My tiny daughter by the Elm tree.

My tiny daughter by the Elm tree.
The one that gave me my vision.
A real Saul to Paul conversion.
Instead of Damascus,
or other holy sites
My parents’ backyard
in Kansas.
A cloud covered night.
Warm for January, still chilly enough to be urgent.
An urgent sort of awakening.
Barren in January, but not afraid
The Elm was older than all of my anxiety.
25 years, or at least 16,
I was afraid to look inside myself.
For fear of what I might find.
Another story of about a tree,
A confirmation of my inner ugliness.
Every mirror, save one, confirmed this.
I had a grandmother who believed
Everything good about me.
Her love was a small life raft
Circular with a square red cross
But this tree, this tree didn’t believe anything.
It only whispered.
“Take a look”,
“Turn inward, eyes open –
no peering through closed fingers,
and see”.
Like walking off a cliff,
Into waters unknown.
I pressed my whole body into that tree.
“Can you come with me?”
Suddenly courageous, turning, running,
From that cliff, the furthest branch of my self
Back into the deep,
The roots
And what did I see?
Goddess, if that makes more sense.
Not alone,
But underneath everything.
How did I know?
A barren Elm, in the dead of winter
taught me.

— WRL, 1.1.18



New Year’s Light

“Of course, the light is blinding.
No one blames you for turning away.
At least nobody normal
Still gripping the edges of their countertops –
Or steering wheels
Bathroom door knobs.
Handles on kitchenware.
Smart phones.
There are so many things a person can grab hold of –
And then forget to let go.
Each week, I spend my working hours
Asking people to soften
Their tightened fists and talon-like fingers
Around the things that keep them too busy, too distracted, sometimes too compulsive
To turn and face this fearsome, gorgeous Light.
But, of course, I am the same.
Lately, it’s a very gripping argument with my own image.
Wanting to find an acceptable version of myself in every corresponding community.
Channeling my own voice through a strangle of synthetic notes.
Sometimes clutching and coercing, other times polite –
There’s nothing creative in it, though
I’m undone by fear, and not by pride,
Neither dignity or manners.
My fear is such a driver,
Too many steps have been surrendered
Hands too.
Tangled up too long in things that have never worked.
And still, somehow, this new day and every other,
By some Grace; let’s call it that –
I find by noticing the dimming,
I am again looking toward that light.”
-WRL, 1.1.18