I’ll Take Autumn

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Yesterday I walked the streets of my neighborhood carrying a brown bag.  In it I put every kind of leaf that I could find.  Some were brown oak leaves, some lemony sugar maples, some vibrant red mulberry and many more.  I also found some crisp pine cones and bits of pine branches that recent strong winds had blown to the ground.  I placed these treasures in my bag also.  I had forgotten my camera so I took snapshots with my eyes of the remaining leaves on the trees against the bright, blue sky.  Soon, all the trees would be naked and the days colder.  When the bag was full I headed home.

I climbed the stairs to my sunny den.  The room was warm and inviting.  I dumped my treasures out of the bag onto the carpet.  One by one, I assessed each leaf till I found perfect specimens for my planned activity.  My black cat, Onyx, came into the room and sniffed approvingly at the colorful pile. I placed a sugar maple leaf onto the watercolor paper and began to carefully trace it’s outlines onto it with a pencil.  Then, I studied the leaf and added some veins to the drawing.  And now, for the best part — painting it with watercolors.  I chose bright orange and ruby red paints and let them glide onto the absorbent paper with the brush.  Many more leaves I traced and painted till I was brought out of my reverie by Onyx’s plaintive meow for some attention.  After stroking her shining, black fur I collected the pine cones and pine branch pieces.  I placed them on a china dish that had small sea shells that my son and I had collected during the summer. It made a festive and autumnal centerpiece upon the worn wood table.  I sighed contentedly.  Finally, I had made time for my yearly celebration of Autumn. My foray out into nature had soothed my soul and all seemed good.

Watercolor Picture from Bing

Onyx, the Ebony Cat

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I have fallen deeply in love with Onyx, the ebony cat. His soft fur shines and he lights up my world.  My friend, Rose, (who I am staying with while I get my life together) adopted him two months ago and we have become fast friends.  He is three years old and seems wise beyond his years.  We play together, cuddle together; he purrs, I say inane things to him. (I keep my most silly talk to private times when we are alone.)  I call him friend because what else would you call someone who calms, comforts and cares for you?  Okay, perhaps I am guilty of some level of anthropomorphism.  But, I tell you, it is uncanny how he appears at my side when I am starting to slide into the blues.  He’ll hop onto the bed as I sit journaling and start to purr at me and it stops my descent into the pits.

In the morning, as I sip my coffee and read blogs and devotions and try to enter the day with something resembling hope, he hops onto the arm of the chair, reaches for my shoulder, and places his front paws on it.  Then, he bites my head!  I feel so honored and loved and suddenly glad to be alive. And I giggle when they turn into multiple love bites.

Sometimes I bury my nose into his warm fur and just breathe in and out.  It is truly a Zen moment.  I love this beautiful cat and he is safe to love. How often do we love where we shouldn’t and end up hurt or disappointed?

Perhaps I need to get a life!  But, until I do, I am going to hang out with a cat named Onyx.

photos from Bing

Truth Serum for My Father

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Truth Serum for My Father

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth Serum.”

My heart was broken by my father.  My memories about my father had always been wonderful.  He was loving, kind, funny, and gentle.  I would remember how gentle he was when removing splinters from my hands. Although not one for physical affection, the look in his eyes when he looked at me was as good as any hug.  We laughed together often and usually it was at each other and ourselves.  Much time was spent together bicycle riding through the neighborhood and playing badminton in the back yard. Other special times together including art lessons using the John Gnagy Learn to Draw Kit.  Dad would also make his delicious ice cream shakes and sodas for me on hot summer days.  Oh, how I loved and adored my father.

But then, in my thirties, the flashbacks began.  First, they were about the newspaper boy and his friend who had sexually assaulted me repeatedly on my way home alone from school.   Then, they were about my father. How I had finally told him despite their insistence that no one would believe me or else would  blame me.  The attacks by the boys stopped after I told my father.  But, the flashbacks were not done.  They continued. Now, I would climb the stairs into the attic when I would feel myself having that strange trance feeling that would precede the flashbacks. And then I saw the unthinkable.  My father had sexually abused me.  And threatened me into silence.  My sweet, wonderful father was a part-time monster.  I fought so hard to not believe these flashbacks.  How could the man who so gently removed my splinters defile me? My father loved me, how could this be?  After several months of these returning memories I finally confronted my father over the phone.  He not only denied everything, but called me a lying slut.  His voice in that phone call was not that of the good father, but that of the bad, threatening father.  If I had had any doubts they were extinguished now.

We have never spoke or seen each other since.  I have never fully mourned my loss of him.  I have been struggling just to survive and function each day and raise my son.  But I have cried this morning as I have written this.  The prompt for today was “who would you give truth serum to?”  My answer would be to my father.  And its not to get him to admit to the abuse.  I don’t need that.  What I want to ask him is “Are you sorry you abused me?”  and “Do you miss me?”  I want to know that he has remorse.  That all my love was not completely misplaced.  Or, maybe that the love I perceived was not all a lie, but was real.  I know the abuse was real, but what about the love?

A Perfect Afternoon

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A Perfect Afternoon

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singin’ in the Rain.”

The rain has been persistent all day. It’s been dreary inside and out this morning, but I have finished all the chores and it is only one o’ clock.  I turn on the lamp by my overstuffed reading chair now.  It casts light on the window panes behind it. The rain is trickling down them.  A whole afternoon to myself.  Free to do anything I want.  I start by putting a record of Debussy’s music on the stereo. The Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun fills the room that is lined with books. Then,  to the fireplace.  Kneeling down on the hearth, I place a log and some kindling inside.  After opening the damper, I light the kindling and watch the bright flames flicker. My cheeks redden and warm from the heat.  The room has transformed from dreary to cozy. The light from the fire glows in the cut glass of the decanters on an old table.  “What a good idea.” I think and pour myself a sherry.  Grabbing my latest mystery novel, I sink into the chair and sip the sweet wine. Dinah, my tortoise shell cat, pads into the room and throws herself down on the braided rug in front of the fireplace. I sit, well content, and listen to the music.  After the last piece on the album has played, the silence and the sounds of the rain are all I want.  And, I have taken the precaution of taking the phone off the hook.  Neither the cat, nor I, will be disturbed on this fine, rainy afternoon.