Tag Archives: hiking

These Two Worlds

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Afternoon, pouring rain,
blustery wind,
skies darkened
by immense thunderclouds,
and my body is tired
from a long morning hike
in the (almost) summer sunshine.
Memories dance through my mind–
forest shade and seas of ferns,
breezes so sweet
they were salvation
to my sun warmed skin.
How is it possible I can peer into
these two worlds at once:
the furious rain of reality
and the sweet heat of memory?
And sometimes reality is so sweet
and the memories pound in my mind
like an afternoon thunderstorm,
here in an instant,
gone in a flash.
Where am I, who am I
who knows these two worlds
yet belongs to neither?

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 12: Round Like Balance

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Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo.net is a lot easier for me to wrap my head around than yesterday’s:

Describe in great detail your favorite room, place, meal, day, or person. You can do this in paragraph form.

Now cut unnecessary words like articles and determiners (a, the, that) and anything that isn’t really necessary for content; leave mainly nouns, verbs, a few adjectives.

Cut the lines where you see fit and, VOILA! A poem!

Okay then!  My favorite place for some time now has been a perfectly round hill tucked in a valley between two mountains in the Briançonnais region of the department of the Hautes Alpes of France.  I lived in Briançon for a few years and came to know some of the mountains like the back of my hand, and there are pieces of my heart and soul that remained there after I left my beloved France to return home to the US.

Last June I wrote this post in response to a prompt from a WordPress Writing 101 course.  When I read today’s NaPoWriMo prompt I said to myself, “Ok, dear, let’s not reinvent the wheel.  You know what your favorite place is.  Find that post from last year and make a poem!” Ah, I love the internets.  I went to my list of the 504 posts I’ve published on Yoga Mom, searched for “mountain” and voilà! There was my favorite place described in detail…ahh, the nostalgia.  Here’s a blurb from that post followed by the poem I constructed from it for today’s NaPoWriMo offering:

If I could go anywhere right this second, it would have to be a little hill nestled in a high mountain valley close to Briançon, France, in the department of the High Alps (les Hautes-Alpes).  The first apartment I lived in during my time in Briançon boasted a lovely view of countless mountains including two which I came to know intimately– le Mélézin and la Roche Motte.  From my apartment window I could just make out the valley in between the two peaks.  I remember wanting to go there, curious about that valley for several months, and then one day…

 

Drive up the winding mountain road,
park in the little village.
Now hike in.

Magical.  

Pine forest, gorgeous wildflowers,
mountain breeze,
sunshine, heaven.
Mushrooms here and there–
Maybe a fairy or an elf
will saunter by.

Stop every now and again
along the winding mountain path
to 
sip some water,
breathe the most gorgeous perfume
of  fallen pine needles,
rich earth,
wildflowers, rock.
Round le Mélézin and
face the hot sun beating down.
Laying eyes the hill,
now climb it.

Sit and watch life unfold from this vantage point
cradled there between the two peaks–
a proper hill,
a BIG hill,
a hill that is steep and rocky on one side
gently sloping on the other.
Choose your steps
rock to rock,
across a rushing stream,
pick your way through mushy grass
wet with the spring thaw
melting into summer.
The greenest grass,
marmots scrambling,
sheep pastured for the summer,
their bells
peppering their bleats
with the monotone music
of intermittent clanging.

At the far end of the valley,
a shallow, ice cold torrent,
melt-off from the surrounding peaks
–the wonder of seeing snow in the middle of July,
icy refreshment
to soothe and invigorate
this body, so hot after a long hike. 

Be brave.
with nothing but the blue sky,
birds, marmots,
and some sheep to witness your courage–
strip down,
take a dip for a few AHA seconds,
hands cupping ice water
pouring over face and body,
shivering.

Get dressed now.
Tingling skin
warming in the sun,
walk back to the beautiful round hill,
round like the earth,
round like a woman in her 40th week of gestation,
round like wholeness,
like completeness,
round like balance.

 

 

Lonely

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I question how much I should disclose in this public cyber space, but I reason that if my experience resonates with just one other person out there, and they realize that they aren’t the only one feeling what they’re feeling, then it’s worth it for me to share.

I feel lonely as hell today. Lonely in my role as mother to two young children who need me to get their basic needs met. Lonely with a mountain of laundry, meals to prepare, floors to sweep, toys to pick up. All I really want to do is lay down, curl in a ball, hibernate this day away, and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. I don’t have that luxury, what with the kids needing to eat occasionally and all.

This lump forming in my throat is all the unexpressed sadness I’ve felt for a while but to which I have given no outlet. Who am I beyond the roles and responsibilities I fulfill in the outer world? Who am I beyond my function? If I am only mother, teacher, and wife, what happens when these roles are taken from me? Will I cease to exist?

I have a creative spark in me that longs to shine out into the world. I want to express ME. But so often I find myself folding laundry, picking up toys, preparing yet another meal–and I seem to be operating under the belief that to do these things requires a sacrifice of the self that wants to create. By the end of the day there isn’t much energy left in me to do anything besides meditate and go to bed. The creative spark recedes back into the folds of my deep dark consciousness and waits again.

Over time, noticing the things I’ve put on hold–knitting, painting, music, climbing, sewing, hiking, dancing, writing–I begin to feel angry, and then depressed. No time for me. No time for what I want.

This would be the moment, when I feel this way, that I would normally reach out to a friend. Some sympathetic ear that would reassure me that this won’t last forever, things will change, the kids will get bigger and more self-sufficient, I’ll have more time to pursue my interests. The friend would say something goofy to make me laugh, and my internal pressure would be eased, maybe even relieved completely.

But today is a day when I have not one friend. No friends. None. All of my girlfriends have moved away, and over time, nothing–not even Facebook or texts or even an occasional phone call–can help to bridge the distance and the ensuing awkwardness that arises when we realize that we really don’t know each other anymore. Not in the way that we used to. Why would I call my my former best girlfriends, who have moved out of state and have since formed new groups of best girlfriends, out of the blue to dump on them about how depressed I feel? Not cool. I would have to call them more regularly, find out how they are doing, establish a stronger phone friendship, before I’d feel comfortable believing that they’d even want to hear a single word about my misery.

Where does that leave me? Lonely as hell, with a mountain of laundry, kids to care for, toys to pick up, floors to sweep meals to prepare. Better get my nose to the grindstone…