credit: janelle bradshaw
credit: janelle bradshaw
i’ve had an idea floating around in my head for a couple of years now that it would be cool to write a book in second person. a friend told me i should practice writing in second person with short stories first. i haven’t had the time to devote to writing any short stories, but a little while ago i was fed up with writing essays and reading romantic era literature and i decided to let my creative side loose. all that came was a fragment, but, like with the apple picking and photography, writing it helped to clear my head and rekindle my enthusiasm. and who knows? maybe one day the practice will come in handy.
…and all the emptiness that has left you numb gathers itself together within you. like a beast caught in a cage it screams to be let out and you know that if you pace this floor for another sleepless night, the wild things will tear your heart to pieces.
so you take the cage into your hands and you run.
you run over the frozen river and beneath the fading frozen moon. you run beyond all imagining and all ability of thought. you run until you come to a place where there are no stars and your breath is torn from you in raging cold gasps, and when at last you collapse in the darkness on the edge of the world, you know that you have found the place where your strength is ended. there you set the wild things free to join their howling voices with the great and howling emptiness all around.
you kneel where you have fallen and the gravel grinds into your flesh. you do not know how much blood you have lost because at the world’s end all is dark and the color of blood seems to mean nothing. and here in this absolute void of all things, here at the end of yourself, you cry out in a prayer that is made not of words but of pain and searching and fathomless heartbreak.
(over the rim of the world, a light begins to spread–or, if not light itself, a shade of black that is lighter than the infinite void that was before)
the light grows, still too dim to be seen as light, only enough to show the color of the blood that is not yours. black ice. red blood. white snow. though the darkness howls in cold and savage billows, your breathing slows and slows and slows…
at last, here on the ice, you slumber.
when you wake, the darkness has been folded up and laid aside and light has spilled over its boundaries.
mothers are incredibly instinctive. they know so much and say so little; and when they speak, their words are wise. a dear friend of mine posted this little story on her blog a week or so ago. a few days ago, i decided to take a break from analyzing poetry and writing essays to help my family and my cousins pick apples in a friend’s orchard. as we were leaving, my mom said, ‘carreen, why don’t you take your camera? you can get some pictures of the kids.’
that’s all she said then.
but i found that as i focused my camera on the fruit-laden branches, my cousins petting cats and climbing trees and getting sticky with apple juice, the glorious golden sunlight washing over it all…my heart filled with light, as well. the elderly lady who hosted us at one point said, ‘there is so much to make you smile. the fruit, the sunshine, the bees, the flowers…’
it was such a simplistic view of the world…but oh, i needed to hear it that day.
because my heart was so heavy that i had forgotten that there was an outside world. that God had showered me already with so many blessings. that the very air i breathed was a gift. that His love was and is evident in ways that i so often take for granted.
‘yesterday is gone
today i can see, oh, today i can see
my, my, my, for the very first time
i waved goodbye, bye, bye
to what used to weight me down
my, my, my, everything’s alright
the sun is shining down
i’m looking all around
and this is just so beautiful…’
jenny&tyler.this is just so beautiful
the feeling of joy and sweetness that i found that morning did not last forever. the rest of that day was difficult in many ways. the next morning was even harder. but the flavor of it stayed with me. i caught the scent of it when i passed the buckets and bags of apples in the garage, when i watched the glowing sun disappear over purple hills that evening. i found it with tears that night as i prayed and i heard it in the sound of the crickets outside my window.
God is good. always. and when i have lost sight of that goodness, i need to focus my mind and my heart on the evidences of it that He has so graciously given.
sometimes, that takes literally focusing my camera on beautiful things, simple things–a child stretching up to reach an apple, sunlight trickling through the trees, a cat napping on a gold-bathed porch. and it takes reminding myself of my roots–my family, the outdoors, capturing moments of beauty and joy.
and as i later found out–my mom knew all that.
‘i begin to see reality
for the first time in my life
i know that i’m a shadow
but i’m dancing in Your light…’
jj heller.only love remains
‘sunlight over me no matter what I do
apples in the summer are golden sweet
every day a passing complete…’
fleet foxes.the shrine/an argument
‘when the sun
shines through the leaves of the apple-tree,
when the sun
makes shadows of the leaves of the apple-tree,
then i pass
on the grass
from one leaf to another,
from one leaf to its brother…’
a. a. milne.twinkletoes
(i took two almost identical pictures, but left a little more bokeh in one than in the other. the one above is a little sharper and more vibrant, but i like the next one better…it is not a picture of the apples so much as it is a picture of the light, and that i love.)
‘i pray light will
leak from our pockets
we’ll be drenched, overcome
at night the fireflies
streamers at our sides
silent flaming arcs of hope…’
josh garrels.jacaranda tree
‘the sun is still there… even if clouds drift over it. once you have experienced the reality of sunshine you may weep, but you will never feel ice about your heart again.’
elizabeth goudge, the white witch