Artists · Magic · weak woman

Mending that Old Wound

 

 

Before
Before

 

 

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Throw Pillow After
Throw Pillow After
Throw Pillow After

 

When my daughter moved into her own place, I gave her my old furniture.  When I moved into my new place, I bought a small inexpensive sectional, I won’t spend too much on furniture that dogs vomit on.  Because dogs do like to puke on the furniture sometimes.  I like to be able to wash whatever is covering the cushions, for now I have two old throw quilts covering the seats, and the horrendous, ugly throw pillows that came with it have been sitting in my studio since I put in the couch.  Each time I have moved in these last two years, I have weeded out some possessions that I just had been holding onto for no real reason.  I had these pieces though that I kept during both moves, and when my mom came to visit this week, I showed them to her.

I had been experimenting with a quilting technique that to me seemed like painting with fabric.  These two panels were my only attempts.  I was looking at them after I had pulled them out of the dryer, and my then husband came in the room and looked at them too.  He told me that they were not very good, he did not like the technique and I should not be making these any more.  I thought they were awesome but was devastated by his critique.

I am always devastated by critique.

I folded them up and put them away.  But I held on to them, I guess in some way I knew he was wrong.

I showed them to my mom, should I throw these out or?  But she loved them, and today we spent the day making them into pillow covers for the two ugly cushions.

I absolutely love them.  They are gorgeous.  Tomorrow we are going to use an old piece of crazy quilt to do the seat cushions.  I love this, this house, what I am doing here.  It is like I am new and fresh and whole, where I was always before, but now I am just putting the last pieces of the puzzle together.

It feels good to heal old wounds.

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Herbal Medicine · Magic · Uncategorized

Orion Watches.

I turn from the highway and am headed up hill into the sky, and there right above me, reclining on his elbow is Orion.  I watch it, and the temperature as it falls steadily 17, 12, 10, 7 degrees F. in only a few minutes of driving.  The sky is crystal clear, and the trees are black and heavy with snow, long arms reaching for the car as I carefully make my way north.  Orion is with me, watching my progress, always the lazy observer.  I reach my finger up and hook my finger in his elbow, and spin him.  Head, shoulders, knees and toes, slowly in flickering circles.  Magic.

It is not late when I get there, the house is warm, the greetings warmer.  It is good to be home, to be with family.

I have missed them so.

I do little more than nap lazily in front of the fire.

I worry that I will one day, not be welcome here, anymore.  It is an ugly fear.  Undeserved.

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Later, I use a bowl, purchased from my friend who is a ceramicist, and mix together herbs to elevate the mood, hibiscus, lemon balm, ginger for inflammation, borage picked by my own hand this summer, and St. John’s Wort, at my therapist’s suggestion.

I use a bowl given as a gift from my sister in law, caught with her dog on my bed in the giving, this one for high blood pressure, hawthorn berries, dandelion root, yarrow, harvested this summer, and linden flowers.

I mix it with a lovely magical spoon, a gift from my mom.

The gift from the north of my dear friend’s wisdom, and my daily walks, my own healing touch.

I sample them in small amounts for flavor and scent.

I use the stag mug that once long ago, I gave as a gift to my father, and the handle-less cup (good for wrapping cold fingers around) from the matching green set.

Later as Marley snores, and Orion peeks in my window, and Sancho groans below, my room smells of thyme soap and I write my words of magic.

Keep watching over me Orion, I always know you are there in the cold winter night.

Soon it will be spring, and you will have better things to observe, and I will still be here, waiting for  your return.

Flowers · Garden · Herbal Medicine · Magic · Nature · Photos · Uncategorized

Trip into Town

I am truly an introvert, these windy, sunshiney scattered shower days are so deeply quiet, so deeply fulfilling.  The neighbor, who is only here for two weeks, checks in periodically, to charge something electric, to shower with his wife and children, to ask if there is anything I need, or stops along the road to ask me if I have picked any wild blueberries yet.  Other than that my only human interaction is a phone call from my mom, to my daughter, the pirate in his way only answers his phone, he is incapable of calling.  The counselor told me, before I left to plan outings into public, but I hardly need it, I am feeling astonishingly strong and deeply moved, and touched by mother earth.  Herons abound.
But each time I venture into one of the towns nearby, I am rewarded with just the right things.  Today I am absolutely dizzy with congestion in my sinus, I found eucalyptus rub, and a book by Rosemary Gladstar, outlining several of her herbal remedies that are in the correspondence course on loan from my friend.  Oh yes and wasabi, ginger chocolate truffles.

COLTSFOOT
Colstfoot leaves ( I believe)
calendula
Calendula Flower
herbalremedy
Barkeaters Chocolates and Funny River Trading, both local businesses.

 

I have loved the quiet, and the long walks with the dogs, and the breeze keeping the bugs at bay.  Especially the breeze keeping the bugs at bay.

Today I raided my friend’s cupboards, pulling out skullcap and lobelia, and vodka to make tinctures with fresh herbs from her garden, some to dry on her screen, though she has plenty of all jarred in the basement.  Tomorrow I have to go and get more vodka, I used up the last drops, not much more than four shots worth, but I hate to leave her empty.  These tinctures designed to help me sleep.  Plus I stole a little of her mullein oil and put some fresh mullein flowers in it, to make ear drops for my daughter, who suffered terribly with ear infections as a baby, and still has to have the wax removed from her ears, and has frequent ear aches.

Herbal Tinctures
Herbal Tinctures

Off to deliver some cucumbers and squash to the neighbor, they will go bad before the family returns, and are more than I can possibly eat.

Birds · Magic · Nature · Uncategorized

Loons on a Cool Summer Night

I am cranky and my friend kicks me out, go for a paddle, get out of here.

I paddle the edges, working my arms in long strokes to get away from the camps.  I come upon a mother and baby duck swimming, we startle each other, because I am paddling quietly, looking in the water.  Listening to the quiet of the trees creaking on the hill, watching the sunlight from the water as it refracts on the green boughs of the trees, and paddling through this place I call the Tree Graveyard.  The incense of the pine boughs sends prayers up to the heavens, and I quiet my mind, contemplative, meditative, prayerful, respectful in this silent place.

Jtreegraveyard treegrave5 treegrave4 treegrave2 Tree Graveyard

I quiet my thoughts, and simply  am on the water, weaving my way through the broken stumps and fallen trees, paying attention only to the pathway straight ahead, watching for things that will catch the canoe, and leave me out of the water, or in it.  I see a bird splashing in the water, and I paddle closer to watch thinking it is a duck, but maybe not, because it was making a croaking sound, do ravens swim?  Is the bird stranded in the water?  I see a flash of white, a bald eagle?  As I get closer it is a loon.  I am astonished, I thought they were shy.  I rest my oars on the top of the boat, just marveling in this beautiful sight.  It dives down and I paddle on but I am shocked to see it come up somewhat close to me, I thought they could dive for long long spaces, and I do not understand why he is so close.  I continue to paddle as he dives again.  I have no idea where he will come up but continue on my lazy haphazard direction, again he comes up too close, what is he doing?  The next time he dives, I angle sharply away from him and then see he is behind a stump.  How did he get there so fast.  Then I notice two babies, and I am between the original loon and this new grouping.  Oh.  I am cautious, I do not want to move, I have to move to give them space, I cannot move because I would have to paddle backwards and I am concerned, will they attack?  I sit still and take pictures, eventually they move off but not before they call a few times, and I mimic the call, and then as I finally turn away from them, they parallel my path, at a distance, for a few seconds.   Note you are not supposed to harass loons, they are notoriously shy and will abandon their nests if pressured by lookers, this encounter was purely my not realizing it was a loon until I was several canoe lengths away, and then trying to get away only to run smack into the mama and her large babies.  I apologized to them as I paddled away.

male loon
male loon
female loon and two chicks
female loon and two chicks
loon and chick
loon and chick
goodbye loons!  sorry to bother you!!!
goodbye loons! sorry to bother you!!!

Wow.

Soon I see a big doe and two fawns on the shore, drinking from the lake.

Wow.

It pays to be really quiet, to have no goal, to have no intention.

Festivals · Magic · Nature · Photos

Trees in the Woods

slug

I am pissed really at this man, but pissed because the roads are muddy and I am afraid to get stuck in them.  Next time we bring the four wheel drive SUV, bitching.  He is really patient and so good to me.  Later he will pat my hand and kiss it as I apologize for being snotty, but I say, I am so happy I walked by myself.  You just needed some alone time, he says, bright eyes shining.  But right now I stay in the car while he walks, waiting until I cannot see him to walk by myself.  But he waits for me and hugs me, sorry your car got muddy, you did a great job driving through it though!  Go ahead I tell him, I am not walking with you.

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I stop to take a photo of a salamander and he is far ahead of me.  I stop to talk a picture of the trees and to pee under the pines and he is gone.  Crows gurgle up above, birds are whistling.  I keep walking waiting to catch up with him.  I stop to take pictures of the trees, the woods are both quiet, quiet, quiet and alive with the sounds of birds, of nature, and life, so full of life.  Like faeries and wood sprites are looking out at me, unafraid.

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I reach the end of the road, I look for his tracks in the sand, all along the road, and then at the end, I pass into the woods at the end, and I look intently into the mud.  No tracks.  I turn back.  I do not even see my own tracks in the sand.  I make my fast pace back to the car, after a while he texts me, where are you?  I am on the road walking back, I say.  Where are you.  Waiting for you.  Where I say, on the road by the path.  I get to the spot I think he is, and no he is not there.  I text him, where the heck are you?  I keep walking.  Finally just a few hundred yards from the car he is there popping out of the woods and scaring me.  I laugh.  What the hell?  I ask him, what kind of walk was that?

deer

At the car there is a map and he shows me the half mile he stopped at, and went off into the woods, I walked to here, I say pointing, to the end of the road, a full mile further than he did, and then back again.

 

Changing Seasons · Festivals · Flowers · Magic · Musings · Nature · Pirates · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure · Trees

Turkey Hunting Day

It is now turkey hunting season, I celebrate such a marvelous thing.  The pirate rose well before dawn, nearly still the middle of the night and left, I heard him rustling around, and then I fell back to sleep.  I woke at 6am from dead asleep to wide awake, strange dreams of college friends involved in strange events.  The coffee was still warm in the insulated carafe left with my mug on the counter.  And I made breakfast and wasted time watching TED talks for a couple hours.  Then I cleaned the bathrooms, and the kitchen, and did laundry and cat boxes, and organized my bedroom opening the curtains and windows wide.  The magnolia tree outside my bedroom window cast a stunning pink light over my whole room, to go with the rainbows dancing from the crystal in my east facing window.

Work done, I took my embroidery out to the patio, but the sun was hot and I was concerned for burning my nearly burnt skin from a long day at the Crawfish Festival on Saturday.  Only careful monitoring of my sun-screened skin, and making my sun loving pirate sit in patches of sun near the shade kept me from burning so early in the season.  And my awesome fishing hat.  I took my books and boxes, and needles and threads up the hill to where my freshly repainted metal table sits in the shade under a spruce tree.  I trucked up and down the hill for water, for lunch, for water for the dog, for laundry switching, for forgotten items or dropped things, taking time in between to clean the dog mess off the lawn on one trip, carrying a very angry cat up, only to have her realize that this was a lovely place to lay contentedly in the shade and get scratched regularly.

The pirate returned sometime in the middle of the afternoon.  I don’t even know when.  I just know that I embroidered for about 5 hours, happily content in my zone.  Finally he came up and lay in the sun on a blanket for about an hour as I drank a beer, and worked on my project.  The sun was setting into the evening, all day long the pink and white petals floated down on me like snow, but as the sun was setting it was magical, like a scene from one of my favorite movies by Akira Kurasawa, where the peach blossoms rain, tinkling like bells on a crying boy.

Love days like this.

Love, love.

Artists · Magic · Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Zen Buddhism

Outhouse Mind

The way is hard, the snow is packed, and deep, but also thawing so it is a difficult walk.  I come to the brook and it is flowing heavily with the melting snow.  The dog is irritated with being on leash, used after weeks of it, to being free more or less always.  I am feeling both lazy and not, and contemplate the shortest route, but find myself instead continuing on to and to a place where I am sure of being able to free him, at least for a short leg of it.  There is little life, no squirrels or birds, or maybe there is, but I am just completely oblivious to it.  My mind is chewing and chewing.  I am mostly looking at the ground, to make sure my footing is secure.  In fact, I take the whole walk more or less one step at a time.  Looking down until I emerge upon the open field, where I look up and feel a sense of space, and a starkness of beauty.

I find myself thinking about someone else’s poetry.  It is a good thing, this, to have their words in my mind their feeling of restlessness, their feelings of uncertainty, and self doubt.  It takes away the ugliness of my own thoughts, the outhouse of my own mind, and firmly plants some other seed in my head.  When did I stop daydreaming about some book, or some television show, and start daydreaming about the past?  When did philosophy get replaced by gossip and Facebook arguments?  In my day to day.  I like her words in my head.  Suddenly I no longer want my own words in my own head.  I want to be free of it.  It is like I am sitting, on the big hole, with my small body, and I have fallen into my own shit.  I need someone to come in and drag me out.  I think about hanging my paintings on the canvas wall of the studio and having 10 people standing around commenting on my work, and then turning around and commenting on theirs, how it made my own work better.  I remember how I felt jealousy of the girl whose fairies and gnomes lived in brown logs covered with moss, I still try to draw like that, but my magic lives in other artistic realms.  I remember how jealous I was of the girl, whose Italian marbles and expensive carving tools set her apart from my plaster and bins of recycled clay.

But this interaction, this was nutrient rich stuff.  It was manure.  It fertilized my mind, instead of just being my own stinking mess.

This must be, the purpose of sangha.  To fertilize growth.  To take your mind out of the sepsis of your own filth.

I stand on tiptoes, and look out the curve of the crescent moon.

My legs ache, from knee to buttocks, and my lower back, from the work of walking on this dense wet snow.  Calories in, calories out, if only it were that simple, body chemistry does not always follow logic.  I think of that Facebook argument, a little star in my mind says, but wait, boys are genetically different from girls, it is in their DNA.  Her argument is flawed.  I hate interacting with others though, it brings a desire to withdraw.  Ah.  I hear the brook babbling, I listen for it to tell me something, like saying the next song on the radio, it will be some message from the universe about ______.  Then I forget to listen.  The brook is not actually saying anything, and I realize it is like my thoughts, I should just notice them, be aware of any obstacle (is the path flooded from the height of the water, should I pre-empt the possibility by taking this other path?  Do I have it in me, sweating and breathing hard from the effort of this snow, to back track if the path is flooded) but nonetheless, not let it spoil the quietude of my mind.  The brook is beautiful, like a song, I tell someone else, you are not alone in your thoughts flooding your mind, and meditation doesn’t seek so much to quiet them, but to accept them, and the dichotomy, or is it irony, is that by accepting it, they become more quiet, more pure.

The path is not flooded.

I continue on, the sun is set, and the darkness is overtaking the light, but as I emerge from the path, and my feet are once again on solid ground, I feel invigorated.  Alive.

Best of all, is the moments of freedom, from the worn wood, and familiar odor, of my own mind.

 

 

 

Magic · Small Joys · Treasure

Decorating for Christmas

I know what it is to be in a relationship with someone who is a true scrooge.  I know what it is like decorate a Christmas tree with my child, but I also know what it is like to be angry, sad, and eventually numb to a man who doesn’t want to join us.  I told myself it was his culture, until his sister arrived on the same day as the separation papers, in the middle of a snowstorm, two weeks before Christmas, and told me otherwise.

We bushwhack our way up to our Zombie Apocalypse meeting place I don’t want to park in the mud so we find another spot which is why we are struggling through the tangle of grapevines.  We cross the lower trail where we have marked a tree with a rock and a Z etched in its surface and clamber up the steep slope to the upper trail.  It is a hard push and I get the harsh cold feeling in my lower bronchi that will lead to a coughing fit at the top.  I tell him I need a bandana and he scoffs.  Okay I say, you will see.  At the top my breath is ragged and then I cough softly once, twice and real hard several times.  You okay? he asks.  I told you. I tell him as I start to breathe again.  I should know my own body after 45 years, and he reaches out to hold my hand, which lasts about 15 steps before we mutually let go.  I really prefer to walk without it, unless I am feeling scared (Halloween Horror Nights??) or need reassurance for some reason or another (large crowds).

We backtrack on one of the several trails strung across the gravel studded scrubby hilltop until we find the ratty Charlie Brown tree we had seen the other day.  He hangs his backpack on a tree and takes out the decorations, I hang garland as he puts wire on the decorations, finally topping it with a star.  It looks great I say, as I take out my camera.  Wait, he says, we aren’t done.  Then he takes two white doves out of the bag and arranges the garland into a shape of a heart around them.  And instead of a tree skirt we put apples, carrots and bread at the base of the tree, which the dog is quite curious about, indeed.

Tree top star
Love Birds

I am grinning so hard my cheeks, which are half frozen in the brisk wind, hurt.  I cannot stop grinning.  I throw my arms around him and tell him, you are so wonderful, you have absolutely no idea.  No I’m not, he says, though he is grinning too.

We scramble down the steep slope to the low path and make our way through the swamp and reeds to a bushwhack and back to the car.

This, this, is perfect.

Buddhism · Cooking · Magic · Musings · Nature · Photos · Pirates · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

Slow Cooking

Iron Ore

There is this kind of perfection in cooking.  The slow kind.  Yesterday I used the food processor, something I would have never bought for myself, because there is a zen quality, a peaceful quality, a hands in and hands on kind of quality to carefully cutting the vegetables.  I love this.  This act of cooking.  I understand the purpose of a sous chef, but I love the act of creating the food from the beginning to the end.  But today, the processor does the stalks of celery in seconds, the onions sliced, I pour them out onto the cutting board and chop them into small pieces.  Saute the veggies in butter.  I do not have any sage.  I call and ask if anyone has it.  No.  I am not yet fully here in this household.  Several minutes later, I have a brand new container of sage in my hands, delivered to my door, via the grocery store.  And I cook it all on a stove I could never have imagined owning, it shines brand new in the kitchen, they went out to get it, so I could bake properly for Thanksgiving.  I open the windows and bake nothing for the first time, as directed in the manual.

For this new family I feel a deep sense of gratitude.

In the morning, I wake early, to the crispy frosted grass and leaves.  The sun is shining and the day promises to be warm.  I raise my arms up and stretch in the brisk air.  Lovely day.  Lovely day.  There are no shortcuts for pie crust.  I put on Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, the heavenly choir fills the air.  The dog comes to me and rests his head on my knee.  I look into his eyes, he is almost smiling as he “hugs” me in his doggie way.  He does this at least two more times over the course of the morning, though I am regularly admonishing him to get out of the kitchen.  And as I mix the egg and ice water into the flour and butter, I feel a sense of something, I do not know what, it is profound though, and I savor it.  I cannot name it.

For this beautiful animal and his unconditional love, I feel so very thankful.

Sancho

He comes in from hunting, smiling, cheerful.  Last night I said to him, in the hot tub, that he was clearly miserable, so clearly not happy with me living in this place with him, that I just didn’t know what we were doing.  He said, I have always been miserable, but with you here, I am this much more happy than I was before.  He holds his hands apart like the fish that got away.  Later I tell him, thank you for telling me that, he pulls me down on top of him and kisses me.  Later still he comes into the living room and places a big plate of sliced apples on the coffee table, but not in front of himself, but off to the side.  I look at him, into those stunning green hazel eyes, he smiles.  I get off the awful chair and sit beside him.  We should bring that small couch in here, he says, it is a good snuggle couch, and put that chair in the office.  Okay, I say.  I would like that.  I go from one house to another, my side dishes and dessert a hit, and get containers for the remains of dinner, when I come in they are talking about rings, and cruises to Alaska.  They change the subject upon my entrance, but not quickly, slowly as though to tell me something.  Later I show him my board of pins, ‘for the wedding I will never have”.  He laughs.  But he is quiet too.  I don’t know, honestly, if we will ever go there, but I know at the very least, I have his love, and he is my very best friend.

For this man, who is difficult, moody, miserable, and sometimes positively awful, I am so very thankful.

She comes to the door without being announced, he lets her in.  She sits in her favorite chair, the cats come to her to cuddle, the dog sits beside her.  I pour her a beverage, it is kind of fun to have a drink with my baby, though she is not a heavy drinker, and I have water.  After he goes to bed we tickle each others backs, a multi-generational ritual of affection, that I have not had the pleasure of in months.  After, I tell her come here, and she cuddles me like she did when she was little.  It’s hard huh?  I ask.  She nods her head as she sucks her two fingers.  Harder than you thought, isn’t it?  She nods her head more vigorously.  But, she says, it is so worth it.  I know, I say, and it will get better if you are prepared to work your ass off.  I fall asleep while we are watching reruns of NCIS, she nudges me awake, come on Momma, she says.  Do you want to drive your car home, I ask her, as she gets in the car I have not owned long, but is now hers, minus, for the moment, the title and registration.  Yeah, I do, she says.  I feel butterflies in my stomach, as I realize that I am still being the fearful mom, but she has got the driving thing down.  It is my tension, not her maturity that is the problem in this moment.  Its a good car I tell her.  It is a grown up car she says, I see now the truck wasn’t a grown up car, but this car, is a car for a grown up.

I am so very grateful for this child, though she is now an adult, most of the time, she has brought me so much joy, so much worry, so much love, so much angst.

It is late, but I started to straighten the house as we watched TV together, folding blankets, sorting junk mail from bills, organizing my side table, preparing the dishes to be washed.  I come into the dark quiet house.  I notice how the house looks better day by day, than it did when I moved in. The gorgeous hardwood floors hidden under a horrible cream Berber carpet.  The organized area where the shoes were, the cheap cruddy looking throw rugs gone, the kitchen de-cluttered, and more open, my belongings scattered throughout the house, in spots here, and there.  I wash the dishes, clean the bit of pie off the bottom of the new oven, note the work to be done, the rugs in the kitchen need a wipe down, the wallpaper torn off and a pale blue wall added, the out dated light fixture moved to the middle and replaced with something a bit more modern, simple fixes.  Small steps.

For this house, which I live in, for all intents and purposes, for free, I cannot even tell you how unimaginably thankful I am, for the halved work, for the beautiful space to paint in, sunny, airy, open and the warmth of a wood stove to make it a four season room, for the deer that are in the yard, for the hot tub, for the bird feeders in the lawn, that he loves as much as I, for the herbs and vegetables he has planted, for the sanctuary of my own room, for the slate rock patio, for the sunny front steps, that cured a recent bout of the stomach flu, 36 hours into it (first time I have been viral sick with more than just a cold in literally four years), for his willingness to help me make it the kind of home I want to live in, though it takes a great deal of dragging, for all of this…I am humbled.  So grateful.

And for the love of my family, my friends, my Mom, whose birthday was today, for my students, and the cats, and their conditional love and occasional affection, I am full of gratitude.

And there is that feeling, as I clean up my room, organizing my jewelry, I stop and notice it.  What is that?  I ask.  I notice it, this ordeal, I think, has been divine in its making.  Long did I think it in the dark hours, with all the weird things, the odd coincidences,  divine.  I have hated it, and I was destroyed by it, but it had to be, didn’t it?  Divine?  And as the things happen, as I get further and further away from it, it feels divine.  As I sit, at a desk, waiting for my new vehicle to be prepared, this song comes on, and I stop, I listen to every word of it.  I cannot believe that only a few months before he left me, he played this song for me, sending it to me by phone, from the concert we were watching.  I listen to it, for the first time, with a kind of passive acknowledgment, why would this be playing, here, now, when I realized this morning, that this is perhaps one of the last steps in the letting go of what I had lost.  I am grateful for the gifts of things I wouldn’t have without it.  And there are good things I carried out of it, for sure, but the greatest gift of all, is how much better my life has become with the after.

In the cool night air, I stand, same place I stood as the sun was rising, and I look up to a blanket of stars, and there, staring me in the face is the constellation Orion.  I thought I was free from it here.  But I see, it will never be wholly gone.

It is like the act of cooking, it is the process, the act of being whole and present, and putting your self into each moment.  They say I am a good cook, but it is the love of the act that makes it so.  The wholesome ingredients, the small bits of knowledge, the years of experience, the immense failures taken as lessons, the lack of attention resulting in burned ruins, the pleasure of sharing the meal, and of partaking in a meal alone.

For this life, I am grateful, deeply, profoundly.

Thank you for destroying me, because by that act, you have made me whole.

I loved you, I love you still, and I always will.

I am sorry I was hateful and so terribly angry when you left, see what happened was, that I made the mistake of following you, into the dark.

For the path I made out of this darkness, I am so very grateful.  For this new life, of my creation, I am so very grateful.

The fire here, is set on simmer, and the meal promises to be good.

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.” ~ Rumi

Snail Shell, or “Life Continues – Profoundly, Beautifully”
All things melancholy · Books · Energy work · Magic · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

fire lit

I crack it open, this book that I no longer remember where I first heard of it, perhaps on NPR, perhaps not.  I only know that it exists in the after time, the rift that I realize now will never be healed.  I lost the name of the author, the title of the book, and without either, there is truly no way to find such a thing in the search engines of bookstores.  Like this science fiction book I once read:  Woman on an expedition to another planet, loses her oxygen suit and is saved by aliens who have the ability to adjust her physical body to their allergens, her partner is not so lucky and when she returns to the human world she is forever altered.  I wish I could just remember this other book though that sounded intriguing and then by some accident, it comes to me and I add it to my list, which remains unread for some period of time.  There is a certain joy in opening a library book, the crackle of the cellophane cover, the smell of other people on the pages, their squashed bugs, the smell of their bathwater and their perfume, and the red splash of spaghetti sauce they were eating while they held their book behind their bowl with the non dominant hand.

“The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation.  Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration–how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?”  A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

I am not, as I wander in this valley, sometimes the cut is so deep I find myself cold and huddled in the darkness, there seems no way out.  A friend by in the way of six degrees of separation calls the beginning of this rift his box of shame, but I am stuck in this rift, in this darkness.  And yet somehow the darkness is a relief from having to be bright.  Do I choose the yellow and sunshine and the cheerful way of the  flighted, or do I choose this damp cavern of sorrow?  I say there is this endless quest for meaning but all the philosophy on planet earth can not delve into the darkest depths of this human despair.  I frame it properly, I tell the history, I tell the insanity of my thinking, the magic that I find imbued in the journey, he understands this magic in his pagan mind.  The philosophy, he says, isn’t meant to though, to delve into that despair.  Instead, he says, it addresses those depths of true meaning and then walks away.  I want quit of it, but deep down, I know that it is more meaningful than the veneer of joyfulness than the frame of its all good this frame of perpetual happiness, for I cannot feel true joy without this riverbed carved from the rock of my being, this valley of my soul, gully in some places.  It has been carved with a flood gate of tears.  And like a lady slipper in the forest, the smallest patch of sunlight brings the greatest gift of beauty to me.  And my goddess how gloriously beautiful it can be.

“It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.”  Thomas Moore

I sit on the steps in the sunlight, arms sore from raking, and I tell the constant yammering of my inner voice to be still now.  It fades to the background and I realize without thinking it, that there is something to be said for acknowledging and embracing this darkness.  Yes, I am broken, yes I feel I will never recover from this, yes, I still ache in the darkness, and also in the light.  But this is no shallow pool, it is a crystalline feature of who I am.  I revel now in being lost or of not being, or the transformation of my self, this is who I was once, but that ended so abruptly, and was never reopened, well at least by him, mine is still gaping, I scratch at the scab, it bleeds, the stitches so carefully sewn tear, and it is rent open again. I am lost to this thing which caused my befores and afters.  And as I read I recall that day when I was lost in the Adirondacks, not even my dog by my side.  How I cried, and felt not sorrow for myself, but fear for my daughter alone, and how I carefully walked back until I found the trail sign, on the ground and took the right path instead of the left.   Oh I know lost.

My moral compass led me in the right direction, I have integrity we have already established this.  I know that not everyone can say the same.  I suppose there must be something though that carries them through their journies, something I cannot or maybe will not comprehend.  I ask, is this a sign?  My friend of six degrees says, maybe it is just location, location, location.  And in this case, the location is a thousand miles from home their own heated separtion.  And yet I am home, I just don’t trust that the hearth will warm me, nor that the fire will stay lit.

How can I when I am shivering here, shivering so in the dark and the damp.

I must light my own fire.

I know the answer at least, that I can lit my own fire, and that the damp and darkness matter only in relation to the light and warmth of my own hearth.

In the immortal words of my hero, Tim Gunn, “Carry On”.  “Make It Work”.