Half Way Around

Traveling ’round the sun, it seems we’re always half way done.  Imagining the opposites, the contrasts, the dualistic ideals.  If what is happening now is somehow unsatisfying, we’ve only to think that on the other side of the globe, things are completely different.  Somewhere, life is cool and peaceful while we struggle with heat and violence.

If we expand our thinking, though, we realize that everything is…always.  It is cool and hot and peaceful and violent and slow and fast and everything in between.  It is then and now and never and always.  The distinctions and boundaries are simply concepts in our brains like the lines on the map that don’t really exist when you walk the earth.   All is.  Particular conditions arise and manifest particular things of which we become aware, but those materials have always been and always are in the world.  There are no beginnings, no endings. 

‘Tis a gift to be simple; ’tis a gift to be free; ’tis a gift to come ’round where we ought to be…  When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.  To turn, turn, will be our delight; ’til by turning, turning, we come ’round right. – Shaker song

Friday Night

What do you think about on the drive home?  (What can I make for dinner out of what’s left in the ‘fridge?)  How do you get comfortable?  (I take off my corset as soon as possible!)  Do you eat first or relax first?  (I eat and have a glass of wine.  Then I put my feet up.)  How long can you go before you fall asleep? (Not very long.  I often nod off by 8pm, and then I have to wake up to brush my teeth and REALLY go to bed at 10pm.)  Man!  Do I sound OLD!?! 

I have to be at work again by 8am tomorrow for an All Staff Meeting.  It’s gonna take me 45 min. to get there, too.  No boogieing for me tonight!  

My prayers to the Universe tonight include appreciation for the cooler weather today (a fleeting phenomenon…in the 90s again tomorrow) and a deep grief over the violence in our culture, a hope that kindness and respect for all life will prevail some day.

 

Barometric Change

I fell asleep next to the open window, listening to the deep, distant rumble of thunder.  The sky flashed like paparazzi bulbs in the south.  Finally, finally, after 4 weeks of drought, the rain came all the way down to earth.  In the morning, it hung in the air like a smothering wet blanket.  I dreamed that I was sitting in the bottom of a sleeping bag, zippering the top over my head.  My sinuses were heavy, and I couldn’t open my eyes.  My body felt a sea change that I had anticipated since yesterday when my temper flared unexpectedly at a chaperone scolding a young child.  Tension gave way; I sank to the bottom.  I could feel Steve beside me like the earth feels the sky when it finally comes down in a shower of healing touch.

In 33 more days, I will turn 50 years old.  I feel more connected to nature than I ever have.  I am more aware of my nature, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and more aware of the Universe around me.   I am more aware of my partner and my children.  I feel peaceful and mature, young and ancient at the same time.  I feel good.  Really good.  I am in love with my life…at last.

Too Darn Hot

I have been given the day off from my job at Old World Wisconsin.  When the heat index is over 100 degrees, we expect few visitors to the outdoor living history museum.  With my time, I imagine accomplishing all kinds of things, but in truth, I am simply sitting in front of a fan in the living room, drinking cold water.  I am surrounded by books.  “Savor” by Thich Nhat Hahn is right at hand, bringing mindfulness into my view, but what I am mindful of is the sun beating down on the roof next door, angling through the windows despite the mini-blinds, heating the air so that any breeze coming in feels like the blow-dryer set on High.  I imagine all the sweet corn that I want to be eating next month shriveling up in the fields.  The loss of that treat – roasted in the husk, dripping in fresh butter and seasoned with salt and pepper – is probably not as devastating as the loss of an entire crop to a farmer.  Dust Bowl conditions may be just around the corner at this rate.  We are all connected to the changes and conditions on this planet.  How can we be mindful and act compassionately as a community?  How can we become “solid, peaceful, whole, and well” and improve the well-being of the world through collective compassion?  And can we cause a sea change on the planet before our brains are so baked that we can’t think at all?  I retreat into distraction and immediately think of this song…

Drops of sweat tap dance down my trunk…

Conscientiousness melts into individual survival…

When will the healing rain fall?

Family Milestone

I have been absent from the blogosphere for a few days in order to be present at a family event.  My oldest, Susan, and her First Mate, Andy, invited a small contingent of family and friends to support them in a Handfasting ceremony.  We gathered in a woodland setting to witness their vows and verbalize our advice and wishes in a ritual with varied symbolism.  The result is, finally, that they are engaged.  They will now begin to plan the final steps toward Marriage, which for my daughter has been a big, scary journey into never-ending adulthood that has made her skittish for years.  This social event has her two sisters and at least one future sister-in-law completely ecstatic, and sent them into a frenzy of beautifying and picture-taking that reminded me of their school days on the cheerleading and pom-pom squads…

Girls will be girls

My son was much more restrained and tired from his night shift job and travel, but he surprised me by looking more like his dad than ever before. 

For Susan, the event put her in the spotlight in a way that made her very nervous and vulnerable, but to her credit, she was aware of the neurotic nature of that anxiety and owned it with humor.  Which only made her more adorable to Andy.

During the ceremony itself, I really wanted to pay attention to the real time emotion and meaning of the moment.  While others snapped pictures, I put my camera down and watched the expressions of my daughter intently as her beloved read his vows and she read hers.  Together they fashioned a three-stranded cord and allowed themselves to be bound together.  I was in tears watching and hearing and feeling and believing right along with them. 

Afterwards, of course, we had feasting and drinking and gifting at a Chinese restaurant.

If we all look like we are glowing and flushed, I can assure you it’s not because of quantity of drink so much as the fact that it was almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and it was, after all, an outdoor event. 

The heat wave continues, and the wave of good feelings does, too.  My daughter is grown and growing; she is building a very strong, very loving, very supportive relationship with a person she has admired since she was 11 years old.  And it is very good.  I suppose I can now take a sabbath rest for a day…I’ve been given tomorrow off from work because of the hot weather.

Pointing Your Canoe

Who do you want to be?  How do you want to live?  What do you want to do with your life?  Where do you want to point your canoe? 

Doesn’t matter where your canoe came from…Steve found this one at a garage sale

Strap it down and get ready to roll…

Set a course for your adventure and enjoy the ride!

Things I Learned on Mother’s Knee (or some other joint)

Steve’s mom had knee replacement surgery yesterday.  He called his sister after work to see how the procedure went (all well), and then asked, “So, did you get the old knee?”  She laughed, of course, but I was thinking it would be a great addition to our museum cupboard in the dining room.  Then Steve asked if it was legal to keep human bones.  Huh?  Hmmm.   I’ve discovered that there are no federal laws prohibiting the ownership or sale of human bones.  Prior to 1987, most bones were imported from India, and until 2008, China also exported human bones.  No more.  There are some state laws restricting the import and export of human remains across state lines, and Native American material is very much protected under the Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.   So we have a right to bear arms and bare bones.

She had her hip replaced a few years ago.   I wonder what they did with that?

The Museum