Of Caterpillars and Hope…

Tiny Teddy-bear Caterpillar

Our first “teddy-bear caterpillar” sighting of the year. He was crossing our gravel road when my sister and I stopped to pet him, and he curled up into himself — protecting his softness from the harsh unknowns of the world. He was gently carried to a place of green far off the road, and we continued our evening walk.

Today, I found myself envying this tiny one’s ability to freeze and bring himself a sense of safety — in his little world everything stopped — there was time to just be still. I, too, feel like curling up for a period of rest — I find myself unable to think, unable to function well, unable to ponder this journey. I am tired…

It’s a night to yearn for peace rather than marvel at it… My eyes burn with the build up of fatigue and emotion from this past summer. A couple days ago we had to evacuate since the state park I grew up hiking to from home became the site of a wildfire… Thankfully the winds pushed it the opposite direction from my childhood home, and we had firefighters from districts all over the state as well as civilian volunteers from the area, come to conquer the flames. They won. We survived our evacuation adventure – five of us at my other sister’s place, with five cats (and two fish!) – no one really slept. It was so wonderful to return home safely — and we’re all so grateful! Not everyone was able to return to their home safe and sound…

Tonight I am weighing the balance of my losses this summer alongside all the ways Light shines in my world — all the Goodness that simply is… Life is hard… but it is good. There is Hope. Tonight I will sleep — and tomorrow I will hope again.

Veni, Vidi, Amavi.

It’s all Grace.


Sunsets and Birdsong Dawns…

Clackamas River Sunset

Life has thrown another curve… It does that.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll find after I turn the corner, but for now I’m walking slowly along the path in no real hurry to get around the bend. I have spent this last week or so in my childhood home while working on my Finals for this term — this curve in life forced me to fall way behind in my classwork and I needed some help with the boys so I could get everything caught up and finished before the term ended. Somehow I’ve managed to catch up with everything despite all my current life drama…

While here my “baby” sister and I have had the opportunity to go for evening walks together — the boys have grandparents to help if someone takes a fall — I can be away for an extended period of time without worrying. This means that there has been a period of unexpected Rest in the midst of this chaos. Being with family – it’s easier to get up in the morning, easier to remember to eat, easier to sleep… I’m not spending my nights right now dreading the waking of another day…

Out walking with my sister in the evenings gives me the chance to just breathe, and hiking along the river in all its familiarity, it’s easy to remember who I am. The beauty that shaped me is still here — sunset skies above the river and birdsong filling the dawn. The air here at my childhood home by the river I know so well – it still smells like the late summers of my girlhood — like sun-warmed berries and dry grass, heavy with the weight of the heat and the scent of the river… Summer’s end hangs in the air as the days shorten and we all feel the coming autumn looming despite the present heatwave. I miss the sea – the sound of her breathing tides and her scent in the air – but I am so grateful to be here right now…

Life is hard — I hope you all can find Beauty when you’re travelling your own rocky path… Remember we’re all on this journey together – stay soft with each other…

  • #rememberingme
  • #childhoodforests
  • #viewfromthewaterfall
  • #clackamasriver
  • #sunsetsandbirdsongdawns

Sea-Songs and Silence…

John O’Donahue’s To Bless the Space Between Us – “Before Sleep”

John O’Donahue… “As I lay down to sleep…”

It’s been a long day – most of it spent writing a Shakespeare paper and cleaning the house a bit. I’ll admit one of those things was given more of my attention than the other… (Don’t look too closely at the state of the house!)  :)
I am ready to let my eyes be “freed from the weight of light” soon. They are heavy and weary – tomorrow will be too soon to open them, I can already tell. But they will open to a brand new Sunday, and I will be off to play for Mass — to hear a room full of voices raised in song together… Not trained voices meant to impress, but voices raised for the joy of it — everyday people with everyday struggles… together to sing and pray and share Eucharist together. Eucharisteo – the Thanksgiving. So much to be grateful for…

The sea is waiting to greet me when I get to St. Mary’s tomorrow. I can hear her from my bed tonight — the low rumbling in and out of her tides — breathing, dancing with the shore to the rhythm of the moon.  She will continue her gentle song while I lie in bed tonight – surrounded by my current books, a cat on guard on either side. I will hear her constant presence behind my prayers as my mind wanders the shadows of night… when the way within becomes too loud, I will stop and silence the inner noise with the sound of her presence in the world beyond myself. She brings me back to solid ground when my mind trips into the chaos of worry — those three o’clock in the morning thoughts which are more asleep than awake. It’s hard to quiet my mind when it is tired… But the sound of the sea easily drowns the thoughts that visit without permission. She fills my prayers with her song…

So grateful for the sea-song and my little home here.

#seasongs
#nightsongs
#prayersandpresence

Midday Musings

I walked to the beach and back during my lunch break with my hubby today. It smelled like the hikes I took daily as a teenager – water and earth, sunshine, damp bracken and gravel, and then… a different scent – The Sea. She is the only difference from my youth spent much further inland in the woods east of the Willamette Valley, and she is a constant presence now — scent and sound even when out of sight. Sometimes there’s just the low constant hum of the waves rumbling below the surface of conscious notice, and sometimes she roars with wind and intensity — a ferocity bound by the shore even when she seems to be bent on reaching further… The Pacific has an ironic name – she is not a tame companion, even if a constant one.

Today she gave the impression of playfulness amid the sea foam and sunshine. I wanted to stay and play – we were the only ones there in the middle of the day — stealing unseen kisses and pretending the world is as it should be… But of course, it was a lunch break — time was limited and I am not free to ignore reality, or create my own… Today has been another difficult day for so many — Covid is not as tame as people would like to believe… Perhaps Omicron is not as fierce as Delta, but neither is Alpha, and without a vaccine every variant is dangerous and unpredictable as the sea…

This weekend I will have three days off — there is sunshine in the forecast and I hope to spend some time in it. There will be schoolwork and housework… There are books to read, and I have a new sweater to begin knitting (yay!) — the time will fly — but it will be enough to remind me that life is good. The tides are constant and faithful, even if not safe, and Time’s rhythm of life is the same… Change is constant.

Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.” St. Teresa of Avila (found on her bookmark)

Reasons to Smile…

Jasper and Dante

These two make me smile…

There aren’t enough reasons to smile right now. I will admit this weekend has gone by too quickly – I still don’t feel recovered from last week… Phone calls with people in tears… their loved ones in separate hospitals across the metro area because we never know what hospital will have room when they leave in the ambulance – hospitals contact loved ones at home later to let them know where their family members are… it’s a family’s worst nightmare. They watch their loved ones be driven away with plummetting oxygen levels, scared, and alone amid the EMTs and medical equipment. They are isolated at home to try to limit the spread.

We do what we can… But it doesn’t feel like enough.

At Mass this morning, sitting at the piano as the pews filled — you could feel the heavy hearts we all carried. Every face masked in solidarity and compassion for all those around us… This world needs more of the love those faces surrounding me showed. We are all doing what we can…

I will wake up and begin the week all over again tomorrow. So tonight I am sitting in the quiet pretending these moments before bed won’t end. I am escaping with stories and knitting… listening to the sound of the sea through the open window… sipping decaf coffee curled up with a snuggly blanket and admiring the peaceful sleep of these cats who help make this house a home.

In the darkness of this world, I am so grateful for the light of Home…

Gratitude and Graces…

  • Cats with nine lives – still making me smile (and the vets who saved them)…
  • Waves crashing in rhythm and roar…
  • The Professor and The Philosopher laughing together like when they were young boys…
  • My Mister and I fixing the washing machine (yay for YouTube!)…
  • Sea air on a summer night – windows open wide…
  • Early morning drives to Mass…
  • Silent prayers on Sunday mornings…
  • Sourdough bread and baked chicken…
  • Library books and warm coffee mugs…

It’s all Grace.

#coastalcats
#homeiswherethelightis
#publichealthnurse
#heavyhearts
#maskinginlove
#reasonstosmile