go gently

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Go gently into Monday.

Smile first.

Be the better start to someone’s week than they anticipated.

Look for soft spots to land.

Live this moment – and only this moment – one by one by one.

Aware. Grateful. Calm.

First things first and save the rest.

Find a moment in your day to lift your face to the sun,

Or close your eyes and breathe.

Or both.

Savor life.

Step lightly.

Be the peace you wish to see in the world.

 

 

 

today

About 14 hours will pass from the time I leave home this morning until I return much later tonight. And as I’m about to start walking the thousands of steps I’ll walk in this day, I find myself wondering how I’ll be changed by the time I return.

So much of life changes slowly, too slowly almost to recognize any change as it’s happening.  But I wonder if I focus on the noticing of the steps, minutes, and hours in this day, I’ll be able to observe more closely the subtleties of a life — my life.

Because sometimes, of course, life change is more dramatic, sudden, and infinitely more unpredictable. According to the Ecology Global Network, 210,000 people will be born in the 14 hours I’m away from home and 88,424 will die. Beginnings and endings. And every bit of living in beween.

In the 24 hour revolution of this single day, the earth journeys 1/365 of its way around the sun.

And we’re all along for the ride.

Day up to down, wake to sleep, we’ll live the day we’ve been given. We’ll speak, daydream, smile, share, hug, read, write  and maybe pray.

Hopefully, we’ll listen – maybe even more than we speak. The people in our lives have a lot to say.

We’ll worry, debate, and weigh our options. We’ll answer and ask questions. We’ll plan, opt-in or out, and make decisions.  We’ll talk, text, email, and call.

We’ll think. We all have a lot on our minds.

Some of the day’s 24 hours are scheduled. If we’re lucky, we choose how we spend the rest. We’ll eat, drink, sleep – some soundly, some restlessly. Maybe we’ll spend the day inside. Or out. We’ll exercise or not. Adventure or stay home.

Come what may, we’ll find our way.

The world’s out there waiting for me … and you, too. Ler’s walk out into it – arms wide open and willing to change and be changed.

One thing’s for sure: no other day in your life will be lived exactly like today.

country road

I reckon my feet know where they want me to go … walkin’ on a country road.

~James Taylor

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The smell of this Sunday’s stroll brought me back to childhood.

I lived two weeks a summer visiting family in northern New Hampshire, skinning my knees, chasing after fireflies, and plucking wildflowers from fields filled with long grasses and a whole bunch of bees.

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I could smell all those memories yesterday afternoon walking on a country road.

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We kept company with goats and turkeys, and we’re newly nodding acquaintances with an old Mack truck backed up into the woods.

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Country roads are like that.

You never know who or what you’ll meet along the way.

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Nothing fancy out there, probably, but the breathing’s easier and life feels just that much simpler.

It’s like finding a little bit of freedom.

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Because when you’re walkin’ on a country road, the distance may be long – but the pace is slow.

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And the burdens don’t feel quite so heavy.

 

walkabout

Spring’s here, summer’s coming, and I’m going walking.

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Every day, probably, but especially on Sunday.

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Each Sunday, I’m planning a walkabout. You know, a walking tour somewhere away and beyond the usual. Somewhere new and undiscovered – at least by me.

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And I’ll share it all here – with you. You’ll see everything I’ve seen along the way.

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Like a blogging picture postcard.

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Maybe a line or two? A note from one life traveler to another.

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P.S. I hope you write back.

A Lick and a Promise

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Sometimes living, quietly and without much fanfare, takes over my whole house. Bananas brown in their bowl. Last Sunday’s flowers wilt and dry on the kitchen island next to half a week’s mail, and yesterday’s lunchbox. I’ve kicked off a pair of sandals (or two) at the tired end of a day and left them right where they landed.  And despite my very best intentions to maintain order, it’s time to admit I’ve somehow lost all control and the detritus of life, my life, is utterly in charge.

(Again.)

This post is not about down and dirty cleaning. Let the dust bunnies stay where they lay. This is about giving the house a lick and a promise, as my Nana used to say.

A lick and a promise cleaning restores order, plain and simple. It’s straightening the couch cushions, starting a load of laundry, and giving the throw pillows a quick lesson in who’s the boss. It’s about hanging the dish towel nesting next to the sink and hauling upstairs whatever’s been sitting patiently on steps one, two, and three for a week or so.

A lick and a promise cleaning isn’t about doing more, or even doing better. It’s about doing later.

It’s about promising to dust the very next rainy day. It’s noticing the disorganization of the pantry cupboard, and planning to rearrange it this summer when you either have more time or more inclination. It’s about understanding you have better things to do today, and giving yourself permission to put off all the rest of the stuff until tomorrow.

A lick and a promise is knowing what you can live with and what you can’t.

For me, that means a clean counter and no dishes procreating in our sink.  And I don’t much care about what’s going on behind the scenes in the cupboards. Not today.  I’m okay – today – with laundry in the basket, but I’ll be sure to gather any left stranded on the floor. Maybe I’ll make the bed, but I’ll leave changing the sheets for tomorrow. Could be I’ll sweep, but I won’t vacuum.

You get the idea.

Because a lick and a promise gives you permission. Permission to enjoy today … because today, I’ve got places to go and the world out there is sunny, and warm, and spring!

And so I’ll give the house a lick and a promise, and leave – knowing at least it’s peaceful and tidy when I’m ready to return.

life lessons: at the far end of mothering

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I almost never see a dandelion patch without thinking of a little child – student or son – arm outstretched with a loving fistful of droopy, yellow dandelions for me. And since it’s been awhile since I’ve received one, I’m caught a little surprised at how nostalgic I feel about the prolific yellow bane of our backyard.

There are scads of books on mothering and parenting and raising children.  How-to tomes. What to expect, what to avoid, how to be hands-free and all that. Maybe mothering today’s a bit more complicated.  Or so it’s probably always been to anyone who’s living it.

Personally, I’m at the far end of the mothering spectrum. And I’ve found few books to guide me. There’s a few about boomerang kids, but not much else beyond transitioning through the teen years and we’re past that too. And as far as flying objects go, I’m not much worried about boomerangs and more concerned with balloons.

I’ve had a whole handful of four, beautiful, bright, helium-filled, boy balloons and one-by-one each string loosens from my grasp. One day soon, the final of the four will lift, floating off free. And away from me. As should be. After all, independent, self-sufficient, productive citizens are the end-zone goal.

It’s just that when it comes to expecting … no one ever talks about what to expect at this point in the child-raising timeline. Saying goodbye is  not something you think about as you rock your infant, chase after your toddler, or sit across from your child’s teacher at a parent conference. Honestly, raising children is about as in the moment as it gets. Who has time or energy to think about the future when the here and now is so very consuming.

Truth is, the little dickens start leaving and living their own lives from the very first defiant, No! They have thoughts, dreams, and ideas of their own, and sooner or later – you’re in the way. You know it’s coming, but somehow you don’t expect it. Each milestone stands on its own, a point on the timeline toward departure. And once that last balloon wrests itself free, you watch it float skyward and wonder whatever in the world you’ll do next.

It’s been a wild ride couple of decades through each age and stage, but no fair lasts forever. Near as I can figure out, mothering young adults feels no less puzzling than the first years did. It’s another stage, another question mark in the life-long series I signed up for. I’m guessing I’ll be finding my own way just as my children find theirs – each of us simultaneously starting a new stage of life, on our own – together.