Bloom

pink sasanqua camellia and bee

There will never be(e) a photo
of a flower that doesn’t make my heart bloom.

Home for the holidays

I am a flawed and broken woman who needs nothing more than sitting on the couch with my loved ones near. Their chatter burbles in the background as my soul sings. At last I exhale the breath I’ve held far too long. In their company is home. Peace. Redemption.

Maybe it was not the birth of the baby that was the start of the church (despite the Bible stories) but the gathering of man and woman to bring a child into the world celebrated by the presence of shepherds and wise ones. They formed the first circle. The one we emulate now in this house.

In this season of excess I’m glad we celebrate simply. No grand gifts. But no gift more grand than presence. This one cannot buy. All it requires is that we be here now. In this place, body and soul.

Selah.

Real Life Is Stranger Than the Blues or Politics

Morning Glories

In the dream he stood across the room. His voice embraced her before he did. Face to face, his arms held her. The full-body clasp of lovers.

In the days of the Iron Curtain, when cold war was warming to conflagration, their second encounter, by chance, in a café, over blues. Who knew talk of conflict in Romania could be foreplay?

Their first encounter. In a bar. As the blues played. Where she was made spectacle. Kidnapped to the dance floor, compelled, she danced with a rude partner. Freed, she sat, sulking in the dark.

His voice embraced her before he did. “Would you like to dance? Not all men are cads.” They did. Dance. As if they had danced before. Many times. Many places. With the blues simmering.

From the café and the fall of Ceauşescu they progressed to the collapse of Russia. In a mountain cabin they “gave them something to talk about” the day the bear died.

At sunset on the deck, sipping beer, his voice embraced her before he did. “The Russian people want this.” From the radio, he spoke. Of conflict. Of resolution. Of achievement.

Off and on. For years. They met to talk politics. To hear the blues. To dance. Always, he held her. No claim on the other except in Brief Encounter.

Until this morning in her dream when he claimed her with his embrace.

Fire Starter

The Fire Starter Kindled a Bonfire in Me

As they sat in the open on a warm, starry night, he reached out and started the fire. The tinder was parched, and the flames raced the length of the limbs as they burned.

And before she knew it, she was on fire.

He kept adding bits, knowingly stoking it to a roaring brightness.

She encouraged him as the flames lit her eyes, raced to the ends of her hair.

This is the conflagration she’s always hoped for.

Years later, she learned he was a fire-starter, carrying the spark to eager kindling wherever he found it. He couldn’t resist setting fire. He loved to watch it burn.

In most, the flames died out quickly. But her fire was one he could not control, and it began to burn him too.

As she healed, she wondered if he was burned as badly as she.

Now as she awakened on All Souls Day two decades later, she could feel the effects of the fire and her desire to burn again.

That he was no longer alive relieved her of the fear of burning, but not the longing.

And on this morning, the soul of him snickered into her dreams and singed her parched edges.