Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Santana quote’

The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace. (Carlos Santana, musician)

I don’t take breathing for granted—not after a two-month fight with asthma and bronchial issues. Then I broke my hand and the complications escalated. My second book in the Star League Chronicles, Stinky, Rotten Threats, came out.

While my hand was in a brace, a pen could have been a foreign object. For weeks after my hand was freed, I wrote with a strayed moth-like path across the page. Typing wasn’t much better, slower, yet possible. My twisted middle finger crossed over my ring and little finger.

I continue with occupational therapy to correct the problem. My handwriting is legible. Pain is minimal.

Now, as I drive in the rain I wonder what to do next. Each day I missed allowed my work to get lost among the grand onslaught of well-known-first-to-be picked publications, then independent press and self-published books.

In my new fantasy, Chase and his friends face evil capable of destroying their magic woods and killing their leader. The kids don’t give up; they can’t. And, of course, as the writer, I saw snags appear along my way—like a computer that turned itself off as I finished final edits the day before my deadline. The gosh-darned-electronic-device erased a whole slew of edits.

No, I didn’t take that incident as a quit-while-you-can prophecy. I understood it as a challenge. (After a few cleansing yet non-repeatable expletives) Can I do the same with my health issues?

I begin the uphill drive home when I see a woman walking with a cane in the downpour. If only I had Star League powers… Maybe magic tools don’t exist in real life, but I do have an umbrella. And several more at home. I pull over and call to the woman, offer protection from the deluge, albeit late. Her hair hangs drenched in her face.

“I’m almost home, but…” She pauses. “Thank you. Not many people would stop and do that. You can pray for me, though. My name is Geneva.” She stands in the wet and shows no sign of urgency. “I paid my rent. I really did. My landlord says I didn’t. He’s going to evict me.”

I am dry inside the car, yet feel a sudden chill. “Of course, I will.”

Geneva asks for nothing else. The futility of a one-umbrella gift hits me, and yet she says, “You’ve made my day, though. Thank you. Thank you more than I can say.” She turns and continues to walk.  Without the umbrella. Uphill, far more uphill than I drive. Far more uphill than any challenge I face.

As the day passes I’m tempted to go back and look for Geneva. Perhaps, I will find her again. I don’t know. In the meantime, I pray not to forget that moment. Or her.

Photo: Sun and Rain

The sunflower appeared compliments of a visiting bird. No sunflower seeds were planted. It was nature’s gift.



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The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace. (Carlos Santana, musician)

Occasionally as I swivel in my desk chair away from the computer, I see an unframed black-and-white photo of me taken when I was in perhaps seventh grade. The private school uniform is a huge clue. The hair-style is late nineteen-fifties curlers. And I can be certain that the artificial rolls collapsed by noon, if not sooner.

Most of my memories from those days have disappeared as well.

The girl in the picture is a shy, unsophisticated girl, favorite place to go, the library. She is insecure in groups. Yet capable. At least in my head, I tell her my stories as I write them—as if she didn’t already exist somewhere inside this much older body. I wonder if she hears me.

me St. Dominic school

For a writer the internal and the external world need to meet. Perhaps these forces will never understand one another completely. For me, if open hearts and peace appear along the way, I have touched my purpose. At least for the duration of a page.

When my older son was a toddler my husband and I planted a blue spruce tree in our front yard. The tree was a gift from my son’s great uncle. It was my son’s tree. Years later the tree became the front yard and housed birds of all colors and varieties.

Then disease, fungi, spider mites attacked the tree. With the help of a huge cash loss, the spruce survived. Not all of its branches made it. For the bird residents the effect became more patio than closed door. No safe place away from predators.

But, the tree never has held a promise of safety. We have always seen feathers and dead birds in the yard. Cooper hawks. Preying cats, waiting.

I pause and look again at the long-ago picture of twelve-year-old me. Knowing the young girl doesn’t see the present. I remember how she walked home from school alone after a difficult day of taunting. How she prayed and wondered how the saints managed. Those characters had been presented as emotionless beings. The martyr, St. Lawrence, said as he was being burned to death: “Turn me over. I’m done on this side.” Is that true? Really? Then came saints who levitated and spoke to larger-than-life beings beyond the grave.

I tell her about the very ordinary tree and tell her to stay inside the very ordinary day. The beauty is all around her. In some ways I want to spare her more serious attacks to come, the pain, the pruning that will inevitably follow. I cannot. Any more than I can bring back birds killed by the Cooper Hawk.

“Paths through branches are now open. Free. You may not have wings. But you can still fly.” I’m surprised. I have spoken out loud. And I pray that my words carry peace.

blue spruce before and after

blue spruce before and after


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