Tag Archives: nostalgia

This Rawness

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Digging deeper…
Wanting more out of life
out of myself
out of each day.
Wanting understanding,
connection, revelation,
salvation.
Wanting the sun to shine
and the rain to fall
and the stars to shine
and the moon to rise
whenever they damn well please.
And as I allow the weather to be itself
and as I allow the heavenly bodies
to be themselves,
Can I allow me to be myself?
I am a part of this earth.
Could I learn how to love this self
that is me
by loving the planet that is her…more?
I feel crazy lonely with my questions.
I still miss my husband.
I still miss his body, breathing
next to mine.
This rawness.
Is this what it means to be human?

NaPoWriMo Day 11: Le Mélézin

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I come back to this place again and again
in my dreams, the dreams I hold in my heart.
Green grass mown by munching goats and sheep
their bells sounding a right racket as they amble along
tracks they’ve worn into the mountain meadow.
I look up and see a crystalline blue sky.
I look out from where I’m sitting and see
more mountains than I can count and the city
where I left my heart nestled in the valley below.
I take off my shoes and dip my toes into the ice cold water
of the stream that has gathered momentum
from its origins in the valley behind me.
A bit of emmental cheese, a bit of dark chocolate,
a hunk of baguette, a sip of water
and now my hands are drumming this drum
I lugged with me from the valley below.
The breath of summer and the scent of wildflowers
caress my soul as the wind whispers through the conifers.
I have endured such heartbreak.

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.

 

 

She Would’ve Been

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Today my grandmother would’ve celebrated her ninety-third birthday
She took her life in the month of June of my twelfth year…
and now, twenty-five years later,
I wish I could’ve related to her as an adult,
asked her to tell me stories of life
growing up in the 20’s and 30’s

I have never judged her for her decision
because, like all of us,
I too have experienced pain and suffering,
and can understand wanting to escape such misery

But I miss her still
and wish to hear her voice,
her laughter.

Being an adult now,
and knowing a little more of the way of sorrow,
I would like to put my hand on her shoulder
and whisper
You are not alone.

I wish I could know
the woman she would’ve been
if we could sing “Happy Birthday” to her, today.

It’s fitting that her birthday falls so near to Halloween,
a time of honoring ancestors and seeking their wisdom
as the veil between the two worlds wears thin.

Wherever you are Gram,
Know that I love you,
and honor the woman you were,
even as I long to know the woman you would’ve been.
Whatever of your being that remains, dear soul,
I hope you know the joy of the dance of existence.

Writing 101, Day 2: A Room With a View

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Day 2 of Writing 101, here I come!  When I read today’s prompt, I had no trouble choosing the subject of my post, there wasn’t a shred of indecision in my mind.  Here’s what we were asked to do:

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

Yes, definitely somewhere I’ve been, definitely luring me with the power of nostalgia. Here goes!

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If I could go anywhere right this second, it would have to be a little hill nestled in a high mountain valley close to Briancon, France, in the department of the High Alps (les Hautes-Alpes).  The first apartment I lived in during my time in Briancon 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, driving up the winding mountain road, parking in a little village, and hiking in.  Magical.  Pine forest, gorgeous wildflowers, mountain breeze, sunshine, heaven.  Mushrooms here and there–I expected a fairy or an elf would just saunter by at any moment. The path was winding and long and I stopped every now and again to sip some water and breathe in the most gorgeous perfume of  fallen pine needles, rich earth, wildflowers, and rock.  I rounded le Mélézin and faced the hot sun beating down upon me. When I came upon the hill, I just knew I had to climb it and sit and watch life happen from this vantage point.  I never knew the hill was there until I hiked in and saw it cradled there between the two peaks–a proper hill, a BIG hill, a hill that was steep and rocky on one side and gently sloping on the other.  I chose my steps carefully, from rock to rock, across a rushing stream, and then I picked my way through some mushy grass, wet with the spring thaw melting into summer. The greenest grass, marmots scrambling, sheep pastured for the summer, hearing the bells they wore clanging intermittently, peppering their bleats with monotone music…at the far end of the valley, a shallow, ice cold torrent of melt-off from the surrounding peaks–the wonder of seeing snow in the middle of July, and I was so hot after my long hike.  I was also completely alone, with nothing but the blue sky and the birds and the marmots and the sheep to witness me summoning my courage, stripping off my clothes, taking a dip for a few refreshing AHA seconds, water just up to my ankles, feet nearly numb, hands cupping icy water to pour over face and body…and then dressed again, tingling skin warming up in the sun, walking 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.  And I was fulfilled, I was content, snacking on fruit, bread, cheese, nuts, dark chocolate, drinking water collected from the village fountain, water collected straight from the mountain spring, water of life.

I dream of this place, surrounded as I am today by the sprawl of urban progress.  I dream of going back to my mountain heaven, taking my little children with me.  Walking the path I walked, watching them sniff the scent of pine needles, of wind, of wildflowers, of perfection.  I want for them to hear the marmots’ whistles, and I want to hear them laugh at how they waddle quickly to return to their burrows when they get spooked.  My children were with me that first day on the hill, as they have been with me since before I was born.  The dream of them came to me when I was resting on the hill one melancholy day, looking up at the impossibly blue sky.  I was grieving and had gone back to the hill for her solace, her wisdom. I knew, in spite of my sadness, that one day my belly would be round like this hill.

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Do any of you read French? Are any of you French?  Here’s a little blurb for my francophones out there:

Je rêve à retourner en France.  Ce pays est dans mon cœur et il me manque terriblement, une manque qui me touche au plus profonde de mon être. Le jour òu j’ai quitté la Françe, j’ai laissé une partie de mon cœur, et il n’est plus entière depuis. Cette partie m’appelle de loin, et je l’entends, et quelque fois c’est la torture. Parfois je me souviens de mes experiences là-bas, et je me r’appelle de me sentir bien assimilée dans la culture–après 9 ans aux E.U., je continue à me sentir plus française qu’américaine.  J’imagine que ce sera mon état d’esprit pour toujours.

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Here’s my poem of the day:

The mountains are in my heart,
they’re in my soul
and for nine years I have wanted to return to them.

Why am I in the city when I feel most fulfilled walking in the forest,
hiking up a mountain, heart pounding, lungs full of fresh air?

Real life has taken over I suppose,
but perhaps one day this real life
will take me back to the place I miss so much
so that I can find the piece of my heart that stayed behind
when I left nine years ago.