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Take a break and have a good laugh! Laughing is healthy! Laughing is good medicine! Laughing is fun!

Dawn Pisturino

September 15, 2021

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Edvard Grieg – Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 16

Performed by Arthur Rubenstein, my favorite virtuoso pianist.

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was a Norwegian virtuoso pianist and composer. During his lifetime, German composers were the ideal model for musical composition. But Grieg, inspired by the vast natural beauty of his own country, wanted to compose music that was uniquely Norwegian. From my perspective, he achieved his dream in “Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 16.”

The music is uplifting and sweeping. It is easy to see the green mountains and sparkling fjords of Norway in your own mind. Grieg’s passion for nature comes rippling through the notes, causing your mind and heart to drift away into another world. Whatever tensions you might be feeling just float away. Beauty and serenity fill your soul. This composition is a sensual experience that you don’t want to leave.

Rachmaninoff claimed to be entranced by Grieg’s concerto and used it as inspiration for his own “Piano Concerto No. 1.”

May Grieg’s music and Rubenstein’s performance inspire you!

Dawn Pisturino, BSNH,RN

September 14, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Buddhist Walking Meditation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

When my husband ended up in intensive care in 2014 with heart, liver, and kidney failure after a reaction to medications, his outcome was uncertain. On the day of his discharge from the hospital, the internal medicine doctor pulled me aside and warned me that my husband could die at any moment of sudden cardiac arrest. I was so distraught, all I could do was pray to God to cure him or kill him. I did not want him to suffer a long, lingering illness.

At home, my husband remained very weak, using a walker to get around the house, and oxygen. He prayed a lot during that time, and one day, he decided to get up and start walking. He told me, “It’s either going to cure me or kill me.” He took a few steps outside and then a few more, until he grew stronger in the springtime sunshine and made a full circuit of the path we had created many years ago. He later told me that a monk in a brown robe was guiding him.

Today, my husband is fully recovered from his illness. He is a walking miracle. And I attribute his stubbornness, tenacious will to live, fervent prayer, and WALKING to his recovery. I don’t know who the monk in the brown robe was, but he gave my husband the inspiration to get up and walk – (Remember Jesus’s words: “Get up and walk!) – GOD BLESS HIM!

Buddhist Walking Meditation

Walking meditation began when the Buddha traveled on foot around Northern India disseminating his message.

Its purpose is to discipline the mind, improve concentration skills, and develop a deeper level of body awareness.

Walking meditation can be performed either indoors or outdoors, with or without shoes and socks. You can walk along a favorite path, around in a circle, or simply back and forth.

Stand quietly in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and your arms at your sides. Do a mental scan of the entire body. Working slowly from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, make a mental note of any sensations, tension, pain, and fatigue. Feel the earth beneath your feet. Breathe deeply and relax.

Slowly shift your weight to your left foot, focusing your complete attention on the movement of the body and the sensations in your feet and legs. Then slowly shift your weight to the right foot, repeating the process.

Gradually shift your weight back to the center and ground yourself in the earth. Then carefully begin to lift the heel of your left foot, focusing all of your attention on the feel of that movement. Lift the left foot and take a small step forward, feeling the leg move through the air, and place it on the ground.

Be fully aware of the contact between your foot and the earth. Feel the pressure and weight. Feel the touch of your shoe against the sole of your foot or the feeling of the ground against your bare skin. Note the sensations. Do you feel itching, tickling, or pain? Does it feel pleasant or unpleasant? Do the muscles feel tense or relaxed? Does your leg feel heavy or light?

Repeat with the right foot, then come back to center and begin the exercise with your left foot all over again. Practice for at least 15 minutes.

When you are going about your daily activities, apply this exercise to whatever you are doing. For example, while washing the dishes after dinner, feel the warmth of the water, notice how your hands turn red, smell the dish soap, play with the bubbles, be aware of the circular motions involved in washing a plate or drying a glass. Feel the roughness of the dish cloth against your skin.

This is mindful living — being fully aware of the present moment and fully experiencing every second of your life.

Dawn Pisturino, BSNH, RN
April 21, 2007; August 19, 2021

(“Walking Meditation” originally posted on my Cosmic Health Blog)

Copyright 2007-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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What are the Ten Niyamas (Observances) of Hinduism?

The Ten Niyamas (Observances) of Hinduism

Hri (remorse) – feeling shame and performing penance for misdeeds.

Santosha (contentment) – living a life that strives for joy, serenity, and peace of mind.

Dana (giving) – giving generously to others without expecting anything in return.

Astikya (faith) – maintaining a firm belief in God, the gods and goddesses, the spiritual teacher (guru), and living a life that follows the path to enlightenment. 

Ishvarapujana (worship) – practicing daily puja (prayer) and meditation.

Siddhanta Shravana (scriptures) – studying the holy books and the teachings of wise teachers and  holy men.

Mati (cognition) – under the guidance of a guru, gaining spiritual growth and wisdom.

Vrata (sacred vows) – live a life according to all religious vows, rules, and observances.

Japa (recitation) – chant holy mantras daily.

Tapas (austerity) – living a life without attachment to material things or the ego.

Hinduism strives to achieve a balance between avoiding unethical behavior and living a virtuous, spiritual life.  The goal is to live in the world without being touched (or tainted) by the world. This takes a lifetime of practice, discipline, devotion, and commitment.

Dawn Pisturino

August 9, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted on my Cosmic Health Blog.

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Is Your House Sitting on an Ancient Gas Line Ready to Explode?

Richard Williams lived in an historic home in Shreveport, Louisiana. The home – and the cast iron natural gas main supplying the home – were built in 1911. The pipe cracked in 2016, allowing the gas to accumulate in a storage shed behind the home. Williams investigated a strong odor of gas in his backyard – with a lit cigar in his mouth – and the subsequent explosion killed him (Wooten & Korte, 2018).

An Internet search will reveal numerous natural gas explosions which have occurred over the last few decades as a result of ancient and faulty pipes. Since 1990, approximately 264 people have died due to natural gas accidents (Wooten & Korte, 2018).

In 1991, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration began a program to mandate pipeline operators to replace cast iron natural gas pipes and to protect existing pipes from excavation. This has been a slow process because “the work is expensive, often difficult, and sometimes perilous” (Wooten & Korte, 2018).

Richard Williams and his neighbors had complained for a year about a terrible gas smell in the neighborhood. When Centerpoint Energy finally came out and fixed the service line which was connected to the gas main and the meter, they neglected to fill in the hole they had dug. The pipe began to leak again, and this was later attributed to “improper backfill” (Wooten & Korte, 2018) of the hole. Williams’ brother, a lawyer, contends that Centerpoint Energy and the city of Shreveport are at fault because they “were negligent in maintaining the gas pipes . . . [and it was] Centerpoint’s choice not to remove dangerous cast iron pipes from its system, even though Centerpoint knew just how deadly they were” (Wooten & Korte, 2018).

According to the United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “10% of the incidents occurring on gas distribution mains involved cast iron mains . . . [even though] only 2% of distribution mains are cast iron” (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2020).

Why are cast iron pipes so dangerous? Cast iron is vulnerable to graphitization, which makes the metal more brittle. Any kind of earth movement can cause the pipe to crack and start leaking. Furthermore, “cast iron pipelines were linked using bell and spigot joints with packing material stuffed in the bell to form a gas tight seal” (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2020). When dry gas replaced wet manufactured gas, the packing material dried out, causing leakage. Operators have used clamping and encapsulation to repair these joint leaks, but repairs do not solve the problem. Cast iron pipes – and other ancient pipes – need to be replaced altogether (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2020).

According to Wooten and Korte, “more than 53,000 miles of natural gas mains were built before 1940 . . . Decades of freezing and thawing, corrosion, vibration, and shifting soil can eat away at the cast iron and untreated steel pipes that were once the state of the art in natural gas distribution” (Wooten & Korte, 2018).

Other causes can include excavations by workers or homeowners; incorrectly installed pipes; incorrectly jointed pipes – and it can take years for the problem to become apparent and reach crisis dimensions. Approximately 85,000 miles of cast iron pipes and bare-steel pipes remain in service, posing a hidden danger to humans and structures alike (Wooten & Korte, 2018).

U.S. Department of Transportation. (2020). Cast and wrought iron inventory. Retrieved from

https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/data-and-statistics/pipeline-replacement/cast-and-wrought-iron-

       inventory/

Wooten, N. & Korte, G. (2018, November). Pipeline peril: Natural gas explosions reveal silent  

       danger lurking in old cast iron pipes. Shreveport Times. Retrieved from

https://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/news/2018/11/10/pipeline-peril-natural-gas-

       explosions-reveal-silent-danger-lurking-old-cast-iron-pipes/1924228002

Dawn Pisturino, RN

November 17, 2020

Copyright 2020-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Thomas Edison State University

NOTE: This is the kind of national infrastructure that Joe Biden and the Democrats should be concentrating on instead of playing politics with people’s lives and spending trillions of dollars on nonsensical wish list projects.

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Finding Comfort in the 23rd Psalm

Psalm 23 is one of the most beautiful and lyrical verses in the Bible. Scholars believe it was composed by King David more than 2,500 years ago. David was a shepherd who loved God and often sang songs to the Lord while tending his sheep. Psalm 23 is a love song to the Lord filled with gratitude, hope, and faith in the constancy of God’s love. It is a poetic meditation reflecting on the power of God’s protection in the face of adversity. Most of all, it is a vivid portrait of the natural world, our humble place in nature, and God’s role as Supreme Master of the Universe. Reading this psalm and contemplating its message brings an inner feeling of comfort, peace, and joy. 

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23 (The Jerusalem Bible)

Yahweh is my shepherd,

     I lack nothing.

In meadows of green grass he lets me lie.

To the waters of repose he leads me;

     there he revives my soul.

He guides me by paths of virtue

     for the sake of his name.

Though I pass through a gloomy valley,

     I fear no harm;

beside me your rod and your staff

     are there, to hearten me.

You prepare a table before me

     under the eyes of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil,

     my cup brims over.

Ah, how goodness and kindness pursue me,

     every day of my life;

my home, the house of Yahweh,

     as long as I live!

Dawn Pisturino

July 8, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Culinary Tips from the 1950s Housewife

Dedicated to my mother, Adeline Lucille Spencer

The 1950s housewife was expected to cook three wholesome and nutritious meals every day for her family; send children off to school with filling and healthy lunches; set an elegant and lavish table for entertaining; and keep her husband happy and satisfied with a full stomach.

She was expected to know how to choose the best foods at the best prices, and to plan weekly menus that fulfilled the nutritional needs of her family. She read women’s magazines and cookbooks, looking for new recipes and advice about raising happy, healthy kids. Over cups of coffee and freshly-baked cookies, she swapped recipes, shared marital secrets and advice, and complained about housework to neighborhood friends and family. The 1950s housewife was highly-regarded and well-respected as the glue that kept the family and society together. And she benefited from post-war prosperity with new innovations in household appliances, television, and increased leisure time. 

Simple Breakfast Menu

Fruit Juice

Coddled Eggs (hard-cooked or soft-cooked boiled eggs)

Graham muffins (or bran muffins)

Coffee and Milk

Simple Lunch Menu

Bacon and Liver Sandwiches (or Bacon and Liverwurst)

Lettuce and Onion Salad Bowl

Chiffondale Dressing ( a variation of French dressing)

Baked Stuffed Pears

Simple Vegetarian Lunch Menu

Creamed Asparagus on Toast

Stewed Tomatoes

Cottage Cheese Salad

Prune Whip

Custard Sauce

Simple Dinner Menu

Roast Beef

Yorkshire Pudding

Toasted Carrots

Buttered Onions

Lettuce and Chicory Salad Bowl

Cheese Tray and Toasted Crackers

Coffee

Simple Vegetarian Dinner Menu

Cheese Souffle

Mashed Potatoes

Buttered String Beans

Radish and Cucumber Salad

Strawberry Shortcake

* * *

A huge part of entertaining guests in the 1950s was setting a proper table using the best china, glassware, silverware, linen napkins and tablecloth, condiment holders, place cards, and centerpiece. Monogrammed napkins and tablecloths were quite popular in the 1950s. Buffet dinners, in particular, gave the 1950s hostess the opportunity to show off her best silver, glass, and linens.

The Formal Dinner

1st course – Appetizer

2nd course – Soup

3rd course – Fish

4th course – Roast 

5th course –  Game

6th course – Salad

7th course – Dessert

8th course – Crackers and Cheese with Coffee 

9th course – Nuts and Raisins

10th course – Fruit

The Simplified Formal Dinner

1st course – Appetizer

2nd course – Main Entree

3rd course – Salad

4th course – Dessert

5th course – Coffee with Fruit or Crackers and Cheese

Courses were served individually in a particular way, and the place setting and position of knives, forks, and spoons reflected the order in which the courses were served.

1950s Food Wisdom

“Expensive foods are not necessarily the most nutritious.”

“Prepare all food so attractively, and season it so well, that it will be irresistible.”

“Beautiful color and dainty, attractive arrangements play a large part in a successful meal.”

“A combination of colors pleases the eye, stimulates the digestive juices, and creates an appetite.”

“When planning combinations, follow the day’s nutrition schedule and good combinations will result.”       [Today, we have the food pyramid that provides nutritional guidelines.]

“Fine flavor in foods is developed by proper cooking. Additional flavors are provided by herbs: garlic, onion, celery, and by spices. Highly-seasoned foods whet the appetite, while sweets satisfy it. For that reason, well-seasoned foods are served for appetizers and sweets for desserts. Serve only one strongly-flavored food at each meal.”

“A most important point is the serving of at least one each soft, solid, and crisp foods at each meal.”

“Serve hot foods hot and cold ones cold.”

“Plan meals that do not have too many last minute touches. When entertaining, avoid serving food that will be ruined by a few minutes waiting.”

“If planning to bake one dish, arrange your menu so that the whole oven may be used.”

“Learn to buy so that there is a minimum of food left over.”

“In summer, the market provides foods low in energy value but high in minerals or vitamins, such as fruits and vegetables. In winter, high-energy foods, as fats and carbohydrates, are needed, too.”

* * *

When my mother got married in the 1950s, she did not know how to cook! She was given a wonderful cookbook called The American Woman’s Cook Book (1952) as a wedding gift. I pored through that cookbook when I was growing up. The colorful pictures of fabulous desserts and  savory cooked meats always fascinated me and made me want to experiment in the kitchen. I treasure that cookbook as a beautiful reminder of my mother and days gone by.

Dawn Pisturino

May 25, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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My Alzheimer’s Nightmare

ribbons-clipart-alzheimers-168094-9406099

 

Today is Mother’s Day – and I salute all of the Mothers of the world! But, I’m glad that my own mother is dead and not dealing with my father’s Alzheimer’s.

My mother died in 2002. A couple of years before she died, my father began exhibiting signs of dementia: confusion, getting lost, argumentative behavior, etc. He did not handle her death very well. In fact, it sent him into a downward spiral. His behavior became more erratic and irrational. His sister talked him into moving near her so they could spend time together.

A couple of months later, my father met – and married – an elderly woman who had a reputation around town for being crazy. The marriage caused an uproar in the family. As people got to know my new stepmother, they began to realize just how crazy she really was. She threw temper fits when she didn’t get her own way. She swore like a sailor, while pretending to be a devout Christian on Sundays. She refused to contribute any of her own money to the household bills. She harassed my father constantly for money. Eventually, the word DIVORCE came up, and we all prayed it would happen.

It didn’t. My father stayed with this crazy woman, getting quieter, more depressed, and more confused. The police were called on more than one occasion because of her temper fits. Finally, against her better judgment, my aunt got involved.

In 2016, it became increasingly clear that my father needed to be evaluated by a neurologist. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s!!!!! Nobody in our family had ever been diagnosed with dementia, let alone Alzheimer’s. The prospects were frightening.

My father refused to take his medications, and my stepmother refused to help him. She refused to let home health into the house to help him. My aunt became ever more involved, checking up on him to make sure he was okay, and coaxing him to take his medications. She got into terrible fights with my stepmother over his lack of care.

Adult Protective Services were called. But they were limited in what they could do. They could not FORCE my stepmother to take care of my Dad or FORCE my father into a nursing home. My aunt and I became more and more frustrated. We knew it was an unsafe situation, and there wasn’t anything we could do.

When my father drove off one day in his van and disappeared for three days, a nation-wide Silver Alert was announced. My stepmother knew he had disappeared and never bothered to call the police. It was my aunt who called them when she discovered he was gone. My Dad saw himself on TV in a convenience store hundreds of miles away, and the cashier called the police. Thank God!

My aunt and I hounded APS after that because my father absolutely refused to go into a nursing home. And my stepmother continued to neglect him and leave him alone for hours at a time, even though she was told not to do that.

Finally, when I was visiting with my father and asking him questions, I began to wonder if my stepmother was even feeding him. He had lost a lot of weight and couldn’t seem to remember when or what he was eating. When I began snooping through the cupboards and refrigerator, I didn’t find much food. I made another report to APS.

By this time, the APS worker had had several run-ins with my stepmother and developed a distinct dislike for her. She decided to act. She spoke to her supervisor, and they made a point of investigating the food situation in the house. After finding little food, and compiling a report on my stepmother’s neglect, they approached a judge, who court-ordered my father into a nursing home. When the case came up for review a few months later, the order was upheld by the judge. The relief we all felt was overwhelming.

Once my father was safe, it became clear that my stepmother could not take care of herself. She refused to pay any bills, and raided as much money as she could from my father’s funds. It took a while, but my aunt finally convinced my stepmother’s children to come and get her and take her home with them to a neighboring state. We were glad to be rid of her!

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that robs a person of their identity, their dignity, and their self-respect. It does not kill quickly like cancer. It drags on for years, draining family finances and resolve. My father’s condition has caused a big split in our family over legal and financial matters. And then there’s the guilt – for, no matter how much or how little you do, it will never be enough or the right thing or the thing that satisfies other people.

If you’re struggling with a family member who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We are all in this together.

Dawn Pisturino, RN

May 10, 2020

Copyright 2020 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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My Thoughts on Coronavirus

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By now, everyone has been affected in some way by the coronavirus. People have gotten really sick, with most recovering, and some dying. Some people who tested positive never got sick at all. Most Americans, however, seem to be healthy and well.

Due to the spread of coronavirus around the world, countries began to shut their borders, institute quarantine and isolation procedures, promote education about the virus, social distancing, and economic lock down. Right now, the world is at a standstill.

Millions of people have been temporarily laid off or furloughed from their jobs. Others are working from home. People are anxious, restless, bored, and scared. What will happen next? Will things get better? Will they get worse? Will this virus be defeated? Will it come back again? Nobody can really give us an adequate answer.

Businesses — both large and small — are suffering. Will they be able to reopen? Or, will this shutdown put them out of business? Just yesterday, retailer Neiman-Marcus announced its plans to file bankruptcy. This will likely cost a lot of people their jobs.

The federal government has increased the national debt in its effort to help people weather the storm. And most of us are grateful for the extra money and support that the government is providing. But it’s only temporary. And the money only stretches so far. Rents and mortgages still have to be paid. Food still has to be bought. Life goes on.

Gun and ammunition sales are through the roof. Why? Because of the threat of increased crime and overreach by state and local governments. While convicted criminals are let out of jail, law-abiding citizens are forced to shelter in their homes, wear masks in public, and follow restrictive and unconstitutional mandates. Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, for example, is prohibiting people from buying seeds, planting gardens, and hanging American flags. What do these normal activities have to do with preventing the spread of coronavirus? This kind of out-of-control power grab by politicians is sparking anger, protests, and demands to end the economic shutdown.

The mainstream media has fed into the hysteria by politicizing the crisis, deliberately spreading fear and chaos, and sensationalizing the number of cases and deaths. Politicians are at war with each other, pointing fingers, and deliberately spreading misinformation and lies. It’s an election year, folks! And that matters more than unifying and helping the country.

Then we have Bill Gates and the big tech companies wanting to stop people from working until they acquire a certificate that they test negative, have already recovered from the virus, or have been vaccinated. WTF? I feel sorry for anybody who doesn’t live up to their standards. And what made them the experts anyways? Bill Gates has a financial interest in all of this. And this is the guy who wants to reduce the human population by 15%. No, thank you, Mr. Gates! I’ll take a pass on any vaccine developed by you!

Liberal governors are also refusing to open up their states’ economies until some distant date in the future, out of fear that the coronavirus will reoccur. Come on, guys! People need to get back to work and back to a normal life as soon as possible. Standing in line for toilet paper happens in third world countries, not the good old USA!

On the positive side, people are finding a healthy appreciation for the things they have, the things they are missing, and the things they have lost, such as their love of family and faith in God. People are praying more and spending more time with their loved ones.

So, out of all the chaos, order will come. Out of all the fear, confidence will grow. And out of all the death and destruction, new life and hope will be restored. We are resilient people, after all.

Dawn Pisturino, RN

April 19, 2020

Copyright 2020 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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The World is Too Much with Us

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The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

~ William Wordsworth (1770-1850) ~

My Thoughts:

If this was true over 150 years ago, it’s even more true today.

The world is overwhelming us, beating us down, blasting wave after wave of propaganda and lies into our heads. Who knows the truth anymore? Who knows what’s right from wrong? Who even knows what’s real? The constant prattle of commentators/agitators, politicians, and celebrities is driving all of us mad. Where is the escape? When will it end?

Escape into the wilderness, they say, but a tumultuous crowd awaits us there. The noise! — oh, the noise! I long to escape it.

Quiet, peace, serenity, silence — a long-forgotten reality.

I will find it inside myself.

Dawn Pisturino

September 28, 2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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