BURNING THE PAST

By Lisa Huddleston

Leaf falling

I long to paint a portrait

I crave to craft a song

To memorialize my moments

To make them last for longer

Than just today

 

I know this is because

I miss the harmonies of my former life

The interweaving of the needs of others

With the desires of my heart

The constant giving and the taking and the weaving and the making

And now there is not as much

Not much giving nor much taking

And my days are clear and long and empty and full of significantly mundane moments

 

I think if I could grab the moments and

Throw them down on paper or canvas or track

Then they would live forever or

If not forever then at least for longer than for just today

They would matter more and last

 

But I have no right to clutter the world with moments

To fill the sky with falling leaves frozen in thick air

Full of meaning that may or may not be there

Once living creatures perpetually suspended in clear resin

To hold down my onion skin memories and images and dreams

 

Moments are fleeting and should leave when I do

Caught in the flames and lifted into the sky on wings of smoke

Not frozen

Not hardened

Not left as a burden to be carried by others

Fluid and lifting up into ever-thinning and evaporating rings

Finally gone and freed from both memory and artificial meaning

And carried away on smoke

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RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS

By Lisa Huddleston

Little lamps can shed a lot of light when the day is dark.

Little lamps shed a lot of light on dark days.

It is both rainy and a Monday—actually it is the second Monday in the first month of this new year making it an especially dangerous day for those who like me have a love hate relationship with depression. The winter is a rough time with the gray skies and bare trees. Yeah.

Well anyway, it is nearly one o’clock in the afternoon, and I have done what I know to do. I read my daily Bible plan selections before getting out of bed–the same bed I have just now made. Between those two landmarks, I have knitted several rows on the scarf I am making for my husband, I’ve eaten toast for breakfast and salad for lunch, I’ve taken the lettuce and cucumber scraps to the chickens and collected three brownish eggs, and that’s about it.

Oh yeah, I also wrote a poem that I am afraid readers will not understand so I have carefully printed it and tucked it into the back of my new Monthly Planner to ponder for another time or more likely to lose in the scraps that will collect there over the next few months.

The poem kind of explained what I mean by a “love hate relationship with depression.” That cozy feeling of hiding in my fur-lined nest. And it really is like that, and this rainy day mirrors that feeling pretty well.

Soon I will head to the basement and walk on my old, well-worn treadmill that smells faintly of an impending electrical fire when I use it for too long. I will be sad to see it go. But today, hopefully, I will walk several stationary miles and digest a few more chapters of my current read, Wild. The irony of reading about the author’s journey on the Pacific Coast Trail while my feet count steps to nowhere in my basement will make me smile. It makes me smile even now.

After a shower and some more knitting, perhaps, it will be time to cook dinner and wait for my sweet husband’s return. Both the dog and I will be glad to see his headlights in the dark driveway.

All in all, it will have been a good day, a successful day. And that will be enough. Sort of like my lighting of little lamps to chase the gloom away–the very act that triggered this post. Nothing very special, but enough to light my way.

And tomorrow will be Tuesday, and maybe the sun will shine.

SLUBS, NUBS, AND OTHER BEAUTIFUL MISTAKES

By Lisa Huddleston

Beautiful hand-thrown mugs!

Beautiful hand-thrown mugs!

This Christmas was the year of the handmade gift. My mother gave homemade chocolates. My mother-in-law gave homegrown fruit preserves and cucumber, green bean, and okra pickles. My daughter-in-law gave delicious homemade Russian tea cookies. I gave hand-knit wooly hats and scarves. We gave beautiful wooden bowls Chuck’s uncle made. And my daughter and her husband gave hand-thrown mugs. It was simple and unique and special.

Knitting a cowl for Christmas.

Knitting a cowl for Christmas.

And each day as I ate those goodies or every morning as I cup a comfortably off kilter mug in my hands, I think of their makers and celebrate their gifts and their talents and their love.

Homemade gifts are special. They aren’t quite as perfect as those you buy in stores. They have little flaws and quirks–we call them “design elements” to celebrate their specialness. They may not sit exactly flat on the table or they may not be the latest style, but you know that they say “love” with the raspy sometimes irritating voice of truth. And their nubs and imbalances and missed stitches remind us that while we’re not there yet, we are striving to make good things. There is beauty in the trying.

Midway into knitting a cap.

Midway into knitting a cap.

As this New Year begins, I find myself trying. I’m trying to get rid of the extra pounds I’ve collected over the past few weeks. I’m trying to get back into a consistent reading of the Word. I’m trying to spend time with old friends and to even make new ones. And I’m trying to lift my head up from my usual navel gazing in order to focus more on the grace of each moment. Yes, I am trying.

And, of course, my trying is not perfect. Already I see nubs and flaws and design elements weaving themselves into and around my perfect goals. But that is okay. And that is real. And that is good.

Happy New Year to you. May you set your hands to the good works God has placed before you–and may I. And may we all keep on trying to make good things full of design elements we never dreamed of, but that seem to make the whole experience just a little more interesting and lovely.