Pedigree

Pedigree

You do what you always do
When confusion fills your head
The pain in your gut is real
And I begin to fear with dread

The cross hairs of your frustration
Had me squarely in its sight
You took aim and fired
I fell victim to its flight

You were doing what was taught
The apple does not fall far from the tree
Your mother’s anger toward you
Is now aimed at me

It causes such pain in our lives
But you cannot help your ancestry
No more than I can
Because this is our Pedigree

The lessons were taught
When we were so young
We have to break the cycle
Before more harm is done

The family tree is responsible
For more than we would care to choose
Our lineage defines us
And it is not so easy to lose

Christine Bolton

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Does the Sandpiper Fly?

I woke this morning and feeling a little tense.  I couldn’t put my finger on any one thing but knew the best way to deal with it would be to get out into nature to clear my head and find some inspiration for the day.

I headed to the beach with towels and chair in hand.  The day was bright, the sky a cloudless blue, and I knew the moment I set foot on the sand that I had made a good decision.

I felt the energy coming from the sea and with the sun on my shoulders it was like instant medicine for the soul.  Nature is always the best remedy and I can usually find the answers I’m looking for, whether I am at the beach or just walking in the neighborhood.

After finding a good spot, I took a few minutes just to do a little people watching.  I live in a resort town on the coast and the beachgoers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Some are on vacation, others are walking the beach for exercise, a few are doing yoga, a couple are cycling and others are just working on their tan.  I then turned my attention to the beach birds.  Noisy Seagulls, diving Pelicans and the fascinating Sandpiper.  This small, busy bird is tireless.  You will find him running across the sand constantly in search of food and giving the impression that he must never get wet under any circumstance!

It made me realize how similar we all are. We as humans go through the same motions day after day whether going to work or tending to our lives in general.  Just like the Sandpiper, our existence depends on these repetitive rituals that are necessary. However, every now and again we should really just stop, take a breath and appreciate why we do these things.  If we work, at least enjoy it. If we are on the run taking care of our families, remember to be thankful for the happiness they bring. If we are in school or college and are feeling the pressure of our studies or from our peers, we should take consolation in knowing this time in our life is temporary. A means to an end and it will pass quickly.

I found the little Sandpiper so intriguing I was inspired to write this poem.

 

The Sandpiper

The Sandpiper runs along the shore
Searching for insects and the odd crustacean
Concentrating hard on the task at hand
With such intent and dedication

Moving swiftly down the beach
He flirts with the water as it ebbs and flows
With seconds to spare he quickly escapes
His legs taking him quickly wherever he goes

He is tentative and unsure
Of how it might feel
He errs on the side of caution
And avoids the thrill

Up and down the beach he goes
He repeats the ritual often
This is his life day after day
Nothing is forgotten

Fascinating to watch
I am enthralled with the scene
Will he do the same tomorrow?
And will he remember where he has been?

A Pelican and Seagull cause a commotion
They are squawking on the boat dock
The Gull loses interest
And rejoins his flock

Meanwhile the industrious Sandpiper
Is scurrying on the beach
To and from the water
Everything he goes for seemingly out of reach

The ceremony of his life
So fascinating to observe
His repetitive action, over and over
Never missing a curve

I watch the tireless efforts of this little bird
Rarely do you see him on his wing
His existence is staying close to the ground
Constantly searching for any little thing

I wonder does he walk home
To his little nest somewhere nearby
Thinking about tomorrow
And whether he should fly

Christine Bolton

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Lady in Waiting

Dancing on the perimeter of your life
Constantly moving so you would
Not forget I was there
I wait for you to beckon me
Inviting me into your life

You are open and welcoming
But cautious and in control
You do not pursue me
I do not know you yet
You may love another

I will be patient because it feels so good
I’m comfortable in my state of waiting
I believe you will come to me
One day
And so it is in your hands

Christine Bolton

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Questioning Myself

I am the status quo
My temperament even
Contained and rarely sad or angry
Life is too short for either
I rationalize the ups and downs of my life
Easily, effortlessly and with thought for others
This is who I have learned to be
When your sweet soul gets lost in your indignation
The dark shadow encompasses you and all in your path
Which includes me
I dread it
It comes from nowhere and swiftly
It swallows me
Stripping me of my composure
Sucking me into the abyss of whatever has displeased you
You feel justified in your state
And question my emotions
That are now so unraveled and visible
You have no patience with me
And you are now challenging in your address
You feel justified by your displeasure and subsequent rant
And you cannot understand why I do not agree
How does this happen?
I fear it and when it comes
It is as if struck by your words
It is not a happy time
I struggle to get past it
I sweep it under the carpet and pretend it didn’t happen
I enable you
By doing so you get a free pass to do it again
What does that say about me?

Christine Bolton

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Love and Pain – How Animals Enrich Our Lives

Sienna

I know they are not, but in my opinion these two words, love and pain, should be synonymous.  One doesn’t exist without the other and they are the evil twins of vocabulary.  The good twin gives the love and the evil twin delivers the pain.

Love is our oxygen.  We breathe it in and we feel our spirits lift to the point of being light-headed and giddy. Just when we are drunk on love, it gets snatched away and we suffer with the pain like a hangover.  I much prefer love.

When I reflect on love and pain I first think of the happiness and anguish of human relationships, although the same applies to the bond we have with our pets.  We have come to rely on them for companionship and of course love, but more and more, we depend on them as service dogs or service animals to help us both physically and emotionally.  They are an important part of our lives and as a result deep bonds are formed.  I began to think about all the animals that came in and out of my life and what they meant to me.

I must say of every pet I have owned, whether cats, dogs, tortoises, fish, small birds, exotic big birds and horses, they all presented me with a personality that was suited to mine at that time in my life.  I fondly remember some of the antics of my menagerie of pets over the years and the unconditional love they gave me.

My first cat as a child became my best friend who endured hours of torture being dressed in baby clothes and wheeled around in a stroller. He was so much more fun than a doll. As I would lay on the floor doing my homework, and usually fretting over it, he would climb onto my back and park there, purring, for the duration.  He was the best buddy an 8 year-old girl could have.

One time I came home from work to find my young Golden Retriever had chewed every possible thing he could reach, from hairbrush to can opener to gnawing right through the drywall until he reached the stud.  He was actually sitting triumphantly on top of the dining room table when I came into the house.  What could you do?

Then there was the duckling that waddled out from under the couch one evening as I watched TV.  Where he came from I’ll never know and the cat just sat there washing himself nonchalantly as if it had absolutely nothing to do with him.

I still wonder how, and which one of the three cats I owned, managed to get the live pigeon through the cat door and let him live until I came home from work.  I’ll never forget unlocking the door and all three black cats were lined up in the hallway staring at me as I entered.  I remember thinking that didn’t look right.  I turned around to close the front door and there sat the terrified pigeon. Who knows how long he had been sitting there.  Poor thing.  He could have had a heart attack as they probably taunted him for hours.

Then there was my sweet Mastiff who, while carrying a headless squirrel in her mouth, tried to bring it into the house for me. This beautiful docile dog was so excited to share it!  Have you ever tried blocking a determined 150 lb. dog from coming through a door? It wasn’t easy. I still refuse to believe she decapitated it, but it still haunts me.

Every one of these wonderful, funny creatures, and others I have not mentioned, brought such pleasure to my life, and for the small price of a good home and some food, they gave me so much love and some pretty unusual gifts!  If I was sad, a head would plop onto my lap or a paw would be laid on my knee. Or that purring in my ear and a kitty cat shoulder massage would bring a smile to my face and make my troubles disappear.  I remember sitting in my horse’s stall and crying over something that would bring an end to the world, and he would nicker just to let me know it was OK.  Happy days for them would be a car ride, always guaranteed to excite, maybe picking out a new toy at the pet store, or a gallop across the fields.  Their needs were so simple and all they wanted was to be with me.  Unfortunately our pet’s time with us is not long but the pleasure they bring lasts a lifetime.  Although I never will understand how man’s best friend, can live such a short life and a parrot or tortoise can live until they are 75!

When the dreadful day comes and the Evil Twin pays a visit, some difficult decisions have to be made.  This is hard on all of us and facing the inevitable can be heart wrenching.  It hasn’t been too long since we said goodbye to our Chocolate Lab.  We were not given the opportunity to even make that difficult decision as she was taken from us so suddenly by a freakish, large dog condition and could not be saved.  It was a devastating loss and we still have moments of such sorrow when she pops into our minds or we see another Lab.  I wrote the following poem shortly after losing her and I read it whenever I am feeling sad or I’m reminded of her.  It always helps and brings a smile to my face as I remember her sweetness.

I hope it reminds you of a four-legged friend or dear pet that might have lost.

Thank you for reading this.

Christine

Sienna

Your restless feet in the morning, anxious to communicate
Always thoughtful and considerate, but you could barely wait
Even when you needed our attention, you wanted to please
But we loved you so dearly we would drop to our knees

Sienna, your sweet look, always a happy puppy-doodle-doo
Your daily ritual meant we had so much love for you
You had your order of how things should be
And we followed you through the motions because your joy was ours, you see

Our world revolved around you and your happiness was important
Whatever it took and no matter the cost, we would never be complacent
We were blessed with your warmth and goodness every day
But what a cruel world it was that took you away

Our sadness and grief are beyond unbearable
And the loss of you completely unacceptable
Our memories are fresh in our hearts and will not fade soon
Our thoughts of you warm and loving and should be placed in a balloon

We would then send it up, way into the sky
Off into the wild blue yonder where dogs might fly
With a wish that it would find you somewhere, happy, healthy and content
And you would read our words to know that for us, it was as if you never went

You will never be forgotten and hope you are not alone
Our love for you is deep, as if carved in stone
We miss you so much our sweet chocolate dog
If we spell dog backwards then there is a God

Christine Bolton

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Grace Under Pressure

Grace under pressure
Remember the rule
Keep your temper in check
And stay cool
Remain calm
Don’t blow your stack
Be cognizant of others
Even when no one has your back
Stay kind and thoughtful
Though you could scream right now
They are poking the embers
Of a fiery disposition, and how!
This is not a good place to be
And you know it too well
You are the rational one
But you will never tell
Let them crumble under the pressure
As they continue to stoke your fire
If only they knew
The agony of your ire
You are the better person
As you can walk away
They will be eaten by their anger
Because they will never call it a day

Christine Bolton

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The Dark Mind

The Dark Mind

Why is it possible for someone, who appears to have everything, to be depressed?  Why does this happen to people who, to those looking in, seem so happy and content with their lives?

At times in our lives we have all experienced a form of depression and for the most part we understand what has been the cause.  Severe emotional distress can send us spiraling downwards.  While some of us manage to bounce back from isolated incidents with rational thinking and processing, many cannot do so. Depression can manifest itself in many different ways and is easily mistaken for tiredness, laziness and even rudeness.  Finding any one thing to pinpoint the cause of depression can also be confusing for the sufferer.  Like many other disorders, clinical depression falls on a continuum, from mild to moderate to severe. A mildly depressed person might feel badly a lot of the time but manage to keep up appearances, whereas a severely depressed person often can’t drag himself or herself out of bed.

I too have had moments of deep sadness, loneliness and confusion but I was fortunate in that I found my way out of the tunnel by writing. I do know someone who suffers from inexplicable depression at times.  They find it difficult to explain to non-sufferers and would like nothing more than to be free of those dark feelings.

Below is a poem that I wrote some years ago to describe how I was feeling.  It was a confusing and difficult time for me.  The writing helped and I encourage anyone struggling with feelings of sadness to do the same.  It does not have to take the poetic form; it can be a journal entry where you just let the pain or confusion you are feeling to spill on to a page.  I always find it beneficial to keep writing and not stop until I have exorcised all my thoughts.  Depression however is a very serious condition and I do not want to make light of it.  If you know of someone who is suffering with depression or anxiety please urge him or her to get professional help.

I hope in some small way that you will find this helpful.

Thank you for reading.

Christine

The Dark Mind

I wake with the cloud over my head
I think perhaps it is fear
Which sucks me into the abyss
Where it is impossible to navigate
The way back to sanity

I do not understand
I’m not sure what to do
I must leave this place
And exorcise these feelings
Of impending disaster and failure

My gloomy thoughts need obscurity
The desire for solitude calls me outside
To the soothing blackness of the night
A chill is in the air
And the rain falls in silence

Darkness comes quickly, consuming me
Casting a shadow on the beauty
That is my life
I walk quickly bracing against
The unexpected sudden chill

Collecting the somber thoughts in my head
I ask why does this happen
When everything is so perfect?
There is no reason for my complicated state
So why do I have to carry this albatross on my back?

With a resentful tolerance and
Comprehension of my shortfalls
I accept what is not perfect in me
Knowing there is no explanation
So I will send this unwanted burden on its way

Christine Bolton

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Biting The Hand That Feeds Us

Biting the hand that feeds us 

I heard a news story just the other day that the owner of a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa had been severely mauled by a lion, that he hand-reared from a cub, in a ghastly attack witnessed and filmed by staff and his tourist/clients.The graphic video showed the owner entering the lion’s enclosure and suddenly the lion started running towards him in a threatening manner.  The owner tried to get back to the gate but the lion reached him before he could escape and dragged him towards the bushes. The lion began to maul its owner to the horrifying screams of the witnesses.

The good news is the owner is alive and recuperating in hospital with a broken jaw and neck injuries. The sad news is the lion was killed.  It appears that the owner was investigating a strange smell in the enclosure that had been upsetting the lion for several days. If only the animal could have communicated what the problem was, right?  Well, of course he couldn’t, he was a wild animal.  Reared in captivity but still wild by nature.

This story made me realize how tenuous any relationship can be regardless of the species and the love that is shown.  Whether a long term partnership or a brief one, there is the possibility of irreparable damage to the relationship for one or the other involved. It can be as simple as drifting away from each other through indifference or as severe as an abusive situation.  What is it about us, as a species, that we allow this to happen?  In the case of the lion and its owner there was love and respect between them, but there was a language barrier.   Between humans there is no excuse.  We have the ability to speak.  When something disgruntles us or makes us unhappy, as with the lion and the bad smell, we at least, can communicate that verbally.  The lion did not have that opportunity.  As a result he lost his life and his loving owner ended up in the hospital.  In my humble opinion talking to our spouses and partners about everything, good or bad, is the life-blood of a relationship.  Communication leads to love, respect and the understanding of each other’s feelings and enables us to grow together.  If only the lion and the man had that ability.

Biting The Hand That Feeds Us

Mysterious and wild
Beautiful and brave
The king of the jungle
Went to his grave

He was just a cub
When he was bottle-fed
Raised lovingly in captivity
Until he ended up dead

He loved his owner
And that feeling was shared
Until the fateful day
When his owner got scared

Their eyes locked for a moment
But the message was not understood
One started to advance
The other ran as fast as he could

The hand that fed him
Was about to be bitten
The wild in the animal
Showed he was no longer a kitten

The king was the hunter
The man became the prey
No good would come of this
There were no debts to repay

The man is a mere mortal
An the lion is a beast
So a lesson to be learned
Is that man was almost the feast

Christine Bolton

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Can you grieve the loss of something you never had?

Can you grieve the loss of something you never had?

The answer, simply, is yes.

A young friend of mine has just shared some sad news.  She was pregnant for the first time but had a miscarriage a few days ago. She and her husband looked forward to this special event with a guarded optimism.  They had kept their special secret until the first trimester had passed and for all intents and purposes my friend should have moved into the dreamy second trimester.

My heart goes out to her at such a difficult time, as I personally know the devastation she is feeling, not just from the physical pain, but the emotional pain that will unfortunately stay with her for a very long time. Unless you have gone through such a traumatic experience it can be incomprehensible.

In my case I realized something was terribly wrong. I knew what was happening and there was nothing I could do about it.  I prayed it was just a scare and not a miscarriage but it was too late.  I will never forget how I felt and what a severe sense of loss I experienced.  It was so profound and it stayed with me for a long time.  I managed to be rational, and realized I would recover eventually, but the miscarriage was hard to accept.  Naturally there is an emotional connection between a mother and her baby in the womb, so the sense of loss was real.  There is also the loss of future.  Hopes and dreams dashed through no fault of anyone.  It’s also possible to feel guilt at this time because you think of all the other expectant mothers who experience not one but multiple miscarriages and they manage to go on, never giving up on their dream.

My young friend will experience all of these confusing thoughts.  Her physical pain will pass quickly but her emotional pain will stay with her for a long time.  She is brave and has youth on her side so I am certain she will have every opportunity to experience life’s miracle and have the family future she longs for and rightly deserves.

The following poem came to me quickly perhaps because it came from a personal experience. I hope you enjoy it.

Loss

My heart is full with news to share
We learn we will no longer be a just a pair

An addition to our family will come in June
Such excitement all around, it can’t come too soon

Things to consider and people to tell
Names thrown around like Anna and Rafael

I am so full of joy my mind is racing
Things to buy and bargains for chasing

A room to decorate and fill with love
A precious gift as if sent from above

But the black cloud came and darkened our lives
Stripped us of happiness and cut like a knife

Swift was its blow that knocked us down
The pain hurts so much I think we will drown

The loss is difficult and hard to comprehend
What did we do wrong for our joy to end?

The sunshine has disappeared and the skies are gray
Try again, we are told, it is going to be okay

It happens frequently or so it appears
But it’s hard to accept what has happened right here

We will cross the bridge that lies up ahead
Confident that our future will not hang by a thread

To lose something you never had is somehow surreal
But with love and understanding we will begin to heal

The creation we lost will stay in our hearts forever
One day soon another will come, so never say never

Christine Bolton

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Down by the Sea – Poem of the Month – May 2018

Down by the Sea

Down By The Sea

The wind chimes awaken to the stirring of the breeze
The Mockingbird duo swoops down from the trees

A sleepy cat stretches his limbs in an arched frame
The sea laps the shore again and again

The crystals of sand are cool under my feet
A sunny day in Paradise and life is sweet

I walk along the beach as I often do
Taking in the sounds of life and thinking of you

There is beauty in nature all around
And I live in eternal gratitude for what I have found

A hard life lived with a good measure of pain
A constitution to get up and go on again and again

When rewards were out of my reach
I turned to the mighty pen for my soul to teach

Life is a lesson sometimes hard to endure
But perseverance and understanding can settle the score

You were out there struggling just as I
When we happened on each other we breathed a big sigh

Our jagged pieces did eventually fit
Each other’s grooves that had so spectacularly split

Now we are as one living in harmony
In this natural charm down by the sea

Christine Bolton

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