Leave of Absence

Twenty-Five

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

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It would generally be agreed by the throng of writers inhabiting planet Earth that we are absolutely in need of every letter of the alphabet.

I, for one, would be bereft should any one letter be banned. Such an action would be unconscionable. Even for an engaging exercise such as this, one needs to realize that every letter has its place and deserves to be accorded the respect earned over hundreds of years of general usage.

To arbitrarily ban one little letter for no reason at all is altogether ridiculous and downright hurtful.

What did the letter do to be cast out of its fraternity of fellow word conjurers?

Why, nothing! Nothing at all.

Yet one, for the purposes of this exercise, does indeed find itself on the sidelines. A rest. A break, if one were to look upon it with an eye to the positive.

Yes, let’s look at it that way.

One letter has been granted a leave of absence today.

Can you guess which one?

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti 

Weary Waking

Daily Prompt: First Light

Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.

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No rhyme nor reason

To night’s restless sleep,

Tossing and turning.

Shroud of weary waking

Weighs upon me heavily,

Slumber’s dreams drowned

In ether and remembered no more.

T’will be a quiet day.

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Another Silver Lining

Daily Prompt: Breaking the Law

Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?

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In my 35 years of driving experience I’ve had about five speeding tickets. All were, admittedly, due to lack of awareness on my part for whatever reason. The third incident stands out as a particularly meaningful episode in my life … one of those clouds with a silver lining.

It was a beautifully clear Sunday morning in April 1999, about six weeks after my first marriage ended. I was experiencing a surreal period of my life; most unbalanced. I cried a lot, and by the grace of God and generosity of spirit of a few good friends I was hanging on.

One of these friends, who was also my shiatsu therapist, invited me to her country place for part of the weekend, including an overnight stay. Nestled in the heart of a beautiful rolling 50 acre woodland, her cabin was a 24 hour haven for me. When I left I was feeling the first glimmers of joy I’d known in a long time.

It was as I was driving home along the open, two-lane, hilly country road, not paying attention to the speed limit, that I got into trouble. I was lost in the immense sense of peace I’d finally found after weeks fraught with anxiety and sailing along enjoying a new-found emotional freedom.

And then there he was … the man in uniform. Just stepped out of the blue; flagged me down. My joy fled and was replaced again by an anxiety I’d hoped was gone ~ heart racing; hands shaking; helpless.

I tried to be sunny about it, but as soon as he started asking me questions I could feel myself choking up.

He was an older cop. Obviously seasoned. He looked at me with a bemused expression on his face and asked if I knew how fast I’d been going. I shook my head. He requested my driver’s license.

I scrambled for it in my purse and gave it to him. He scanned it back and front and pointed at the address.

“Is this your current address?”

I hesitated. “No … I live in Toronto now … ” My voice shook and faded.

“When did you move?”

“About six weeks ago.” My voice shook some more.

“Are you aware that you need to change the address on your driver’s license within a week of moving?”

“No …”

And, that was it. I fell apart. I’d been rabid about changing back to my maiden name on all of my ID and forgotten my driver’s license. How could I have been so stupid? The only thing I could do was tell him what was going on in my life. I felt so terrible.

“You know,” he said blithely after a moment’s hesitation, “I could charge you with two offences today ~ a speeding ticket for 20 kms over the limit, and  failure to keep your driver’s license current … but I won’t.”

“You won’t?”

“No … let me finish,” he pulled out his speeding ticket book, “the speeding ticket I can’t do anything about. It’s $120 fine and three de-merit points.”

He started writing. My heart sank. I sat there numb contemplating how I would pay such a fine and mortified at how this would affect my driving record.

“But,” he added as he handed over the dreaded ticket, “I encourage you to challenge this in court. Tell them the truth … and tell them that it was the first beautifully sunny day of spring and that you got caught up in it and weren’t paying attention to what you were doing, and that there was no other traffic around.”

He smiled in a gruff police-officer kind of way. He had a heart.

“What about my driver’s license?” I asked, trembling.

“Go directly to the driver’s license bureau and get … it … changed.”

I wholeheartedly agreed to do this and, notwithstanding the need to attend my day in court for the speeding infraction, I was really grateful to this kind police officer. He’d recognized my unsettled circumstances and done what he could to help.

Still, it was his parting words that impressed me the most, and not so much what he said as much as how he said them.

He stopped with me for a moment longer, leaned on the open window of my car and said with emphasis while looking me straight in the eyes, “Slow down.”

Not an unusual thing for a copper to say, but in that instant it was not just the speed at which I was driving my car that was brought to mind but the insane pace at which I’d been running my life since leaving my husband. Racing to close one chapter of my life while racing to start another.

The weekend away had brought me joy, but the admonition of the police officer helped me onto the road of peace. As I thanked him and drove away, I had a feeling that everything would, in the end, be fine. (And, of course, I drove straight to the government office to update my driver’s license.)

As for my court date … it came up about three months later. I attended the court local to where I’d been stopped, and a court officer heard my story before I went before the magistrate. I don’t remember much of what happened, except that my fine was reduced to $40, which I happily paid before I left.

I’m sure that police officer has said “slow down” thousands of times in the course of his career, but he will never know just how much the kindness behind his words that day helped me to begin to see my then frenetic life in a more self-aware light.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … every cloud has a silver lining.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Daily Prompt: Race the Clock

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“Turn back the clock 20 years and be who I am today but with the vitality of my 30-something self? You mean it?”

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

A rare flight of fancy it is not. Who hasn’t wished they could step back in time and relive the lost moments of their lives from a clearer and more enlightened perspective?

“What do I have to do?”  I inquire of the ether.

No answer.

“What do I have to do?!!!!” I yell it at the top of my lungs into an abyss of unknowing.

Still, no answer.

“Why do you taunt me so?” I mope. “You’ve made an offer I’m not likely to refuse and then you leave me suspended in disbelief. I made my commitment yet you have reneged on yours. Why?”

Still there is silence.

I sit quietly … waiting. How much good I could do with my life taking the knowledge I have now back 20 years to a new mid-life beginning. As it is, I feel I am in a race against the clock, trying to accomplish much with all that I’ve learned while living in a body battling the ravages of time.

“You can’t go back …”

“Huh? Who said that?” I must know.

“You can’t go back …”

“Well … that’s beginning to look blatantly obvious,” I growl. “You, whoever you are, have deceived me.”

“No, you have deceived yourself. Take what you know now, use the resources you have and start here. You’re in a race against the clock and the more you lament for the past the more precious time you waste in the present. Your future depends upon it.”

“But … but …” I sulk.

“Make this the offer you can’t refuse … the ability to live with an open heart and an open mind, and a grace that enables you to move with the flow of life and live in a state of acceptance. Be present in your life and live in every moment. You will see a great and positive change, I promise you.”

With a sigh I concede my lot. There is no going back. The new offer is the one that cannot be refused. I’ve lived enough of my life in the past already.

~*~

If I’d known then, what I know now … Who hasn’t had that conversation with themselves? Never mind this writing exercise (which I may have snuck in to 10 minutes) I really do feel that living my life now, with all that I’ve learned and am learning is a race against the clock. And I don’t like racing.

Having come through a health crisis and still walking the road to recovery I value every moment of pure energy I have at my disposal to live the life I love. Still, in my wistful moments I do wander what it would be like to live through my 30s as the more grounded and mindfully-living person I am now.

Still, if I was offered such an opportunity, would I really take it? Would you?

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

To read, or to write: that is the question …

Daily Prompt: Morton’s Fork

If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?

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Hmmm … such an interesting question to which I have only one answer: as a free spirit I do not succumb to such ultimatums.

You see, to me, one is not without the other.

My writing influences the blogs I read; the blogs I read influence, to one degree or another, my own writing and its presentation.

It’s give and take.

One could argue that books and magazines are an excellent alternate (and traditional) source of information … and they are. My senses still revel in the allure of a beautifully bound and printed book, and I have several on the go as I write.

The beauty of the blog, however, is it’s short format and the fact that I can interact with the author and share experiences based on common ground. For instance, I don’t feel so alone in my equestrian travails when I can read another horse person’s online account of having successfully managed an injury to her equine partner while I am in the midst of managing, and writing about, something similar. It gives me hope.

This kind of interaction expands my experience of the issue in an entirely different way than, say, reading about the injury in a clinical book and taking a stab at it. I love books, but I also love the accessibility and camaraderie inherent in the blog.

As well, my world is limitless when I can see it through the eyes of other blog writers with such immediacy.

And, writing from my own experience and imagination is cathartic and life-affirming. And, as a writer, I must write … and I must read!

Cornering me into making a decision about which I should give up for the sake of the other is not fair, nor is it realistic. All the great writers say you must read! read! read! in order to write! write! write!

Who am I to argue?

So you see, I will give up neither.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

The Dream Made Real

Daily Prompt: Do or Die

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The Greeting

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When my horse entered my life nearly nine years ago I was at a low point. The mare I’d been part-boarding for two years had died of cancer three months before; I’d lost my job 12 months earlier and I was floundering. Fortunately, my astute partner (now husband) suggested it was, perhaps, time I had my own horse; that my long-held dream come true.

I was speechless. I’d ridden most of my life and always dreamed of having a horse to call my own. And now it was coming true?

Once I’d been assured it was, we started horse shopping ~ a crap shoot if ever there was one. Still, to narrow the search I wrote down a list of what constituted my dream horse. By candidate #4 I’d found my match.

It was one of those moments out of the blue. A complete stranger told me of a Hanoverian horse breeder she knew who had, according to the criteria I’d shared, the perfect horse for me.

“Don’t make a decision until you’ve looked at this boy,” she told me.

An appointment was made and days later we drove the two hours to meet him. He was everything I wanted: four years old, dark bay, over 16 hands, schooled in dressage, and had a great temperament. I rode him. We clicked. We checked back a week later. Still a good match. A pre-purchase exam was arranged. He passed with flying colours.

The dream made real, this horse was mine. I had stewardship over the one thing I’d ever wanted ~ a horse to call my own.

The confirmation he was the one for me? His registered name: “Shakespeare.” I’m a writer. He is my muse and equine therapist.

He stays where he is!

(299 words)

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Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

 

 

 

Why even go there?

Daily Prompt: Burnt

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Gone, but not forgotten

Ashes of another time,

Things missed but not

Lamented.

For, should I die tomorrow

I would leave you all

Anyway to your fate,

Whatever that might be.

I’m sorry I could not

Save you, but in my

Heart you will ever live

As a glowing memory.

No regrets. I loved you

As I could and now

We must part.

Be well.

~*~

Too much of my life has been lived in regret and second guessing. Saying goodbye to what was and moving forward is an important life lesson, so to dwell on things that I cannot, or could not, control, is something I prefer not to do. Why even go there?

Books and music are the only things I might be sad about leaving behind, but even these are replaceable.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015