Friday, July 4, 2014

INDEPENDENCE

 
From days in memoriam to days of celebration Americans gather and unite.  Patriotism is a deep root that began with the Independence of the United States.  From composers like Francis Scott Key to poets like Maya Angelou who have given voice to the heart of Americans everywhere we celebrate.
 
Standing on the West Front of the Capital; Maya Angelou became the first African-American and first woman inaugural poet when she read "On the Pulse of Morning."  A poem she wrote for the new president, Bill Clinton.  The five-minute reading was only the second time a poet has read at a presidential inauguration.
 
"History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again."
 
Maya Angelou would later say that the poem was meant to be both inspirational and realistic, to touch upon some of the United States' dark past and her hope for the future.  In the five-minute reading, Maya Angelou preached inclusion and concluded with an uplifting message that reflected Clinton's inaugural address and his vision for the presidency.
 
"Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning."
 
 
There are still living who remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  There are others who still hope for the return of a loved one from the Vietnam War.  There are soldiers who stand at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Many of us witnessed silently the fall of the Twin Towers.  We cried out in deep sorrow at the loss of so many lives on that dreadful September morning.
 
Yet, we found comfort in a stranger's arms.  We became united as a country.  We found common ground with our neighbor.  And we even forgave our enemy.
 
Presidential Candidates and Miss America Contestants alike have been interviewed to ascertain where they stand on various political issues, human atrocities and sometimes their personal opinions on any given topic.  Their answers will determine whether they will be the best representative of the American people.  One of the most important questions we can ask any human being living in the United States is:
 
"Why are you proud to be an American?"
 
I am proud to be an American for so many reasons.  Mostly, because of the freedoms we share and the opportunities that are abundant in this land.  I am grateful for the wisdom of our fore fathers in declaring independence and establishing what it means to live in America.  This land is free and will never be subject to bondage.  I am grateful for the many lives that have ensured that one fact. 
 
Please join me in responding to that very important question:
 
Why are you proud to be an American?
 
 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

WRITING AGAIN

Wanted to share the beginning of a new story.  Tell me what you think:
 
CHASING DREAMS
 
In the early morning my mind continued to play back the feelings and emotions from the dreams of my twilight sleep.  I rolled over onto my side and my eyes rested on the shadowy figure of my husband of 20 years.  Even in the dark I could make out the details of his face.  Black hair crowning his head; framing his lips and sheltering his eyes.  The Spanish nose and the strong French jaw.  Light crept in through the slats of the blinds casting light across the covers draped over his broad muscular shoulders. 
I could not recall the image of the man in my dreams.
I lay in silence on the brink of tears wondering if I was really dreaming or if my mind was bringing back memories of another lifetime.  I remember gazing into his eyes and pleading with him to stay.  Where was he going?  There was mystery in his responses.
Later we were traveling with many others, all seemed to understand the reason for his parting.  I struggled, hoping and wishing for more time with him.  His compassion and patience toward me permitted more time.  As the time drew nearer to his departure my chest tightened with anxiety and despair.
I woke with a start with my arms wrapped around the pillow resting on my chest.  I could hear my husband breathing steadily and slowly.  The rhythm of his breath like the ebb and flow of the sea.  Slowly drifting back into twilight sleep my mind grasped at the longing in my heart.  He was tall with thick chestnut colored hair.  His eyes were kind and penetrating.  The cadence of his voice soothing.  His fingers resting gently on my hand, offering some comfort.  The loss growing stronger and stronger.
I began matching names of men I have known throughout my life to the quickly fading image of the man in my dreams.  No name seemed to be quite right.  Desperation set in.  I could not lose him forever.  Why was he so important to me? 
Tingling in my left arm woke me again.  I had rolled over onto my arm during my emotional struggle with the pillow.  My heart full of emotion.  Why was I so sad?  Why did this feel like a memory and not a dream?  Victor rolled over asking me if I wanted to sleep with him.  Snuggling and comfort would have been preferable to this separation that I was experiencing.
I told him I was fine. 
I laid flat on my back for many moments easing back into half sleep.
“I must let you go,” his voice seemed to come from the depths of the earth.  His hands caressing my arms and shoulders.  My head resting on his chest.  Trying to hold back tears my body began to shake.
“I love you.  Why must we be parted?”  I cried softly as I searched his eyes for the real answer.
Even though he smiled I saw the sadness in his eyes.  He was holding something back.  A secret, if shared, may shatter every fond memory we had shared.  But what were those memories?  I couldn’t recall any specific event.  The only remnant of happy times was the feeling of pure joy and happiness.
We sat in the study of a great mansion, speaking softly to one another.  There was another person with us explaining what would happen next.  My memories would be altered and I would not remember my life.  It was necessary to move on.  I needed to live a normal life.  It was not my time.  My time for what?  I reached for Bastian’s hand as he faded away like smoke.  Tears streamed down my face.
Victor rolled out of the bed and left the room, the movement waking me from my tortured sleep.  Leaving the warmth of my bed, my feet touched the soft carpeting on the floor.  I reached for the cup on the bedside table.  I took a sip.  I closed my eyes and could see Bastian’s face as if he were standing right in front of me.  Kind emerald eyes curtained by long dark lashes and thick brows looking deeply into my eyes.  I could hear his low mellow voice telling me all things would be set right.  His sculpted jaw revealing its strength with each word spoken.
Leaving my room I slowly walked down the hall through the living room, dining room and into the kitchen.  I surveyed the mess left by my daughter, Allisa.  She had stayed up baking lemon squares with her half brother, Alexander.  I began clearing the center island and then wiped it down, still wondering what it was that I had dreamt.  Stacking the dishes on the countertop next to the sink I gazed out into the backyard.  Doves pecking at the newly rain-washed lawn.  Sparky, the fourteen year old pitbull-lab, staring back at me.  I watched the horses at the back of the property slowing grazing and enjoying the softly falling rain.
Evan walked in, greeting me: “Good morning, Mom.”  He stood and watched me as I wiped down more of the countertops.  We talked about the rain, the animals and him getting his hair cut.  He told me that he was going to go take a shower.  Left alone in the kitchen again I began to recall other conversations:
“Mom, isn’t this music great?” My mother looked at me like I was crazy.
“This is the music my mother listened too when she was a teenager.  This is not from my era.”
“I think this music is romantic.”  I replied.
“You were born in the wrong era,” her eyes twinkling as you spoke to me.
I then remembered spending time with my family the night before.  We were listening to the radio as we drove home from getting ice cream.  The music playing on the radio was from when I was a teenager.  The memories evoked were from a sad time in my life.  The tightening in my chest increased.
“I hate this music.  It brings back such bad memories.”
“I love this music,” Victor’s voice booming through the car.
“That’s because you led a charmed life as a teenager.”
“What do you mean?”
“You were popular and it was a big party all the time for you.”
“I did have fun,” Victor smiled.
This conversation went on for a bit more and then Allisa asked, “What kind of music do you like? And what era do you think you should have been born in?”
“I think of the storied written by Jane Austin.  I would have been ignorantly happy in a simpler time.  I find peace and comfort in simple activities like gardening, sewing, drawing and painting.”
As the morning faded into mid-day so did my dreams fade.  I wondered if in fact my memories had been changed so that I did not remember a life time with a man I had once loved so passionately. 
Who was he?  
Who was I?
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WORDS THAT MATTER

“The six most important words: I admit I made a mistake.
The five most important words: You did a good job.
The four most important words: What is YOUR opinion?
The three most important words: If you please.
The two most important words: Thank You.
The one most important word: WE”
“Author Unknown”
 
I have seen and heard this quote many times before and I agree with it 100%.  I think if we spend just a little time thinking before we speak we may be able to to say the right thing at the right time almost all the time.