Friday, February 14, 2014

I received a precious gift today…



     I received a precious gift today…
     And during my busy comings and goings of dishes and dusting and mundane chores I was unexpectedly summoned up ten stairs by the soft spoken voice of the woman who birthed my soulmate. “Sharon, can you come up here?   I have something for you” she proclaimed.  There, standing shakily above her bed clutching the foam grips of her walker, stood my Mother In Law; breathing heavily and out of breath like she would have in her younger days after playing tag or rough housing with her beloved children, she gazed proudly at her bed.  Today the effort that brought her fatigue was spent for me.

     Below her, spread out smoothly and neatly displayed was an afghan that she had been working on since Christmas.  For weeks she had sat, hour after hour, stitch after stitch, patiently working a simple ball of yarn into something of beauty.   Daily I would make my way up the stairs to visit with her and she would be sitting with the project in her lap-hands working diligently at her ever growing craft.  Every so often she would stop to stretch her painful fingers and hands.  She never really complains….
     At one point she was at a standstill after running out of a particular color and could not continue.   I searched four stores to find the color--making it my mission to find her the yarn when it was out of stock, simply because it was important to her.   Although difficult to see why it was so important that I find it quickly.  When at last I did, I presented it to her and with a smile she thanked me, and continued her work.  I felt so accomplished knowing that such a small thing made her so happy…such a small gesture to a woman who for a lifetime has given so much.  With her missing yarn finally available she began again and in no time beamed happily that she “only had a few more rows left”.

 ….that night she became ill and had to be hospitalized.  I made my way as often as I could get there to visit.  When she felt well enough to visit with me, she regretted that if only she hadn’t gotten sick...she was so disappointed that  she wouldn’t be able to have it completed by the weekend.  I told her that there was no hurry and that the project would still be there when she got home…I left it at that…but she seemed so eager to get it done.  As promised, it was still there a week later when we welcomed her back home.  She eagerly began her work again that same afternoon. Today I realized why-the blanket she wanted so badly to complete was for me.
      As this woman I have grown to love stood there in her bedroom, with the beautiful blanket spread out before her, she looked down with accomplishment at the completion of her gift.  At last she could pass it to the one it was intended for.
     I carried my treasure to my room and displayed it on my bed, it occurred to me.  She had worked SO hard to make this FOR ME!  With love those fingers that have become bent and swollen with age and painful arthritis had worked.  For me, she worked for  hours and hours and hours—hours that in her advanced years are each one precious—FOR ME.  I immediately returned back up the stairs.   Touched by her generosity and filled with gratitude I hugged her and once again said thank you.   She then told me that one day I had told her that I hadn’t slept the night before because I couldn’t get warm.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
...To some who visit and see the ordinary granny square afghan on the foot of my bed, it will appear to be no more extraordinary than any other blanket that can be found in thrift stores, animal shelters or on the back of couches across America.  To some its browns and tans won’t seem to mesh with the aqua and white décor of my bedroom…but that’s their opinion.  I think it is the most amazingly beautiful piece of artwork that has ever been made.  When I see it folded there, I reflect on the irreplaceable and precious time spent by a woman who greets every morning as a gift and every moment as a precious commodity ; realizing how little is left.   When  I spread it out I see in my mind how proud she was to present it to me, and every time I cover with it, I will remember the warmth that I felt at the moment when I walked into her room to see her standing shakily above it…lovingly exhausted from the mere act of displaying it for me to view.  The warmth it provides represents unselfish love…

 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

When Winter said goodbye to Spring

Perhaps it is the moon, but I awoke this morning with abundant energy, like the killing cold of winter had finally passed. I feel like I have walked through a hallway connecting seasons and the door to winter has been closed and an entrance to springtime has been opened before me, revealing a beautifully lit room with an amazingly plush green carpet.

...This little poem popped into my head...not sure if it's good or if it isn't, but it is what it is, and since poetry is art and is open for interpretation, I guess there is no good or bad...so read and enjoy or if not, then don't be harsh.  :)


When Winter Said Goodbye to Spring


I am leaving said the winter to the spring.
No longer do I have the strength to cover everything.
The sun no longer favors me, On YOU His light has shone-
Melting every snowflake, warming every breath I've blown
The buds that you’ve awoken have all burst forth with the dawn.
And the crocus and the daffodils stretch and yawn.
So now I close the door behind me as I’ve exited the stage.
I allow you now to green the foliage,
To consort with Mother Earth to make the soil alive;
So that the creatures there will flourish and survive.
Then once again in autumn when Helios should stray,
And his warmth has shifted and the clouds are gray.

And Sister Moon is distant with her planting energy
I will once again reclaim my place to put the earth to sleep-
And this all will be surrendered back to me…
(Sharon Arsenault, 2013)
 
 
 


 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

THE SIDEWALK

Ok, I know it's been a while (a LONG while) since any new posts have been put up but I found this tonight and wanted to share.  I wrote it back in 2004 and then lost the disk it was on.  Guess what...I FOUND IT...and thought I would share this short story with you...please enjoy.

THE SIDEWALK

2004

It had just finished raining when the cabdriver hastily pulled over to the curb and impatiently waited for his fare.  Grudgingly she placed the money in his hand and stepped out of the metal deathtrap.  God, she hated this part of the city! But it was a perfect halfway point between their two residences so it was always at this intersection that they would meet up.  She was early.  She hated being early, or late for that matter but in a city this size, it was hard to figure how long getting there would take.  He was always late.



The cold air hit her as soon as she opened the car door and she realized immediately that she should have dressed a little bit warmer.  Shivering to shake it off, she walked toward the café grimly noticing the streetlights, shining on the wet pavement, causing the entire street to appear as gunmetal. Typical she said to herself and at once was reminded of the dominant masculine mood of the café.  She shivered again and began pacing now at a quite steady gate toward her destination.  As she walked she tried to occupy her thoughts.

Starting down the sidewalk towards the restaurant, she recalled their last meeting here.  He, as always, had shown up late and she, after drinking cup after cup of coffee until he finally arrived, was in no mood for dinner or pleasant conversation. 



The people that frequented the shops in this neighborhood made her skin crawl.  She hated the way they would look at her.  Watching her every move.   Looking around she wondered why he always chose this place?  Upon her last visit down here she had slipped into the booth and demurely ordered her coffee.  The glances from the men in the café made her feel like a pastry in a baker's window.  The lecherous expression on their faces, the dirty snickers amongst themselves, it had sickened her.  Granted, the food in this place was always delicious- if you could hold onto your appetite long enough to enjoy it.  As the moments ticked by, she had been simmering to a slow boil, remembering the last time she had waited for him here. When he had finally arrived, she had told him, among other choice statements, that it was the last time!  Even now nothing had changed, nothing ever did.    But his phone call today and usual charm had made her reconsider.  "It will be fun," he said.  "Just like in the old days."  Somehow she didn't share his enthusiasm or his sense of adventure, but for some reason, he could do that to her.  He could get her to agree to just about anything just by using that certain soothing voice inflection and enthusiasm.  She despised herself for it.



Cold and anxious for the warmth of the café, she walked steadily and occupied her thoughts with visions of what would transpire later that evening, but her attempts at self-distraction were thwarted as overhead the subway screamed by so loudly that any other scream would be lost to it.  She wondered how many screams it had in fact drowned out, and cursed herself for allowing her pleasant thoughts to be pushed aside for such morbid ones.  God, she hated this part of the city. 



As she entered the doorway of the restaurant she could not help but let out a small laugh as she noticed him sitting in the corner booth, like always, with that studious look, reading the Wall Street Journal, sipping his coffee.  Damn!  How could she be annoyed with such an innocent sight!  Smiling, she approached the table where he sat and bending to kiss his cheek, gave him a warm "Hello."  "You are actually early," she exclaimed and took his hand in hers like she had a thousand times before.  He just looked at her and she could see in his eyes the warmth that he felt for her.  "And you look beautiful!" He whispered.  Sitting down she looked at him again and remembered how annoyed she had been when she stepped from the cab.  She could no longer hold any animosity seeing him sitting before her with his hair combed that same way, or the newspaper rolled and set aside just like it always seemed to end up.  God, she loved this man.



After exchanging the latest news of the day, she called the waitress over and ordered the daily special and when she had finished ordering her meal, she looked at him in anticipation, all the while knowing that he would order what he always ordered.  Some things really do never change.  This task being done, she discreetly looked around at the other patrons.  They were all caught in their own conversations, or greedily eating their meals.  As always, a few of the regulars glanced her way and the look they gave made her feel as if she was in need of a shower, but here with him, she felt safe.  She knew that if any man would be her protection, it would be him.  All the while her thoughts were racing about the dangers of a place like this and there he was, oblivious to her anxiety, chatting away about some fiasco in the financial district.  He really was something else.  She wished more than anything that he could have known just how special he really was.  By the time the food was finally brought to the table, the two had changed the mood of the café considerably with their laughing about the old times, sharing stories and giving each other knowing glances about the patrons who sat around them.  The waitress that took their order laughed along with them as she left their plates-- smiling and shaking her head as she walked away. "Now that's not something you see everyday," she said to herself as she headed back toward the kitchen.  "Not in times like this." 



By the time they had finished eating, the crowd in the little café had cleared, providing a perfectly intimate setting for them to drink their coffee and finish catching up.  He always made her giggle uncontrollably with his jokes and such. However, tonight, even with the comedy, the mood was different, almost somber.  Shaking off yet another foreboding feeling she focused her attention on the man who sat across from her like he had so many times before.  She watched him as he talked.  She watched his eyes-the eyes that were so familiar to her, eyes that had told her so many times how much he loved her with no words needing ever to be said.  She watched his lips as he told her of his adventures of the week before.  His smiles made her smile as he delighted her with stories about the people or "characters" as he called them, who live in his building.  The two laughed as they realized that in a city like this, normal is not a word that is easily defined.  In disgust, he quipped about the clothes being worn by the kids who hung around downtown by the subway station on 125th street, and she reminded him that the same was done about them in younger years.  Still though, the laughter continued.  Once again she reflected on the years past and realized how much she loved the man.



As the minutes of the evening turned to far too long for just dinner, the two headed out of the restaurant to the old movie house down the street.  "Please let it be open," she thought to herself as she walked vulnerably holding onto the arm of the man at her side.  The two walked slowly, enjoying their time together.  As they approached the old theater, the man was delighted to see that a Humphrey Bogart double feature was playing tonight.  He loved old black and white movies.  And she loved them because he did.  As the two approached the ticket counter, She reached for her purse to pay for the tickets just as he held the money to the clerk.  "No, this is on me" she said, and he admonished her by stating what a poor date this would be if he made such a lovely lady pay her own way.  With the imitation of a blush, she graciously accepted his generosity and allowed him to pay, just like she had been doing for so many years.  And he, knowingly, gave her a wink and smiled at the cashier.  The two walked into the theater again with her clinging to his arm, but this time it was not for protection.  This time she held his arm out of shear affection for the man to whom she so dearly loved. 

Sitting next to him, She thought of the many times over the years that she had done the same thing that she was doing now:  how many movies, how many dinners.  She stayed with this thought for a moment and again that same sense of sadness overcame her.  She felt the pain in the pit of her stomach and refusing to acknowledge the foreboding thoughts, she once again focused on the movie and tightly held the hand of the man sitting next to her.  With that same intensity that she had seen thousands of times before, he watched the movie, unaware of the thoughts in the head of the beautiful woman by his side.

By the time the theater emptied, the streets were dark and quiet and colder than they had been earlier in the evening.  Noticing her shivering, he removed his jacket and placed it around her shoulders.  Although she resisted for fear of his discomfort, he insisted and she obeyed, grateful for his selflessness.  After walking back to the intersection where she had stepped out of the cab earlier in the evening, the two, exhausted from such a busy day, agreed to go their separate ways.  She still was tormented by that same foreboding feeling that had been present all evening:  she could feel it, but not wanting to spoil a perfect evening, she kept her thoughts locked tightly and allowed him to hail her a cab.  As the two said their goodbyes, she felt it again like a stab of grief, and realized what the feeling was telling her. Such a feeling was never wrong since her childhood and she knew it to be true.  As the two embraced She realized that this was the last time they would ever be together.  As the cab turned the corner approaching them, desperately she pleaded to go with him, for him to take her back with him, to never let her go, but he impatiently explained that that was not possible.  Firmly, he insisted to her that they both had a life to wake up to in the morning, and that they had a wonderful night.  There would be other nights like this.  Having said this, he kissed her on the forehead and closed the taxicab door.



As the cab drove away, sadly, she looked out the window and with tears of grief whispered "goodbye Daddy, I love you."








Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For your lack of Compassion....I thank you.



To the person who allowed this little angel to roam the streets and end up in a Hartford Shelter to be put to sleep without even caring enough to LOOK for her....THANK YOU.
To the person who left her with worms and starving to face the city streets and the isolation of two weeks in the shelter WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING FOR HER....THANK YOU.
Because of your inhumane lack of caring, I found my best friend. 
My only hope is that your lack of compassion will be returned to you one day...
In the mean time....
I have picked up the pieces and have shown this amazing creature the love that you couldn't be bothered to provide.
Merry Christmas....I pity you....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Behold The Lowly Turkey

I wrote this a few years back to remind me to be thankful-
I hope it spreads the message....

                                      "Behold The Lowly Turkey”        
Every year around this time, we think back on the year,
And reflect on what we’re thankful for, with those who we hold dear.
And every year around this date, we spend a day of rest;
Feasting at our tables with our families and our guests.
But behold the modest turkey for he goes about this day;
Thankful for the grain he has and thankful for the hay.
He cares not what the farmer does, nor does he have the thought,
Of butchers’ knives or farmers’ wives or stuffing or the pot.
If we could only show ourselves as carefree as the bird,
And go about our daily lives with no complaining heard,
The time of year for giving thanks would never more be had.
And the humble little turkey would be grateful, and be glad.
But if still you look upon your life, and no thankfulness is there,
And reasons for your gratitude can’t be seen anywhere;
If when reflect on your life, you still see things as grim?
Behold the lowly turkey and be thankful you’re not him.

**********************

Happy Thanksgiving everyone...
On November 24th and everyday....Give Thanks, life is never as bad as it seems even at it's worse.  Use the good times to offer a hand up to someone who isn't as fortunate.  No matter how low you may think you are, there is always someone further down the line who needs your help, even if it's just a kind word.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

LOVE IS LOVE......

Should gay marriage be legalized? 
About 7 years ago back in 2004 when I was first exposed to the issue, I felt inspired to document my thoughts in the form of poetry.  Whether you support this important social issue or whether you do not please at least be opened minded enough when reading to try to see the point I am making.  The issue is not an question about what is moral or immoral, and although it is by definition a LEGAL issue, it is more than that.  It's a human issue that raises the question of whether or not two people of the same gender, who have committed and devoted themselves to each other with the promise to remain a “pair” throughout the remainder of their lives should not only have the same LEGAL rights as two heterosexual individuals, but also the same social tolerance and right to the diginity of being treated with respect and fairness in claiming those legal rights. Please when reading, know that I am not criticizing anyone’s faith, I am merely raising the question of whether or not we are in a position that gives us the right to judge ANYONE.  I am not stating an opinion….just raising a few questions.   I will say publicly though, that I WILL support the gay community in creating awareness of this very important social issue.
 If Two Should Share
 If two should love, and if two should live.
And if two should share all that love they give.
 What gives the right to these hypocrites
To fight their fight using politics?
 Do they have the right to use God above,
 To cast their blame-in the name of “His” love?

 IF two be gentle, quiet and kind
 And pay their social debt,
 And one is taken, one left behind;
 What good will does the behind one get?
 Without acceptance, the majority rules,
 Claiming morals as their guise.
 They walk their paths as though they're fools
 And step around the wise.
 But those whose loyalty is strong
 And devotion fast and true;
Who will remain intact, however long
 Until their life is through.
 Their only sin, these loyal ones
 Who's love is genderless,
 Is the sin of pure devotion,
 And unselfish tenderness.

 How can we judge our neighbors,
 And deny them what WE feel?
 When they share with us in our labors
 And are cogs in the same wheel.
How can we approach our Creator
With a conscience that is true,
 When we've used this life to hate or harm
When our time on earth is through?



Love is Love everybody, be kind to each other......


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What IS that for anyway?

So…
This past four day weekend Bob and I took a much too long trip to Ohio to see our new (old) houseboat.  Amazingly we survived the long boring trip through Pennsylvania (did I mention boring?) with our marriage intact.  Along the way several discussions came up.
The first one was “Why do we have earlobes?”  What? I wanted to know! We bantered back and forth for at least 30 miles but still couldn’t come up with an answer.  Finally, we decided that they were put there for “Earbobs”-My final answer.  Does ANYONE know why we have earlobes, because we never could find a definitive reason? 
This question then brought along a very long chain of other questions, ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime.   Among them came the subject of the epiglottis…you know, that little punching bag thing that hangs in the back of your throat.  What IS that thing and what is it for anyway?  We never did figure this one out, so when I got back I looked it up on good ole Google.  Who would have thought that without that little flap of meat, we would choke to death.  I guess it closes off the airway when we eat and drink so we don’t inhale our nourishment instead of eating it (or drinking it).  Go figure.
Also, was the question of road kill…along the way we saw countless remains of deer in every size, shape and degree of decomposition (did I mention that in addition to being excessively monotonous and unpopulated, Western Pennsylvania also smells revoltingly like roadkill?)  This brought about the question of location.  It seemed that every carcass we encountered was left in the same exact part of the road…always to the right with just the upper part of its body either on the rumble strip or the white line.  Why????  Are they ALL hit here?  Are they thrown to this spot by oncoming tractor trailers?  How is this possible with so many speed and position variables?  Is it some mysterious creed among ungulate whereby they vow and shake their little hooves in a sacred deer oath that in order to maintain their honor, they will use their last bit of life’s energy to find the highway “sweet spot”?  Why were none of these poor animals in the road, or even on the left hand lane?  I wonder if the poor deers (get it?) stopped to get a drink from the grooves in the rumble strip and their epiglottis didn’t close and they choked to death and drowned there?  Not likely though.  Maybe it’s a practical joke among truckers?  At any rate…not funny guys!  I know, Perhaps the members of the highway department in them parts move them there in some sort of twisted hillbilly nature religion ritual?  I suppose it could be possible, but If this were the case, they could have gone that extra step and just dragged them into the countless acres of tree after tree after tree and spared us the revulsion of death’s perfume. 
…Yeah, driving that six hundred plus miles to Ohio, there were many other questions, but these are all my brain (and marriage) can handle right now.  If anyone has better answers, or answers at all, help me out here…inquiring minds want to know…
…Oh, by the way, Ohio greeted us with a rainbow just as we crossed the bridge over the Ohio River, but that doesn’t mean it’s the promise land….You can trust me on that one…