you stand there
in a dream
with all the right words
held up on cards like
and i smile
at the ones
you throw away
you stand there
in a dream
with all the right words
held up on cards like
and i smile
at the ones
you throw away
Last night, I stayed up until two a.m., reading. I had the remnants of a migraine, and though I know that seems counter-intuitive, one of the few things I can do when I have a migraine is read.
I went to buy groceries in the early evening, which was a bit of a struggle, but while I was there, I suddenly knew that I needed a book. One that I could read all in one night, one that would transport me.
And so, The Language of Flowers jumped right off the shelf in my direction, sounding right up my alley with its main theme of flowers and their Victorian-era meanings. And love.
And in the end, forgiveness.
I came home and arranged myself on the couch with a plate of fruit and cheese for dinner, and let myself be drawn into the story. My husband came home from golf and I said hello, but not much else.
I had, as my mom always used to say, my “nose in a book.” Really, it was usually more like, “Get your nose out of that book and set the table.” Sigh. Just one more page…
My husband turned a baseball game on, I never even looked up to see who was playing or ask who was winning, and a few minutes later, he was asleep in his chair. This is the way of things in our house, he gets up everyday at 2:30 a.m., so by 8:30, he is usually snoring.
I only moved to lower the volume on the game, choosing not to turn it off, it seemed just right as background music. And then a bit later, I stopped reading to let the dog out and smile at the fireflies dancing in the yard.
At midnight, I got myself ready for bed, with 100 pages left to go. And then it was time to decide if I would keep reading. I knew that if I continued on, I would read through to the end. I knew that I probably shouldn’t, that I had to get up early and get work done, that I’m not a teenager anymore, that summers can’t be spent as if I have nothing to do.
At around 2:00 a.m., I finished the book. It made me cry.
I turned out the light and watched fireflies out the window for a bit.
And now this morning, of course, I am exhausted. But it was worth it. A good book is always worth it, and feeling, just for a night, that it is summer and I can stay up late and do whatever I want, even if that includes dancing with fireflies in my dreams…. that was just what I needed.
My life is changing this summer, as it does every season, but this year, it is different. I gave myself the gift of time, giving up our summer jewelry shows because I missed my garden, missed my reading, missed having time to notice the fireflies.
It was a hard decision, a risky decision, an “I’m not at all sure this is the right thing to do” decision. But last night, I was very, very sure.
Sometimes you have to give up the things that aren’t working.
Sometimes you have to pull the weeds that have crept into your life to make room for the flowers.
And sometimes, you have to stop everything and just sit for a moment, enjoying the view.
i don’t have to walk far
to get to perfect
and by this i mean
because the other kind
exists only on paper
and in the smiles of children
and it is only
in the learning to admire
those tiny bits of life
with scratch and bruise
the rose half eaten
by a japanese beetle
on your face
in the polka dot bowl
you bought me
the tan lines
the skin i settle into
a little further each year
that i can stand here
trying to hold
and of course
it slips through
bits of hope
and sadness, tears
you caught with kisses
and a gallon or two
of little girl
i don’t even try
to catch them all
the three left
resting in my palm
on the shores
Recently, my son moved out. It’s not the first time, it’s the second, so I wasn’t overly traumatized, but it is a big adjustment.
We are empty-nesters once again. Dynamics change, patterns shift, life changes. And goes on.
We miss him very much, but we are happy to see him moving forward in life.
Two weeks after he moved and got settled in, he came to pick up the one of our five cats that is his.
She is the playful little girl cat, the one who gets along with everyone, the mediator. My son found her in the middle of the road when she was just three weeks old. We had a hard time getting her to eat at first, she wouldn’t take formula from a dropper, and finally we made a mash of food and formula that she dove into, face first.
Every time she ate, her entire face would end up coated with food, and she cleaned herself so often that she rubbed all the hair off her nose. She is the cat that has always made us laugh.
But, we are adjusting, we know that she is safe and is on the next adventure of her life.
Our other cats however, are having issues.
We can’t explain to them that she isn’t truly gone forever, she is just someplace else. And so, they search for her, they mourn, they wander the house.
The kitty in the photo (Missy) is our second oldest, the mother hen, the brooder. I took her outside with me the other evening, and she kept searching the horizon with her eyes, scanning the woods near our house, looking for Charlie.
Our second oldest cat, Pepe, is the silent type, the steadfast sentinel. It’s hard to tell what he is feeling, but he wanders the house and keeps trying harder than usual to get outside.
Naughty kitten, “He Who Must Not Be Named,” is hardest hit, Charlie is his best friend, in truth, the only other cat in the house that truly likes him. He is lost. Two nights ago he somehow managed to wiggle his way up under the quilt on my bed, and lay there like a lump under the covers for quite some time. He’s never done this before. He has spent twice as much time inside as normal, he is restless, angsty, needy, sad. He misses his playmate.
I try to explain to him that she is not gone like George, she is just somewhere else. But, of course, you can’t explain these things to a kitten. And yes, this means I talk to my cats.
Only our oldest cat, the Queen, is unaffected. She has never cared much for any of the other animals that have come into our lives.
You may think that I am crazy, attributing all these thoughts and emotions to cats, but I have lived with them all long enough to know their patterns and habits, and the change is clearly visible.
This weekend, we plan to have my son bring Charlie for a visit. Hopefully, that will make everyone feel a bit better.
Because as far as these cats are concerned, this empty nest stuff is for the birds.
And I am a a slightly crazier crazy cat lady.
there’s a crack in the wall
just above the staircase
that returns no matter
how many times i
patch it up
a few months later
there it is
i moved here
some 26 years ago
this house was moved from
two roads over
on a flat bed truck
then hauled across fields of corn
and set down here
in this new spot
a new history
this land this view
but that crack
is always there
just to remind me
of the many
sometimes prickly and mostly silent
really quite hairy and a bit grey ’round the edges
forever watching over the brood
determined and hard-working
always ready to tough it out
even in those times of drought
beneath the barbs and bristles
a gentle heart of gold
beating in a forest
Happy Father’s Day to my old man
and all fathers everywhere.
Perspective is a tricky player. And there are days when you are blinded by the hand you are dealt, full of jokers and and clubs and spades. Days when you can’t see past the black humor of life.
Days when the good hides in the bottom of the deck and the bad, that ugly jack, gets turned face up.
And you know it’s all a game, that soon it will be over and life will go on the way it always does and next time you play you will get a hand full of diamonds. Or hearts.
And you know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that bad anyway, everyone loses sometimes, everyone gets beat, or drops a card on the floor, or gets stuck playing 52 pick-up. My brother used to love pulling that one on me.
This has been a week like that.
A week that will pass whether I win or I lose, and some weeks, that’s just the way it goes.
I keep trying to focus on the good. I’m usually much better at that than I have been this week. This week that started out just fine and then turned into one small calamity after another. All small, all survivable, all just tiny blips on the big screen of life.
And now I’m mixing metaphors.
That’s okay, life is like that, too.
And I have this photo of this bird that came to visit me on Monday. And that was very, very good.
And every so often, if you stare at it for a long enough time, the ugly can start to look beautiful.
Any second now, I just know I’m going to draw the queen of hearts.
Come on, hit me.
is always the one
no one’s expecting
and full of
…….and the burden
…….of its own dead weight
…….i pretend my back
…….is stronger than
…….this mess you’ve left
…….in the kitchen
…….the places you’ve
…….and i could follow
…….if i wanted
…….solve the puzzle
…….work my way up
…….to the big
…………i gather up sponge
…………and broom and
…………this tired old
…………as i work
…….the job is finished
…………and my floor is
…………but my hands
……………..and only then
……………..i call your name
The best thing I did this week was the run I didn’t have time for.
Some weeks are like that, so filled with work and responsibilities, that you forget to look up, enjoy life. You forget to breathe.
I did have a few hours with my husband and my windmills on Tuesday, and in many ways, THAT was the best part of the week, but then the next thing I knew, it was Friday afternoon and my body just started screaming at me: run. I haven’t been in several weeks, all this gardening has been tough on my knees, but I haven’t done that this week either and my knees were feeling fine. My carpal tunnel on the other hand… oh my. My body needed to move.
And so, despite the fact that it would mean working later on a Friday than I wanted to, I got my gear on and headed to the trail. Before I even started running, as I was walking for my warm-up, I spotted a pair of cedar waxwings just above my head, doing the sweetest little courtship dance. The were snuggling and chirping, bobbing and dancing, ruffling up the crests on their heads. Acting like love birds. And just like that, there was a big smile on my face.
It was a good run, 4.5 miles, which these days, for me, is quite a feat. The weather was just perfect, not too hot, clear and sunny, and I felt myself breathing again, taking in the green and the trees and sun. Feeling alive.
On my way back down the trail, as I was walking to cool off, a Baltimore oriole landed in a bush right next to me and started eating berries. Another bird I rarely see, and he stayed for several minutes, not at all concerned about my presence as he ate his fill.
It was the day of beautiful birds. And I was happy.
I went home and finished the work I had left to do, and finally, much later than I would have liked, made it outside to sit in the garden with a glass of wine and Ben Webster in the background. As I sat there with a purring kitten in my lap, exhausted and content, I spotted a dragonfly in the stones a few feet away.
At first I thought it was just resting, it fluttered its wings every so often, but after some time had passed and it didn’t move, I went to investigate. I saw no visible damage, and picked it up on a stick and placed it on a hydrangea bush with big, soft, green leaves, but clearly, the end was near. I sprinkled some water on the leaf it rested on, and knew that I was witnessing the death of a dragonfly.
A small death in the grand scheme of things, very small, really. And yet, I was filled with sadness.
So much in this life we take for granted. Some days, some weeks, just the simple fact that we are here, alive.
Just one tiny afternoon filled with tiny miracles and tiny tragedies.
And big, big lessons.