An Architecture of Life

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People say that
it’s better to be strong
to be independent
to know there are no
promises
and to rely on
yourself
because they’re going to
let you down
anyway.

They tell you to
build your own life
hold your head up high
and to always
be ready
to strike out on
your own.
And I will.
I will be strong
and hold my head up high
and build
my own life

But this is how
I’ll do it:

Reach out my hands
with the amber light
of friendship
Plant the seeds for
emerald new
adventures
I’ll stop and stare
at brilliant orange
sunsets
Feel the violet sorrow
of the heartbreaks
and know that
I’m alive

I’ll drink the
calming blue
of the sea
Ask the questions
of a thousand
stories
Release the laughter
bursting
in my chest
Sing the melodies
dancing
in my veins

I will open my heart
to the radiant
beauty
of this world
and build a life of
magnificent
fullness
in gratitude’s
vivid freedom

-KJ Roe

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Ascent

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She paused, raising her eyes to the crest of the hill above her. You’re almost there, she told herself as she reached for her water bottle and took a swig. You got this. Her legs had already traversed several stages on this hike – stretching, tired, sore, shaky, ready to collapse, and finally, stronger. She could almost feel the muscles tearing and healing and building as she went. It made her feel tough, as if she could handle anything. As though it didn’t matter if she was the last person on earth, or the only person on the mountain.

Her heart was another matter. It pounded in her chest like she’d just run a marathon while being chased by a bear. Too fast, too hard, but what worried her was the erratic unsteadiness of it. As far as a rhythm, she was pretty sure it was skittering between a bouncy reggae tune, a pounding rap, and the wild pulse of thrash metal. All fine for listening to; maybe not such a good thing for a heart rate.

She took a deep breath. Another one. In-two-three, out-two-three. Willed her body to calm, heart to slow. Practiced some learned-long-ago relaxation techniques. Tried not to think how ridiculous it was that this little hike was so difficult for her. The important thing was that she was doing it. She was facing the challenges she set for herself, overcoming all of the excuses and reasons for holding back.

She had spent too many years in the shadows. Too many days watching from the sidelines, being the cheerleader. She loved the encouraging, the guiding, the helping. She was good at it. But what she’d only partially grasped was that when you constantly encourage others to follow their dreams, eventually you get left behind.

But now.

This was her time. Her turn to explore. To grow, find her horizons. Most of all, to stop holding back.

She turned to look back at the trail she’d been following. The mountain dropped away before her, river cutting a valley through the hills. Trees danced in the breeze that cooled her skin. Snow blazed the tops of the range. A blue sky caressed the horizon, greens and grays and browns of the forest mixing in a grand palette of wild, untamable, glorious nature.

Where she had been was breathtaking.

Tears watered the landscape for a moment, and she grinned in exultation at the sheer magnificence of life and the world. Yes, the trail had been hard sometimes. Life had been hard. There were moments that she wondered what had possessed her to take it at all. But this – this majestic view of her journey so far was definitely worth it. It was more incredible than anything she could have imagined.

A prayer of thanks rose within her.

She took another deep breath, another swig of water, trying to hold the picture in her mind to look back on later. Holding onto the satisfaction of love feely given and obstacles overcome. So many memories to cherish.

She turned back up the trail. Her heart was steady now. She was ready.

There was further to go, and the view would be even better up ahead.

-KJ Roe

That Moment

That Moment picThat moment.
That moment when you stop to take a breath. The moment when you feel the laughter about to burst from your chest. The one where you drink in the beauty around you, or when you feel the love in every particle of your being. When peace settles over you with a welcoming sigh, holding you, for just a moment, in its gentle embrace. That moment. Hold onto it, melt into it, revel in it, cherish it. Then, when it is time to carry on, pick up where you left off, keeping the treasure of it safe within your heart. Let its glow be a light in the darkness. – KJ Roe

*”That Moment” first appeared here on April 9, 2016.

Water, Living

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Brilliance

of diamonds

gemstones formed

in sliding droplets

reflecting the light

revealing the nature

of things

with unparalleled

clarity

silent

crystal balls

in millions innumerable

magnifying the present

portending a future they

nourish

creating their own

destiny

in absorption into

laughing loving leaves

and reaching, thirsty

souls

-KJ Roe

Epitaph

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When I die,

Shed tears if you must

Let them wash

The scales from your eyes

Reveal the light

See all the little

Hidden things

That make the world beautiful

 

When I’m gone

Shout and wail if it helps

Let it crescendo

Into songs of life and movement

Raise your arms

Free your feet in

 

Dances

To secret music

That lift the soul

Irresistibly

 

When I pass

Grow though the grief

Let it teach you to

 

Cherish

 

Moments

Lay bare your heart

Act with kindness

 

Let love live as my legacy

 

-KJ Roe

 

Awakening

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And then the growth
started

No more of the bated
breath, waiting
for something

that never became.
No more of the holding
back, hoping
for rescue

that never came.
It started
with a small
shift, lifting
the heart

from its hiding place;
With a quiet
recognition
the soul

is a precious thing,
A sudden ancient
knowing
the worth of

the person within;
And then,

a raise of
the head, a
straightening of
the shoulders, as
The strength of

one’s being
spread its wings

and took flight

-KJ Roe