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Release

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©westcoastwoman

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”     Anais Nin

Release

We tend gardens in Spring under the illusion that we somehow affect the outcome, that our careful placement of seed or plant has anything to do with the eventual opening of the buds of May.

No credit given to the artist and unknown creator of the fragile petals that unfold, we proudly display our garden, rarely acknowledging that we are just the temporary curators of an impermanent living  gallery.

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© westcoastwoman

Our heart and spirit are also part of this life gallery, we too are meant to unfold and flower in this fleeting moment we occupy space on the planet.

Not born to stay “tight in the bud” we struggle in darkness until most of us courageously break open, this second opening no less courageous than our journey from the womb.

Conscious of our consciousness and knowing that venturing forward will involve both great pain along with the pleasure, we willingly submit and release ourselves again and again to the unknown.

One undeniable truth is “No one gets out of here alive” and we who have experienced all that this life has to offer will finally stand in complete and exquisite exhaustion and wonder at our solitary arrival and departure on this mysterious journey ………

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Sculpture   EXPANSION, THIRD LIFE
Paige Bradley

This was written in response to Girlieonthedge  Six Sentence Story Thursday
Prompt word: Release

 

 

 

Featured

Afterglow

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photo credit westcoastwoman ©

“Everyday a new picture is painted and framed, held up for half an hour, in such lights as the Great Artist chooses, and then withdrawn, and the curtain falls. And then the sun goes down, and long the afterglow gives light.”

Henry David Thoreau

Afterglow

Every night they come, the watchers of the sun-set, drawn down by the need to see the light extinguish behind the islands and the sea.

I want to share with them as they slowly rise and disperse that the setting of the sun is only a prelude to the experience they had been called to witness, but I stay silent.

It is this time between the setting sun and rising moon, this short extension of the day, this in-between-time when my heart and mind settle for just a moment.

I watch as the sky paints itself with each night’s original palette, wanting only to share with those who can look out from the same place and feel the colours as they appear, understand the need for silence.

In these moments when I am neither here nor there, anything is possible, magic is afoot and I am caught in the afterglow of another original creation as it slowly fades from sight.

The darkness takes the light, the starlings swoop once more in perfect unison over the water, I share with all who stand watching… being neither here nor there, a silent good night.

westcoastwoman 2019 ©

Written in response to GirlieontheEdge’s  Six Sentence Story Word Prompt
Prompt word : Extension 

 

 

Naked in Yalova (or don’t get caught with your pants down in a Turkish Bath)

Photo of woman’s Hamam in Yalova, Turkey

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I must be a Mermaid, I have no fear of depths, and a great fear of shallow living”
Anais Nin

“You must have a Turkish Bath in Istanbul!” my well travelled friend advised me before I set out on my latest adventure. Upon arrival in Turkey I continued to hear about  a Hamam ( Turkish Bath) as something one must experience and I resolved to book an appointment on my return to Istanbul.

I am in the small Turkish village of Yalova built on Thermal Springs and my destination for a dance and whirling workshop attended by a group of beautiful and diverse women from all over the planet.

Sitting in the van on a return from an afternoon excursion my seat mate Caroline told me she was going to head down to the local Hamam before dinner, I expressed interest and when we reached the hotel we both headed down into town. Neither of us had ever had a Hamam and naively agreed that this would no doubt be an ‘authentic’ experience.

We bought tickets at a kiosk and then proceeded to try to find the actual building that housed the ‘women’s’ Hamam. After a few false starts we were rescued by a street artist who spoke some English and handed us over to a woman in an official looking jacket that ushered us to the entrance.

Once inside there was no doubt that this was indeed going to be an ‘authentic’ experience. No pampering North American  mood music or lush white robes offered here, we were confronted with two no nonsense Turkish women surrounded by numerous signs all in Turkish that I assume explained everything we needed to know. Caroline took charge by holding up her bathing suit and through sign language we figured out we needed to put them on and head into the marble catacombs below.

It was at this point I realized that perhaps I should have done a little research as to what exactly was involved with Hamam. Caroline figured out that we had not paid for a ‘full treatment’ so after more money was exchanged, down we went into the pool area.

The building was old and the marble stained in places by years of running water and bathing bodies. There were two rooms, both circular with marble sinks every six feet containing bright plastic coloured bowls .The only other participant was a large voluptuous naked Turkish woman who had filled her sink and was pouring water on herself as she sat on the floor.

Caroline and I sized up the situation and decided to take our cue from the only other customer and by the time one of the attendants had made her way down to check on us Caroline had her suit off and was filling her sink and I had my suit down around my knees.

Standing there naked except for my tangled bathing suit at my knees we were now confronted by a loud angry attendant attempting to tell us  that we were breaking a rule that was not obvious to either of us. Frustrated by our lack of comprehension she then grabbed a Turkish sign from the wall, held it in front of her and continued to berate us.

Desperate to figure out what she was saying I searched the signs on the wall behind her looking for something in English. The only English sign in the entire building said “No Photos or Videos”. Even in the heat of the moment I found it amusing that anyone would think to take photos or videos down there and at the same time considered what a priceless video this would make.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed our large naked companion had risen to her feet and it was revealed that she was not completely naked, she had some form of bikini bottom on.  It became clear this was our problem and we quickly remedied the situation.

Now half naked we attempted to soak in the too hot pool, lie on the burning hot marble that could not be cooled even when doused with buckets of cold water and breathe in a sauna that was just this side of suffocating.

The large Turkish woman was led away to have done to her whatever we had each paid an extra 30 Turkish lira to have done to us. It was decided I would go first and when the attendant came to get me I followed dutifully  behind.

We travelled a narrow cave like opening to a small room and into a rather strange situation. There were two marble sinks, our fellow bather was still in the room pouring water on herself and I was told to hoist myself on to what looked like a picnic table draped with a red plastic tablecloth. I am not sure what was said between the two women but eventually the other woman left.

What happened next would best be described as having your whole body scraped with sandpaper, front, back and face. I sat up ready to leave and then without warning a bucket of water was poured over my head and body leaving me gasping for air.

I went out and got Caroline gave her a little smile and warning and off she went. We were going to do a bit of shopping afterwards but Caroline’s comment as we left was “I would like to get back to the security of the hotel”which had us both chuckling.

Authentic it certainly was, fodder for a great story and I must say my skin has never felt so soft. So my well travelled friend I did the Hamam and survived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ridin’ on a Freeway…..”

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©photo credit westcoastwoman

I am a gardener. A number of years ago while studying Garden Design I was asked to do a project on garden ornamentation.

I started by scouring the better parts of the city looking for aesthetically pleasing displays, they were easily found but something was lacking. I wandered collecting the photographs but as I walked I felt like I needed something more. Yes, the gardens were lovely but that was it, they were ‘just’ lovely. All trimmed and ornamented  everything in it’s place….. this would not do, I needed some meat, something interesting.

That is when I stumbled upon the Adam and Eve of Cadillacs, pink and blue, male and female, here in a rather dishevelled display I could almost see the yin and yang of life. I was so taken with the partially interred Pink Cadillac I almost completely missed her blue mate in the background.

Standing in awe of this rather strange spectacle I was joined by one of the neighbours who shared with me that the brake lights on Eve were lit up every night. I assume in a show of ‘Respect’ and a reflection that there was life in the old girl yet.

Obviously there was great affection for the ‘deceased’ vehicle (although she could have used a bit of a wash). I like to think that perhaps parts of Eve had been used to keep Adam up and running and that he paid her homage each time he backed out of the driveway.

Now this was garden ornamentation! perhaps gone wrong, but certainly never forgotten. My completed project consisted only of what I considered wacky garden art, gardens on the edge and they were easier to find than one would imagine. The Garden Designers, the ‘people’ on the edge of the garden, now there is a story waiting to be told.

I think there are a couple of Aretha Franklin songs in here somewhere.

“We’re going ridin’ on a freeway of love in a Pink Cadillac”  Aretha Franklin”

©westcoastwoman 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Stable

 

Southern Magnolia
©photo credit westcoastwoman

 

Morning light streamed through the shutters, she awoke finding herself hovering somewhere between content and completely unhinged.

Thoughts flitted from place to place never sure where to settle these days, the cocoon of certainty and safety broken open long ago.

The garden provided refuge but even insects only stayed temporarily taking what was offered in the moment as blooms and nectars ebb and flow.

Relationship offered comfort as long as undeniable incremental changes were factored in, together and apart nothing ever as it seems.

Illusion of control was obvious, nothing to hang on to, thoughts, garden, relationships all morphing into their next incarnation with no action required but Witness.

The New Normal beckoned her with a smile, her thought finally settled:
“Precarious is the New Stable”

©westcoastwoman 2019

 

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©photo credit westcoastwoman

Written in response to Girlie on the Edge  Six Sentence Stories
Word prompt: STABLE

Featured

You can’t get there from here……

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unknown photographer

          “Sometimes we plan a trip to one place, but something takes us to another”
                                                                         Rumi

No one would have mistaken her for a leader, or perhaps she was a leader without any followers.  Her hair hung to her waist, the last foot of which was a tangled mass of dread locks and beads. The beads appeared to have been threaded in so long ago that any hope of retrieval would have had to involve scissors. Every inch of what remained from head to bead was dyed various shades of neon red, green and purple.

Her body was covered in exquisitely drawn and coloured tattoos enhanced by piercings that appeared on various exposed body parts. The finished effect resembled a moveable human art piece. If she had been a bird, she would have been a Macaw.

Our paths intersected when we both chose to attend a two-hour Labyrinth workshop that was offered as part of a weekend yoga symposium. I smile every time I think about the unlikely bond we forged when it all went ‘terribly wrong’.

For the uninitiated there is a difference between a Labyrinth and a Maze.  A Maze is designed as a problem to solve and a Labyrinth can be walked to solve a problem. Previous experiences walking a Labyrinth had revealed that there are points as you move forward where you have a sense you may have ‘taken a wrong turn’ or ‘lost your way’.  Trust the path even though you may feel lost and eventually you will spiral your way to the center  and out again with new insight.

Our group of ten was led to a large gym where a canvas Labyrinth had been assembled.  Encouraged to start walking it when we felt ‘called’ there was initial awkward glances and shuffling.  Sudden movement and a blur of color swept past; the Macaw had been ‘called’ she would be our leader.

I followed behind, gave her space and stepped forward…

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unknown photographer

Having previously walked a Labyrinth alone or with one other person I was unprepared for the delicate dance of meeting and passing others on such narrow pathways.  This interaction became not just a metaphor for life but an enjoyable physical exchange. Approaching another person on an adjacent pathway would compel you to turn completely to the side, arms out, sometimes face to face other times turned away.  When three of us would intersect on parallel paths we all moved and turned in unison.

I was enjoying this immensely until I noticed a short distance ahead our ‘Leader’ had stopped unexpectedly and appeared confused. Coming up behind her I could see the dilemma, there did not appear to be ‘a clear path forward’.

With military precision she sized up the problem, the canvas Labyrinth was comprised of three pieces that were held together with velcro. The larger outer paths matched up but the center did not, it had been put together incorrectly.

She looked at me urgently  “We have to tear it apart, turn it around and start from the beginning.”  The Facilitator standing on the sidelines started to mumble things like “we don’t have time to fix it….. it takes a long time to assemble…..it is not my fault”….. the Macaw would have none of it. Taking orders from no one, she was now in charge and failure was not an option!

Without further instruction I followed her to the edge of the canvas where we found the points where the two seams met. The sound of ripping velcro filled the gym. The other participants moved in to help and within minutes we ripped it apart turned the center piece and reattached the seams.

The Macaw was now back in her rightful position at the entrance to the properly assembled Labyrinth. The dance this time as we turned and moved forward was that  much more joyful now that we knew we would be taken both in and out and to the all important center.

She and I parted that afternoon with a nod of mutual respect.  I caught a glimpse of her the following day as she flitted across the campus en route to another workshop.  Silently I bid her ‘safe travels’ it will be difficult for her to fly under the radar with such bright plumage.

Human error and the inability at some points to see and take action appears to be a frailty that may well be our undoing.  The planet we depend on for our survival is starting to wither with our demands that she give more and more with little given in return.
We appear to have lost our center.

There comes a point both personally and on a planetary scale that things appear ‘FUBAR’, to steal a military term my feathered friend would approve of…. when that point is reached the only solution to an obviously wrong course or path seems to be:

“Tear it apart, turn it around and start again from the beginning.”

And from there we will again find our Center.

© westcoastwoman 2019

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unknown photographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bell Jar

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photo credit westcoastwoman

 

The ground began to thaw and in a flash it was Spring, time to make their way into that other world, the world of Light.
I observed each day as they gingerly emerged, their fragile petals unfurling in a gift of surrender.
They had no way of knowing that change had been afoot in the world of Light as they slept safe and warm in the protective darkness.
Rules were changing, nothing was as it had been, the warmth, the cold, the light and the dark.
The Bell Jars were placed for protection before the snow fell, days later they  reemerged, safe in their glass houses.
The thought occurred….. is there a Bell Jar large enough to protect our collective humanity, our all too human hearts, the world of Light we live in?

 

(written in response to Sunday’s six sentence word prompt. Prompt word FLASH)