The Thief

25/07/2017

thief

 

 

The Thief

Utter sadness envelops me.

Illness is stealing the life you imagined

in unimaginable ways.

Distance. Friendship. Days through weeks

dissipate with each memory carried.

Days to weeks. Memories.

All I can carry, now. And, heartache, for you,

my friend.


Written for a friend who has a special place in my heart where time & distance do not dare enter to lessen the many decades of shared friendship.

 

 

“The whole country about them abounded in beautiful walks. The high downs which invited them from almost every window of the cottage to seek the exquisite enjoyment of air on their summits, were a happy alternative when the dirt of the valleys beneath shut up their superior beauties…”

 reflection

My inner Austen emerged today from its deeply buried cavern. One submerged by the rocks of diligence, lo! these twenty years past. Yet, I am already “off-topic.” All this to say, I took a walk. A walk alongside a somewhat meandering path. Near this very path, there is a black-top, a two-lane road, which parallels the woodland. It is here, with the windshield before my eyes, my view is often filtered. I am one step removed from the visceral experience nature offers generously.

Today was a different day. I accepted the gift of a walk.

ranculus

I set out doggedly, à pied, and with a broad swath of time before me. A visit to a friend where she is in the midst of joyfully creating her new life – a new one, at another end of the path. Along my way to her, this is what I found: sounds of birds – a flicker; a frog  croaking somewhere – unseen –  from a muddy pond;  creek water running over rocks furiously, and then, gently. This is what I viewed: a virescent canopy towering above me, its permutations burgeoning upward, the sun breaking through all this to illuminate ranunculus ficaria in all her abundant joy, and others with their dogs and those tails meteoric metronomes tracking only the sounds of their smells.

creek

This interlude, this remarkably simple choice gave me “the exquisite enjoyment of air.” Now, to re-read Miss Austen.

 

Dedicated the Friends of Sligo Creek, and of course, to my friend.


Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. Project Gutenberg, 25 May 2008. Web. 4 June 2017. goo.gl/HrARBx.

A wish

03/01/2016

bunny bluenewyear

Haiku written by a treasured friend sending her wishes to me. A Blue Bunny now shares these wishes with you.

Watercolor by Tina Hudak; Poetry by Sally A. Rieger ©2015.

Summer’s gifts

19/08/2015

pencil drawingHome is where I spent my summer. Obligations and responsibilities permeated the few months. Reviewing each one on my list reminds me of how generous this summer has been to me.

  • delight at a birthday dinner with my dear friend at a favorite cafe & bookstore
  • reveling in spending a day with my sons at the National Gallery, Hirshorn Museum, & Freer Gallery of Art
  • the spouse and I – driving along highways in companionable silence –  visiting family in Pennsylvania, and a day-trip to the Queen’s Anne County Fair in Maryland
  • feelings of freedom by giving away furniture, kitchen goods (pottery, dishes, pots & pans), books, & throwing out the junk
  • intense gardening and yard work leaving a sense of deep satisfaction
  • revising ZiaClara
  • thrill of splurging on the building of a small stone and slate patio & walkway
  • relief at having the piano tuned so I can finally play it
  • and, gentle minutes spent in intimate coffees at the new, local bakery or surrounded by the lush garden in mornings on the porch with friends and neighbors
  • an cozy evening spent with women friends sharing book titles, gossip, and support
  • reading good books of my choosing
  • hearing sounds of the evening cicadas and midnight  “Ooooing” of a visiting owl

As I enter into autumn and  a new school year, I have cleared away the technology – laptop, phone, cords, cables – from my drafting table. My newly purchased set of color pencils sit next to an old sketch. This room will hold the slow pace and easy peace that I am leaving behind with the dark, dry seeds of my sunflowers. I plant them here. They are in shades of blue, green, orange, violet and reds. This garden will bloom indoors during the chilling months ahead. Evening blossoms. After the frenetic push and pull of the weeks and months that I know are ahead of me, I will retreat into this room. When the cicadas lie sleeping, and the dusk quickens into night, the generosity of summer will spill carelessly into my world.

The phone call

29/11/2014

On the surface

Baffled, she hits the END button on her phone, and gently places it upon the antique chest of drawers. With care and a deliberate slowness does she perform this act – as if she is in a trance. Although not privy to her thoughts during this mundane act on this quite typical evening, you know her thoughts are profound. Her body is still, except for the right arm, the hand cradling her phone. Her eyes focus to a distant point somewhere outside your view. Within the few seconds of the digital disconnection, she is reliving forty years down to the details of ritualized daily walks past tacky shops, and the sounds of tiny silver spoons against bone china cups, while dark coffee and white sugar kiss. One might question her reactions.  “More visceral,” you say.  Yes, I do believe this to be the case. Her breathing becomes irregular, her nostrils flare slightly, and it is only  the deep, final sigh signaling that years shared – years coursing through her every fiber – are at an end.

She knows she has lost something of value. Turning away from the dresser, her body regains vitality: telltale eyes that are once again bright, and breathing that is calm. You think to yourself, “She will survive this.” Yes, but I tell you, too, that she will not forget.

The End & the Beginning

au revoir

02/07/2014

Summer.  I dislike it.   Nine o’clock this morning I am awake, but motionless.  Our gentle, orange tabby taps my face with is velvet paw. Already humid with incessant sun, the insects are tedious with their constant presence.  I take my morning coffee indoors.  Entombed in my closed, cool studio, I feel uncomfortable.  No, it is not a lack of comfort – too superfluous – it is loss.

cafe2A forty-year friendship was packed up carelessly today. Thrown willy-nilly into a small box to be abandoned at the curbside.  Three decades of champagne toasts and Christmas treats, countless drives along the dull, Pennsylvania interstate to share in a  “sisters’ visit”, belly laughs and silliness with midday trips pushing strollers laden with croissants and juice boxes along concrete sidewalks  – now still.  Then, a decade of letting go, “keeping in touch”  insinuating itself between us. Stealing intimacy. Sharing an occasional cafe seated at your kitchen table. Bon mots sprinkled generously along with the sugar.

I am not blindsided, dear friend, clutching the box of memories against my heart.  I am, simply, bereft.

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