Thursday, February 23, 2017

Golden Threads

     I choose to believe that there exist invisible threads, cords of memory, shimmering with love, which connect us to all those who have lived before and who have loved us.  I can still feel the presence of my mother and see the steady look out of those clear blue eyes, even though she is no longer in this mortal life. My Danny's heart is still woven into my own and sometimes I swear I can feel him breathing on my neck, as though he were standing behind me. He is in that other place, that parallel existence through which love may pass but not sight, not touch, except in dreams.  ( I love dreams because, in my dreams, sometimes Danny comes by and gifts me with a gentle kiss. So nice. I do not care if it is merely my memories of past kisses or not, to me, in that moment of sleep, the kisses are real. Please don't bother me with science at that particular juncture.)
     There are also cords of love and connection between those whom we love who live far away from us.  Why else would they randomly pick up the phone after months or years of no contact, on the particular night when we are most broken and alone, and say--Hey there, you've been on my mind all day. What's up?--They felt us tugging on the cord and came to our aid. That's what love does. Sometimes we still need to be held close to someone's heart, as we were when we were very small. We need to feel again that loving hand upon our back, slowly moving up and down, giving comfort.  I do not believe we ever out-grow that. I don't want to out-grow it. As my grand-kids will tell you, I think everyone is the perfect size for hugging.

Monday, February 20, 2017

What is Important

     Yesterday a wonderful man with whom I taught for many years was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver.  That's twice in three months that someone from my school has been killed on that road by someone who shouldn't have been driving a car at all. Someone who was angry or depressed or hurt, poured alcohol into their body to stop the pain, then drove down the highway as fast as they could and ended up taking someone else's life, someone driving home from the store, the post office, or a ball game.  The absolute randomness of those types of events is difficult to absorb. We make decisions all day long without realizing that those decisions affect the lives of many other people. The death of this good man, John Matousek, was such a loss; such a waste of intellect, compassion and humor. It breaks my heart.
       For several months after Danny died, I wouldn't leave the house in the mornings or go to sleep at night without making sure the house was completely straightened up and everything in the bathroom was clean and put away. I was keenly aware that people die in their sleep sometimes and....well, it could happen to me too.  I got over that eventually. As anyone who knows me will tell you, my house is a lived in house, not a show house.  I usually have things where I can see and lay my hands on them all the time.  People come over for supper and make noises about wanting to see the rest of the house but I don't take the bait. They don't need to have a tour of the house, they are there for supper and a visit. I direct them to the bathroom but that is all. What they see on their way there is all they will see. I assume they came to see me, not the house.
    My house is too big for me, at this time in my life.  When the kids come out for a week-end, it is the perfect size...or maybe even a little small, but the rest of the time it is too large for me. Rarely is the entire house pulled together at the same time.  It simply takes too long to do that and there are other things I would rather be doing with my time: reading, writing, walking outdoors, working in the gardens, talking with friends or family.
That's who I am; people can take it or leave it.  I am through trying to impress people in any way, shape or form. I was telling a dear friend recently that after you lose someone very close to you, your priorities shift as to what is important. 
      Relationships matter, connection and honesty and being present to others matter.  Whether or not your house is free of clutter or the windows are always washed is not important; so many things are no longer important. I'm speaking for myself here, it might be different for others.  Life is unpredictable, completely unpredictable. Oh, you can make a plan for what you would like to have happen, but there is no guarantee any of that will happen for you. You have to be able to roll with the punches, reassess, adjust course and move forward.
    And there's this:  Do not wait or be hesitant about telling the people you love that you love them, that you appreciate all they do for you, big things as well as small things. When you hug someone goodbye for the day, make it a genuine hug; mean it. It is possible they might never see you again.  Things can happen out of the blue.   

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Catching Up With Friends

    Sorry I have been off-blog for a bit. I've been busy moving the furniture, literally and figuratively.  I'm having some work done on on the kitchen at the farm because...well, because my cabinets exaggeration..falling off the walls..and apart. Work has begun, decisions have been made (who knew there were so many decisions to make?). Here is a pic of it at this time. The water leak, which I suspected was hiding beneath the floor of the sink, has been found and fixed. This week they put down the new floor and repainted, or started that part. I'm not there. I trust these guys because I've known them for a long time....and I know where they live.

      Too much dust and destruction for me, so I took to the skies and visited friends.  I don't do that often enough. I see that now. What was I waiting for?


 First stop was sunny Arizona where I spent some time with my friend Christal.  Her parents have recently moved in next door to her, which is handy for all of them, so we had supper with the neighbors, shared some wine in the evenings and caught up. 
       We hiked up and down the cactus- hidden trails. We sat in the sun and I coughed my way through my antibiotics.    I know: who goes to visit someone and takes along a cold? Not a cold, actually, but an asthma attack. I think it was brought on by hanging out in my house which was full of dust and mildew and mold from under the sink.   Anyway, Christal nursed me back to health, or most of the way there.  The Arizona landscapes demand some open-minded appreciation.  It is not a warm, fuzzy place, to say the least.  I can see how it can grow on you but, still, I wouldn't want to live there. She does though, so that's okay.

    Then I got back on the plane and flew farther west, this time to San Diego and the sea.  I have another friend from my college days who lives out there, right beside the ocean, if you can imagine that.  She took me down to the beach the very first evening and I fell in love with it. Oh my, much power and beauty roaring toward you.  We went back again and again. I found that I could not get enough of it. 
       We also drove up into the mountains one day and found a quaint little bookshop which I loved.  Brenda, you would have loved it too!  I thought of you.
     But the best part of this trip was spending time with this friend from years ago.

 Have you ever lost a friend and then, miraculously, been able to find them again after years and years, decades, have gone by? That is what happened to us. There are a lot of things I dislike about Facebook but one good thing about it is that you can find people who have slipped away.    
     Marsha and I were soul-mates way back in my Tulsa University days and now I have found her again, and couldn't be happier. If you have any soul-mates you will know that time and distance do not alter your connection. What a joy. I loved spending this time with her.

                  Another place we went was to our sister Savory Spice store in Encinitas. Although they don't own the shop any longer, the two people who started this shop are two of the people we went through training with, out in Denver, before we opened the shop in OKC. 
     I walked through the doors and it smelled like home. I think I laughed out loud and was delighted to see how their shop was set up and to meet the young man who was working there.  Whenever Able or I travel, we always try to stop in and visit with the Savory folks wherever we are.  It's a family of sorts. We may not know them personally but we know exactly what's going on with them there, in the store.  I loved being there and breathing in the scent that is Savory Spice.  I miss the shop. Today I'm going down to work for a few hours, to reconnect with the crew and smile at the customers.  The Sunday folks are my favorites, you know.

     So, that's where I am right now.  I'm back in the Sooner State for a Yee-haw cowboy birthday party for little Rowan who is four years young, day after tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to hugging everybody here, listening to their stories and telling them my own. 

Poem: My Glorious Jacket

Early morning and I
have not yet slept.
Wrapped in worn flannel
I step out into the predawn fog
and move toward that place
where I go to be alone and still.

I am trying to piece the parts
of my life together, but they
do not hold, the patterns
and colors will not blend.

My life is like a patchwork jacket
made of mismatched fabrics and
fastened with found buttons.
Though it is not stylish,
this is the jacket I love,
it is warm, it is mine, it is
full of color and contrast and memories.

May I tell you my favorite part?
It is the pockets!
There are many pockets:
some that zip, some that button,
some that stand open, one that is
tied with a green velvet ribbon,
and each of them holds a treasure;
a small sparkling stone, a blue marble,
the feather from a Mockingbird,
a shell from the seashore.

And there is this:
pinned to the lining,
is a single small, silver bell
which rings as I walk.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Poem: What Are The Chances?

Into this plain, brown cup let fall
one drop, one shining crystal ball,
mirroring the blue above
it trembles, shines and seems to call:
-come take this cup,
   come drink thereof,
       come touch and taste the sky, my love-

He comes, entranced by what he sees,
approaches close on bended knee,
leaving the safety of his shell,
he leans to kiss and speaks his peace:
- child of the clouds,
      you taste of trees,
           you gift me life, I set you free.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An Ordinary Day

Yesterday I gave my daughter time to rest and heal
by taking her children away for the afternoon--

 Yesterday two little boys with bloody, tear-stained faces
came to me for hugs and kisses to 'make it better'-

This evening my 7yo granddaughter and I
shared bedtime talk about friends who are
mean, and what to do about it-

Tonight I looked into the tear-swollen eyes
of my other grown daughter and felt that mother
reflex twist in my heart again...the one
that makes you want to hold them close--

This afternoon I visited with Able and Kari
while baby Alice snuggled under my chin--

Tonight I counseled a former student about
the importance of taking the meds for her depression--

This evening I helped the Pre-K child write
names on his valentines for school--

Tonight I told my granddaughter about
how kind and patient her grandpa had been--

This evening you comforted me with your
words while I stammered and wept.

We're all taking care of each other
all day, every day, with our words and our
actions and the love we send forth from
our hearts into the ether that surrounds.

We need each other so desperately;
we can not muddle through this mess alone,
without someone to hold us, to love us
into a better place, into a safer space.