Wasp Paper

Writing from the Writers Group this week. We’ve been doing this, but I can’t find the piece I used as inspiration.

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What would a wasp say if it could write its little heart out on that huge scroll?polistes_may_2013-2

I’ve never liked bees. Honey bees are ok—almost cute—but the rest of the beekingdom have always terrified me. Maybe not bumble bees. They are miniature winged golden retrievers, following too close and bumping accidentally; curious and furry. Hornets, wasps, yellow jackets; they are all evil.

The girl scouts had a giant hornet’s nest in the corner of the room where we met. It was something to do with North Carolina or Mecklenburg County. I never paid attention to that part. I had nightmares about it; swarms of these evil creatures would pour out of the bottom of their paper castle and come for me, vengefully pricking me to death for daring to cast my eyes in their direction, their fury unstoppable, their wings like a machine of war propelling them towards my vulnerable face.

But they…make paper! They have probably been making paper since well before humans ever did. What if a little wasp took her stinger, dipped in my fresh blood, and wrote on her paper. What would she say?

“Keep out! No trespassing,” big jagged letters around the belly of the nest. “Private Property!”

“You wouldn’t believe what I saw this morning! The sun made tiny round jewels on the ivy leaves round the old tree stump,” careful, precise holes poked, needle stitches for each letter. “You should pay more attention to the great world.”

“Yay for circles!” Big, punched out letters. “Circles are best!”

“My life is so brief and fast,” tiny bloody cursive, her ink from the well of my arm. “I must be fierce and powerful before I die, for it flies to meet me quickly. Then, I am no more.”

To read the nest book, one layer at a time, peeling pages from an enemy’s soul.

 

Note: that is NOT my photograph. I would never, ever get that close. The photographer is excellent and can be found here. 

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Oh Savannah

Oh Sa Vannah! Oh don’t you cry for me!

Wait, I think that’s wrong.

Anyhow, photos of the loveliness that is Savanna, GA.  It was very good to go earlier in the spring because it was not so hot you melted into the ground and it wasn’t so humid either. Yet still full of all the pretty!

If you go to Savannah  you cannot avoid all the ghost stories and the fact that everyone insists that where they live or work is the most haunted place in America. So, of course a visit to one of the many historic cemeteries is in order. This bird was on a branch of a tree at the cemetery. The tree itself was nearly dead and covered in Spanish Moss that was a soft, powdery greywhite cloud around the tree. Like a ghost of what was once the green moss virtually dripping with life. What would have been a rather ordinary looking bird in some other context was just so beautiful sitting there. It is, perhaps, my favorite shot of the whole trip.

One of the things Savannah is well known for is all of the beautiful ironwork. You find it everywhere and I must have taken dozens and dozens of photos of ironwork doors, fences, railings and other details.

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Hidden gardens are pretty much everywhere all over the city. Peering over a wall, you can see all kinds of things, even a petrified lion!

And sometimes, gardens escape over the wall and into the alley!

No trip to the city is complete without a visit to the big fountain in Forsythe Park. I am amazed that I was able to get this shot without people in the background because this is a major congregating place for people, both locals and tourists.

I love trees and Savannah is full of them!

This was a particularly unusual tree. I have no idea what kind it is but it looked like one of those statues that has been carved with drapey fabric. It was very strange!

And the big bridge! With a storm right behind it. So it was time to go home. Farewell Savannah! Until we meet again.

The Hills Remember

writing assignment: choose a title or cover from a book on a shelf and use that as a starting point.

The Hills Remember

The hills re4member my father. He used to talk to them, imagine them, dream with them, pine for them when he was away for too long. He walked them plowed them, loved them.

“I lift mine eyes unto the hills,” he would say every time he returned home, “whence commeth my strength.” It was not a question as the psalmist would have it. It was his declaration. He knew from whence his help, his strength, his all came frometh; those mountains.

During the time of the great second war he wrote home from France and Germany in words that never pretended not to be homesick. He saw horrible things but also beautiful ones as well. “It is all really pretty,” he wrote from the countryside somewhere between France and Germany, “the Land, I mean. But it ain’t none of it as pretty as our mountains!” All he wanted to do was return to these mountains; these rolling hills that never forget.

I stand on the earth, toes gripping, sinking roots down deep. The ancient hills roll out all around me as far as the eye can see. Soon, as the sun sets, the mountains will leap up and catch the fire ball, pulling him down below their horizons.

If my father were alive he would be 90 years old today. But he does not walk these hills any more, at least not with feet of flesh and bone. But the hills do remember him and so do I.

I lift my eyes to the hills from whence commeth my strength.

But We’re Working On It

It is with great joy that I share this guest post in the on going series on body image. Tara is a student in the campus ministry program I work with, an intern of mine from a summer past, and a friend. She is twenty one and a Junior at WCU, studying philosophy and working part time with students with intellectual disabilities. In her “free” time, she reads, knits and practices her Tae Kwon Do.  Please enjoy her words!

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When I was first asked to write this post, I thought that it would be an easy thing to do. However, when I sat down to actually write it, I ran into trouble. My body and I have never been the best of friends, but we’re working on that.

My image issues started in elementary school. I was always the quiet child, preferring to read during recess rather than run around playing tag. Looking for something to help with my self image, I turned to tae kwon do. This did wonders to teach me respect: for my superiors, for those of lower rank than myself, and for me. However, it did not help with my body image.

Because TKD has such focus on footwork and kicking, my thighs and calves became bigger. People never seemed to consider the fact that they were bigger  because of muscle growth. It was automatically assumed that I was fat.  It also didn’t help that I was the only girl in my seventh grade PE class who was not able to fill out a bra.

By eighth grade, I could be found wearing hoodies and jeans almost every day. PE was my own personal hell because the uniform was shorts and a tee shirt, which highlighted my big thighs and flat chest. I retreated further into my shell, throwing myself into scholastic achievement and my martial arts.

My first venture into the world of body positivity was during my sophomore year of high school. I joined my high school’s colorguard. This was a group of thirty or so girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. My leg strength was  praised because I could march a ten minute show without becoming too fatigued. I was stretching and working out every day which helped my overall appearance. Throughout my three years on colorguard, I competed in three different uniforms. I had to overcome my issues with changing in front of others and wearing clothes that actually highlighted my curves.

My growth continued throughout my college career. I became more confident in myself as a person, which helped with my confidence in my body. The biggest impact, though, was surrounding myself with people who liked me for me. They didn’t look at my size, but my character. They decided to be my friend because of who I am.

My involvement in my school’s production of the Vagina Monologues has made the most difference in how I feel about my body. The Vagina Monologues are a series of monologues highlighting different women’s issues. Within this group, we support each other in all aspects. We are a body positive group that never shames.v

Another big support group has been my campus ministry group. We make the intentional decisions to focus Bible studies around self esteem issues, understanding that it is something that we all struggle with. I am surrounded by people who share the same faith as me, walking the same road I walk. It’s something I find comforting.

I have come a long way on my road to being okay with my body’s shape and size. I still have a ways to go, but I’m well on my way.

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This is the fourth post in a series on body image. If you have a story or wish to write an essay about your own experience with body image to post on this blog, please contact me. I would love to read it!

Additionally, if you wish to learn more about Vagina Monologues at WCU please go here or about the monologues in general, go here.

The Me I Love, The Body I Hate

It is with great joy that I share this guest post in the on going series on body image. Kristin is a very dear, long-time friend and colleague with whom I have shared many a body image frustration. It is definitely common ground for us! Please enjoy her words!

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I both love and hate my body.  Actually no it’s not really my body I love.  I love myself and I am completely confident that I am loved.  My mother made sure of the latter.  She hated her body.  As a polio survivor, when she saw her body she only ever saw the literal scars from the multiple surgeries she had between the ages of 4 and 13.  She saw the isolation of months spent laying in iron lungs and hospital beds.  She saw the loneliness of not being able to go outside and play with her siblings or do any of the normal things that children would do.  She saw the limitations of the things her body could not do.

There was one limitation that my mother never accepted – having a child.  Her parents and countless doctors told her it would be impossible.  She didn’t listen.   The pregnancy was hard and she knew there would only be one.  But my mother often told me I was the one thing she was proudest of in her life.  She may not have liked her body, but she wanted me to like mine.  She wanted me to have the confidence she rarely felt or in my opinion never gave herself credit for.  She told me I was beautiful and that I was loved.  She told me often.   I believed her.

As I grew up though my body did not look like the Barbie ideal. I have the wide hips and large bust common on my father’s side of the family but the shorter height of my mother’s side. My mother told me I was beautiful, my classmates teased me mercilessly. My mother dried my tears and in her eyes I saw her own pain but I also saw her love. I never doubted whether I mattered. I never doubted that I was loved. And I loved her. It’s hard not to love someone who loves you so unconditionally. And it is hard not to believe her. That is part of the reason why I have always loved my body because I love myself.

But I also hate my body.  I have always struggled with weight.  I have never liked the bra cup size that requires special ordering, the fact that I cannot buy regular pants without dealing with hemming them.  And bad habits, like comforting myself with food, die hard.  I still have a ways to go before I will ever be able to say I like my body.

When I see pictures of myself that show more than just my face, I don’t often like what I see.  That’s when I see the flaws.  That’s when I see what others see when they look at my body.  But when I look in the mirror I see me.  And I see my Mom.  And I see a cross on my forehead that says I am a child of God.  And that image I love.  I don’t know if I will ever like the me I see in pictures, but I pray I will always love the me I see in the mirror and be confident that I am loved.

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This is the third post in a series on body image. If you have a story or wish to write an essay about your own experience with body image to post on this blog, please contact me. I would love to read it!