Friday, February 17, 2017

Spring's First Kiss

The garden catalogs arrive just as spring decides to give us a good warm embrace this weekend with temps in the 60's.






I'm dreaming of new combinations for the big sun perennial bed....iris, lupines, dahlias.....


This is the biggest of my gardens, running for a good half block along the street.  I think it needs a little dressing up this year with a lovely border. At first I thought I'd put in miniature boxwood; as I did in front of the rose gardens and then expanded all along the front of the house and beyond last year.


But the cost of boxwood and the amount I'd need to string along for half a block got me thinking about lower cost options.  I've got plenty of hosta and some generous friends who will gift me with more. I think all together they will just about cover the length of the garden.


Of course it's easy to dream of gardening in February, before I actually have to dig, divide, plant again and again. February may be my favorite gardening month.  I can look and drool over the catalogs, gardening with my paints rather than my back.


February,


it's the month for dreams!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Be Mine

Pink hearts, flowers, paper doilies, construction paper hearts generously sprinkled with glitter....I'm deep into getting ready for Valentine's Day.

I'm also keeping my New Year's Resolution of celebrating the every day holiday's and seasons. My resolution is to celebrate the kind of days that so easily slip by in the hurly-burly of living. The kind of celebrations and pleasures that are so casual they slip by because I think:




  • There's still time
  • I'll do that tomorrow, or Sunday or next week
  • It'll make a mess, so I'll do it later
  • It'll take too much time now, I will wait until I can savor the moment
  • I don't have _____ (fill in the blank), so I can't do it to perfection now



These casual celebrations usually require something that I don't have on hand like white glue, glitter, sugar sprinkles, food dye, yeast, scraps of fabric and most precious of all--a half day set aside for Joy.


Why I think Joy needs a formal invitation, I don't know.  These small pleasures require me to think ahead, buy the materials, plan the time and tolerate the eye rolling of others, ahem....Prince Charming.


Small pleasures require a little dreaming, a little planning, and a sense of whimsy.

I completely forgot about this resolution of mine, until I bought a pack of mint gum.


Every year I buy a pack of mint gum so that I can stick a piece or two in the grandchildren's Valentine's Day cards, continuing a Valentine's Day tradition from my grandma.


By today's standards, we were very poor when I was growing up.  But we didn't know it because we didn't have any less than our friends or neighbors. Those were the days when a single stick of gum made me happy for a week. I placed the stick of mint gum by my bed and smelled it every night, until the smell started to fade, and then I'd carefully break off a piece and chew it, adding a new small piece when the flavor from the first piece faded.

I suppose my grandchildren, who regularly fly on jet airplanes wonder why I send them just one stick of mint gum. Sometimes I wonder if in their lives of abundance they know the intense pleasure of a single stick of gum?

It's easy in my own life of plenty to lose sight of simple pleasures.


So today after I mailed out the Valentines, I got out the red construction paper, white paper doilies, white glue and scissors to make a Valentine's Day bunting for Prince Charming.



Joy accepted my crayon invitation to come play. Sweet Reader I'm hoping you will be mine for Valentine's Day.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Snow Day

For the last two weeks running we’ve had snow days, those wonderful interruptors of every-day life. Though I have to admit this picture is from a couple of years ago because mostly its rained this year.



Lingering over coffee,
Lingering content as the radio drones on with cancellations.
Trading the prison warden’s orders of routine
for the crystalline novelty of unhurried, un-rushed leisure.



The world drifting off in its first dreamless sleep
A snowy, wintery frozen kind of bliss.


The house its own deserted island, locked in an ice flow in a thick sea of white.

Who can resist the knock of winter’s icy rap against the door?

Out, out to see nature’s mastery.



But we are not the first to worship.
The mouse, cardinal, rabbit—



each left an offering of seed and bark and fruit.

The snow plow rounds the corner.
The diesel rumble clears the path for yesterday’s cares to find our door.

Quick! Pull the wind cord. 


Let Nature frolic

one more blessed snow day.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Listening to the Universe



January is one of the best times I know for listening to the voice of the Universe.


Stepping outside, especially after dark on a frigid, clear night alone with the moon and the stars glinting off snow, I hear the thrum of the Universe.

So much of the day is spent living from the outside in: meetings, commitments, errands--all press.


but here, alone with the bat kohl--the daughter of a voice, I find peace.


Walking in darkness, looking with longing at the warm, soft glow of light spilling out of my neighbors' homes, January reminds me of the essential, the elemental. 


I'm reminded that I'm put here to serve not save, to witness not force. I'm reminded that all that is possible is fated and that my free will is to find the still small voice, the echo of THE voice

in thunder


in the roar of the sea



in the unfolding of a rose



I live, in the heart of January, from the inside out.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Peace

Feeling a bit bruised and weary? This second week of advent with its theme of peace reminds us to seek out the quiet moments, drink them in, cherish the small, ordinary everyday gifts.









Peace


I chanced upon it once


In a glade,



near a brook



Or in a book;
I can't recall.
But this I know:


It was beauty,
Grace,
Mercy,  redemption
All in one sweet
Ephemeral embrace.


Peace Wonder Ones. Enjoy the snow forecast for this weekend!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Searching for the Pole of Inaccessibility

A pole of inaccessibility marks a location that is most challenging to reach owing to its remoteness from geographical features that could provide access. Often it refers to the most distant point from the coastline. The term describes a geographic construct, not an actual physical phenomenon.” --Wikipedia




I long for this season of Advent to be my journey towards a spiritual pole of inaccessibility.

I imagine this pole of inaccessibility to be a frozen wonderland, out of cell range, away from the noise and confusion of the world. A place where silence, a clear conscious empty of troubling thoughts awaits.


I'll leave behind busyness, the shopping lists, lights to string, holiday parties, cookies and decorations. I want the arduous, soul-cleansing journey to the heart of being, to the heart of faith.

Yesterday on the radio as I drove around running errands, steering my creaky ship around icebergs of duty and responsibility, I heard a very smart and accomplished film maker say, “This idea that God is going to take care of you and comfort you and relieve you of your burdens, and relieve you of your sorrows is a wonderful imaginary idea.”



God is as imaginary as this magical pole of inaccessibility. It is imaginary only if your definition of relief of your sorrows and burdens means taking them away; poof-like, with an Abracadabra, and a may-the-Lord-hear-our-prayer and suddenly what troubles us is gone.

Our burdens and sorrows are exactly the places to most directly and easily find God. Difficulties create the opportunity to experience God's mercy. Not because God doesn't offer it unless we first suffer. We're just more likely to be open to mercy when we are burdened.

God's grace is so easy, so every day, so small, so abundantly available that we often miss it, or dismiss it. That smart film makers says, “There is something in the world that does that (provide relief) sometimes its nature, and sometimes it's music and sometimes it's love from people who care about you, sometimes it's just quiet. I don't know what it is.”

That crazy God of ours wears everyday clothes. God wears the faces of those we love (even the faces of those we dislike). God comes disguised as nature, music, quiet, I don't know what.


God comes in the middle of a fight when we remember we love this irascible person arguing with us. God comes in the distractions, the twinkling lights, the smell of cookies baking. God comes in the quiet moment when we catch our breath from carrying a bucket full of duty. God comes in the middle of the hardship to the pole of inaccessibility.



A pole of inaccessibility marks a location that is 
most
 challenging to reach.”

Life is shockingly hard for me. Especially since God gives everyone else a pass. Everybody else floats above the chaos and muck of life while I plod, hip-deep and sometimes stuck fast, in the muck. I've spent a lot of time sulking about the injustice of this system. Sulking has the advantage of keeping you quiet and still. As I sat sulking, friends and family started using words like surgery, divorce, tumors, job loss and they were talking about their life, not mine. Life taught me no one gets a free pass. Life is hard on all of us.


I want to lift Advent out of the muck of responsibilities, committee meetings, errands and cleaning the house. I want Advent to shine like a candle of hope, unsullied and remote.

God has other plans. It is challenging to reach this place of hope. There are mountains of tasks, swamps of despair, swarming clouds of the gnats of responsibilities.


Often the pole of inaccessibility refers to the most

 distant point.”


I long for a bigger faith life than my wishes for the magical, the perfect, the care-free. This distant point that I've set my compass to is a small pole in the daily choppy, icy seas of life. It is so easily missed. What I want is acceptance of a daily routine filled with noise, opposition, anxieties.



I suffer because I want to be alone with silence, with perfection. Instead I'm knocked over by the winds of change, the wave of turmoil. I am prone to see these winds and waves as defeats when they are really training in the art of living. They are the path to the pole of inaccessibility.



Wishing you God speed, sweet pea, on your journey to your own pole of inaccessibility.

Friday, November 18, 2016

From balmy to blustery

Can blizzard be far behind?!

Last year's first snow

Yesterday the high here was 74, almost 30 degrees higher than normal.  Today the North Pole is sending us a wind postcard.  When we woke it was 64 and calm, just a few hours later, the wind is howling.  Forecasters are using words like blizzard.

Sadly, for me, the blizzard, this icy kiss from the North, is missing us.


Prince Charming couldn't be happier about dodging this storm.  But if we're going to have wind and cold, I want snow too.

Ice covered windows

I love big weather.

“For many years I was self-appointed inspector of snow-storms and rain-storms, and did my duty faithfully..."--Henry David Thoreau


Though I have to admit this fall with its 


warm, 


dry days 


has been delightful!


It's good to remember that change is the only constant. It's good to open our arms and hearts to the rush of the north wind, the plunging thermostat. There's no cure for cold or hot.  When I'm irritated by things as they are, I'm the one who must change.

"There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms."--George Eliot


Wishing you peace and love in the life that you are in right at this moment whether hot or cold or just right, dear one.