Monthly Archives: March 2014

Weekly Challenge: Writerly Reflections

When did I fall in love with books and writing?

As I reflected on that question my memories immediately drifted to the school library during my elementary years. I’m sure it was not a big room. But I felt as though I could get lost in those stacks. Lost among the many friends, and the many adventures, all surrounding me and protecting me from a world that seemed uncertain. I could spend, what seemed like hours, sitting on the little stool used by students to reach the top shelves, reading about people from the past, places I dreamed of seeing, animals I hoped to own and mysteries I knew I could solve.
During the summer, my best friend and I would ride our bikes to the city library and search through the books to find grand adventures. We spent many summer days living the adventures we read about. We imagined crossing great mountain ranges in the small woods near our home. We sat on a stoop near the center of our small town, watching for the men whose pictures hung in the post office. Our bicycles became Indy cars and our Johnny West Cowboys lived on real ranches.

My love for writing started during those same adventurous years. 4th grade seemed to be the year that I realized my own words could form stories. Our teacher introduced us to haiku. Suddenly my words found order and expression. I found a place to put emotions I did not yet understand. The other moment of awakening happened the same year. The teacher encouraged us to take popular fairy tails and change them to be our own. Wow! Not only did my emotions have a place to rest….my imagination could float around the page and create characters and places.

The most difficult part of realizing how much joy I could gain from writing, was finding the courage to actually write and risk criticism….this I am still working on!

When Did That Happen?

I love the Golden Girls. Recently I was reminded of an episode. (please excuse paraphrasing) Dorothy and Blanche are talking about facial wrinkles. Dorothy explains to Blanche, if you bend at the waste and look at the floor your wrinkles are much more obvious. On the other hand, if you lay on your back all of your wrinkles smooth out and your face looks much younger.
Blanche takes a hand mirror, leans back and admires her beauty. Dorothy encourages her to lean forward and look in the mirror. Blanche follows Dorothy’s direction and suddenly screeches…”Oh My God Dorothy you are right!”
Dorothy’s response, “Always on your back Blanche!”

Putting the obvious sexual reference aside….
A few days ago Sonya and I took the dogs for a walk. I started snapping pictures of her and Hershey. Then I flipped the camera to selfie and took pictures of them over my shoulder. I noticed how pretty the sky looked, blue with puffy clouds, so I took a few selfies while looking down at the camera. Oh My God…Dorothy was right!!!

It is a Loss For All of Us….

Britney and Crystal were a couple. They were young. Crystal had a 5 year old daughter. One of them was a security guard and one of them worked at Starbucks. Did I mention they were young? They had an entire lifetime ahead of them. They may or may not have spent that lifetime together….but they deserved a chance to live their lives and either make it as a couple or not. They did not deserve to die. 

I will admit I know few details about the murder of these 2 women. I did not know the women. All I know is what I have read. They were murdered…it is assumed because they were lesbians. The person currently sitting in a Galveston jail….suspected of killing these young ladies…was actually a person that should have laid his own life down to protect them. The suspect is the father of Britney….yes, the father of Britney is suspected of killing his daughter and her girlfriend. After killing them, he is suspected of transporting their bodies to another city and dumping them. He did not dump them in a lush green pasture or at the base of a rolling hill….no, he dumped them next to a dumpster. 

We know it is a dangerous world. We know there is a lot of hate in the world. We know people don’t like people that are “different.” 
But aren’t we suppose to find comfort, and protection from our family? Aren’t we suppose to feel unconditional love, kindness and acceptance within our family?

It breaks my heart that these 2 young women lost their lives, a little girl lost her mommy and quite possibly the world lost a future CEO, social worker, pilot, teacher…..maybe even a president. Sadly we will never know what greatness these young women were meant to achieve. 

All we know is they were erased from this world because they loved differently…because they were born to walk on a path the murderer did not understand.

Did I mention they were young?

Weekly Writing Challenge: Power of Names / It’s Tree

As a child I never liked my name. It seemed clunky. It didn’t roll off my tongue. When asked to introduce myself I often stumbled and felt awkward getting the letters to exit my lips in the right order. Most importantly, it just wasn’t me. 

Then my name changed. My name became the name my parents might have given me had they been hippies. It became earthy, strong and rooted. It became me!

As a fifth grader I was quite tall for my age. I towered at 5’6” while my friends were still hoping to reach five feet. The winter of that year, my best friend Chelley and I walked to our local high school every Saturday morning to play in the girl’s basketball league. Competitive sports were still new for girls since Title IX had become law only a few years early. Mr. Montgomery was the dad of one of our teammates and he also volunteered to be our coach. He is the person that christened me with the name that would come to define me and remain with me for the rest of my life. 

“A kid as tall as you deserves a nickname.” Mr. Montgomery said this every Saturday and he would occasionally try out a name to see if it fit me. Then one Saturday it happened….”Tree.” My name, my identity, the name that gave me something special.

I wasn’t a cheerleader type girl, I was a big girl. Athletic, strong, competitive. I liked to play ball with the boys. My brother and I wrestled, boxed and threw each other around the house. He was older, but I was bigger. I was not a Teresa….I was a Tree!

The name Tree has stayed with me my entire life. Few people have ever heard my “real” name. The only people that still call me Teresa are people that knew me as a small child – mostly older relatives. My mother calls me Tree, my co-workers call me Tree and I always introduce myself as Tree.

People try to make my name fancy. They spell it with one “E” or pronounce it “Tray.” But it isn’t fancy, it is just like me. Big and strong and firmly rooted….it is Tree. 

Time….The Speed Machine

OK….I have not stuck to my “once a week” blog post. I’m not always sure how it happens….you know, time just slips away and suddenly a month is gone….never to be seen again. No matter how much we regret letting time slip through our fingers we can never retrieve it.

We can’t stand in front of time and stop it. We can’t stick our foot out and trip it, slowing it down enough for us to jump on top of it and enjoy the heck out of it. 

All we can really do is accept that time is precious, time is fleeting, time is only with us for this moment. If we blink, the moment escaped and we will never recapture it. 

For those of you that have passed that magical age that causes time to speed up (for those of you who haven’t reached that age…you will!) you will understand when I say “Trying to keep up with time is like being trapped in a hamster ball.” Time, by its nature, is constantly moving. But something happens around the age of 35 (at the oldest 40) that causes time to rev its engine and quadruple its speed. The other thing that happens around this time is…20 year olds look 14 and suddenly your parents don’t look nearly as old as they did a few years ago.

So the lesson is….time is precious? Or is the lesson….run faster so you can keep up? I’m really not sure. The one thing I do know, for me time can be friend or foe…..I think slowing down and living each moment with purpose will allow us to appreciate time and hopefully, as a result, enjoy life. But no matter how perfect this ideal of meditative purpose is….rarely does my reality or my actions meet the required focus. I am much more likely to chase the squirrel until the butterfly gets my attention. 

So my life is out of focus with multiple distractions fighting for space and time in my head. Without strick study and discipline I will never meet the demands of meditative focus. However, I can find ways to relax and enjoy the time I have been given. I can dig in the dirt, walk through a beautiful park, sit quietly with my partner, breathe deep, pet my 4 legged children, laugh with my friends and smile.

Time is fleeting but maybe our job isn’t to keep up as much as it is to realize what a precious gift we have been given and not allow too much of it to slip by without noticing it and making the most of it.