Category Archives: Writing 201

Reminiscence

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Where  does the time between memories go? Is it compressed and re-compressed to a quark sized particle in the brain? Is that why I have vivid memories of two mornings in a cold, mid-January over 16 years ago more clearly than any morning last week.

I was getting ready to go to a Memorial Service for a man who had been my husband’s co-worker. Late and rushing to get breakfast for Catherine, my 8 year-old daughter, I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. Of course, the phone would ring now! I swallowed my exasperation. But, it was my sister’s voice I heard and it sounded weak and raspy.  She had been fighting a winter cold and the first round of antibiotics didn’t help. I was worried about her.

“Mare, Dr. Chen called. He wants me to go for a chest x-ray tomorrow” I heard fear in her voice.

“Tee, He’s covering all bases. Catherine has had two rounds of antibiotics a few times to get rid of sinus infections.  Don’t worry too much.” I wanted to add “yet”. My sister was a heavy smoker.

“I’ll come with you.” I said. I could hear the relief in her voice as we made arrangements.

The next morning I picked her up and we drove silently to the hospital’s x-ray facility.  She was called right away. I watched her walk slowly until the door shut behind her.

I couldn’t read the newspaper I brought or any of the magazine’s in the waiting room.  I just stared out the window. About a half hour later and much to my surprise, Dr. Chen came into the waiting room and headed straight toward me.

“I am so sorry to tell you this. Your sister has a tumor in her lung very close to her heart. I don’t think it’s operable but I advise you to go to a Thoracic Surgeon, a good one and as soon as possible.. It is going to be a very difficult time” he said.

I could hardly process his words. I was holding out hope, praying. I searched his face but I didn’t see a any hope in his eyes.

“Okay, thank you for your advice.” I said as he turned and walked away.

He left me to tell my sister.

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The Leaky Brain

Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise

Seeking Light’s clarity
Waitin for the grey sky
Dawn to erupt and distract.
Once again, to see brown
Branches reaching and birds
Flying out of the tangle.
In drab winter, look up.
Changing color every second
Blues above, red, orange,
Yellows on the horizon
Clouds changing configuration
Moving in unseen wind
Startling, unique forms
As if every sunrise is new.

Building A Persona

Flower in full bloom.

Flower in full bloom.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw

I had a fierce desire to be independent when I was young.  Making it on my own was critical. I wouldn’t settle for anything less.  Yet, I had hardly prepared for independence. Majoring in English Literature in college didn’t quite put me on a fast track career path.  I found myself panic stricken as the end of my senior year approached.

I expressed my fear to a group of people at a party and the serious nature of my comment brought the conversation to a halt. But, I could see concern in the face of a woman sitting across from me. Maryann was a few years older than I and she’d been in the workforce for a couple of years.  In the silence that followed my remark, she suggested I apply to New York University where she worked and where they were currently hiring. Maryann’s pretty face and caring eyes reached across the room and I felt a shot of confidence.  A few weeks later, I found myself meeting with an Employment Counselor at NYU who referred me to the Financial Aid Office for an entry level position. They offered me the job and I was on my way!

Soon I had an apartment, a bank account and a credit card. With each acquisition, my confidence grew.  I felt the courage to dream of the future and the conviction to become exactly who I wanted to become.

At The Edge Of The Woods

At the edge of the woods.

At the edge of the woods.

Today I find myself in a familiar place. Familiar as in state-of-mind familiar. Although I have walked through forests, looked down onto the tree-lined sides of mountains, noted the absence of shade trees by the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and watched the sunrise over the Cypress Trees in Tuscany, I’ve never been here standing at the edge of this densely wooded, dark forest before.

Yet, as I face this wall of thick tree trunks, I know which path to follow.  I’m used to being alone and I’m comfortable with new experiences.  I’m confident that this day, this walk will be filled with wonders unique to this place.  So, I’ll continue on into the woods accompanied by curiosity and loneliness.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream and Coffee

Hidden pond in Athens, New York

gy,le Hidden pond in Athens, New York

I awake with the taste of ice cream–
vanilla–on my tongue.  A dream.

I realize you are not with me, not here.
My heart called you near.

For a moment, the darkness of a winter day
is filled with light and snow at play.

Then, the smell of coffee: energetic, strong,
takes me to the home where I belong.

Alone, my mind follows my heart.
The path skips over when you and I part.

Instead, the memories I choose
are filtered–nothing to lose.

Your smooth body in my bed,
the soft touch of your arm out spread,

kind look, sharing laughs, you kiss.
All of this I miss.