For the love of words and inspiration…

To the folks who regularly read my rantings, HI 🙂 If you’re new, let me apologize in advance before this one gets too hairy. I am currently way down deep in all my feels. So you know the drill, bear with me. Please.

I continue to live on an emotional rollercoaster of my own twisted, vomit -inducing and theme park worthy design. Just like a real life rollercoaster, sometimes it’s awesome. You have to admit that some of those drops, rises, loops and twists are pretty damn cool, while others make you wonder exactly how many feet of track ago did you leave your stomach.
In those moments where I have absolutely no idea where my stomach went after it jumped out of my throat, I need some recovery time. I’ve been doing a lot more reading than writing these days. Admittedly, a lot of said reading has involved “Here is Peter. Here is Jane. Here is the dog. The dog likes Peter….” Yes, J is learning to read and his school assigned reading books are the stuff of legend. And by legend, I mean 1950 something. He gets bored with them quickly but fortunately I have friends and relatives who believe in reading, so his story book collection is always growing. He often tries to give up when he gets frustrated on a new word, but sounding out letters and putting the sounds together has become a new game for us… and he’s getting there. Who remembers when he wouldn’t talk?! We’ve come a long way, baby.

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” ― Maya Angelou

So as I sit here in my feels, I took a moment from them last night with ‘See Peter and Jane’ and my little man. Watching and listening to him read and appreciating this life affirming milestone in his life put me straight into one of those tear jerking dives into a stomach churning loop. No, I’m not altogether insane. If you’ve been here a while, you will realize I have an appreciation for the words of others when I have a hard time finding my own. My love affair with Paulo Coelho is no secret in these parts, but there is another that I’ve never given (as loud) credit to in this space.

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” ― Maya Angelou

Again, I’ve shared my views on life and death. I tend to be very matter of fact and practical – I will shed my tears in my own time, on my own terms – but death happens. There is nothing any one of us can do about it. Yesterday morning I found myself in full emotional breakdown mode at the news of the death of Dr. Maya Angelou. No, no, no. That’s all that echoed in my head. I had to lock myself in my office to let the tears flow, they would not be held back. No, no, no, there are more words to be written!

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

Still in my feels today, I accept the selfishness of my original sentiment. There are people who make the thought of immortality appealing, in the hope that their words and wisdom will live on for all eternity. It is a selfish thought, wanting to keep that person with you always, in body. I’ve gotten over it. Instead I look to my shelves of books and appreciate that her words and wisdom will live on in these very pages. And so instead of feeling sorry for myself at the loss of one of my personal heroines, I will just say thank you.

I wish I had the opportunity to meet you in this life. I probably would have been able to do no more than cry tears of joy and gratitude for your words and wisdom. So I do just that, right now. For your wisdom in my darkest hours, thank you. For your upliftment in times when I needed to get up, thank you. For the phenomenal inspiration, all the time, thank you. For reminding me to believe people, the first time, when they show you who they really are, thank you. For the swift kick in remembering that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one, thank you. For the priceless life lesson of not making priorities of those to whom you are merely an option, thank you.

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I will never forget your voice. No one has ever been able to breathe such feeling into ‘Still I Rise’. I will admit I sat watching videos of it, over and over, in the quiet of last night. Your smile, your laugh – thank you for sharing them with the world, and with me. I will take your words with me through this life, grateful to you always.

When Great Trees Fall
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
– Maya Angelou

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