The Beauty Of Repetition – A Story of The Bats

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Thank you for joining this journey of poetry, prose and photography. To follow the series click here for all posts in Postcards From Me — #write31days
Grateful to have you along on this 31 Day Writing Challenge. You breathe joy onto the pages here as you accompany me on this journey.

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The Beauty of Repetition – A Story Of The Bats
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Good Night Moon for the two hundredth time
Crispy fried chicken from the colonel from Kentucky
Hot macaroni and cheese
Orange or yellow, boxed, or home made
And a glass of cold milk at bedtime
Cheek on cold pillow
Rhythms and patterns, the labyrinth of life

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I start out to gather my words, herd them into a poem. They said, “no can do”. My words talk back to me. They can be headstrong like that. I know they won’t conform to my poem so I give them up and open the field of prose. Let them run wild and free.

I think they like it there sometimes where there is more openness, where it is wider, bigger more like South Dakota. A lot of space to stretch and breathe. And be the words they were created to be. With less fence lines and gateposts and cattle gates with locks.

Plus, it is difficult to write about bats in poetry. Unless you are Billy Collins or some other very creative and poet laureate-esq writer. Because the words, patterns, memories, recollections that have tried to form a poem have put their collective feet down and said “tell this in prose.” I assume your words talk back to you in a similar way.

She keeps telling the bat stories over and over again. And we laugh and feign misery and say”no not again, don’t tell the bat story.” And then we spell as if she can’t and say, here comes the b-a-t story again. Being a child and being an adult are not that dissimilar. Familiarity is comforting. And patterns are guideposts to our living.

Repetition comforts. Pattern calms. Tradition and customs and pilgrimages restore our souls with the balm of the familiar.

I walk to the spring and stop. Stare at the water trickling down. Measure with an invisible yardstick in my memory. Check to see if the water is coming from the spring in a rapid or slowing rate. Twenty something years of going to Wynne Lithia Spring and it’s new every single time. The beauty of repetition restores me. I stop and lose myself in the beauty of the spring. And remember my memories of this place. I have stockpiled them. Hoarded them. Hold them tight.

She asks me if I have read this book, the one in her hand, the one by Flannery O’Connor. And I say yes parts, until I realize it is a different Flannery O’Connor book. And I remind her of the author’s love of peacocks. Thinking we’ll discuss the short stories with tales of the peahens and peabiddies. And she said yes, “I see that now in technicolor on television.” And I haven’t a clue. Until I catch up with her mind and her world and where she has gone. She is not in the room. Her look is far away. Empty. Vapid.  And I am lost.

Dementia is a game player. One moment we are discussing Flannery O’Connor and the next she is remembering NBC’s early logo from the television of her youth. I go there, with her, in my mind. And follow this trail to her past. Where I learn. And revisit. And uncover. And secretly wonder about this place of distant remembering that she goes to brush off the dust and bring back a treasure from her past.

I was thinking of O’Connor’s beautiful peacocks, her beloved peacocks from her youth. Mother was thinking of NBC. As the crow flies, they aren’t that far away. You  must learn the language of dementia before you can communicate with it’s strange dialect. The nuances. The subtleties.

We cross our legs in laughter. Red faced and breathless. The bats came walking into the powder room one day as she sat there. Stunned. Amazed. Bewildered. And then they came from the bookcase during another time in her life. We zig zag through the stories of the bats. And where do all these bats come from. And why is there a series of unfortunate bat stories in this family. And aren’t we all a little batty anyway.

There are other “bat stories”. No not stories of bats. But ones she repeats. The stories of her youth and childhood. The ones that are emblazoned there in her mind. She grabs the photo album. We sit down side by side. And she shows me the pictures of us again. In Boston. I am two.

And I savor her narrative of this faded photograph album.

And listen to her telling of us.

As if it is the first time. Because like my visits to the spring. Her stories are always welcome and new. With an added piece of herself, folded into the telling. And if I listen with the ear of a child, I will walk away, wiser. Changed.

By the beauty of the repetition. And dementia loses another battle. And we are winners, again. We beat back the dark and stand in the light. And say “Wonderful story, mother. Tell us again.”

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Dear Ones, I Came To The Mountains

Welcome to Day One. You are here. What a joy to have you along on this October journey. I am joining hundreds of other bloggers/writers as we write for 31 days in October with The Nester. 

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In case you want to catch up on what you may have missed, which isn’t much, click the link to go to yesterday’s introductory post. (Yesterdays post is here). All posts will be gathered in one place on the page at the top of my blog entitled #write31days2014. Here  you can follow the series or catch up on any posts you may have missed.

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To
look dementia in her steely eyes
Surprise
And be surprised
Remind this disease, I am watching you

And
I went up into the hills
To see
The thief it thought it was

Gave
Restored
In the taking, joy’s rebirth

The veil is thinner here

They say
Divine, I am glad I am not

For I could never dreamed
Of this

Dear Ones, I Came To The Mountains

It is lovely, filled with runcible clouds
Spiral fluted mounds of
Earth
Blazing foliage bursts forth
Searing every other limb
Beauty shadows slate grey clouds

We will roll the thunder, darkness
Back, unfurl the flag of grace

Or
Celebrate, it’s already
Done
The thief
He has not won

Wish you were here
To rejoice with me

And watch me stare down
This disease
It may come to me one day

Here I practice
Tucked inside
The cover of the forests’

Trees

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#Write31Days2014 – Postcards From Me

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Yall I am so excited.

Those of you who have been following this blog for a little while don’t hear me “talk” very often. Usually it is all poetry up in here.

But I just got so incredibly pumped up thinking about this writing challenge that begins tomorrow that I had to give you a little recap. I wonder if I will lose readers with this 31day thing. It is a lot of words, isn’t it, flowing off the page.

As a writer it is challenging, exhilarating and intimidating. But I enjoyed participating in The Nester’s challenge the last two years that I decided to dive in again.

I am joining a huge group of writers who are joining on of my favorite bloggers, The Nester, for her annual  October writing challenge. If you visit the link up of writers, we are all categorized by topic. You can find me in “Too Awesome To Categorize.” How wonderful is that. Ya’ll I think this is going to be fantastic. I truly hope you can find me over there. But this is where my words will be. So just come back to the mother ship. I plan to write about five times a week. Maybe more. Maybe less. How is that for precise.

Here are the links to the 2012 and 2013 challenges. Do you remember way back when.

31 Days of Wonderful Words – 2012

31 days of wonderful words

31 Days of Noticing – 2013

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And this year’s series is entitled, Postcards From Me (#write31days2014).

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So here is a little bit of the “back story”. I am a big back story girl. I love to know the history of things or how they came to be. I do think this may be a little risky, naming this series Postcards From Me, ummm BORING. Who sends postcards anymore, ummm “old school”. But I am not aiming for boring. I am aiming for excellence. Originality. Whimsy. Art. And to give you all something extra-ordinary.

This is my first year with a pseudo-empty nest. (Long story, tell you more later.) And I have been changing it up a bit. I am getting out and traveling “close to home” and enjoying paying attention to the world, its beauty, and always searching for the poetry.

Though I am not traveling to Europe or to Greece or to Patagonia, I hope that my postcards will reflect ordinary snapshots of life. Honing in on beauty. Highlighting the poetry. And giving us all a chance to remember and focus on simple beauty and simple joy.

I don’t go far. There are no airplanes involved. But I am trying to savor the small, the beautiful, the delightful and the lovely. And send them out for others to see too. In poetry, prose and sometimes in a mix of photography and words..

Join me. I believe it will be an exciting adventure. Don’t worry if you can’t read every day. I might not be able to keep up and write every day. And if you have to unsubscribe because it gets too “noisy” oh I will truly miss you. And I hope you don’t. But there is always grace.

On the other hand if you like what you read and see would you consider sharing my art, my words, with a friend. That is always a super lovely accolade for a writer. It is wonderful to see my words flying around and landing places outside of this blog. I pray that they will bless, inspire, encourage and bring joy and whimsy.

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I am still trying to decide whether to change my series logo every few days or to just select one.

You are seeing me work out the final details. Hope you don’t mind. Here’s another possible button. This is fun. I have some decisions to make before tomorrow, don’t I.
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Have I forgotten anything. Did I mention I hope you will join me. I want to make it easy for you to follow along. If you have questions or suggestions or comments  feel free to leave one. If you will look up to the header of my blog, where the pages are listed, I have added a new page for this series. #write31Days2014. The series will be updated daily and readable by going to this one page.

Thank you for choosing to visit and thank you for choosing to subscribe. If you aren’t following along on twitter I am @graceappears there. I would be honored to have you “like” my facebook page. There is a place to do that in the right sidebar.

See you tomorrow and every day in October. Well, almost everyday. I am planning on bending my own rules and writing perhaps five times a week. This is an adventure and I am just sort of “going for it.” Not terribly poetic, but honest.

Warmly and with grace,

Elizabeth
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