“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Sticks & Stones & Yellow Shoes

I posted this fluttering golden dream last night.
I removed it this morning.
It had the wrong story,
the words too right-there-against-my-heart,
too scary, too afraid to trust being out there.


My mother once had a cat
who trusted her so much
that he would jump from the roof
into her open arms.

I have decided to sew a hidden pocket for my wings. A pocket called trust & inside I will place a pair of old yellow shoes. With this pocket, and with those shoes, I will begin to weave a spell to bring trust back into my life. It has been easing back - a bit here, an inch there, but it needs, I think, a bit of magic to call it forth entirely. But this spell - what will I use to build this spell? - to sew this pocket? - to push away the scared memories, the feelings of betrayal, the hurt, hurt heart? The perfect words must be used, the perfect objects used, to begin the unfurling, and I am new at this spell-conjuring business.

The first ingredient? That word, I think. My verb for this year of moving forward. Unfurl. Into the pot to weave this spell goes unfurl, and I can see the very word itself unfurl as it is tossed from my hand - letters of soft white silk flying through the winter air, first the L, followed by R, dropping softly into this oh-so-magical container. First in. And then? Oh, I think an image of the ever, ever wonderful Michael, with those eyes that change color from blue to green & back to blue again, eyes that have always believed in me - yes, that image flies into the pot next, and it uses a plane to do so - that old plane he used to own, the one with no brakes, because how perfect! That feeling of no brakes & his laughter about it, his no-fear about it. Second in. And then third? One of Emma's curls, I think, because she is, herself, built of fearlessness, and not yet learned in the art of distrusting. And fourth, oh, that yes-yes-YES feeling I had when I first spied Somerset Life - the issue containing a few of my words - in the store, magazines neatly stacked, and inside each of them, a small part of me. Yes, that feeling is 4th. Perhaps I'll stir the pot a bit, let some fearlessness break loose from Emma, from Michael, let it unfurl a bit, wrap around that feeling - yes, I'll let it simmer. And then? Oh, things I love, things that bring me joy - sunlight on a lake, the tippy-toe walks of raccoons by my front door, the dusty smell of Maggie's fur after she's spent a summer's day outside. And I'll add a memory - from the days I lived in the country, the days when Maggie first came to live with me - a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, fierce with lightning, watching the white horse in the pasture behind my house, running & running & running in the rain, a white blur in the darkness, the lightning flashes painting his image white against the night's blackness. He was free & wild & a part of that storm, exuberant, joyous! So, yes, into the pot that memory goes, that unfettered freedom - the horse's white mane tangling with the silken letters of unfurl. Unfurl. Next, I think - no, I know - must be the story. The story of yellow shoes & betrayal, of pretense - a silly story really - a 7th-grade not-pretty-new-girl story. A small story that lasts only a few seconds. Can I tell this story that lies so close to my heart and let it go? I must - it is this spell's catalyst - without it the spell has no magic.

They were awful shoes really, but I loved them, I really did - they were so bright, so fun; I can admit this today for the very first time; the spell is uncorked & beginning to breathe. I can see now - only at this very moment, from this distance of years - that I needed some color in my life, in my soul, some color to help the loneliness of a new place, a new state, a new life. And those girls - who pretended to like them, who asked where I'd found them - OH! That feeling of being liked, of being approved of, of fitting in - I still remember that momentary soaring of my heart, still remember that turning around to answer them, seeing their faces & knowing without a doubt, instantly, their pretense, their laughter at my yellow shoes, at me, at my family's lack of money. And OH! That feeling, that coldness, those tears I couldn't shed, that turning away from them, that betrayal. It has stayed & stayed & stayed.

So I will keep the shoes in my hidden pocket, but I will throw the story into the pot. When it lands against all the fearlessness & love already simmering, I will hear it begin to sizzle.

Last I will throw a confetti of colored paper - blue, aqua, turquoise, silver, white - and on each strip of paper will be written someone's name - here is Christy, and Robin, and the lovely, lovely Katie, and Robert & the 2 Paulas & Jaime & Jenny & Bridgette & JY, and I cannot list you all because I would be here all night; I will toss that confetti of support & belief & honesty - the last perfect ingredient - and the story will have no chance. It will lose its power - a small, pathetic puff of smoke up into the cold air. Gone. It will become just another memory.

Just another story.
. . . but words will never hurt me


  1. I was just browsing blogs, and stumbled across yours. I must tell you, it's very inspiring.

  2. Just another story. Just another memory. And the only power it holds for you is the reminder that there is magic in the letting go.

    But, the power it holds for me? A reminder to speak gently, to love wildly, to teach kindness and compassion by example, and always, to teach my charges that words hurt, so we must use them gently.

  3. Larka - it's 3 something in the morning & I am up after dealing with a sick cat, who is fine & now outside, but, of course, I am now awake. And here. I was once again thinking of removing this post - beginning to think this silly yellow picture was a jinx, but found your comment & followed it back to your blog, which, I have to admit, made me laugh, and made me hope that perhaps I was the one blog you found a bit inspiring, but also laughing that even if not, it was still funny - all the blah, blah, blah, etc., etc. And so I decided to leave the post up - I knew I could explain to Paula & Relyn, they being around for a while & understanding my goofiness, but you are a new visitor, and that gives me pause, gives me faith. Thank you for stopping by & paying attention. :)

    Paula - Oh, I agonized about this. Wait for a drawing of yellow shoes, I thought, but I knew that would never happen - I've been trying to exorcise this ghost with a drawing for years, and with no luck. But someone I know - one of only 3 people who even knew this story - convinced me to put it out there in words. And as I mentioned to Larka, I almost took it back. I think the Universe means for it to stay. Thank you!

    Relyn - Wow. What a lesson to try to impart. But I will send thoughts your way in the hope that you are able to do so. Thank you for the reminder that sometimes the words I say here may make their way out into the world, even if just a teeny bit.

    :) Debi

  4. I have reached a place where refusing to unfurl is more painful than unfurling. I still go slow, but I admire people who know what it is and are willing to try!

    I've been told that having faith is like closing your eyes and falling backward into a swimming pool. Don't know about you, but I always look to see that there's water.

  5. Gabby - Oh yeah. I check to see if there's water & I also stick a toe in to check the temperature. I am working on that, though, because I know how incredibly wonderful it feels once you're in & just floating on your back, enjoying the sunshine on your face.

    :) Debi

  6. Isn't it interesting that these memories...memories when our faces turned red with sudden betrayal and surprise...still live inside us on a ledge, a precipice. That we fear never jumping off of. And are so afraid of being pushed...

  7. Brenda - Some memories live inside us & whisper that they are the real truth, no matter what all the other memories say. I would argue that the memory itself needs to be pushed over the ledge, that we are okay where we are. I'm liking that visualization! Thanks!

    :) Debi

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  9. I'm with Paula...keep unfurling.

    This is wonderful and true and honest and so beautiful. I have a similar yellow shoe story of betrayal although it doesn't involve yellow shoes, but the tooth fairy, of all things! So I am here to give the little girl in you a hug and say, *be brave..and keep unfurling...we will be here for you*

    Lots of love xo

  10. Words are the blood and bone of your art. You are a magician, an alchemist, a chemist. I sometimes think it will be too much... that i will fly apart at my lose points, wail instead of weep. I want a book. please i need a book. each post is a poem, complete and and filled with electricity...you know so that it almost hurts with the shock of it. i want the book so that i might be able to read in the dark by candlelight and close my eyes after each sentence. repeating it, whispering into my own ear. i do not present you with pretense, nor exaggerate my love of your words. they are each one dear and near to me. i think you may sometimes know this...? other times i am too quiet and do not tell you often enough how i love your words. you.
    unfffurlllling...that is a word if i ever heard one that suits you.

    ". . . but words will never hurt me..." isn't that what you said..? do you think words might save you?

  11. i read this right after i read hele's beautiful post on trust on truth cycles...while different, they fit together very well...and have me thinking where i get my strength when it's ebbing in the stillness of the middle of the night. if i could stir up the strength in a pot like you, that would be so powerful.

    thank you for making me think...


  12. Jaime - The tooth fairy? Oh, it makes me almost want to laugh when I consider the ways in which we can be betrayed, but it isn't funny when it happens, and when it stays with us - it is so true in our hearts. Knowing that you are here for me makes the unfurling so much easier. Lots of love back your way!

    Robin - My little bird of good things to come, my omen of spring right around the corner. Oh my. It never, no, not even once occurred to me that words that might save me. I read your question & my eyes flew open. I only saw that they could hurt, even though I knew to throw the story into the pot, to sizzle it all up & watch it disappear. This requires a new thinking. Thank you for pointing out to me what should have been obvious. :)

    Julie - I, too, read Hele's post, and it gave me courage. I cannot remember now if I posted this before or after reading her words, but I knew they fit together.

    :) Debi

  13. Debi...we haven't met...but your magical words are extraordinary beautiful! They touch magical places inside me that I know existed...they touch it...

    Reading your beautiful memories...a word that came up for me was 'embrace'...all of it...

    and how 'magical' would it be for you to go out and purchase a gorgeous pair of yellow shoes...for no other reason than for your beauty...and your growth...just because you can.

    You can wear these with pride...and a giggle*...

    we will LOVe to see a photograph of your gorgeous shoes...and we will cheer you on from this side...being quite jealous of your gorgeous shoes...for each of us...WISH to have the talent/ability/magical touch you have with words...
    (i mean to really go out and buy gorgeous yellow shoes!)

    do you know each post you write is a pair of yellow shoes?

    Beautiful you...if you only knew...if you only knew how much admiration and support and awe and love there is in this community for you...if you only knew...

    Tonight I want you to know that I see YOU. xx

  14. PW - Is it Lin? I feel awkward, not knowing, but I will call you Ms. Winkle, because the sound of that just makes me so happy! :)

    Just back from lunch - I come here to find your post & I must tell you, I am blown away. because, of course, you are right, and I knew it deep in my soul - I knew I must buy another pair of gorgeous yellow shoes - really gorgeous, really wonderful, but reading it written out in your words just made me almost not able to breathe. No, I thought, i can't do that - such power this memory still holds. Such power. My heart began to pound - truly, truly! at just the thought. As if I were about to dive from a high, high cliff.

    But you are right. I must.

    Thank you for the push.

    :) Debi

  15. wow. wow i say to linni's wise and powerful suggestion! i have never in my life owned a pair of yellow shoes.. i wonder what it would be like to wear them.

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  17. Yes, it's Lin...and I'm smiling from ear to ear...sitting upstraight...waiting in anticipation for when we'll open your blog and see those gorgeous pair of yellow shoes!!!

    (robin...aahhhh!! I know...why don't we all go out and buy a smashing color of shoes we always adored...then we can make a collage with all our shoes together...i want red, red, high high heels!!! teehee...let's do it!!! Debi...if you like..or don't mind...we can support you this way too?) teehee! xx

  18. turquoise shoes of the peacock variety for me :)

  19. Oh, mine will be purple! I cannot believe it has been so long since I last visited, I have missed so much.
    I love the image of a cauldron being filled with curls and planes and feelings and memories. Stir the pot and let the story's painful memories reduce. You are a word wizard!

  20. Robin - Perhaps we will all have bird shoes - yours of peacock feathers, mine canary. Where will find purple for Suvarna?

    Suvarna - You are so kind; my wizarding skills are weak without all of you who visit here & leave powerful words for me to gather. Thank you!

    :) Debi


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