In the chilly autumn evening, deep contented sighs battle with the hum of heated air wafting from the grate. The food has disappeared but the smell of fullness lingers: the tart scent of oranges in the cranberry sauce, the savory thyme lining the turkey’s moist cavity, the sweet butter hiding in the mashed potatoes.
Unsaid words also hide in the small gestures of family. “I love you” is plated with each dish on the table. “Take care of yourself” is served with second helpings. All desserts come with a side of “glad you decided to spend this holiday with us this year”. “Thank you’s” are coded in each utensil that is washed.
We had a traditional American Thanksgiving meal at my in-laws. I was looking forward to Thanksgiving with a Vietnamese twist however there was no turkey pho or banh mi with cranberry relish. The food was still delicious and watching the cousins play together made the occasion even more special.
I have a lot to be thankful for this year – for not only my family (immediate and extended) but also for the family of friends I have been blessed with here on WP, as well as, in real life, at school, church and my running group. The saying “many hands make light work” come to mind in terms of the many hands that touch my life and make light work of and support the improvements I need to do to become a better version of myself.
As this holiday season gets underway, I hope we all get a chance to pause and appreciate the people, things and activities that bring joy to our lives.
This tale that I tell of sorrow and loss
Arrives at this place that poets still love
At the cafe, eyes convey their pathos
While ours frantically seek pray’rs from above
Have we lost that je ne sais quoi? Sort of…
No more sweet kisses stolen by the Seine
Covered in dust are my notebook and pen
Little voices clamor for attention
Our passions still strong but shown less often
The loss is tempered by Love’s additions
The last time I was here was when my then boyfriend, now husband proposed to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was his “grand gesture” and one of my most fondest memories. We ate rich foods, drank delicious wine and sat in cafes for hours savoring our cafe au lait.
This trip included our children so there weren’t any long hours savoring a little cup of coffee. The food was still good but our wine consumption was limited to gulping down a glass of wine in between managing melt downs and sibling disputes.
I don’t know what I had expected from this trip, but I do know that what I lost from a couple standpoint, I gained from a family viewpoint, and I loved every minute of it!
I wrote this quadrille thinking of my two favorite islands – Maui (where the picture was taken) and Martha’s Vineyard. We’ve had lovely vacations in both these islands. They are vastly different in topography yet both bring a sense of peace and contentment – that “Hakuna Matata” feeling. Maybe it’s the sun on my skin or the smell of the sea or the gentle whisper of the waves that makes food taste better, colors look more vibrant, love feel deeper. I search for this during cold winter days.
I look back and realize I have many poems about sleep or to be more accurate, lack of sleep. It’s been over a decade since I can claim having a good night’s sleep. The bags under my eyes are now a permanent fixture despite the fleeting memories of snuggles and whispered fears and hopes.
The packed, gravel path crunches like my favorite candy bar beneath my feet. The smell is not delicious chocolate but cow patties, liquified and repurposed. The steam from this concoction rises from the turned earth like the steam from my body on this 6 mile run. The smells are similar but mine reeks of determination and accomplishment. Each run is risky – maybe if I was more consistent, I would know what to expect, I would know that I wouldn’t fail, that I would keep going and not give up.But I don’t, except for today – today, my run wasn’t shit, but it did fertilize my soul.
I haven’t done an update on my training for the Niagara Falls International Women’s Half Marathon that I am training for – maybe it’s because I really haven’t been consistent with my training at all. With sick kids and spring break and other obligations, running has definitely taken a back seat except for this past weekend when I was able to get a run in with a local friend of mine who is also part of Moms RUN this Town.
Danielle was one of the first running moms I met when we moved to PA. She recently had an adorable baby boy and is training for the same half marathon in Niagara as I am (she was the one who actually told me about this race). Danielle is one of the most kind, energetic and determined women that I have met here. Being a local, she taught me so much about this area (like how to pronounce certain words, introducing me to the local farmers’ market) when I first arrived. Running with Danielle is always fun and this run was no exception. We were even able to see the Easter Bunny at the end of our run!
After this spring break week, I am getting back into a regular schedule with running so be ready for more sweaty pictures of me!
On the Mesa looking at the rubble of your ancestors
….My blurred thoughts clearer in this higher altitude
….Stones testify of their protective wisdom
….Pottery shards painted with shared knowledge and resources
….Ladders made for bravery and change
….Hieroglyphs telling stories of warning and loss
….That I can feel but will never fully understand.
At your table, the truth and strength
of your heritage
feeds my humbled soul.
I was inspired by the Puye Cave Dwellings, ancestral lands of the Santa Clara Pueblo People. My daughter and I took a tour there with a very knowledgeable guide who was descendent of the people who once occupied Puye. This is for Royce and the people of the Santa Clara Pueblo who magnanimously share their heritage.
I am not sure what meaning Devereaux had in mind when he posed his question – Deceased police officers/fire fighters/military? The “damned”? Angels who have given up their halos to become human? In my writing, I was thinking about people who had “fallen by the wayside” in our lives – either from lack of contact or from a conflict. Repairing these broken relationships (private and public) requires a cascade of loving voices saying, “Rise up and join our love fest!!” Or something along those lines….
In the deep, he lives
Waiting for the cue to waken
Up he creeps, with
Gentle footsteps of the mind
Escaping out of my mouth
With hurt, anger and a bit of glee
Damning you as wrong and
Me as the troll he is.
The picture is of a book I found at Barnes and Noble. No, the “troll” is not a fart! It’s something worse, something that ruins days and can make a person question their self-worth, their place in life. Sometimes this troll can even endanger a person’s life. What is the name of this troll?
PS – If you have this troll (I know some of you might keep it in Facebook or Twitter), you can make apology cards for the occasions it comes out and sell it at Barnes and Noble for $14.99.
Taking that first step has always been difficult for me, especially if it’s in a direction that is different and/or difficult. I know some people love a challenge, love to embark on adventures and they do it without excessive worrying or fearful procrastination. I am like the figure in the picture: seeing the beauty and potential but afraid of grasping the wall, swinging my leg over and dropping onto the other side.
I’m learning that to truly fly in this world, I can’t overthink, I just have to do it (as the slogan goes). Think it – Say it – Do it – Be it – then Take Off!