Buzzards, Spirit Carcasses and Christmas! Oh My!

My muse sat down and talked with me yesterday.  I think he was trying to comfort me.  I spent an extra long Thanksgiving weekend with my children in Nashville, Tennessee and came home from a grueling twelve hour trip only to be welcomed by an empty, silent house. Immediately I went into kid withdrawal and felt the cold hand of grief squeeze my heart until it hurt and made me feel sorry for myself.

 I tried to fight it off.  I really did.  I threw myself into decorating the house for Christmas.  I even bought red and green reindeer antler head bands with bells on them for Bill and me to wear while we decorated. Andy Williams was singing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” and our fireplace had warmth radiating out of it for the first time this season.  I put up two trees, one all frocked, frosty and white in the dining room and another out on our back porch with enough lights shining on it to be mistaken for a light house even though we’re three miles inland.  Two small three foot trees stood in a white light glow, flanking each side of my fireplace.  Four trees altogether.  Not two…I miscounted.

My white distressed weathervane mermaid girl, Ariel, was even decked out in gold ribbons swimming in red berries and green garland.   I think I went a bit overboard.  But…I didn’t care.  I was chasing the blues away with as much sparkle and light as Comfort and Joy could allow.  Oh, yeah, and in some crazy way of reminding myself that the kids would not be home for Christmas, I hung up each of their stockings with their names cheerfully written in glitter down the sides.  They were always so “Christmas…y” and fun in the past.

I stood and looked at our work.  I didn’t care that it was over the top.  I even went out the next day and bought poinsettias to put on my dinner table and a ledge that separated the breakfast nook from the dining room.  I wondered about the two white poinsettias.  Did they look like funeral flowers?  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought white flowers meant death and sympathy. Had I subconsciously bought them as a way of showing that our family’s traditions had transitioned over into new territory and the white flowers represented the death of our old ways?   I was losing it.  I. Was. Losing. It.

I couldn’t write a blog post.  I couldn’t be creative.  Everything that kept my creative juices flowing was in Nashville.  Nashville was the place I could find inspiration; look into my children’s faces and feel life bubble up out of my spirit.  I felt as lost as a blind puppy that had strayed away from the familiar warmth of its siblings and the comfort of its mother’s soft underbelly.  Heck, I was the mother here.  What was wrong with me?

Bill and I were driving to Wilmington one morning and as I was looking up at the sky it seemed as if I saw dozens of buzzards.  Every few miles I saw groups of them circling and hovering over a wooded area, as if they were waiting for something to die.  We were listening to a Fleet Foxes CD (my current favorite group right now.)  A song was playing on it called  “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.”  The last time I had listened to it I was riding down the Natchez Trace on the beautiful autumn morning of my daughter’s wedding day.  The road was narrow and followed the Harpeth River.  Gold and red leaves still clung loosely to the trees and made a covered pathway for our little Jetta to ride under.  The feeling of “old money” was everywhere and just being on the road made us think we were rich.  The feeling of history was a thick and luxurious as a warm honey pouring down all around us.  It was sweet and it was a feeling songs were written to describe. 

Fleet Foxes was playing on our CD player and it sounded like the perfect music sound track for our trip to the barn.  I remembered thinking that and how lucky we were to be on that road on that particular perfect day.

But now, we were riding to Wilmington and buzzards were circling overhead and the same music was playing.  I couldn’t believe the difference in my feelings.  I had gone from one moment of bliss to a moment when I thought the vultures were circling over me, waiting for me to die, for my creative spirit to be picked to the bones like a wild animal’s carcass. I could see my bones lying out in the flat piney wood, glinting white in the bright coastal sun.  I know.  I can be melodramatic.

Buzzards, spirit carcasses and Christmas, O my!  That sounded like a creative meltdown getting ready to happen.  “Oh, God,” I prayed.   “ I have to live here but I have to feel too.  I have to have a portal, a window from heaven that is opened directly over me and gives me the inspiration to do what it is I’m supposed to do!  My prayers went up, daily, whiney, pleading, begging prayers of desperation because I have to have purpose in creativity. It fulfils me.  It completes me.

Yesterday, I sat down at the computer and went to youtube.  For some reason, I had heard Adele’s song, “Someone Like You” enough to get my attention.  When I need to have something brought to my attention, I usually hear a song several times until it is freaky weird.  I had heard it enough to sit down and look it up and listen to the several versions offered on you tube.  I put on the version of her singing at the Britt awards.  Just Adele, a piano, a stage and emotion.  I startled myself when I felt tears fill my eyes.  I decided to listen to other versions.  I saw her sing and take out her sound devices in her ears so that she could hear the audience sing back to her.  The audience was as loud as she was.  What a humbling feeling that must be to a singer to have the people listening to her know every word and sing her song to her.  Was that success?  I had tears running down my face.  I read that she had written the song from her own experience of a romance that had turned into heartbreak.  Although I was not going through the same experience, it touched a feeling in me that I had had years ago and had long since forgotten.  But when she sang it with raw emotion and jagged beauty, I could feel old wounds respond to the hurt in her voice.  I could feel…

Tears were running down my face and even though no one was in the room with me, I felt ashamed and wiped my tears away quickly. I didn’t want anyone to see me expressing emotion over a pop song.  All of a sudden, I sensed the presence of the Muse.  He came in unannounced and I don’t know how long he had been sitting there; knowing him, probably the whole time. 

“Why are you crying?”

“I don’t know.  It’s so beautiful.  So haunting.  It was written from experience.  That’s why it’s so sad.”

“Do you feel sad?  Is that why you’re crying?”

“No.  I don’t know.  I felt her passion spill out of her and it touched everyone in the room.  It touched me and I was just looking at You Tube.  I wasn’t even in the room with her.  The passion from it jumped out at me and left me in awe of her pain, her passion.”

“You were in awe of her passion?”

“Yeah, the passion.  That’s what I want.”

“It came from pain.  Passion comes from raw emotions.”

“I feel pain right now.  My kids have grown up and moved far away, or maybe I moved far away from them.  I don’t know.  I’m in a new place that doesn’t feel like home and I’m getting older.  I don’t mean to be whining to you and we’ve been through this before, but what if I never feel ‘it.’”

“Feel what?”

“A portal.  I want a portal.  Right here.  Over me.  Over my house.  Just like it is in Nashville.  Like it was in Alabama, where I used to live.   If it’s over me, I’ll feel alive again.”

“You have to make your own portal.”

“My own portal?  I’ve done it before.  Just not by myself.  It was easier when I had the kids around me and friends who understood it.  If we got together and spoke about it, it would almost magically appear. Hmmm…by myself….I can do it.  Yeah.  I can.”

“I’ll help you.  I’ll show you how and it really won’t be hard.  I’ll be there.”

I looked over at him.  He was crying.

My pain and my passion had jumped over to him through the atmosphere in the room and had hit him like Adele’s had hit me.  He felt my creative power and it ricocheted back to me. I felt awe; a surge of confidence.  We were going to create a portal right here in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina.  Right here in this room, over my head.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janette
    Dec 03, 2011 @ 12:03:21

    How beautiful and inspiring Donna! I could picture the two of you, but though the writing is beautiful, i could also see My friend’s heart hurting. I feel your pain and pray His peace in you.
    On a different note, you’re using that pain, and your creativity to write!!! Way to go Donna, take it to the Next level & as far as the Lord would want you. I love you and miss you, hugs to Bill. Janette


    • themuseinme
      Dec 03, 2011 @ 15:30:59

      Janette, I’m sure you do understand! You are such a super Mom! I’m enjoying the challenge of writing and enjoying this forum to do it in. Love you, my friend!


  2. Robin Muhlbauer
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 15:50:10

    Donna, How is it you were watching me and wrote of me too? My family met in Kauai last week for my father’s 80th birthday. When the girls went home to Tulsa and Paul and I came back here to Florida I was, kinda still am, lost. Tara got engaged in Kauai, wonderful change and blessing but a big, forever change. And this will be the first Christmas without kids too. I need to feel my creative juices for my glass art to come again so I will create something also. I’m trying to decorate (Paul would not be so accommodating to wear anything on his head though) and your description of your beautiful house has got me inspired. I do believe I will indulge in a little this morning to also get me going! It feels good to know another sister out there knows what I’m going through! Blessings to you and this wonderful season!


    • themuseinme
      Dec 05, 2011 @ 16:32:01

      Wow, Robin! What an amazing way to celebrate your Dad’s birthday and congratulations on the engagment of Tara. Isn’t she John’s age? Thanks for reading the blog. I’ve wanted to write for a long time and now it’s time to. I never thought that this phase of my life would hit me so hard. Not only did all my kids move out (four moved to Nashville at one time and the other two followed shortly after) but we also moved back to North Carolina after living in other states for 25 years. It’s like living in a state I’ve never lived in. Plus, Bill’s adapting to an entirely different job and the children live 12 hours away. I know if I’m having difficulty in adjusting to this new life, many of my friends are too. Hopefully, this time of our lives will be a time a creativity because we can focus more on things we used to only have time to flirt with. Send me some pictures of your glass art and if I can figure it out, I’ll try and put them on the blog, to show others what we empty nesters are up to. My problem is that I’m not too savvy with a cumptuter. Stacey says she will help me with that at Christmas! Blessings to you during the Christmas season! I’m sure that you and Paul are going to decorate the house beautifully and that some really cool glass art is going to be created soon! Love you!


  3. Julie Spence
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 18:58:43

    Thank you, Donna! You’ve done it again. You have a way of expressing in words what I can only think of at times. You’re not alone in these feelings!! Hang in there. The best things are ahead.


  4. pozycjonowanie
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 04:21:32

    Keep up the good work , I read few blog posts on this internet site and I think that your web blog is rattling interesting and holds circles of good information.


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