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

Transfiguration Morning…

Blued-eyed sky and Sunlight

There is Peace here.
This morning the sky is blued-eyed — cloudless and bright…  sunlight has clothed the wetland wood across my gravel road and every green hue is alive with  its touch.
It is an August morning — the Feast of the Transfiguration — and my world awoke to this quiet beauty — the breathing of the sea-tides echoing in my chest… the rise and fall of my own rhythm — my heart keeping the beat.

I am sitting in this Quiet.
There are dishes waiting in my sink — remnants of a quick dinner before writing my paper that was due at midnight… they have been patient and will soon be clean again, but they are quiet as they wait.
The boys have had their morning meds with breakfast, the cats are resting from their nocturnal play…
In this moment nothing is clamoring for my attention.

I can feel this new day washing over my corner of the world — what is this magic that keeps us spinning through time — ever forward, ever onward? Is it this Quiet – this Foundation-of-Everything holding us all together? It is holding me here — cradling us all, just waiting to be recognized… to be known.

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Inside, we’re all longing to be mystics — longing to know and be known — to sit in the Silence of ourselves surrounded by the bustle and noise of living. We’re all yearning for connection — to have Light clothe us in our innate hues and reveal our beauty to the world. Can’t you see the brightness of summer’s-light in the eyes of those around you? We’re all seeking Communion… Be gentle in your gaze — soft, compassionate eyes are the key to sight here.  Be kind, and See.

“Be still, and know…”

#augustmorning
#feastoftransfiguration
#quiet
#bekindandsee
#bestillandknow

Solitary and Still…

“..... ‘Tis true. O heaven, were
    man
But constant, he were perfect; that one error
Fills him with faults, makes him run through all th’
   sins:
Inconstancy falls off ere it begins.”
                    The Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 5, Scene 4, Lines 119-123

It was a long week, the boys basically relapsed entirely into their previous covid symptoms, and The Philosopher is still struggling to get back to his "norm," but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to focus on getting them fully recovered this weekend. I'm still tired, but I don't know if it's from covid, or just life...

Shakespeare has been a joy this week though, and my piano class as well -- I wrote about these lines above this week... so true. Is it irony or serendipity that these lines were echoing in my mind the night I was told that the paperwork finalized? It doesn't matter... it actually took a little longer than the 10 days I was initially told it would take.  I am apathetic -- it is still shock, possibly... mostly it's just recognizing the end. Finis. I am not heartbroken this time -- I am like a rock in the sea by my home -- the waves crash and crash and crash... I just stand here... alone.  Constant. Hard - shaped by the storms but still unyielding. I feel nihil.
Solitary and Still -- Undisturbed by the chaos around me I feel the rhythm of my breathing in the sound of the sea out my window. 
I am Quiet -- inside and out. 

I don't know what the future will be like -- but the boys continue to make progress, even if it is often two steps forward one step back. We continue to wake up to a new today -- and I know how quickly everything can just change with no warning. One moment everything is as it always seemed it would be, and the next moment the entire foundation of the world has shifted. Such is life. 

It turns out there are not many people who care really. People are busy. (I have never been so busy in my life -- balancing work when covid is raging again, the house, school, and all the boys needs -- for one person to do everything there's no time for anything else -- I barely sleep)... 

Be gentle-souled out there -- we may not be able to do much for each other, but we can be tenderhearted when we do interact.  It isn't hard. We're all wounded - some more recently than others - with soft eyes we can see each other... We're all hurting.

Just be kind...
 

 

Soft Eyes and Heavy Souls

Jasper

Jasper spends much of the day by my side or in my lap right now. Our Dante kitty passed away just before Christmas and Jasper has never been an only cat before…

We are all grieving…

He will come to my feet and say, “Mama,” then reach up and tap my arm if I don’t respond before he jumps in my lap to curl up. Mind you if I initiated this routine I would be promptly met with his snapdragon response… Touch is only on his terms (he’s a cat after all). He is either angry, or needing reassurance right now. Poor little soul.

We are planning to bring a young girl kitty home next weekend. (She was supposed to join us last weekend but black ice and a broken wheel led to a rescheduling and un-looked-for early morning adventure.) The Philosopher has fallen in love with her fluffy black fur, and we’re hoping she will soothe our heartache while carving out her own heart-space…

Grief comes in many forms — the weight of a grief cannot be compared from soul to soul or loss to loss. Grief, like Love, cannot be measured or compared… It simply is.

It’s in the constant thought that the lost presence was just seen out of the corner of your eye – sitting in their proper place – present, known – and the hole renewed when the full glance reveals the empty space. It’s in the echo of the sounds they no longer make and all the shadows they left behind. We are all carrying the weight of our losses – the burden growing as the years pass and losses increase. Be kind.
Be gentle with each other… look with soft eyes.

Every soul is bearing a heavy weight of its own… even our little Jasper.

#griefandloss
#heavysoul
#softeyes
#bekind
#kittyloss
#heartache

Look Up…

IMG_20180222_175055201_HDR.jpg

It’s the end of another long day.

The family is winding down, though we have hours left until we’ll be snuggled in our beds – hopefully finding our way to sleep. The fire in the pellet stove of our new home is keeping my toes toasty warm while I sit here this evening.  This past week has been so busy, but it’s been productive. Our house is looking more and more like a home — we even have some pictures up on the walls, and a new door has been added to the space set aside for the hubby’s office… now it meets all the regulatory requirements and sound won’t travel quite as easily. Most of my bookshelves are full and there are only a handful of books that I can’t seem to find yet — I’m feeling more and more at home here…

I’m grateful for our modern ability to communicate via FaceTime and such — my little nephews are almost as excited to see me on a screen as they are to see me in person :)… and I’m so blessed to still get to talk with my sister every day. It’s not the same as being right down the street, but it’s going to be okay… And next weekend I’ll actually get to see her in the evenings since I have a Healing Touch training and she’s letting me stay the nights at her place while I’m in town. It means spending my actual birthday traveling alone for a couple of hours, but I have plenty of music to listen to… and as long as the weather isn’t nasty it will be a relaxing drive. Plus, there’s family on both ends of the trip — I can’t ask for more. :)

We’re settling in here in other ways as well — our little bakery in Rockaway has agreed to make us a bulk gluten free order regularly (at a wonderful price — we’ll be saving well over a hundred dollars a month on bread!), and we found out where the locals buy their pellets for their pellet stoves (hence the warmth in my toes from the cheery flames behind the glass in front of me). We’ve met the FedEx woman who will be picking up and dropping off the hubby’s documents related to work (when I let her inside she even had a treat for Pat-me) :), as well as the woman who delivers our mail everyday. We even have a local “handyman” to call on for help around the house (he’s the one who built the new aforementioned door and also fixed my sink this week)!

On top of all that — I sat down with the Pastoral Associate at St. Mary’s this week and began plans for playing the guitar on Saturday evenings. I’m nervous simply because I haven’t done it before — actually, I haven’t played for anyone who wasn’t dying in quite awhile and I’m just nervous about dealing with other people’s strong opinions on a regular basis. When it comes to music during church people tend to have very specific ideas about what songs should be played, etc. Of course, for awhile everyone will just be happy that they have music of any kind since they haven’t had a musician for awhile now — but I know that won’t last forever. I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the new relationships that are appearing here. It seems that as the days pass more of the blessing we’ve been given here continues to unfold…

*******

A lot has happened in these last few weeks of my 38th year traveling around our sun. Part of me is excited to see what the future holds for the last year of my 30s… and then, part of me is simply tired. So tired. There is much light in this world, but darkness is a very real part of our existence as well, and some days it’s just hard to hold on to the “hope that is within” in the face of it all. While “there is so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see” as Rich said, seeing it can be so hard in this world… it takes those soft eyes I’ve mentioned before. The trick is learning to see the world through the gentleness that we bring to it — painting the world with the watercolors within us — projecting them and their soft light into the world around us that seems to think in blacks and grays more and more these days. We are told that we are surrounded with anger and fear… but that’s not entirely true…

“Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars, and the greater their numbers. If you remember to look up — look up! — there are many, many souls shining brightly in these days of shadows. The more I work to spread light in small ways, the more I find others doing the same, and the more beauty we create in this world together. This is how we are the “light of the world”…

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

…that they may see…

Please remember, even a cup of water given to a thirsty child is an act of war against the darkness. Our small things done in great love are powerful… and we can all do small things…

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”’ Matthew 25:40

As Mother Theresa said, it’s the Gospel on five fingers… “you did it to Me”… Let us shine our light of love on all the lives around us, and so show our love to Christ.

…so much to be grateful for…

  1. sunsets…
  2. three ingredient cookies…
  3. new pictures on the walls..
  4. full bookshelves…
  5. shopping with my hubby…
  6. finding my favorite mug…
  7. snow at the beach!
  8. deer outside at nighttime…
  9. Little One learning to say, “Yes!”
  10. our cats acting years younger in this big house…

It’s all Grace.