Alone (from an earlier journal writing)

I almost turned the car around and drove home although I had booked a cottage for the night.  I didn’t come to Ashland to feel into the loneliness.  I wanted a day of escape.  Now, I had a sudden longing for home and the usual distractions that occupy me.

There is a lot going on in my life right now.  People close to me are gravely sick.  I give, sometimes over-give, or just carry the weight of things.  I’m taking too many online classes.  I need real people who are in good health to counterbalance the rest.  Virtual people don’t help with loneliness.

Earlier in the day, I had lunch at a favorite cafe–alone.  I went to see a movie–alone.  I walked out of the movie theater after fifteen minutes of watching the actors go through torment.  Why watch other people’s drama on a big screen?  Even if the acting is good, who needs it?  I went out to dinner–alone.  And now, I’m in a newly renovated cottage, again, alone.

I hadn’t unpacked the car yet.  A pang of loneliness surfaced and I got in the car to drive home.  As I was driving down the alley, four stately deer blocked my path.  They are accustomed to people.  They stood there for a few minutes.  I waited–the spotlight on them.  They were unfazed by the car or me.  They neither leapt nor ran.  They either stood stationary or they mosied.  I groped for the camera and got one hazy photo of the youngest deer, though not a good one.  It was at that point that I committed to staying for the night.

This room smells like fresh paint.  There is no television.  It’s weird to be in a large room without my “stuff” floating around me in familiar disarray.  The cottage has a sweet creature comfort–a jacuzzi tub, bath salts and a candle–why not?

I got my luggage from the car and unpacked.  I lit the candle, set it beside the tub, said a prayer, took a bath.  I practiced the familiar rituals of quieting myself.  Tomorrow is another day.  For now, it’s my time.  Self-nurture can soothe the feeling of loneliness and get one through a difficult moment.

In our culture, there are a lot of lonely people.  We certainly aren’t alone in our loneliness.



Ode to the Avocado

In the spirit of welcoming spring, a few more odes if only to prove that an ode can celebrate almost anything.

One of my workshops is on the theme of Unrequited Love.  I invite participants to name their favorite food.  What is yours?  Then, imagine a world without that food.  Ah, the pining over something that you once had and now, it’s gone forever.  Out of this longing, I wrote the following poem.

Ode to the Avocado
© by Christine O’Brien

Those long,
hot summers on
the veranda
Oh how I longed for you
to fill me up
to satisfy that yearning which
none other can quell
so well.

As you, in
succulent shades of green,
descend in ovalesque afternoons
while waves of heat
ripple pavement.
You are the reward greeting
me in cool aloofness enveloping
my parchedness with sheets
of smooth and more smooth.

In this land of dry dust, moral certitude and
prim facades
as I properly partake of you
delicately dipping from the glazed tureen
–images of far off tropical beaches
a whisper of marimbas on a wayward breeze
while from a wooden shell
brown hands recklessly dip salted
chips into your green pithiness
daring one to frankly, my dear,
not give a damn.

Writing Prompt:
Go ahead, choose a food that you can’t do without.  Write your ode to this favorite food.
Please do share it under comments if you like.