Take Fifteen, then Tackle that Mountain

Tackle that mountain, I will,
but first let me rest.
Fifteen quiet clicks are all I need,
because I can’t climb feeling like this.
Exhausted thoughts and limbs
just need a brief escape,
and then those shoes with extra grip,
I will lace.
Lights off and eyes closed before
I begin my late afternoon ascent.
My body instantly melts into the mattress
and my mind, into the mysterious abyss.

Fifteen stretched into thirty.
Still too brief –
this siesta needs an encore.
A peaceful room records
automatic and rhythmic echoes –
inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale …
My body sinking deeper and deeper,
releasing all tension, increased
by this nonstop 21st century.
My mind floating freely,
far removed from this
earthly existence.
A screaming alarm,
I wanted to ignore
but I chose to respond –
uniting my mind and body
once more.
My heavy eyes I opened
and my heavy feet,
I placed on the floor.

My mind and body shaky and unsure;
I took one step, then another,
then another,
then another …
Breathtaking splendor in all directions
soon made me forget
about my weighty hesitation.
My mind now alert,
grateful to be walking this path.
Thankful, it was, to have abandoned sleep
and to have settled back in
to a body that likes to resist.

Walking alone for stretches at a time.
I completely lost sight of you.
Isolation, except for the tiny figures I see
in a boat or a canoe.

We started our walk together,
but you quickly disappeared.
Slow steps –
too much to capture
through my lens.
Quick steps-
Eager you were
to keep up your pace.

Maybe I should keep up,
maybe the sun will set
and alone at the top I will be,
maybe there is a mountain lion
tracking my speed,
maybe, waiting and watching,
she crouches behind me.
Maybe I should just breathe
and enjoy the crunching of the rocks
beneath my feet
and the sound of the solo flyer,
flying higher than any peak.

I am so glad I didn’t let rest
steal my afternoon,
because if I had kept sleeping,
look at all my mind and body
would have missed.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my poem about hiking on what would have otherwise been a lazy afternoon. I am so glad I laced up my shoes and made it to the top! I caught up with my husband, who took this shot. 😏 I hope you have tackled your own mountains this week and that your climb has energized you. ❤️ Have an inspired weekend! Michele

50 Life Stories Update: I am working on Story 46. When I complete this one, only four more to go. I am so close! 😊 50LifeStories.com

Pictures 1-9: Taken while hiking Yavapai Point Trail, Lake Pleasant, Peoria, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

She Weaves Color with Stardust

I am fortunate to have two visual artists in my life who lose themselves in their art and help others see where the expected ends and the imagination begins. One is my daughter, an art and technology major, and the other, is a former coworker and cherished friend. Both inspire me, every week if not every day, by their devotion to creation and their expressive ways.

Creating art is a translation of experiences and a way of communicating, in ways that spoken language isn’t able to. It’s a way of exploring feeling through color and a way of bringing in other realms and realities into our own.” – Sammi Lee

A Poem for visual creators~

She dances through my dreams

barely touching the invisible ground

before moving on to the next scene.

She weaves color with stardust as she floats –

transforming the gray images into technicolor

and the silent movie with heavenly notes.

The brush, her scepter, she wields with purpose and poise,

as her mind transcends, turning the chatter

and chaos in and around her into calming white noise.

The blank canvas charmed by her regal hand;

it waits ready as she captures captivating subjects

and recreates their otherworldly lands.

To the present and corporeal,

these scenes she brings forth,

giving others a chance to see

what can exist beyond static thoughts –  

beyond our limits of perceived reality.

In a form with countless variations,

lives a universe scattered with

fragmented and far-reaching lines,

faint and oppressive shadows,  

bold and dim hues,

sharp angles and soft curves,

and an abundant palette of colors,

that can be brushed together

into endless combinations –

that we simply define as art.

These free-spirited artists who ornament

my world and my walls,

have their individual reasons for doing so.

One is painting toward an extraordinary vocation,

guided by inspiration and higher education,

and One is painting a colorful path back to herself,

after dedicating her life to selfless service.

Different styles, pieces, and mediums they explore,

but, both create to release their expressive souls.

Diette, my friend and One expressive soul.

To view more art by Sammi Lee, visit https://www.instagram.com/hazeluminous.art/ or http://www.sammilee.com

Thank you for stopping by and reading my poem written with two free-spirited artists in mind. My poem is dedicated to all creators who quiet the noise and let their brilliance soar. I hope your week has been full of color and imagination. ❤️ Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Image 1: Sammi Lee painting Mechammonite (acrylic on canvas) Image 2: Sammi Lee, Seshat (acrylic on canvas) Image 3: Sammi Lee, Paro Drip (digital) Image 4, 5, 6: Diette, (acrylic pour) Image 7: Diette @ DBG Image 8: Sammi Lee, Orchid Queen

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

Love Can Scatter the Clouds

The veil that blew away in

the autumn wind

is blowing toward me again.

Just rest, close your eyes, sleep –  

it is there you will find some peace,

the floating shroud whispers its appeal.

Enticing and inviting, are these thoughts of repose.

More comforting than scabs being exposed –

forcing me to relive pain and sorrow.

Don’t resist, just collapse, give in

an escape is where you should begin,

the hovering cloth murmurs its deception.

I listened once, and that was just fine

because a rest is what was needed at that time,

but I am stronger now and ready to fight –

for my self, for my voice, for my life.

I stand firm, ready to face that enveloping cloud,

that hovers above, ready to enshroud.

After a hiatus, nourishment, and rest,

I am stronger, but I need more than strength

to face this approaching cloud and scatter it to shreds.

I need what we all need, a vital supplement –  

of which we don’t always get enough.

I need an infusion of love from dawn to dusk.

To fill my space with joy and drive the sadness away,

starting today, and lasting until the 29th of February,

I will begin a twenty-nine-day Love campaign.

Every odd day I will take a moment (or two)

to comfort myself with extra Love.

Whatever brings me joy, I will make the time to do.

Every even day I will wrap others with the Love,

that from my expanding heart will flow.

The more Love I give away, the more it will grow.

Turning these approaching clouds and their gloomy ways

into scattered fragments that enhance, not retract, Love’s far-reaching rays.

I know I am not alone in feeling this way.

That a month devoted to hearts and candy,

can sometimes betray.

Focusing on Love, when I want to retreat,

won’t be easy; I want to quit

before I even begin.

To stay accountable to my goal,

my Love shares I will post.

Spreading more Love with each scroll.

On this Love quest, I invite you to join,

turning my dream of an infused Love month,

into your own.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my introspective poem that addresses moving through sadness and helping others do the same. I hope your January gave you many moments of joy and your February delivers lots of love. ❤️ Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Picture 1: Crescent City, California Picture 2: View from hotel in Oakland, California Picture 3: Crescent City, California Picture 4: Lake Pleasant, Arizona Picture 5: Walking on the beach in California

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

A Pointless Poet Writes While the World Waits

I am the explosion of color before the setting sun disappears.

I am the final display of magnificence before twilight descends.

My color-splashed canvas is brief – a transitory existence.

One of a kind golden photos that are easily missed.

I am an ever changing portrait that continues to unfold –

beautiful and breathtaking, I am a sight to behold.

I am both a moment in time and every story ever told.

A twisted tapestry of light and elements refined.

Everything that we wish to be, exquisitely defined.

As the invisible brush and palette blend,

an awareness washes over me –

not one of melancholy, but guided urgency.

Before the brush and palette are put away a final time

I too will live vibrantly and outwardly –

living a life that is uniquely mine.

Stop. Wait a minute. Is this really what I should be doing

on a Friday, late afternoon?

Are these meandering lines a frivolous waste of fleeting time?

Surely, they are, and this pointless poet should just walk away –

to find a greater purpose, a greater plan for her day.

Many things left undone and many thoughts left unsaid

while my fingers and metaphoric mind continue their dance.

I should quiet the lyrical melody that keeps my Dell humming and

puts me in a temporary trance.

What is the point of blending words, rhythm, and rhyme?

After all, it’s music that only I can hear, a song that is only mine.

Instead of clicking the black keys and making words appear

I should slip on gloves and to my garden, start tending.

When I am done with that chore,

I should grab the mop and start scrubbing my floor.

If I start now, I will still have time to fold socks

before preparing dinner, with fresh veggies I must chop.

Those tasks, and more, like saving the world,

have a greater purpose, a greater plan for my day.

Much greater than the frivolous lines filling up this page.

Before I save the world,

I will grab those gloves, and that mop,

but first, just a few more lines I must type.

Because, I can’t stop the words from spilling out.

So, for now I will let the melody play and the words escape.

Words that have learned how to dance

over and around the shoulds and can’ts.

And that is how this pointless poet prefers it to be,

because long after our gardens die,

our floors need replacing,

and our socks need mending,

the world will still need saving.

So poets, let the quiet melodies continue,

the spilling of words.

Because frivolous lines, like a fleeting canvas,

will endure.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my reflective poem with a playful twist. I hope that your week has had a few unexpected (and delightful) moments. Have an inspired weekend! Michele

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to read my words and glance at my photos. For optimal viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post.

50 Life Stories” update: I am writing my way through Story #41. I am so close to my goal! Maybe unrealistic, but I am pushing to finish Story 50 by Valentine’s Day. ❤️

Picture 1: View from a cabin at Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona Picture 2: Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona Picture 3: High Street Shopping Center, Phoenix, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

A Body that Transcends

Her body holds secrets
that I can only hear
if I sink into the liquid,
and let her draw me near,
as her ancient wisdom
soothes, washes, and transcends
time, thought, and truths.
In the murkiness, I suspend
my frame and my beliefs
about what is and what should be
and simply allow her body
to support and carry me.
Just breathe, there is nothing to fear.
She carries and protects the secrets
of all that is, was, and will be,
surely, she can do the same for me.

Gliding Across Glass

I learned at any early age that what first appears as an insurmountable and tortuous task, can turn into one of my greatest joys. I learned this when I was about eight years old and I was faced with learning something that seemed impossible to master. The seemingly impossible task required me to submerge in cold dark lake water, struggle with a life jacket that was riding above my ears, keep my feet in skies that pointed in every direction except the desired one – toward the throttling boat, and wrap my small fingers around the bouncing handles found at the end of a long rope. I needed to manage these tasks while bobbing alone, far from the safety of our boat. Each failed attempt to stand up on those skies meant I had to watch our boat, driven by my father, pass my way without stopping. A castaway, unable to call for help, I once again watched the long white tail trailing behind our boat approach my outstretched arms. My task was to grab the rope, before the boat circled behind me. If I missed grabbing my lifeline, the boat idled while I swam awkwardly to the end of the tail. Handles secure, the boat would continue its journey, back to where it began, and the stretched long rope created a taut straight line from me to them. Not only did the tight rope create the shortest distance between me and my family, it reduced the slack that can cause a sudden jolt and probable tumble after the propulsion catches up with the paused skier.

Another failed attempt and a rope burn around my pointer finger would surely land me a seat in the dry warm boat. Sadly, it did not. Apparently, my pleading and tears were drowned by the waves. My father would not let me back in the boat until I stood up on those skies. I knew those words carried weight, and I would need to lift my own out of the water if I wanted to feel dry land again.

I yelled, “Hit it,” as I had been instructed to do and finally, sitting back, my posture secure, determined, I was able to hold on to the split handles long enough to allow the engine to pull me up and out of the water. I did it! I can still feel the wind on my face, and the sound of the water splashing off me, as the motor’s speed instantly changed me from a floating fish form back into an upright mammal, only now, I did what primates are not naturally designed to do; I was gliding across water.  

I wanted nothing more in those moments of failed ski starts to crawl back into the boat. I am glad I did not get my way. Learning to water ski as a young person gave me the greatest gifts of my childhood and allowed me to experience profound freedom and joy. I have many fond memories of skiing across Arizona lakes: the revved engine when I yelled, “hit it,” feeling the spray from my ski as I leaned closer to the water, the freedom of gliding across the water, the friendly hellos from other boaters as they noticed the small slalom skier passing by, skiing alongside my brother, watching my parents ski, the pop of the vibrating red flag when a skier went down, the smacking sound made when the waves and the boat crashed into each other, and skiing through canyons that amplified sight and sound.

I enjoyed gliding across a smooth glass-top lake, that could be found on a quiet and calm weekday. Gliding across glass was an exhilarating experience, both the feel of the smooth water under my ski, and the look of the surface as I cut across. Calm water was a gift, but I did not mind a few waves now and then to add interest and challenge. My two-ski start was quickly replaced with a slalom ski that allowed me to maneuver outside of the wake, from right to left, and left to right. I learned how to ride the ridge of the wake as it propelled me outside of its boundaries, and I became skilled at leaning sideways, close to the water before leaning back and jetting across the wake to do the same on the other side. My difficult ski start was replaced with the strength and skills that allowed me to balance gracefully on one ski and stay on top of the water for longer periods. I also learned how to motion to go faster, which I often did during my adventurous youth. My ski moments were not completely void of fear – I did experience it from time to time. Fear surfaced if a large boat sped by, because that meant large waves would follow, or if I sat too long bobbing alone in the water before our boat made its way back to me. My family worked well as a team during these moments. My mom or dad drove the boat, and one of us was always on the lookout for a downed skier, flag ready. The last time I skied, my daughter, who was young at the time, saw me fall and somersault across the water. When I climbed back in the boat she was upset and crying; she was worried about her mom. I was fine, not even a scratch. I was better than fine.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my poem about the transcendent power of swimming in a body of water and my story about learning to water ski. I hope that you are finding joy and adventure in your own life. Have an inspired weekend! Michele

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to read my words and glance at my photos. For optimal viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post.

Picture 1: View from a boat, Saguaro Lake, Arizona Picture 2: Lake Pleasant, Arizona Picture 3: Lake Pleasant, Arizona Picture 4: One of 27 replica lighthouses along Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.