Sun Sets on Christmas

In my backyard, I take a few moments to myself after sun sets on Christmas.

I am drawn to the silhouetting branches of a tree and the stars surrounding it and eventually retrieve my camera to play with all the ways I can arrange the composition. I realize again what could be one of the reasons why I am drawn to photography: control.

I, in fact, am moving the stars. Positioning them. I manipulate the light. Later, I can manipulate in even more ways with editing apps.

I have danced with control so many times over the years, I had begun to think I was actually the lead. Control for me, though, never has had anything to do with power, simply the illusion of stabilizing, balancing, the perpetual chaos. Little bits of time. Of moments. Of situations. For survival.

As much as I’ve danced with control, I’ve had affairs with denial. Love-hate relationships. I think denial at times was truly a friend, keeping me afloat. At times, I think a betrayer; I could have stood up in the water that was actually shallow. I could have walked out of the water instead of treading. I could have maybe avoided the future near-drownings.

I am drawn most to putting the star here, cradled between the branches reaching for it.

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My Labraheeler has joined me, and I give in to kicking his ball for a bit, then decide to do a few laps around the half acre. He is used to this and follows beside me, jollily carrying his partially deflated mini basketball. We run, silently in companionship.

The weather is simply beautiful, the kind that the soul takes in as the breezy, summer-like night air is inhaled. I trust I know the yard enough to not trip in the growing darkness and trust my pup enough to not cross my path underfoot; I look up to the sky as my blood extra pumps, and all of me feels refreshed, renewed, freed.

This is peace.

The day was merry, and Christmas Eve too. I can’t recall another Christmas in which it truly was. Last year, I wore the smile, made it through, and then was nearly drowned in my after-tears.

I believe in miracles. And in magic. And in love.

I’ve always held fast to faith over the years, but in that hopeful someday kind of way, struggling to not drink in the devil-potions that would make me question and challenge the unfairness of the situations plaguing me. Only a few years ago did I fully recognize miracles, the direct hand of God at work, the Spirit inside me. I had a merry Christmas. We all did. That was a miracle. I’ve always wanted that. I did not think it possible.

I made Christmas magical and happy for my children when they were younger (with the help of my community most years), but I did so under the immense weight of all that being married to an addict-alcoholic adds. Add the strain of being the peacemaker, the glue, and often the leader of my whole family tree. Heavy. Stressful. Masked. Martyr. Superhero. Weighed. Bending. Cracking. Moth-eaten cape. Suffocating. Hiding. Pretending. Pleasing. Holding in. Suppressing. Swallowing. Denying. Lying. Stretched. Thinner. Thinner. Breaking.

Currently, light, airy, floating, feathered, free. Breathing.

So this is Merry Christmas…

I don’t think I’ll edit anything.

Aforementioned

There is no greater feeling
(other than love, and perhaps forgiveness)
than the way the heavens
ever so slowly open
in the last of the
fading rumbles,
parting clouds
to reveal nothing more
than the forgotten,
that supreme is
all, above and beyond this,
that we never were alone
through any of it;
it makes me almost wish

for another storm…

I realize that this is
that love and forgiveness
aforementioned
taking form.

This is how inner
peace is born.

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Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Lines in the Dirt

I’ve toed a lot of lines in my life. I’ve toed them recently. I will toe them again today.

My spring out of bed has become inconsistent. My sleep, interrupted. I wake to report to that line again, and that is a different kind of waking. To take my shift to relieve my unconscious self to defend my inner sanctuary boundary-border. Again. It’s exhausting. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s not what I was designed for.

I am more than this.

I was beaten when they breached my outer border. But I’ve since recovered. Now I stand resolute at the final white-picket fence, last patch of wildflowers inside. I feel strong again. Weaponless by choice. A pacifist maybe.

The dust of the corporate stampede settles as the hooves come to a halt. And here we are again. At the line. I toe the dirt with my bare feet, my dress hemline soiled. My head is not bowed. I took into eyes. I look to the heavens. I look back into the eyes.

I am passionate. In all things. I used to think it was my blessing and my curse. But then self-love took hold and merged with my faith in loving, divine, individual creation, so now I think, though I’m still on the journey of discovery and understanding and potential, that my passion is only a blessing.

I taste the indignant feelings rising, mixed into the saliva of my mouth. It is not fear that causes me to swallow it back down. There is no fight or flight in me now. There is only strength and unhurried contemplation. I weigh it all. I need to free myself from the weight.

I hear your voice. And I still myself in hopes of His.

It is silent enough inside me that I can hear the whisper of each petal the breeze gives voice to. There is indeed a great injustice here. A war of the world and the self. A war of the ages. And the individual never wins. I feel I was born to take this stand, though I know it will make no difference in the war. It is indeed personal. But it is mostly the morality that is part of my blood, flowing in and out of my heart.

I will bow gracefully. But not for them. For me. For my wildflower patch.

The two-headed serpent will reside among us. Its poison can no longer make me sick. I will see to it that my flowers flourish despite his presence, slithering so deceitfully all around us.

The corporate stampede stand-off I have stirred in my rebellion retreats with patronizing words I pretend I am too ignorant to perceive.

I turn my attention away from them and him, and begin again to love, to mother,

to teach.

The dirt returns to white sand,
the waves resume their soothing music.
I return to showing my flowers
how unique each is
and all they are capable of becoming,
come the May winds….

Words and images ©LauraDenise

Tranquility Ripples

Tranquility inside,
a choice,
choosing the bay side,
slowing rough waters
to ripples,
muting colors to fuse
land to sky as
complex fades
to simple. 

Walking the plank
to pause the world,
abandoned pier, 
quaint and personal,
tucked between 
leafy trees
and sea grasses
swaying subtly,

a landscape painted
lovingly
just for you.
Slip into
serenity,
retreat until 
restored anew. 

Poem and image ©LauraDenise 

Still Life

Still as silhouetted dragonfly wings
is all that used to swirl restlessly in me.
I hold my breath and so does the breeze;
we both stop time for centuries. 

The secrets from the ancient flier 
can only be imparted in complete silence;
any ripple in the universe jeopardizes
this which is rarely achievable in this life. 

Perhaps this is my umpteenth time… 

I recently had a supreme spiritual moment;
not now, but when I was again freshly broke open,
my soul exposed again to worldly poisons 
and decades-rotten ingested false notions.

It is only in these complete ruptures, it seems, 
can the bad get out and God restitch the seams. 
Perhaps it is true that the rock bottoms are needed
to unclench the fist and open the palm for receiving.

I was mended with light again by His own loving hand.
And inside me, this time, another something planted. 
I feel it in the silhouetted dragonfly wings suspended, 
except I think it is me that it and the breeze are sensing. 

I feel our connectedness, 
the same serenity seeds inside of us. 
It’s hard to go back to the way it was
when gratitude, which I’ve always had, 
are blooms in such surplus shooting up. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

I Look for the Broken

I look for the “broken,”
the torn, the cracked,
the light-and-shadow’s
silent dance,

the intimate,
the unvoiced stories,
for in these lie
no greater beauty
nor still me
with more reverie.

Parallels and metaphors,
all nature reminds
and shares with us
what we are here for.

Leaf veins and light
extend into me
and connect you,
God’s creation
intended to sustain us all
in love
and see us through.

For the first time, my morning IG haiku intent turned into a full poem, so I thought I’d share it here too (while I continue to try to sweet talk my moody laptop into granting me browser access…).

❤️ Laura

Dynamic Art

The things we edit…

When it comes to my photography, editing to me is not perfecting, so I suppose I should call it altering; it is transforming creatively the tone, literarily, though that often comes from color changes, cooling or warming, fading or imbuing, really a canvas with my technology as the brush, though you would be surprised with the media I use, an old iPhone about to give out and whatever standard editing app it came with.

My lab is my mind’s eye in reverse, creating what my soul wishes to express, I but a medium myself. I play until the aha moment, always knowing that is exactly what I was looking for. Each starting photo, a message itself I collect from nature. Sometimes it speaks as is, especially when it is lit. Sometimes it lends itself, whispers, “Do with me what you may, May Child; my metamorphism is in your trusted hands. Make me the more you believe I am.”

Sometimes I feel the nature challenges me in this way to keep going beyond and beyond, rebirthing new ways, not godlike, but godchildlike, spending my days attune to the spirit in the petals and breezes, in the rays and the blades, in the insect and the web. I create with images I creatively capture, crouched down and over the barely noticed, shrinking further than Alice into the macroworld, still infused with wonder, perhaps even more so. With each alteration, a new message, perhaps divinely inspired.

I do my duties in the world so I can retreat––into the yard, into myself, into the absence of voices except my inner one and the whispers from butterflies and the birdsong, and I listen and listen for The One as I visit my many companions of the natural realm. Often, I bring heaven down. To earth. Though I find enough evidence that it is already here. All about us. And as much as I avoid the humans, I know the greatest purpose here is to love one another. My purpose the same but from afar. Bringing light and hope to you is how I try to do my part. 

The things we edit… 

Often, in relation, we edit by removing blemishes, by cropping out all the real, showcasing our best fake versions of ourselves and our lives, for behind the cameras lie the whole truths. We compete. We turn the cameras around onto the shells of our selves, lose the nature and others, snapshots of ourselves as the universe’s center, lenses in reverse yet outward, for our inner selves are not the focus. 

There are pieces of heaven in each of us. Because we were each made the way He intended. What we make of ourselves from what we were given: that is the welcomed art of continued collaborative creation. Excavate the light within. Keep painting with your truest inner discovered colors. We should never settle for being done when we are each and all continued masterpieces in progress. May we never fade permanently to sepia or still life; though both of these are essential to the process. 

I still believe we can beautifully alter all of this… 

All words and images on this site ©LauraDenise