Vignette #32 “Signs”

I don’t know much about the world. It’s too big and it’s too vast and it knows so much more than I ever could. That’s a scary thought… but maybe a blessing in disguise. The world, just how it knows how everything began, knows how everything will end. It knows how I will end. It even knows your ending.

Even though I believe that to be true, I don’t believe the world wants to scare us. It’s just made of this cosmic magic that we as humans can’t even begin to comprehend. If anything, I think in its own way… it really is trying to save each of us. Not all of us realize this and we fight and we question and we doubt. It’s easier to believe that everything is random, that any misfortune that falls our way is just bad luck and not divine intervention. Some of us want to be saved, some of us don’t. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that’s part of the collective experience of being human.

I believe the world tries to talk to us everyday, in its own way. When it stops raining just as you are about to head out for work, when the cardinal lands on the windowsill just as you had a lonely thought, when the person you most wanted to see walks through the door. All those little moments, even though they happen everyday, are magic.

Or at least that’s how I see it.

Magic doesn’t have to be dramatic to be real. Look around and I’m sure if you’re paying attention you’ll see it too.

Photo by Lewis Meyers on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #31 “Breathe”

Breathe.

It is one thing to say it. Another to do it.

Breathe.

But the world is spinning before my eyes. My brain can’t keep up with the thoughts running through my mind. Over and over and over. And over. My head is stuck in a loop.

Breathe.

But there are nails digging into my back. My shoulders are carrying the weight of the world. My mind hurts so much I think it’s going to explode.

Just breathe.

Don’t you know there are bills to pay? Don’t you know I haven’t touched another person in over two months? Can’t you see the people being attacked in the street? Everything is so wrong, how can things ever get better? HOW CAN YOU TELL ME TO JUST BREATHE?

But the oxygen is escaping my chest. I feel woozy. There’s a fist clutched around my lungs. If I don’t take a breath now, my body may give way. So breathe. I grimace.

My first attempt is a shutter. The kind you get when the winter wind blows right through you. I feel the emptiness rattle around inside and my shoulders twitch up to my ears. It is more like a gasp and less of an inhalation. Keep breathing.

The second is easier. It’s still not perfect with the air catching in all the other places except where it needs to go, but it softens the pain in my forehead. At least for a second.

Do it again.

I do it again.

Again.

I do it over and over and over. And over.

Do you feel better?

No. Yes. I don’t know. A little.

Keep breathing.

I can’t just stay here forever.

If you want to live, you keep breathing.

But what about money? What about the loneliness? What about the world?

You can’t do anything for anyone without first taking a breath for yourself.

I keep breathing. My shoulders sag. My vision sharpens. The nails in my back fall out one by one by one. The fist clenched around my lungs loosens, slowly… slowly… slowly….

Are you breathing?

Yes.

How do you feel?

…Better…

Good.
Now, go do what you have to do and don’t forget

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #30 “The Racetrack”

Before I can help it my fingers are flying across the keys, and I’m helpless to stop it. The thoughts are racing by, each one trying to overcome the others. Many succeed in flying straight ahead to the finish line, but some are left far enough behind to get trampled and lost in the mess on the track of my mind. My fingers are helpless in the competition. They just keep tapping and pressing and moving to the instructions they’re given, like announcers trying to keep the rest of the audience informed. The racing thoughts that get lost come out in bits of shattered fragments on the rapidly filling once blank page. A random horseshoe in the middle of a sentence that otherwise would have made perfect sense. A lost stirrup, ripped from the saddle lying by itself at the end of a paragraph, or a scrap of paper with the headline ripped from the top to be hidden somewhere else in the dirt of the track.

It takes a moment, after the burst, before I realize the race has ended. The winners are clear on the page. I need a deep breath because it’s over, and even though I haven’t even left my seat I am exhausted. I’m not part of the competition anymore, I’m a bystander, a visitor looking on from the stands. As I go through the sentences it is just like watching a recap on a screen. By the time I reach the last word, my mind and fingers in tandem have had to edit and cut. Getting rid of the things that don’t make sense, disregarding the racers that came in last, and painting the victorious in the appropriate light for the prize winning picture.

But this is just the derby, wait till the stakes get higher.

Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #29 “Wayfarer”

There is a path stretched out behind you. It’s concrete made with no bends in sight. As straight and narrow as the length of a computer screen, the width of an office desk, and the depth of the manager’s suit covered gut. The sun is the color of a fluorescent light, and the air is as stuffy as a hot classroom. Expectations, rules, the conventional like shackles pressing down onto your shoulders and binding your feet to the floor.

There is a path curving ahead of you, serpentine and shifting. There is no way to know what is going to come at you next on that mist covered trail. It changes its shape at every turn depending on the decisions you make, and there will be many decisions to make. Monsters lurk in the depths, some friendly and some not. Different than the behemoths you’ve fought before. These are stronger, and will swat the weak at heart away with a single slap across the face. There’s no tradition on this path to hang across your shoulders, but there is no guidance either.

And don’t forget the paths stretching to either side. You could go right where all the noise of the roaring waves is. Take off your shoes and let the sand crowd around your toes. Let the water call you in closer and closer till it caresses your skin. Let the call draw you in further and further till its over your head and all you can live, see, breathe is ocean.

Or, you could go left into the silence of the woods. Trees will stand over you and their leaves will cover you from the rain, while burrows will protect you from the wind when the storm comes to call. You can stay as long as you wish but this path can run around and around in circles confusing even the most skilled travelers. Everything will start to look the same until you forget there was anything different before.

You can even sit down and stay just where you are. The safest spot of all… at first sight. This is the one with the greatest risk to gain the greatest loss.

So, chose wisely.

Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

Vignette #28 “How to Stop Time”

Do you want to know how to stop time?

Take notice of the wind streaming in through the open window nearby. It may be strong with a storm spinning in the sky, or gentle with gulls guiding the way to the gorge. Either or… listen to what it’s saying with a rash yell in your ear or a soft whisper against your cheek. It knows the secret of rebirth because it lives on and dies down many times through out a single day.

Pay attention to the sky because unlike a human, it cannot lie. The sky knows no other way than the honest truth. Years, months, days are just materialistic things to an expanse that has and will forever see and cover all the world underneath it.

Look to the earth, for it is the one watching over you the most. Everything you have and will ever need it looks to give to you. Kindness and generosity layered through its being from the grass underneath your feet to its molten fire core deep below the dirt. It will give until the end because that’s what creators do. Love and love, and even when they are gone somewhere else out there they’ll still be looking out for you too.

Let the air slowly fill your lungs like the first breath after a deep sea dive. Something so small and natural that it’s often forgotten how essential it truly is. Realize that you are alive. If you can breathe then everything is okay.

Only when you are present in each and every moment do you have the universe in your hand and then, and only then, does time does not exist.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Vignette #27 “The Last Bouquet”


It was something I knew I wouldn’t see…. for a long while at least.

Everywhere around me the world was moving. I could see the registers flying as item after item slide down the conveyor belt. I could see carts hustling through the aisles all lost in some maze that only had one way out. I could see the workers with their faces set in stone and their fingers moving miles a minute. In a modern day grocery store this is what panic looked like.

I wanted to cry.

Instead, I focused on the stems in my hand. Red like the shade of the sun as it rises in the summer, like harvest apples waiting to fall from the tree, like the feathers’ of a cardinal sitting on a branch. Red, the color of the petals of the roses in my trembling fingers. After today, there would be no more flowers. They needed room for other things. Things that were running off the shelves like scared little mice when the cat’s around. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, water bottles, bread…. things that I was sure we had enough of before.

But no more flowers. In times like today, there was no more space for beautiful fragile things. Right then though, I felt like us humans were the most fragile things of all.

Photo by Ivan Jevtic on Unsplash

Living Life #26 "Do it."

Today is yours. No one can take that from you.

If you want to sleep in because your head hurts, then do it. If you want to sit and stare at the rain, do it. If you want to take a walk then just go, don’t come back till you have had your fill. If you want to pull all the books down from the shelves and build a fort to hide in, do it. If you want to do laundry and put extra fabric softener in, do it. If you want to let the dishes sit, then let them sit. And you can sit too.

No one knows how you feel but yourself. If today you are not right then that’s okay. Really, it is. One day you will feel right again. I promise. You have to have some bad to appreciate when it’s good.

So just remember.

Today is yours. No one can take that from you and that is the most magical thing of all.

Photo by Tonny Tran on Unsplash

Living Life #25 “The Thaw”

I remember my window where I couldn’t see outside. Frost had touched from corner to corner as if ghosts had been peaking in through the night as they passed by.

I remember my breath as it became visible before my face. Sighing was all I could do to get through the daze my mind had fallen into from seeing too many gray days.

I remember my hands rubbed raw red and numb. No matter how I clenched them or how long I kept on the mittens they rarely thawed.

I remember the moment when that all changed.

I look out the window and the sky isn’t gray but bright, ocean blue. As if the sea had somehow floated into the air, and the fish turned to clouds of fluffy white cotton.

I look at the grass where for what seemed like years there had only been slush. I can see the concrete of the street with the sun glinting off and rushing away the memory of the black ice that was once underneath.

And I look at the tulips, just starting to peak up from their perches. Purple, red, orange, and yellow. Colors of a sunrise peaking over the world. I had forgotten in the long days of winter what color looked like. Until now.

Spring has finally come, and now I am awake.

Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

Living Life #24 “Dame of Dust and Dirt”

It was a room with plenty pretty pink pens, bounties of billowing blue blankets, and a whopping of wrapping woozy wires webbed across the floor. The last time I saw the hardwood underneath was a long and distant time ago. In fact, it was around when last my sanity was also spotless and sanctimonious in space and time…. if I’m remembering correctly. A long and far time ago, indeed.

My fingers tap, tap, tapped against the table testing the threshold of tension and tears at my beck and call. It only made the dirt fly farther into the recesses of my small apartment space in lines of dust mites dancing in the mid morning light.

No. No. No.

I could do this no longer.

Vacuum and mop. A feather duster and cloth. Numbness of mind and too many worries bogging in kind. Pretty pink pens piling into the trash, billowing blue blankets stacked so tall they could crash, and the webbing wires, woozy and wrapped gathered in my hands and to the garbage they dash dash dashed.

Hours and hours, time needing to be lost to be found. The tiny apartment was at last bare and the stormy weather of my mind turned sunny and fair. Cinderella could hold no candle to see, cause I was my own prince and saving me.

When all was tidy and neat, this once princess of mess and disorder could finally sit write, and eat.

Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash

Living Life #23 “Smile”

I have only seen her frown once.

Granted, I have never seen her outside of work but when you work as many hours as I do with the same people day after day… you tend to notice things.

In the early morning, when the sky is still painted night and the air chilled with dew, whoever she greets on her way in she’ll flash a smile. It doesn’t matter if her eyelids are still a little droopy with sleep, or her sweet voice a little heavier as if coated in honey. No matter what, you’ll still see that smile.

At our weekly meeting we learn about new procedures, rules, or programs we need to know how to run. If she doesn’t understand she’ll raise her hand and ask her questions, always with a coy quirk in her lip. As if in apology for speaking, when in reality she is voicing the question in all our minds.

Casual meetings in the hallway with everyone’s coming and goings, when if you’re lucky enough to meet her eyes, there that grin will be. It doesn’t matter that she already flashed it at you an hour ago when you walked in together.

Disgruntled customers are frequent and normal. I once watched a man spit at her, saliva getting stuck to her blouse and she didn’t even balk. That smile came to her defense and it calmed him, and the rest of us, down from coming to her aid.

When Tracy accidentally dropped a cup of coffee and it splashed onto her shirt.

When her computer broke and she had to stay late to finish her assignment.

When it started to pour just as she was about to leave the other day.

Everywhere she goes, she smiles. I don’t understand. Or at least I didn’t, until the day I saw that frown.

I was coming around the corner when I spotted her at the window. It was the only time I ever saw her eyes look so far away. Her arms were crossed tightly across her chest, and her hands were clenched around her elbows. I realized in that moment that she thought she was alone. I would have left it that way too… if not for the frown marring her face.

For someone who had always seemed so happy, and brought joy to everyone else… I wondered at the depth of sadness she must have kept bottled up inside. There was a lifetime of disappointment and worry in that upside down turn of her mouth.

I didn’t mean to stare… but that’s how she caught me. Her expression careened from sadness to surprise to a calm expression with her lips set into a straight line. I didn’t even know what to say, I was caught just as off guard as she was.

Are you okay? came to the tip of my tongue but my words weren’t working. She inclined her head at me then and passed by. That was the only time she didn’t smile, at least to me.

I wonder, sometimes, if she is as aware as I am of the powerful effect a smile, or lack there one, can have… because after I didn’t see one the rest of my day was wrecked.

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash