#Rebirth : A Waste Of Time

“Have you watched him?” Kelly smiled as she pointed toward Edward.

“No.” Kelly admitted. “I’ve never been here with him.”

The two walked through the Camellia garden, taking their time, drinking in the colors and shapes of the Camellia blossoms filling the trees. “You should watch him.”

“Why?”

“Because.”

Cynthia watched Edward walk among the trees, with his camera. Edward stopped often and took another picture of another Camellia bloom. Sometimes, he took a dozen pictures of booms on a single tree. Sometimes, he took a dozen pictures of a single bloom. “What am I supposed to see?”

“Him.”

Him? She saw him five times a week at work. She talked with him, ate lunch with him, swapped birthday cards with him. Edward was her friend from work.

They followed Edward through the trees, keeping him in sight as he moved from tree to tree. He moved in circles, and zig zag lines. He stopped at a tree, took pictures, then looked around, spotted another tree, and made his way to it.

Cynthia checked the time on her watch. Twenty minutes of walking from tree to tree. “What is he doing?”

Kelly giggled. “He’s remembering.”

“Remembering what?”

Kelly didn’t answer. Cynthia shook her head. Twenty minutes staring at trees. Taking pictures with no rhyme, no reason. He had plenty of pictures. How many pictures could he take of Camellia trees and their flowers?

“He has thousands of pictures of Camellia blooms.”

“He does?”

Kelly’s smile was a relaxed, happy smile. “And he still takes more.” She watched Edward moving around a specific bloom, trying to hold his camera to take the best shot, with the best framing and background. “Don’t you wonder why?”

“It’s a waste of time.”

“Is it?”

Cynthia wanted to scream, “Yes! I have things to do! Places to go! A life to live! Deadlines, and commitments. I can’t be here, wasting time, wandering through a bunch of trees, looking at stupid flowers!”

“Why is it a waste of time?”

“What?” Surely, Kelly knew she’d asked a stupid question.

“Why is it a waste of time?” Kelly’s grin told Cynthia she knew everything, every reason taking pictures of flowers was silly, and a waste of time.

“You know.”

“So tell me.”

Cynthia took a deep breath and shook her head. “It’s his day off. He’s got things to do. A home to take care of. Laundry to wash. Dishes to wash. A lawn to mow. His family to take care of. Groceries to buy.”

“Yes. He does.”

“He doesn’t have time to wander around, taking stupid pictures.”

“Watch him.” Kelly resumed watching Edward, her eyes alive with color, and light, as if seeing something beautiful, something special. Cynthia had seen that look, she knew what it meant.

“What are you watching?”

“Just watch.”

She watched Kelly, as Kelly watched Edward. She realized Kelly was stopping at the same trees Edward stopped at, looking at the same Camellia blooms he looked at, watching him to see where he went, what he looked at.

“He always finds the prettiest blooms.”

Cynthia looked at the Camellia blooms too. Pink, red, white, and variegated, pink and red, pink and white, red and white. All of them different. Some just starting to open. Others in full bloom. Bright green leaves, others dark forest green, others almost pastel green, dark green, almost black veins laced through them.

The petals of the booms weren’t solid colors. Some looked like velvet. Others were like the leaves, veins of color laced through them. Pink with pink veins. Red with black veins. White with white.

She found herself carefully examining Camellia blooms. Their colors, their textures, their shapes. She found her eyes drinking in their colors, trying to burn them into her memory, so she could see them when she closed her eyes. So she could dream of them at night.

Cynthia watched Edward move from tree to tree, “He doesn’t care about the pictures, does he.”

“He doesn’t.” Kelly smiled, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.

“He’s not here to take pictures.”

Kelly didn’t answer, moving to another of the Camellia blooms Edward has stopped at. Cynthia joined her, the two of them drinking in the sights Edward lead them too. Cynthia forgot about time. About responsibilities. About everything.

“Do you understand?”

Cynthia felt lighter. Less encumbered. Less trapped. She closed her eyes, and had to smile. “I want to look at more flowers.”

“Tell Edward.” Kelly pushed her toward Edward. “He’s been here dozens of times. He knows where all the flowers are. When they bloom. When they peak. When to find them.”

“I can’t. I don’t want to bother him.”

Kelly giggled again. She marched up to Edward. “Cynthia wants to see more flowers.”

Edward grinned, nodded, and off he went. They followed him, through the camellias, to a paved path to another part of the garden filled with Azaleas in full bloom.

He smiled at Kelly. “Will this do?”

All she could do was nod.

“You’re welcome,” and he smiled. She’d never seen his eyes so alive. She watched him walk through the Azaleas, many so filled with color, and with blooms, she couldn’t even see their leaves. Some towered over her. Some were tiny bushes, barely knee-high. Some lined walkways with walls of color. Pink, red, almost orange, white, and even blue with white middles. Oceans of blooms.

“I told you to watch him.”

Cynthia giggled.

“Do you know why?”

“He remembers, doesn’t he.”

Kelly laughed.

“He remembers what life is.”

Kelly drank in the colors and fragrances of the Azaleas. “Yes, he does. And every time he comes here, it brings him back to life.”

Cynthia couldn’t argue with her. Just by watching Edward, she’d felt her heart and soul wake up from the sleep she put them in each day when she became a responsible grown up.

“He remembers.”

“Shut up, Kelly. I have Azaleas to look at.”

They both laughed.

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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.

Fall Flash Festival : My Fall

I stood on the beach, watching the waves, wondering how long it would be until I struck the ground again. Like I do every year. Every fall. Sometimes, I think they named this time of year perfectly. Fall. And every year, I do.

It was good to stand on the beach and watch the sunrise. The sun always brought color back to the world. The blue-green, grey, and white of the ocean and it’s waves. The pale blue of the sky, with it’s wispy white clouds. The green and gold of the sea oats. The shades of brown and tan in the sand.

Watching the colors come back reminded me, like all things, Fall and Winter eventually ended, yielding to Spring. In roughly 26 weeks. Spring. I always look forward to that. Fall. I never look forward to that.

As I stood in the dark, before the dawn, everything was a shade of black, or gray. I knew, as the leaves changed from their many shades of green, to their painted shades of gold, yellow, red, and brown, those leaves would fall to the ground. And leave bare trees. All of them, shades of gray. All of them the same.

I knew, the roses would bloom one last time. Defiantly painting themselves in oceans of pink, yellow, white, peach, bronze, and red. I knew those brilliant splashes of color would fade, the petals of each bloom would curl, and fall, beneath the ocean of gray fall always brought.

Already I could feel a nip in the wind, a hint of the biting cold that would grow in the days ahead. That little hint of the coming Winter. The playful nip of cold, like a puppy’s playful nip. A nip that grew throughout the fall into the searing bite of a full-grown, predatory wolf. Hunting every last shred of life it could find. Hell-bent on sinking its teeth in, and crushing that life in it’s jaws.

Fall. That time of year where all hope faded. Where the bottom fell out of my world, my life. Where the ground I’d stood on, the hill I’d climbed in Spring and Summer ended. And I walked off a cliff I never saw coming. A cliff that just appeared. Where the solid ground I stood on simply fell away. And I fell too.

Fall. At least it was named accurately.

There had been a time, not so many years ago, when Fall brought despair. When Fall heralded the return of the demon my depression was.

Until I learned to walk along the beach. In the hour before the dawn. And watch the sun climb out of the ocean, into the sky once more. And watch as the shades of black and grey faded away. And the colors of the world came to life again.

Until I learned to Fall heralds the return of the Camellia trees to full bloom. Their shades of white, pink and red, reminding me the Fall and Winter don’t last. They end. As if the Camellia trees catch me as I fall, and gently place me on the ground.

I knew Fall would grow the demon of depression within me. The darkness of my life would grow, just like the length of each night. But I’d learned. The darkness would never win. So long as the Camellias bloomed in the dead of Winter once again. So long as the sun rose every morning, and painted over the darkness of the night, and brought back the colors of life.

588 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for the Fall Flash Festival, hosted by Eric Martell and Daniel Swensen. Please, go read all the other stories written for the festival. They all show the magic of words.

Remember The Magic

I wrote these words last night, after I got home. I wrote them for a friend. The math told me I needed to share these words with her. And being who I am, I did. She wrote back, a brief little note, and said I should share these words with everyone.

Well, this afternoon, I just got home. And the math told me second friend could use a note from me. So, I’m sharing what I wrote last night. I’ve modified it as little as possible to keep names out of it. Otherwise, this is what I shared with a wounded friend last night.

Just because that’s what’s friends do in the world that ought to be.

Mark.


IMG_2796Oh, dear.

My friend. You make me wish I could give you a big hug, and take you on a long outing at the Botanical Garden. I’d do it. In a heartbeat.

I am not “physically” disabled. I have a 100% functional body. I can walk most people into the ground. Even at my age. I can hold a camera still long enough to take pictures at 35X optical zoom without a tripod. I can mow my own lawn. I can stand on my feet all day at Geek Squad.

I am, however, “disabled.” There are parts of life I simply don’t understand. I’ve told my doc, it’s like I’m deaf. It’s like I can’t hear that part of life that is “social”. I’ve explained to people, “It’s not that I do anything special. It’s not that I’m caring. Or tender. Or any of that stuff. It’s that I don’t have the social constraints most people have. So, for me, it’s all “math”. It’s all observation, and appropriate response. If I’m hurting, don’t I want attention, and help? Or at least someone to say, “I know.” So if someone I see is hurting, what’s the appropriate thing for me to do?”

And somehow, this gets people to call me, “caring, kind, and tender-hearted.”

I’ve told my Doc, “Isn’t this how things are supposed to be?”

So, when I see you write about how you are still getting used to your disabilities, and the reality that you can’t do certain things, my heart tells me I should take time, and say, “Hi!” and make sure you’re OK.

I have never, in this life, been understood. I’m married to a wonderful lady. I’ll never change that. I love her too much. But there are many “features” of me she does not understand. In her words, “I’ve grown used to them.”

One thing I’ve learned in the past 3 years. One truth that’s been hammered into me over, and over, and over.

People are blind to life. They are. Every morning, driving to work, they don’t see the flowers growing by the side of the road. They don’t see the clouds in the sky, or the way the sun reflects off of them. They don’t see the rays of sunlight shining through the clouds. They don’t see the birds flying just above the trees. They don’t see that occasional deer in the field.

They are blind. They don’t see the gifts we are all given, every day. Every day.

They never stop, walking across the parking lot at work, to feel the breeze flowing through their fingers. To feel the sun on their faces. To hear the birds singing, or the leaves of the trees rustling as the breeze passes through them.

They are blind.

They never walk through the flowers of the Botanical Garden. Without time constraints. Taking however long it takes. They don’t stop, and watch the butterflies. They never watch the bees moving from one flower to the next, pollinating the trees. They never watch the ducks, or geese, as they lazily swim around on the lakes.

They are blind.

Did you know, if you really try, if you sit quietly, close your eyes, and just listen, and you keep listening long enough, you can hear yourself breathe. I do that all the time. Did you know, if you practice, and you learn to listen to the things your body tells you, you can feel your own pulse. Your own heartbeat.

I know these things. I see them every day. I know the magic that is life. The magic of watching a 5-year-old cat sleep on your lap. Of watching the clouds as they slowly move, and change, in the sky. Of watching the neighbors dog chase a butterfly, not wanting to catch it, or kill it. Just wanting to chase it, and play with it. Of watching a wild rabbit carefully pick the best weeds growing in the yard, and eat them. Of watching a baby bunny grow through summer, becoming a rabbit able to survive on its own. Of watching a momma duck lead her tiny little ducklings to a lake.

I know the magic of seeing Camellia trees in full bloom in January, in the snow. When people tell me, “It’s cold. And there’s nothing out there to see.”

I know the magic of stretching out on my sofa, with the window curtains pulled aside, and the sun shining through them, on to me. Of taking a nap in that sunshine.

The magic is there. Every day. All I have to do is stop. And look. I don’t have to look for it. All I have to do is look around. It’s there. Everywhere.

People are blind. They can’t see that. They don’t know the magic’s there. They think I’m crazy. Or strange. Or broken in some way.

I’m not.

If I were there, I’d give you a great big hug. Then, even if I had to sit you in a wheelchair, and carry a 2 liter bottle of water with me, I’d take you on a long walk through the roses, the butterflies, and the flower gardens at the botanical garden. I’d stop any time you wanted. I’d let you look all you wanted. I’d let you feel the sun. The breeze.

I’d just appreciate the gift you are, my friend.

We are all different. We are all unique.

Smile, you. That’s the greatest gift of all. The gift of a smile.

#12DaysBop : Day 5 – Camellia Blooms

It’s day 5 of Stacy Hoyt’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop. Today, the topic is flowers. I love flowers. And this time, I went with something true, for someone I remember…


IMG_2655They say, as long as you remember someone, they are still alive. At least in some way. I like that thought very much. Because it means you’re still alive. Because, I remember you. We went to high school together. You were one of my friends. I had so few friends back then.

I remember your smile. The way it made your eyes crinkle. I used to look in those eyes of yours. They weren’t the prettiest I’d ever seen. But they were pretty. Yes, you weren’t a hot chick. It was the 70s. The days of Charlie’s Angles. Dukes of Hazard. You certainly didn’t compare to Jill Munroe, or Daisy Duke. But then, who did? You looked pretty to me.

I’m sorry for all the 33 years we missed between then, and when we met again. It was sad to learn you were so very ill. I remember calling you. Some people said I was doing that ’cause I was being nice to you. They said I was doing that ‘cause it was the right thing to do. But you knew. You knew I was calling you because I wanted to. I wanted to talk with you. Not that I ever said much. But I did love to listen to your voice.

I’d hoped to visit you someday. Meet your family. But that never happened.

You loved the pictures of flowers I shared with you. Especially the Camellias. I find sometimes, walking here, through the Camellia trees filled with blooms. I remember you. Your smile. Your laughter. The sound of your voice.

I’m glad I do. And maybe someday. When when it’s my turn to move on. I’ll get the chance to visit you again.


Please go enjoy the rest of the stories in the blog hop. There are some really gifted writers out there. It’s well worth reading their work. You can find the other entries here:

The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop, Day 5 – The Gift Of Flowers

How Can I Trust You?

I took a walk today.
Through the flowers.
And the trees.
Through the garden
Filled with roses.
By the side of the canal.
Through the Camellia trees.
By the duck pond
With the fountain in it.

As I walked
I remembered.
Lies.
Oh, so many lies.
That I’ve heard
All my life.

Things no one talks about.
Because no one doubts.
No one questions.
No one wants to.

I remember all the years
I stayed indoors
In December.
Because it was cold.
And everybody knows
Nothing grows this time of year.
Nothing at all.

The leaves have fallen
Off the trees.
The flowers have all died off.
Bulbs hiding
Underground.
Beneath the frost.
Safe from the cold.
The birds are gone.
They all flew south.
In their annual migration.

All that’s left are evergreens.
Pine trees.
Holly trees.
Juniper bushes.
The other trees are bare.
No leaves of any kind.
They look like skeletons.
Or those line drawings
We all made as children.

And all the grass is dormant.
Or dead.
Unchanging,
Or shades of brown.

It’s the time of year
When nothing’s outside.
That’s what I was always told.
That’s what the behavior
Of everyone I knew
Taught me was the truth.

Now…

Now I know
It was a lie.
Because for the third December
In a row.
I’ve got pictures.
Of flowers.
In bloom.

Strawberry trees.
Camellias.
Pansies.
Even daisies.
And roses.

I took a walk today.
Through the gardens.
And I saw.
With my own eyes.
The truth.

Just one of many truths
I’ve come across
In the past 2 years
And 2 months.

I’ve learned success
Is not what you do.
How much you make.
The things you have.
The trinkets,
And the toys.

It’s not how you dress.
How you cut your hair.
That you shave your face
Every day.
Even on vacation.

It’s not what you drive.
Not an Audi.
Not a Porsche.
A Benze or BMW.
It’s not a truck.
Or an SUV.
Or that hybrid
You’re so proud of.
“I’m doing my part
To save the environment,
I’m being green!”

Yeah, right.

It’s not that house you live in.
With the two car garage.
And more bedrooms
That there are people
Living there.

It’s not all the things
You have in your kitchen.
So that you can push a button
And make dinner.

It’s none of those things.
None of them at all.

It’s friends.
People you can trust.
That in turn
Trust you.

People you care about.
People you love.
People that matter
More than all the things
There are on this Earth.
People that feel that way
About you.

I know this the truth.
I used to have a job like that.
One where people said,
“I want a job
Like you’ve got.”

If only they knew.
If only they knew.

I lost that job.
Until that job
Got rid of me.
And the funny thing is
I’m happier today
That I’ve been in 3 decades.
All the years I held that job.
That slowly,
Painfully
Ate my life away.

I have more people
I can talk with.
That I ever had before.
When I was the definition
Of success.
In the corporate world.

So many things I thought I knew.
Things I’d learned
From years of watching
How people behave.

I’ve learned they were flat wrong.
I’ve learned so many things
People accept as true
Are lies.
Are false.
They don’t exist at all.

But most of all
I’ve learned
So many of the people
I once knew.
So many of the people
I encounter ever day
Even now.

Don’t know.
They quietly live
Within the framework
Of the truths
I’ve learned are lies.

And never once
Dare question
If those lies are true.

For the grandest lie of all
Is the one I keep running into.
Time and time again.
The one they follow
Without knowing they do.

That is safer
To stay within the rules.
That to question anything
At all.

And after all the things I’ve learned
Are lies.
That your social world
Your corporate world,
Your material world,
Wants me to believe are true.

How can I trust you.
When you never question
Anything
At
All.

What are you afraid of?
No.
Really.
What are you afraid of?

The truth?