The Storm on “W”

Night time storms, hold the orange

Night time storms, hold the orange

The orange halo of the street lamp stands sentinel against the imposing shadows, ozone aromatizes the night.

The edges are fuzzy with skittering raindrops that become blurry with animated protests from jitterbugging leaves.

The paparazzi lightning flares vivid purple/white/lavender rapidly with undulating rolls of thunderous applause.

The gray asphalt steams refused moisture like a lover refusing to be lit afire with passion, darkened by gravity.

A gust of harsh wind bullies a weak branch with a vicious shove downward. Lightning showcases, thunder tattles.

The depression in the parking lot pools a pond where frogs take solace from the forest. They croak there.

The white noise lullaby on the tin roof begs to be only heard through drifts of deepening sleep which I can’t grant.

The wee hours tick-tock-tick-tock, the clock strikes 13, 4, 9, 11 but it doesn’t matter, I dream sleep away.

“Miss Marge’s Cat”

When I took Miss Marge Swenson on our date, we had a conversation. I tried to pawn my last kitten off on her. She said, “At this stage in my life it wouldn’t be fair to bring a cat into my home. I sure do miss having a cat.” She’s 93 and that was a valid, although sad, argument, it was sound of logic.

We talked a bit more and I found out her favorite color is purple. It used to be blue, but for some reason, she explained, it’d changed to purple. I immediately decided to paint her a cat.

When she saw the painting for the first time, she immediately named the purple cat, “Mr. B.” because that was the name of her friend. It absolutely delighted me to see her aglow with joy. I don’t think it gets any better.

In the small painting in the background, I filled that with four other paintings before I stopped myself and asked how I feel when I see Miss Marge. I see her as a breath of fresh air as if I were standing on a mountain on a clear sunny day in the early spring with maybe a suspicion of rain hanging in the air but not enough to feel any kind of muggy. As soon as I thought that, I saw it and painted it.

I liked the squishy flowers because I wanted them to represent the four Sunday’s in a month (sometimes five) when I get to see my Always Beautiful friend, Marge Swenson.

This took me to this, the 5th try, before I got it right in my head.

This took me to this, the 5th try, before I got it right in my head.

The contrasts were some of my favorites. Don't hate on my leaves.

The contrasts were some of my favorites. Don’t hate on my leaves.

I love warms and cools together. It feels rich and lively to me.

I love warms and cools together. It feels rich and lively to me.

Miss Marge will always have comfortable slippers to wear on this stage in life.

Miss Marge will always have comfortable slippers to wear on this stage in life.

Miss Marge's Cat Mare Martell Acrylic on Board 16X20

Miss Marge’s Cat
Mare Martell
Acrylic on Board
16X20

Self Sacrifice

Feathers

Feathers

When you came to me, you were more than a dozen.

Everything about you was something it wasn’t

I bent my fingers to shape your hands

I reconfigured my halo to destroy the badlands

I stripped the feathers from my wings that flew

I fashioned them to show you the skies of blue

I made horrifying textures smooth for you to build

I wrapped your intimidated heart against the freezing chill

I comforted primal screams from your terror filled nights

I kissed your cheeks lovingly while you fought the fight

I defended your body, your mind, and your spirit

I gave you safe haven, wouldn’t allow bandits near it.

I guarded you with a Battle Queen’s power

but (SNAP!)

like that

you snaked away in the witching hour

while the bells of winds change rang in the bower

to return to the dark from which you came

afraid of the light that I showed you again and again.

I release you back to your puzzled up mess

It is with deepest sorrow, I lay you to rest

I shutter my windows, lock up my doors

mourn who I knew you could be; but won’t be I’m sure

until you know your own value, nay, worth

my heart no longer yours, your memory dispersed.

17,167.4 days

That’s a lot of days to walk around the sun. 47 years for the math challenged (Dude, really, I used Google instead of using a damn calculator!) As I read through the Facebook reminders about my trip, I see many kind words and good wishes. I really love that. It reminds me that I made it around again trying to outshine the stars.

What I’ve come to love the most is when I get feedback from the people I frequently deal with that shows me how I am perceived by others. I know it sounds flippant to say it doesn’t matter, it does but it doesn’t. However, it does give me a valid self check about what I’m doing that not only feeds my spirit but helps others along the way. I truly feel blessed.

Inspiring

When I think of my personal definition of inspiring, I think of the people who teach me more things about the kind of person I want to keep working towards becoming. I wrote several times yesterday that I was inspired by the greatness of my Grandfather, aka Bapa, either directly or indirectly through his children, my aunts and uncles. When I apply the word to myself, I’m not really sure how that works. I do things to make the world a better place because I was taught that. I stand up and defend those who can’t because I was taught that. I love with all I have because I was taught that. Nearly all of that came from the Coleman side of the family. The rest I had to learn on my own.

To think of inspiring others from my life, I think of all the horrors I’ve seen. I think of all the struggles I’ve met and overcome. I ponder the battles I’ve had to fight in order to make it as far as I’ve come and I can see where that would shine the light for others too. I’m blessed to still be here. I’m blessed to know you too.

Laughter

If there is one thing without a doubt that could be said about me is that I love to laugh. I love to laugh so much that I commonly laugh at my own jokes or the absurdities that I come into with each new adventure. I love puns. I think farts are amusing. I love spoonerisms, knock knock jokes, high and low brow humor. George Carlin was one of my very favorites because he was a thinking man (Nothing sexier in my book). I love Ellen DeGeneres because she’s brave and incredibly witty. Robin Williams was a man I identified with so deeply, I seriously, all jokes aside, mourned for weeks. I knew when his light went out.

I’d rather be the butt of a joke than to let an opportunity slip by that held the potential to make my sides ache, my eyes leak, and snorts to come flying out of my nose. I love to tell funny stories because when I can make people laugh, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing I touched them in such a primitive way because I know for a fact we all laugh in the same language.

Being You

This one rather tugs at me a bit. I asked several people what exactly this means. I hear, “Mare, just keep being you.” “I love that you’re so you.” “You keep doing what you’re doing.” And there I am screaming at them with a blank look on my face, “Who the fuck else would I be other than maybe a wealthier version of me. I could handle that.” I tried for years to be someone else. I WANTED to be anyone else but me. One day, I woke up and said, “I’m going to chuck it in the fuck it bucket.”

I say what I want as politely as is necessary, sometimes to the point of being brutally honest, but I won’t lie to you. I try love and compassion first because those work best in nearly every situation. But, I also will not allow anyone to walk on me. Four of my favorite quotes are, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Eleanor Roosevelt; “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi; “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde; and “Be pilgrims for justice and fools for love.” Rev. Jake Morrill’s Sunday service closing.

Hugs

Hugs. Hugs! Hugs? Human contact is so crucial to our survival that babies who are not touched, hugged, or cuddled enough are commonly considered infants with a failure to thrive. It’s the cruelest form of neglect I can think of when it’s one of the easiest things to give. A simple hug to reassure another human or creature that they are not alone in this world. I warm, compassionate, loving moment that gives them a place of safe haven if only for the time of the hug. It’s a transcendent feeling for me when I am allowed access into someone’s personal bubble to give them love. It makes my eyes well up with tears to think of the beauty I find when I’m granted that permission. I love hugs. We should hug more often.

Light

I’m told that I bring light. When I was born my mother knew something I didn’t. My birth name is sealed away but I will confess to you that name out of reasonable disclosure. My name was Helen Elaine. I was named for two very important people in my mother’s life that brought her light. Both names have the same meaning of Light. I kid you not.

I changed my name legally in 1996, after my Gram passed away, to Marilyn. Nobody ever calls me that. I’ve always been called Mare since I disclosed my desire. My birth name always felt like someone else’s shoes. It didn’t fit me. It was an unruly unfashionable clunker of a name that hid far more darkness than a name should. I didn’t change it out of spite. I changed it out of self-preservation.

With the advent of Mare Martell (Martell is my birth name and although I abhor the man who handed it down, he will not win. I will honor COLEMAN under the banner), I was given rare opportunity to reinvent myself. Only, it’s not rare. Anyone can choose to bring the light. Anyone can shine but most choose not to. They let people like me do it and I’m okay with that. I’ll bring my light from my darkness. Mare, yes I’m speaking third person, can be anyone I need her to be. THAT is my light. She’s a brilliant chameleon and I love her dearly.

And that is my summation of my 17, 167.4 days around the sun. Thank you for making it through. Love, Light, Blessings of Peace,

Mare Martell

Herb and Plow CSA Week 6: Aruga-what?!

This summer has been a crash course for me in what vegetables actually look like, cook like, and what those “exotic” veggies in the grocery store actually taste like. I’ll admit, I’m fond of just sticking to what I know in the food department. I rarely scoop up anything that isn’t in the bargain bin anyway, so this has been quite the adventure.

I had no idea what arugula is. I really had to look it up. Go ahead and say it, “Who doesn’t know what arugula is?” I’ll raise my hand and let you know, I’m one of the ignorant. I’m looking forward to trying this. I found an easy quick (as in you can prepare it an hour in advance) pasta dish by Martha Stewart Living. Although her recipes tend to the higher end, this one seems to meet my beer budget while indulging in champagne taste.

Spinach Linguine With Walnut-Arugula Pesto

  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 3 ounces walnut pieces (about 3/4 cup), toasted and cooled
  • 4 ounces arugula, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 pound spinach linguine
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse garlic until very finely chopped. Add walnut pieces and arugula; process until a coarse paste forms, about 5 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl. Stir in the salt and Parmesan cheese, and set aside.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander, and immediately add to bowl with walnut-arugula mixture. Drizzle with the oil, and season with pepper. Toss thoroughly until coated evenly. Serve immediately.

PART II

I am a huge fan of bacon. I say that as I sit here with my well rounded bottom at a computer where my limited mobility talks to my need to be creative instead of active. But, bacon reminds me of family (No, I was not raised by pigs despite my brother’s prodding insults.) I’m originally from Michigan. We’re a hearty stock with rich curves on the women and strong backs on the men. Bacon was served commonly for breakfast, so to me, it feels like home. Here is a Paleo Recipe I found that will help the abundance of summer squash have a rich flavorful compliment.

Summer Squash and Bacon Bits Recipe

Servings SERVES: 4Preparation time PREP: 15 min.Cooking time COOK: 40 min.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. summer squash, sliced;
  • 8 slices of bacon cut into tiny pieces;
  • ¾ cups green onions, sliced;
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves;
  • ¼ cup mint, coarsely chopped;
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped;
  • ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil;
  • 1 clove garlic, minced;
  • 1tbsp. capers;
  • The juice of half a lemon;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the oregano, the mint, and the parsley, and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Grind the capers and the garlic. Add them to the herb mixture, and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. In a big bowl, mix in the squash, the green onions, the bacon bits, and the fresh herb sauce.
  5. Empty the bowl into a baking dish or a big skillet and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the squash and the bacon bits are nicely cooked.

Paleo Site

Martha Stewart’s Recipe

Always Beautiful

I fall madly in love every day with people I meet, talk to, hang out with, shop with, or see on the streets. Sometimes I keep them (like my dearest of friends), while others I write off to good feelings, but I always fall madly in love. It’s the best part of being alive for me.

I think it’s crucial. If you see someone do something kind, overhear a pleasant conversation, see someone being completely them…fall in love without regrets. You don’t have to act, just fall because when you do…the world is a prettier place. It’s a better place. Happiness and hope flow like liquid silver throughout the day as if nearly transcendent. Who can feel poorly when love is all around flying through the air with graceful messages on every face?

In my pocket full of happiness, I keep little cards that are about 2X2”. On them there are little hearts in the corners with some pretty art down three sides. In the middle, the card has the words, “Always Beautiful.”

A short stack of beauty

A short stack of beauty

That way when I see beautiful things and beautiful people I can let them know that I witnessed them in this world. I SAW them be beautiful. I do it because we all need to be reminded of the beauty of our lives that we take for granted too easily. Life is too precious not to acknowledge beauty when we see it.

My little cards give people something to hold onto that is a tangible reminder that their beauty shined brightly enough for a stranger (or me, rather) to notice. I give them away for radiant smiles, a sweet gesture, a considerate action, a note of dedication acknowledging their hard work, a perfect laugh, or elegance in crafting a movement of body enough to bring me awe or wellies.

But, love. I’m a sucker for love.

I see a kiss between lovers that is one that reaffirms that they are together. Just a simple brush of lips with the inevitable smile of tenderness and affection. That will coax a card from my pocket so fast it practically catches fire. I am particularly fond of couples who aren’t considered mainstream (YET!) because it demonstrates to me that the power of love is worth every sacrifice.

Copy, print, send them out into the world with love, beauty, and happiness in your heart!

Copy, print, send them out into the world with love, beauty, and happiness in your heart!

I encourage you to make your own. I use cardstock to make them last a bit longer. It’s a small way to make the world a happier place in which to walk. It’s a great way to say, “Hey, you’re beautiful and I want you to remember that for as long as possible, because today, I noticed.”

Stardust and Oceans

I held your hand while stroking your cheek

Whispering to you the depth of my hearts belief

You stared blank at the ceiling but I knew you still there

When the winds stirred the curtains to brush at my hair

With rattled breath you returned to the ocean

Waving goodbye with the power of rawest emotion

Your sweet and gentle passing has erased your pain

But in doing so has increased mine, bring on the rains

Silent your breast, cooling of skin, I sat next to you so very alone.

It was a sacred privilege, an honor, to walk your stardust spirit home.