Monday, March 8, 2010

There by the Willow Tree





When I was a young child I used to sneak away alone, hike up a winding deer trail through the redwoods, to a meadow that held a single, large weeping willow tree. That tree, that magical meadow, was often the only solace and comfort I had as a child. It was safe. There was no screaming, no belts, no welts, no words with teeth. It was quiet, lovely, earthy. That tree nurtured me.
Sometimes I brought a book and an orange to the meadow and sometimes there was no time to grab such luxuries.
What I remember most was not crying about my less than ideal life circumstances, but loving the sense of the place, the joy, the smell, the colors, its beauty, tucked into the redwood mountains. The weeping willow standing all alone, happy and swaying her branches like a hula skirt, was my friend.

I would think of the sweet, old, "cat lady" in town, who had no money and lived in someone's garage. She had one ratty house dress and a pair of too big man shoes worn thin. But every penny she could scrape together she would buy cans of cat food, and walk, bent over her gnarled and twisty legs, four blocks twice a day, every day, and feed those cats. I thought she and her feral cats were beautiful. I would save my pennies too and give them to her. She would reward me with her perfect toothless smile.
I would lie for hours in the grass, there by the willow tree, looking up at the sky, and be completely undone by the fact that the sky went on forever. Infinite, I was told. But, I would think, it has to end somewhere. I would stare up into the blue and imagine a white wall somewhere WAY out there. But, what would be on the other side of the wall? More sky. But, it has to end somewhere. FOREVER sky just could not exist in my mind. I would go round and round with that for hours.

Much the same way I do now with trying to comprehend that there are people who scam people out of their hard earned retirement money running ponzi schemes. There are heinous people neglecting and  hurting children and the elderly. There are cruel ignorant people who hate people because of the color of their skin.  War and greed and sickness. These are things I cannot fathom.

What I learned lying by the willow tree is there also exists luminous beauty and grace. What I learned from that sweet cat lady is there also exists loyalty and love and kindness in this world. While greed may go on forever, so does generosity, goodness, overcoming odds, and the sky.
It starts with us. With me. Doing what is right, not worrying about what is popular, or profitable, or even safe... but what is right.
Overall, I think this is a lovely world we live in, full of heart. I hope to help make it better, one day at a time.

Love,
Lola

17 comments:

Tara said...

Lola, this was a beautiful post. Your blog has quickly become one of my favorites (I only found you maybe a week ago), if only because your thoughts (and your sarcasm at times) so closely resemble my own, it's eerie ;D

Chantel said...

I had a willow tree in my childhood as well... Life can be so lavishily cruel. And yet moments later, stunning in its brilliance.

Beautiful piece.

mo.stoneskin said...

The scene of the cat lady is moving. Self-absorption is one of the worst things, I struggle with it more than most I reckon, hate it.

Oh, you're Blogger profile links to you as "http://sharppendullsword.blogspont.com/" by the way!

B. Miller said...

I love your blog and am so glad I stumbled across it in my search for writers' journals. This is a great entry and I thank you for your candid words; they're a mirror for how I feel about our greed-fueled society.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Wow. Just wow. This is such an evocative, moving post. I'm honored to have been able to read it.

Piedmont Writer said...

Someday my child, all will be right in the world. You just have to believe it.

Shelley Sly said...

I really admire your outlook, being able to put your personal life aside and look at the bigger picture. Definitely a sign of Maturity (a place I'm still seeking...) Enjoyed this post!

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

Not always, but I often preface whatever my life angst is at the moment with "I have the best kind of problems to have."

Kazzy said...

The big scope of carnality that we suffer in the world is enough to paralize me emotionally. It is so hard to really believe people can be so devious and selfish. Sometimes I am shocked that after all of these years of adulthood, I can still be so shocked.

All we can do is the best in our own little corners. I am glad you are doing so much to help in this regard. Great post!

Lisa said...

What a beautifully written and evocative essay. Like the sky, our world and its infinite good and bad can be overwhelming. I'm glad you choose good. I'm trying to do the same minute by minute.

Terresa said...

Beautiful post. I feel you, sister.

While I don't really like cats, I'd like to meet the "cat lady" someday and give her a hug on behalf of my cat-adoring children and husband.

And kick all those ponzi schemers in the can.

La Belette Rouge said...

Gorgeous post, my friend. The writing is absolutely lovely. "The weeping willow standing all alone, happy and swaying her branches like a hula skirt." LOVE.

foldingfields said...

Keep harvesting your positive energy--live to be good (a little naughty is sometimes good too, just to keep it real).
I am a woman, and therefore a feminist (not militant, but supportive of the issues), and really feel that certain systems have really led to the pillaging and oversight of our "mother" earth. Only now that women's rights are improving, can we focus on repairing the damage to nature. It makes sense to be good stewards, not tyrants of our resources. Get this in check and other good things will follow. Do what you can, raise a concientious child, help your neighbour, make less waste...it all matters.

Lola Sharp said...

Tara-- Thank you so much. I am honored and grateful, and sarcastic.

Chantel (slash lola)--What you said. (and thank you)

Mo-- Thank you. (You like old ladies that feed the animals.) (and we're all self-absorbed. we're human.) I cant find the link problem. Confused.

B--Thank you...and, yeah, greed upsets me.

Sarah (Smile...to the tune of hall & oats)-- I'm honored.

Anne--Someday soon?

Shelley--Maturity? Me? Oh boy, I've got you fooled.

Rebecca--I personally have zero problems. In fact, my life is full of awesome: love, humor, fun, health, financially secure, beautiful home, vacations, travel. Everyone I love is healthy and happy. I am happy as a clam in mud. I just wish everyone else could be too...that mean, selfish, polluting, greedy people weren't hurting other people, especially those who cannot defend themselves.

Kazzy-- Carnality is a perfect word. And the scope is so big it freaks me out; no easy solutions. And yes, you're right, that is all we can do. So I do. (and thanks)

Lisa--Word. zactly.

Terresa--Yeah, well, she was fairly pungent, bless her heart. But she loved those cats with a fierce dedication. It didn't matter if it was storming, she shuffled off to feed them. Sweet.

LBR--Merci beaucoup, mon ami.

folding fields--Oh, I got me some naughty! I likes to keep it real. ;o)

Love,
Lola

The Rejection Queen said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just read your comment today. I am enjoying yours as well.

Maggie May said...

I know what you mean, how the personal hurts can seem so much more bearable than the magnitude of the planet's suffering. Our human race. You are a beautiful soul.

TechnoBabe said...

Your childhood was so much like mine. I would remain outdoors as far away from the switch and the belt and the anger as I could get. I too would lay for hours and watch nature. I could watch ants for hours. Watch the chickens and the rooster. I so like the way your heart detests war and greed. We have to at least try to make the world a better place one day at a time and one person taking on the responsibility out of love.

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My name is Lola. (I'm not a showgirl) Yes, L-O-L-A Lola. It's the least of my worries. Let's move on, shall we? This blog is mostly about my misadventures on the journey to publication and beyond. My passion for lush prose, quirky characters, art, music, literature, performing arts and anything creative will be a major theme here. This journey of mine will not always be pretty. Much like rubbernecking a train wreck, I know sometimes you just can't help but look at the carnage that is often my life. So strap on your neck brace, helmet and 5-point harness and come along for the ride! Licentia poetica.
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