A Detour & A Desert Dance (personal poetic prose)

Consider, how far you’ve come and how, with your face to the sun and with one foot in front of the other, you will get where and what you are intended.

A detour on my way to a three-day desert escape…

With my car idling, I was a stranger outside looking in. Beyond the (once ivy-covered) walls, I see a girl tucked in her room, her mind in another world, her face in a book. Tucked away from the world, inches from the kitchen door, I see a man lying on the cold floor, sleeping off the night before. Down the hall, I see a freckle-faced boy, taking one more gadget apart – trying to figure it out. I must take leave from this faded family scene. I must depart. On its way back to me, I watch my shadow step over his scattered clothes on the front lawn, tossed out by the woman inside who finally had enough. I turn my car around and begin to drive away. I notice the tall eucalyptus trees are gone; the springy saplings we planted on a wind-whipping day. The trees with the leaves that turned to medicine when I did what she asked – my small hand turning the leaf a dark green. A magic scent released. Holding the ghost leaf while in my driver’s seat, I closed my eyes and breathed. Once again, a calming remedy. Leaving the memory of the home that my parents built then tore down, I see the crosswalk leading to my elementary school. A safe crossing between our corner house and the chain-whipping flagpole. A school named after the poet, Walt Whitman. The building, dedicated to his legacy, was my childhood sanctuary.

Those ivy-covered walls that covered the truth of a family falling apart, once contained me, but they do not define me. I am no longer that little girl seeking the peaceful shelter of a Secret Garden. I am a strong resilient woman, who broke free from tangled roots of the past. Roots that can easily trap. Try they did, to drag me into their dark and suffocating abyss. I sometimes had to crawl, and there were times during my teenage and young-adult years when it seemed the ensnaring vines would win, but I persevered and built a solid foundation on which to live. A foundation carried within that allowed me to devote love, guidance, and stability to my daughter and husband. A foundation that is now offering me a place from which to lift off and gently land.

I spent time alone in the desert this week to shed my skin. In the solitude, alongside the lizards and the prickly plants, a most authentic and empowered version of myself emerged. It is now her time; she wins. I embraced her. I danced with her. I slithered with her, low-bellied along the rocks. Then I walked out of the desert with my strong legs, stronger than they have ever been.   

After three days of desert exploring and photographing, book writing, and assisting with the online SYNTT writing workshop, I made it home in time for an evening Zumba class. I am glad I did. It was a fun class. A rare sighting occurred too – behind me, danced a man. 🕺🏼 I could not stop laughing, not at him, but with him, as he tried to keep up with a room full of strong and agile women. 💪🏻💃🏻💃🏽💃🏾💃🏼 Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. 💗 Michele

A positive personal note: My parents’ divorce was a relief, but the years that followed were challenging for all four of us. My (late) father did eventually stop drinking and he built a stable life and career; my strong single mother persevered, worked hard, bought her own home and is doing well in another beautiful home; and my older brother is an Army Veteran and world-traveling IT professional.

A special thank you to Masticadores Spain, for publishing my poem,The Desert INvites a Journey WithIN” I appreciate their ongoing support of my work.

Photos: my images, Sonoran Desert

© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton

85 thoughts on “A Detour & A Desert Dance (personal poetic prose)

    1. Thank you for giving my words an understanding place to land, Brad. 🙏🏻 I appreciate your considerate and supportive words. Most of us had our childhood challenges. They can make us stronger, more empathetic, and also show us how not to live. Writing delivers awareness and healing and can connect us to the challenges of others. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Words spoken (or written) from the high desert king! Yes, solitary time in nature always restores, balances, and energizes.✨ I should do that once a month! Thank you very much, Timothy. haha The lizards do have some rhythm. I have to be careful to not step on their toes though.🦎😆

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    1. One day at a time, I believe we can. 🌞 Childhood lasts for a brief time, but it shapes us – for many of us, it presents us with challenges to move beyond. It is empowering to do so! Thank you, Ingrid, for sharing your own history. Sharing can help others, as you know. 💝

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Having risen from the ashes of an unsettled plot of ivy and tumultuous times, with a burgeoning will and refined vision, the desert is now your garden – an expansive horizon from which to cultivate loving family bonds and happy memories. With an eye on the past and a perspective focused on the future, yours is a solid foundation befitting of the strong and beautiful woman you are. God speed, Michele, and thank you for sharing your personal poetic prose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely prose, Phil, that begins with a reference to the mythological Phoenix. Phoenix, the city, burns all summer, turning desert dwellers to ash. Anyway… thank you for your carefully crafted and kind comment. 🙏🏻🌄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up in a dysfunctional family also, and I was very angry for a long time. But I gradually saw that my parents were fighting their own personal demons and did not know how to cope with life. This made me more understanding of their issues, although it did not excuse the hurt and damage done to my brother and myself. Still, my struggle made me a stronger person in the end.

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    1. Thank you so much for opening up about your own history. It does help us, children, to understand that parents may not be able to parent when they are dealing with their “own personal demons” as you describe. My parents were very young when they married. Fortunately, they did not spend a lifetime fighting under the same roof. I appreciate your comment and love reading that you are stronger for your (parents’) struggles – a reward for the challenging experiences. 🌻

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  3. This is such a heartbreaking and perfectly beautiful and resilient story. I appreciate you sharing a part of your story with us, Michele. We are all lucky to be connected to the love and light that you emit. ❤️🥰✨✨

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    1. It is a privilege to be connected to inspiring and talented writers, like you, in this creative space. It has enriched my life in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing your sincere words of understanding and compassion. A gift! 💝 🙏🏻 Have a wonderful weekend, Jeff.

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  4. The music of Xavier Rudd makes this post thrum and dance for me alongside the rhymes already apparent and growing in the writing. I love his “Spirit Bird” song as much as I love your story of resilience and courage, and final embrace in the desert. 🙂

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    1. I agree, of course. His music is uplifting and fun to move to. Thank you so much, Jaya. I am fascinated by how you and I draw inspiration from nature and how the different environments reveal themselves in our writing. Enjoy your weekend. 🌞

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  5. You know Michele, every time I read your words, 🤔 I find myself embraced in a deep period of reflection. I had to sit for a moment as I reread your words of detours and dances! My heart gripped around your words:
    “Those ivy-covered walls that covered the truth of a family falling apart, once contained me, but they do not define me. I am no longer that little girl seeking the peaceful shelter of a Secret Garden. I am a strong resilient woman, who broke free from tangled roots of the past.”

    This shows your courage, fortitude, and resilience of a memory that gave you the strength to embrace the present and future. And then, to get back home in time to hit your Zumba class, 🏃🏽‍♀️ you are a bad mamma jamma girlfriend!!! 👏🏼💃🏽🌟 Your spirit is always refreshing! 🤗🥂😍 Hugs and smooches!!! 😘💐😘

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    1. I adore you! Thank you, Kym, for taking the time to sit in reflection with my words and write comments from the heart, like you do. That means so much to me. I know you feel the same.💖 I so wish you could have been in that class with me. The funny things that man said as he did his best to keep up. Tears in my eyes. 😂 Good for him. I doubt he will come back, but you never know. Sure added some humor to all the sweat! Big hugs and smooches to you! Always. 🤗😘💝

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      1. Oh, I’m sure that was a hoot! LMBO Now, you can relax a bit, especially after your detour ⛔ and dancing. 💃🏽 Your messages are so inspiring and I’m sure as you travel on the beaten path of uncharted waters 🏖 or desert, 🏜 you are more motivated to create so much more for us to savor! Enjoy the rest of your evening my dear! 🍹🍾🥂 Much love always! 💖💥💝

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      2. Your words inspire and encourage. 🥰 Thank you so much, Kym. We are making our way through this life, one (dance) step at a time. Happy, I am, to be dancing virtually with you! After a solid 8 hours of sleep, I am ready to go!! Enjoy your Sunday, sunshine. 🌞 💖

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      3. 8 Hours of Actual Sleep Michele??? 😴💤🥱 Girlfriend, I am super jealous! I expect to conk out at any moment now! UGH!!! 🥴 I did enjoy my Sunday though. 😊 It is actually getting dark here as we speak! 🌙 Imagine that! 😒

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      4. I know girl, but still 8 hours of sleep is like a free all-expense paid trip to Disney World for a month! That’s a valuable commodity…the 8 hours that is. 🌛 Sleep tight 😴💤😴 and don’t let the bed bugs bite! 😲 Hugs and smooches 💋😘💞

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  6. “Consider, how far you’ve come and how, with your face to the sun and with one foot in front of the other, you will get where and what you are intended.

    once contained me, but they do not define me.

    I persevered and built a solid foundation on which to live.

    It is now her time; she wins. I embraced her. I danced with her. I slithered with her, low-bellied along the rocks. Then I walked out of the desert with my strong legs, stronger than they have ever been.”

    I wished to repeat these lines above that jumped out at me, glowing powerfully, beautifully from the rich pool of life experience and authentic seeking. They reached deep into my heart in resonance and affirmation of my own emergence of Being. Breathing in silence with your post and your pictures, with gratitude and love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel your genuine connection to my words, to my seeking journey (three-day and life). A universal journey. Thank you very much, Pragalbha, for reading, processing, and engaging with excerpts from my post, in the way that you did. Have a beautiful day, kind soul that you are. ✨💛🌞

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  7. Something hit me while reading your words, then the comments before me. Your life experiences have made you very receptive to others — their trials, their triumphs, and their words. You really feel what they are saying, and your responses are so alive and connective. I am so glad I have found you and your world. I feel we all can turn the dark into sparkling with only a word.

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    1. Your comment made me well up with emotion. What a beautiful comment. 💗 I am very empathic – very intuitive of you to recognize. It is a blessing and a curse. It got to be a bit much in the classroom, feeling what so many teenagers felt everyday. I do enjoy connecting with people and engaging authentically, so of course, I am most grateful for your mention of that too. It is a treasure to be connected to you too. Your art posts and writing inspires me, and makes me laugh too. 😊 Love your final thought. Absolutely! ✨

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  8. It’s a joy to read your posts always. Loved to know more about you and your past in this one. Yes, you are a strong woman, and I sense that in every post. You are an inspiration to me. Be blessed dear Michele. You turned out beautiful❤️🌹🤗🙏

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  9. A great story of strength and resilience. Going back can be hard, but realizing how far you have come since then must be very exhilarating! I love all energy and zest for life! Keep on keeping on Michele! You are doing very well!

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