Lilacs

Every April, I remember the lilacs and the other significant April things….

Jeff’s mother’s house bordered a field. Jeff had planted, nurtured and raised a hedgerow of thick, bushy lilacs. The first time I saw them, all in purple bloom, was magnificent.

When my younger brother was born, my parents planted a lilac tree. It sat almost in the center of our lawn surrounded by mulch and a rough rock border. The bane of my summers was weekly weeding that non-lawn island.

I would pull lawn creepers with my head tucked under the beautiful pastel branches. I always came away from the plant with a monstrous headache. We hadn’t figured out the flower allergy thing, yet.

But, I loved that bush; a little more so that my own honor planting of a red oak with its dramatic scarlet autumn show.  I drove by our old house as part of my 30th high school reunion trip. It was a little more surprising than it should have been to see my thin-ish elegant oak had morphed into a thick-trunked, house-high tree. Slowly, it dawned on me that the darn tree was 48 years old.

My older brother’s birth started the tree tradition with a weeping willow that eventually destroyed our septic tank and was replaced by a pine. Planted near the end of the driveway, that pine was replaced with another pine closer to the house after the first one got run over a few times by my mother.

Anyway, about the lilac; I’d lobbied to take it with us when we moved, but it got left behind. After Jeff’s mom passed, I had hoped to get a cutting from her grove, but that never happened. Even if it had, we would have planted it at the house in Adrian, and I would have had to leave it there when I moved into an Ann Arbor apartment.

Apparently, April almost ten years ago to the day – was significantly warmer than the current one. It had only been 7 months since Jeff had passed and I was sorting through my first April without him.

April 06, 2007

Lilacs

amid lilacs and hats
wasps buzz, breezes blow
the sun matters now
and I am trying to be peaceful
but my heart gets in the way
it wants you here,
but it loves you gone, too.
now, both in our own little heaven
me for each moment I can manage,
you for eternity.

I carry so many pieces of you with me
to take the place of the pieces that went with you
and they’re almost a perfect match, but
when the wind blows through the little gaps,
they might as well be canyons, whistling
deep flutes, running and jumping
carrying your deep purple scented laughter,
warming like a smile, blowing tears to my cheeks

I know I need to
lift my chin
and believe with all I have, that
even as years go by, I can remember being
amid the lilacs, and I can count on your memory
always being there

Quote for the Week:

2017 04 04 Lilacs poem 2007 jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

 

 

Lilacs: Farmer’s Almanac

Lilacs: Symbolism

Lilacs: Color?

 

 

Sometimes the Story

Sometimes the story just won’t tell itself.

 

There are times when I have nothing to say, but this isn’t one of them.

 

I know where the story goes from here, but tonight is not the night.

 

This night is distracted, blocked; a tumultuous time crying out the truth in tears,

howling high over the whorl-winds, this crucial point:

I cannot avoid the storm, because I am the storm.

When it’s over, again, I won’t feel the same, again,

and that’s ok: I’ve been a storm long enough.

 

2017-02-28-sometimes-the-story-just-wont-tell-itself-jakorte

Dissolution of a Down

Forcing the issue isn’t working. The ‘Don’t Resolution’ is perhaps the swiftest failure of a New Year’s plan: to date, qualifyingly leaving space for possible worse scenarios.

I’ve been in-the-making of collages since I entered the social cyber world. Storing away tidbits of uplift for encouragement, aimed at providing a gentle environment to embolden and nurture with an occasional reflective cutting remark, allowing for some fun. I’ve plenty of fodder for those in trouble, in need, down-cast, insecure or out-cast, but none of them seem for me.

It’s hard to be inspirational when you’re feeling semi-permanently uninspired, labeled ‘semi’ for the sincere hope that someday the down-talk will cease. I call myself out, which isn’t much of a solution; like a carousel with no brass ring, just endless, relentless strips of self-assessing log. Mentally beating myself up hurts just as badly, if not worse, than anyone else’s ‘helpful’ fault-points. My call-downs are not vague. Specificity is sharp, slicing cleanly, making it that much harder to heal.

Soul stitching, like wound stitching, can be self-endured. Minor reachable fixes in cases of emergency, where we grab the needle without even thinking and try to put our lives back together again, not realizing there may be damages we cannot reach, and wounds we don’t even know are there.

Put-downs are easily learned, and difficult to unlearn. The highest muster of self-praise comes down to a check-box: I got the mail. I moved a box. I did something that needed to be done under micro-self-management, and two-seconds after acknowledging a ‘win,’ my heart hears the shake of my head as “really?” Wind-swiftly, whatever the opposite of a pat-on-the-back may be, swoops in ~ brushing contentment right off my shoulders.

Rooting the negativity spot, dust-piles of former praise, formerly minor bumps – have somehow turned into mountains covered in annoying scraps of optimism. The only way to break through is to tear them off, one-at-a-time, chewing slowly, digesting thoroughly before ever moving on. One-a-day, or one-for-two days, or one-for-a-week or month, if it’s particularly hard to swallow; but not a year. There will be no room to stand if standing still is the plan.

Push is as different from drive as self-motivation is from force-feeding. Push requires someone to move you; drive requires you to move yourself. Forward, then, I cannot promise 52, or Mondays or Saturday or any other day. I will not play catch-up, and will not regret it.

I will pick one. Carefully consider. Pass it on.

Encourage dissolution of downs.

Quote for the Week:

Standing Still 01 13 2015

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Don’t worry: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/3-reasons-to-stop-worrying-about-your-negative-thoughts/

Just Stop: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=614

Defined: http://www.themms.com/corporate-education?id=110

The Don’t Resolution

.

Oh.

Here we go, again, into a new year pursuing weight-loss, budget-wrangling, perfection, idealism.

Here I go again, beginning the obligatory self-preaching routine: these are the things I need to do.

 

Here’s what I’ve learned: what I think I want isn’t always the prize I hoped or thought it would be.

Here’s what I’ve decided: it’s ridiculous to keep chasing the same carrot.

 

This year isn’t going to be the year I do the things I want to do.

This will be the year of not doing the things I don’t want to do.

 

I don’t want to wait.

I don’t want to deny.

I don’t want to worry.

I don’t want to dislike.

I don’t want to be difficult for any reason.

I don’t want to bow to unreasonableness.

I don’t want to scrutinize my shortcomings.

I don’t want to focus on the way things have been.

I don’t want to find out I should have or could have.

I don’t want to attempt to be something I never will be.

I don’t want to hold out anti-achievements as future possibilities.

I don’t want to accept this is all there is to here and now and forever.

.

Quote for the Week:

It’s ridiculous to keep chasing the same carrot

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Don’t Outsmart Your Common Sense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcI15ose120

Don’t Miss This: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5AkNqLuVgY

Live Like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9TShlMkQnc

Evolution, Part 5: Wind + Down

I wouldn’t say I was feeling down. I couldn’t call it disappointment, either.

It was a very good day. It just wasn’t the day I had imagined.

I was pleased to have kept my commitment; pleased to have made a small difference.

The spiritual service moved me to tears. I managed to hold back most of the lonely decompression that follows the end of a mission.

Community disengagement is a let-down; leaving, returning to steady, known apathy.

The short-set mingling morphed into tired walking; across the street to cars, and rest rooms and t-shirt purchases.

 

I cannot tell you it was a well-thought out thought; it wasn’t.

I cannot tell you why I said what I said, feeling the way I did.

I cannot tell you I knew the person just a step behind me.

I cannot tell you I recognized them; not from work, not from lunch, not from praise.

I just skipped a step, falling back a foot, turned and said, “This may have been one of my best birthdays, ever.”

I didn’t realize we’d stopped walking; we were talking.

Quickly: about birthdays and kites, tulips and art, a fight two sisters had in their mother’s hospital room.

The leaving chill evaporated; son-powered enthusiasm soaked in.

Suddenly we were last in line, thanking GOD and Jesus for a beautiful day.

Followed by a question with the only possible answer: Yes.

 

We sat down there, in a day-safe neighborhood, in the dwindling late afternoon, deep in portfolio.

A simple medium; graphite and recycled paper = pencils and abandoned pages.

I’ve never mastered the achievement of negative space in any medium.

Pencil, pen, crayon, watercolor – all take foresight. A clear tear is not easily added to a pencil portrait.

Devils that didn’t look like devils, doorways to the wrong place, wallpaper with eyes, a gang logo, a sister, a mourner, a life; questionable looks from passersby.

 

I stopped when I saw her, speaking to me of loss and prayer and grief and release; echoing loneliness caught by loneliness.

I didn’t ask who she was; simply served a compliment.

A few pages later, the counterbalance caught me. Separated, two portraits sharing one instance, one hand on each shoulder.

I knew they belonged together. When offered, I cried.

I knew they belonged together. Speechless to the insistence, I cried a little harder.

 

“If it’s going to make you sad, make you cry, I won’t ask you to take it. If it will bring you joy, please…”

 

I looked up from the shadows, buildings by setting sun; patience was waiting, not signaling time to go.

But we knew it was, so carefully, the gift was rolled; secured, presented.

We hugged and hugged again, and when my breath came, I grasped for more –

With nothing to offer, except for this; “I hope to see you again, someday.”

To which was replied; “It’s all up to Him. GOD’s will be done.”

 

So, I fought the breeze, and crossed the street, and wiped the wind tears away;

I could not, then, and still cannot answer; “Whom was ministering to whom?”

 

Quote for the week:

Sometimes we must plan in advance barry curry art oct 1 2014

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Beginning Charcoal:  http://www.artinstructionblog.com/charcoal-drawing-basics-techniques-for-beginners

Detailed: Interpretation of Art; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/36433/art-philosophy-of/36256/The-interpretation-of-art

Art as Therapy: http://medicalarttherapy.com/using-art-as-an-outlet/

steps

worn, grey, nothing special

yet, salvation’s stairs to some

moved to still and stay

absorbed by art, homeless

outside the protection of fences,

it shouldn’t have been safe.

exposure sat me there, and kept me there,

and brings me back with every blink

an unnecessary repeat, what I didn’t think

was true, isn’t. yet.

 

Quote for the Week

where you're at

Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Concrete secrets:  http://www.romanconcrete.com/Article1Secrets.pdf

You Don’t Have to Be Local. Just available:  http://www.meetup.com/One-Brick-Ann-Arbor/members/?op=leaders

Reducing Fear:  http://www.wikihow.com/Have-No-Fear

 

Greening

I’m obsessed with green. Every shade, every texture is mesmerizing. Pines on Esch and Eisenhower; Oaks and Maples and Birch on Hayes and King George.  Shimmering in the morning or in swaying at sunset, they never stand still. Perhaps, it’s the movement that makes them fascinating; creating moments that just aren’t capture-able, at least not on my camera.

Due to a dinged and perpetually smudged screen, it’s not easy to pause the mapping app, but logic loses to chance creativity. I keep stopping short; sometimes fighting a little longer and then sheepishly circling back. Frequently unable to employ an appropriate amount stealth, I am at times, forced to speed-walk on by fear of an audience, and my own nervousness regarding the previously mentioned questionable practice of photographing other people’s property.

It only matters because I want to share them. If I were content keeping them to myself, I probably wouldn’t try so hard. But now that I’ve noticed them, they need to be preserved.

A few weeks ago, luck of timing landed me rounding the bend and encountering the gardener tending on the same morning. I really do try not to impose, but allow myself permission when it may mean something. So, I compliment the impact and offer thanks for the effort. I can’t really tell if the lack of much of a response is from being startled, suspicious or hunched over pulling weeds in a way that might not allow enough air for conversation. No matter. I hope she enjoys the memory later, as much as I enjoyed that moment in the present.

On another day, somewhere between late afternoon and early evening, I stop at the corner again, and hatch a plan I didn’t know was even incubating. Close-up photographing to the best of my phone camera’s ability, a little green light dings in my head. Go, go, go! I do. In cartoon mode, suddenly the greens are popping. The purples and the pinks, the yellows, whites and red appear in abstract over definitive shades of green. My disappointment in trees and leaves and needles is borne from that lack of clear contrast. There’s no way to convey the shades of green that either only I can see, or actually require in-person observance.

Cartooning creates interesting abstracts that still don’t capture the subtle shades. It does, however, result in inspiring impressions of a well-planned corner garden ready to greet neighbors and travelers. I’m pleased with the color-clumps, vague shapes, and impressions, because that is what it all boils down to anyway – personal perspective.

It’s like those impressive vacation photos that seem magnificent, but often are belittled by the phrase, “The pictures don’t do it justice.” There’s no way to convey a million colors through one electronic eye. You had to be there, which leads me to this. I guessing I’m being there more often; regularly. I still want to take it with me; just in case I never see so many green leave rivers again.

The hard part is being content with memories. The responsibility part is encouraging others to do the same. There will always be more richness in person, so walk with purpose. The memory of the experience, enamorable and elegant, undoubtedly makes the journey more colorful. 

Quote for the Week:

The well planned corner garden 07 22 14

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Tree Planting Government Grants: http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/find-color-pigments-hidden-green/

Street Corner Gardens: http://www.learn2grow.com/inspirations/gardenstyles/smallspaces/CorneringBeauty.aspx

Camera Apps for Android: http://www.androidauthority.com/the-best-camera-apps-for-android-188148/