They’ll Return

majestic KarenForte

Photo: Karen Forte

 

They’ll return

To the sky

To the bluffs

To the forests.

They’ll return

To true pride

To the strength

And the chorus,

Of the way

Things can be

When the truth

One can see

And the powers

Of we,

Will refuse to

Agree

To deceits of those

Pretending

To celebrate

Being free.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Return

 

 

Eyes Of Time

Photo prompt: Sue Vincent

 

“Learn to listen,” He-Who-Runs-With-Crooked-Legs told him as they sat to whittle spears and arrows out of saplings.

The old man’s hands moved the sharp bone deftly over the yielding wood, smoothing any bumps that could confuse an arrow’s spirit and send it listening to things other than the direction intended by the hunter.

He-Whose-Smile-Fades-Fast had hands that didn’t listen. The bone slipped. The sticks broke. The tips burned instead of hardening.

“You are still young,” He-Who-Runs-With-Crooked-Legs nodded at the boy’s frustration, his own fingers flying like starlings in a sky dance. “Your patience needs many more moons to grow.”

“…And you face special challenges,” the older man added, and the unexpected compassion softened the lined face in a way that soothed the boy more than the salve where the fire had wounded him. “It is your path to struggle. It is your path to overcome and become One-Who-Knows.”

“Like you?” the boy asked, eyes gliding over his mentor’s legs — one long and lean and straight, one tight and oddly bent. It had taken him months to build the courage to speak to the Shaman, and months more to dare note what all saw but was taboo to mention. The deformity was part of the man’s magic. It lent him awe. It caught the curiosity of spirits so they crowded closer to examine him, bringing hardship but also allowing him to speak and sing and plead and wrangle with them on others’ behalf.

“Yes, like me,” He-Who-Runs-With-Crooked-Legs replied. “A path of pain becomes a path of wisdom. If you let it teach you. If you open your heart and listen to your mind, your eyes, your hands, your scars.”

The boy lowered his eyes. He’d seen the man unclothed and he knew the many scars that crisscrossed the Shaman’s torso and that they were part made in valor, part born of harm.

 

He-Whose-Smile-Fades-Fast still remembered the evening when the old man had tapped the flap to the family’s dwelling, and poked his staff in to let his parents know who’d come. It wasn’t his mother who’d let the guest in. It wasn’t even his brother, who’d since become a man. But his father who had gotten up to greet the healer. His father who’d vacated the best seat and who’d served the steaming pine tea in the whorl cup.

The boy had gone to hide behind his mother’s back while the men talked. He curled his webbed fingers under his thumbs. He stuck his tripping, stubby toes under his mother’s furs. The Shaman scared him, and he felt it in his stomach that it was him the words concerned. He felt it in his mother’s muscles, too, tensing as she listened to a future that she must have known was his, and to the losses that she had to know were coming.

Shamans did not hunt. Shamans did not marry. Shamans did not dangle babies on their knee. They fasted. They prayed. They endured. They traveled worlds of mist and danger to bring back people’s souls. They blessed weapons and fought the spirits of famine and war and ill. They were feared and respected but not often loved. It was not a life a mother would will.

That night had been his last in his mother’s arms. He’d been entrusted to the Shaman since. For days he’d ran in tears to his mother only to have her return him solemnly, her own eyes dripping, to the feathered tent.

“You are fortunate,” she whispered to him once when he clung fiercely and her own hands seemed reluctant to release him. “Some Shamans can be cruel in their training, but he is not. He was my uncle once, in the years before he turned a holy man. He had been raised in violence and he promised he would not impart it on you. Go, my son. He will be like a father and mother to you now.”

 

The moon was born a dozen times since, and his mother had been right. He-Who-Runs-With-Crooked-Legs was firm and exacting, but he did not whip or lash or wound him, not in body, not in mind. Underneath the distancing exterior, the healer was kind.

The boy bent his head to the stick, determined. Still his hands refused to do his bidding and the sharp bone bit deep into his flesh. He blinked and breathed and wept but let no sound escape.

“The sky has a story today,” the old man said quietly. “Use your pain to wipe your inner eye so you could hear what it tells.”

The boy pressed his lips together and looked up through a veil of tears to see the sky ablaze. Darkness hovered near.

“It will be dark soon,” he said, and the echoes of the throbbing in his hand reverberated in his chest with a desolation only matched by the loneliness he’d felt during the first nights without his mother’s tent. “A dark time.”

The Shaman nodded.

“Fires spat by sticks of thunder. Cunning mouths and thieving hands …” the boy’s eyes lingered on his deformed palm and in the small pool of blood that gathered it in he saw the life of his people dissolve like a reflection distorted by a sudden breeze.

“A dark time is coming,” the Shaman agreed, oddly pleased. “Not in my time. Not in yours. But it will come and our people will discover many needs. You have cleared your eye well, and you have listened. You are young but with patience and more moons, you will become a One-Whose-Eyes-See-Time.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

 

 

Attitudes of Gratitude

Living princess A.L.

Photo: A.L.

 

I chose to write this response to Dawn as a stream of consciousness piece. No edits. No pauses. No revisiting or rethinking or rephrasing. Typos and mismatched sentences and mixed metaphors and all. It is what it is. And so it is. Here goes, some ten things I am grateful for.

  1. You. I am thankful for all of you whom I met in the blog-lands in 2019, and for those I’d met before but got to know better in 2019. I’m thankful for the glorious, tender, poetic, empathic, wise, witty, funny, delightful, mysterious things you write and post and share. For all of you who love. For all of you I love. For the kindness shown to me.
  2. Kindness. I cannot overemphasize how grateful I am for kindness. For the big things people do for each other, yes. Opening one’s home to the needy. Giving of what one has enough of to those who do not. Going all out for someone else. Yes. All that. But also for the seemingly small acts of kindness: Holding the door for someone, making eye contact and smiling, paying for someone’s coffee, carrying someone’s groceries to the car, babysitting someone’s child so they can have a moment for themselves, clearing snow from someone else’s car, slowing down at the street crossing so someone who is slower or frail does not need to feel rushed lest the light changes before they are on the other side, being the driver who waits patiently till that slow-crosser gets safely to the other side … It all matters. Especially now.
  3. Connection. Through the big and small acts of kindness. Through the words we say and the things we do and the words we don’t say and the things we could’ve done and decided not to, because it was the better thing to do to refrain. To think not only of the immediate gratification but the long term realities of who we are and what we want to know about our own choices.
  4. Choices. For being able to have them. For being able to exercise them. For being able to know what they are and not take them for granted. For remembering those who fought for them and taking on the charge of fighting to help those who have far less choice, so they, too, have the choices they should have.
  5. Patience. Am grateful for learning a bit more of it. For knowing I’ve got more to learn and that I can take the time to become better at it. Patience with others who don’t see as I do. Patience with others who need me to see as they do and even if they have a difficult time accepting I do not see eye to eye with them and likely won’t, and yet that it is okay to disagree and no one needs to feel as if they’d lost face or have less worth. Patience with the things that take time that I don’t always feel I have. Patience with myself, especially. With my body’s limitations. With others’ human limitations. With the realities of pain and the cost of histories and with the urgency to know what the future holds, even if I know I can’t.
  6. The future. Grateful for the opportunity to work toward one. To be part of what change can be done that may help ensure the next generations will have one. To be part of believing that good matters and action matters and small choices matter, and that together we can be more light than doom, more responsible than victimizing, more repairing than damaging.
  7. Repair. Am grateful for the trust placed in each breath we breathe. For the potential to repair: relationships, the fractures of mistakes, the misunderstandings that come with complicated communications and different points of views and variations on information and the tug and pull of forces that may wish to harm, but we need not succumb to. Because we are better than that, and stronger at the seams of our repair. For the potential to hold hope and action for the repair of some aspects of this Earth, too.
  8. Hope. I am deeply, deeply, deeply thankful for hope.
  9. Children. I cannot imagine this world without them. There would be no world without them. They represent, embody, live, breathe, exude hope.
  10. Love, and the power of voice. I know. Two in one. For they are often one. Written, spoken, expressed love and voice. The kind that comes through in actions, in thoughts, in educating, in offering help, in wisdom, in words, in gestures, in the myriad ways that make us who we are. And help us grow.

May every day in 2020 — and in the decade unfurling, new and brimming with what can be still be born — bring us all that we are grateful for. And the courage and power and strength and stamina and magic to dream and trust and do and move beyond.

With a heart full of tremulousness and gratitude,

Na’ama.

 

 

(Adding here a link to last year’s list. Because it made me smile to read it. I’m quite predictable to myself, I am. I am.)

For Dawn’s “The 2019 Attitude of Gratitude List”

 

 

Present Time

annie-spratt-rx1iJ59jRyU-unsplash

Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

It is time for the presents

It is time for the wraps

It is time for the ribbons

All the holiday traps.

You will ooh and will ahh

You will grin in delight

And I’ll hold my breath hoping

Your smile holds upon sight.

It will be what you wanted

Whether you know it or not

Because no matter the present

It wasn’t one that you bought.

As the evening progresses

And the empty box stares

I will hope you remember

Just how deeply I care.

So I gift you the plenty

That I hold in my heart

And the dream of tomorrow

Where we shan’t be apart.

 

 

 

For the dVerse challenge: gift rhymes

 

 

Or Not

blue plastic frame desk globe

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

The sun will warm

Again

Or far

Too hot.

The water that sustains

Will flood

Again

Or not.

The tenet that prevails

Remains:

This magic of a planet

To protect

We ought,

Or an ultimatum

Spurred by greed

With life as

Afterthought,

Will render what we

Know

And what we for our

Children hoped,

Into a disaster

We had let be

Bought.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Ultimatum in 62 words

 

 

Breath Power

blow OsnatHalperinBarlev

Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev

 

Let the power

Of breath

Churn the air

Fill the earth.

Let the wind

Fill your sails

As you learn

To exhale.

Let the future

Flow clear

And may hope

Draw you near.

 

 

 

For One Word Sunday: Power

 

 

What Matters Most

Newborn A YiscaFreeman

Photo: Yisca Freeman

 

What matters most

Are those we wrap

In loving arms

To keep from harm.

What matters most

Are those who hold

All future steps

Yet to unfold.

 

 

For Nancy Merrill’s Photo a week challenge

 

Beached Hopes

Beached AtaraKatz

Photo: Atara Katz

 

In the soft curl of foam

In the rush of cool waves

She will beach

She will trench

And will lay

Out her hopes

That a future

Will come.

 

 

For the Wits End Photo Challenge: Four legged friends

 

Behind Closed Doors

Cuba11 InbarAsi

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

Decades shut

Behind closed shores

What old stories

Had you told

Of not so distant

Wars?

Weathered by

Time and lore

What future resides

Behind Cuba’s

Sealed doors?

 

 

For the Weekly Photo Challenge: Door closes

 

Staired Succession

spiral stair PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

Doors in corridors close

Even as others open

For the path no one sees

Goes around

Half again

In the climbing.

 

For dVerse School Days Challenge: Alphabet sestet