Thursday, October 31, 2013
My efforts to ground myself spiritually and to know God deeply will eventually help me move passed this self absorbed veil. There ought not to be any apologies or excuses necessary for my extra pounds, wrinkles or age spots . I am what I am. True beauty is from within. And with the help of God and those who love me I will continue to better understand just what thwarts my progress toward living fully.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Perhaps my affinity for brick, aged buildings comes from after church Sunday visits to Auntie and Gene's in Portland. There was always lots of food. Not the meat and potatoes that graced my table at home, but fresh produce from the farmer's market and pickled vegetables. I developed my sense of culinary adventure behind that brick facade. Often we would bake short cakes to go with fresh strawberries or blueberries. I would walk down to the tiny store around the corner with my big sister to get a carton of cream that would be whipped into sweet peaks of delight. Auntie's was the first place I had a taste of loose tea, mostly milk and spoonfuls of sugar. Family stories, secrets between adults in French and food. Auntie's was a place of constancy and love.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
It sounded like a shot. My eyes quickly scanned the expanse of glass before me. I saw nothing, yet I knew it was only a matter of change time and a change in temperature to discover the damage. Thirty minutes later, there were two small hairline cracks.
I remember that many things happen that are out of our control. Acceptance is the lesson here. It was just one of those unfortunate series of events. It isn't even winter yet, when the sand trucks leave boulder sized sand grains on the road. Perhaps this does not bode well for my Sue-Baru and her new owner-me!
Sunday, October 27, 2013
I have a friend that takes self-portraits almost daily. I stare her image. How does she do that? I couldn't. I thought. She holds all that she has become until that moment in the image. All the joys, the lessons and the pain. I realize for the most part, I remain absent from photographs. Although said to be photogenic, I do not like to like to have my photo taken. Hyper-critical, whenever I am forced to be in front of a lens I hide behind the torso of another and peek. Just little bits of me show.
What would happen if I began the practice of a self portrait a day? Would I come to discover the light within and learn to accept myself as I am? Does how I look really have much to do with all the "inside" work? I could learn to love.
One day my daughters may discover the series of self-portraits and hold them tightly and view them as gifts to be treasured.
Every clock displays a different time. On days when there is no work, no appointments does it matter? Responsibilities with time constraints ruin this plan for me. I am conditioned to wake up just before the alarm no matter the day, eat on schedule despite my lack of hunger and go to bed before a certain hour.
Does not the old time farmer adjust his or her internal clock to the cycle of nature? Generally, I find that during this time of year I long for the comfort of soups, stews and good long books while wrapped under the weight of blankets. Generally, adjust to the natural seasonal cycles quite easily. It is during the minute to minute attempts to empty my mind and connect with the Spirit when my mind wildly winds around the constraints of time and doing. "The mop. The floor Wish I could find that book. Where is it? Supper. I've gotta use up carrots? Chickens. Bring the scraps. Moldy bread. Over fridge. When was the last time we...." Rather than the present, I think about the tasks of the future. It is all about time and my tendency to multi-task. Touted as a super human feat among woman everywhere, multitasking is the demise to my mindfulness. Out of necessity, I have been doing it for decades now. I must retrain myself. To be. Quiet, hushed connections. With this my spirit will grow in beauty and show up in the most unlikely places, just like those ferns.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Always running on the edge of time each morning, I glanced at the clock in the car. "'Enough time for a photo?" I wondered. Today, I slowed the car to a halt yanked on the emergency break, quickly pulled the cell out of my pocket and captured the sunrise photo that had momentarily caught my breath. A short distance down the road passing Northeast creek, I contemplated another stop. Engaging with the natural world as I careened along asphalt roads and cars comprised mostly of plastic, makes for a series of difficult decisions during my fifteen minute commute particularly in the morning when I am bound by the clock. Does time contribute to the order of the world?
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
My pregnancy was unremarkably remarkable. It was in the warmth of a late spring day that I began feeling a tightness. I was in labor- a slow labor. My husband and I arrived early, my in-laws going about their morning routine. They lived nearest the hospital. My father-in-law had been working for hours already hauling wealthy and common folk's trash to the dump. He had come home to take care of some billing and was sitting in his plaid rust colored chair, peering over his spectacles as we trudged through the door. My mother-in-law, drying her hands on a dishtowel cleared the couch and fluffed up some pillows.
The T.V. was forever droning in the background-white noise for living that did not seem to require attention. That day I was in labor and I felt I needed attention! Raquel Welch as a cave woman did not amuse me. "Turn that thing off, " I insisted, "I'm having a baby now. Here!"
Normally argumentative in a traditional controlled way, my father-in-law turned off the T.V. and all was quiet for the longest time.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
For nearly thirty-two years I have mothered. When life is care-free it is easy to remain filled with love, hope and great joy. It is during those times when you fear that you will fall to your knees collapsing under the weight of stress, anxiety, frustration and anger that living in the shadow of the most perfect mother becomes challenging.
It is not fair to compare myself with my mother really. We live in a different time. Parenting feels a bit more challenging than when I was a kid. I rode my bike everywhere, the phone was connected to the wall and I could not go far in having a private conversation. Life today seems more complex and tenuous. Is that only because I am an adult and a responsible one? Mothering is a complex job. Certainly not for the faint of heart.
After my work is done on this earth, it is my fervent hope that my children will look after one another. It is in the act of mothering that our children begin to make connections for how they can move about the world nurturing in big ways.
Monday, October 21, 2013
My great grandfather, his brother, his son and his grandson (my uncle) were all lobstermen. With a house for three generations at the mouth of the Saco River where the ocean and muddy waters met, my ancestors woke in darkness and spent their day surrounded by shades of blue and green hauling lobsters into big crates to bring to market.
Bobbing in the water, I shaded my eyes against the glare of the sun as it danced off the surface, I swear I could see my grandfather the lobster boat's engine softly purring, muscles tightening from the strain of the lifting the trap, his face thickly lined from the weather. If only it were true.
(I spent most of my childhood on the beach at Camp Ellis where my family's homestead stood. I met my grandfather when I was a newborn. He died the day I was to come home from the hospital. Growing up with stories of Grampy helped me to develop love for a man I never knew.)
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Cars gliding back and forth
Like performers in an orchestrated dance recital.
Mounds of yellow and rust,
Fall trees bend forward.
Colored leaves applaud
Friday, October 18, 2013
The crashing waves lull me to sleep,
But by day
They infuse a rhythm,
On this little spit of land,
Hands weathered by the harsh winds
Pulling the day's catch.
Like strong coffee,
And filled with gratitude.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Perhaps I have only seen three praying mantis in my life because of their incredible nature to act like the stems of a leaf and blend or because of the uncanny ability of children to be observers. Throughout my adulthood, I have been graced with the privilege to be with children and learn great lessons through their display of wonderment and excitement. If we are quiet, patient and observant, we can view the world through the eyes of a child.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
When I was five years old, it didn't take but a gold star stuck between my eyes to alert the whole neighborhood that my day in school was worthy of rejoicing. It still takes so little to motivate me even in my mature years.
Herein lies the problem. Like every other mother from here to Kalamazoo, I busy myself taking care of others. Now, I know how to do that!
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Oh gosh, I think to myself as I'm gripping the wheel at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock on my drive into school. I've got to write that Thank-You note. Wait. Did I write that note and give it him already? Or... did I just think about it? Nah, I wrote it and gave it to him. I think. Wait. What would the parents think if they received two thank-you's? They'd understand. They're busy people. No, I can't let anyone know. Sometimes, I think...it's hard. I'm losing my memory. I worry about early onset, you know. I used to be able to remember everything. Things are just a little fuzzy.
Monday, October 14, 2013
The gardens are preparing for sleep. We ate breakfast on the porch watching the leaves of the nearest tree tumble to the ground. Gold finches visit the sunflowers heavy with seed.
We push through another season. Time a blur akin to racing for the next connection, rushing on the airline's mechanical walk-way. Everything a blur in our frantic pace.
Slowed down the joy of contentment and gratitude seep into every atom. Each moment deserves attention.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
Through the kindness of a dear friend, I am on holy ground where all souls are seeking the truth for themselves. I have spent so many, many days here in transformation along with my family. Alone, this is my journey-one that I must work and sort out by myself. Presently, I feel empty. Dead. Perhaps I need to feel the emptiness to appreciate the full bounties of God's love for me, while discovering my spiritual potentiality.
Where do I begin? How do I find my way? I pray that I do.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Only as an adult do I now realize how important those traditions and annual family outings are to children. Those are the memories that after all these years make me smile and wish I could recall all the fine details. Auntie was a spontaneous free spirit who engineered a good number of my childhood memories, including dreams about her fried chicken. Most importantly she loved life. I just hope a little of her rubbed off on me.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
One day, I do remember playing football with the neighborhood boys. We hadn't begun to play yet, when two brothers started hurling insults about my weight. I think I was about eight years old, in that chubby state that I never seemed to grow out of for long. They always seemed to be picking on me and reminded me how inferior I was to them, since I was a girl and a fat one at that. My backyard afforded just a big enough flat surface at the bottom of a slight slope of grass to play football. I remember the heckling and frustration I felt as a result. Normally, we played touch football, but we had collectively decided that we would allow tackling. Determined and fearless, I had a plan to tackle hard. The youngest brother who really was a bit of a wimpish bully was carrying the ball. My focus was to wrap my arms around his legs and trip him up. That will send him and his brother a message to not mess with me, I thought. The next thing I knew we both hit the ground with a thud, my nose taking the brunt of the impact. In like motion and timing, we quickly got to our feet, leaning forward while cupping our hands to catch the stream of red. He ran home wailing. I quietly stepped inside my house as I glanced out the window both teams had quickly dispersed and the back yard was empty.
Telling my father about the tackle, he applied a dry compress under my upper lip to stop the bleeding. I was prone on the couch my head propped up by pillows. My father was patiently explaining what he was doing and why. I was mesmerized.
"This is how they do it in the locker room," he shared, his voice seemed to be filled with pride. That day, I felt a special connection with my father. During those hours, he cared for me we never spoke of fear because we had it all under control. We were both fearless.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
It is dark when the alarm goes off. My girls still asleep, will only rouse when the first light pierces the night sky. I am curled on my side, just resting and waiting for daybreak. Every morning is the same. The gentle cooing of the birds is often the first thing I hear in the morning as I shuffle my way to the coop. Once I open the door, a spring of wings and feathers is released and they flood toward me. Some begin pecking at my broken boot strap that hangs loosely. Some mornings, I talk. Some mornings I move through the mental list of chores for my hens in a silent monk-like state. Mostly, I move slowly and deliberately so I don't step on a bird. They depend upon my care.
By the time I return into the house, Rex my dog has ambled out of bed and is ready to give kisses, to go out and to be fed. Before I rush off to work, my large lap dog will sprawl across my lap, while one cat curls on available lap space while the other sprawls against my shoulder like a fox stole. My morning has been punctuated by crowds of creatures with the only alone time recorded to be while showering. Yet, I am in a state of peaceful acceptance for who I am at this moment. Time might as well stop.