long hours sleeping
dog whining wakeful
stumbling to the door
face rubbing sleepy
all the world aglow in green
long hours sleeping
dog whining wakeful
stumbling to the door
face rubbing sleepy
all the world aglow in green
I have this neighbor, our friendship began when i moved here, to this country home. Laughter, nights by the fire, alcohol, jokes and pranks played on each other. Admonished gently by my giant, but when i check with the hunter, he tells me you are all good, honey, and hsi lady laughs and says, don’t worry about it at all.
The small gifts of jars of jelly, and permission to walk his land, to forage wild strawberries and pine needles, the occasional venison, a painting I did on his wall, surely they give more than I, I am terrible at such things.
And then at his Mom’s funeral I suddenly understand, and I also find a deeper way to accept myself. not that I spend alot of time thinking about it as much anymore. His lady tells me about his Mom, how she never held anything back, she cussed, and she spoke her truth and as the lady describes her she is looking at me and grinning. Suddenly it hits me why I get along so well with the hunter, he reminds me of my dad, quiet, loving, a man of few words, a presence without artifice. And, I remind him of his mom, I say this, and the lady says affirms my assessment and as the hunter’s family speaks of who she was, I see myself, lying on a blanket in the grass looking at clouds and finding the shapes with my grands. and at once I feel like all that I am should not be left to criticism, but that I should fall more wholly into myself.
Deep in the woods, and not just any woods, but ones that are old, and moss covered and spongey you may find that all the earth beneath the roots is gone and the lattice of roots and earth are all that remain. When this happens the winds can rock the tree and all that lattice work and whatever stands upon it. But the intertwining of all the roots keeps it intact, and if not then life continues does it not?
It may or may not continue as what we would call a living tree, but it does continue in some form or another, a home for a skunk, homes for mushrooms and toadstools, home for other life that lives in the richness of the tree’s remains.
This new life is different, no better, no worse, just different. Roots latch on and roots release, life continues. Older, wiser, less prone to the resentments, and more aware of areas where pain is triggered, areas where pain is released, areas where pain remains. Pain though is there and its real, one wonders if its the bite of a tick, the liver detoxify, the heart re-stitching itself, old age. but it is there. The breath moves in and out and like the tree, the body sways, and moves, to the changing days.
The wind it carries on it words, whispers, spoors and pollens, and the trees receive the messages via the stillness and the fury and all that exists in the inbetween. The branches and bean pods fall to the ground and fire is lit smoke rises up and magic is made. A prayer, a wish, a spell, a breath.
Red Jasper, Bloodstone and Garnet,
Toadstools in my neighbors yard, under a pine hedge.
May my words harm none, may my negative actions be forgiven, may you find peace.
Life is so incredibly perfect and I sit staring off into the distance feeling the warmth of the autumn sun on my black t-shirt. I think about the plants that grow wild amongst my cultivated perennials. The yarrow long left to leaves, the tansy picked and used to dye three skeins of handspun yarn, the last of the echinacea, the grapevine in the bucket at my feet. It is my fifty forth birthday and I am alone here at least for the moment. I pick up the twisted pile of wet vines and begin to form a circle. Life has a funny way to it, doesn’t it? The things you thought you could count on long gone, the rituals you once practiced, a faded memory that makes you wistful for someone that has passed on to the next level of consciousness, the life you want right in front of you, or perhaps not. There really are no guarantees are there?
I weave the vine around itself. I think of my strengths, my weaknesses and my gifts. The magic of my dreams to tell me things I shouldn’t know. The power of feeling family in times of emotional stress and death, the knowledge of plant medicine, the gift of my art, the insecurity that has plagued me for so long its like a cyst. Like tar. The anger, the dismay the lack of acceptance for this feeling. I realize I need to embrace this insecurity. Let it linger in my words and actions, let it describe me. I need to etch it on my skin. But also I need to know its simply a feeling, one that has generally not served me well, in fact can you think of anytime when insecurity served you?
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I am like this wreath in some ways, parts of me dead, parts still living, parts that grasp and parts that bend and parts that are toughened and hard to move. I marvel too at how all the plants here in this yard serve a purpose. The pokeberry, the grapevine, the ground cherry, the nightshade, the sumac, their ability to dye, to weave, to eat, to poison, and there is an bloom of understanding; these plants were once put here, likely by people, for their practical uses.
And as I sit here writing while I listen to a training for a second time, somehow it didn’t register the first time, ‘I think of my purpose. The practical, the spiritual, the crone, the gardener, the weaver, the artist, all the things I do and know that make me, me. I think of what it must feel like to lose this, this self. And in this moment I take a breath and let it all go.
I feel my power inside my belly, the center a bit of grit, the nascent, the breeze, the light and color through the mist of the morning, the sounds of birds singing, the water burbling, the wholeness of being there in the blue sky. There is a pressure, inside me, a desire for indomitability, swelling magic and intuition and creativity, the desire for recognition poking at me from somewhere, the desire to be fully immersed in this life and the wish to be able to afford it. I want to manifest this, published as a writer, known in an official capacity as an artist, an intuitive wisdom healer, a person of truth and integrity, respectful and respected,
To anyone I have harmed, I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you. I offer only love.
And just like that depression oozes in like a slow moving tidal wave, one you can see, but you cannot keep from taking the sand out from under you, taking out the carefully built and decorated shoreline, destroying the hanging lanterns and twinkling lights, pulling up stakes and embedded poles, smashing everything as it spreads slowly inward.
Meanwhile at the cool mountain retreat, water once crystal, sparkling and brisk, begins to muddy, and emits the stink of sulfur.
Grumpy and seated by a fire, with few logs to feed it, one is wrapped in ones thinnest blanket shivering against the wind that soars down the mountain.
What is that rumbling and crashing one hears?
there are days when everything hurts, this, fibromyalgia, but I refuse to take pain medications.
i walked alot on Saturday, i mean not alot compared to what i walked five years ago, but alot for now. just two short miles. this week has been horrible. my knees, my right outside edge of my foot, my lower back, my trapezium and my neck. last night i woke myself many times crying out in pain.
words no longer have the power over me they once did. but words, damn they can be hurtful and mean spirited and cruel. words like, lazy. words like, you are just like ______ (fill in the blank) for a person you strive to not be like, you aren’t __________(fill in the blank) for things that you are, words thrown as weapons, when wit cannot pull up things that are thoughtful and reflective, words that show a person that they have not seen your growth, only bringing up the past to smash you.
and i find myself not floundering and wretched but instead empowered to continue being who i am.
lazy ____ no i do not do as i once did as i sit here recalling scraping and painting the house all summer, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, putting sealant on the driveway, gardening, cooking, doing dishes, taking care of the animals utterly by myself, cleaning, laundry, taking out the trash, taking the trash to the road, literally everything that needed done the house i did or i left a short list for my daughter to do as well. my grandparents called me lazy when i was about 8. i wasn’t lazy, i was just being 8, but it stuck, it was used again and again, and still to this day people like to use it on me. did i mention i am in pain? always? i still vacuum, sweep, clean the bathroom, cook, do dishes, hose detritus off the deck, garden, shop for the household, which for me as a single person was literally one quick trip a week, but now is a two hour ordeal. am i a stay at home mom who works two hours a day outside the home and carrying the weight of the whole household in chores? no, and i have never been. instead i work 7 hours a day, babysit 10 hours a week, and work on my art which i sell probably another 20 hours a week. lazy. that’s me.
when i am angry i tell people. i don’t sulk and seethe quietly, i don’t pretend like nothing is wrong, i don’t throw out hurtful words, i am smart, i am creative, i am self aware, i try hard to be kind though i fall short at times, i acknowledge my mistakes, i am not ashamed of who i am, i don’t feel inadequate, under appreciated and psychologically and emotionally lonely yes, but not inadequate, not ever.
this blog is a great example of my growth, i try to move beyond my blockages, i try to learn, and grow emotionally, and when i am angry, i don’t try to push my old hurts onto others as labels, and name callings.
the more i hurt from external resources the further i withdraw. that is what i guess i should be my newest area of growth.
or i could just become reclusive.
i am already halfway there.
My mind is like a pool of water on a river, ideas are swirling around me but the mind is still and calm, like a deep well, a river pothole, cold and dark.
My eyes, they are clouded, by long strings wrapped in a circle, by small black dots that I track as flies and realize later they are not, by short eyelashes swirling in my field of vision. Eventually, your brain will stop noticing them. Or perhaps, I think, I will paint them on top of everything I paint. A final glossy layer separating my eye from my mind. Can I have those photos of my retina? I ask. Sure, but you have to show them to us when you are done. I wish I had time to paint, I think, with college graduations, spring gardening and commissions, and perhaps the newest obsession of knitted Christmas stockings.
My ear, it was bleeding, I did not know why, with my eye now a clear pool with autumn leaves floating on top, I feel frightened. Later, after I am told its just an abrasion, I blame the black flies. Which is more vicious? Black flies or Yellow Jackets?
My skin, it itches, black flies again. My nails embedded with dirt as I plant medicinals, bee friendlies, dye plants, cooking herbs, and annuals where Tom has dug up my perennials with the snow plow too many years in a row. I envision thyme oil, lavender oil, beebalm tea, pokeberry colored wool, and stinging nettles as I dig. A. helps me pick out the annuals, and plants rocks in the dirt to make them grow. I lament the absence of bees. But orioles stab at orange halves and hummingbirds hope I haven’t been lazy about filling their feeders.
My heart, it is no longer strong. It echoes empty. It trudges through the sludge. It aches with each step. It loves more than it should. It is just enough to get me through.
So I drink expensive Scotch, and Honeyed Whiskey, and seek out the best less than one hundred calorie beer I can find. And only drink wine that tastes good. Even if it is less often than I would like.
I have paintings in my mind though. And my fingers ache to paint them.
Instead, I paint the yard with flowers and plants. I paint the world.
On our way out to an island in Maine the trees were not yet showing signs of spring, but by our return trip the forsythia was blooming in Albany and the willows had gone from gold to green. Maine for me was wonderful, I am certain it was not so wonderful for the man, and for my friend. Dog ate a toy and managed to barf on a white rug and a brand new mattress. Of course after that she was fine, she doesn’t barf a lot so of course she had to christen the new furnishings. grr. But for me the peace of painting in a place, outside, despite cold temps, downright drizzle and brutal wind. My legs cold through and my left fingers icy from holding the palette. Upon return and viewing this work with the work of last summer I am super pleased with this new body of work. I am really looking forward to the summer when I can go back and paint more. There were several sites I would like to sit and paint from, just from the brief tour we had by our hosts.
I wandered around my yard on Easter Sunday after two days of spring cleaning, still utterly not complete, and noticed the tulips pushing their heads up past the mud and coal ash. The tips of the elderberry bushes have started to bud, the rhubarb with its dark green leaves is growing beautifully. The crocus and hyacinth are blooming, though my transplanted grape hyacinth is not too happy with life just now. The tansy and the comfrey are looking healthy, and my transplanted lilies look like they just might bloom.
The man made a compost tumbler out of an old dryer drum. So impressed, he is really an artist in a way, he can fix anything, he can cobble together anything.
The dogs, particularly Marley the little beast, ran to the neighbors house for cookies. Following L. into her kitchen while I shot the breeze with M. who lifted the lid of his grill to show me Easter dinner, roast venison on a spit wrapped in bacon. “This is what rednecks eat for Easter he said deprecatingly, though I did not say it, I thought this is what I would consider a superior culture. He again iterated my option to walk his land and gather plants from his property, along with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, as my man says, M. likes me because he usually doesn’t let anyone on his property. We talked about natural dyes. He thought I said natural guys. So we made a few jokes about manscaping, and ear whiskers….
I looked up the possibility of using rhubarb leaves for dying wool, high in oxalic acid, I think it would be cool to mix them with pokeweed which grows in abundance in the yard, nettles or maybe sumac. My summer project slowly forming.
I spun my white wool for a while and finished a recycled sari silk scarf. STILL trudging away at the brown and white log cabin weave on my 32” Ashford. Blah. So dull and my tension is wonky and annoying. So much to do for spring. So very little time in the day.
I am still holding on to the lumpy ash
of whatever organic rot this has been
a heart perhaps,
or a spleen?
Soaked in tears.
the soul eating bacteria.
I repeat the steps,
listen to the silence
ask for help
hold it tighter.
let it go.
Push it down.
a paid actor in a
I am Edvard Munch’s scream.
They say no mud, no lotus. The lotus though it roots in the mud, digs its strong tendrils downward into the thick ooze.
The winter has come and the tuber is dormant, it waits, asleep in the frozen mud, deep, thick and stuck there. But in its dormancy it is potential energy, it is hunger, it is dissatisfaction, so comfortable, but so unhappy with this state of affairs, it aches for the sun, for the light, for the soft touch of the dragon fly as it lights upon its petals. And yet it is all this time still a life, a rich, deep energy. They say that tropical lilies die when it gets too cold. Unable to survive the deep dormancy required by hardy types. And it is the hardy type that digs burrows the most deep, surviving in the harsh winter cold. It is like a frog waiting to thaw. Waiting here in the mud. Waiting here in the mud. Waiting here.