Pitching Tents

RedHaving a name which is a color often pigeonholes me into a preconceived opinion. Those who know me best realize assumptions about me lead down the path of no return.

Yesterday, many of you said your tents were various shades. It is what I meant when I told you it was possible to be in more than one camp and not be branded a traitor. I also told you for this one, I was definitely my namesake. You gathered around my campfire, and now, it is time for the story.

Animal Plane

The plane on which we meet is most definitely one of confusion and loss, but also of hope. There is a solution. The guideposts in this one were the animals and our very Blue metaphors for them.

Anaconda: Snakes get a bad wrap. While she took me down the rabbit hole, she really was taking me along for the ride away from where I was. The climb may have just saved me from being trampled in the first place.

Wildebeests: While not the brightest herd on the savannah, one thing they do well is be a cohesive unit. They are an exercise in survival. Their actions are not aggressive, merely defensive and familial.

Zed comfyBuffalo, horseflies and hound dogs: These are the rural cast of home on my mountain top. The mountain I live on is named Buffalo. Even without knowing that or having me post a picture of one of my hounds, you got the home reference.

Fire ants: Really? If you are not acquainted with these marvels of evil the insect kingdom, know they are the inverse of the wildebeests.  They work cohesively and can strip the carcass of a bull in a little more than 12 hours. All of it… until the bones are gleaming white in the sun. Do not let their size fool you.

Gills: Another mermaid reference.

Man o’ war: The Portuguese man o’ war is an amazing animal. Despite having no organs, bones or a brain, it has survived millions of years. When the neurotoxin wears off, you realize the stinging around wherever it touched burns like fire… even under saltwater. They will group together and attack whales, so the gutless reference was poignant.

Crows: The only traditional death metaphor in the entire poem. No, I am never that shallow. Crows are very doting parents. When their fledglings are threatened, they will defend them ferociously.

Snoring: Another dog reference. All of my dogs snore… even Bacchus.


While not much of this garlic pod was delicacy material, the inside is very tender and bittersweet. Shall we make a roux?

Snake: Occasionally, the thing we do not think we can survive is a tour to take us to a place where we will prepare for the real test. (Broken nails, muddy shoes)

Wildebeests: Some of those who hold us tight to protect us actually have the ability to trample over our emotions in the interest of protecting the herd. Often their dimness is not ignorance, but stupidity. They choose to not acknowledge the depth of our feelings in a survival instinct which spares them from expanding their hearts to absorb the enormity of our hurt.

Home animals: When we are low or in the throes of adversity, the comforts of home are something we seek. In this case, they are all missing, even though we are standing right where they should be.

Fire ants: In a charged emotional state, all thing great and especially small will eat away at whatever (exposed, abraded, bloody) flesh may still be left.

Sea creatures: Even the places where we should find respite are diffused with irritants.

Dinner is served.


Hold my hand.

This poem was posted on the seventh anniversary of my daughter’s death. While there is nothing whatsoever which could minimize the loss of a child, I recognize I needed it to survive some of the other events which would closely follow her death.

I had already survived of my own accord, as for a few days after her birth doctors were not so sure I would live. Within weeks of her death, her brother regressed massively and was diagnosed autistic. Shortly following, her next sister would also regress and be diagnosed autistic.

An epic battle between her parents and the state of South Carolina third circle of hell would commence. A stroke complicated matters. Cancer showed up, and my husband lost his fight with it. My stepmother did as well, six weeks later. The following year, my only older sister lost her fight with liver disease.

Had it not been for how far I have come, the choice to lay down my arms and stop fighting at any one of these junctures would have been a viable one.

Tiny Light

Virginia has always been Tiny V. She was for many reasons. She was our tenth child. She weighed one pound, eleven ounces and was only a foot tall. She was the tiniest human I have ever seen. She was a feisty little one, even though she never made a sound beyond a sigh. She never cried.

In sixteen days, she changed the way I view the world. I still have to wonder, as all mothers do, how different would things be today if she were under foot?

Subconscious Zeitgeist

No matter how bad or insignificant or monumental an event in your life may be, it prepares you for what is to come. The bitter helps us appreciate the sweet. The sad helps us recognize happiness. The heartbreaking helps us remember to love while we still are able.

Be prepared. Open your heart. The good is looking for a home.

Can you see how you survived something to be prepared for something else (not necessarily bad experiences)? Do you recognize the good in your life? Name one thing which makes you smile.

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  1. The incredible resilience of individuals– regardless of heart-breaking loss-ensures the endurance of humanity itself. Pressure makes diamonds. Hugs and love, Red.
    raymond alexander kukkee recently posted..King Henry and the BoxMy Profile

    • We all have it in us, Ray. I mean to teach everyone who will listen. Every one of us has the ability to survive.

  2. A lot of where I am today is because of my heart condition…and life is good. A lot of who I am is because I grew up with my brother dependent on me. Now I know how to put others before myself,
    Bo Lumpkin recently posted..Wise Observations by MildredMy Profile

    • Bo, it is a lesson we all can learn. I hope to teach it to those who do not have a dependent brother or child. We can all do just that. Thank you for stopping by for this one.

  3. I can definitely see how I survived something to be prepared for something else. One thing that makes me smile huh? For all of it’s headaches, hair pulling, arguing and ignorance surrounding it, autism makes me smile. If the world were autistic there would be no need to learn acceptance, everyone would be. Besides when that short kid gives a glimpse into her world, the view is awesome. 😉
    Laurie recently posted..Planning AprilMy Profile

    • It is why I wish autism education what not all SWAT gear and sippy cups. If more people would just STOP. Actually listen to what they have to say and take a few milliseconds to imagine, the world would be a seriously better place. xxx

  4. If we survive the event, and can move on from it, it can make us stronger. But getting through the event at the time can be very taxing.
    Binky recently posted..Metaphorically SpeakingMy Profile

    • And it is why I continue to tell my story in bits and pieces. Just knowing someone somewhere got through it is often enough all it takes to realize the tough times are as temporary as the good ones.

  5. I think strong, bold, definite when I think ‘Red’. But sure, you can be various. You ARE strong though.
    Noeleen recently posted..“We are so rich, we become poor inside.”My Profile

  6. I climbed mountains in my twenties, and am a better person for it. I have the appreciation the challenge of using my body with the wilderness and not against it, and it has prepared me for the loss of abilities with a sense of pride in having done it.

    What makes me smile? An affectionate joke on me.
    Gail Thornton recently posted..IntoxicatedMy Profile

    • There is a huge lesson in your second sentence. Most of us use our power to conquer rather than to coincide. xxx When I come to Boston, I will see what I can dream up… xxx

  7. When I think of a hound dog the movie “Fox & The Hound” tend to come to mind, especially since it was the first movie my parents took me to see when I was a kid.

    There are quite a few words and things that I associate with the word “red”: importance, need, seriousness, anger, attention, prominent, the Sammy Hagar song, cherries, strawberries, my favorite Sodom song “Code Red”, my Ibanez Destroyer 2, Elektra (the comic book), Daredevil (ditto), The Red Baron, Countess Bathory (Yeah, I know, not the best example), Porco Rosso’s plane, Little Beeper from Tiny Toons, Mountain Dew Code: Red (stopped drinking this), rubies, “Painting The Roses Red”, The Crimson Chin, etc.

  8. Snakes get a bad wrap -love the pun

  9. You are one strong person Red.

    God Bless and lots of love and hugs!

    prenin recently posted..Friday – Quiet day.My Profile

  10. Good memories make me smile. They outweigh the losses. Losses in this life put all my lesser annoyances in perspective, and illumine subsequent events in ways I’d never have imagined.


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