Musings · Nature · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure · Uncategorized

Silence

treemudra

The pain in my ankle has forced me to forego my morning walk, but there is no reason not to paddle.  It is the first time I have been on this lake since sometime last August, but it is like an old friend, and I find comfort in sharing it with a friend.  Who may or may not be old, but surely is older than i am, in many many ways.

I take too many pictures of her for her liking, but she cannot see the beauty that radiates out of her.  She may not be a twenty anymore, but she is more beautiful in my eyes.  One does not review an excellent aged wine and say, oh i wish it were 20 years younger, one savors it, holds it in their mouth and lets its deeper, richer, flavor sink in.  It is a better wine by far.  And I do not focus on her flaws, or know the things she hates about herself, I know my own far too well, they fill my own mind with endless chatter.

Here though, in this spot, I can see that chatter fall away from her, and a goddess emerges, the look of contentment as she basks in the silence, the sun, the shared friendship of many years.  We are like tiny blue and green Buddhas made of modeling clay in this setting.  When I emerge from here, my body filled with oxygen, and love, I am like a rock cairn, a steadfast sentinel in a crazy world.

We talk of the history of the lake a little, my body unused to paddling, of her previous trip to the lake with another old friend, but more we paddle, look at the loons, inhale the fragrance of the cedar and pine, and appreciate the graveyard of trees. This is all a gift, this silence, and shared solitude.  Is it not what life is all about?  I ask myself this question, does one live to work, or work in order to have moments such as these, where playing to take a picture of a lily leads to a vision of a heron catching fish.  Where we count loons hoping for as many nesting pairs as the lake will take.  Where only the sound of the water dripping from the paddles and the occasional clunk on the side of the canoe, and the breeze as it carries us in waves back to the put in.

This is the silence that I yearn for, that I spent many months without, many years not looking for it, or understanding its place in my soul, or my own need for it,   This love of myself, reflected in what I see in her, is touching, and delicate and fair, where I am none of these on my outsides.  But it reflects a strength that is undeniable.

I continue to learn as each day passes.  Is this not the gift one must step into? mudra

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Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

Living with myself.

Livingroom

By the time I have figured out its resting place, I am dripping with sweat, the humidity is high and it is hard work.  But in the end I stand back and look and it feels good.  I find myself wishing the room was exactly one foot longer and one foot wider.  Nothing to be done though.  It will be cozy when the woodstove is burning.  For now, two days later, I sit with the eastern light streaming in through the filtered needles of a blue spruce, and a spring blooming shrub.  Shubbery.  I laugh in my head, Monty Python and a random pledging function swirling together to form a mote of my personality.  When Sancho, old with cloudy eyes, decidedly hearing impaired, cancerous and in pain, jumped up and looked out the window he turned and kissed me on the cheek.  For now, he sits by the wide open front door laying on the stone tiles, watching the neighbors cat.

I have settled in quickly, but in some moments when I am tired I feel a pang or two of loneliness, then I notice the thin shape of my ankles contrasted to the thickness of my calves, and get on the scale and notice it hasn’t budged, (for the last 20 fricking years) and I think, no, no this body does not yearn for companionship.  This body yearns for peace and serenity.  I sit on my meditation rock in the backyard, my mind thinking of the kind of lover I want, kind, intelligent, well read, doesn’t watch alot of tv, loves animals, nature, the outdoors, is content to sit and talk quietly, to cuddle and as a tiny drop of dew glistens in the morning light, I realize I am all of those things.  I am fine here, just as I am.  I will be my own lover.  Not in the sense of quietly having sex with myself, but of loving my self.

Living with myself.

My coffee is cold, the dogs are snoozing, and the crystal is making rainbows splash across the room, being content is a conscious decision.  It isn’t an easy choice.  We can dwell on all the things about ourselves which do not satisfy others.  We can think of all the things in others that makes us feel small about ourselves.  We can think of all the things about someone else that annoy us, and the things about ourselves which not only annoy others, but sometimes fester and gnaw at us when we are tired and feeling low.  We can bitch and moan, and want others to meet some nagging need within us, but no one will ever live up to that desire.  I used to tell my ex husband that when you break off one relationship, and start a new one, you are just trading one set of problems for another.  Either way, I have to be content with myself first.  And I have spent way too much time trying to make myself content dependent on someone else being content with me.  Or being content based on what other people call happiness, or being trying to be content while not getting my needs met.  It doesn’t work, and I don’t want to trade myself in for someone else or someone else’s problems.

The problem for me has always been me.  I told someone yesterday that I am a bullshit free zone right now.  I asked someone three days ago, why he was always so miserable, and told him to answer me civilly because I had had enough of him being a grouch all the time.  Later he apologized when he did it again, and I called him on it.  I won’t stand for it.  I deserve to be treated with respect, pure and simple.

But it all started with respect for myself.   And the strength to leave a relationship that was abusive, financially it was a great situation for me, but he was mean, and not loving, or tender, or thoughtful, and the 60 inch tv was a constant assault on my senses and my sensibility.  And as I look around my tidy, organized and clean home, I think no one will EVER call me lazy again.   No one will ever call me a slob again, no one will ever tell me I shouldn’t get a new dog because I am never home (I work 7.5 hours a day 185 days a year, really?  never home?)  and call me irresponsible at the age of 46 or 86 ever again.  Because I won’t stand for it.

This is my choice, to continue on this journey alone.  Because so far, trying to get someone else to love me JUST LIKE THIS, is too damn hard.

Loving myself.

Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

Serenity

Each day is a day of discovery, how it feels to make cookies, to get flour on the counter, to eat them silently, enjoying the butterscotch flavor of the butter and brown sugar with the rich darkness of the chocolate chips.  Looking at myself in the mirror, and accepting the cold sore that has been attempting to grow there for about two months.  I give up and do not take my usual L-Lysine.  I note the way the dog lies by the door looking out at the neighborhood, and when it becomes dark he jumps up on the chair beside me, Marley makes room for him, gracious and kind, and the cat jumps up and we are three huddled on a chair and an ottoman.  I brush him, gentle, mindful of being bitten just a few days ago, he hurts, and I am just trying to make him comfortable; as if he knows, he seems more kind and more gentle with me, coming to me quiet and laying his head on my knee.  I know buddy, panting though it isn’t hot, I know you are hurting.

And when I take down the leash he comes to me, he wants badly to go, and he plugs away trudging slowly but steadily beside me, stopping now where he never would have before to drink from the rocky stream.  Marley races down the paths, and then romps in the water with a gentle push, and then almost pulls me in as she leaps to the embankment on the other side.

Taking note of the sleep, finally, which enters my life through prescribed drugs.  I feel human, I feel alive.  I feel serene.  Do I not now look at my life for more than a half dozen years and ask, was all of it worth it?  I sigh with pleasure as I settle into a chair on the screened porch.  The dogs watch birds and squirrels and the cat waits for her boyfriend to visit.

I go out into the yard and there is a patch of sun on a large raised and flat rock and I sink down onto it, soaking in its warmth after the cold of yesterday, my knees settle and my hands and without thought or effort I am meditating.  My thoughts race, and twist and bend but I am so at peace.

Even my dreams of long lost love have changed, I tell him in my dream, this isn’t real, you are not actually here, you wouldn’t ever be here, I wouldn’t let you.  None of this is real, he chastises me and thinks I am crazy.  I am not.  I wake from the dream, I have found a path out of the nightmares.

I spend the day shopping at the market, doing housework, yard work, mowing and weeding, and shoveling, I make strawberries into jam and bananas into bread, I wash and cut and package fruit and vegetables for healthy snacks, and by noon I have done it all.  I am not lazy, don’t you ever fucking call me lazy again.
Old friends visit, and see the ease of my manner, they comment on it.  I had crossed a threshold of tightly wound to the point of being off balance, but a change of scenery makes all the difference, I feel at ease.  Was all this trouble for this?

The dogs beg to go out, ringing the bells on the front door, they want a walk.  I name the new paths, this one is Jumping Pit Bull Lane, this one is Stair to NoWhere, this one is Huck’s Island Path,  this one is Creek Path.  And what might I name myself?

I paint my toenails in the dusk, and marvel at how beautiful I feel.

Musings · Strong Woman · Treasure · Uncategorized

Finding my true home

IMG_3832

The unpacking is barely done, or maybe not quite done, and I am on my way to a reunion of an odd assortment of people, some I barely know, some I once knew, some I do not know, all a group who have a common experience or experiences.  Last time I struggled with my life long issue of never quite fitting in, this time it was lessened by two additional years of interaction, and a much closer friend in attendance.  And perhaps, after all this time, therapy has helped, but the best help of all was a little tidbit from A. that there is a large number of socially awkward people in this world.

It took 12 hours to feel at home in my new home, 12 hours before I said, this is home, this is comfortable, I could get used to being here.  And the comfort of being in my own place, and horror of horrors, being attached to the things in my life that have been missing for two years, gems and treasures of my Littlest Angel rough hewn box of godly gifts.

I don’t dance, I used to, until someone told me I dance like Elaine on Seinfeld, like I am having a seizure.  I don’t do this, I don’t do that, I used to do them, before I was told how fat, ugly, stupid, unattractive, unworthy of time, unworthy of attention I am.  I question myself, is my humor too much, when I hear a voice telling me I am unladylike, or that I should not speak this way, I am an embarrassment.

I sit in the early morning, talking with a bozo.  Pain is just weakness leaving the body, you must have a lot of weakness I say.  He hobbles to a chair and sits.  I tell him I am done, with this thing called romantic relationship.  He tells me do not be done, I say I am tired of being told I am not good enough, that I am fat, ugly and stupid.  You are none of these he says.  We pass wisdom between us, in the end I say, I am not saying I would not welcome romance, but I am not looking for it.

As I make my mashed potatoes and caramelized onions with last nights left over sausage, I think of how comfortable I feel in my place, and how I never want to lose this comfort again.

I think of the smallest of favors asked, and the refusal, and the hemming and hawing, contrasted with a kiss just yesterday morning.  And the texts that follows calling out my son in law for not doing it for me.  My calm response, he did enough for me yesterday as he carried in several heavy boxes, a table, and carried out over a hundred pounds of metal to be scrapped, I am tired of people speaking ill of this young man, who is maturing bit by bit, he isn’t perfect, but he treats my daughter better than the last two of my relationships treated me.  He at least came over when I asked and did what I asked without criticizing someone else for not doing it.  Forget it I say, I don’t need your help after all.

I watch as the dry husk of a spider floats on a gossamer thread in the breeze, shimmering until it is lost, and I am still here standing in the sun as the water sings the melody of the crone in my ear.

I am good here.  And you?  you both were or are wrong.  because, I am good here and the fault lies not with me, but with the vile ugliness of your own reflection.

Do not tell me I am not good enough.  For I am.

 

All things melancholy · Birds · Musings · Nature · Treasure

River of Life

“…my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.” ~Pablo Neruda

neophyte

This is so hard, this rich, rocky, roaring, beautiful, deep river of life.

My thoughts as I am in my bed, the sound of the stream below singing to me, as it always does.  A hard evening, but not too hard, just hard emotionally.  Hard but sometimes the right things, the good things, are hard.

I curse God sometimes, you know, for all this hurt heaped on me, she tells me as we drive into town, you have not had it easy.  No, I have not.   How many times have I gone over it, again and again, this sordid story of my daughter’s father.  With him, until my throat hurts, with myself until my brain hurts, with my child as my soul aches, with my mother as my heart breaks, after the death of my father, after the leaving of my husband.  I wanted to fix it, I wanted it fixed, but some things, somethings are not fixable. And in a branch of the same twisting fault line, I have gone over it again and again, all the bending over backwards I did to make my marriage work, and all for nothing.

So as I go over this fitful in my sleep, and on my morning constitutional, as I go over it, I realize that in this regard my prayers have been answered, not in the way I asked for it, but in a way that works.  I see her grandmother now, in the intense way of this woman in the deep way she cares.  I see in him, her uncle, a snapshot of her father,  as he should be, as he could have been, without all the mind altering substances, and mental acrobatics.  His manners, his interests, his deep thoughtfulness, his intelligence.  We share much, we, this odd grouping, of the son, who is his son through action, and her, and him and me.  With this wreckage between us, and this shining light above us, around us.  We who would not know one another were it not for this, this one thing.  A writer, an artist nay, painter, teachers, readers, music lovers, fishermen, hikers, gardeners, homesteaders, Zen dabblers, mountains, rocks, nature lovers.  Yes this we have in common, but that, that too.

I am self conscious, and in it I am awkward, I feel always the left over burning scar of blame.  I could not do it differently, but I know that the blame is raw on my flesh.  On my heart.  And when I try to put it into words, they seem inadequate, as awkward as my hands without a cigarette (for years) or my hands without a coffee mug in the mornings, as awkward as my hands without a cell phone in the wilderness, a livable awkwardness.  This self consciousness a constant swinging weight on my life.  (How I wish I could cut it and walk away).

I tell her, or try to, and she answers me with love, love of me, love for my child.

But this is what is sent in his place, family that is there for my child, family that embraces and welcomes me, family that finds her a joy to be around, on her terms, when she is ready for it, and family that for what it is worth, is why I loved her father, once, why I thought our child deserved more, more than drunken rages, abuse, anger, the cold shoulder, drugs, joblessness, homelessness, poverty, and deep seated depression and despair.

I think too, on my failed marriage, that feeling I had that it wasn’t me so much and at the same time that it was all me, all my fault.  I mean I know I am not perfect, but when you are with people who are not well, you too become unwell.  I cannot express this well, and have to think on it more, but one way I illustrate it in my crazy mind, is to say, I was never a jealous woman until I was married, I am not a jealous woman now, though I have seen my Pirate only a few days all summer.  I left my daughter’s father when I was pregnant, it was not about the leaving, it was about the unhealthiness, I think.  I was always jealous and possessive of the ex.  And I see that the stalker has her own issues with distrust, since she liked being up my ass so much.  It isn’t me, it isn’t her, it is inherent reason for mistrust.  There is an unhealthiness there, only it is more subtle, and well hidden, with lots of subterfuge.  How did I miss it though, and why did I believe, when all the signs were like billboards screaming at me to see.

And I think, as I walk, of this other thing I ask for, for closure, for understanding, not just of the why, but of my own inability to heal from it.  I have healed from the other wounds, I have become stronger, wiser, more compassionate, and have begun the return journey to the Earth, but I have not healed from that.  But there is no answer, perhaps I will have to wait another 16 years to have it.  I yearn for it, though, yearn for an answer, yearn for understanding, yearn for the scar to fade from this festering thing, deep inside of me.  Will it ever leave my mind?

I once told him, as he was leaving that he was the worst thing that ever happened to me, after he told me, from his new apartment, and with his new woman in his heart, that I was (somehow) the best thing that had ever happened to him, and I cannot rectify this dichotomy.  Because he is, even worse than being abandoned for a sheet of LSD by my daughter’s father, for a bales of marijuana, for broken inanimate objects, the sting of a smacking hand and a seething rage.  It is worse than putting myself through college and being broke for years and years, and worse than being bullied in school, and of never quite fitting in, it is worse than all the sleepless nights of my life, worse than anything I can think of, and there is still no closure, the wound still gapes and pulses, and aches.  I want it to fall away with the sweep of my mental knife, like that self consciousness.

She tells me in an email that I am funny, thoughtful, smart, sensitive, interesting, amazing, tremendously wise, and loved.

He once called me charming, and lovely.

And as I share my fears and thoughts on some of this with A. (weeks before) she tears up, and tells me she cannot imagine their lives without me.

But I do not understand any of this.

If I were all of these things, I would have closure.  If I were all of these things, I would be healed.  If I were something, really something, it wouldn’t be this hard.

Would it?

This is my soul laid bare.  Do not chastise me for it.  Nor should others, these men, these situations, be torn apart…

I struggle so with these questions and seek for truth.

On my way home, in the setting sun and long mountain shadows, I see a great blue heron standing on a giant boulder, in the middle of this deep and cutting river that gouged out part of the road and is still under repair from hurricane Irene.

This wreckage, this beautiful river, with the sun sparkling on it, with its deeply shadowed pools, with its towering mountain walls and its rocky bed, and rushing gorges.  This wreckage, this river is so hard.

jellyfish

 

Fungus · Garden · Herbal Medicine · Nature · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

Glamping at Home on Wintergreen Hill

I am working diligently on studying and learning more about herbalism, using a correspondence course binder full of lessons, that A. has allowed me to peruse.  Each day I look at two or three more writing each down in my journal and drawing pictures to go with it.  It is cooler today and windy, so there are no bugs on the porch, and I sit in quiet contemplation for a couple of hours, reading, meditating, watching the wind blowing the birch and pine.  I am at first annoyed by a loud buzzing sound which I take to be ATV’s in the woods, but soon discover instead a ruby throated hummingbird, and later a grey throated female, which he promptly chases off, he visits the lavender Hosta flowers several times as I sit in the cloud filtered sunlight.  On a quest for golden seal, I have to ask her daughter to show me the fairy garden, where Lady’s Slipper and the herb I am looking for grow, though not with a great deal of lushness.  The last several dry days perhaps have not been good to these shade loving wooded plants.  I tell her, since we are out here, take me up to the glamping sight.  Glamping being glamorous camping, as if there is such a thing.

On the way up I spot this toadstool.

toadstool

And then the tent in the woods, looks ordinary on its raised platform, but it is not until I open the tent that I am visibly impressed.  Heavenly.

glampingtent glamping

 

As her daughter is using the battery operated air pump to make the bed harder, for a future stay, which I am now keen for, I explore the patchy sunlight around the sight, where I discover this plant.

 

Oh!

I remember a walk up the mountain behind my grandparents’ house, my grandfather leading the hunt, my brother and I behind him, and my father behind us.  He bent down and handed us a stick which was mildly flavored of what to me was Lifesavers candy, but to him, was this wild plant.  I pluck a leaf and crush it in my fingers, yes, the fine mild scent of wintergreen.

wild wintergreen

My friend is excited at this find, another medicinal plant right at her finger tips.

Artists · Energy work · Great Quotes · Herbal Medicine · Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

Inside My World

 

 

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” ~JOSEPH CAMPBELL

island duckies beach3 beach2 beach

My inner world, this place inside me that is sometimes filled with self loathing and angst, finds peace, finds a serene place to rest in which the warm winds blow and the sun is warm, and the moon rises over quiet small lakes, and streams flow over broken rock, dragon flies dive float at eye level, inspecting me and finding me worthy.  These moments of quiet, these days of learning, this life of self discovery, I am held aloft by the arms of angels, how lovely I am here, in this place where no one else’s love, or absence seems to matter.

We walk each morning up the climbing hill, and down again.  He panting old and reluctant behind me, but never really leaving my side, loyal friend, best friend, I could never leave you, you with your salt flavored fur, you with your joyful smile upon my return, you with your charming hugs upon my knee, I could never leave you, just as you would never leave me for long, not for long.  The other dogs thunder up to me, the scouting dog cutting in front of me and him repeatedly, you dogs whose DNA is so similar to his.  The other, shyly approaches, shy affection, and I can see, a degree of loyalty, which I will have to work hard to continue to earn, when I rise you are the most excited as you leap in the air and spin in circles.  And she, the scout, chasing turkeys cutting back around to me, but on the way home, my own stands by me, she goes ahead, and he  peeks around curves to make sure I am there, before journeying forward.

And this is all a salve, an ointment, made of air, and abiding friendship, of laughter, of years of loyalty, of going away, but coming back because we must, because the love is too strong to leave behind.  It smells of rosemary, for truth, of rose geranium for mental clarity, of citrus lemon, or grapefruit for refreshing quality, and juniper berry for some unnamed spiritual purpose, something akin to being deeply ones self in this increasingly homogeneous culture, a salve to sooth all the broken places, to replace all the empty places or perhaps to make the emptiness bearable.

A moment of quiet here, with its rustic gardens, its mountainous vista, its island of cool, its balm of loving loyalty, friendship, acceptance, its quietude of spirit and centrality of purpose.

I am not an artist in residence so much as a spirit in flight.

Gift.

Gift.

Gift.

Endless gift.