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.


Twilight and Evening Song…

Twilit sky and evening cricket chorus…

Darkness is falling earlier and earlier in my corner of the globe.

My sister and I are now consistently sharing our evening walks with the songs of the crickets and the erratic flight of bats. Tonight, the evening breeze was gentle…. playing with our clothes and brushing our cheeks — it still carries the scent of summer’s-end blended with the river — even as it’s now bearing the first falling leaves, brown and crisp… Autumn is arriving soon, and already the trees are preparing to prepare for the coming winter. 

There is something healing in these evening walks — and yet, they are just natural occurrences — just two “bookend” sisters , the oldest and the youngest 13-years apart — walking a road they’ve know their entire lives. We visit a neighbor’s goats — feeding them if we have anything to share, even if that means laughing like schoolgirls as we try to reach apples on a nearby tree, or picking the giant blackberries in the bushes along the road. I am in my 40s but might as well be in my early teens on these evenings. :) The goats think we are there just to bring them treats, and object loudly if we happen to pass by with empty arms…
We point out rabbits and  instinctively duck if the bats swoop too close…The chorus of crickets waxes and wanes as we walk along, passing one group and moving on to the next — the river a constant presence just behind their tall-grass homes under the stand of old trees that border its cliffside-banks. The air is heavy with the fragrance of home…

My childhood and youth are everywhere here. After what seems like decades of chaos — my soul feels like it is standing on solid ground… I remember myself — my voice, my heart — pieces of me that only made their presence known when working in hospice, or stolen moments with written words in this little corner. Words here can bring ridicule from others, but they carry my voice in all its fullness… they are a window into who I am and where I’ve been. Perhaps they will weave for me their own healing spell to remind me of my soul-self after all this…

And perhaps these evening twilit walks are my peace-potion.


#twiliteveningsongwalks
#comingautumn
#peacewalk

Breathe…

St. Mary’s after Mass and my front porch this evening

The tide was out this morning after Mass — I stood briefly on the bluff in front of St. Mary’s to close my eyes and feel its rhythm…  the breeze on my face heavy with the scent of the sea. Then it was time to get home and bring Eucharist to my boys — a bit of Thanksgiving and Peace for the week ahead.

The day has been spent in Quiet – my Shakespeare paper finished yesterday meant today was free to simply straighten our home a little and just rest…

This evening I am sitting here on the porch — the sun gentle on my shoulders and face now as it heads towards meeting with the sea — together they will paint the sky and the far horizon with the coming sunset. It was harsh at midday today — even with the breeze — but now there is a softness in its warmth as the day draws to a close.  Sitting here, the sound of the sea is a comforting roar in my chest — the tide was at its height not long ago and it still sounds like it. The breeze off the sea is stronger tonight than it was this morning – dancing with the leaves in the trees, making the shadows shimmer – every once in awhile a gust whips my hair around my face and fills my lungs with the fullness of the seaside in the summer… sun-warmed grasses and sand, the lake and creeks nearby, the heat of the roads in the area, the wet-earth and bracken of the woods… and of course — the sea.

Breathe.
Can you feel its rhythm — can you hear its echo inside as the tide of your own breath fills your lungs with life?

We all breathe the same air.  We’re all rocked to the rhythm of our heartbeats — all the same… all living and loving on land that eventually meets the sea. Love is the only appropriate response to the beauty of our shared humanity – our shared rhythm of life.

Breathe.
There’s still hope for us.

#searhythm
#hopeforus
#breathetogether
#onehumanity

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)

Be Still…

IMG_20180212_151943130_HDR.jpg

I am looking out my new living room window and still not able to grasp the reality of all that has happened during the past few days. It feels like I’m just on an Oregon Coast vacation — another one of many I’ve had throughout my lifetime — and I think it’s going to take awhile before I realize that this is home now.

We bought a house.

Not just any house… we bought a house in an Oregon coastal town where the breeze carries the scent of the ocean and its soothing sound is the constant background song.  The air is clear here — I stepped out on our front porch last night and was reminded at how amazing the stars always are on the coast. The vastness of the sea, combined with the never-ending sky… there are no words. I can’t believe we’re here…

We have spent many years trying to create a home in one rental or another — it was an almost constant moving game. Our most recent ones over the last handful of years all ended up having heating problems — a serious drawback with so many health issues in the family.  Of course, you can only bring up the problem with landlords so much — they can always find someone else to replace your family — there are many, many people looking for places to live. It’s crazy to spend almost 2000 dollars a month on a rental that doesn’t even have reliable heat, and yet we were just thankful to have a place to live.  I was particularly thankful that we had found a place just down the street from my sister…

That is the biggest drawback of this move — I can’t just run over to see my sister (who just turned 30 by the way — Happy Birthday Sister!) whenever I want now. Every evening I would run over for at least a few minutes after her boys were in their pajamas, and being so far away is a serious loss for me. While there’s no way we could have afforded to buy a house any closer, and we really needed to move… being so far from all of my family isn’t easy — I know it’s necessary, but it isn’t easy. I’m very glad they all have each other so if they need something someone will be there to help. And, thankfully, our move makes it easier for everyone in the family to take trips to the beach — so at least they get something positive out of it.

I know that this is all actually a huge blessing. As hard as it is, I know that we’re where we are supposed to be… I just need to catch my breath and get settled in… I’m not going to just stop missing everyone, but I’ll get used to being a couple hours away – I know I will. I won’t feel so much like I’m on the verge of tears forever. The rest of this week will be spent unpacking (I can’t wait to have all my books back on their shelves!) and meeting people in our new town. The people who live here are very friendly and we have plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community as we get settled. I have the number of the local hospice so I can get ahold of the volunteer coordinator and find out how to sign up, and our little parish has plenty of opportunities for us to serve. Thursdays the ladies have a Circle of Caring where they get together and work on knitting/quilting etc. for those in need, so that will be a good place to meet everyone. There’s a writers group nearby that The Philosopher and I will probably get involved with in time, and there’s a support group for people dealing with the after effects of brain injury for The Professor if he wants to go. I know that all will be well…

It’s just hard… change is hard…

No matter how logical and positive a new situation is, there’s no way around the difficulties of dealing with the stress of change. It’s a big part of being human, and it’s not comfortable — tears, anger, emotional distress, physical pain — these are all normal responses to the changes that happen in our lives. Learning to live there in that discomfort — to be comfortable in the tension of change and be still within it — that’s where we learn to Trust in the goodness of the God who loves us.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

So that’s where I am… sitting still in the pain and chaos of change… knowing that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” (St. Julian of Norwich) We are all just living one day at a time — putting one foot in front of the other — we’re all looking up at these same stars in awe and trusting that our unique smallness is loved within all the vastness of the galaxies…

Change is inevitable — and it is the potential for change that is really Time’s gift to us… we are ever changing from glory to glory in this journey of Faith. Whatever is – is passing… that includes the hard things we think we won’t live through. Knowing this is my comfort now.

I am grateful…

  1. Pictures of The Professor on the beach…
  2. Family hugs…
  3. Singing in the car with The Philosopher…
  4. Little Boy and Little One splashing in the hotel pool…
  5. Sister and Little Boy finding sea glass on her birthday trip…
  6. Beach walks…
  7. Walking out of service to the sun setting into the ocean…
  8. a real home of our own…
  9. Taking Papa and Grandma to lunch in our new town…
  10. Internet hooked up today!!!!!!! (now we can be in touch with everyone)… :)

It’s all Grace.