Mag #211

Magpie Tales is a blog “dedicated to the enjoyment of poets and writers, for the purpose of honing their craft, sharing it with like-minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well.” Each week, it offers an image as a writing prompt.

Mag #211

Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco

Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco

It was the custom of Simon the Zealot to invite his friends to feast at his home after the sacrificial piety of every Sabbath. Of course, that meant “men only,” for we women were not allowed to participate in those raucous discussions of politics and providence. As a female in his household, my task was to keep the wine flowing as freely as did the details of their dialogues. Just by being present in that room, I learned much about the workings of men and government – the subtleties of reasoning and ruling, ideas that never insert themselves into the conversations of women. The men rarely noticed my presence; my purpose was to serve and be silent, and I used my role to my advantage.

And so it went, until the day that Simon invited to the table the man who caused a welcome disturbance at his wedding by magically changing barrels of water into barrels of wine. While I was attending to other wedding guests when this supposed miracle took place, I cannot assert that this actually happened. However, I did taste the “miraculous” wine and have to say that I found it quite fragrant.

Now, the day that Jesus joined Simon the Zealot’s table, everything changed. While the debates still agonized over the world’s politics and providence, they became less heated and more thoughtful, as the graceful gestures and soft responses of the man, Jesus, orchestrated a calmer tone. I marveled at the way he could hold the attention of every man there without even raising his voice. And there was something about his eyes, radiating a warmth and acceptance that penetrated to even the most doubtful heart.

It was not long after that Simon the Zealot left his wife and family to follow the man, Jesus – followed him out into the world of politics and provenance, joined others who did the same, all aroused by the man’s gentle promise of a world suffused with peace and harmony, fairness and compassion.

They say that there were some women who followed him, as well, for he welcomed all who welcomed him. I never left the house of Simon the Zealot, although sometimes I would dream of solemn eyes that brushed my soul and hands that graced the rest with a merciful yearning.

Sorting Socks

I have over three dozen pairs of socks. And that’s not counting the ones without mates.

I can’t imagine how I ever accumulated such a stash, but it’s typical of my reluctance to get rid of stuff. Psychological stuff as well as physical stuff. Sometimes it works to my advantage, for example, when my grandson is rooting around for some odd and end for a project he is constructing. I usually have whatever it is he needs. That reminds me of the earlier version of this book that I bought for him when he was a toddler.

But, like my stash of socks, there is stuff I don’t need to carry around with me. The writing workshop I took yesterday brought that fact home with great clarity.

Sorting socks is not the complete answer. But it’s a start.

Now, if I can only get an Amtrak writer’s residency, that might really give me a fresh start.

Starting fresh at age 74. Hmm. I can be Amtrak’s Grandma Moses. Ya think?

[Oh bollocks! I just realized I put the wrong Facebook url in my application. That might knock me out of the running right there. Too soon old; too late smart.]

one hundred minutes of solitude

She got up early this morning, appearing , already dressed, at the side of my bed, saying that she would just stand there and I should go back to sleep. Right.

So, I got up made her a cup of coffee, which she drank and then went back to sleep.

Ah. Found time. My rare chance to revel in the healing hush of the now-lush landscape.

I took a cup of Earl Gray tea and a Portuguese sweet roll embedded with Muenster cheese and went out to the rocking chair on the screened-in breezeway. Calli, my cat, glad to follow me into the dappled morning, scooted out the door to hassle the chattering jays who have learned to keep their distance from the chittering cat.

I sit and sip in the peace of some needed minutes without demands. Hummingbirds come and go at the red and white plastic flower. An indigo bunting perches on a tree branch, uncertain about approaching its favorite feeder. Calli has her eye on it. A pair of mourning doves bill and coo on a fallen tree trunk. Somewhere behind the thick screen of leaves, the lake glistens at the clear blue sky. I wish I had a hammock.

We took her to a geriatric specialist last week, hoping that the doctor might have some advice on how to deal with where mom is at — which is a moderate to severe dementia. My sibling, who has been in denial about the severity of her condition, finally, I think, got it: it’s only going to get worse. His handling of her situation, and his attitude toward me, makes my work here much harder than it has to be. If I leave, it will be because of him, not her.

She is 91, but she still dances with me almost every night before she goes to bed. We are both still good dancers. It’s about the only thing we’ve ever had in common. Dancing calms her down.

Calm. It’s what we all need here.

And lot more than only 100 minutes of solitude.

Lililth in the Darkness East of Eden

lilith in the darkness.jpg

If you’re familiar with Kalilily Time, then you know who Lilith is. The image above is from here, a treasure trove of Lilith images. Lililth was said to be banished by god into the darkness east of Eden.

If you read the previous post, it should be obvious why that image resonates with me tonight.

I think of the days when this one would have been the Lilith image that spoke to me. And I think of the time when, again, the crone in me will fire up and fly away.

Assassination Christmas

Bizzare.

It’s Christmas. I just finished watching The Bourne Supremacy and made my mother some chicken soup, since she’s got what looks like a tooth abcess — swollen jaw and pain and on an antibiotic prescribed by her dentist after I called him at home early on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve I spent reading Hunter’s Moon, a paperback escapist novel that defies categorizing, but does feature an assassin who is a werewolf and a female who hires him to kill her because her mother is driving her crazy and she can’t bring herself to be mean to her mean mother.

Aha. A pattern here, bizarre though it might be.

A month or so ago, I rented Assassination Tango, a movie that deserves a lot more than the little attention it got. Robert Duvall made my mouth water. Perhaps there’s a little werewolf in me.

Loveable assassins. Wishful thinking?

That mesmerizing flow of light and dark. That dancing with your demons and stepping fast to keep your balance. Life with adventure, sweet danger, passion, power.

No dancing here for me this Christmas, though. Just fantasy assassins with heart.