My Week in Music

Daily Prompt: Playlist of the Week

~ Five songs that represent this past week for me ~

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Oh, a music prompt! I love these …

Having given a few moments thought to my week, these are the musical selections that come immediately to mind:

Selection #1 ~ Right here, right now (Jesus Jones) ~ this could easily be changed to Write here, write now as I have felt quite motivated to follow the daily prompt and write every day to get the ol’ creative juices flowing. Having said that, it’s a song that also reminds me to take each moment as it comes, non-judging and totally open to the road that lies ahead, wherever that may lead. Be here, now. Feel and process feelings as they happen and respond mindfully and accordingly. I’m reading a fascinating book ~ Mindsight by Dr. Dan Siegel ~ which is helping me to be even more cognizant of my life in the moment. I’ve made remapping my mind and breaking old patterns of negative behaviour one of my goals for this year, replacing these old ways of being with more positive and holistic ways that allow me to live my life more fully and completely. It’s all good.

Selection #2 ~ Boogie Nights (Heatwave) ~ part of managing adrenal fatigue for the past few years included drastically reducing the amount of exercise I was doing. Over-taxing the nervous system was a bad idea, so karate had to go and my focus had to become gentle (yin) exercises like dog walking, quiet rides on my horse and Pilates. Now that my nervous system appears to be on sounder footing I want to expand my exercise regimen, still, I need to be mindful about it. Since his retirement my husband has taken over dog walking, so what am I left with? I can dance! Boogie Nights, a great disco song from the 70s, starts my Fun mash-up (of more 70s disco and some rock) and I just move to the music. About 20 minutes stretches muscles and gets the heart rate pumping in a way I can manage. I try to do this two to three times per week. So far I’ve gone all disco once this week, but I think today will be a good day to add to that.

Selection #3 ~ Baby, It’s Cold Outside (pick an artist) ~ selected because it’s been &^#% cold outside this week (-16C yesterday with windchill). My horse has an injured suspensory ligament so I go every day to nurse his wound and keep him company, but the barn and arena are not heated so I am, essentially, in a frigid outdoor environment for two-three hours at a time. The art of dressing warm without overheating is lost on me, so I usually end up in a sweater with a down vest over it and my winter breeches, which is not really warm enough. My feet are always cold, no matter what boots I wear or how many layers of socks I don. So, by the time I get home I’m ready for a nice hot bath. I just don’t get warm until I’ve immersed the damp out of my bones.

Selection #4 ~ Ein Deutches Requiem (Brahms) ~ This is what I’m listening to right now, as a matter of fact. As well as being a writer, artist and equestrian I am a singer. Singing was another one of those things I had to let fall by the wayside because of adrenal fatigue. It’s an activity that requires an extraordinary amount of energy to do well and because of the adrenalin involved can tax a compromised nervous system to the point of extreme debilitation. (Just before I quit singing I was working with a coach and attending workshops but had to stop because doing so literally made me sick for days after.) Now that I’m feeling stronger I’d like to (try to) incorporate a structured singing program into my life again. I’ve been spoiled though. I sang in one of the world’s premier large choral ensembles, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC), for 12 seasons, and having been raised by an opera singer I’m picky about the quality of singing I lend my voice to. Does that sound awful? Shouldn’t it just be enough to sing? Perhaps, but if I’m going to expend my now precious energy doing something I love than I have to love it. So, in my internet search for a local choral society at 7 a.m. yesterday, I found a local chamber choir that sounds about right. I sent an inquiry expressing my interest and giving some of my background, and received a response telling me I was welcome to try out in March when they would start rehearsing Ein Deutches Requiem. This just happens to be one of my favourite choral works and one I’ve performed many times with the TMC. Is this a sign? I will make my final decision about trying out for the chamber choir once I’ve heard them perform at their next concert on March 1. I’m hopeful. Of course, if I try out they may suppose I’m not right for them. It’s always a risk, but I won’t know until I try.

Bear SmiingSelection 5# ~ Jump (Pointer Sisters) ~ Yes, from the sublime to the totally ridiculous. Yesterday the vibe at the barn was a bit unsettled and Bear, my injured horse who’s on 120-day stall rest (we’re at day 25) and daily rounds of hand walking in the arena, and who’s been quite sensible about it, had a jelly bean moment. That is, after a roll in the arena footing to get the kinks out (which I didn’t mind because I knew he hadn’t had a chance to roll in a while) he launched to his feet and leapt/jumped/bucked in the air like a Lippizaner stallion. I thought I was going to have heart failure. “You’re not allowed to do that!” I yelled at him from across the arena. “You’re injured, remember?” He just looked at me with an element of surprise and stood there noncommittal. Within moments I finally regained my composure and he walked over to me looking sheepish. He knew he’d abused my trust. We had a good talk during the ensuing walkabout, during which I reiterated how inappropriate it was for him to jump about at this time. If he was allowed to do that I would be allowed to ride him, and I’m not, so he needs to stick with the recovery program and stop acting like a four-year-old. He smiled … he really did … and I couldn’t stay mad at him anymore. Look at that face (yes, a nice summer image). Could you?

So, there you have it. My week in music …

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Again

Free Write Friday with Kellie Elmore.

Time and place scenario.

Source: We Heart It
Source: We Heart It

You suddenly find yourself standing alone on an unknown sidewalk in an unknown place. It’s night and snowing and the only other person around is walking away from you….

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Again

I’ve been here before

In this place

Alone.

A back turned.

Abandoned.

A swell of surprise

Rises and

Falls.

How could you leave me?

Again?

A promise made;

A promise broken.

Again.

Hollow. Forsaken. Bewildered.

I bend to my own

Resilience.

Survival mode kicks in.

Again.

Keep walking.

I’ll find my way.

Again.

~*~

What an odd weekend of challenges. A triple whammy of emotionally challenging scenarios … at least or me.

First a Daily Prompt highlighting the “Twilight Zone.”

Then a Weekly Photo Challenge on the subject of “Abandoned.”

And now this.

All topics that hover at a rather deep, and uncomfortable, level for me.

In my blog Eyes to Heart I tackled the subject of “abandoned” as far as I dare take it.

A couple of days ago in this blog I started writing about the “Twilight Zone” but couldn’t finish. Maybe I will as the week (or year) progresses and I can find a way to reconcile the many heavy themes that popped out of the ether and onto the page.

With this free writing challenge it appears the bewilderment of being abandoned and standing in that twilight zone have come to the fore. 

Worlds collide.

Again.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

A New Life

fwf

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

Winter’s Field

Winter's Field
“Winter’s Field” ~ taken with an iPhone 5

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In Winter’s barren, snowy field I stand,

My tender heart gripped tightly in his icy hand.

His frosty breath across my naked soul doth blow,

Leaving in its numbing wake a frosted, ruddy glow.

*

I didn’t mean to stand in Winter’s field so bare.

When first I stood it blossomed green and lovely there.

But then, alas, the changing leaves did fall,

And that which I had first observed appeared to be nowhere at all.

*

So here I stand, in nature’s stone-cold lonely place,

The light of love gone briefly from my care-worn face.

Instead a dormant season now resides ~

Within my chilléd heart love’s smouldering fire hides.

*

Yet Winter’s frosted season too must end,

As Spring her warming greeting soon will send.

And so my frozen sojourn, too, will cease,

And once again love’s warmth in me increase.

~*~

Temperatures have plunged again. Minus 20C with windchill is not such a winter blessing.

Still, the frigid weather reminds me of this poem written years ago when my life was in a dark and chilly place.

How the years have changed me; what lessons they have taught. I am blessed to be able to look back on desperate times with an open mind and healed heart.

Winter cannot last forever. Just eight weeks until spring. 😉

Be well,

Dorothy

~*~

Note: This image was taken yesterday afternoon as temperatures were dropping. What caught my eye were the prismatic colours bouncing off the clouds. It was just that cold. Do you see them?

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Winter

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Winter Sun

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The cold of Winter hath the landscape gripped

And wrapped its frosted fingers good and tight.

And from the trees vast branches hath been ripped,

Their scars a sad and plaintive sign of plight.

And o’er the hills vast swathes of icy snow

A mass of crystal twinkling ‘neath the sun

A blesséd sign that e’en in ten below

The light still shines upon us, everyone.

*

And so the winters of our lives unfold

Perchance a time to hibernate and grow.

When life seems hard; the world outside is cold

Yet in our hearts we warm to truth we know.

Soon beastly Winter, too, itself will sleep

As Spring time o’er the hills doth start to peep.

~*~

It’s actually -20C outside. Hibernation feels like a really good idea. 😉

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy New Year!

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Free Write Friday: Fall Word Bank … The Season of Senses

It’s Free Write Friday and this week Kellie Elmore has issued a word bank challenge.

Deposited in the bank this week are:

foliage – amber – wicker – aroma – sweater – cocoa

And here’s my free write ramble, lightly edited …

The Season of Senses

Mirabel stepped off the front porch step to the pebbled path way and stopped. She took a deep breath and held it for a moment, and then released. The air was bright with the sharp scent of rain-drenched foliage. It was a heady fragrance, filling her with a sense of gratitude for another summer past and the fullness of life represented by autumn.

Summer’s last gasp, she liked to call it, shooting flames of colour through the woods. “Remember me! Remember me!” the dying season seemed to say. A canopy of amber, crimson, rust foretelling the arrival of a season of frigid dormancy.

Amber Canopy

Winter wasn’t Mirabel’s thing. She preferred long rides on her horse through the withering woods, with the crunch of freshly, fallen leaves beneath Cally’s hooves; the sparkle of sunlight scoring through baring branches; and the soft, warm fragrance of the dying summer flooding her senses.

Autumn was the season of senses.

She stretched her arms out to the side like a flying bird and tilted her head up to the sky, closing her eyes as if to take in the changing season even more deeply. To feel its dampness on her skin; hear the call of migrating geese in her ears; smell the sweet decay of summer’s rotting blooms. She could almost taste it so heightened were the flavours of fall by remnants of rain.

Rain.

A drop here. A drop there. On her forehead; her eye lids; her cheeks; the back of her outstretched hands. She opened her eyes. It was true. The spit-fall of rain drops had started again.

She turned and climbed the stairs to the covered porch and settled into her wicker rocking chair. Pulling her favourite Arran sweater tighter about her to ward off the damp chill, she observed the rainy scene for some time before realizing that what she really wanted, right now, was for someone to bring her a lovely hot mug of cocoa.

“Ben, honey …!”

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

free-write-friday-kellie-elmore

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013