Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Late Winter/Early Spring

giddy about the sun

I’m giddy about the sun
This strange and brilliant visitor
From another planet

Sitting at the kitchen table
My mind races through the house
Flinging windows and shades open

Shouts of happy recognition
Rise in gratitude for this visitor
Inviting me outside to play

I know warm weather will come—likely bringing unwelcome ultra-warm weather. But so what? Today I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and witness the first bits of spring breaking through slushy mud and still-frozen ground.

This morning’s mail brought a new volume of Mary Oliver’s poems. D is making a multi-bean soup in the slow cooker. Smudge is asleep on our bed, comforted by my pajamas. What more could I ask for?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 February 2019
Photo found at kinooze.com

Photos and a Poem | Longwood Gardens 2019

After we visited the orchid show, D and I headed over to see what was going on in the meadow. Not much, if you were looking for lush signs of spring. Nonetheless, what I saw inspired a poem. D took the photo from the wooden bridge over the meadow pond.

Floating on the pond
Webs crack through ice
Awake to Spring knocking
On soggy doors

Beneath the surface
Frozen life hibernates
Motionless and chilled –
Fragile beauty
Waiting for release
From Winter’s icy grip

And now this photo — a closeup of something lying on the ice in the photo above. A graceful, beautiful remnant of Fall. This time fragile beauty frozen to the surface, waiting for release.

So…what about that meadow? Though it was open to hikers, there were precious few actually on the trails. The happiest hikers we saw were in motorized wheelchairs! No muddy boots, no slipping and sliding.

This budding tulip tree next to the meadow seems to think spring is just around the corner –

After a look at the slippery, muddy meadow paths, we decided to stay on the paved perimeter and walk over to the pond. I’ve never seen it so full, or so covered with ice.

Still, it was beautiful, peaceful and alive with signs of life, even though nothing was moving below the surface. I love the reflection of tree trunks and limbs in the first photo below. The second photo documents our only live bird sighting on the ground around the pond and meadow. One lonely robin.

This last set of photos is from our walk back to the visitor’s center. I chose several with flashes of color, beauty, or quirky interest.

Shadows and hints of things to come. Even the icy pond shows promise. I can’t wait to go back when Spring has officially arrived.

Thanks for visiting!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 February 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 5 February 2019

the red cardinal

the red cardinal
sings his bright clear spring song
perched on bare branches

When I published my first post, Dear Dad, on 27 Dec 2013, my voice was anything but bright and clear. Singing was definitely out of the question. As a survivor of childhood PTSD, I used an elaborate strategy of calculated silence and half-truth.

How much did I owe the world? How much did I owe my family? How much did I owe the church? My father was a clergyman. Revered, respected, loved and sought after by people with sorrows such as mine.

But I wasn’t one of his followers. I was the first-born of four daughters. I had to watch my tongue constantly. Smile when expected. Stifle tears. Do as I was told. Set an example. And take the beatings like the contrite spirit I was not.

Breaking my silence of decades took decades. It started when I was in my 40s, with trips to Al-Anon meetings for five years. There I learned to relax and share things I’d never told anyone. Then I worked with an intern therapist who helped me complete a genogram (family tree, with notes). Finally, in the early 1990s, I began working with a psychotherapist with whom I’m still connected.

I put in hours and years of work. Did tons of homework. Cried buckets of tears. Filled unnumbered journals with dreams and personal entries.

Yet my recovery isn’t measured in months, years or numbers of pages written in journals. It’s measured in my voice. At first feeble, halting, self-conscious and terrified. Beginning with my husband and immediate family, then with my sisters and parents, slowly but surely with several trusted friends, and finally, a few years before I began blogging, with my large extended family on my father’s side.

My voice is the measure of my recovery.

Regardless of the weather, the political climate, or my health, the question is the same: How free am I to tell the truth? That’s the thermometer that matters.

I’ve always cared about issues that have to do with women. I used to think that getting a decent academic position would somehow ‘prove’ my worth. Or set me free. Especially if I was granted tenure.

Well, that wasn’t my riddle to solve. My riddle was my voice.

I began blogging because I knew it would challenge me to tell the truth freely, with words chosen by me, not by someone else.

So the little red cardinal outside my window caught my attention. The ground was covered with snow, and the laurel bush had been beaten down by more than one Nor’easter. Yet the little red cardinal was singing his heart out. Freely. Telling his truth about life and announcing his territory and the hope of spring.

Though I’m a follower of Jesus, I don’t believe this makes my life easier. In fact, I’d suggest it makes it more difficult because it means both living and telling the truth. Especially when it’s most unwelcome or unexpected.

Many thanks to Candice for this topic! Though I’ve already written elsewhere about this blog, this is another way of looking at it. Equally true and challenging.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 March 2018
Cardinal duet found on YouTube

slow cold drizzle

slow cold drizzle
hangs in late winter air
song sparrows sing spring

I’m just back from a morning errand. Chilled to the bone, umbrella in hand, winter hat and gloves in place along with multiple layers of warmth. As I walked down our driveway, I heard and then saw a resident song sparrow getting a jump on competitors that might want his staked-out territory! Here’s to an early spring–which we seemed to have for two  glorious days this week before another cold front came through yesterday.

Enjoy the birdsong, if not the weather, wherever you are. (There are two song sparrows on the short video.)

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 February 2018
Video found on YouTube – by Lang Elliot at musicofnature.org

hanging out

morning sun
hangs out behind a curtain
of glowing fog

Yesterday was glorious. Foggy and gray at first, before turning into a bright sunshiny day that included tea with a friend in the afternoon.

Hanging out doesn’t come naturally to me. From very early, my parents programmed me to keep my little hands busy because the devil might find work for idle hands to do. In addition, my later commitment to running away on the inside discouraged me from doing ‘nothing.’ The enemy was always just one step or one breath behind me.

So race on I did. One step after the other. With time out only when forced to take it.

The year after I left the dean’s office I had a full year sabbatical. Glorious! I decided early that I wanted to write more. So I began working through Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Fortunately, most of her assignments required that I write.

Unfortunately, one did not. It stuck its ugly neck up at the end of the first chapter, in a list of tasks to accomplish.

Task #1 was to write morning pages first thing every morning. Stream-of-consciousness. No problem. I was like a duck playing in water. Next came

Task #2.
Take yourself on an artist date.
You will do this every week for the duration of the course.

Fortunately, Cameron lists several sample ‘dates’ for the socially challenged who prefer to stay in our little dens. All these ‘dates’ will be fun, silly or even outrageous. If we had to learn how to do this, so be it! I felt awkward and more than silly at first. But then I got into it—for a while.

Big sigh. So yesterday morning I decided to resume weekly artist dates with myself. I inaugurated this by spending the entire day with no agenda except fun things I wanted to do strictly for myself. Which included tea in the afternoon with my friend.

The day was beyond wonderful. I know the sun won’t come out every day. Yet the freedom my body and spirit felt was remarkable.

Finally, for those out there who don’t quite see what the problem is, I’m positive you’ll read this and feel nothing but good-will for the rest of us. If not more understanding or empathy. For which we are grateful.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 February 2018
Image found at trekearth.com – a park in Poland

family secrets

scattered farmhouses
grace idyllic surroundings —
guard family secrets

***

I can’t see the secrets; they’re underground. Have you ever watched Midsomer Murders? Very instructive. When open spaces are being closely guarded against land developers, the reason sometimes has to do with buried family secrets. Usually in the form of skeletons.

I don’t know if any secrets lie beneath the hills in this gorgeous Virginia valley. Yet the photo struck me as evocative. What happened in the past, matters. Even though we may take the secrets to our graves. Or create lovely graves for ugly secrets.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 April 2017
Photo by marciadc70, found at Weather Underground Photos
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Prudent

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