A Beloved Face

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Charcoal sketch just before our 15th wedding anniversary

I took up sketching two years ago, an offshoot of my love for photography. I’m a music teacher by trade, though, and my ability to play the clarinet does not translate to getting the perspective correct on a sheet of paper… at all. Modestly, I’ll admit to being painfully slow and lacking in technique. However, the ability to lock yourself up in a practice room for hours on end, incrementally working towards a musical goal, absolutely transfers to any artistic endeavor.

This portrait is the culmination of a goal I set for myself this summer. I wanted to draw my husband’s face. I did sketch exercises and played with my chalk pastels, watched a dozen tutorials on YouTube to see how artists approach portrait drawing. Nothing compared to laying the medium down on paper, though. Shaping and coaxing lines into those resembling the face I’ve looked upon for almost two decades now was rather daunting… a face I came to realize, as I layered and blended charcoal, I know as I do my own.

Sure, it’s a sentiment that’s tossed about. One would hope you know your significant other’s visage quite well. However, on this occasion, while drawing this portrait of us, I felt as though I truly did… because I had to really look, commit and linger… just like in the beginning when love was new and discovering an exact eye color was cause for intense celebration.

Portraits

Deep Hermitage Done

Walked into the woods, I did,

And slept beneath the rain.

Thank the crows for tents and trees

And the racoon, all the same.

Like a cat in the dark with lamps for eyes,

It crept until I grew wise.

Then the music stopped.

Jaw harp silenced, twanging hand stilled.

My heart leaped, it did–utterly thrilled.

There!

An audience for my eleventh hour display,

A camping concert, the one-woman way.

Though, my banded friend stayed but briefly,

Perhaps, to join in its own… band–

Taking the performance someplace else.

The magic lost, the nightly crickets somehow off

Tempo, I packed up my tool of trade,

Closed its case–bidding it take the final bow–

And let the midnight hour linger.

-C. Green

*I’ve been a month away. I had adventures and introspection, bursts of creativity and an odd dread… turning away from my blog. My adventure, though fun, drained me I think. It’s hard to express why I could not write and let others read. I am back home now, in more than just the physical sense. I find myself becoming centered, again. And so, I use poetry to tell a true tale! A racoon tried to sneak upon me (and the garbage bag suspended from a tree limb) while I was playing music at night during a camping trip. They really do prowl like cats.*

 

 

For Posterity…

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Pemaquid Point, Maine

It stands sentinel, a guard against loss–of direction, of life. It stands, a beacon, towards the safety of shore, away from storms. It stands, representative of an evening spent walking along striations upon glacial carved stone… representative of my efforts spent and enjoyment photographing the structure and moment for posterity.

One day, nature and time will have their way. What will this coastline look like in a hundred years? A thousand? Man might move this lighthouse away, further inland perhaps, as other structures have done… or artists and photographers will have the last of its image.

For Posterity

*In response to this week’s Discover Challenge.*

Maestro and Muse

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Like an ember flaring amid August pine, the heat sealed her fate and opened her lips. Who knew a kiss could burn? Tequila and a wedge of lime followed by a shot of moonshine, quick and too smooth for her untried appetites, the world spun around her axis.

Then she asked, “When can we do that, again?”

He smiled–such a smile–with lips, teeth and the tip of his tongue… a warm-up of sorts, choral prelude to the best interludes she would ever know.

He called her his muse, and she named him her maestro.

–C. Green

Opening Line

*Flash fiction in response to this week’s Discover Challenge.*

Door

Unclean, her feet remained outside amid detritus and debris–their nails blackened by names… Girl, Motherless, Poor. Her feet were cracked and caked with another word… Slave. And though “masters”  believed they owned her, she bowed to no earthly lord, except hunger and cold, perhaps. So she toiled in the fields outside the big house while her toes grew roots and her limbs grew sturdy.

Seasons saw the tilling of soil. Generations passed and so did her soul, eventually. Girl, Motherless, Poor, Slave… no more. I would know her as Adored by none more than her children, grandchildren and their children for whom freedom was hard-won. History would have her remembered as only an etching in ink, or so the uncaring would deem.

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House on the Chippokes Plantation, VA

girl… 8 yrs.

Except… Upon her shoulders, stood those who reached up to look through windows and, eventually, walk through that front door.

–C. Green

America still grapples with issues surrounding slavery, the legacy of hatred and belief in one’s ethnic superiority over another. As a public school teacher, I open children’s minds, letting in the stories of history–never letting our future forget the struggles of our past. We sing civil rights songs in my classes every year. They are my doors through which we travel to shared hopes and dreams–perpetuating the right of freedom, equality, dignity and the pursuit of happiness.

The Story Behind a Door

Pitching a Tent

Describe your blog, using succinct yet quirky language. Make it a greeting of sorts, a meeting between new people, a literary face to an unexplored space. Some call it your pitch, an elevator pitch, to be precise…

But the thought of a moving cage in a place I’d call home just wouldn’t settle well. What do you mean I have to be pleasant and talk while falling? I’ve never been fantastic at idle chat and on top of that, to tout myself as if speed dating, making friends while dangling on a steel thread… No. It’s not for me. I’d be too anxious to be witty. I’d rather just pitch a tent.

Poetic
Interludes
Tracing
Carrie’s
Hermitage,
Introversions,
Niches,
Gratitudes,

And

Tracking
Each
New
Thought

Analog… Coffee Conscience

Coffee smells sublime just about any way you make it. I’m mildly addicted to the substance… in polite company. In  all others, I am an infusion of caffeine. When they first hit the mass markets, K-cups and those various other automated pod machines were like founts of liquid gold. Drinkable brilliance in every flavor and convenience… and then I learned of the sheer waste produced by all the leftover plastic in those. I think the knowledge hurt my soul a little bit. Those K-cups were my one true indulgence.

I couldn’t stomach those delicious but destructive cups any longer. So I stopped.

These days,  to assuage the guilt, I embrace quieter ways of coffee-making. There is the path of the French press and the single drip filter, and they’vecoffee taught me much. Of greatest immediate appeal was this: coffee still tastes wonderful–more so–I feel. There’s also a sense of satisfaction in the slowing down of the process… the ritual it has now become, of starting my mornings and ending the evenings in the moment. There is a conscientiousness to the whole business now so that it no longer feels like business.

Warm the water. Place coffee grounds into the French press. Pour the water carefully inside the carafe. Gently stir the grounds to thoroughly wet and watch a delicious foam emerge on the surface. Place the strainer inside. Wait about five minutes, more or less, based on mood. Press the strainer gently downward, savoring the pressure between water and grounds. Pour delicately into my cup and enjoy.

And I do… I enjoy.
Analog