Sink or Swim

rain-gif

Sink or swim?

A choice I,

And I alone,

Must make.

Treading water

Tires the more

I delay.

Clouds of confusion

Hover and rain

Down their tears

Upon these

Restless waters

That drown

My spirit.

A dry, distant horizon

Hints at light and

Beckons, and still

I delay.

Oops … there’s a shark.

~*~

This is my response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge for this week.

This was fun … 😉

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

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The Soup of My Soul

Dalia

What it is to feel the weight of change.

Every fibre of my being in a shift.

Energy flits and flies from

Head to toe.

Takes my breath away;

Gives it back.

Breathe …

Moving through another layer

Self-doubt waves in my

Direction.

“Remember me?” it yells,

Desperate for my attention

While desperately I push it

Aside. “I thought I dismissed

You long ago,” I bristle, and

Run screaming from the room.

To soul’s kitchen.

Something’s cooking. Smells

Inviting. An onion on the counter.

Peel back the layers.

Oh, how it stings!

Throw it in the pot.

Stir. Stir. Stir.

No wonder I cry.

Let it simmer.

Breakdown.

Stir. Stir. Stir.

Its hard shell softens.

The suffering ceases, reduced

To a savoury translucense

That sweetens

The soup of my soul.

~*~

Healing is a bitter-sweet experience.

When you get through the bitter the results can be sweet. 😉

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

A New Life

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Clearing land, you know, it never ends. My land, and then Henry’s down the road.

Hard work. Real hard.

We came here with our families, see. From the ol’ country. Across the pond in one of them big vessels packed with other hopefuls looking for a new life.

We left everything behind that wouldn’t pack in a steamer trunk or two.

Ol’ Sal, my honey love, not so thrilled to leave behind gran’s antiques passed down the generations. Cupboards, and such. But passage for eight children is dear and sacrifices must be made.

We came here because the Canadian government was giving away land to newcomers to clear and make productive. One-hundred acre parcels in northern Alberta. Things is rough in the ol’ country and we want to give our wee ones a fresh start. So, we took the bait and, after months of planning and saying goodbye to the life we knew, find ourselves ‘ere ~ in this right pickle.

Imagine. Homesteading at my age. In my late 40s with a war wound or two. My hands ‘ave known hard labour, but nothing like this. I was a soldier. The Great War. It was hell, but a different kind. And I was younger then.

Clearing boulders and bush and dead trees by hand in all weathers, with the ‘elp of my wee ones and a couple of old plough horses is gruelling work. Friendly neighbours lend a hand when they ‘ave the extra time, which is rarely. They are farmers, after all. Like me from the old world trying to eek out a living in a new one.

It’s the 1920s. Times are tough all over.

We’ve been at this now for several months. Ol’ Sal cries into ‘er pillow ever’ night wondering why we came ‘ere. Can’t say as I blame ‘er. I wonder sometimes myself. And now we’re heading into winter which, I’m told, is hell frozen over.

So, we knock down all the dead pines and ash and maple, and a few healthy ones too, and break it up to store as fuel. Till the soil, saving some of the smaller rocks to heat in the stove for when we go out in the sleigh. I’m told it gets to 40 below around ‘ere. Neighbours who’ve already been through an Alberta winter are kind enough to ‘elp us prepare.

Ol’ Sal is putting in canned goods; buried in an ‘ole in the ground ’til we get the cellar done. It’s ‘ard times, but we do our best to smile through it. The wee ones, ranging in age from 18 to six, are getting tough with it.

We remember fondly the dear ones we lost and left behind. Five cherubs, all buried in Motherwell. Sad times.

Still, it’s not all bad. Weekly chicken suppers and dancing on a Friday night down at the school house lifts our spirits. Jim O’Malley plays the fiddle, right enough, and Will Grogan tickles those upright ivories with his giant farm labouring hands like it’s nothing. When we’re not dancing a jig we’re singing the ol’ songs around the piano. Kids run around making mischief, as they should. Hard labour is soul destroying when not balanced with a little high jinx.

My music talent lies with the bagpipes, but not at the suppers. Church on Sunday and funerals, mostly. Amazing Grace the most popular choice. I’m ‘appy to do it. Reminds me of my homeland. Brings a tear to these jaded eyes.

But, I must get on. The winter waits for no one and I and ol’ George Ivey from the farm across the way ‘ave wood to pile by the makeshift barn. We’ll fix that up next spring.

Tough times, sure enough, but at least there’s hope in a new life.

~*~

My response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday image prompt.

Thanks for visiting.

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Emptiness ~ The Dark Unknown

Emptiness
Source: WordPress

Emptiness.

A void waiting to be filled.

Fill it wisely, and be well.

~*~

A path familiar walked for too long a time.

Riddled with old perceptions and prejudices;

Delusions, illusions and self-sabotage.

It was all I knew; all I understood of life

Until one day I finally

Asked:

“Is this all there is?”

*

A wall to the right guides me forward;

To the left, escape.

But to escape is to runaway;

To avoid a truth which

Looks, oh dear, so dark.

Yet, I must know the dark secrets

Of this truth. My truth.

Surely it is more than the emptiness

I feel that suffocates.

I must know. I must make

The uncertain live and die in me so

I might live again.

*

All is uncertain. Even escape drags us

Into uncertainty. An uncertainty

Often darker than our own.

*

At the threshold I stand. Smile.

What is more intrepid; more adventurous;

More exciting than to advance into our own

Mystery with open heart and mind, and a

Desire to plumb the depths of our truth?

To feel what is real. To negotiate the joy;

The terror; the fear; the relief;

The pain; the sorrow; the love; the hate;

The sadness; the history of the ages that

Makes us who and why we are?

In the process, discovering a new self-respect,

A new joy in our being because we have found

What lies beyond the lies that have

Shaped how we perceive our world?

Trade that powerful roller coaster

Of healing for an escape

On a delusional fairground ride into the

Utter depths of another’s darkness?

I think not.

So, with courage and a will to seek

My truth boldly I step into that immeasurable

Abyss. The place from which I would

Run screaming for lack

Of understanding.

Stop. Breathe deeply. Feel its clamp around

My chest. Feel it mess with my mind.

My eyes blinded search for light; for

Relief; for the familiar.

Panic. Fear. The light!

Where is the light? The walls have

Closed in. For a moment I

Suffocate in that

Dark unknown. It cannot

Be escaped. It must be faced; met;

Addressed; wrestled with; felt.

Feeling? What is that? I who have

Numbed my way through life must

Suddenly feel? It is too much; it is

Too much; it is too much; it is …

Light!

Blinding darkness in a twinkling to

Blinding light. With one hand I

Shield my eyes while the other is

Gently held.

“Be at peace, dear one, the truth

Is not so hard when faced together.”

I catch my breath. My body floods

With awareness, or at least the

Desire for it. I am not alone in this

Dark place when the Good Heart

Upon it shines.

“See.

Acknowledge.

Understand.

Accept.

Release!

Be free.”

To be free of my past I must

Face it. And not just

My past, but the lives of those

Who came before and coloured

My world with all their

Grief and prejudices and

Suffering and pain.

Together the Good Heart and I

Walk this straight

And narrow way.

The gentle hand my guide;

The gentle voice my comfort.

No judgment.

My truth revealed in a loving

Way, leaving me weeping for

Joy at my survival of the

Slings and arrows life has

Thrown my way. Somehow

I made it here. And somehow,

Henceforth, I shall thrive.

Fill the emptiness created by a

Self-imposed, protective vacuum that

Had almost sucked the life

Right out of me. Fill it with love;

With beauty; with peace.

I am more than the misery of that

Dark unknown. My truth buried

Behind the heavy shroud of

Others’ suffering; imposed upon my

Will and accepted as my own as

I knew no better.

My truth reveals my authenticity.

Yet, I would never have heard its voice

Without first stepping boldly into that

Dark unknown.

~*~

This is written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words. It started as a free writing exercise, calling upon the memory of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago, an experience in a restaurant where you eat in the dark and years of therapy.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

More Emptiness from the 1,000 Word Challenge

Memoirs of an Unremarkable Man

Louie Behogan

Lita Doolan

A String of Pearls

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“What are you listening to?”

Sara, my teenage niece, waltzes into my living room like she owns the place and demonstrates scant interest in my choice of music as she flops in the big leather chair in the corner. I’m sure she’s secretly hoping I’ll turn it off.

String of Pearls.”

“String of what?”

“Pearls, darling … you know, the kind oysters cough up.”

She rolls her big brown eyes and fiddles with her mobile.

“Why would anyone call a song that? And who’s playing anyway?”

“The Glenn Miller Orchestra.”

“Never heard of them. Sounds old.”

I look at Sara with love. My sister’s only child. A law unto herself and now sitting in my living room challenging my taste in music.

“Not so old. 1940s era actually,” I explain. “James Stewart made a rather splendid film about Glenn Miller.”

Yes, indeed he did. Or at least I think so. I haven’t seen it in a while.

“Who’s James Stewart?” the myopic girl asks absently.

“Why only one of the greatest American actors of all time!” I exclaim. “Sweetie, you need to open your eyes. There’s more to life than reality TV and flavoured lip gloss.”

She looks at me somewhat impatiently.

“No, auntie, you need to open your eyes. Stop dwelling in the past. One hundred years from now no one will remember Glenn whats-his-face and his geriatric orchestra. I didn’t even know him now!” She plays with a length of brunette hair that curls over her left shoulder. “Take it from me,” she continues with all the confidence of her innocent age, “the only musician anyone will be remembering in 2114 is … ”

“Don’t even say it,” I interrupt playfully. I can’t bear to think of where this is heading. “You need to have this conversation with your BFFs, I think. We will never agree on the longevity of that Canadian mischief maker.”

Sara heaves herself from the deep leather chair and gives me a peck on the cheek.

“All I’m saying is that when you lot are gone your music will die with you.”

“And yours?” I ask with astonishment.

“Our music will live on forever. How can you get any bigger or more unforgettable than …”

“No, don’t say that name,” I mock scream and present my fingers in a cross as if to ward off evil. Sara turns and smiles as she leaves. She loves to push my buttons.

As I watch her lithe figure sashay into the kitchen all I can do is sigh. She’s young. She does not yet understand that not everything we perceive as timeless stands the test of time.

I turn up the volume, in the mood to indulge in more of my big band favourites. It may not be one hundred years since ol’ Glenn recorded these gems, but in my book anyway, he and his music are immortal.

~*~

This is my response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge.

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nPure fiction. 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014