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Archive for July, 2011

Twice Born

 Lungs fill with air

A newborn cry announces,

“I am I.

I am here.”

 

Severed cord

Limbs flail.

Where are you?

I am helpless, afraid.

 

Separated by a Sophie’s choice

Mother, child divided

May never meet again.

Selfish or selfless?

 

Adoption

Whose fault?

Not yours cherished child

Forgive.

 

Empty hands, reaching hands

Tears flow in parallel rivers

Sorrow and joy

Into the ocean of time and possibility.

               -Gayle Swift

Birthday

Birthday

Lungs fill with air

A newborn cry announces,

“I am I.

I am here.

 

Severed cord

Limbs flail.

Where are you?

I am helpless, afraid.

 

Separated by a Sophie’s choice

Mother, child divided

May never meet again.

Selfish or selfless?

 

Adoption

Whose fault?

Not yours cherished child

Forgive me.

 

Empty hands, reaching hands

Tears flow in parallel rivers

Sorrow and joy

Into the ocean of time and possibility.

Golden fruit and ruby slippers

I tolerate the whining roar of the blender and smile in anticipation. My kitchen blender and I have become, excuse the pun, fast friends. Summer is smoothie-time and I’ve developed a daily habit. Got to get my fix of frozen delight. At least it’s healthy.

Yogurt is the constant ingredient—Greek style—thick and slightly tangy. Add a hint of vanilla and some sweetener. The magic happens in the choice of fruits. Organic, dark-colored berries provide intense flavor, rich color and plenty of fiber. (Aging brings an appreciation of that element.) A medley of tropical fruits—conveniently packaged in frozen bulk—produce a blast of flavor unique with every shake. Variations on a theme.

Strawberries can stand alone or be tossed in the mix. Rich in vitamin C and a natural diuretic, they’re a nutritious choice. (I’m in my 60’s. Those benefits mean a lot.) Bananas thicken well and defeat muscle cramps. I’m noticing a pattern her: food as defense.

Indulgence has its place too. My current favorite is pineapple. Solo. Forget partnering with competing flavors, just golden sweetness whirled with yogurt. I inhale the scent and hear tropical music, see flashes of dancing on a Caribbean cruise ship, pina colada in hand. I’m talking healthy eating, bursting with flavor, minus the rum, the artery-clogging coconut and the pat downs by TSA.

Sometimes, like Dorothy, I think, There’s no place like home.

One Keystroke at a Time

I strolled into the summer morning and inhaled the scent of gardenias. At 7:30 the sun was already sweltering and cloaked the air in tropical humidity. The sky was more white than blue.  I peeked over the lip of the spa; recently an unwelcome critter has been using our swimming pool as its toilet. Disgusting, right? The nasty critter had made another deposit.

Obviously, we’ve got to amp our tactics to the next level. Mothballs just aren’t cutting it.

It made me think of the discouraging inner voice that’s been camped in my head lately.  Such an effective saboteur, it knows all my doubts and fears and is familiar with the most effective ways to beat me down. Question the competency. Challenge the commitment. Distract with busy work.

I think of my sister who showed such grace and courage in the face of terminal illness and remember that each
day is an opportunity to learn and to shine and must not be wasted crouched behind fear and doubt.

I call forth a blank screen and begin to type.

Pack Light

During the last couple of years I’ve been clobbered by some dramatic Universe-messages: tomorrow isn’t always promised; neither is good health. The details are irrelevant but trust me, they’ve been exceptionally persuasive. The ticking of the clock has been both compelling and inspiring.

Life knocked my status quo off kilter—way off and replaced daydreaming with dream-making. No longer content with, “someday or perhaps,” I’m determined to get out of the clouds and into the trenches, to make a difference while I’m here and capable.

It’s been a challenge to silence the gremlin that jeers “Who do you think you are to dare, to think or to try …?” Whatever change is on the agenda—the most familiar tack and the easiest: agree and surrender.

Audacity doesn’t lie in the imagining, it is in the action. Change-making and reinvention are exhilarating and frightening; bravery is an essential ingredient. Number one.

A good blueprint is important to define what, where, when and how. Every choice has its repercussions, like an intricate algebra formula, if A, then not
B. Decide what items are A choices and what are B. Resist the temptation to choose A+B. Dragging along all the old patterns and baggage will prevent this
new enterprise from getting off the ground. Pack Light

Even if I crash and burn, the journey is the adventure. Vitality and joy exist in the attempt even more than in the result. Join me and we’ll inspire and encourage one another. On your mark. Get set and…

I believe I can … fly

I’ve never been one who dreamed of bungee jumping or skydiving. Terra Firma is one of my favorite places—solid and reliable under my feet. Don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not a complete wimp. A limited degree of adventure sufficed for me: whitewater rafting in Maine, zip lining in Costa Rica, helicoptering to a glacier in Alaska or hiking in the Andes Mountains. All of these provided a bit of adrenalin rush, racing heart and vivid sense of being present and alive.

But I have my limits: jumping out of perfectly good airplanes being an absolute. Even a loaded gun aimed at my head wouldn’t motivate me to take that kind of leap of faith. Whenever I heard someone advocating such foolhardiness, I held a smug sense of I value my life too much to play so casually with my aging carcass.

On a recent vacation when my daughter and niece chose to paraglide over the cliffs in Lima, Peru. I was stunned to realize that part of me wanted to screw up the courage and join them. Fear-busting at its best, right?  Or was it lunacy? At first I blew it off like the absurd idea I was convinced that it was. My husband concurred. His face exploded in a wide-eyed grin as he asserted “Are you all nuts? Of course if you ladies want to do it, don’t let me stop you.”

Crazy, I am not.

My faculties are intact yet at age 61 I’ve come to understand that some risks are worth considering and a few of those are worth taking. My niece, an experienced skydiver and obviously not totally unbiased, encouraged me to go for it. She offered one observation: it would not feel at all like falling but rather like gravity no longer existed.

As an author, I recognized a good “hook” when I heard it. That’s one powerful degree of freedom. I was seduced.

In minutes, I was strapped into a tandem harness with a squat, muscular Peruana. His grizzled hair and wrinkled face indicated age and experience. His limited English informed me that he was an instructor who had taught for many years. I chose to believe he was both capable and truthful. An assistant spread the huge, arcing canopy behind us on the ground. My escort and I crab-walked a few feet to the edge of the cliff while the assistant lifted the chute over his head.

As if a fairy godmother had waved her magic wand, the chute inflated. We popped off the ground and out over the Pacific. The sky was dotted with cottony clouds, the breeze was steady, the ocean choppy and the ride was exhilarating beyond anything I could have imagined. We soared along the coastline. Our reflection echoed back to us from the surface of rooftop pools and the mirrored façade of high rise buildings. Swirl and dip, soar and spin, the ride was smooth and gentle without the feeling of carnival-ride butterflies. Intoxicating.

Too soon, the ride was over and we swooped toward the landing spot precisely where we had ascended minutes earlier. Touch down. I know this is an experience I will revisit often in my mind’s eye. It is good to know that I can fly.

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