Aunt Bea Moves Out

28 May

Several years ago my husband and I moved to Arkansas with the intention of retiring there, but sometimes intentions collide with reality.  Our Retirement Plan A crashed when unforeseen medical issues led us back to Texas.

Rick and I shared four and one half years in the forests and mountains of the Natural State, experiencing the inspiring beauty and relentless wrath of nature.  In those woods I found pieces of myself I didn’t know existed, and unearthed passions I could have only dreamed.

The forest captured my heart, stirring instincts I’d never acknowledged, and inner strength I didn’t know I possessed as I surrendered preconceived notions to her mossy floors, and released the burden of loss into the canopy of her open arms.

Unity with the earth blossomed as I followed the umbilicus between us, and when I fell in love with my garden, I began a second blog at WordPress: Aunt-Bea-Me was born.

Growing was not Mayberry-eske but the delightful Aunt Bea character in the television series of the old Andy Griffith show was the stuff of my fantasies.  She was sensible and silly at the same time.  She was consistent. You could count on her for everything from a fried chicken dinner to common sense.  She laughed a lot and was never pretentious.

When the world was too harsh, I pulled Aunt Bea from the recesses of my mind and looked to her for comfort.  As an adult, Arkansas became my Aunt Bea.

Rick and I have been back in Texas for four years.  Texas is more than my state, it is the root on which I planted my seeds.  Once again I am living in the garden of my children, and am deeply blessed by their love and attention.  Surprisingly, I find my voice much stronger than before.  I have grown into an opinionated old bird and lost any fear I harbored along the way.

I’ve toughened with the times.

Months ago I considered abandoning the Aunt-Bea-Me blog, but before I made a final decision I did a little research on Frances Bavier, the actress who played Aunt Bea.  I was surprised.  Ms. Bavier grew tired then aggravated with the role assigned her; it turns out she and Mr. Griffith were never really friends.  They were much more adversarial than I could have imagined.  Ms. Bavier said she felt she no longer existed as an individual because people associated her with a single role she played.

She admitted to having a love/hate relationship with the character Aunt Bea; so in an effort to break away from something that seemed to own her, she shifted directions to save herself.  Ms. Bavier began to isolate herself from the world through a long, lonely process of withdrawal, and in 1989 she died alone.  In the presence of a dozen plus cats and a rundown dirty home, Frances Bavier made her escape.

We all are a bit like Frances Bavier.  Through my writing, poetry and musings I present various facets of myself to an audience of strangers who sometimes assign a single aspect of that voice as the ultimate and total truth of my entire presence on earth.

A year and a half ago I became aware I was expending a great deal of energy on Facebook.  The more “friends” I made, the more pieces there were to connect. I seemed to waste a lot of time explaining, defining or justifying myself to people I didn’t even know. It isn’t a polite world out there anymore, and I never stay too long in bitterness; so as difficult as it is for a writer to walk away from an audience, I decided I needed to.

Life’s amazing whirlwind sweeps us to corners or to the middle of the room.  Frances Bavier chose a corner.  I’ve moved closer to the middle of the room myself.  The fantasy of a dear, sweet Aunt Bea carried me through many a storm, but the reality of Frances Bavier’s life reminds me today that isolation can overtake the spirit if it stays too long in a corner.

My Aunt-Bea-Me blog is coming down.  It has served me well.  But the time to move away from my safe space has long passed, and I am moving on.

Because time is precious.  And because there is a season for all things.

Bev

 

 

Till dawn

29 Aug

Signs

These are perfect days,
not so much because I found peace
but more because I’ve made friends with stillness.
No more running in the rain for me,
today is a short stroll through tended gardens.
The wind plays flute and soft piano,
a porch swing remembers.
Clouds gather in the north and I
imagine the sea and horizon folding into one in
layered shades of black.
A child drops a seed into the earth,
each of us is watching.
In the distance, lightning strikes.
Rain breaks a seven year drought.
The preacher raises his hands in prayer.
Mourners disperse,
and I carry my father home with me to share
the rest of my life.

©Beverly Sweet/Scheidt 2012

 

sea storm BLOG

auntbeamephoto

Directly in the path…

25 Aug

2 the bluff overlooking the pensacola bay at grandparents home  only constant in our lives

Category Five

It is both what you say
and how you say it,
marbles falling heavily
from your mouth hitting
the floor and shattering,
each word a moth made
of steel.

It is the way you clench your
fists, break only things that
belong to me,

and the way you move,
direct, calculated,

like the eye of
a hurricane before striking.

©2000Beverly Sweet/Scheidt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media,the most powerful platform for hate

22 Jan

 

ice storm

 

The internet brings our inner selves to the surface and if you think that is a good thing think again.  A mob of nasty mouth pieces are chewing the world up like gluttons at a cheap buffet.  While bashing bullies, they bully.  While discrediting hatred, they spew hate.  While expressing an ability to love those who are different than themselves, they crucify half of the population for not agreeing with them.  They label, categorize, and pronounce judgment in the name of unity.

These are surely divisive times, but division only works if one side is willing to turn against or destroy the other.  It is no coincidence that critical thinking skills have been cut from school curriculum, or that students are pushed away from a central prospective toward wildly varying extremes in efforts to coerce blind obedience to one narrative or another.  There was, I promise, a time when our children were neither pawns nor targets.  There was a time we were not girded in hatred and suspicion.

There was a time we didn’t feel so terribly entitled or supremely knowledgeable.  There was a time we didn’t excuse bad behavior by insisting such behavior was a right.

Once I said and believed I would never lose a friend over differences in political or religious points of view, but that was before I understood people have grown to deeply believe reality is either black or white, never grey; that compromise is a sign of weakness rather than strength, and that one personal opinion far outweighs all of the other personal opinions in the world because it belongs to you.

I’m old enough to remember when it wasn’t cool to fall in love with the sound of our own voice, and rather than loving a rush that comes after having verbally slaughtered or shamed a perceived opponent, we would have ourselves felt shame.  So, in deed, I have lost friends as I stepped into the new world where perspectives are carved in stone, and everyone demands validation.

But I have to say I feel empty inside; in spite of the fact that I know I am not alone.  And as I pull away to rebuild, to light once again the inner flame of compassion and trust I’ve lost, I often find tears running down my face, and I am filled with disappointment and woe for what might have been.

I don’t want a trophy or special attention because I know I’m not special, and neither are you.  We are all in the same boat, rocky as it is, and God help us as we bicker like spoiled children to see which lie we want to believe.

And God save us from ourselves.

 

The symmetry of summer

16 Jul

summer flower for poem

Dirt cracking open in a spray of flowers

Seamless blue sky parting for a passing cloud

Lace petals falling from swollen trees, seeds

settling between blades of grass and weeds

A dog patiently watching a cat

A hen following a rooster across an empty street

The sound of wind opening and closing

 

The scent of rain teasing parched distance

Secrets shared between children

The arrogance of a train shattering silence

 

Women drinking sweet tea in the heat of day

Men working till dusk in barns

A murder of crow darkening sunrise, a blanket of

fireflies punctuating night

Front porches and screen doors

Embroidered curtains flowing from open windows

Homemade cookies

Cold milk

Hot dogs and good neighbors

Hope boiling below the surface like hot tar on a roof

 

Prayers and good intentions

Strong-willed men

Resilient women

Casseroles and hymnals

Heat lightening, and

stolen kisses

The slow steady beat of summer altering patterns and

habits of earth’s most predictable beasts

©bsweet-scheidt2016

25 Jun
It’s no surprise that bad news depletes rather than fills, but a sense of helplessness is only an illusion. If you want to change the world, begin by focusing on issues closest to home.
 
Attitude makes a huge difference and no one runs before he crawls. Instead of giving up or in, simply think.
 
1. Practice humility.
2. Do not confuse what you want with what you need.
3. Respect others.
4. Practice kindness while keeping true to your core beliefs.
5. Before criticizing others, repeat the criticisms into a mirror; most likely you need to hear the message more than you need to share it.
6. Never force your beliefs or opinions on others.
7. Always refuse to join angry crowds.
8. Listen instead of speaking.
9. If you ask someone a question and he does not answer, accept his silence as a valid response.
10. Smile rather than frowning.
11. Speak well of others.
12. Never boast or intimidate; there is a fine line between arrogance and bullying.
13. Do not fall in love with the sound of your own voice.
14. Be sensitive and aware.
15. Be a strong but loving parent to your own needs.
 
Be happy! Life is too short for anything else.  
itty 
Dream-Wisdom stone feather balance

Staying happy

18 May

“…the courage with which we bear our darkness frees others from having to carry it for us…”

John Tarrant, The Light Inside the Dark

 

That’s a quote from one of my all-time favorite books. The title is fairly self-explanatory and jives well with my basic life philosophy that from all things, most especially the dark or challenging experiences we encounter in life, there is great potential for inner growth.  And inner growth, when used to its fullest promise, impacts not only the way we live our lives but the way we view and interact with others.  This, of course, opens us, prepares us to achieve the highest levels of empathy and kindness which, in turn, benefits the entirety of planet earth as the love rolls outward, playing it forward.

exercising old ladies

Sometimes I watch the athletically gifted, or merely inclined, with near envy.  I was never much at outdoor activities unless it involved walking on the beach collecting shells, or sitting under a tree studying insect activities in mossy/dirt-laden carpets beneath the trees.  Usually there was a pen and tablet close by where I recorded my most profound and dramatic perspectives concerning the universe.  I wanted to be athletic, but a slight heart defect kept me from participating in strenuous activities so it worked out well that I enjoyed being a word-nerd.

Had life been different I doubt that I’d be running marathons or taking dance lessons at my age; I’m too reserved to be comfortable being Outstanding at anything these days.  Whenever there’s one handy, I still love walking on the beach, although I admit I sit gazing at the horizon more often, pen and tablet still in hand.  I love the woods more than it loves me, (I’m a flea, tick, and chigger magnet), but I still venture in to study the miracles and viciousness of nature.  And take notes.

old lady on beach

The world is full of darkness and grief; every day we see, experience or read about one extreme tragedy or another, and it’s hard to imagine when faced with horror there might be light at the end of the tunnel, let alone a potential for inner growth.  But there is.

I’m not as optimistic as I used to be but I still expect good things to happen.  I’m realistic about it though.  So if ten bad things happen I can usually find hope in at least six or seven of them.

The most important thing to me is maintaining absolute honesty with myself.  I own up to my stuff, positive or negative.  If I feel I’ve let someone down, for example, I say it out loud.  I let myself sit with the weight of that statement for a while, then forgive myself and move on.  I don’t brood anymore, and I try very hard not to dump my pain on others, although I struggle with the fine line between sharing and dumping at times.

If it’s really ugly, you can bet I’m going to keep it to myself.  Well, except for my poetry; that’s almost always tragic.

Still, I’m going to keep striving to be as stoic and respectful of others as Mr. Tarrant is.  I really don’t want anyone else to have to carry my load.  You can walk beside me, come along for the trip, but that’s all I’m really be comfortable with.  I love having goals and my heart is still good enough that I can stretch to reach them without injuring anything.

itty

auntbeamephoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My silence

19 Aug

A Journey Called Life ...

My silence is not my weakness,
It’s a pause, sometimes too long
when I listen to better songs on the radio.

View original post 207 more words

Sign of the Times

8 Aug

Early morning sky reveals the secrets day holds; but like many of us, the sky speaks in riddles.  Its indigo stained humidity, when seen through the lenses of a window shares the appearance of a winter storm.  It isn’t until you open the door that you see for yourself the truth of such illusion.

By 3 o’clock it will be 102 degrees and all possibility for rain, let alone a nor’easter, will disappear in heat’s grasp.  Calm will have descended; creatures will seek shelter from sweltering temperatures peering only briefly at the reality outside their hiding place.

Men will wipe their brows, push back damp hats, lean against the forgiveness of shade-bearing trees.

Women will fan red faces with the hems of work aprons as they sip yet another cool glass of iced tea.  Children on summer vacation will lean even more intently into the electronic escapes and connections they share.  Babies will chafe, cry, fitfully sleep.

The spring promise of green grasses and fruit trees bent toward the earth in bounty has been broken.  Cats, pregnant only a few months ago have grown scrawny.  Their fur is dusty and lack-luster as they bury themselves in dark corners of burnt leaves.  True to her word, summer burns.

The sky is a clock ticking subtle beats in homage to the cycles of time.  Seasons are mere minutes; tomorrow it will be winter.  Next week, spring.

The early morning sky is a predictor of gifts and challenges. It is a reminder to remember all of the things easily forgotten. Live fully; open the door.  See for yourself the truth hiding inside illusion.

morning sky

Under my Skin

13 Jul

Under my Skin.

Recipe, homemade

21 Apr

Beautiful sentiment expressed poetically… Thanks Archita!

A Journey Called Life ...

Sunrise

Drink a cup of Tea. Better if you can add cardamoms
and a bit of love. Go out in sunlight. Hug. Hug harder.
There’s always going to be shadow in a sunny world.
Rest sometimes. And while you rest, find a pretty
bird and click a photo. Share it with your grandmother
later. Call her often. Talk. Tell her you look pretty today.

View original post 98 more words

Retired Judge

25 Feb

images (1)

Although difficult, for me, running against the wind is instinctive.  I wanted to be the peaceful type full of hope and pink ponies and optimism; but ever since I can remember, I’ve taken rough back roads instead of flowing along with crowds down pristine super highways.  I’m not a glass half empty woman any more than I’m a glass half full one.  For me, there’s water in a glass that has plenty room for more.

As a child, I used to groan under my breath at family gatherings when the topic for discussion shifted to the elders’ perception of change.  The word change, it seemed, was interchangeable with self-indulgence and destruction.  “The younger generation is going to bring about the end of everything we’ve built and cast the world over the cliff into a hungry abyss that will swallow it whole.”  Blah. Blah. Blah.

kitchen women

About this time I would generally inch my way toward the back door, planning escape.  I wish I’d listened more when I was young, paid more attention.  I wish I’d been more respectful of the process of wisdom gathering, opinion formation and varying styles of perception.  These are skills that come to fruition with aging, but I didn’t get it and I was really quite arrogant about it all, shaking my head at the gloom and doom old fools I left in the living room worrying about the future of the planet. It never entered my mind they were worrying about my life, what the realities would be in the wake of monumental change following the Great Depression and World War 2.

However, my perspective shifted noticeably when I crossed the 60 year line myself as I struggled with unsettling feelings of semi-bitterness for the rapid fire changes that had beset a world I was no longer familiar with and often uncomfortable in.

Those were emotionally exhausting days spent holding myself back, or propelling forward like rotted chicken catapulted from a giant sling shot.  And once again, arrogance, as I assumed my way was somehow the best way, often better even than the steady voices of men and women of peace, or the predictions of masterful economic minds, or the advice offered by strategic planners, or the exaggerated threats from political movers, and the woeful forecasts of intellectual shakers.  I was so full of righteous indignation I felt bloated and dour and sad.

Watching a friend lose her way in extraterrestrial philosophies and questionable directives from  guides from the other side, I paused long enough to reevaluate my own beliefs and deal, face to face, with the inflexible judge I had become.

et 2

It was a process.

Just as in childhood, I found myself inching once again toward the back door in an attempt to purge poisons I carried inside.  I thought, ‘perhaps if I fill my lungs with fresh air, or eat an apple in the swing on the front porch, or pick a bouquet of Black-Eyed Susans,’ I might feel better’.  And so I did all of those things and more, binding myself more closely with the cycles of nature and the rhythmic beat of my own heart , mindful of the emotional and mental chaos I’d created in the past and how unsatisfying the experience had been.

peaceful garden

I won’t say I killed the judge inside my soul, but I let her fade away.   I am an observer now; judging nothing, not even myself.

When I choose to watch the evening news and hear the ranting and ravings of judgmental zealots, a sense of calm fills my senses, and I feel the good intentions and the fear inside each loud voice.  I make mental notes about where they are standing, which audience they are addressing, the time of day they speak, lapel pins, the shapes of glasses they wear, and the voices of reporters trying to make names for themselves.

Adults are often little more than large children and that can go either way because a child can engage or detach as he sees fit, but when all of the pieces of the puzzle come together, it is a magnificent occasion.

These days I spend more time paying attention to what other people say.  I love hearing their ideas and opinions; I love reading what they are thinking and how they disseminate unique perspectives and personal views. I learn so much as I immerse myself in both studied and unexplored concepts.  More and more, I spend time reading non-fiction, opinion pieces, and most especially blogs.  The passion and sincerity bloggers express touches my heart.?????????????????????????????????????????????

Every time I experience the strength of another person’s voice, my own grows; but I’m not in love with the sound of my own voice.  My own opinions don’t impress me either.  I often find it difficult to express them now.  Blogging has become more challenging as I struggle to share without preaching.  I’ve learned that listening is an integral part of observation.  So is keeping an open mind.  The boundaries of my perceptions have seeped or bled into the fluidity of the times freeing my mind to explore new possibilities. I’m happy that I don’t feel responsible for the fate of the entire world. I am finally comfortable in my own skin and at peace with the ever evolving world around me.

beautiful roller coaster

13 Jan

In two and one half hours I enter the chamber where

masters and prophets of healing will

crack open the cage of my chest,

mend the broken egg inside, as I, traveler in

this magnificent sphere, wait beside glorious rails leading one

way or another.

Hidden Treasures

24 Dec

My friend nailed it with this beautiful reminder that life/love is a constant stream of oft overlooked small miracles.

Sadie Forgets Her Inner Voice

20 Nov

Profoundly true…Enjoy.

Jenny Kissed Me

Sadie was forgiving

She was open-minded

In fact Sadie was so accepting

She forgot about

Her own inner compass

Until

Being swayed by

Any wind that came her way

She found herself

Facing

The completely wrong direction

Instead of being

“Laid Back Sadie”

Sadie had become

“Sadie With No Back”

So limp

Piled in a corner

Where all she could see

Was one white wall

Signifying her complete and utter

Destruction

What had begun as

A well-meaning gift

Had become the path

To Sadie’s emptiness

While Sadie had been open

To what others had to say

She had forgotten

That small voice inside herself

That was also a strong guide

Until she faced the wall

In such a strange place–

The place of peace without any grace

Wishing for the warmth

Of what she knew was right

Sadie then remembered

To look toward her own light

For while Sadie liked…

View original post 23 more words

Adieu Summer

14 Nov

21 Days of Empathy ~ Day 4

9 Nov