Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A bit of everything today

a Flower-Petal shaped stump we saw on our walk, and of course poked things down the center of it...of course...

Ahh, a bit of sun pokes through the clouds, and we are out in it no matter what the temperature. My kids and I, and now my poor husband, have been sick for a couple of weeks, and it seems that leaves us under a cloud physically, but in reality there really WERE clouds over us! Hooray, we are getting better, and the weather reflects that today. I even set outside my prize plant, my big Rose Geranium. She is a wonder. She was still outside when the first unexpected frost came in the fall, and it almost did her in. I've nursed her back all winter, and she is finally doing better, but she sure does need that sunlight and fresh air.
Here is a beautiful thing I saw today...I've never ever seen an old root system look like this. It was weathered as if it had washed up on the beach, all smooth and bleached looking. I decided that this was an old lady tree that had finally fallen over...I wanted to capture her last beauty and am sharing it with you:

I also wanted to share with you my first success in felting anything. I crocheted myself this purse for Geo-caching and Nature walks out of two beautiful natural wool yarn rolls I found at the thrift store for .50cents. I loved that it had bits of turquoise in it here and there, so I crocheted this purse (without any kind of pattern) and then I washed it in hot water with some jeans and VIOLA! Isn't it great!!! I'm so proud of it. I made an extra long handle, because I wear it over my shoulder, and I didn't want any kind of closure, as I needed to be able to get out my camera in a couple of seconds if I wanted it, so I crocheted the flap in one piece with the rest of it. It works like a charm!

I leave you today with this beautiful array of goodies in an old stump...we especially loved the Fairy Cup lichen that is growing appropriate.

Farmer Boy

My family and I adore entirely, the Little House on the Prairie series of books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We loved it so much, we were addicted (I'm sorry, I still am) to the tv show...I especially loved to see Pa ( I mean look at him...holey moley...)But I really identified with Laura, who, in her books, always wished she could've been as good and kind as Mary, but she just couldn't seem to help herself...Laura Ingalls and Anne Shirley and I would've been thick-as-theives (this assumes some kind of world where the 1880s real world, the imaginative world of Anne Shirley and my 1980s world were all combined...let's call it "La-La Land"...I spent a considerable amount of time there in my childhood) But, I digress...
What I wanted to say was that in the series of Little House books (Mine are the yellow ones), I have a favorite. The one I seem to want to go to whenever the snows start flying for the year, and the nights get colder, and our minds want to wander in, not out. I ADORE reading Farmer Boy, outloud. My mom use to read these books to my little brother and I when we were younger, and I was mesmerized by both the story and the wonderful reading voice my mom had. Both punctated and soothing, with pauses for imagining...a perfect voice for a story. I realize as I read to my son, I am trying to emulate that same voice for him. It works so well for these gentle stories.
This was the first year that I was able to read aloud, with any amount of success, a chapter book. My son, who is 6, is fascinated, and can't wait to hear what Almanzo is up to next...and neither can I, though I know the story front and back by now. Opening the pages and reading the food descriptions just about throws Ethan and I into spasms of hunger, and the descriptions of the work they do and the jobs they encounter are intricately written. Ethan said, "That is like a recipe for making shoes...I mean directions...directions for making shoes." He is spot on.
We've decided that our favorite chapter is "Keeping House". This is the one in which Mother and Father leave the kids to fend for themselves for a whole week, and they do nothing but make ice cream and cakes and candy and get in fights and mess things up, but in the end, they all cover for each other and get the chores done the day BEFORE Mother and Father come home and think that the kids have been as good as gold and even tell them that it is no matter that they practically ate all the sugar, because they did everything else so is a terribly amusing secret we are all in on, don't you think!
But, I've decided that my new favorite chapter is "Threshing." You can hear the love that Almanzo has for this kind of work, and the deep satisfaction it gives him at such a young age (9!). Here is my favorite passage:
"What say we run some beechnuts through?" Father asked. So they pitched beech leaves into the hopper, and now the whirring fans blew away the leaves, and the three-cornered brown nuts poured out. Almanzo filled a peck-measure with them, to eat that evening by the heater.
Then he went whistling to do the chores.
All winter long, on stormy days, there would be threshing to do. When the wheat was threshed, there would be the oats, the beans, the Canada peas. There was plenty of grain to feed the stock, plenty of wheat and rye to take to the mill for flour. Almanzo had harrowed the fields, he had helped in the harvest, and now he was threshing.
He helped to feed the patient cows, and the horses eagerly whinnying over the bars of their stalls, and the hungrily bleating sheep, and the grunting pigs. And he felt like saying to them all: "You can depend on me. I'm big enough to take care of you all."
Then he shut the door snugly behind him, leaving them all fed and warm and comfortable for the night, and he went trudging through the storm to the good supper waiting in the kitchen.
But who doesn't love the soft, animated, sensitive illustrations?! That Garth Williams was a genius...the publishers were geniuses for choosing him to illustrate this series. Here is a favorite: Almanzo is milking the cows by lantern light, and the barn cats are waiting for a stream now and then from him. It pencils out a precious, small moment in time, with cats rubbing and the patient cow seeing what the cats are up to...I adore it.

I'll leave you with the opening paragraphs of the chapter "Threshing", as the words give me that wonderful warm feeling deep in my stomach that says, "I know that feeling. I love that!"

The wind howled and the snow whirled and a mournful sound came from the cedars. The skeleton apple trees rattled their branches together like bones. All outdoors was dark and wild and noisy.
But the solid, strong barns were quiet. The howling storm beat upon them, but the barns stood undisturbed. They kept their own warmth inside themselves.
When Almanzo latched the door behind him, the noise of the storm was not so loud as the warm stillness of the barns. The air was quiet. The horses turned in their box-stalls and whinnied softly; the colts tossed their heads and pawed. The cows stood in a row, placidly swinging their tasseled tails; you could hear them chewing their cuds....
...There was still a faint smell of pumpkins, though the stock had eaten them all. A woodsy smell came from the pile of beech leaves, and a dry, strawy smell came from the wheat. Outside the wind was screeching and the snow was whirling, but the South-Barn Floor was warm and quiet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

About My Book

$15 (264 pages) signed paperback
+ $4 to ship in the U.S. (inquire for shipping elsewhere)
About My Book
I've had a book hiding inside of me my whole life. I've tucked away phrases and paragraphs for years. I write and write and write like there is no tomorrow...I have, literally, no joke, 4 journals going on right now. In the past couple of years, I've been hit with depression, doubt, fumbling, sadness, wandering and wondering. Then, I nursed myself right out of it.
I'd finally figured out WHO I WAS.
This book is the result of the love of words and, finally (miraculously), the love of myself.
It is a book full of story and idea, metaphor and symbolism, creativity and activity. If you read one chapter every single day, you'd finish this book in one month.
I am ACHING to share it with you & I hope that you all get yourself one just for the sake of encouraging yourself, loving yourself, regarding yourself as a woman of worth.
You are SO loved, and I just can't wait to share that with you!
As a treat, this is the first Chapter:

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

~Henry David Thoreau~

Chapter One

Stuck in the Brambles

Hello Sweet Thing…Yes, you! Now is the time to begin. I want you to come out of this feeling hopeful and excited about your next steps on this journey. Imagine, if you will, that your life is laid out before you as a path through a forest. There are times when it is pleasantly winding, with sunlight streaming through the canopy. There are birds twittering and flitting from branch to branch above you. You smile and close your eyes and breathe deeply of the heavy loam that is crushed by your feet as you walk, ever in. That is where you want to be. That is the part of the path you long for. But you are in a particularly sticky part of the journey right now.

The brush has come closer, the rain isn’t just falling, it is absolutely pouring, and your hair is caught up with brambles. You are covered in scratches and just can’t seem to get anywhere. You look around yourself in a huff, and wonder, “Did I stray somewhere?” No, the path is clearly under your feet, and you can see it through the dense brambles as you peer into their darkness. You’ve hit a full stop as it seems too hard to just keep going. “I guess I’ll camp here,” you say, as you pull your coat tighter around your shoulders and bring your knees to your chest. This isn’t what you bargained for. This is terrible. Take heart!

There is one thing that you absolutely must remember, though the way may be hard and it becomes more and more dense, this is still the path of your life. Kahlil Gibran would say,

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; And you would accept theseasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that passover your fields. (from The Prophet )
If your whole life were birdsong and sunshine through the leaves, you wouldn’t ever truly appreciate the good things that came to you along your journey. If you hadn’t had your heart broken, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the faithfulness that your sweetie has for you. If you hadn’t lost your job, you wouldn’t have been able to spend more time with your little kids. If you hadn’t come to this point in your path, you wouldn’t be able to experience the full joy that life offers you on the other side of these brambles.
So, now…get up and start hacking away at the path in front of you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What we saw...

steely sky hung on branches in the topmost pine
clinging like dry, grey blankets, hovering
tripping through sage, quietly heady bunches are gathered
through a juniper ring, we saw him
lying, sprawled, rotting
a hush further misted by awe
we've seen this before, yet even now still so sacred
insides were broken, limbs scattered
moss loosening its grip, good-bye-ing the broken body
a quiet reverence, acceptance as we stand
around the bits
discarded pieces of him
the children are quiet, as they pry and poke at the now rust-colored squares of the heart of him
no children, don't pry and poke, leave him be
standing, hands behind backs, compelled to wander, as respectful as we will be
peering into holes, testing loose bits with toes
I find the spirit inside him still, when I open my eyes brighter
Here are the wings he never had
there are the fingers
that never caressed
the eye he couldn't cry from
the joint he didn't twist
never regretful, changing out peacefully
a seed is left, to honor what he may become
Blessed Be Your Journey, Grandfather
we caress twisting, leaning limbs and
leave him
to his leaving



the eye

the joint

the offering

Finding the Magic

The Oregon Beach is Magic.

This is one of those words that is thrown around in lots of different ways, and carries with it all the mystery of an Ancient Priestess standing atop a hill commanding the lightening and thunder, for some other mysterious reason. I'm coming to figure out what "magic" really is. The Magic in my life is whatever I make of it. If I personally believe something is real, then it is. If I think to myself everyday, "I love to drink water and prefer it over a pop." Then I might start believing it, and find that it is true. That is magic to me!

The way these pine needles were caught on the branch in the rushing Metolius River seemed like Magic to me.

If I believe that it is only the way I personally perceive an object, or a situation, that really matters, then if I see a shape in the clouds that seems to answer a question that was on my heart...that is magic. If I bring Juniper berries into my little meditation area to remind myself that this is a Sanctuary, then the Juniper berries work. If a take a walk in nature to soothe my soul or figure out an answer to a question, and look for a sign to an answer, and find it in the way a stick is bent, that is True, and it is Magic. Another person may just see a broken sad.

My chickens are Magic when they perch on impossibly small things and give us eggs aplenty.

I read once that a sleeping cat calms people...I wonder if this is true because it was written as truth, or because it just always has literally calmed people. I've also read that throwing rice at a wedding should shower the couple with Good Luck and it true because we believe it is true? Why do we have "House Warming" parties? Because if all of your loved ones come into your house and rattle around a bit some of their love and blessing rubs off into your new home, and you feel more homey inside of it. Right?! That, I perceive, is Magic.

This is "Self-Heal". The day I saw it I needed to be reminded that I can thrive if only I would stop and Heal Myself...that was Magic.

When I was little, I would sit and stare into the grasses for hours, imagining if I were tiny how it would be to make my way through it all. Would I ever make it from one side of the lawn to the other? What perils would I encounter on the way? I was working out grown-up ideas in a little child's world...I learned a lot by engaging my mind this way...that is Magic.

She is Magic.

On a balmy summer afternoon, when the kids were playing in the pool and I was sitting in the sun smiling and watching them, I saw my son jump out of the pool and carefully bend over something in the grass. I watched him intently, until I could stand it no longer, and asked, "What is it Brother?" He stood up, leaving the thing he was watching still in the grass, untouched and said, "Mom, look what God left just for us!" It was a perfect tiny blue feather, stuck arrow straight into the top of the green grass, like a banner or a signpost. I was so touched by his thoughts, that I was surprised to find a tear at the corner of my eye, and getting up to see this little miracle, it dropped down my cheek. There was nothing more to more explanation necessary. It was Magic, it was a Miracle, it was a Gift. It touched us, and made us feel loved...a feather in the grass.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Words for What I Know

When I don't have words for the epiphanies in my soul, I've found I can turn to The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. When my heart is its wisest, most pure self, it understands these things, but never can I seem to articulate them to anyone else. Thank God for these words:

And a man said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.
And he answered, saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge. You would know in words that which you have always known in thought. You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea; And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes. But let there be no scales to weigh your unkown treasure; And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line. For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path." For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
(Amen, and Amen, and Amen again)