Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Sense of Place

This is another of the prompts our blogging/writing tribe/group is using to inspire us to be more regular in our blog posts. I sort of skipped over the one for last week, which was "Seven Needs." Maybe I will get back to it later. I do have a few things in mind. But for now, here is my response to the prompt of "Six Places."

  1.  On the deck of a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. There is no visible land, only water. And then you realize, there are no birds flying. And even though the ship feels huge, a whole independent world unto itself, in the grand scheme of things, you look out on all that water and you feel so tiny standing there on the deck of your "huge" ship.
  2. The little open air Episcopal chapel down in Big Lake with the gothic arched windows the Episcopals seem to favor so much, with the wooden floors and the crosses hung on the few walls there are and the pond just off to the right and the Gulf of Mexico beyond that.
  3. The front porch on the land where my grandparents lived, the “little house” or their house, it doesn’t matter, the front porch was the place where the visiting was done and the setting of the sun was watched.
  4. The sanctuary that is inside me no matter where I actually am. Lately it has been so very hard to find but it is always there. It seems that road must be travelled slowly. 
  5. In the presence of another who sees the seedier parts of me and is not alarmed, surely that too is a real place, a comforting place. 
  6. The bosom of Abraham, the hands of God, those are real places too. 
  7. Dry Creek Baptist Encampment, where I lived out so much of my spiritual growth. I went there as a child, worked there as a teen, and returned as an adult to shepherd little elementary school girls through a week of camp. This is where I met Sinclair, one of my favorite campers of all time. Sinclair had serious mental health issues and the most winsome smile you’ve ever seen. I  wonder tonight what kind of place she is in.
Watching the Brown-eyed Girl Count Fireflies
(for Sinclair)

She has seen spiders
in her breakfast bowl

where mother saw grits,
and terror in her daughter’s eyes.

There were snakes slithering forward,
threatening to swallow her whole
as mother moved to offer comfort.

Moments later, the child 
asks for red jelly.
To make a smiley face on her grits.

Now she counts fireflies, their stochastic
blinks dancing in unsteady rhythm
with the neurons in her brain.

When music breaks the quiet of night,
her attention shifts. She searches to see
what kind of bird sings in darkness, why

her notes tremble and swell.

(I've written about Sinclair before, and posted this poem here before as well. I don't know what brought her and the poem so strongly to my mind tonight. Well, I do have my suspicions, but I am not quite ready to talk about it!)


  1. Beautiful places, Diane. They're all contemplative places - isolated, quiet - but places where you're never entirely alone. Cool.

  2. Wow. You should be sleepless mire often. The muse is strong in the night.

  3. These are not the druids you're looking for.

    (Sorry. Random Star Wars moment brought on by Cyn's comment. Cracked myself up. Moving along...)

  4. Hey watch it Rach, I'm a Druid...... I love that list.... I need to sit and do mine.

  5. That poem is haunting. love the places.


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