An unexpected visit… is often the best kind.

***

Gliding, gently across the glass surface,

Trying not to disturb.

splish… splash… splish… splash… until I reach other side…

Only to find the quietest cove.

The crooked bridge smiles, and welcomes me.

A perfect frame to the delight that awaits inside.

I am a humble guest here.

Hello, old friend!  May I come in?

Please do, I only ask that you remove your shoes.

Morning light twinkles, tickles my skin,

dripping through spaces between weathered wood.

The deep lines on my brow soften and fade, the first time in months…years.

I only breathe in, and out…in, and out…

Floating there so bashful, just to my left

Five tiny lily pads and two curious blossoms.

They giggle and tug at my pant as I enter and kick my shoes off.

I know this will be a lovely visit.

Who’s eyes are those, peaking timidly through a shady curtain of branches?

Oh, they are adorable.

Hello, there.  I’ve brought you some delicious bread.

I hope you will have some with me.

Come, friend.  We will sit on the porch.

The breeze is so refreshing this time of year.

There is a swing, and sweet lemonade.

We will listen to music and catch up on old times.

A familiar tune plays, in surround sound, from the perches above.

I love this song. Where have I heard this before?

We remember, and laugh. Weren’t we silly back then?

The tall blades of grass swish back, and forth… back, and forth…

Upon several, I find the most delicate creatures.

Such tiny wings, I’d swear these are fairies.  Irridescent, light purplish blue.

They dance for me, spinning, spiraling, twirling.

Only one, a much fancier blue… Look what I can do!

Your children are lovely.  My goodness, where has the time gone?

Seems like yesterday, our future, a dream.

Here we are, in a blink.

How we’ve aged.  How they’ve grown.

No, I do not have any of my own.

Oh how I wish I could stay here all day, sipping and chatting with you.

This lemonade is the best I have tasted.

I have had the most fun.

We should definitely do this more often.

But I know as life goes, while intentions are good,

It may be months… years…

So long for now, dear friend.

Promise we will soon do this again.

We embrace with a pause, sweet little hugs at my knees.

as I place worn shoes back on my cool bare feet.

e.j.l.

They have been there for me throughout…The ups and downs, the ins the outs, the upside-downs… they have been there for all of it.  They have never given up on me.  They have never judged me.  They make gifts for me.  A blanket, a scarf, original artwork, soup, home-made jelly, and one of my favorites… a crocheted hat with a flower on it, given to me when i needed it most. They send letters, cards, and the most thoughtful presents in the mail.  One friend sends me my favorite incense sometimes…what a treat!  When we are together we discuss everything from art and religion, to old boyfriends, girlfriends and our humungous 80’s hairstyles. While i have other incredibly dear friends, these special friends… are my family.  They connect me to my childhood, my youth, my home.

We are different from each other in many ways, but i have always thought we are alike in all of the ways that matter.  My friends are insanely gorgeous and talented, and i am average… but they always make me feel smart and beautiful. Some of them live in much sexier homes and cities…but they never makes me feel inferior.  I have never felt like i am as good of a friend to them as they have been to me.  But they have never punished me for it or tried to change me in any way.  They except and show unconditional love for me through every dorky, dark, awkward, bitchy, quirky, ugly, lazy, crabby, clumsy moment i have ever had.

They are more than BFF’s.  Much more.

This poem (if we can call it that) was written from a kayak floating on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire.  It was less than a year from my diagnosis, chemo was finally over – and I never felt this good in my life as I did that day.  It was the day I woke up, opened my eyes, and realized I was going to survive. I made it through, and the loveliest light was just through the door… i just had to push it open, put my chin up, and walk through.

I crawled out of bed that morning at the lake house, before anyone else was up, heaved a kayak into the water and pushed off the dock with my bare foot.  The sun was just about to make its debut for the day.  I quietly paddled and listened and smiled.  Across the lake, overcome by exhaustion, I found a tiny cove, dripping in the most beautiful morning sunlight, framed by a homely little bridge… ‘oh, and you wouldn’t go in??’.

While I floated amongst the ducks, and birds, and dragonflies, and gazed in awe of the beauty i found here – i had thoughts of nature, and how rarely i stop to enjoy it.  I also had thoughts of my dearest family and friends…the people who i could not have done it without.  Often so much time passes in between phone calls, and visits… living such separate lives, babies arriving, and children having grown so much.  But when we do stop to visit, and listen, and smile, it is magical.  We laugh the biggest belly laughs, and cry the most vulnerable tears, and replay our youth with angst and delight.  We revisit decades of memories, good and bad.  In recent years I am doubly blessed to know many of they’re sweet children, which makes it much easier as I say goodbye to the dream of my own.

It was very difficult to leave that cove, and return back to shore that day.  But every lovely visit must come to an end.  I quietly paddled back to lake house… feeling strength, hope, and and happy thoughts of dear friends.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~marcel proust

skyblue XO

This way to the castle…

Here we are, in last days of the Connecticut summer… trying to soak up the last warm rays of sun before the dreaded frost arrives.  I first thought i would stay home today to do laundry, bills, etc…  But I could not let this day be spent on chores.  I mean, did you see it outside today?

If you live around here, you know these types of perfect, sunny, not too humid, not to cold days are pretty rare.  I just had to grab my camera and my husband, and go out for some exercise and vitamin D.  Maybe we can go find that castle…

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The day’s not over yet.  Please get out there today!

e.j.l. xo

Secret Stone Garden – A Connecticut Treasure

i have always known i was an artsy city girl, yet I grew up in the suburbs, and I’ve somehow ended up in the suburbs.  While I wait for my exciting new life in Charlotte or Denver, I do not want to miss, or dismiss, the beauty, fun and excitement occurring right in my own back yard.

Just before the school year starts, we are home to the Wolcott Country Fair – just a quick walk and we can feed the cutest little goats and enjoy all the sticky fried greasy doughy treats we could ask for.  There is a freeky flock of grackles that lands in our yard once a year for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then swoosh.. they’re off.  In the lower yard there is a vernal pool (aka very special swampy wetland) that has been destination spot to hundreds of (probably very horny) orange spotted salamanders that come there on the first warm rainy night of the spring to perpetuate their species.  Once on a snowy morning before sunrise, I caught a mamma dear and her baby nibbling on the pine trees outside my studio.  The families of northern cardinals and woodpeckers that visit our garden can entertain me (and Stewie and Olive) for hours. I’ve seen rainbows from my porch, pink and purple sunsets through the trees. We share our home with bunnies, owls, butterflies, tiny frogs.  What could be more magical?

One day my husband brought me out on his atv for a bumpy, muddy ride into the woods behind our house.  We rode for about 15 minutes then we stopped, ignition off.  Shhh, so quiet, just the us, the woods,sunbeams… and stones.  Piles and stacks of stones.  Not in random, messy piles, but in lovely mystical gravity defying piles. Who put these here?  How old are they?  What do they mean?  Well, we’re still not entirely sure, and we may never know.  But for now, lets just look at them together, and enjoy this beautiful secret treasure in our own back yard.

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e.j.l. xo

Dancing Rapunzel has a new dress…

and new boobs.  You see, DR never dreamed she would be getting a new size 34C pair for her 40th birthday (should she have gone bigger? hmmm, maybe something to contemplate at a later date), but that’s exactly what she got, like it or not.  One would have to read another blog, about that dancing rapunzel girl, to get the entire background, but long story short for now, she did get new boobs, saline actually, very real feeling… so she’s been told.  But first she underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She was pretty bummed when she got a stage 2b breast cancer diagnosis as a sort of belated 39th birthday gift… October 30th, 2009.  Well maybe she was not bummed so much as freaking out and hysterical.  You know, crying for days, planning how to spend her last days, thinking about how embarrassing it will be when people read her journals, looked in her sketchbooks… you would think a fairly common reaction to “you’ve got cancer, we might be able to save your life, and we’ll be chopping your breasts off in order to do so”.  This is somewhat dramatic, maybe way too graphic, and the doctor was much kinder about it. but it was kind of like that, in her own head. And her family came right along for the ride, making sure she never felt alone.

This is where i admit, it would be terribly exhausting (for you and me) if I were to continue writing my own story in the 3rd person, so yes, hiii, that’s me, rapunzel.  Not my real name of course, but again, the other blog explains a bit about that if i recall. as i write going forward, my intent will be to document my creative journey, share what inspires me, and hopefully grow as a person.  I have probably gathered much of my recent inspiration from having breast cancer, and i guess it has been a huge wake up call for me to get serious about taking care of some things, i’ve been putting off, or entirely put aside for the last 5, 10, 35 years.  Specifically, things, goals, and people, that are really important to me.  i haven’t always been the best daughter, or grand daughter, friend, cousin, wife, kitty mama, coworker…and so on, so i hope i can really get my act together in that area of my life. And my rockin belly dancer bod (maybe just to my husband), well it’s not so rockin anymore.  more like blockin [out the sun] no, i’m totally kidding, i just start rhyming sometimes.  what was i saying?… oh yes, so i would like to make a few changes in my life basically.  Kind of like new boob resolutions, or something.  Is it Brian Tracy? or was it that 7 Habits guy?…well one or both of them said something about making To Do lists to make positive changes in your life, or was it to become successful?  Well whatever it was, i’m sure it can’t hurt my life or my success.  So I guess here’s my list:

To Do.

1. be a better daughter, wife, auntie, etc…

2. get in shape, eat healthier . maybe do a little more belly dancing  (-:

3. paint more, create more, take lots and lots of pictures.

There’s definitely more to this list, i just probably won’t blog about it.   By the way, in case you were wondering why Dancing Rapunzel ends her blog abruptly on May 19th 2010, and why there’s a stupid square thing embedded in the middle of all the text… it’s because my password got hijacked, or something, and after about 35 hours of trying to get back in or get some type of account support, i gave up and was never able to get back in it.  I don’t exactly know why that square is there, but IF I COULD GET IN, I COULD FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET RID OF IT.  well, i don’t think anyone at the other blog hosting site cares or is listening, but i’ve decided i’m very happy this happened because it is a brand new beginning for me.  I can still go back and read some of my old posts, as a guest.  But for now it’s new boobs, new job, new life, new blog.  whoa… my blogging is like mirroring my real life.  trippy.

anyway, about that new dress.  it’s sky blue, with daisies all over it. It’s the one i wear in my most beautiful dream… the dream where i make art and take photos all day, every day… where David Bromstad, Antonio Ballitore & Chewy have all collaborated to design my home, where I like myself and i love my body (rockin or not), and where i’m surrounded by the people i love.  oh and there’s cupcakes, lots of perfectly delicious cupcakes.

here is a sketch in my journal.  i started making these portraits a few months ago. some are self-portraits, some are portraits of other women i’ve known, and most are a combination of both.  Sometimes i do get bummed because i’ve gained some weight, or because the chemo claimed my long pretty hair.   i draw the portraits when i just want to feel pretty again, and lipstick isn’t helping.

e.j.l. xo

picking daisies in the rain

picking daisies in the rain

p.s. please self exam and get a mammogram! … and don’t forget to ask the doc if you’re dense!