Fields of Forever beckon but I look away from those Fields to the garden of Home and breathe in Love. Blessings push up through the compacted soil, the sweat of my beloved’s effort sweetens and amends, filtering out the stark barren expanse so that green is unearthed and new life sprung through hair-like roots, see them wriggling? Three rows of agave curve around a corner, softening the drama and edge of sharpened perception. Little green plants poke up tall, finally in a place to spread their feet wide, spread arms out long and far away. One tree in, two to go, three in a row, all around they fall in line along the wall, to share color, texture, air — breathe in and out, we share life. I stay sane, they grow safely; we are protected and encouraged.
I no longer pretend to be someone I’m not, no longer hide the shadow that is part of my skin, but neither do I let it rule and make all the decisions. Time leans into place and I know an urgency building; I keep at my work, my efforts. It’s not “hard” or “easy” — it has become purpose and something I am meant to do. I don’t know why, I just am. Perhaps it is as simple as keeping me “here on earth,” to love and be loved, to care and be cared for, to provide the arc for someone else’s rainbow purpose and journey.
E.D. #613 (randomly selected) ~ Emily Dickinson Poetry as Portals
They shut me up in Prose —
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet —
Because they liked me “still” —
Still! Could themself have peeped
And seen my Brain — go round
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason — in the Pound
Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Abolish his Captivity
And laugh — No more have I
I, too, grew up with the hobble-phrase “children should be seen, not heard” though home was more often a boisterous household of chatter that by its very noisy nature held my tongue silent and my mind vocal, conversing with the people in books.
The prose of story set me free, though, it didn’t restrict; stories were the adventure into which I happily shut myself, a diversity of experience without needing to leave my closet at all! A joyous adventure through words and worlds, where poetry was the puzzle, the mystery, where I didn’t fit. And now I welcome the freedom to write however I wish to, without limitation – ignoring “do not enter” – because the expectations are nearly invisible. I don’t care if I should write like so-and-so says, because I write like me. I could do the structure well if I chose … sometimes I do … I’d rather flow and when structure leans in the window frame, allow it to set a panel or hang a margin or plant a verb.
Me and my shadow enjoy the closet, the comfort of walls all around that allow few visitors. But prose is not a closet but a castle in the forest that tells me secrets and holds mine in its roots; my closet keeps me “still” but I like the stillness when mind expands and all the birds fly free!
When I am out, walking, connecting with the world, the voices are listening, gathering petals, leaves, acorns, twigs. I am not a captive; to be so is delusion and weakness — my open eyes see possibility to choose a path. The only captivity is imposed by Self — my mind is always free. And so I write. And even set my writing free … in blog, in book. There was a time when I wouldn’t have been able to let the letters fly; no more.
I honor the women who have been part of creating a world, a society I am blessed to live in, where my words can be let out and about. I honor, too, the women whose words are still confined to mind … by writing mine down.
And like these free words, I will travel for as long as I can — another freedom that has been hard for women to own as their right; not to be doled out like a long leash, but to sever the leather strap, the chains. My beloved partner understands that setting me free is the way to love … and why I return to him with love.
My independent spirit, though often terrified and insecure, nevertheless gets up and walks, travels, writes. I have to — when I haven’t, I felt dead. I am nothing yet everything because I am not the outer result but the inner growth that comes from earthing true in manifestation. I know myself in all my fear, pain, sorrow, insecurity, and I breathe in the courage to step into my Self. I breathe in the courage from all those women who lived before me, doing their best to live true. Little steps that might transform into courage. I keep on, believing. The stories I hear and see in my mind and heart, the ones written and unwritten, are powerful ways toward courage — encouragement.
For those of us who live in the caves, or at the edge of the valley where sunlight is scarce and shadow abundant, for us to know our nature as worthy and beautiful and powerful — this is a blessing. Not to be taught and restricted to be someone we aren’t but to instead harness our own ability and gifts, darkly elegant, often sensed and felt rather than seen through bright floodlight. We are the night, our actions held forth at dawn and dusk: gray, pastel, deep, soft, slow, quiet.
We are hard to picture, difficult to photograph or identify clearly…
Eternal night is a welcome friend that we hold at arm’s length, touching often, yearning for that kiss but knowing the sweetness of divine union must wait a little longer — for now, there is one more word, one more walk, one more loving embrace by an understanding physical partner. We live fully present, each moment a choice to be here now.