Middle Age

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I’m not consigned
to old age, yet,
although my youth
has lost the bet.

I still have passion,
heart, and drive,
and in my inner soul
I thrive

Although I like
a rocking chair
as much as anyone,
beware

that’s not my forte,
not my place:
I’m not done
with this long race.

Don’t unsee me,
Invisible.
Don’t mark me off
predictable.

You don’t know me,
from what I’m made;
where I am opal,
you see jade.

I still have spark,
I still have fight,
I’m still willful,
with all my might.

and just because
I look an age,
don’t use it as
unfair presage.

I dream, I dance,
I fly, inside.
In my heart,
I’m still a bride.

You think you know,
Like age tips fate;
Like golden youth’s
the only trait

But I know me,
and I am strong
and though I’m not young,
I’ll live long

and this is nothing;
just the gate
to better things,
if I just wait

You think you’re young,
well, that’s just great –
your soul’s just twelve;
well, mine’s just eight.

The outside shell
don’t tell a thing,
it doesn’t say
what life will bring,

It doesn’t say
how sweet the soul
it doesn’t show
the endgame goal

All it does
is mark the years
the smile lines
the trace of tears

and shows I’ve lived
from here to there,
and shows I’ve learned
just how to care

but my essence
still remains
despite my losses
or my gains

unchanged inside me
my deep core
which will remain
forever more

and that was young
‘twill never age
no matter wrinkles,
what their gauge

for what’s inside me’s
like a bird
gentle, light,
a breath of Word

and though I am
no longer young,
my journey, here,
is far from done.

~Amarine Rose Ravenwood

Liberation of Maturity

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In grace she walks,
As in a breeze,
And though she’s dreaming
Of all the seas.

Her windswept hair,
Of lighter gray,
Still flows as youthful
In her midday

As it did
When she was young,
Full of spirit,
Freshly sprung.

But now, she glides,
Above it all,
Beyond the raging
Wild call.

And flows her mind,
In wisdom’s loops;
Freed from, now,
Confusion’s hoops:

Self-finding done,
And in the past;
She goes on now,
Free, at last.

~Amarine Rose Ravenwood

A Mother’s Love

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A slower kindle,
A softer ember;
Old youthful fire,
Now just a cinder.

Mellowed like wine,
Or a half-faded rose,
A calmer waltz,
That ebbs and flows.

Less moved to passion,
But when so, deeper;
My love overflows –
For my grandchild’s keeper.

What used to matter
Matters less;
I take more time…
More time to bless.

I look for joy,
Less frivolously;
I’ve found what’s true,
More thoroughly.

My wisdom blooms;
I try to share…
But most of all,
To show my care.

Above all things,
I’ve found a love;
And where I breathe,
I breathe thereof.

A softer gait;
A slower pace,
But my full heart,
It can embrace

The ones I love,
More deeply now,
And richer still,
And this I vow:

You are my joy,
Our chain of life:
And I live now,
Much less in strife.

So let me hold
You in my heart,
My dearest child,
And never part.

~Amarine Rose Ravenwood

Old Shoes

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How do we decide:
When is a shoe old?
When it’s worn in,
and nicely soft-soled?
Or is it when it’s
tattered and threadbare?
When its color
matches your head hair?

When is the time
of your shoes’ middle age?
When they’re broke-in
and your feet they assuage?
They still look nice,
and comfy, and fit…
They might be your favorites,
they’re loved, quite a bit.

Well, this, too, is life;
we are much like our shoes:
We’re not old ‘till frail,
battered, and bruised,
By the very air ‘round us;
air we enjoy;
When we’re far too mature
and refined to be coy.

Middle age is a cross
between comfort and fear;
A time when we long
to hold close what’s held dear.
And we look to the future,
and we feel some worry,
Our hearts are still big;
our sight’s not quite blurry.

We’ve gained qualities
of wisdom and hindsight;
We still look young,
but we’ve gained Grandma’s insight.
It’s a hard age to be,
but it’s also perfect:
In between young and old;
a time to reflect.

We’re far from worn out;
we’ve still got much wear left;
And we know what joy is,
and we know what is bereft.
We keep looking forward,
while we also look back,
And we seek our own place,
and we’ve learned our own knack.

Don’t forget where you are:
you’re not olden yet,
Those shoes still have
some good tread, I’ll bet.
And while the sun
glistens and shines,
You still have sparkle,
in all kinds of times.

~Amarine Rose Ravenwood

Seasonal Transitions

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A cool breeze caresses the skin, pleasurable, not cold, not biting, but soft, fragrant, spicy, gentle. It is time for sweaters and boots, scarves and knit hats, and yet, there is orange, autumn sunshine. It is the perfect time of year, the fleeting first week of October, gone all too soon. Only a few weeks away is the first snow, and dressing for warmth will be in earnest. For now, however, the sweaters are optional – not quite required but almost. These are the  best days, but also, the shortest lived. In Colorado, there is winter and summer. Spring and autumn are not full seasons, but rather, transitional afterthoughts of a negligent Nature which only knows extremes. Spring is a blip in time; a gateway into summer and nothing more – three or four weeks of thundery hailstorms, possibly a thick, wet, almost warm snow, followed by swiftly climbing temperatures. Autumn is the juxtaposed gateway into winter, a few weeks of cooler days and falling leaves and perfect light, followed by deep temperatures and the arrival of winter. Therefore, the days in which Autumn gracefully swirls her skirts of golden foliage are effectively numbered, and we will spend all winter wishing to go back to them, and feeling cheated that she did not attend our area of the yearly party longer. Each moment we can grasp in her loveliness is thoroughly enjoyed, gazing on grass that has not yet turned brown with winter, but is covered in sporadic orange and yellow leaves.

“The night will be cold tonight rather than just cool, as it has been up until today,” we think as we watch the bunnies that will soon be more scarce romp around in the transitionally colored bushes. “Tomorrow, I will wear leg warmers rather than be cold,” follows that thought. And with it, we know that while we cannot see winter with his white beard, he is just over a few mountain ranges away and will arrive before we know it, his hair and beard blowing snow before him as he comes, his robes whipping the wind up to rip at our eaves, his invisible hands wringing and twisting the trees that surround our homes, making an awful lot of noise. He will be insisting we pay him his homage – our attention, our huddling around the tiny spark of our fires for warmth, our acknowledgement of the frailty of human skin that cannot grow fur to adapt.

Finally, after months of trying to kill us all and succeeding only in part, by killing a few and sapping the spirits of the rest of us, Spring, who is his enemy, will knock him down, and breathing hard, she will try to pretend she is him for a while. She will blow snow, but her snow will not be like his, lacking force, quieter, heavier, thicker, wetter, and warmer. She will finally realize she cannot be Winter, and will give up her game, releasing the growing things and their flowers from their bondage to the cold. Taking pity, finally, on the poor Sun, she will allow him to touch the Earth for a while on many days, eventually giving him full concession, which he will end up taking advantage of to knock her out and go on a mad rampage of burning, blazing months until Autumn comes again, and blows coolly on his cheek, bringing him back to his senses and his proper self. Ever in competition for mastery, these scenes play out the same way, year after year, and we are nothing if not at their mercy.

~ Amarine Rose Ravenwood

This art is not mine – It is by Katie Horton. I am merely sharing it in a personal post.

Peace of Heart is Important

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Sometimes, I prefer to be lost in my own thoughts over participating in socializing. Even in social situations where people are having conversations, often, my own thoughts are more appealing to me than the conversations going on around me. In my own head, I can be anywhere; I can control my internal environment. I can look out a window and look at anything at all and resurrect a feeling from my childhood – a joy, a simplicity of being, a small taste of recovered innocence – a purity of spirit and feeling. This is how I cope in a world that seems to be getting progressively more negative. I go inside myself and recover myself – my childhood self. I do this more as I get older than I ever did in my twenties or thirties.

Music can take me there, but so can mere force of thought. And the more I do it, the easier it is to go there, and the quicker I can go there, as well. Peace of heart is important. However, I think that I am more in myself than I am in the world. However, it is useful to me to go there, more than just for good feelings. While in this state of being – this state of feeling – I can become introspective and examine my thoughts and beliefs in a positive way. Perhaps this ability to access my inner tranquility and then examine my beliefs is also why I’m becoming less and less afraid of death. I’ve probed and explored my understanding of the concept, and I know it is only a doorway to another existence, and I will still be myself on the other side. With the passing of my dog, death has been much on my mind lately, and I’ve been surprised to find that the concept of death holds little fear for me. Once, it was a thought that had much fearful power over me, but not anymore. There are far worse things, such as suffering, than death.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an inclination to bring death upon myself, but fear of it no longer has the power it once did over me. But then, perhaps I’m deluding myself. Perhaps when faced with it, I might be truly afraid. I acknowledge that such might be the case. The power of the mind is twofold – the power to change your views, but also the power to deceive yourself while believing you’re changing your views. The mind can be tricky, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell which you are doing until you come up against something that tests your resolve. I have a surgery coming up, which may be a good test to run against my recent conclusions. When I think of the surgery, I do feel some fear, but I don’t think it’s fear of death; rather, of being cut, of being in pain.

I’m trying to extend my peace of heart over this coming event. I’m not there yet. I’m still working on it. I have till December. Willpower, or the power of thought, is a force and has strength. I know this, it is simply a matter of applying it. (I say “simply” when in reality, willpower is far from simple in execution) I’m stubborn. I can do this. And on the day of my surgery, I will try to access the memory of good feeling that I indulge in frequently these days. It may be difficult, if I have anxiety. This “memory of good feeling” is my Zen, and anxiety destroys it. So, the aim is to keep calm and go to that place when the time comes. To be in peaceful tranquility when I go under the anesthesia is a goal I’m holding onto right now..

~ Amarine Rose Ravenwood

The Void and The Veil

Your bones, your flesh, so firm one moment – so capable of receiving healing. Your thoughts, your spirit, so fixed within you, so capable of interacting with others whom you love. One moment, and then, the next, you’re gone. The flesh no longer lives, the thought that breathed life into it has wandered or shot out of the shell, quick as a fraction of a moment, gone before we have been able to draw breath to say goodbye. Oh, and how different your eyes without your spark behind them, and how nightmarish they have become for the echo we still remember there. We look, and our own eyes, and our hearts, begin to bleed the tears of loss for being forced to release you before we were ever ready to. Now, the world is different, your echo is everywhere – the space in which you belong, in which you once stood or laid, is unnaturally vacant, abandoned; and there is a void, like a black hole sucking at the light and our hearts, which is felt whenever we see or sense your not-thereness. That void, that emptiness where you should be, tears at us whenever we encounter it, catches us off-guard, and it feels like your going has ripped a tear in the fabric of reality; as though, perhaps, if we were to stand or lay where you once did, we could reach through the veil and touch your spirit and maybe feel whole again. Death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person or animal, it is simply the worst thing that can happen to those who love them. I found your hair today on my bag while I was out, and I nearly fell apart. You are constantly reminding me of your existence, no more here, absent but unforgotten. I miss you, and my heart is still bleeding its tears.

For Frank, and for Ashley

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I remember when you were young; a ball of fur with two liquid chocolate eyes looking up so trustingly at me. I remember teaching you what a ball was, and how to play games. Walks on hot days when you’d insist in attempting to lie down in every shady spot on the sidewalk. Your fur was soot and ashes, which is how you got your name. You were often demanding and yet always with a smile and a sweetness of heart that surpassed many of your kind. Gentle and compassionate, we could not resist loving you even when you misbehaved.

Today, you have left us. As swift as lightning, you jumped out of yourself and left us all behind. So quick that we didn’t even understand what was happening until it was over, and that what was left was no longer you. Our sunny day is dimmer now. My joy of the morning has become first bewilderment and now sorrow. No part of my house will ever be the same again without you in it. More than a pet, you were family. And now, we find ourselves bereft and inconsolable.

Unbelief still lives in me – it is too soon. How? How can you have gone? You cannot be ended; you must be somewhere. I will not forget the essence of your soul, and one day, I pray that I may find you, even if not in this existence.

Rest In Peace, my dearest Ashley.. you are loved and will never be forgotten.

 

~ Amarine Ravenwood

In loving memory of Ashley. Pedigreed Blue Merle Australian Shepherd. 03/10/2007 – 09/24/2016
Passed away out of the blue on Saturday, September 24, 2016, from a stroke.

A Sunny Moment

Late morning sunlight nourishes the trees across the tracks, near a lot bordered by a weathered, wooden, bird bespattered fence. The sky carries but a single wisp of vapor in an otherwise pale blue expanse of infinity. The hum of a plane can be heard, its source a small, white, delicate looking plane; tiny, single-manned, circling in the clear atmosphere.

A train with cars full of coal arrives and passes by, two engines in front, a hundred and twenty four identical cars, fully loaded, followed by two more engines at the end. It must be a mile long, it seems. A baby’s babbles sprinkle the air with its light, happy noises as its parents push a stroller, then carry it across the tracks after the train is gone.

The drone of the plane overhead is overlapped by another, deeper drone. The distant sound of someone hammering echoes across a deep split in the landscape, through which the train tracks run. Far off sounds of traffic are distant and noninvasive. Closer to is the sound of birds in those sun-fed trees, the hum of a few bees, the swishing rustle of the tall grasses as their long fronds rub against one another. A small broken branch dangles and flutters in the breeze from a dead and leafless bush or stunted tree. The sound of another plane completely overshadows the other planes, as it flies directly overhead, and looking down into the ravine, a tumbleweed – the first of the season – rolls down the now very empty tracks.