The Gray World

Few things make one feel so alone as seeing the world through a gray veil. As she put down the book she’d been grazing through, she came to realize, surprising herself, that the words on the page hadn’t been successful in capturing her attention, much less her heart.

The room was quiet. Her mind drifted back to the events of yesterday. The conversation she’d shared with Adam lived in her mind as being distant and dull. As he’d been talking to her, she’d found his words ever so difficult to relate to or even comprehend. Had he changed? Had he gradually become someone who was dull? Then why, she wondered, had they been friends to begin with?

She remembered how his eyes looked, focusing on her. Like they expected to see a response that simply never came. People couldn’t expect her to be interested in their own problems, she thought nonchalantly.

Truthfully, though, indifference seemed to have been her only companion recently. Slowly she had become numb to the world around her, and distant, so distant from everything she once fiercly loved. Nothing ever permeated the gray veil surrounding her entire being, affecting her neither for good nor for bad. Her heart remained as still as a lake’s water on a windless day. No rising or falling. She wanted so intensely to feel again, even if that meant being distraught.

She herself could not be blamed for feeling this way. Nothing would in fact please her more than finding a way to escape this feeling, after all. No, she had not brought this upon herself. The feeling had simply descended, over time, when she was least expecting it to.

A noise sounded in the hall. She remembered that she was going somewhere that day. Someone was coming to tell her it was time to leave. Without a warning, the cloud of murky grayness looming over her mind dispersed. She noticed that sunlight was flooding the room. She smiled, and felt again.

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Springtime of Old

The chirping of the birds this morning carries recollection and nostalgia within its notes. The crisp, cool morning air of springtime, a precursor of the warmer afternoons later in the day, inspires creativity and love, invoking imaginations to further potential. I love Spring more and more each year, and with each new round of this season comes the conjuring of old feelings and the deep bubbling of memories.

Funny how the very brush of the air upon your skin can affect you and bring with it tsunamis of aromatic nostalgia.

Last year the impact of these fond and sometimes odd recollections was much less forceful as it seems to be this year. Apparently I was dead inside last year. It’s a possibility. Or it could very well be that I was simply blind to the beauty and the life and the pure inspiration around me that appears when nature and souls come into bloom.

Different weather conditions encapsulate different moods and memories for me. Cloudy, rainy spring days bring to mind (for whatever reason) this one day when my grandma and grandpa were visiting my family’s new home in Missouri for the first time. I think I was sixteen. We (my mom, brother, grandparents and I) had journeyed from our little nip of a town into the “big city” of Springfield for the weekly piano lesson that both my brother and I took. It was a big deal. Any store worth going to was in Springfield, and no matter who you were, it was never a good idea to pass up a trip into town.

So we went to our lessons and the other stops at random locations. Soon clouds began accumulating overhead, and I seem to recall tornadoes being in the forecast, so we began heading back eastward. On the way home, however, we detoured around Lake Springfield in hopes of scoping out a promising fishing hole suitable enough for grandpa.

Still fully embarrassed by my whole family’s coming to drop me off at my lesson, I just wanted to be alone in my room at home. I’m sure there were other more important reasons for this desire, since I was sixteen. Even so, I sat stewing in the third row of the family SUV, wondering hopelessly when exactly I would finally get to have a “normal” teenage life.

Equipped with my not-so-relevent iPod nano 2nd generation, I was so positive I could take on the world. Tokio Hotel, a favorite emo-pop band of mine back then, strummed emotionally in my ears, melting my heart and making my embarrassment a little less painful.

Running through the monsoon

Beyond the world

Til’ the end of time

Where the rain won’t hurt

Fighting the storm

Into the blue

And when I lose myself I think of you

Together we’ll be running somewhere new

Through the monsoon

I can still hear the gentle lull of the lyrics, so relatable to me and so healing. Because let’s face it: this whole scenario WAS that at the time–painful. I was looking for something, not knowing what on earth life had in store for me–a young girl in a new world called Missouri, so foreign to everything I had known in California. I had so much to learn and so much to be sad about.

The looming storms forecast for that day and the drizzly, despondent sky sculpted the perfect illustration of how I felt many days throughout my years as a teenager. Just like any person that age, emotions oftentimes took the reigns, and all logic telling me I had a wonderful life with people who loved me vaporized into the clouds.

I’m still happy that I understand and empathize with my teenage self even today. I hope my ability to do so will make me a better parent because of it someday.

All in all, I love the feeling of seasons changing. It’s like a new chance and a new hope of finding out more about life’s joys and challenges just waiting to be explored.

Atmosphere of Hiding

As a kid, one of my favorite things in the entire world was finding the perfect spot to curl up out of view and read. A feeling so comforting, yet elusive, visited me when I came upon a superb reading corner. Some days the ideal space would be found perfectly situated behind the living room chair in the corner. I spent countless hours in that particular spot, traveling the world, the pages of the book as my sails.

Other times I would climb my favorite tree out back and haul my book up after me by way of a basket tied to a branch with a jump rope. A purely ingenious invention, I thought. The sounds of nature around me as I sprawled out among the branches and the fresh inspiration that my childhood home’s backyard contained for me made reading out there like therapy.

If the Christmas season happened to be present, I could often be found on the far side of the Christmas tree, reading, where no one could happen upon me unnoticed. The holidays spread such magic in my young mind, and I felt the desire to still be a part of the spirit while enjoying my own little space for reading. Of course, the Christmas tree provided just that.

No matter where exactly the nook was, I knew I had found a good one when I couldn’t wait to get back to it and further immerse myself in worlds that I could visit only through reading.Though my teenage years differed greatly from those of my childhood, I still had my bed at an angle that created a perfect little crevice next to it for talking on the phone or simply laying there in thought. Even though disappearing behind a chair became less feasible, I still had a hideaway of my own.

These little spaces were my hideouts. They were spots where I ran when I felt overrun with emotion or when the world became too much to handle. They were places I could call my own and find some level of comfort that none of the places that contained other people offered. I found safety and comfort in those secluded spaces and moments.

Reading itself creates a crevice of its own, so it was only natural for the child version of myself to find a location conducive to this idea as I sailed momentarily away from my own world and into someone else’s.

s k y d i v e

The earth billows out acres below me, and as I stare down at it from the threshold of the plane, a spinning sensation propels its way into the very depths of my head and settles right above my eyes. Knowing that waitingone moment longer will rob every last ounce of my determination to jump, I gather a final bit of oxygen in my lungs. My parachute . . . yes, it’s behaving itself on my back. I clutch its string tightly, close my eyes, breathe a silent prayer for every ounce of mercy to be lavished upon me atthis instant, and fall forward. A fiercely powerful sensation breaks freeupon me, and I feel as if I’m teetering over a wind tunnel, a tornado. Myelbows bend naturally at my sides so that I seem to be in the position ofone who’s just landed into a belly flop. My stomach feels like someone isstirring it with a wooden spoon; it feels rather refreshing—a sort of release from all that’s been pressing down upon me lately. A few seconds remain before I’ll be instructed to pull the string. Ah, the earth is swiftly approaching, and I feel as free as an eagle soaring through space. Suddenly it’s time to activate my parachute. My legs drop into a standing position as I glide gently down towards home.

Helpless

Tossed together, one chance in a thousand,

They sit across from each other at one of the

Identical tables sprinkled around the ground floor

Hospital cafeteria. A wheelchair-bound old woman

Seated across from a blind man, two invalids who

Have tripped upon an ally through mutual woe.

The blind man rests both hands on the white, red-tipped

Cane—the sole object that reinforces the hours of

Monotone days. The woman leans forward and offers

A smile, pleasantly puzzled to see that her gesture is

Received warmly by her acquaintance. Softly awakening from

Ages of silence is their vigor for fixing others in need. A

Vigor hushed by evolving into a needy existence.

Window Into the Imagination

This is a poem that I wrote a long time ago in high school. I think it marks the true beginning of my obsession with words.

Can you see it in there?

Look within your own heart, care

About things not seen,

Try to see what they can mean.

A land of elves dancing,

Of blue unicorns prancing

Across meadows streaming with light,

Watch the condor about to take flight .

Look deeper, and deeper yet,

It lingers within you – never fret.

See? The tiny fairies are spreading their wings,

Ready to fly freely ’round the land of kings.

Magic sparkles in the majestic breeze

Sweeping the land by way of the trees.

You or I would notice this delight,

And taste so sweetly it well might,

But not the dwellers of this place,

For them it’s become their daily race,

Fully filling in every way,

So they notice not the passing day.

Now have you found it?

Can you see a bit?

Within your own self you must look,

Before you don’t need to open a book.

Look over this way.

See the elf children all at play,

And listen – the bubbling laughter

Of the crystal clear stream, after

Her life-like water has purified

The wader with her tide.

Enchantment rides on the sea-fairing wind,

Enriching the dwellers deep down within.

Gnomes mount upon birds of great might,

They look down, and know that they’re right

In choosing the simple life,

With so little strife.

Raindrops compose their own unique song,

Playing on rooftops made only of leaves, and long

Quiet hours they pour down, down, down,

But not so much as to make the land drown.

Can you taste the wonder yet?

Do you wish you could say these things you’ve met?

Travel these places inside your mind,

And joyous tranquility soon will you find.

Only one thing remains better than this,

And that is to visit yourself, and not one thing miss.