Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wednesday Wish (30)

Prison bars
Photo by verbo10 via Flickr

Thick, grey, weighted air, heavy with unlove. Slow steps and bowed heads, bodies dressed in military green. I watched silently as I waited. I breathed deeply as I gazed. I felt as most didn’t dare.
            ‘Good morning Officer Thorpe,’ I said, his keys jingling with excitement as he opened the gate to let me in.
            ‘Morning, Miss Brynne. Friday already? Comes faster every week. Must be all the fun we been having here in prison.’ He chuckled, itching with the same spunk that kept his smile real. ‘The guys’l be happy to see you, always are. I’ll send ‘em right over.’
            ‘Thank you, Thorpe. Happy Morning,’ I called out as I started off across the gravel yard to the small cinder block room that waited for me, just the same, every Friday morning.
            Today I carried a small cd player in one hand and a bag filled with art supplies in the other—trusting the energy of the day to dictate our activities. Funny though, this day, unlike most, I could feel what they needed even before I walked in.

            ‘Mornin’ Miss Brynne,’ said a handful of men in unison, their eyes hungry for attention.
            ‘Morning Plumer, Alonso, Walter, Sam… How was your week? I sent ya’ll some birds. Did you see ‘em? Did you hear ‘em?’
            Plumer, who lost his voice, and his mind, in Vietnam looked at me with a soft, thankful smile. I returned it.
‘Plumer did. What about the rest of you?’
‘I heard one. Think it was yesterday. Sounded like Spring. Sounded happy, sounded free.’ That was Walter. He was in his fifties with hair like a bird’s nest. He loved birds. And after twenty-five years of doing time, his quirky was endearimg.
‘Yep. That was him! Nice, Walter. How’d I know you’d hear him?’
Now there were two smiles. Three if you counted mine.

*          *          *

I asked them to close their eyes, to imagine as I spoke...

The bird is green. Green as the grass under a Carolina summer sky. You look up as it flies toward you. No one else is around. Not a one. You are all alone. So when he swoops low and lands at your feet you don’t look around for show and tell, you just stare. Open mouthed. As it motions for you to step aboard. Step aboard? But you’re just a tiny feller, you think out loud. So he grows. Big and hefty. Fluffy enough for a soft ride. And anywhere you want to go…

The razor wire looks like a stretched out slinky from far above. And camp looks like a silly dollhouse made for ants. You giggle. How’d such an insignificant place ever give you such grief, you wonder. You sigh and decide to think about more important things. Like the nearing airplane. Friendly faces point and wave from their little round windows. You feel like a celebrity and wave back. You reach down to pat the belly of your fluffy bird, your fondness for him growing by the second…

First you want to visit your mama, to give her a kiss and tell her you’re ok, that you’ve managed to keep your heart still lovin’, which is no small task considering the circumstances. After that, you leave it up to Bird. You know he came for a reason and you darn well know you better let him show you what that reason is. He does some loop-de-loops that make your belly do some flips and for a quick second you feel like a kid again. Wow. You let out a big laugh, the wind rubbin’ your cheeks like a dog’s in the back of a pick up truck. You close your eyes to feel it even better. Damn, that feels good…

Before you know it, you’re swooping low, closer and closer to…what’s that? An island? Yep. You haven’t ever seen one before but it sure looks tropical. And warm. The ocean lickin’ at its edges like bathwater in a big ole’ tub. And are those people? Hmm…hopefully they are nice. Yep. Seems they are. They all have smiles and are waving. You think you even see a few with happy tears…

As you step off Bird’s back, you’re encircled and held, hugged and embraced by all those in your past and your future who have, and who will, love you, care for you, want the best out of life for you. People that you thought had forgotten you. People that you thought you had forgotten. People you have yet to meet. And each one filled with love...for you. They step forward, one by one, to embrace you, to remind you that you aren’t alone, to fill you up with hope, with happy, with love…

I looked around at the closed eyes in the room--murderers, rapists, arsonists and simple thieves. Many, had tears streaming down their faces. Most, seemed deeply affected by the imagined love directed toward their hearts. And all, had transformed themselves into hope, into gentle, into love...their faces showed me so.

*          *          *

My Wednesday Wish for You?

Listen this week, listen to your deepest needs and like a big fluffy bird, let your imagination honor those needs into freedom, let your Self fly out of your prisons and into hope, into gentle, into a world warm with love. 

If a small group of inmates can free themselves from their literal prison, then you can, too. After all, you know as well as I that a change in perspective can mean a change in life, a gift we can all give ourselves any time we choose.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Interlude

An invitation
 to raise your voice... to speak your soul's truth.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday Wish (29)

photo via googleimages, www.successfulblackwoman.com

Many years ago, when the sky reached a dark violet morning and my heart a fresh tender green, we set off. Just the two of us. In a car. Fifty years apart, twelve inches close, with not a single expectation of the treasures that lay ahead. 

The landscape between my little Danish town and the distant city deep within East Germany's border was lovely. Rolling hills, tufts of farms, cows and sheep, and even a smiling farmer or two. But that, at least, he expected.

And the border with the German shepherds, the soldiers with tight lips and hard eyes, the warning signs in capital letters and the mirrors to check beneath our cars--yes, all that--even I, at age nineteen, expected all that. And I knew how my favorite candy bar would taste after warming up in my hand, how the windshield wiper fluid would sting when it visited my nose, how the car would vibrate and hum when it reached those high autobahn speeds--yes, I expected all those things, too.

And he? Did he expect to long for a smoke as soon as he sat inside the car with a nineteen year old American girl who reminded him of his first love? Or did he expect to focus on the road, to contemplate his overdue retirement, the markets overseas, the dangers of driving near any man with a hat on, even if it might be one's self. I shall never know. But I do know he didn't expect one thing. He couldn't have. I knew him well enough to know his mind wouldn't anticipate his heart. Not this time.

Nor did mine.
But they did.
Our minds folded and our hearts shared.
A secret.
One each.
As we drove through the countryside, ladled with unexpected treasure.

*          *          *

My Wednesday Wish for You?

To share a secret. To unfold the map to your heart's hidden caves, to the places that you thought you wanted no one to ever see. To drop a crumb, or maybe two...with gentle care...and to invite the moment to find you, to find you both. Maybe on a bus. Maybe on a train. Maybe while making copies or ordering your morning tea. Listen for the moment, for the opening in the sea, when your secret begs to be heard, by you and by me. We wear layers in the winter and long for our beloved sun. Our souls are no different. They too, long to feel the sun upon their naked bodies, the warmth of loving sight melting layers of fear, that cumbersome gunk we all know so well, coating, masking, a most magnificent being of light....yes, YOU.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Wish (28)

As I sit here in the dark of night with the humming insects and the cooing birds and the distant crashing of the sea, I watch as a moment transforms from a mere moment into eternity. Like a spec of dust seen through a water droplet, that moment expands, its pulse begging to be seen. All these years later a moment in time stands still, its essence still living and growing inside of me…as fresh…as eternity.
Water droplet
photo via Flickr by mrkgrd
*          *          *

Not far from Venice, Italy is a little town that once welcomed me. Its sits like a quiet grandfather, drink in hand, permanent half smile, eyes lost out at sea. His warm and well-worn hand is open and inviting, tender and kind. So I slip my hand in his once again and remind myself a second time, to never, ever let go.

The scent of the sea, the leather in the shops, the belts and the jackets swaying in the breeze, the cigars from the men who play chess and bocce ball in the sand under the grand and beautiful old trees….the scents and feels of this kind and gentle town begin to come back to me.

I walk along the old road that lines the sea, the one with the grand and beautiful old trees. My sandals clap the stones, my dress it sways in the breeze, and my dreams…they grow. I am young and alive and my world is stretched out before me. What do I wish for? What will I be? Where will I go and whom will I see? I breathe in the scent of possibilities and feel them expand my heart. I breathe out my fears and watch them scramble out to sea.

And when I walk beyond the shops, beyond the men mumbling, beyond the women garbling, beyond the lonely dog and the suspicious cat, and beyond each and every normal expectation, I find myself alone. Just me and my sea and the gentle billowing of the grand and beautiful trees. I stop. I close my eyes. And I raise my face up to the sky.

And suddenly, I feel something tickle my face. A tuft of cloud? A curious bee? A fairy on its way to the sea? I giggle as I open my eyes and find more than I ever expect to see…

White puffs of flowers falling like snow, dancing and twirling beneath the grand and beautiful trees. They swoop up and loop over and down. Like unattached clouds. Like tutu-ed fairies. Like butterflies flit floating to the ground. And maybe just maybe, like unclaimed dreams left behind by those who had come before me, still as beautiful as the very day they were born. No…still more. Yes, still more.

I turn to look from whence I came and all along the entire road there is more of the same. The air is filled with magic puffs of white.

            “Its beautiful,” I say to the old man.
            “It happens just once a year,” he says to me, “and its not just beautiful, dear youngin', its magic.”

*          *          *
My Wednesday Wish for You?

To let a special, magical moment in your life, live on for eternity. To hold up the droplet of water when you need it the most, to let it magnify, to let that forgotten moment feed your heart as it once did, again. They say we are better off if we don’t live in the past. But what if we just bring our favorite magic moments with us to the present? What then? I don’t think that’s unhealthy. I think it is honoring the magic in our lives, not letting it get away, inviting it to live on like our dreams...as fresh...as eternity.