Spices and Wind

Autumn is here.

I know, the Autumnal Equinox is still technically 2 days away…but, this happened today:

I was driving home, down 16th, which is a 40mph street, & had my window half open to catch the breeze, when this happy, little wanderer floated in and landed on the back of my hand.

I picked it up, & held it like a touchstone all the way home, reveling in the leathery feel of the leaf’s skin, the crisp, sharpened edges, the slightly cupped curl it created as it rested between my fingers.

I love fall…

I love the way the air feels like a lover’s caress on my skin, gentle & warm most of the time, but with the occasional swipe of a rough briskness.

I love how rich all the colors seem to get. The deep golds, the burnt oranges, the bloody reds, the almost-black purples. Even the crunchy brown after the leaves have fallen, & lie dead on the lawn, waiting for the rake to sweep them into piles for bagging. 
I love the smells that permeate the air, the sharp smell of burning fireplaces in the evening, the fresh earthy smell of wet dirt after it rains, and the air is cold enough to bite, so you have to bundle into a hoodie, the spicy scent of the fall’s leaves as I crunch through them when out on a walk. 

Those leaves remind me of my favorite flowers – carnations, & how they smell like spices & sex to me. Such an innocuous, and seemingly innocent little flower, so normal and unassuming, and yet they entice me to stick my nose deep into them, dragging the scent within my lungs from their lacy petals, so reminiscent of lingerie it almost seems indecent to have them just sitting out in the open where everyone can see. 

Next time you get around a bouquet of carnations…close your eyes, don’t look at their plain-jane faces…close your eyes & use your other senses. Get your nose up close, smell the sweet cloves, the spicy wash of something almost exotic, run your fingertips over the petals, feel the lace edges…and you’ll see what I mean. It can be a sensual rush.

And to me, carnations are such an Autumn type of flower because of that spiciness…reminding me of the leaves as they fling themselves from their trees. 

Wild little things with plain faces and beauty inside, if only you look… throwing themselves out into the world, searching for a place to land…

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The Good, The Bad, &The Guilt

Today has been…all three.

The Good: I volunteered earlier this week to do a “Parade of Homes” this morning for the local Builders Association, taking tickets, welcoming people to one of the houses on the tour, for a 4-hour stint. 

I and another of my coworkers were paired together, and we had fun, chatting with the folks that showed up, even though it was cold, sitting at a table in the house’s open garage (a brisk 46 degrees, with a nice breeze dancing in from one corner occasionally, thanks!). We had a pretty steady stream of people from the opening time of 10, and were supposed to be relieved by our replacement at 1pm.

The Bad: Our replacement never showed.

About 1:45, we finally got ahold of the organizer of the volunteers, & let her know that we couldn’t stay anymore (my coworker had a child that wasn’t feeling well, & I had other plans as well for my afternoon) , & she was very gracious & thankful that we’d even stayed that long.

So, we packed it in, & left.

When I got home, I started working on my kitchen again. I’m preparing to re-paint, & need to scrub walls, so went & bought a cheap sponge mop at the dollar store, along with a degreaser spray for the walls. 

Then, I decided it was time to clean my ferret, Vinnie’s cage, & give him a bath.

Bath given, I turned him loose on the floor, & started cleaning his cage. He usually runs around like a Tasmanian devil possessed after a bath while I clean his cage. 

Not today.

The Guilt: While replacing the newspapers at the bottom of his cage, after scrubbing, I heard a strange noise in the kitchen.  It sounded like he’d gotten stuck somewhere, & was scrabbling, trying to get out.

He wasn’t stuck.

He was by the cat’s water bucket.

And his back legs were not working.

His back feet were twitching, like he was trying to make them work…but he couldn’t get his hindquarters up off the floor to work like normal.

And I hadn’t noticed when it set him on the floor in the towel.

He was fine just yesterday, what happened?!? 

How could I not notice there was something wrong?

Did he fall somewhere in his cage?

He hasn’t been out of his cage for the last couple of days, and it’s a large, 3-level cage that stands 6 feet tall. He could’ve gotten stuck in the wire-works, somewhere….

And I didn’t see it.

Ferrets are relatively quiet animals, not making much noise, Vinnie quieter than most, he hardly even chatters when he’s excited.

But, how did I not notice this??

Many domesticated ferrets die of cancer as well…

Is this it??

I feel horrible, guilty, and sad.

I know, that if there’s no visible improvement by the beginning of the week, that I’ll have to take him to the vet.

I’m pretty positive that there won’t be improvement. Things like this usually don’t work that way.

You can figure out the logical conclusion.

And that makes this guilt even worse.

Excuse me, I have children to call…


Ashes, Ashes, We all Fall…

I can feel the change inside of me.

Something that used to be there – is missing.

Well, maybe not missing… I think it might be dead.

And all I feel now, inside my soul…is ashes.

Where the flame used to burn brightly, fueling a zeal and passion for things – there is no light. No fire. Not even a spark.

Rejection at every turn will do that.

Something is broken, and, as I sit here among the scattered pieces, I’m not even sure I have the manual on how to fit them back together again.

My fingers lie numb at the ends of my hands, fumbling as I type… (Thank goddess for spell check and the “edit and view” feature before a posting)

I stare at the walls when I don’t have some mindless busywork to do, trying to remember what I used to fill my time with, and it all seems meaningless.

My Kindle keeps me from watching the real world pass me by…books my only true escape.

Working in my kitchen, readying to paint it, keeps me from screaming into my pillows, or crying into endless tissues. It’s pointless, anyway. No one hears.

I try to force myself outside my own comfort zone, even going so far as to volunteer for something through work this weekend, just to get out of the house…but in truth, I’m gritting my teeth and dreading it. 

I hate doing the “small talk social gathering” crap, anymore.

If I could just have one, real thing… Something here, that would make the days even worth it…

I know, I know…psychiatry says that happiness is supposed to come from within, you can’t hang your happiness on outside sources. 

But, when there’s only ashes in your soul…

You have to gather the firewood from somewhere.

You have to borrow the spark from another flame, to relight your own.

Walking through the ashes alone makes me weary.

And yet, I cannot sleep.

 The cycle never seems to end.

I need lightning.

Edit

Chosen #flash fiction

I’ve been here before… but when?

Lucien shook his head, trying to clear it, the slight headache at the back of his skull protesting at the maneuver.

“Don’t bother trying to figure it out, Luc, it’ll all be clear shortly,” Petra stepped up next to him, sliding her hands to his shoulders to massage the tight muscles bunched and knotted there. She always knew just what to say, somehow, even though they’d only known each other for a semester. Another thing Lucien had yet to figure out. This weird, almost… instantaneous connection he’d had with Petra, from the moment he’d met her in Ancient Mythology Studies class.

“Let’s go sit while we wait for the others, shall we?” Petra nudged him from behind, guiding him across the – well, the only thing Lucien could call it was – salon, because they were in an extremely old, Renaissance-era home, and this would have been a meeting room, where guests would have been entertained. Luckily, it was now Petra’s home, and she had more modern sensibilities, so the dainty furniture of a bygone era was replaced with deep leather couches, extremely plush chairs, and all manner of side tables, comfortable lighting for reading, and lots of lush, green plants. It was a room for sinking in and getting comfortable, or for lounging around of an evening with family and friends.

Lucien dropped onto one of the deep couches, patting the spot next to him, and Petra immediately followed, curling her legs up behind her and leaning into his shoulder.

“What’s this all about, Pet? I’ve been feeling weird all week, and this stuff tonight has got me wound up tighter than an 8 day clock.” Lucien grimaced, but snugged his arm around her back, pulling her in closer. It wasn’t really a romantic gesture, it was…just comfortable, in an odd way.

And that was the thing Lucien really found weird.

Lucien loved women. He loved the way they spoke, the way they thought, the way they made him feel. He loved everything about them, and had dated many, always trying to be a gentleman, even when it didn’t work out.

Petra was lovely, gorgeous, in fact.

And he hadn’t hit on her once in the whole time he’d known her.

And since they’d met, he hadn’t felt like dating anyone at all.

What the hell was wrong with him?!?

“It’s OK, Luc. Byrin will explain everything when we’re all here. Just, please, be patient.” Petra smoothed out a wrinkle in his shirt with her hand and laid her head on his shoulder, smiling as he let out a huff.

“Fine. I’ll hear him out.”

20 minutes later, Luc was pretty sure he’d fallen down a rabbit hole with Alice, and hit his head on a rock in Wonderland.

He knew everyone in the room…but couldn’t tell you what their names were.

Petra had gotten up when the first people had started arriving, making sure everyone had drinks, found a seat, took their coats. But she didn’t introduce anyone, which Lucien found extremely odd. Petra was always a stickler for manners. This was way out in left field. Lucien found his brows drawing down to the center of his forehead in puzzlement, trying to figure it all out. Petra’s eyes flashed to his, sparkling with amusement.

Dammit, she’s doing this on purpose! He thought to himself. And when she winked, he flushed, knowing it was true.

At that moment, one of the guys, he looked to be about 40-ish, stepped up in front of the fireplace and placed his tumbler on the mantelpiece, turning again to face the room and its occupants.

“Everyone, I’m Byrin, and I know at least some of you are confused as to why we’re all here, so I’ll explain,” he rubbed his hands together as though trying to light a fire between his palms.

“What I’m about to tell you is probably going to sound fantastical, you might think I’ve gone round the bend, or you might have a sudden realization that you really want to be someplace, anyplace else right away. 

“But – I’m asking you to suspend judgment. I’m asking for your patience and open-mindedness, just for the length of time it takes me to finish my tale, and to possibly answer a few questions. Maybe even some of your own. After that, if you wish to leave, no one will stop you.

“You might have noticed that you recognize the other people here tonight, but don’t know why. You also might have a sense of deja vu about this house, or this neighborhood, possibly even just the city.  There is a very good reason for this.

“We are Chosen.

“Chosen what, you might ask? 

“Well… Chosen Family, in a way. Not bound by blood, but by time and by our souls.” 

At this Byrin raised one hand and nodded, as though to forego any incredulous looks.

“I know, how that sounds, but we have all been bound together, lifetime after lifetime, as a family. In one life or another we each CHOSE to join this circle of souls, and we seek one another out, every time we reincarnate.

“How else do you explain that we all instinctively know each other, connect instantly, and yet…here, in this room, right now, you can’t name each other?”

Lucien blinked absently at Petra, her, nodding back at him, and she smiled wide and walked over to Byrin and took his hand and spoke now.

“I’ve known Byrin in this life for a little over a year. I knew as soon as we bumped into one another at the market that we were connected somehow, and I’ve met a couple of you others since. It is hard to grasp, at first. But once you let the weirdness wash away, and settle into the familiarity of the Family, it’ll quickly remind you that you’re home. Please, don’t let the weird push you away. Chosen Family is so much better, plus…there are other perks…”

And Petra’s eyes sparkled again with a mischievous glint as she released Byrin’s hand.

“Once you accept the Family, and your place in it, you get to remember all your previous lives and – including some truly…magickal gifts.”

Lucien watched, stunned, as Petra snapped her fingers and disappeared, only to reappear instantaneously at the other side of the room, grinning wildly.

Byrin shook his head and chuckled, pulling the attention of the room once again with a slight cough.

“Just remember – no one is forced to do anything. All of this is a Choice. Every lifetime, you get to choose. And even if you choose not to stay, you can still reincarnate & choose to come back in the next life.”

“Because blood may last a life time, but Chosen Family is eternal.”

The Guilt of No

I used to take “No” lessons from one of my coworkers years ago.

Back when I was still married to Ex-husband #2, and working for a different company, one of my coworkers used to tell me often that I needed to learn how to say “NO” and mean it.

This was usually in reference to something my ex wanted to spend money on that we really didn’t need, and I was being coerced into going along with it. He would manipulate me with guilt, and I would cave, because it was easier to just go along and get along than deal with the pouting and temper tantrum when he didn’t get his way.

The “NO” lessons didn’t work very well back then.

Of course, the guilt had had years of training by then, as my Mom and Grandma were the Queens of Guilt, wielding it like fierce bullwhips crackling in the air whenever us kids would step outside of their imagined “acceptable” boundaries.

It’s damn hard to say No when you’ve been trained most of your life that you don’t have the right to that word…

And yet, here I am again, trying to learn how to do just that.

I’ve done it, successfully, a few times over the years. Sometimes even in big ways, that have benefitted me greatly. 

And yet, there are times, recently, when I still feel guilty about setting personal boundaries and saying No.

I have a personal fb account. 

It’s very private, and I have very few people in it. Less than 20, actually. A handful of family members (some blood, some Chosen), some friends from the blogging world that I never get to see in person, a couple of friends who live out of state, who, again, I don’t get to see in person, & a couple of friends from here in town.

But, these are all people who I am actually CLOSE to, in one way or another. We share a connection, we talk, we text, we vent, we laugh, we mourn, we gripe & share war stories together – the friends here in town? Occasionally we get together & actually GEOGRAPHICALLY hang out with one another. We go to dinner, or grab drinks, or walk in the park, or get coffee/tea. We do things together.

So, when I received a “friend” request the other day from someone who I’m not close with, but just a friendly acquaintance…

Ahh…there’s that guilt again.

There was a blow-up a few years ago at work over my fb account. Because I’d deleted a bunch of people from my page who I wasn’t actually really friends with, but just friendly, and when they wanted to play around on my page…they couldn’t get on it anymore, because I’d deleted them.

It got brought into the office, of all the inappropriate places, and made a big stink about, so I blocked pretty much everyone, & said I’d deleted my page altogether.

Problem solved ~Poof. 

But no.

Now it’s rearing its ugly head again.

Well, whatever.

I’m done explaining.

My personal page is private.

I don’t see what the big deal is, anyway. 

It’s not like any of the juicy shit gets put there, anyway.

All the raw, personal ME is RIGHT HERE.

Stop being butthurt about not being able to snoop on my social media page where I post memes about Paganism and GOT, FFS.

If you’re reading this, you know more about me than those who only see fb.

And if you want to know what’s going on in my life, but haven’t seen it here? Maybe you should FUCKING ASK ME INSTEAD OF TALKING BEHIND MY BACK.