Rider

Illusion of control, 
I never really drove, 
not on a road trip
of my own;
I rode
round and round, 
hair in the breeze,
holding on to the mane
of carousel dreams, 
never free. 
Now I am.
But the invisible reins
of pleasing so long
keeps me stalled
in the corral;
my voice on auto-pilot
agreeing with everyone else. 
A passenger yet.
I sit quietly 
still looking out
the windows.
But in the rearview mirrors,
I frame my favorite parts, 
and up ahead in the near distance,
I see the peaks 
of my heart’s desires. 
I think I am ready
to take the wheel
while listening to nature
on God’s behalf appeal
to my soul, that home, 
I’ve carried all along.
I only needed to use my voice
to steer to where
I belong. 
I will need to put it in park
for the final leg,
so I can ride bareback
on my stallion 
away from all of them… 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

For A While

Times are changing,
the earth keeps rotating,
seasons arrive and depart…
Change is always hard on my heart.

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No shadow now joined to my hip.
Gradual independence.
Children grow up and detach.
How can we know which kiss may be the last?

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Years unravelled from finite twine; 
at the end, the kites will fly.
If Father Time were to grant my wish,
which moments would I revisit?

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The sands keep slipping;
no way to flip it.
How should I spend this day?
What memories can I make
to leave my family as legacy
to have, to hold, to keep
as the distance continues to grow
and life leads us down different roads?

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Tomorrow is never promised,
another sunset never guaranteed.
Priorities must be organized
so nothing overshadows the people.

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This moment may be all we have,
so when I reach for your hand,
let me draw you nearer.
Come sit for a while and talk with me, dear. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Blue Canvas

Upon the blue canvas
of my dreams,
I take hold of a brush
and my destiny.

Having painted atop
a darker past, 
I choose the brightest hues
and happiness.

Never actually fated
to the dead-end path I was on, 
self-shackled, I eventually realized
there were no locks,

and the way I was living
really upset my Father,
but I thought the sacrifices
were what He wanted.

Twice in recent times, I
opened empty fortune cookies;
people said that was such
a foreboding prophecy, 

but I took it to be a deeper message
that I alone must choose my direction,
and I felt a sense of being chosen
and a rush of empowering liberation,

and so I dusted off the bristles 
and am painting now my future;
I know God has a plan for me
but also a part he’s lovingly reserved, 

and what I design on this canvas,
I feel He’ll help me achieve,
for He’s waited so long to have me realize
my own needs,
and all along He’s only wanted
the best for me. 

I take hold of the brush
and firmly, finally begin
to shape my desired reality.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

One Blank Page

If I had but one blank page to fill,
what would my message be?

What dance would my fingers perform
across the finite-lettered keys?

How could I paint in black-font
a picture of beauty and hope

that would reach and pierce with light
the souls who need it most?

If I were confined to the cage of a page,
how could I choose the right combination of words

that could break free from the paper or screen
and inspirationally rebirth?

How powerful words can be,
how powerful the choices,

how powerful this lesson when applied
to our spoken and inner

voices,

how powerful the silence
when writer’s block takes hold,

and we fail to say what should be said
when it matters most.

Poem and image ©Laura Denise

Southbound

This photo popped up on my Facebook Memories this morning with some comments about my inspirational journey that made me teary.

It is of my daughter looking like she is deep in thought. I had just uprooted her life with a sudden move from Ohio to Florida when I accepted my first teaching job at the start of the school year. Six years later, she reports still not being happy with me about that. But I think it was all for the best.

It actually felt selfish. I had finished graduate school, but competition for teaching jobs was fierce in my area despite my having served all of the districts as a substitute teacher. It was the end of July. It looked like I would have to sub another year.

I actually don’t even remember how I learned of the vacancy in Florida, in the area my mom lived, the area I was a regular tourist of for many years. It wasn’t through mom because I remember surprising her with the news.

I got hired over the phone. My future supervisor claimed she just had a feeling about me through our conversations. (Or they were desperate.)

I had three weeks before I had to report to work, three weeks to move! Ahhh! I am NOT a frequent mover. I get very attached to homes and hometowns. We had lived in Ohio from the time my son started Kindergarten to his then junior year at The Ohio State University. We came for a (failed) career opportunity for my husband. Previously, I had lived in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. That’s it.

But Florida was familiar to us all as tourists since my mom moved down there when I was pregnant with my first child. The absolute heart-wrenching part of the decision was leaving my adult son, separating the siblings. But he had already moved out and led a busy life of his own. Most kids grow up and move away, but I was blessed in having mine stay. It was I who left him and moved away, like my mom did when I was his age. It tore me up emotionally. Lots of tears.

But I felt very strongly God’s calling, like I had a few times before in my life. With my marriage at its end (again), I should have been able to make the decision for myself, for my future, for the future of my children, but I simply would not have without feeling God’s hand.

I do still have guilt I moved my daughter and left my son. But I also acquired a stable salary with benefits and was able to pay my bills for the first time in my life. Although my husband followed me down here and we gave it one more shot (again), my twenty-four-year marriage finally came to a peaceful end once and for all four years later.

Above all, I could not ever imagine being more passionate or more fulfilled than I have been every day at this high school, with my staff and student family. Would I have gotten hired eventually up north? Maybe. Would I have loved my school? Maybe. We can never know.

We can never know what the future holds for us, what lies just beyond the next curve in the path. We simply blindly choose the paths, though we must be willing to change direction as needed, sometimes even going off-trail altogether. Sometimes we must collect, empty, exchange the gear in our packs depending on which path or non-path we wish to explore.

We must keep moving forward until we are sure we are home. That direction only becomes clear when we still ourselves enough to hear the calling, feel the gentle tug, of the soul.

I know I ended up where I was meant to be. And now I feel another’s pull leading to me. My story is filling with so many new beginnings.

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Ascension

I used to foolishly attempt

to trek around 

the storms

to avoid them,

but the weather comes

regardless…

 

Eventually, I learned

some you must simply

forge through

and get it over with…

 

But then I remembered

the times upon

aluminum wings

I’ve flown,

and how the storms

appear the ceiling

only to those below.

 

It took a long while,

but I finally grew

wings of my own

and apply that lesson,

simply soar above

many of the dark clouds, 

slip into that

blue-loophole

ascension… 

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Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Obstructed

obstructed by boulders, been told
of the horizon beyond
make the best of
the dead-end
called home
the road
placed upon

no need for wings
when caged by ceiling
dreams fading
suffocating
gaze turned away
from that crack
letting in light
ears choose
to no longer be fooled
by hope’s lullaby

no way out
of this life

unless…

last dream
tucked away
in that sacred
special place
still safe
uncovered
in a palm
face to face
tiny
but alive
still aglow
faintly
wings
still functioning

single tear
of fear
from the holder
falls
as dream reassures
happiness can bloom
from a source
so small

a countenance shift
as eyes lift
to those boulders
feet move toward
that single thread
light source

palming the ray
then reaching
to presumably futilely
move boulder away
hand passes through
the mirage
stepping beyond
into the full light
of day

adjusting eyes
to the blinding
possibilities
of a new life
focus falls
upon the horizon
the colors
of infinite directions
a future
without limitations

dream and heart
flutter
at the same time
and lift
the soul
to flight

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IMG_4165Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Crossing Paths Again

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Paths, to me, have always been symbolically fascinating.

So many destinations, known and unknown. Again, I recently found myself at another fork. This time, though, I stepped off the main trail I’ve been traversing for so long.

I used to take pride in avoiding main trails many years ago: my soul seems to rebel against them, wants to go its own way, not necessarily alone, just a different way, to explore the possibilities, to see how far, where to, those possibilities lead.

Not too long ago, I lost a friend among these trails, but found another. Then I lost him, too. So many legs I seem to walk alone, even when in a group.

When I first came to this latest fork, of course, there were no trail markers. There was never one on the main trail even: I just finally had a feeling it was a loop, and that I had been here again and again.

This other trail, even, I’ve passed before. It’s stayed in my mind and teased my heart. But this time, after a long, long pause, my feet seemed to have a mind of their own and tugged me along, away from that main trail.

A few steps in. Then a few more. Finally at that point where the divide gets blurred. I am not lost: I know well the way back to that main trail. But a sense of serenity now seems to fall upon me, as if this new trail leads home, a home I’ve never known.

So I think I’ll stay my new course even though I know not where it leads. Away from that old trail may be the only allure needed. I am in no hurry, enjoying all of the new scenery in all of its glory. Not sure if The Ranger allows such off-trail exploration; I realize I may be breaking the rules in this State Park of life.

This path seems natural though. The one meant for me. Perhaps intentionally now calling me in some grand, perfect timing. I don’t like the idea of Fate though: it seems to harshly clash with Free Will. I don’t mind Destiny, as it inspires me to become all I am capable of becoming.

So my steps down this new path are intentionally, yet naturally, slow. They are no longer hesitant though. These steps are brazen. My Hollywood Walk of Fame in the middle of The Woods. I’d carve my name in a tree, but I respect the tree too much. These steps are my first, it seems, like I’m just now learning to walk, taking my first steps toward growing into the me I was meant to be. The me I want to be. The me I choose to be.

Two things suddenly come into view. One is a weathered, worn trail marker, but I am finally able to make out its letters: Your Destiny. The other is a familiar greeting, a hello from the last friend I lost.

This leg of my journey is one I already treasure. My soul must agree because I’ve been sleeping so soundly under these stars. I know not what tomorrow brings. But I’ve never been more sure of the unknown…

04/25/18