Your scent

Each time I breathe in your scent,
I feel serenity flowing into my nose,
and a quiet calm settles throughout my body.

My brain stops buzzing,
and I am immersed in awareness,
immersed in peace.

Each time I breathe in your scent,
fuel is added to the fire
and my heart grows warmer.

It stretches to accommodate
another bucket of my fervent feelings,
another bucket of my love.

via Daily Prompt: Scent

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Drawing depression

Graphite  covers the side of my right hand
evidence of pencil stains
born from drawing
from scribbling
from aggressively pressing the point of my pencil
into the paper making dark lines appear
drawing my depression onto the page

My drawing isn’t a drawing
just scattered thoughts
pieces of my mind represented in scribbles
It lacks a general subject because there is no general subject
It is a mood
a feeling
a weight on my heart
a heaviness in my breath

My lines and thoughts are
incomplete
unresolved
a spilled bucket of phrases
much like this poem

Changing my mental state
is not as easy as scribbling
but
scribbling helps.

You

You are the most wonderful combination of
oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen
I’ve ever seen.

The timbre of your voice
pleasantly beats against my eardrums
creating a rhythm sacred to me

Your hands
make me want to study geometry
as I revel in the beauty of the angles of your bones

Caressing the keratin of your hair
delights my fingertips
as signals of softness shiver up to my brain

And your eyes, your eyes!
Looking into them I swim in hot chocolate,
and drown in sweet warmth.

 

Loving the simple things

Ever since I was a little kid, I have always found beauty and happiness in simple things. My mom tells me of how when I was a baby, I would spend hours playing with a single feather. I would wrap it around one finger, unravel it, then wrap it around another finger, no doubt reveling in the soft feeling and curious shape.

When I was in kindergarten, we lived in a pretty poor area with no parks nearby, but there was an empty, abandoned-looking parking lot near my house where I spent a lot of time riding my bike, being careful not to puncture the wheels on the jagged rocks and pieces of broken concrete that were scattered throughout the lot. Our backyard was very small, but large enough for a plot of tulips and I was absolutely fascinated with them, spending large amounts of time observing, smelling, and painting them.

When I was in first grade we moved to an apartment complex where in the middle of it there was a pretty large field. I remember when I first saw it I was completely amazed at the stretch of beautiful green that sprawled before my eyes. I fell in love with it right then and there, and the majority of my childhood was spent wandering around that big field, looking at the marvelous things that grew or lay on the ground, off in my own world.

Simple things, like a pretty dandelion or a cool stick or seeing a bee flying from flower to flower, made me happy. In the wintertime I would scour the field for pieces of ice that formed in the little depressions of the earth and bring them back to my house, marveling at their transparent nature. A field may not have as many interesting things as a forest or swamp, but for me it was a wonderful, magical place. I never felt alone or bored – all around me were intriguing plants and animals that felt like friends.

Simple things continue to make me happy even now. Whenever there is a problem, there is also a cup of tea. Whenever there is an argument with a friend, there is also a walk in the woods. Bees, flowers, things that have delightful colors, shapes, and textures continue to draw my eyes, and little beauties like a vibrant fall leaf never fail to lighten my mind.

Simple, wonderful, beautiful, comforting things are all around us – they just have to be noticed. ūüôā

(Note: The picture at the top is one that I took during autumn in the woods by my house. :))

via Daily Prompt: Simple

Ten of my favorite books

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Any book from this series is my go-to book whenever life is overwhelming and I want to live in another world for a while. This is a series that I can read over and over and over and it never fails to hold my attention, even though the books are pretty thick. Whenever I have finished reading one of the books I feel that I have finished it too soon, that I still want to be in the magical world that J.K. Rowling has created.

2. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

This book is classified as a “children’s book” and yet even as an adult I continue to find myself absolutely enchanted by this book. Although the main character is a legend of sorts, doing incredible things, he is also very human. The supporting characters in general are written in a very realistic way, and are dynamic characters that grow throughout the book. I love Spinelli’s writing style, he never uses excessive words; through his writing he shows just how powerful and enticing short sentences can be when used properly. His writing is never boring and keeps me hungrily reading word after word.

3. Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

This book is a psychological thriller with many twists and turns, due to the nature of the main character, who is the narrator for most of the story. When reading this book for the first time, you are constantly trying to figure out what kind of person the main character is, and the ending is pretty shocking. This is a fast-paced book that is good at keeping the reader engaged.

4. A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman

This is a book I read whenever I want to experience some warm kindness and wisdom, because Diane Ackerman is full of both. Her writing is a pure pleasure to read, she crafts sentences and paragraphs as carefully and finely as a master artist paints a painting. A Natural History of the Senses is a celebration of the sensory systems that humans possess and the beauty that they bring to our experiencing of the world. As well as being a writer, Ackerman is also a naturalist and her knowledge of the natural world and deep love for it absolutely SHINES through her work. Reading this book feels like spending time with a wonderful, warm friend.

5. Anthem by Ayn Rand

Although I don’t agree with a lot of Ayn Rand’s politics, I think that this book is still a very interesting read. She puts the story together in a fascinating way that keeps the reader intrigued because in the first few chapters it isn’t really clear what is going on or even who the narrator is. And though I may take issue with some of the themes presented in the book, I absolutely love the way the theme of individuality and making decisions based on your own judgement is presented in the book.

6. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

This is a book that I read now and then whenever I want to hear an understanding voice and laugh. This book is about the author’s struggles with her depression, being an adult, and also includes funny stories from her childhood and adult life. Her vibrant personality and sense of humor is ever-present in her work ¬†which makes reading it a wonderful experience.

7. Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn

I read this book for the first time recently, and now I want to read more of Daniel Quinn’s writing. He writes very clearly, using great metaphors, wonderful imagery, and in a way that seems as though he is directly talking to you. What I loved about this book were his futuristic ideas and out-of-the-box thinking about how we make the world a better place to live in. Reading this book I felt engaged and thinking about things, and enjoyed doing so.

8. The poetry books of Maya Angelou

I absolutely love Maya Angelou’s poetry and when I first read her work I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! I don’t think there’s been a poet that has resonated with me more, even though many of her life experiences are quite different from mine. She uses simple language, and yet her work is incredibly enchanting and captivating. She is strong, yet vulnerable, and compellingly honest all throughout. Her kindness and intellect pours from her words, and the struggles that she and her family have been through add another dimension to her poetry. Her poems speak to the strength of women and the terrible obstacles and burdens that black people in America have had to deal with.

9. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks was a British neurologist who was also quite a talented author. In this book he shares some of his most remarkable case studies that show the curious and strange things that can happen when one has a specific type of brain injury or disorder (the title of this book being quite literal and the story of one of his patients). What struck me about the author himself is that through his writing you can tell that he didn’t think of his patients just as cases as some doctors do, but as whole people, unique individuals with personalities and problems. The way he writes about his patients brings them to life, and makes reading their unusual stories all the more enjoyable.

10. Animal Farm by George Orwell

I have referenced Animal Farm in a recent blog post and for good reason Рthis book, although published in 1945 and written as a critique of Stalinism, is still incredibly relevant today. This short book very clearly shows how those in power use specific techniques to get the masses to stay submissive and silent, even as their quality of life and the rights they have drastically decrease. When I finished reading this book I was shook to my very core, because some of the tactics described in the book have already started happening in my own country, and just like the lower animals in book few people have noticed this. This book is clearly written, captivating, and important.

 

via Daily Prompt: Ten

Foggy Days

This past weekend, my town was not only blanketed by fog, but whole walls of fog rose from the ground. Trees, buildings, people were like peppercorns swimming in a white soup. Like a great white whale, the fog swallowed up the landscape and all of us were trapped in its belly.

This past weekend also happened to be the Fire and Ice festival, an annual festival in Rochester, Michigan where the downtown is aglow with lights and ice sculptures are displayed every couple of feet. As with any festival there is food, attractions, and a general festive atmosphere, and so my family and I set out into the milky world and carefully drove to the city.

There were more people than ever this year, probably due to the exceptionally warmer weather, and thus finding a place to park was its own mini-adventure. Finally, we found our car a temporary home and set off to enjoy what the night had to offer.

Because it was so warm, many of the ice sculptures had melted to the point that you couldn’t tell what they originally were supposed to be. The carefully-made details had dripped off, leaving only the general shapes.

We finally made our way to where the fireworks were supposed to be set off, with just minutes to spare. Humanity sprawled all around us and the smell of elephant ears and popcorn filled our noses. The raucous sounds of the crowd drowned out the people speaking on stage until 5…4…3…2…1! Fireworks were set off!

Now ordinarily, when fireworks are set off there is a feeling of awe, of genuine appreciation of the dazzling colors and patterns of the glittering sparks set against the dark night sky. But here, here things were much different.

Because in case you’ve forgotten, it was a very foggy weekend. So foggy it turned out, that the fireworks were essentially not visible.

While cheerful patriotic music played through the speakers on stage, we watched as the walls of fog around us were periodically illuminated by red and green and blue colors. The colors were all that came through the dense fog – the patterns, the fireworks themselves were basically hidden from us.

It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Here we were, all gathered to witness a gorgeous display of fireworks, and it was all covered by fog! To me, especially since this happened the day after the unfortunate inauguration, this event was a perfect metaphor for the state of our country right now: brilliant lights drowned out by a heavy fog.

And although for now the fog continues to persist and the skies are grey, eventually it must clear.

 

Lessons from Animal Farm

Reading Animal Farm was definitely one of the best choices I made last year. For those that do not know, Animal Farm is a famous novel by English writer George Orwell which through its allegorical storytelling shows the techniques that dictators and those in power use to keep the masses submissive and from revolting, even as living conditions get worse and worse.

One of the techniques those in power use is controlling the narrative. That is, to say what is true and what is not, what happened and what didn’t, who is good and who is bad. This is shown very clearly in the book when Napoleon (the leader of the animals on the farm) has his second-in-command Squealer periodically tell the lower animals things about his rival Snowball which at first makes the animals see Snowball’s ideas in a negative light, then Snowball himself is made to seem detrimental to the animals’ plight, then the problems that happen on the farm are blamed on Snowball, then finally Snowball is made out to be a traitor and enemy, with a death sentence on his head.

Napoleon also gains control of the narrative in Animal Farm by slowly ¬†(and without any announcement) changing the actual rules that all the animals originally agreed upon. Thus, “No animal shall kill any other animal” turns into “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” Of course, when Napoleon decides to change things he has Squealer eloquently rationalize and justify the changes to the lower animals. If any animal raises objections, Squealer is quick to remind the animals how “lucky” they are to have what they have and how well Napoleon and the others in charge take care of them (as of course, this veneration of those in power has also been subtly woven into the narrative), and if all else fails, he uses the animals’ fear of “the enemy” to silence them into submission. And so even as life grows more and more unfair and cruel to lower animals on the farm, they do not realize it, and still consider themselves lucky to live on Animal Farm.

This very clearly shows the danger of oversight, the danger of missing out on what is going on right under your noses. This is what those in power rely on, your ignorance. Those in power – dictators, presidents, senators, etc. – rely on your unawareness, your oversight, to pass the laws which benefit them and the corporations/wealthy people that have given money so those specific puppet politicians could have that office.

Do not give them that power.

Pay attention to news stories, and more importantly, pay attention to trends. Pay attention to the narrative that is being told to you, both overtly and subtly.

Do not let your rights and the rights of others be taken away due to oversight.

 

via Daily Prompt: Oversight