Water


As I near the end of my series of photos and words with the red balloon, I invite you to check out my previous posts.

In many ways, these posts, collectively, are my emancipation proclamation.


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When i ascended the stairs to
the attic their creaking announced
my impending arrival.

i stooped to enter.

sunlight slanted through
a small closed window
illuminating the cardboard boxes,
the rocking chair, the shoebox filled
with crayon drawings, the dust descending
in stale, hard to breathe air
like miniscule snowflakes swirling
on a cold winter day
but it was spring and warm and
cleaning out was in the air of my head
(the dust had settled)

it grew dark
rain descended upon the roof
so close to my head
each raindrop a mighty pellet
pummeling, producing sound in waves
echoing and loosening the dust
a memory, the bathtub
two inches of water my childish
body partially submerged
a plastic sailboat placed between
the space of two recently scrubbed
legs, lips puckering, producing
wind against stiff sails
it gliding towards my shriveled pink
toes before i stood up, clean.

the window, yes

opening it, wide, the storm
answering with water falling
harder and faster
the attic filling, my tears of joy
mingling no fear the water rising
a deluge welcoming its currents
pushing me out the open window
floating my nose just above the
surface able to breathe watching
the boxes
the rocking chair
the shoebox come
sailing along too

my tiny bird, dead
cradled in cupped
dirty hands a hole dug
prepared for burial
one last wish looking up
at the heavens blowing
wind my own storm into its
beak, many teardrops falling
seeing slight movement
blowing harder
it moves, flutters its eyes
spreads its small wings
takes off, sails
with ease up into the trees
perches on the highest branch

the water subsides
my naked body
finds rest
a table
stone, warm
arms outstretched
overhead in praise
an offering- holy
innocent, beautiful
acceptable, pleasing

Just for Me

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Hollow

once upon a time

i watched and waited,
impatiently, as grandmother sewed
her nimble fingers stitching the
last now one, two, three
stitches, and then she
draped it,
finished, lovingly around
my shoulders, kissed me
on the cheek, and pulled
up the hood

“when you are in the woods,
grandaughter, always wear the hood up.”

my name is Katharine. not red.
nor riding hood.

i skipped into
the heart of the forest
that day
obeying grandmother,
wearing the red she chose
instead of the green
i really wanted
distracted by picking
delicate white
flowers
amongst the brown leaves
and dirt of the forest
floor standing, sniffing their
aroma, pushing the hood
back only for a
moment.

from behind 
a familiar voice

“where are you going little girl?”

the big bad wolf drooled
licked his lips
gave direction
i listened, observed
his teeth, so white
so sharp
anxious to devour
my innocence
yet charming, sly
patient, proceeding
to grandmother
swallowing her first
the appetizer before
the main meal

me

i discovered
the small axe
the woodsman left
at the base of the tree,
my favorite one
where I sat
my back supported by its
strength
the handle smooth
I hid it
under my cloak
gripping it
tightly
as I walked
through
grandmother’s
door

“the better to see you with my dear…”

i
descended,
disappeared
into the
hollow
of
the
wolf’s
belly

my movement, restricted
my voice, silenced
by the gurgling
of the juices from
his thick stomach,
but then I remembered
the tool and
slowly, it took years
chop, chop, chop
i created space
and eventually
broke through,
escaped, emerged
born again

i killed the wolf

and grandmother followed me to freedom

The scars from his bite have become a deeply carved cavern, an empty bowl capable of collecting rain water.

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Enter

I ran my fingers, fanned out, down the length of the fence, past the open gate, getting up close. I stopped. I took my index finger and placed it at the pinnacle of the sharp point. I held it there, as I slowed my breathing. It didn’t hurt. I was okay. 

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I continued walking, head held high, anticipating something I knew awaited me just around the corner. I’d been here before, many times, but I was afraid to enter. Not anymore. I began to skip, quickly, ready to see, ready to lay hold of the treasure.

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I could see him just on the other side, through the shiny black bars, and I gasped with delight. He’d been waiting for me, patiently. To come, To enter, To simply be myself. This was my moment. And it was also his. Just a kiss, only a kiss, was necessary to bring him back to life.

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 I didn’t hesitate. My fingers touched lightly the ornately carved handle. I applied pressure, down and then back, pushing the gate wide open. His hand was on his heart, and so was mine, but soon, our hands, like our hearts already, would be locked, together, forever.

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Longing, when it is allowed, can become something more.

Faith

Why is it that tragedy can lead some people closer to believing in God, deepening their faith, while it may cause others to completely forsake any belief in a higher power?

Personally, I have found tragedy, struggle, and failure always draw me deeper, exposing a raw need I have within to find solace and safety through a being I believe much larger than myself, yet also abiding within me.

Have I prayed prayers that have gone unanswered, at least the way I prayed them?

Yes. So many times.

“I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I’ve been closer to him for that reason.” — Elie Wiesel

Have I been angry with God? Absolutely. And unlike many who feel out of respect they must mask that anger or frustration, I don’t. It all comes out, and it isn’t nice the way I say it, and just in the venting there is a sense of acceptance, an understanding of love towards me and for me that helps me move ahead.

These photos speak to that place of finding my redirection through faith, a girl’s faith that believes in the power of prayer and community and most importantly, love and acceptance, of myself and others.

Walls and doors and windows can keep you from entering.

Or they can also protect you within.

That’s how I see faith, my shelter during the storm as well as my shade when the sun is high.

How do you see God (or not) in the light of your life experience? Please feel free to share your thoughts. All views and ideas are welcome here.

 

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