Desires of the Flesh

Oh, how the night sizzles with mustiness and warmth left from a humid day. I feel myself drifting through the air like a cottonwood seed and I’m surrounded by the sounds of buzzing and chirping of things unseen in the thicket.  There is a sweet and earthy tang on the breeze and I can’t control my mouth from watering. What is that delicious scent?  I follow my nose into darkness. I see a light ahead and voices. I hear voices on the air. Is that music?  There is a low bass resonating from the open window I can now see, for my eyes have adjusted to the light. There is a crackling of fire and the laughter of someone sitting in a chair and tipping back a bottled beverage. There it is again. That sweet earthy tang. Oh how I need to be near it. I float down from my vantage point and find purchase on a soft surface. What is this velvety goodness beneath my feet? The scent is so strong now, I can taste it. Without warning, I am thrown roughly into the air. I can’t seem to tell which is up and which is down. An angry female voice growls and spits as she stomps off in the direction of the house.

I am once again like the cottonwood seed when I smell something so painfully acidic that my eyes begin to water. The sweetness! Oh the sweetness has gone. I breathe deeply and still no signs of that beautiful tang that had made my mouth water. I decide to take a break from my musings and head back to the thicket where the fireflies are floating on the air making the night look like a midsummer dream. I follow the the sound of low buzzing and come across thousands that look just like me. How can this be? Do they also smell the sweetness? Would they let me join their group so we can find it together?  I am melancholy in my lack of sophistication. I am not overly social you see.

As if my inner voice was broadcasting through a megaphone, more than a dozen of them turned and looked at me with glazed eyes and an understood hunger.  They wanted the sweet smell just as much as me. The urge to go back and battle the acidic stench that stung my nose was overwhelming. Now. Now, I had an army of others like me. We could conquer it together. In unison we slowly drifted towards the fire. The fog. The fog that stole my breath was taking the others down. I feel detached from myself and I seem to be moving in slow motion. My feet are leaden and there is no one to catch me as I jump off a bridge into the dark abyss. Just when I think all hope is lost, the air clears and the sweet smell comes rushing to my nasal passage. There are now only a few of us left. The fog has lessened our ability to attack.


The haziness in my head has slowly subsided and I find myself once again with glazed eyes and a watering mouth.  My single-minded ambition has turned again to the sweet smell and it takes all of my strength to float like the cottonwood seed again to find my purchase on the sponge like softness that I was so rudely brushed off of earlier. I breathe in deep. Oh that lovely scent. With the shaky excitement of a child on Christmas morning, I steady myself to plunge in. To take the sweet smell and turn it into the sustenance that my body so craves. I raise my head and just when I’m about to pierce the soft flesh, I am once again brushed into the air. As I gain my bearings again, I realize that the sweet smell is running away from me. The profanity that ensues is nothing less than legendary as the small group of party goers dowses the fire and makes for the house. I have been thwarted yet again. However, not all is lost, for there are still many more nights of summer left and I am most patient.

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My Blueberry Girl

My daughter is going to be eleven at the end of the month. She’s going through the phase that every child goes through. The excitement of growing up, yet still have the desire to hold onto childhood.  She has experienced shopping for her first bra, has been introduced to deodorant and the need to put on extra for game days, and the benefit of daily showers. She has developed her first crush and the bitter reality of “mean girls”.  She is discovering her own style, how to fix her hair, and the loveliness of going to bed with a clean face.  Through all of this, she is still just a little girl and although I’m blunt and honest with her about body changes, boys, and sex, I can not protect her from all the dangers and heartbreaks that come from simply being a girl. I believe my fear to be no different than any other parent. With the amazing gain in technology, we have also left plenty of room for negativity. The increase of bullying and teen suicide is something that greatly worries me. It’s difficult enough to go through the awkward years of braces, gangly limbs, and increased appetite as your body tries to accommodate the speed in which it’s growing, without having to deal with the worry of who is saying what on social media.  Teens now grow up in a world where a whispered secret in a so called friends ear can spread through text messaging or Youtube before the bell rings for the next class.  Kids can be cruel and often don’t think of the long term consequences of their actions.

 

There is a poem written by Neil Gaiman that was turned into a beautiful picture book illustrated by Charles Vess. The poem was written for Tori Amos and her daughter Tash while Tash was still sleeping sweetly in the womb. It tells the short tale of The Blueberry Girl with Gaiman’s prayer for her to stay waking and wise and let her have brave days and truth. Her joys must be high as her sorrows are deep. He pleads to help her to stand and to lose and to find. He ends it with this. “Truth is a thing she must find for herself, precious, and rare as a pearl; Give her all these, and a little bit more, Gifts for a Blueberry Girl.” His words are so perfect a lesson for parents.

 

Girls have so much of the world on their shoulders. We are in a constant state of contradiction. Be strong, but not stronger than a man. Suck up those tears for they’re a sign of weakness. If we’re too masculine, we must be a lesbian and if we’re too feminine, we’re considered old fashioned and bashed by the feminists. We have to work harder to make the same money as men do and as Ginger Rogers would say, we do it backwards in heels. We have so much more to prove in this world of ours. I feel like I’m preparing my girl for battle. Where is her invincible suit of armor? Can she be taught how to use a bow and arrow like the elves in Lord of the Rings, a sword like Joan of Arc, and could she please have Wonder Woman’s golden lasso?  Believe me, if this is what it takes, I’ll do it.  Despite the humor and bluntness I use when speaking with her, I am still fearful. I am fearful for her tender heart and her beautiful sensitivity to others. People take advantage of souls like her. Maybe I’m selling her short. She is sassy and can usually hold her own, but it’s when she lets down the blinds that shield her emotions that I come undone and I can only hope that I will continue to give her the tools to be able to stand on her own.