Monday, September 23

The Shadowlands is an extended piece that Jane Tilton wrote for the Lemurian Forum

I let my imagined self free as Heather suggested, to go wherever it chose, and was so surprised to find myself on "The Oak Lined Street", as a 'spiritual recreational therapist'. ( Talk about melodramatic!) There is a definate tongue in cheek going on here with a slight bent towards humor but I am thourally enjoying the journey. I am debating whether to share it here as it is becoming very long.
I did want to let you know that I have not dropped out of Lemuria but am still on this journey. This subject really has a lot more to it then we realize. When I reflect on this creature of my imagination and its life beyond my realities I feel like it has reached deep into my subconscious and is working out basic desires to understand and help a time in life that I could never accomplish any other way then with magical powers. It is a phaze that none of us can avoid, and perhaps it is my fears of entering this stage that has sent this creator of impossible feats out to solve what I can not.

Because the subject is getting beyond a short article I think I have decided to just enter the first page of the journey and if you are interested in reading where it is going let me know. Here goes:

The street was lined with large oak trees and the homes were large colonial homes left over from another decade. I love the looks and the mystery of older houses, and inside each house, even today, there are people making it a home. I always wished I could peek into each home and see the stories being unfolded, and now I have the chance to enter one of these homes.

Oh, I am sorry, I should introduce myself first. My name is Elesia and I am a Samaritan spirit. I was sent down from above to find some way to bring joy to 8 totally unrelated people living in one of these houses. I guess you might say I am an assigned recreational therapy director that no one can see or hear. I am not quite sure how this will be accomplished but you are welcome to come along with me as we explore the possibilities.

There, this is the house. It is still early morning and the only light in the house seems to be in the kitchen. Making our way through the sparsely furnished living room a large dining room reveal eight chairs around a long table. The dining room of the three bears cross my mind but this one has eight bears. Walking down the adjoining hall we step into the first bedroom on our left. In it Geraldine is just waking up.

Geraldine opened her eyes and tried to clear the fog in her brain left over from a restless night. Every morning greeted her with unfamiliarity. This room, the curtains, the sounds and smells, all left her uncomfortable. This was not her home. Perhaps today someone will come and take her home.

From where she laid she could just see a little of the sky and tree limbs moving in a slight breeze through the crack between the curtains and the wall. At home her studio curtains were never pulled. " Nature makes life worth living".

"Without nature I would not be an artist," she had often told her children when they would complain about their clothes not being washed or having to make their own lunches. "and art work buys those clothes you are wearing young man," she scolded. For some reason those thoughts made a pain run through her heart. Perhaps it could have been different..perhaps I should have…and then the thought disappears and once more Geraldine lay back on her pillow looking up on a completely unfamiliar environment, back in the fog of disorientation.

On the other side of the living room are two bedrooms. In the first bed room Jim lays stiff as a board in his bed, snoring. It is a strange site: Covers rising and falling over a huge belly on a man that is six feet tall in a single bed that is only a little over 6 feet long. His mind has taken him to the open plains where he is riding on horseback, herding a loose steer back to the herd. Sleep is the best time for him in this home on the oak lined street. Sleep helps him escape the reality of the other rooms and the other inhabitants.

Next to Jims room is Jerry, a tall, thin Morman man who is already up and dressed and glancing towards the clock every few minutes. He neatly arranges his dresser for the third time. In his mind he repeats like a mantra, "Neatness is next to Godliness" It seems to be a security for him in a world that is not of his choosing. He picks up his bible and with military erectness and one more glance at the clock, he sits on the edge of his bed and opens it to the book marked page.

The dining room lights are now are on and 7 place settings are neatly arranged around the table. A large bowl of fruit is in the middle of the table and cereal bowls on every plate. A menu on the wall shows that today it will be oatmeal and toast. Jim hates oatmeal.

Back on the womens side of the house Coni, in the room next to Geraldines awakens to a drug induced state of nothingness. Her eyes and mind focus on nothing. All will has been drained from her because of the establishments need to control her aggressive tendencies. Anger is all that is left within her when the drugs start wearing off and even sorrow has been replaced by fear. Life holds no joy for Coni.

As I head past Conis’ room to look in on the next room my heart is heavy. What have I to give these people? What in the world could convince them that life is worth living. I have to steel myself from taking on their desperation. There has to be a way. After all I have been assigned here as the "Recreational Therapist." A Samaritan Spirit has to accomplish their mission. I was promised a few magic powers I could use if my ideas were valid. I figured this job would be a snap. Just jump in there and get them all in a room and give them some fun activities. They could sing, and I could read them stories. We could string beads and… It was becoming increasingly obvious to me that I can not visualize the chaos I would find myself in trying to lead any group activity.

Sounds of a radio playing country western music can be heard from the kitchen as the CAREGIVER prepares the breakfast. In the room next to Gertrude, Alice has maneuvered herself into her wheelchair and grins at her success.

"I may be 96 but I am not helpless yet", she laments and prepares to head for the kitchen for a cup of coffee. She knew the CAREGIVER would scold once she got to the kitchen but, "Just because I fell one time does not mean I can never do it again. " she mutters as she heads for the doorway. "I need a cup of coffee now not with my meal".

Instead of going straight to the kitchen Alice heads across the hall and pops her head into Olives room calling loudly…"Wake up Olive..It is time for coffee. "

"GO AWAY" Olive groans.

Olive chuckles as she wheels down the hall towards the kitchen.

Hazel immediately comes to her door to check on what is going on in the hall even though she is half dressed. She struggles trying to get into the sleeve of her sweatshirt which is actually the sweatpants. She ducks back into her room before Alice can see her and with a quick glance at the clock she mutters to herself as she struggles with the sweatpants. The Breakfast club has already been on for ten minutes. She threw the sweatpants into the corner and

pART 3

The CAREGIVER was rushing from room to room now, helping everyone get up and to the breakfast table. Hazel headed towards the living room TV to escape the sputtering of the caregiver, scolding her for scattering clothes all over the room every morning. Having bad hearing worked to her advantage sometimes, she thought, as she put on a blank face and hurried down the hall.
I took a deep breath and sat down, in a lotus position, in the middle of the hall. I needed to think. I had been given only three days to improve all the lives here and at the moment I did not have a clue how to proceed. As everyone would soon be all together in one place I strained my mind trying to come up with an idea. As is the case with spiritual recreational therapists a magical connection to the source of ideas floated down into my brain...Ok... it is worth a try..I was off...
I headed out the door and towards the center of the business district. My intended helper #1 "Eleanor Flower, was just unlocking the front door of the "Pretty Posy" florist shop. As she entered the shop she leaned over and picked up the pile of mail that was dropped during the early morning hours. In that pile of mail was my inspiration: A brochure introducing Eatable Flowers to the proprietor of THE PRETTY POSEY florist shop.
Eleanor laid the mail on the counter inside the door and gazed around the shop with pleasure. It always seemed like a miracle that this shop was really hers. Since she was a child she had always loved flowers.
I had to get her attention fast.. I pushed the brochure onto the floor..
Eleanor lent over and picked up the brochure and replaced it with the bills, and headed towards the back of the shop to check to be sure the delivery man had placed the fresh flowers in the cooler. I had to do something fast before everyone was at the breakfast table. Aha.. the coffee....that’s it... rush the coffee...
Eleanor could smell the fresh brewing coffee and headed back to get a quick cup. As she filled her cup and with total intent to returning to the back of her shop she noticed that the brochure was once more on the floor.
"Strange", she thought, and as she picked it up and scanned it with curiosity. ""Eatable Flowers": "Interesting, but not marketable". she thought as she sat down behind the counter and began to read the brochure.
At various times family members of the inhabitants of "The Oaks", the assisted living house on Oak street, received bouquets of flowers from relatives, and it always made Eleanor feel that she should do something for these people. Especially since September 11th. Every news brocast encouraged everyone to extend acts of kindness to others. The people at the Oaks all seemed so detached from the real world and there was always a solemn silence in the home. She always got a pleasure from seeing their faces light up when she delivered their bouquets.
Returning to the brochure she was surprised how many flowers were actually eatable and nutritious. In fact they seemed to be extremely healthy. There were pictures of salads and different dishes artistically displayed with flowers, adding color and beauty. She got an idea. Her assistant was coming soon and if she hurried there just might be time.
Reaching for the phone she dialed the " The Oaks". After 6 rings the CAREGIVER breathlessly answered the phone. An impatient ‘Yes" was the only sound from the other end....
"Tell me". Eleanor asked. "Can your residences eat grapefruit"?
There was an uncomfortable silence on the phone and then the CAREGIVER asked impatiently, "Is this a prank call or do you have something pertinent to say?"
Eleanor explained her idea.

Chapter 6
By the time I got back to the house Geraldine and Olive were sitting in the living room, with coffee, watching the end of the Breakfast Club. A woman was singing all the oldies and the two women were trying to sing the words, filling in with hmmm hmmm hmmm. I must remember this. Perhaps there is an idea here.

With a glance at his watch, Jerry was heading down the hall towards the dining room as the CAREGIVER and Jim headed for the bathroom. Jim smirked at Jerry’s discussed look as they past Jim was completely nude from the waste down and stunk worst then a fresh cow pad in a warm barn. Jerry quickened his step. Once seated at the table, completely erect, Jim once again glanced at his watch. Yes, fifteen minutes exactly and breakfast should be on the table. Jim was always seated 15 minutes before the time. Sadly no one else in this house was prompt.

At the same time Olive is heading into Conis’ room to take her to push her down to the dining room in her wheelchair. She greatly resented the fact that the caregiver would even ask her to do it just because that crazy Jim is on the other end of the house was yelling for her. Her mind kept rolling with a constant dialogue of complaints: "I am 95 years old and have already done my share." " I deserve to sleep as late as I want and do what I damn well choose to do after this many years." "After all, dont I pay $1800 to live in this place." " I could get treated better at the hotel down the street for a heck of a lot less money." "I sure to hell dont get paid to do this".

On arriving in the dining room she gave the wheelchair a shove into the spot at the end of the table that was Conis’. The wheelchair bumped the table and Coni looked up with fear filled eyes. Jerry began praying out loud in a soothing tone and Olive plunked herself down in her designated place completely discussed with both of them. It was at that moment that Eleanor came through the front door with a bouquet of 14 flowers. All the residences except Jim and the CAREGIVER followed her with surprised eyes. This was a definite change in the morning routine.

With a quick smile and call of ‘Good Morning" Eleanor hurried to the kitchen with her flowers. They were carnations with unusually short stems; not the usual long stems one uses for bouquets. . Eleanor instantly returned with seven flowers, each in a different color.

Repeating her first cherry greeting she went to each person, greeting them by their name, and asked them to pick the color that they liked most for their own.

"I just made a quick run out to the organic farm just outside of town just for you", she explained.

"Did you know that carnations are eatable?" "I have checked with your caregiver and none of you have any allergies and these carnations have never had chemicals of any kind on them, so for a treat this morning you are going to have carnations in your dish of fruit." "Sprays and allergies are the only precautions for carnations." " You’ll like them, they are sweet and spicy". "They taste like they smell."

Jerry frowned and let out a loud sound of disapproval, Geraldine smiled in delight . The rest seemed to go along with it as though Eleanor were one of their children who had just come in from the backyard with a gift. Coni’s face remained blank until the last flower was laid in her hand. Her eyes focused on the flower. Eleanor layed the last flower next to Jim’s place.

Rushing back to the kitchen she went to the tray already layed out with 7 small bowls of canned fruit left for her to serve by the CAREGIVE. She took the last 7 carnations and after rinsing them under cold water she carefully removed the petals and dropped them on top of the fruit.

Returning to the dining room with the tray she placed each bowl of fruit in front of the person holding the same colored carnation and as quickly as she came she headed out the door calling back her farewell. The residence sat in stunned silence, trying to comprehend the whirlwind that had changed the routine of their day and stared into their fruit bowl with the colored petals floating on top.

Geraldine looked up and declared " This day is going to be special". I can feel it in my bones".

On the other side of town June was putting the last touches on a tray of cups and plate of health muffins. The tea pot sat on a warming plate to keep the water at the right temperature when needed and a pan of water was simmering on thr back of her stove with some cloves and cinnamon in them to make her house smell good. Glancing at her watch she hurried to her bedroom to bring out the mats for the girls.
Her three closest friends had made a commitment to get together every morning for one half hour of Qi Gong after taking their children to school.

I got there just as they were finishing their routine with a few yoga positions and heading to the dining room for a cup of tea. This was my first experience in being able to enter a group unobserved and listen to their conversations. I sat down in a comfortable chair in the corner and debated how to do this. I had been able to et an idea across to Eleanor with a brochure but that would not work here. I now had to try putting a thought in this groups head.

June poured the water in the cups as the girls added their favorite herb tea bag to the water. "You know", she said as she passed the muffins , "A friend of mine works weekends at the Oaks and she said that it is sad how empty their lives were."

"Yes, I went with the church group to visit once and I guess they seldom have visitors or anything to look forward to, " Helen answered.

"As we were doing the exercises I kept thinking about September 11th and the presidents request that everyone try to do something for someone else, June continues." " A friend of mine works weekends at the oaks on weekends and she said it is sad how empty everyone’s life is there." "

"I was thinking!" " QiGong exercises are not hard to do and would be very good for them". "Why don’t we see if they would like to have us come over and lead exercise class three mornings a week" "We could go there instead of here"?

All four of the women started sharing ideas and I smiled." "I had succeeded". "I had planted the idea in their heads and the rest is up to them". I hurried off to the school to put my next idea into motion."


At the school the halls were still quiet except for the janitor who was putting the finishing touches on the conference room. The only other person in the building was Helen sitting at her desk thumbing through papers, but her mind was not on the work in front of her. She was trying to come up with something to address the recent complaints of a large majority of the teachers. There was to be a meeting in half an hour and as the principal she was expected to come up with a plan of action to lift the spirits of the school. With spring just around the corner the students had lost their enthusiasm for anything connected with school. Helen still had not come up with an idea. That is the moment I entered the room.

The radio had been on low, playing music, but when that station signed off a talk show took its place. Helen’s mind was so much on her problem that she did not notice. This was my opportunity. I had a caller call in and start discussing the Presidents request for contributing something to your community and slowly raised the volume on the radio. Helene reached over to switch off the radio and stopped when the words penetrated her mind and a kernel of an idea
took shape.

Helen remembered that on her way into work this morning the only other house on Oak street that had all its light on was ‘The Oaks", the assisted living home. It had reminded her of her own mother that had spent so many years in public facilities and the loneliness her mother had felt separated from the active world. Her main complaint had been the total lack of freedom. Now the residences were completely dependent on the occasional visiters. How many times Helen heard the words, "Nobody comes". Helene made a quick call to the CAREGIVER of ‘The Oaks" and asked her if her idea would be

At the meeting that morning the teachers applauded as Helen told her the plan. Every Humanity class was to think up some type of entertainment lasting about thirty minutes to be performed by three students daily. By the end of the school year every student would have spent some time at the Oaks. Not only would it be enjoyed by the residences it would be a great community project for the students.

Helene was pleased to see that her idea had received a positive response. "Now, she said, "we must decide which classes will work on this so all the students will participate before the end of the school and how we will schedule them at the home. I will leave that to you teachers but the students are old enough to come up with their own ideas for the performances. It could be a great group project for all the classes. .

" What classes did you have in mind," asked Edna, the English teacher.

" Well I was first thinking of the music department and the drama department but the English department could have a poetry reading, and the history department could participate too." "They could do a history review, telling what was happening when these people were children." " Some of the residents are over 90 years old" . " The whole thing could be a great learning situation too."

I left the school and felt well satisfied. Another project was on the agenda for the near future and I had done it all in one day. I was feeling pretty proud of myself. When I returned to The Oaks it was afternoon and the silence was unbearable. Every inhabitant seemed to be suspended in their own lethargy. It was obvious that I had more work to do. Now I needed to think about afternoons!


Friday, September 6

A butterfly mind
refuses to settle

We've been to the workshop
on writing one's life

As we sat around the table
and listened to others

I decided
I definately decided

that mine, my life,that is
had a certain resemblance

to this butterfly's
short landings between trips

and a lot of travelling
between sips. Fran (:--)


I lie upon a grassy knoll,
the sun cleansing,
healing in its warm embrace.
Mind wandering to times so long ago
and to my homeland far away.

I remember fields of green,
narrow country roads,
ancient valleys.
Picture postcard villages.
Boar’s Head, a pub.
An old stone church
with steeple high.
Bells on Sunday morning.

Rugged hills,
wild flowers,
robins on the wing,
blackbirds too,
and finches.
Sheep with woolly coats
and tails.
Small woodlands, good for shade
or shelter from the rain.

Games I played in fabled woods.
Times beside the pond when,
I stared into its murky depth,
for what,
slithery, slimy creatures,
dragons of my childhood.

I picked fat and juicy berries,
eating more’n my basket held.
Nutting along narrow, country lanes.
Finding plate size mushrooms
in the dew dampened dawn.
In our garden, currents grew,
red and black.
Rhubarb, apples, swedes, and carrots,
parsnips, peas, and beans,
and onions by the score.

The house, rough stone and gray
kept us warm both night and day.
Fireplace with flickering flame,
welcome comfort in cold and rain.
My tiny room,
birthplace of dreams,
adventures too.

What happened to those dreams of yore,
where did they go?
Are they floating still on fluffy clouds,
sky borne creatures
that I alone can see?
Or are they buried still
deep in the mind of the child in me?

I lie upon my bed this night
with moonlight through the window
reaching deep into my soul.
It takes me back once more
To my homeland faraway.

I think about my mother and my father,
both gone, my sister too,
her life cut short at seven.
I wish so much to speak
the words I could not utter then,
words not spoken in our home.
Is it so hard to say, I love you?
Such simple, basic words,
but ones we need express the most,
but the hardest ones of all to say.

I wish I could return
to that land so faraway
and to the dreams I left there.
I wish I had a second chance
to say what needed to be said.
Too late except to whisper to my pillow
and shed a tear or two.
Grab a moonbeam, child inside,
grab a moonbeam
and take me there,
to that land so faraway.

(c)February 2002

Floods of Memories

Lately floods of memories have been coming back to me from my childhood. Coming here and reading others writings has sparked my own memories, as well as writing a story for submission which entailed me having to search the Web to ensure these memories were correct, I feel like a door has been opened and I am inspired to write,even more. My researching took me back to where I was born in Great Yarmouth, different websites, showing me photographs and giving me information confirming my memories, has created the feeling of wanting to go on an extended holiday to write from a perspective of the present, this I hope will come in the not too distant future until then I will write about my childhood revisted.

I have many favourite memories. I don't really know where to start, but I'll give it a go.

Our whole family would always get together over Christmas - and there were quite a few of us, my nana had 11 children, 8 of them still living, in and around Great Yarmouth, so add to them wives, husbands and children (my cousins)you have a large gathering. After Christmas lunch we would oftentimes sit around the table and play cards, we would of course need more than one deck! We would play many card games, matches were used for the kitty (until the adults got serious), and us children would take it in turns sitting near our parents learning the game.

Other fond memories were of my nana, my sister and I would often sleep over her house, I would love to snuggle into the feather bed mattress, pulling up the feather doona. It's a memory I always remember. Nan would sit for hours putting my sisters and my own hair in ringlets, or rags. We often had the hot poker for the fire used as a ringlet maker.

Nans house was a small two bedroomed, two storey place, complete with its own ghost called 'Charlie'. The stairs use to frighten me as it was from them, the stair door would slam shut of its own accord, nana called it her very own ghost and told us not to worry.

Nana would take us to the jumble sales, I use to love these (its probably why I love op shops today). She would buy dolls that were still fairly well intact and unbeknown to me at the time, she would take them home and make them clothes, clean them up and they would become our Christmas presents that year. With such a large amount of grandchildren to give presents too this was obviously the best she could do. We didn't know or care, nan always gave us something and it was usually something we wanted (at that age all us girls wanted dolls).

Our first house was a house bought from council at a reduced rate, it was next door to a condemned house (an alley way separated us). My mischievious brothers and I would go exploring in that house, it was dangerous, thank goodness my mother never found out. Around the corner new flats were being built as part of a redevelopment of the area. My brothers and I would jump out of the window gaps onto the builders sand below us from each floor, until we were too scared to do it any more. Thank goodness my mother never knew about that either!

A little shop at the top of our street was where we would take our threepence and buy a bag of sweets each week. This was a real, English,old fashioned sweet shop, I use to love that shop.

We moved later and sold our first house (now totally renovated) back to the council and made enough profit to get a nicer house in a nicer area of Great Yarmouth. My parents ran a bed and breakfast at this new house and in holiday season us children would move to small rooms at the rear of the house, off of the laundry, so we could accomodate our guests. My parents slept on a pull out settee.

I remember one time after playing football with my brothers and their friends I went home for a drink and walked into the house and was introduced to our guests - I think they were our very first guests - well the room began to smell and it was discovered I had stepped in dogs pooh! How embarrassed we all were, luckily they were not snobby and laughed it off - having had children themselves.

From our new house, my trip to school was further and from a different area of town, I soon shortened it by walking through the cemetry/church yards. Here, I would read the gravestones and wonder about the people they referred too. Our school was actually once a monastry of the Benedictine Order, who served St. Nicholas church. Opposite the church, was what I believe, was once the priests or ministers residence, way back in the past - but was now the writing house of Anna Sewell the author of Black Beauty, the childrens classic. I remember peering into the diamond cut old windows and saying to myself - I want to be a writer - when I grow up. I am now trying to achieve this in my life and feel like this is more or less my destiny.

The pleasure beach and the market place, the coastal walk along the 'Golden mile' shore which was a mixed wonder of gardens and different activities. The horse and carriage rides along the road side, the candy floss, hotdogs, movies and simple joys of spending time with our parents exploring the coastal excitement.

Oh and how we all loved to collect and make our conkers!

Guy forks night was another fond memory, fireworks, bonfires and our guy fork, home made dummy was a night we looked forward too.
Toasted marshmallows, warm clothes and a gathering of the neighbours for the bonfire and fireworks was certainly a night to remember.

We had castles very close to us too and these were a fascination and insight into the past of long ago, Great Yarmouth once had a huge wall built all around it to protect it from attacks from the sea.

These and many other fond memories return to me now and I am thankful they have, I feel I have found my roots and can now expand even greater in my efforts to write. I may choose to branch out from a different perspective and put myself in the attacks suffered in Great Yarmouth throughout history. All I do know at present is I am overjoyed to have all those wonderful memories come floating back to me. I am ever grateful for the opportunity to revisit my childhood.

(c)T.Seed 2002.