Wherever I go I am looking for you.
The crowded sidewalks at a local shopping center,
The children playing at Hop Scotch on the playground,
The baseball fans excitedly waving at our school playing field, and
Even when I am sitting in church listening to the choir,
I am watching to see if you will appear.
I know that you are out there somewhere.
I know that you know something is missing from your life.
Could it be that you are looking for something too?
Could it be that we are both looking for the same thing?
Could it be that someday, somewhere, we will find it?
What is it that we feel we must find?
I just don’t know. I sigh as the days continue to go by.
But I never give up looking. I hope that you won’t either.
Thinking about a new word today – inspiration. A long word for a sizable subject, you might say.
To inspire is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially something creative.
Most of us can look back at our own lives and find someone or something that inspired us in a positive way. In the early years it may have been a parent or a special teacher in our grade schools.
As we grew up our horizons became broadened. We listened to speeches or we read books that were very significant to us. We had special authors that inspired us to look at many new and unknown subjects. It might have been a musician or a sports figure that we followed their every word. We wanted to be just like they were, or maybe even better.
I submit to you that as adults, and also as creative writers we all have the ability to inspire the generations coming up behind us. We have the innate ability to show them that each of them is capable of bringing joy into their lives by the way they choose to live, and the choices that they make. We know that what we put into our minds will be reflected all around us and it is up to us to inspire our families and friends by living a life that they will wish to emulate.
Words, either written or spoken can inspire others and we want only the best for the people who listen to us or read our words. So it is our pleasure to remember that someday we may be the ones that are the inspiration for young lives just as our heroes and heroines were for us. It is an awesome responsibility, and one we shouldn’t take too lightly.
Sometimes we have to smile at our memories, be thankful that we had our friends as long as we did, and look for the words that express how we feel about them. Verna Thornton was probably the first friend that I made after I moved to Florida and discovered the Creative Writers Club at Betmar Acres. One of the original founders, she was an enthusiastic member that almost always showed up on Monday morning. As our facilitator she guided us in our writing, suggesting many subjects that she felt we would be interested in. As a poet, she excelled, and she and I felt a kinship from the very first time that I went. I was so impressed by the way her words could always make me see a picture in my mind. She just had a way with descriptive words that could make you laugh or cry or remember something in your own life.
Verna has gone on beyond us this week. She hadn’t been well after a bad fall a month ago, and we had missed her at our group meetings. I talked to her a few days ago and she was very determined to get better so that she could attend again in November. She lived alone, after having taken care of an ailing husband for many years. When I got the phone call I was shocked because I hadn’t expected it.
I found this poem written by Verna in our annual book put out by our group this spring, and am printing it to show you how she felt about moving on from us.
I was just a little child
And watched the pansies die.
Grandma tried to comfort me
As I began to cry.
Then she sat me on her lap.
She hugged me close and said,
“Pansies droop and petals fall,
But they’re not really dead.
Notice how the butterflies
Have colors bright and gay.
They are wilted pansies, dear,
The ones that got away.”
Now, my pansy bed is filled
With deep exotic hues,
Yellow, purple, rust and bronze,
Mahogany and blues.
Vibrant colors, trimmed with black,
Their scent is everywhere,
Sunshine yellow on them all,
Their fragrance fills the air.
Rippled by the summer breeze,
They’re nodding in the sun,
A dark and somber little face
Peers out from every one.
Wistfully, they try to speak,
And each one seems to say,
“How much longer will it be
Before I fly away?
I’m bound to earth by stem and roots
My days are passing by.
How much longer must I wait
To be a butterfly?”
Today our Verna is a beautiful, shining butterfly, so watch for her wherever you go.
Silvery full moon shining down upon us
The darkening sky is almost free of clouds
The streets seem more quiet tonight
I feel a great change coming on.
It is cooler tonight than normal
A change in the weather has come upon us.
I see there are fewer cars driving about.
Many of the driveways seem to be empty
The annual trek to the north has begun.
The siren call of warm sunny summers in other homes is upon us.
Altho many people will leave many others will stay.
This is their home.
They relish the quiet which will descend upon the park.
Looking ahead I see a fellow walker coming.
She is pushing a cart just like I am.
But her cart is filled, filled with Buster and Sophia,
Approaching us she brings the little dogs to be petted.
Their little bodies squirming with delight,
Waiting for my friendly hands to give them a rub.
This is what our park is about.
Neighbors greeting neighbors, exchanging their states of origin.
Our friendly walker wishes us safe travels.
We smile and say goodnight
But we know that next fall
Back to our park we will come,
Back to our friends in the south,
Back to our walks every evening
Back to our new friends, Buster and Sophia,
Hoping we will meet again under a silvery full moon.
If only we could go back,
Back to the long ago years of our youth,
Back to a simpler time where someone always told us what to do,
Back to the families that showed us right from wrong,
Back to the teachers that made us accountable for our time,
Back to the churches that reminded us to follow the Golden Rule,
Where would we be if we could go back?
If only we could look forward,
While remembering all the lessons we had learned,
Thinking that there is usually a much better untried way,
Noticing that others around us have their own paths to trod,
Realizing that we have our own inner voice,
Recognizing that our lives are the result of our choices,
If only – two little words that can be used
To show us a forward looking way.
Altho we can’t go back to our own “If Onlys”
We can place our sights firmly on the promise of tomorrow,
Knowing that we are the one who is in charge,
And “If Only” is no longer an excuse we can make.
Sometimes its easy to bring back the memories,
The golden flashes of the many years gone by,
The caring and the sharing of the friends long unseen,
The smiles and the jokes over forgotten happy events,
The remembrances of old family parties,
The brilliance of the ones who always made me laugh,
The laughter of the many children at their play,
The pat on the shoulder or the occasional hug,
The sparkling eyes that met each other with a special knowing,
Even the friends who shared the sadder times with me,
Long ago memories that seem to pour forth in my everyday living,
And sometimes, yes, often, I am thankful for it all.
The experiences that have brought me here to this place,
Here to my special memories and here to this time.
Sometimes I reflect upon all the wonderful years,
Knowing that everything in life has its place,
And I have most surely found mine.
No matter what happens tomorrow
I know I will enjoy today.
Remembering all of the smiles that you have given me,
Remembering all of the encouragement that has come my way,
Thinking of all of the places that we have seen together,
Capturing the flavors and scents of lands that we enjoyed,
Picturing the towering mountains everywhere we journeyed,
The flowing rivers, the waterfalls that seemed to pour forth from the sky,
The sun baked deserts, the mountain trails, the red hot lava at our feet,
The glaciers, so wild and so beautiful it took our breath away,
The eagles soaring overhead, the wildlife putting on a show for us,
All is in our memories, and we will never forget them.
No matter what happens tomorrow
I know I will enjoy today.
Friends and family beckon, memories of the old days abound,
Pictures of our loved ones are always in our mind.
Children grow up and become parents such as us.
Grandchildren and even great grandchildren make their place in our hearts.
We marvel at how the whole world seems to work
As if there really is a pattern as to how we live our lives.
We watch and we love and we know why we are here,
No matter what happens tomorrow,
I know I will be happy today.