Friday, December 26, 2014

The year is ending just as I [re]begin.

It has been a long year. A hard one. Every step we've taken has been a struggle, and most of the time, ended up back-lashing on us in some nasty way. It doesn't matter. We still keep plugging onward. 

Why? Well, that may be a longer story. First, let me tell you about a little feral kitten. 

     Once upon a time, there was a beautiful kitten. She was sick, raised feral, but someone saw her one winter's day and later took her home. For several weeks, she enjoyed warmth, safety, good food, and clean water, as well as cuddling. She learned to sing to the people who loved her. 

     Then one day her illness became much worse, and despite the careful care of her people, the sweet, kind of heart, loving little creature declined. She lived through Christmas Day, and in the  night stopped her pained thrashing to sing of love each time her nurses came to check her. In the darkest hours of the 27th day of December, a little precious beauty called "Bebe" passed on. 

     Others will be loved in her memory. 

Bebe was quite real. She died last night and was buried this morning among others of our nonhuman friends. 

Another facet:
     Yesterday we visited my mother in her hospital room; she's 86 years old and cannot talk due to a tracheotomy and machine support to help her breathe. She's recovering from yet another bout of pneumonia, and is very tired of the situation. We sat with her for about five hours, just keeping her company and watching an old John Wayne movie (The Cowboys). Mom can't eat, can't swallow: it's aspiration pneumonia that has her down.

     She slept a lot while we were there, and when my brother called our phone to talk to her, I read her lips and relayed to him her replies... to her great delight. He planned to visit her today, he told her, and her eyes glowed.

     When we left, she asked that we turn on and leave on the little battery powered Christmas tree we had brought, as it comforted her. Neither of her children are good about observing such holidays, and yet we set aside time to merely keep her company. She was frustrated yet grateful.

I'm doing research and putting together components for a novel I've been working on for years. I had given up ever finishing it. The first book I wrote was so... ugh... that I asked for it to be removed from's listings, which has been done. Then I sat down to begin once more on rebuilding a life.

In recent years, things beyond our control have pushed us into a corner. We have resolved to find a way to begin again, and this novel is my contribution. I have trouble with both hands, due to health issues, and cannot simply type for hours as I used to do. I type, and I pay in pain, stiffness, and disability to function for days or weeks. To get the book written, I am using Dragon voice to text software, a gift. To back up the files, I am using another gift: a portable external hard drive. I have a roof over my head and a laptop to use thanks to friends. And therefore, I revere my friends... I owe them deeply. 

Everything is now "grist for the mill." I pick up small things and or a glimpse of something happens, and a story it must be. It's a hypersensitivity of sorts, and as it must be. 

Life, death, and being.

And so I am here. In progress is a book manuscript called Song of the Rain Crow: Psalms from the book of Memories. To introduce you to the pages, here is a randomly chosen "psalm" (no, it is not a religious book, but an Appalachian novel spanning perhaps a hundred years): 

    "It seemed at night that the stars gathered to tell stories from time beyond time, their shared light a blessing on the universe.  The trees reached high, high, waving with gentle patience as a tickling breeze ran among them.  Far off, a good dog called sharp, "Who goes there?”  That warmth, of an early spring night, charmed her to silence.
    A night like this never failed to take her far back into the years.  She would walk old dirt lanes and remember things bitter and sweet, and then move a certain way and her raw old bones reminded her that time is a river beyond the ken of mankind, flowing ever onward, never coming to a safe ford before life is done.
    Memories of youth tasted of tart wild tangles of thorny blackberry and the cloying sweetness of ripe pawpaws, of that mysterious tang from 'possum grapes, and of cool mountain morning breezes.  She could still smell the hum of sunlight on the hay in that dusty old barn, left from that last summer.  Again,  she closed her eyes but a blink, and saw a young man stiffly posed behind a cracked and bubbled pane of old glass, severity of uniform and deadly rifle eclipsed by the resolve in his eyes."

May the stories in your life end the way you dream them, and not until. 

(Last summer's selfie.)