luxury

What a luxury to let dappled sunshine dry my hair this morning. Walking the rise of hills hurried my breath and released it again as those hills sloped back down. I crossed paths with a chipmunk and good morning-ed fellow walkers, all of us waving away the incessant deer flies.

Walking the dirt road today, I remembered other dirt roads, childhood roads, where I walked to school, never once thinking about anywhere other than right where I was. So I practiced that kind of presence today in honor of that girl I used to be.

Sweat bubbled on my nose and streaked across my forehead as I walked, only a hop, skip, and jump away from summer. There’s hope and happiness and freedom in summer, and I’m ever so happy to be out in it, grab ahold of it – deer flies and all.

I’m thankful for those who plant their gardens alongside the road for the pleasure and enjoyment of walkers-by like me. Roses climb a trellis while springtime pansies linger awhile longer under the mailbox. Chalk drawings in a driveway welcome summer as only a child just out of school can.

I want to remember this morning. Remember the breeze taking me by surprise and the glorious green surrounding me as I walk. There’s the swoop of a sparrow flying to rest on a fence post and the bounce of a robin across the neighbor’s front lawn.

Make no mistake – I saw that poison ivy spreading its way and growing alongside wild roses and the purple tufts of clover. So I’m reminded to admire not only the sunshine but the clouds too. I know rain sometimes ruins our plans and hopefully waters our plants – both. There’s the duality. Learning to savor the comings and goings, hellos and goodbyes, summers and winters. To spend these days wisely and aware.

Soon the sunflowers in the bed out back will stand taller than I do. Pumpkins will one day be ready to carve with our granddaughter. Summer’s car washes in the driveway will be replaced with new chores, with gathering, and nesting, layering and readying for rest.

But just for today, a warm breeze ruffles the ferns, tosses the buttercups, and distracts the bugs.

And I’m grateful.

on my mind

One way to keep track of what’s been on my mind … is to keep track of my Google searches. Through my recent history, I’m able to see what I’ve been curious about, what I’d like to try, where I need help, what I’m doing, and what I’m learning. It’s been a fun – and a bit distracting – exercise. Given the current state of almost everything and all that’s really been on my mind, a distraction is a welcome exercise in self-care.

So, in no particular order, some recent Google searches:

>>>He asked about my plans for my day off. I told him my most pressing plan was cleaning all the pollen coating just about every surface in our home. It was then he asked if I had any plans to bake a pie? He was joking, of course, but I love him, of course … so pie it was. Strawberry rhubarb. My first. It was worth the search. Recipe here. Full confession: I used a pre-made pie crust. Still delicious.

>>>We’ve been planting, so I wanted to know: What annual flowers attract pollinators?

>>>I’ve not quite recovered from my last visit to the cell phone store, but in a moment of bravery, I Googled: How do you change your Apple ID? I’ll probably get to it when I have more time and remember my current Apple ID.

>>>How old is Queen Elizabeth? Her majesty is a glorious 96 years old.

>>>What is the text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s The Other America speech? I’ve been reading the OTHER talk reckoning with OUR white privilege by Brendan Kiely which mentions the speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Stanford University in 1967.

… while the law may not change the hearts of men, it can and it does change the habits of men.

You can read the speech here

>>>How do you line a baking pan with parchment paper? This little video uplifted my baking skill. And then some. A game-changer.

>>>Ever hopeful after yet another overzealous produce purchase … Can you freeze ripe bananas? Mercifully, yes … yes, I can.

Back to the pollen. Turns out, it’s better to clean a flat screen TV with a vinegar and water solution than Windex.

I’m hopeful we’re now past the pollen.

.

feelin’ groovy

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last

Laze. Window gaze.

Stretch. Smile. Be.

Here. Now. And nowhere else.

Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy

Walking. Talking. Seeking. Finding.

The first wild daisies. My favorite.

“There’s only a handful of days like this in the whole year,” I say.

“Could the sky be any more blue?” you answer.

Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy

Hello lamppost, what’cha knowing
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t you got no rhymes for me?

Hello peace and peonies. Peaches and berries.

Hello to the what’s possibles and the always predictables.

Hello to the maybe I wills and the probablys I won’t.

Good morning sun, I see your shine for me.

Hello Monday, make some hope for me.

Doot-in doo-doo, feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy

Thanks to the breeze. The green, the growing.

Coming to be the me I’m knowing.

I’m humbled and happy and couldn’t want more.

Life I love you, I’m ready to soar.

I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me

Life, I love you, all is groovy

*The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by Paul Simon

innocence

The school bus rolled down our road this morning at 6:40

Same as always

Keeping to the schedule

As if nothing had changed

As if the same thing couldn’t happen again today

Here

Or somewhere else

As if grief and terror and fear and horror

Didn’t wait by the side of the road for that bus

As if parents didn’t linger one minute more

For a last glimpse through the window

As if innocence didn’t climb aboard

Each and every day

For an education.

the sound of silence

Sometimes I feel words gathered right there on the tip of my tongue, ripe and ready to roll off the second I open my mouth. And then, in a singular moment of awareness, I choose to leave my mouth closed. I don’t swallow the words so much as allow them to slowly dissolve. I can feel the unspoken weight of them and for a moment, the grateful recognition I did the right thing by leaving them there.

In the company of others, both home and away, I feel best and most at peace with what I didn’t say over what I did. The criticisms I didn’t express. The gossip I heard and didn’t forward. The sarcastic retort I didn’t let fly. Maybe even the personal regrets I forgave myself for rather than divulge.

Speaking or not is a choice. I know my heart never swells with pride when I’m unkind – no matter how privately or how far out of earshot. I can add or subtract. Escalate or encourage. My words can increase the almost universal angst we’re all feeling — or abate it — even for just a minute and ever so slightly. Offer hope, or join the melee. So much travels by word of mouth.

spring mandala

Gather. Meditate. Center. Breathe.

Circles and cycles. Bud and bloom. Belief and doubt. Celebration and grief.

Faith.

Move inward, out. Outward, in.

Still. Sacred. Spiritual.

A revolution, a resolution, a plan, a path, a prayer.

A journey.

Start here. Or there.

No destination in mind or notice of arrival. Back where I began, here I am returned. Again. Both renewed and changed by the experience of the walk itself, a guarantee that no matter how familiar the path, I am in fact a different person than I was the last time I walked it.

Spring too, here again. Another spin around for both of us. So familiar, but so new and ever hopeful. Both transformed and transforming.

From the one to the many. From the many to the one.

Here, at last.

sustenance

The daily news hangs heavier and heavier in my heart. Day after day. After day. Each notification, each headline, tweet, and post adds to me feeling powerless. There’s an ache in deep parts of me that never quite recedes. Honestly, I’ve been feeling more hopeless these days than hopeful. There’s no recourse in the short-term. No way to help or stop or become part of the solution. Because the problems – and there are so many – feel too big. Too insurmountable. Too often entirely out of my control.

Still, there’s no giving up is there? No giving up for the people who minute by minute struggle far more than I do. No giving up for the planet and the people far younger than I who’ll need to live on it longer than I will. The list is long, the worries are many, the fear, ever-present.

It’s imperative to stay informed. The need-to-know has never been more crucial. Reliable information helps inform my vote, my financial support, and my prayer.

But I need some good news too.

Have you any? Good news, I mean. Have you any good news to share?

Flowers blooming? Gone for a bike ride? Found a friend? What made you laugh? Who did you spend time with? See something new? Different? Unusual? Did your daughter make the team? Your mom come to visit?

What moved your heart? Please. Share.

I wouldn’t want you to think any of this good news sharing neutralizes or diminishes the serious state of our country and world.

But it may help keep us sane. Or more open to possibility, ideas, action … and hope.

I just saw my son for the first time in almost three years. Mother’s Day was magical. Our electric bill went down this month. The peonies and lilacs are just about to burst.

And yesterday afternoon … I saw an owl. Up close. Its head on the swivel as it’s known to do. Eyes alert. Focused. Full circle aware of the world all around. Ready and on the hunt for some sustenance.

Me too.

in the morning kitchen

In the morning kitchen, evening memories linger. Too tired to wrestle with dirty dishes, I’m more likely now to leave it all be. Gathered eggs nest in a basket on the counter next to the remnants of last night’s dinner and a pile of plates. Just lately, I’ve come to love the quiet calm and purpose I find in a morning kitchen. Despite whatever state of chaos I might find upon my arrival, I’m so happy to be there.

I’m done with the guilt I’ve given myself over the years – choosing bed over tidying up. Yes, it’s lovely to brew coffee in a clean kitchen, but there’s delight in a warm bed after a satisfying meal too. I don’t mind the morning mess, and finally how I actually feel is taking precedence over how I think I should feel.

There’s hope in a morning kitchen, a kind of promise to the day ahead as the room’s set to rights. This morning I lit a candle on the counter as I began to clean. A long, white dinner-party taper lit simply because I like candlelight – even in the morning – and especially in the kitchen. The act of lighting – a prayer – a pause – a moment of appreciation and offering, lighting whatever world-weary darkness may be on mind.

I’m home in the morning kitchen. There’s a flavor of peace. Leftover nourishment. Contemplation out the kitchen window over a sinkful of hot, soapy water. I watch the bounce of a bluejay from feeder to branch. The trot of a turkey hen across the yard. The greening of grass.

When I arrive home again at day’s end, the comfort of a clean evening kitchen will greet me. I’ll no doubt light the candle again. Feel happy again. Home again. Content. Right there in the kitchen.

to do

one thing I’m proud of … one thing I’ve been procrastinating … something in service to others … … add to my general knowledge … bring something up the stairs I find languishing there at the bottom … follow through … grow as a human … read … write … acknowledge someone else’s efforts … use what I have … tidy up … pare down … waste nothing, not time – energy – or resources … right a wrong … reach out … lift up … let go … make the phone call … breathe … simplify that which I’ve made complex … face a challenge … believe … honor those who came before me … create … hope … learn … love …

only now

In the morning

sitting with a blank page

a black BIC pen

journal folded in half

writing on the flat side

plump cursive

often forgetting to dot i

or cross t

“You write so slowly,” she said once.

I’ve thought about that comment many times over the years,

only now feeling grateful,

instead of criticized,

I am writing at all.