it is to be alive.

And as long as I am alive this music will live in me.

Thanks for stopping by …

Dorothy

~*~

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nPrompted by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Cypress Sunset

Cypress

There, upon a Tuscan Hill,

Survey the cypress, tall and still

Saluting to the burning sky

As setting sun to all says “Arrivederci!”

~*~

Something a little quirky courtesy of my recent trip to Italia.

Thanks for stopping by …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014