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Winter’s Voice

Winter spoke subtly through the warmth, “I’m still here.”

We had forgotten about her when the sun shown bright and the snow disappeared between blades of green. Excitedly, we searched for the robin and the first day of spring. We scoured each branch for buds and bursts of life. In a moment of ecstasy we even thought of running barefoot.

Then, a chill snuck through the radiance and forced another layer upon us. The sun slipped behind some clouds and took a nap. Winter spoke and reminded us of our plight.

Journal Entry 2-17-16

© Jeremiah Dowling 2016

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A Locked Box

I have had an idea for a while now. It is an unconventional idea, but something that I think would be inspiring. I’m not sure where I would find the courage to accomplish it, but it constantly comes to my mind as a grand thought.

It all started when Antonia showed up at her house with a chest that she had purchased at the flea market. This particular chest had a lock on the outside, and mysterious objects on the inside. The only thing was, there was no key. We shook the box around trying to guess at what might be inside, and then, having made our predictions, Antonia proceeded to break the lock. It took some time, but eventually we were able to open it. Slowly we lifted the lid, and there on the bottom lay an array of priceless treasures: a sketchpad; a flower press; loose pages of poetry; a book about architecture; and a journal.

Of these I was most intrigued by the journal. I stared at it in wonder. A man had secretly passed his words along in a locked box.

This sparked my creativity. At home I have over 30 filled journals from the past 10 years and as I thought on this the ‘what if’s’ began. What if I secretly distributed my journals? What if I donated them, one by one, to used bookstores? What if I put some in locked boxes and sold them without the keys? What if I passed my words along unknowingly for people to find? Would people be inspired? Would people throw them out? Or should I just save these journals for my future children/grandchildren (if I am so blessed) to hold on to? How should my words be inherited?

So many questions, and yet one overarching theme: inheritance. Isn’t that what writing is all about? We write that others might imagine. We write that others might be inspired. We write that others might find a bit of themselves in our story. We long that our words might be inherited. That our story might be passed on.

This is why we write. This is why we stay up late and rise early. This is why we jot down our thoughts, and sketch out our ideas constantly. This is why we sacrifice so much and pour ourselves out on the page.

Not simply for the sake of writing, of becoming a better writer, or of bettering ourselves. We write that our investment might one day be worth inheriting.

 

A SIMPLE PHRASE THAT TURNED INTO SOMETHING MORE

Her thoughts of sleep faded away like the last star on that early summer morning

when the last shafts of moonlight slip behind billows of white

awoken and walking among the wood

there was a fog within the birch tree’s hanging with verdant hue.

a mist

a pervading heaviness remains on the leafy blades only an inch higher than the dirt

gilded leaves hang heavy with dew upon the bleached boughs

on went she and north her journey took into mountains old and its corners dim

riding paths of hard packed clay leading to fields of heather and golden-rod

she was something that lay under the sun and felt it and did not want to be anything more.

© Antonia Dowling 2012

The Narrative

All things reach an end
And at this end all stories
Find their beginning.

This was the end of a season
Before the season’s end.

Summer began to fade like
Mist upon the mountain.
Anticipated rain hovered
But never fell, and Autumn’s
Air found its way into August.

Wayward adventures had come
To a close and families
Returned home with nothing
But stories and souvenirs
To remember by.

Porches clung to houses
– In the country and in the town –
They reached out to the
Busy streets and open fields
To draw to themselves
Any words or sounds that
Might be discovered within them.

Slowly, their neglected planks
Began to fill with the
Silhouettes of brave
Explorers, weary from
Their travels. They appeared
In motion, but never went
Anywhere. They swayed
Against the darkening
Sky but never moved
From where they started.

There they sat unpacking
The contents of their
Thoughts, afraid that
A story left unshared
Would lose all of its value.

Word for word, they
Searched their minds
And sifted the gold
From the meaningless.
Darkness fell, but their
Conversation grew like
A forest, around them,
And sheltered them
From the night.

Details fit together
Like negatives on a
Reel and their stories
Projected before them.

For hours they swayed
Motionless, but ever
Moving. The speckled
Stars graced the night,
As far beneath the void
The narrative changed.

© Jeremiah Dowling 2013

*This poem is part of a new chapter in my ‘Timeline’ series. I will be writing a poem for every month this year. This is the poem for ‘August’.* 

Learn, Remember, Share

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Life over the past few months has been intriguing to say the least.  Not only did I get married 2 months ago, but so much has changed along with it. I no longer live at home, which is weird because I’ve lived in the same house – aside from camp & college – since I was born. I now pay my own bills, and have new responsibilities – some that I expected and some that I didn’t. I take care of things differently, as there is a deeper level of ownership involved in life. I do some work I’ve never done, and no longer have to do other work that I’ve always done. But, maybe most interesting for me is my current relationships with my friends.

I have always been used to having friendship that are in the same phase of life as me, but that is no longer the case.  In high school and college friendships were so different. Everyone seemed to be doing the same types of things: looking for a girl to date (or marry); studying for a test; longing for graduation; goofing off when work should be done; going to bed at 3 in the morning; working a part-time job; sleeping in; etc… But now life is different for all of us. I expected it to be different, but the most intriguing part of all of this is that I was told a lie. I was told by so many people that it is nearly impossible to relate to unmarried people if you are married. Maybe not in those exact words, but I’ve heard so many people say that they wished they had more married couples to interact with now that they are married because single people just don’t understand.

I understand that people who are married go through things that single people don’t and that, as a result, they might not understand those things completely, but I don’t think this marriage makes us unable to relate to people – saying that is harsh and unloving. Instead, what I’m learning that I can relate to them in a new and profound way now that I’m married. For example, my 4 best friends are all in totally different phases of life, and I love how I can relate to each of them: one has been married for 4 years; one is in a serious relationship; one is corresponding with a girl; and one is currently single. I have loved this because it has helped me be able to learn, remember, and share as I interact with them on a weekly basis.

As they go through situations I’ve been able to interact with them in new ways. I’ve been able to hear their story and learn from them; share my story and give advice; and remember well the times when I was in those same phases of life. The fact that I am married has not caused me to not be able to relate to them, but it has allowed me to relate to them in ways I never could before. As a ‘newly-wed’ I can relate to them in a way I couldn’t as an engaged man, dating man, or bachelor, and it has truly been a blessing.

I think it is a shame that we so often look for people who are simply in our phase of life because we are in that phase of life. My hope that we can look to those who have been with us the whole time and attempt to learn, remember, and share with them as we journey together.

In what ways can you learn, remember and share?

Open Eyes

Fools awake to
Birds calling out
In the deep morning:

The melodies of chick-a-dees
The cawing of the crow
The pecks of flickers on a branch
The hooting of an owl

The beat of heron’s wings
As they gently smooth the air
The voice of eagles on the heights
And phoebes everywhere

Dreamers rise to
Trees bursting forth
In the early afternoon:

The birches sweeten as they grow
The shagbark splits its spine
The weeping willow veils its face
The sassafras align

The sugar maples flower green
The cherries blossom white
The quaking aspens spread their leaves
And shake them like a kite

Travelers journey
As the landscape
Fills once again:

The speckled mountain whispers
The valley hums a tune
The streams and rivers overflow
The blue sky greets the moon

The soil sinks beneath the rain
The grass is all, but grown
The forest clothes its branches
And the seeds of life are sown

© Jeremiah Dowling 2013

*This poem is part of a new chapter in my ‘Timeline’ series. I will be writing a poem for every month this year. This is the poem for ‘April’. Keep an eye out each month for the previous month’s poem* 

Death to Life

As the days grow older
The world grows younger,
It limps from death to life.

Colors push back the grey
And the burial shroud is
Removed. From the heights
Fickle snow floats to earth,
Like umbrellas awaiting
The rain. (It lingers for
A moment then melts with
The sun). Nature returns
To its fullest form:

Charcoal clouds turn to
White, lined with a
Golden hue. Stems
Break through the
Lifeless plane and
Leaves peer through
Their branches. The
Dismal mountain
Revisits its lively youth.
The feeble breeze is
Revived by a thriving
Warmth. Cold rains
Usher in the glorious
Sun and a comet beats
In the heart of Aries.

The Labyrinth is laid
Stone by stone on the ground.
A new journey has begun;
A new era has been born.

© Jeremiah Dowling 2013

*This poem is part of a new chapter in my ‘Timeline’ series. I will be writing a poem for every month this year. This is the poem for ‘March’. Keep an eye out each month for the previous month’s poem* 

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