An Abstraction on the Chain

Meet Ashley Larkin, who’s graciously sharing her #Concretewords with us today while I care for my Titus. He needs me to hold him all day, so in this mean time, please show Ashley all the lovin you’ve got? I always enjoy the way she pulls it together.

She connects little daisies one to another, and it is magic to see how she links them — pushes her thumb nail through the bottom of a stem, runs another flower through. She laces while the sky falls warm on my face.

We sit in this field of summer green, and it is dotted with lion manes and white-rimmed sunshines, and here, with our dresses touching, I feel free.

My hands splay next to me in the cushiony green, and I pluck blades, then a tiny flower, twirling it between my thumb and index finger.

When she’s done, my friend holds the long oval of flowers out in front of me, and I duck through the hole, garland lying across lavender plaid.

I smile at her with a closed mouth and a slight squint to my eyes. I feel like a goodly queen, like a treasured daughter, in my dress, these jewels.

I don’t ever want my chain to wither and brown because this necklace means I’m special.

Here, this is for you, she’d said.

There’s this chain that links me to her. The one with small petals that spell I belong, and we need each other, and we like each other, and no matter what, we’ve got each other.

There’s the chain that sways back and forth in the give and take of us, only pinching enough to remind me of her tug. And I tug back.

There’s the chain that ties me to what she expects, or what I think she does — to the turning of her eyes, her words, the head nods or head that stays still — because I so badly want her to think highly of me.

Because maybe I should call more, say more, laugh harder or a little less, look more polished or not so much, because then I will be more like her or be more like what she needs, and she will want me.

I am chained to her and I strain for her to need me, and so these chains that are not flowers pull hard, make ruts in wrists and necks.

She and I can’t seem to figure these links that connect us. Sometimes they lay easy and light, other times they are bonds we want to shatter.

But we can’t forget that place with soft grass like grace, where we sit close and hum our song. The sun is warm, and we know we’re loved because we know Love.

We remember we are ones released from chains. We are freed by Love, after all.

And this Love delights in us — us together, her as her, me as me.

This Love quiets and rejoices over and about us in strings of flowers. Strings we wear like song round our necks.

Ashley Larkin, wife to Michael and mama of three shining daughters, writes about living fully awake several times each week at her blog, Draw Near. You can receive updates on Facebook and connect with Ashley on Twitter at @AshleyMLarkin.

On Mondays I write on writing, which means that mostly I’ll write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. We’ll see. If you want to mess around with these little prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below. At any point this week, link below to any concrete post you’ve written about a book. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Next week’s topic is on the HORSE. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. I would love it if you would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom, A Study of Chains in 31 Days. You can follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader. {Thank you so much, by the way, for walking with me.} Are you ready to shirk these chains? 


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  1. […] here to read the rest of the story at The Runamuck, where I am thrilled to be guest posting for Amber […]

  2. […] I’m linking up with the voice of southern exposure, Amber Haines  for her Concrete to Abstraction series. My friend, Ashley Markin is hosting today in Amber’s absence. The piece she offers is […]

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