Thursday, December 31, 2009

This Song, This Year...

I've never thought the New Year should be a time of introspection or dalliance, rather a continuance of what was and what is to come...Another year of possibilities and growth. It’s no surprise we grow weary of trying to fix ourselves on this one day of the year – instead of simply living.

If you still insist on resolutions my friends…resolve to find the beauty within us all.

This song Season of Love, sung in the musical RENT, is my heartfelt wish for you as we approach this new decade. May you make every moment count, for each leads to another and before you know it another year has passed us by. Live your lives with love, compassion, peace and beauty and you will find the rest is actually wondrously bearable.

Happy New Year dear friends, welcome, welcome, this new decade! - Indigo




Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand
moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year

In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights,
in cups of coffee, In inches, in miles
in laughter in strife,

In Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

How about Love
How about love
How about love
Measure in love

Seasons of love
Seasons of love

Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand
journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
how do you measure the life of a woman
or a man

In truth that she learned
or in times that he cried
In the bridges he burned
or the way that she died

Its time now to sing out
though the story never ends
lets celebrate remember a year
in the life of friends

Remember the love
(Oh, you got to, you got to remember the love)
Remember the love
(You know that life is a gift from up above)
Remember the love
(Share love, give love, spread love)
Measure in love
(Measure, measure your life in love)

Seasons of love
Seasons of love
(Measure, measure your life in love)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holiday!

Happy Holidays!

Wishing a wonderous day to friends and family from afar. However and Whatever you celebrate, may love and peace surround you.

I'll be back to posting regularly after the New Year with more adventures on writing.

Love and Peace
Indigo

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Rarely Requested Gifts

When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.
(Ella Wheeler Wilcox)

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Looking around at the throng of pushing, shoving rude customers in the store with me, I was beginning to think I had lost my mind waiting so late in the holiday season to shop for those elusive gifts under the tree. There wasn’t an ounce of holiday cheer present anywhere. Where was the ghost of Christmas past? Christmas present it seemed had lost all decorum, running amok and out of control.

A woman rudely shoves past practically knocking me off my feet to get to the display I’m standing in front of. “Sorry,” I mumble in her direction as I absently rejoin the throng of mad frenzied shoppers. Her rudeness was deserving of much more than the questioning raised eyebrow that I gave, indicated as much. However, I was determined I wasn’t going to play a part in the hostility and chaotic mayhem present around this time of the year. Somehow my moral compass would stay firmly pointed toward the positive.

“I don’t know what the hell you want from me. Why should I know any more than you do what to get our grandkids? I don’t talk to them the way you do. Send money for all I care!”

I didn’t mean to catch that last bit of conversation. Not really. I had just absently looked toward the older man thinking, I would glimpse a bit of holiday cheer in his face. After seeing the saddened expression his remarks left. I wished I hadn’t. The woman those words were meant for was close to tears and I wondered once again – What is wrong with people?

“How can we afford all this? I’m losing my job at the end of the month!”

“It’s Christmas.” Was the only reply to what I thought wasn’t an unreasonable question. Christmas wouldn’t be enough of an explanation when the heat wasn’t paid on a cold winter’s night would it?

Stop watching people’s lips I scolded myself. Do you really want to be a party to their misery?

The worst was…I was there in the midst of it all. My own arms filled as I waited in line to make my purchases and my mind wandered over Christmases past. Each year had been a race of one up man ship in lieu of the year before. I recognized that old familiar desperate need to give my daughter as many gifts as I could afford, some years finding myself in dept for gifts she no longer played with mere months afterward.

Later that evening, I sat strangely detached and removed from feeling any goodwill cheer at all. My moral compass had been stomped on and grounded into the floor. When did I or anyone for that matter forget – what this season used to represent? When did we get so lost in the rush and havoc pace of buying and forget about those timely gifts of the heart.

“Send a gift – anything, what does it matter. It’s not us they want to see.”

Let me ask you dear gentle readers, what was on your Christmas list this year? What did you request? Was it love, peace, time with family? Serenity, compassion and self worth have fallen on the wayside in search of bigger, better, and more expensive pursuits haven’t they?

I didn’t like the answers I came up with either.

So this year I’m giving the biggest gift of all – to myself. I’m going to request from here on in, love me, cherish me, and spend the holiday in laughter and give of your self to me. Nothing more, nothing less – yet it far exceeds any purchased gift. It’s not about being stingy or lazy. It’s about wanting the best of what life can give me. It’s about experiencing the beauty of those wondrous human souls that share my life.

Slip a love letter in the tree branches, bring a dish to share, but most of all bring a smile and the gift of time. Promise, you will be richer for it.

Take this wondrous time of the year, leave the malls behind, the pushing and shoving and rude behavior – gather around friends and family from afar and simply enjoy the biggest gifts of all, those of the heart. So what’s on your list this year? Let’s make those rarely requested gifts that don’t cost a penny – the next best thing on everyone’s Christmas list. - Indigo

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Universally Speaking

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.” – John Barrymore

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Not Again.

Those words weren’t even worth an exclamation, just a very dismayed utterance escaping my lips as I lay prone on my back with ice prickling and stinging my skin. I was pretty sure the wet underside of my flannel pajama bottoms contained melting snow.

As I looked up at the night sky through the tree branches and falling snow, I wondered how long it would take for my hair to freeze and stick to the ice. I could just see it now – the rescue workers would be hard put to hide the laughter. The pajamas were only one part of the whole picture – add a Harley Davidson leather coat, Elmer Fudd hat, a ridiculous long scarf and duck boots. Trust me; I didn’t want to be found looking like that.

Snow coats my eyelashes, I blink and raise my head just far enough up to see where the crazy-ass pup was. Amused (she has a grin she reserves for such occasions) she sticks her nose down near my face and I feel her warm breath join mine in a foggy dance. My head falls back in the snow scrunching the hunters cap even further down on my head, leaving me barely able to see from under the brim. Pickles gives a worried nudge, before settling down beside me with one paw on my chest.

“Fine! Perfect! Now what?” I scold whoever might be listening as I pummel my legs and arms up and down throwing a fit. I’m well aware to anyone else it would seem as if I were talking to myself or having a seizure of some sort.

“What lesson do you have for me now? What’s so profound that the only way I can grasp whatever you have in store for me, is flat on my back with snow down my underwear?”

Last year at this time it was a lesson in learning to smile despite my predicament. I wasn’t smiling. This wasn’t amusing (and yes, I do know you’re probably laughing your ass off right now).

Cold, miserable and waiting impatiently for whatever epiphany the universe had in store for me, I was positive I would end up like the kid in “A Christmas Story” with his tongue stuck to the metal pole, only frozen to the ice by my long hair. It wasn’t near cold enough, but then again my backside was pretty wet. In my mind at least there had to be some kind of drastic consequences for ending up on my back, in the snow, in the middle of the night.

Snow continues to fall lazily tickling my lashes and bathing my face in feather light kisses. This was supposed to be the season of giving, good will and cheer. Lately every little thing bothered me. Where was my holiday spirit? What exactly did I expect? Was life really that miserable lately?

Pickles with her head on my shoulder, looked at me with her amber brown eyes as if I had lost my mind. Her human was confusing the heck out of her. Little did she know, I was pretty confused myself about a lot of things these days. So many little things had been niggling at me. Everyone expected me to have all the answers and be the good will ambassador. Simply put - I just wanted this moment to be a tormented brat, throwing a hissy fit in the snow.

A burst of laughter escaped my lips, startling Pickles.

“Thank you! I got it!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. A universe of misery still had room for laughter. Humans are not perfect specimens by any degree. We have our days of torment and insecurity. Sometimes we let the little things weigh too much in light of the bigger picture.

I get up and chase after Pickles. If you’re looking for me - just look for the crazed woman running around in her pajamas through the snow in the middle of the night and laugh, because sometimes there isn’t anything else left to do. - Indigo

Picture found here

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pickled Grace

“A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you love yourself.” Josh Billings

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As I turn the lights on to the Christmas tree, Pickles steps up beside me and nudges my hand. I absently stroke the top of her head. There is a silent agreement between us, dog and human; it’s that time of the year again. We recognize this place, this starting point that becomes us – the working dog and the human who so desperately needed her.

In a couple weeks it will herald the third year of our beginning, our friendship and my biggest lesson in life – how to love unconditionally. December 12th is not just an ordinary day, its Pickles arrival date in my life.

In the meantime, Pickles curls up beside the tree and I sit typing this story on my laptop. Chuckling, I can’t help but think how things have come full circle, for in a way this too resembles the beginning.

This is Pickles’ story and mine…perhaps more hers.

However the actual beginning started with me. I often mistakenly say I got Pickles a year after my encroaching deafness, in reality it was two years. The first year of my silence is another story for another day. I will say this – I fought my deafness with all I was. And yes, it was a futile battle. The quiet absence of sound would be my life from then on in. When I stopped fighting and started accepting the inevitable, I became determined to find a way back to me. You see I thought I had lost far more than my hearing and had become something less than. The reality being I had not even begun to find me - until then.

In desperation I was driven to the computer exploring every little tidbit I could find on late deafened individuals. Just as I was about to give up the ghost of finding my answer, an article highlighting working dogs for the deaf, caught my eye. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had read and how it would work to my advantage. Sadly yes, it was all about me in those days. I was lost in self pity and forlorn depreciation of life in general.

The picture above was my introduction to Pickles. I fell in love with her right then and there, more so when I discovered her story. Not only was she a Katrina survivor, she had spent the past year being passed around in shelters until the agency I obtained her from, found her. Not unlike me, Pickles was looking for a place to belong, a place to fit in.

She was the animal equivalent of me. Somehow I knew her before I ever laid eyes on her.

Pickles and I would discover all we needed to know of each other in the following two weeks after her arrival. We would be literally attached by a leash 24/7 as part of her training, to make sure she understood I was the human she would be working for. Honestly, she is a working dog with all the restrictions that come with that title and yet so much more. I no longer think it’s training but something more spirited that exist between us. Six months later I would understand that last assertion intimately.

The night before I had been sick with a lung infection, struggling to breath, weak and confined to the bed. I remember seeing Pickles pad into the room, watching me with concern in her eyes from the end of the bed before I faded off to sleep. When I awoke the next morning, Pickles was beside my bed (no small feat as there was barely enough room for her 65lb body), sitting there with her head nestled against my arm. Her bloodshot, drooping eyes signify she had been there all night, going without sleep to watch over me. I think I knew then there was much, much more to her quirky personality and me finding myself amidst the silence. She wasn’t just my working dog - she was fast becoming my teacher.

And if you’re wondering…yes, Pickles was instrumental in helping me accept my deafness. As a matter of fact, she can even be credited with me becoming a writer. How? It all began with those first few entries entailing Pickles arrival in my life.

How fitting that Pickles training with the leash ended on Christmas Eve. How perfectly she fit into my life and I hers. I get up and join Pickles staring at the tree lost in contemplation. It stands as a reminder to us of how far we’ve come. Pickled grace - indeed.

*If you’re looking to make a donation this Christmas, a chance to give another individual the miracle that is Pickles to someone else, you can do so by donating to the following agency:

International Hearing Dog, Inc.
5901 E. 89th Ave.
Henderson, CO 80640-8315

www.ihdi@aol.com or
www.pawsforsilence.org

Your donations help deaf individuals who might have otherwise not been able to afford a working dog, obtain one. They work exclusively with re-homing shelter dogs. Give the gift of human connection, a gift of hearing to a deaf individual this Christmas in the form of a hearing dog.

From my heart to yours - Indigo