Dreams : A Safe Place

Seems some people believe
I’m able to capture dreams.
Put them on paper.
Make them real.

Really.
Who can do that?
Capture something that isn’t really there.
Bring it to life.

All I can really do
Is share a few words
Now and then.
A few words.
Nothing more.

Take my hand,
If you will,
And walk with me.
See.
I’ve put a blanket on the ground.
In the back yard.

It’s just a blanket.
It’s not magic.
It’s not a gift from a genie.
I bought it at a Wal-Mart
Several years ago.
It’s a bit worn.
It shows its age.

So, I use it in the back yard now.
Let me show you how.
See, I start
By taking off my shoes.
Yeah. I know.
It’s freaking strange.
Every since I stepped on those nails,
When I was a kid
Like 40 something years ago,
I don’t go barefoot outside.

But, see.
There’s this blanket.
I know what’s under it.
I checked.
I know the blanket
Can’t hurt my feet.

And then, I take a step on the blank.
And sit down.
And take off my socks.
And that’s where things get fun.
‘Cause I wiggle my toes.

Why don’t you take off your shoes.
And your socks.
And sit on the blanket with me.
And wiggle your toes.

Silly thing, I know.
Sitting on a blanket in the back yard.
Barefoot.
Wiggling our toes.
But, damn.
It sure feels good, don’t it?
To have nothing on your feet.

My toes are free!
Watch!
I’m gonna wiggle them some more!
Like this.
Oh, I could wiggle them all day.
Well.
At least until they got tired.

I have to let you know.
It’s been a while.
I mean.
Since I took the time
To sit on a blanket.
On the ground.
In my backyard.

I’ve thought about it for some time.
But I’ve never made the time.
Well.
Maybe made is the wrong word.
Maybe it’s I never took the time.
Let’s face it.
Sitting on a blanket in the backyard
Ain’t exactly a grown up thing to do.

You know what else I do on my blanket?
I stretch out.
I lie down.
And I watch the clouds.

I’ve always loved
The sky so blue.
That crystal blue it sometimes looks to me.
With white cotton candy clouds.
All kinds of them.

If you want to know a secret,
I’ll tell you.
Sometimes I look at the clouds
In the crystal sky.
And I giggle.
Because I think,
“It’s like God’s painting.
In 3D.
Again.”

It makes me sad sometimes.
When I think about it.
About how many people never look.
Never see.
The cotton candy clouds,
In the crystal blue sky.

If it’s alright with you,
I think I’ll just lie here a while.
And watch the sky.
And the clouds.
And yeah.
To be honest.
I wouldn’t mind
If you stretched out with me.
And you watched the sky too.

Just so you know.
As far as I’m concerned.
This is a safe place for me.
And if you like.
I’ll make it a safe place for you too.

On this blanket.
In my backyard.
Beneath the sky so blue.

I don’t know at all
Why people seem to think
I can capture dreams.
Things that don’t exist.
Things that aren’t real.
And put them down on paper.
And bring them to life.

But know this.
You are safe here.
On this blanket.
Beneath the sky so blue.

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G is for Green

She was not well, I could tell. Another migraine, my best guess. That and the never-ending pain of the fibromyalgia. Another man would have known there was nothing he could do. No way to help, other than be quiet, and be there. If she needed him.

But, I’m not normal. I’m not another man. I’m me. While it remained true I couldn’t remove her pain, couldn’t cure her migraine, I wasn’t totally helpless. There was something I could do.

As she sat on the sofa, I sat on the floor, facing her, and in a quiet voice I asked, “Trust me?”

She nodded. I smiled. “Then, close your eyes and dream.” I took her hands in mine, and she closed her eyes, as I captured a dream and turned it into words for her…

Feel the softness of the breeze as it touches your skin, caresses your face. Hear it pass among the trees, the soft music it plays as it rustles their leaves. Open your eyes and look around at the green everywhere you can seen. So many shades, from pale to strong, and light to dark. The way the sunlight filters through the trees, beams hanging in air here and there. Fields of leaves flickering in the light, as the breeze moved them about.

Look to the canopy of the forest you’re in, so high over head. See how it paints the sky in shades of green, filled with gaps of blue, and the gold of the sunlight. Listen as you hear the sounds of pinecones, acorns, and nuts fall through the forest, bouncing off branches and limbs, until they strike the ground.

In the distance, you hear the sound of water in the, flowing in a stream, over rocks, and between the trees. Sometimes quiet, almost silent. Sometimes, roaring in rapids, and maybe even a waterfall.

Now and then, you walk, to another space along a trail, in the forest wonderland. Every time you stop, you drink in the magic of a world that’s real. One not made by the hand of man. One that was there before we were, and will be there after all of us are gone.

For this is life’s gift to you this day. A land that’s alive, painted in the colors of sunlight, blue sky, and an endless sea of shades of green.

Close your eyes, my friend.

And dream.

Dreams : Orchids

May I ask one thing of you
On this Monday morning
My dear friend?

If I may,
The please.
Close your eyes,
And dream.

And if dreams will not come,
Then you should know,
I’ve captured one
To give to you.

So, please close your eyes
And I will share
This dream I’ve found
For you.

Sit there.
On the bench.
In the middle of the room.
Its floor of stone beneath your feet.

Outside its cold.
There’s ice and snow.
But within the room
It’s always warm.
Always quiet.
Always calm.

Leave the snow,
The ice,
The biting wind,
Outside. Where they belong.

And sit there.
On the bench.
Where it’s always warm.

Close your eyes,
And take a breath
Of the sweet air
In this room.
Air painted with the flavors
Of the orchids
Everywhere.
Just drink in the flavors.
Don’t even try
To separate them.
Tell them apart.

What would be the point?
Would you separate the colors
From a work of art?
What would a Rembrandt be?
If torn apart that way?
Here’s all the red.
The black.
The green.
The yellow.
It just wouldn’t be the same.

It’s best to leave it all
The way it is.
To leave the picture whole.
And drink it in.

Then, let your eyes begin
To enjoy the colors
Of the room.

The whites.
The pinks.
Yellows, Browns, Red and greens.
Of hundreds of orchids
In full bloom.

I never knew,
Did you,
They had so many blooms.
But look at them.
They do.
Five, six, seven,
Sometimes even more.
On a single stem.
All lined up in a row.

The ones that bloom in clusters
Are just as beautiful.
Like a firework that’s exploded
In the night,
Painting balls of color
In the sky.

This is the dream
I found for you.
So,
Sit there.
In that room.

Where all the cold of winter,
All the ice and snow,
Gets washed away.
And you can feel alive
Once more.

Now, my dear friend.
I ask of you.
Please.
Close your eyes.
And dream.

Dreams : Camellias

I had a dream on Sunday.
One I brought to life
In my own unique way.

I dreamed I crossed
Both time and space,
To reach the place you live.
There, I knocked on your front door,
And when you answered,
I grabbed your hand,
And did not let it go.

“Come with me,” I said,
“There’s something you should know.”

I walked with you,
Through the ice and snow,
In the bitter cold.
To my magic car.

We got inside and drove,
Through time and space,
To a place I know of.
A place I always go.
When life threatens once more
To tear my heart apart,
And turn what’s left to stone.

To a garden
I walk through
To heal the wounds
Life leaves in my soul.

“Come with me,” I said,
“There’s something you should know.”

And I took you by the hand
And walked with you.
Into a magic land.

The Dogwood trees are budding.

The Dogwood trees are budding.

We watched the ducks swimming on Mirror Lake.

We watched the ducks swimming on Mirror Lake.

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Then I showed you the Camellias at the garden.

Then I showed you the Camellias at the garden.

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There are trees already in full bloom.

There are trees already in full bloom.

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Birds are everywhere.

Birds are everywhere.

Even the Apricot tree is blooming.

Even the Apricot tree is blooming.

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And it won't be long until the Magnolia trees begin to bloom.

And it won’t be long until the Magnolia trees begin to bloom.

Just ask the birds.

Just ask the birds.

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And the Robins watch it all.

And the Robins watch it all.

Soon, the paper bushes will start blooming.

Soon, the paper bushes will start blooming.

And there are always Orchids in full bloom in the Tropical Greenhouse

And there are always Orchids in full bloom in the Tropical Greenhouse

IMG_7680IMG_7684As I drove you home,
Through time and space both.
I spoke the words
Of a song I know.

“Fear is only in our minds.
It’s taking over all the time.
Fear is only in our minds,
But it’s taking over all the time.”

I know you’ve heard the words,
A thousand times or more.
Things change.
They always do.
And the ice and snow,
And the bitter cold
Will fade away
In the days and weeks ahead.

The world will thaw.
And so will you.
If you decide
The ice and snow,
And bitter cold,
Are just another part of life,
That comes and goes.

The same way night fades away
With the sunrise
Everyday.

I walked you to your door,
In the ice and snow,
And the bitter cold.

And left you at your home.
With a memory
Of Camellias.
In the snow.

I leave this thought with you.

I leave this thought with you.

Dreams : The Azalea Died

18 months ago
I planted a new garden.
With new plants.
Different plants.
From the garden
Life destroyed.

I put in a camellia tree.
And an azalea bush.
Then I promised
I’d find other plants
To fill that garden out.

Much has happened
Since that day.
And my new garden’s
Changed.

The Azalea bush just died.
I don’t know why.
And no one can explain.

It’s just a part of life.

I took care of that plant.
Watered it.
Cared for it.
Talked with it.
Hell,
I even sang to it.

I checked the soil
That it was in.
Made sure to care for it
Just right.
For an azalea to grow.

But it wouldn’t grow.

Water didn’t work.
Plant food didn’t work.
Daily care was useless.

In the end,
I even tried
Calling in a specialist.

He worked with me
For a solid month.
We did the best we could.
But in the end
That plant flat
Wouldn’t grow.

Sometime’s life’s like that,
You know.

I did my best.
I did.
Took care of that friend.
Even gave that azalea
The best care I’d ever given
Any plant in any garden
That I’ve ever had.

And that sucker died
Anyway.

The specialist told me
He couldn’t see why
That bush just flat died.
We’d done everything right.
Everything that could be done
To take care of that plant.
Gave it every chance
We could.
That sucker should have thrived.

And yet.
It died.

I remember her.
Divorced.
Raising her daughter
On her on.
Dealing with the injuries
An elevator accident
Had caused in her.

The story of her home
Which she could barely pay for
Every month.
The days when dinner
Was a box
Of cereal.

Oh, the battles
That she faced.

But you know.
I didn’t fit.
I didn’t.
In that world of hers.
I couldn’t be the person
She wished me to become.
Couldn’t say the things
I knew to say.

And worst of all
I didn’t go to church.
And even when I did,
I didn’t believe
The same things
She did.

And just like that azalea bush
In the garden that I’ve made.
The friendship
That I tried to have
With her.

Just flat died.

She never even said
Good-bye.

That azalea’s gone.
But in the place
Where it once stood,
In my garden
Full of friends,
There are now so many more
Flowers than have ever been
In any garden
I have ever grown
Before.

Some of them are bloom once.
And then they die.
They have such fleeting lives.
Other come back
Every year.
Blooming all the time.

And I’m OK with that.
Because I’ve learned.
Sometimes it’s not what we want
That grows
That makes a garden beautiful.

It’s what grows
All on its own.

Dreams : The Rhododendron Were In Bloom

I parked my car.
Turned the engine off.
Turned to look
At the passengers I had.
It has been a long time
Since I’d had passengers
With me.
A very long time indeed.

My passengers were young.
At least,
Compared to me.
I was pretty certain
I was older
Than their parents.
And both of them were adults.
Both being photographers.

I’d promised them
I’d bring them
To take pictures
Of the flowers
In the garden
That I love.

I couldn’t understand at all
Why they had agreed.
But then again,
It had been a long time
Since anything
Made sense to me.

I’m not that good around people.
Never have been.
And it showed.
I didn’t say much at all
On the drive to the garden.
About the only time I spoke
Was when they spoke to me.

Which pretty much translates
To talking when I had to.

Something bothered me
On the drive
To the garden
That day.
Something in the way
That they behaved.

Or perhaps.
Something in the way
They reacted to me.
I couldn’t tell.
I never knew
When I was doing
Something wrong.

I had a million questions
Racing through my head.
Was it appropriate for me
To be around
Either one of them?
I found I had to ask.
Because I knew
I wouldn’t have clue
How anyone would feel,
What anyone would think
About me taking them
To the garden on that day.

I worry about such things.
I do.
Because I just can’t tell.
I don’t feel any of the pressures
Other people do.
That silent language
That tells people
How to behave.
I’m completely deaf to it.

The only way I can figure out
How to behave
Like everyone expects
Is to make mistakes.
Do things wrong.
And learn.
Because when I ask
What’s appropriate.
No one answers.
They laugh.
Or they tell me
That everyone knows that.
And so do I.

No one understands.
I don’t.
I don’t know at all.
And God,
I wish I did.

Every bit of me
Wanted to escape.
To make sure everyone
Everywhere
Would know
The two of them
Were safe.

That I’d given them a ride
To the garden on that day.
And then I’d simply
Vanished.
So the two of them
Could have fun
Together.
Taking pictures.
Enjoying the beauty
Of that place.

I could feel the panic
That’s a part of me.
A fight or flight defense.
That had kept me alive
For so very many years.

I knew.
I knew
I’d take flight.
The first chance I got.

That’s when the youngest
Of the two of them
Stopped me
Dead in my tracks.

“Show me
Where your favorite flowers are
At this time of year.
I’ve only been here
A few times.
So I don’t know
Where to look.”

That young lady
Looked right at me,
“Show me.
Please.”

All I could do
Was stand there
For a bit.
And look at my two hands.
Shaking like leaves.
As I told myself
Several times,
“Breathe.
Just breathe.”
Until my hands
Calmed down.
And I was able to get past
The fear I was feeling.

At which point
The second of the two
Smiled.
And nodded.
And said,
“Yes. Please show us.
Please won’t you?”

I knew what time of year it was.
I knew what part of the garden
Was in full bloom.
I’d been there
A few days before.

I visited the garden
At least once a month.
And many months
In spring and summer,
I visited the garden
More than once.

I nodded my head,
yes.
And away we went.
The two of them
Walking with me.
Through the garden.
Down the trails.
To where I knew
The rhododendron
Were in full bloom.

Where the two of them
Could take all the pictures
That they wanted too.

And as I walked
Through the rhododendron,
I forgot.
I forgot all the things
That bother me.
All the things
I have to think about.
The things that I don’t know.

And once more
In the garden
That I love.

I was free.

Free to feel.
Free to smile.
Free to cry.
Free to laugh.
Free to be.
Me.

But even then,
I kept off to the side.
And tried to stay
Out of their way.
So they could take the pictures
That they wanted to.
And not worry about me.

So that I would know
That I could not do something
That was not normal.
Something that would disturb them.
So that they would be
Safe from me.

When the trip was over,
And we returned to the car,
They both noticed
I’d grown quiet once more.

That’s when they told me
How much they’d enjoyed
Visiting the garden.

And the oldest of the two
Said something to me
That I’d heard before.
Perhaps a thousand time.
But I’d never understood it
Until then.

“Why are you
So very hard
On your self?
It bothers me.
It bothers us.
To see you
Hurt yourself
The way you do.”

Then the young one spoke,
“We came here with you.
Because you are our friend.
And we wanted to
Walk through the garden
With you.
And take pictures
With you too.”

The oldest spoke once more.
“What’s wrong?
What’s bothering you?”

No one had ever asked me that
Before.
And I was completely lost.
Not knowing what to say.
Or what to do.

And I remembered,
As I stood there,
Unable to speak.
Shaking like crazy.
Trying to remember
Just to breathe,
The words that someone
Had told me
Many years before.

“Why are you so hard on yourself,
My dear friend?
Don’t you know how much
It hurts me
To see you treat yourself
That way?”

I don’t know how,
But I found my voice
On that day,
As we got ready
To get into the car.
When we would all return
To our separate homes.

That’s when I finally spoke.

“I don’t know how
To care for me.”
I looked straight at the ground.
“I never learned.”

And those few words
Would bring more change to me
Than any words,
Or any thing,
That I’d said
Or done
Before.

For I finally understood
What I had to learn.

I had to learn
What the two of them,
And the others
I call my friends,
Saw in me
That I didn’t.

I had to learn
Why they cared for me.
And then perhaps,
Some day.
I could learn
To care for me too.

Dreams : A Gift From Life

I got up this morning,
And I looked outside.
There were no clouds
In the sky.
And the sky
Was a pale,
Sad
Gray.

You know the color that I mean.
The one that is just there.
That has no meaning.
No life to it.
It’s not even like
A blank painter’s canvas.
Or a blank sheet of paper.

It’s just gray.
Pale.
Lifeless.
And sad.

The kind of color that I swear
Sometimes seems to suck the life
Out of everything.
And the color too.
Turning everything
Some shade of gray.

As I looked out my window
On that pale gray morning,
I could feel that sky
As it sucked the life
Right out of me.

I wanted to curl up
In a little ball
Under a big blanket.
And hide.

“Go away, Day!
Just go away!
And leave me alone!”

But I knew I shouldn’t.
I knew I should get up.
And do the things
My family needed me to do.

Wash the dishes.
And the laundry to.
Vacuum up some of the dirt,
And dust,
And stuff,
That was on the floor
Of my family room.

But I knew too,
That I’d be dragging,
As if pulling several bags
Of concrete mix
Behind me.

I did not look forward
To that day.
And I quickly
Closed my curtains
And put the sky away.
So I couldn’t see it
Any more.

Then I got on
With my dull,
Lifeless,
Gray day.

Nothing that I did
On that pale gray day
Made me feel OK.

I stumbled through the dishes.
And the laundry too.
I picked up stuff
In the family room.
And vacuumed up
What must have been four pounds
Of cat hair.

The cats,
It seemed,
Were shedding their winter coats
Again.

When I was all done,
I knew it was time
For me to do
What I was dreading
Most on that flat gray day.

Get out of the house.
And make the trip
To the grocery store
That my lady had
Asked me to.

So, I got my shoes on,
And pulled on my jacket.
And I opened the front door.

And that was when I smiled.

For that pale flat gray was gone.
Replaced by bright sunshine.
It was even warm enough
I didn’t need to keep my jacket on.
So I took it off.
And tossed it
Back inside.

Then I stood there
On the porch.
And looked around.

As the sun had climbed up high
Into the sky that day,
It had slowly melted
All that gray away.

And as that gray had melted,
It has slowly released
All the colors of the world
It had sucked up.

So that there were not grays
Everywhere I looked.
Instead
Everything had come to life
With colors of all kinds.

Greens,
And browns,
Reds,
And yellows.

Hell,
Even the puddles
In the yard
Had become like little mirrors,
Showing glints of silver
Now and then.

I couldn’t help but smile.

And I knew exactly
What I had to do
While I was out side.
Doing what I’d promised her
I’d do for her.

I got in my car.
And I drove to the ocean.
To a beach I know
So very well.

And I took a walk that day,
Out there on the sand.
Down by the water’s edge.

When I’d been walking
For a while.
I don’t care how long.
I stopped.
And turned to face
The horizon
Of the East.
Where the Ocean was.

And all the things
That worried me.
That made me feel so sad.
That made me wish
I could curl up
In a little ball,
Under a big blanket
In my bed.

Faded away.

Beneath the bright light of the sun.

And I simply stood there,
And I stared
At the sky up above.
Letting my eyes
My heart
And soul
Drink in the life
Of it’s soft crystal blue.

And watching the waves
With their white caps
As they decorated the surface
Of the ocean
That was such a vibrant
Pure deep blue.

And I knew
As I stood there
On the sand.
On that day of life.

That it wasn’t every day
We get such gifts,
As that crystal blue sky,
And the deep blue sea,
From life.

I wished very much
That other people
That I knew
Were there with me.
So they could enjoy them
Too.