by Betti Bernardi

Yellow Spring
Yellow Spring
by Beverly Jean

Yellow. It invaded the room, splashed the walls and pushed fresh air through the window.

Chelsea, the kitten, drank the fresh air through the open screen. New, her curiosity and wonder at the clean smells and bird sounds held her at rapt attention.

Anne, far from new, sat at the desk in the corner of the room.

As Anne attended to common chores, the brisk bite of the sunny air and the yellow disturbed the wintry complacency of her soul. Winter's responsibilities fading, she yearned for adventure and that carefree attitude youth can spare. An invisible load that weighed upon her shoulders lightened, and a smile interrupted the straight set of her mouth.

She leaned back in her chair, defiant of the work beckoning before her. Her crossed arms bore further evidence she would battle her duty-bound nature.

She thought back to skipping in new shoes on concrete recently relieved of icy snow. She remembered the sensations of crisp air on her face, of wind playing in her hair, of moving arms and joy and freedom and yellow.

Her eyes eased, crinkled at recognitions beyond the present.

Up, now, she walked toward the stairs and her down-under kitchen for a warming cup of coffee. Chelsea kitten, new, followed Anne's lilting stride, distracted by something in the stepped-up gait. New, she depended upon the consistency of Anne's every day—usual—behavior.

Anne's kitchen was flooded with light, this being the yellow-best part of the day for the room. Drawn to linger at the window, she kicked off thought of the work awaiting upstairs and tripped eagerly toward the door.

"Coffee on the deck," she thought, inexplicably drawn to the yellow.

She opened the door and gasped. The bright February rays were deceivingly chilly. Chelsea followed closely as Anne recovered her jacket from the peg behind the door. Chelsea, new, had not yet been exposed to the ritual associated with going outdoors. Wrapped in the warmth of the yellow and the coffee and the jacket, Anne stepped into the light and the promise outside her door.

Anne, drink the coffee, the air, the yellow, the sights of the still-sleeping landscape. Awaken and notice the activity in the nearest pine bough, hear the words the birds speak.

Quizzical, Chelsea high-steps a graceful kitten dance behind Anne.

Leaning out over the deck, Anne succumbs to the quiet noise of the sunny winter day. Chelsea, new, is less reflective and instantly focuses on the bird-words and bird-flutters happening above her.

Anne, not so new, wonders where to channel the delicious feelings of child-like freedom the day and the yellow have brought to her.

Chelsea, new, knows exactly where to focus her intentions. In kitten-earnest approach to the wondrous bird creatures, she draws from deep within her instinctual pool of wisdom. Effortlessly she utilizes the collective knowledge of her ancestors and is at instant comfort with the unfamiliar encounter.

Unable to focus as clearly on the call from her inner yearnings, Anne's attention is averted and centralizes on Chelsea. She ponders how youth and animal accept and adjust. Only the civilized, the educated, and the grown wonder and fume, become uneasy and feel out of sync.

Only the not so new need to pause, and then to search for the comfort, to feel the yellow.

Anne returned to her musings, looking out over the valley. She reveled in the vista, the expanse of space before her. Lovely, quiet peace overtook her and filled her spirit with newness re-born.

Lighter and lighter, she was fairly airborne. Her mind was luxuriously free of life's tangibles, duties and treasures.

Oh, there are treasures. Her partner in life and his bearish warmth and supportive comfort. Her children. Their happy ways and sincere love for her — all that they had become, and would yet become.

Her friends filled many hours with pertinent conversation and silly talk — belly laughs enhancing the easy camaraderie. Her family, her sister, her brother, her mother. Grandma. They validated the Anne that was, that grows more distant with time. Her home, reflective of her favorite auction-finds. Her work in the community. Her connection through community. Health. Activity. Her books, her books. Add now, Chelsea, new. Pushing aside thoughts of her treasures, Anne halted the reverie in order to let the yellow in. She willed the light to flood her soul, to give her lift.

Voices began to call Anne. Voices directing the snarled traffic of her mind. Voices, untangling. Voices, simplifying. Voices. A young Anne, directed, focused, free. Voices from Anne, the girl.

Kittens. Hold them, cherish them. Feel their warmth, their cuddly acceptance. Smell their sweetness. Listen to their wisdom, enjoy their regard for you. Share their freedom. Learn their independence. Savor their lesson. Never be owned, chained, burdened from without.

Confidence. The world is open in front of you. There is wonder and awe at every turn. You can do whatever you choose to do. It is beyond comprehension that any one might try to stand in your way. There is justice. There is opportunity. There is goodness. There are limitless possibilities. Voices.

Sensations. Arms reaching to encompass the magnificence of the day. Wind upon your body, every cell awake and alert and vital. Eyes, wide with amazement and trust. Eyes, unburdened and open to all that is light and possible. Hair, free and untamed — wild and not knowing, not caring, about tame. Body, free motion and dancing to the rhythms from within. Free. Yellow.

Hear the call to become. Follow the inner map directing to what you will be. Girl-child that you are, you believe.

Speak. Speak your truth. Does anyone hear? It does not matter. Somehow, it does not enter your mind that it should/could matter. Speak freely, speak with conviction, with confidence. Knowing, knowing that what you speak is valuable. Knowing, surely, that the world will hear, wants to hear. Voices.

Spirituality. It is innate and uncomplicated by dogma. Morality seems natural, faith inborn. There is something greater, a creator — no question, no question. Faith, simple. There, in the trees, the air, the freedom — the yellow. Simple. Deep abiding faith in the future. Trust. Belief.

Voices. Justice. It is black and white. Right and wrong, unerring sense of goodness and propriety. There are no gray areas to cloud the questions of a young life. Simple. Ideal. Ethical. Standards by which to live are easy. Justice, simple.

Books. Joy of devouring a book in one day. The smell of the library, the treasure of reading. Reverence. Awe. The written word a path to the world beyond young suburban imagination. Hold fast the pleasure, the words, the knowledge. The mind is fresh and absorbent. So many ideas. Ideas. They spawn dreams and expectation. Limitless. Books.

School. Learning. Success. Success? Learning what the teacher wants. Performing. Succeeding by other's parameters. Not understanding, then, that this is the case. Disagree only with those who respect different ideas. There are, luckily, many of those. For the others, play by the rules. Learn to withhold. Learn that freedom sometimes has limits. Learn when to stay quiet. Learn around whom it is wise to modify your expression of ideas. Learn.

Life. Full, too full. Busy. Rewarding. Pushing and crowding solitude. Aborting opportunity. No time for remembering, for touching base with Anne, for freedom, for yellow. Search. Discover the reason for being. Find the confidence. Renew the relationship with young Anne. Be Anne. Let the yellow in.

Anne's mind. Free again. Wondering, wondering at life's intrusions that pilfer her freedom, her ability to be her intuitive self. It's there, Anne. See. It's there. The air, the urge to reflect — remembering. The yellow. The yellow brought it back. The yellow, the glow — Anne. It's there. It's there.

Chelsea, new, stretches on Anne's legs, begging. New needs familiarity. Anne, not so new, scoops her into familiar embrace, laughing aloud in harmony with the yellow.

Return. Harmony. Yellow.

BIO: Betti Bernardi is a freelance writer with a background in Behavioral Science. Her articles and poetry have appeared in Collector's News, Writer's Guidelines Magazine, Fathers, Brothers, Sons magazine, Mothering Magazine, Bitch Magazine, Indy's Child Magazine, Moondance, Boomer Women Speak, Country Kids News, Writer's Journal, Once Upon a Time, and in eight published in collections and anthologies. Beyond Katrina, a volume benefitting the victims of the hurricanes, featured one of her poems.

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