I am christening my evolving new blog with an evolving old poem. :^)
She wakes this morning with one foot secure And the other rumbling, tumbling Concerned for something quite unknown.
It is spring today. There are fast moving finches And curious beaks pecking the tall birdhouse Between the patio and kitchen window. (What happened that night it and the chirps inside Fell to the ground, only a scattered feather or two Telling a vague and troubled story? )
One foot secure, she is still in this moment— The stillness of the kettle just before it steams-- Wondering how anything could be amiss on a promising day: Curious how she could today Feel unsettled, lost and found, Either way with empty pockets and full up gratitude.
She looks at this grateful dog And in her mind reviews Every reason this is a good good day. There will be time to plant the peas And plan the garden. There will be no work today, no chores to speak of. No sickness, no broken promises, no unexpected loss. No late payments, no betrayals, Not even an empty gas tank.
Today is a good day. She asks ever so slightly, a moment before the commitment is made: How she can be so wise, and so lucky,
So alive and so aware And too, so paperthin?
She rises from the night, Feeds the dog, makes the coffee, Answers the phone, picks up the mail, Calls the dentist, waters the plants, Readies the peas:
Every act born of cautious hope For a good good day.
Repair work is needed on my blog which as you may notice no longer looks like my blog. Great minds and capable hands are helping me sort out what I (accidentally) managed to do to reinvent myself here and not in a good way :^). At least I can post and upload pictures and comment to my heart's content. In the meantime, despite my almost total resistance to the point of whining, I am forced to learn a small something about html's and how logic would work if only I were more logical. It is spring and despite the rain it is not a time for complaints of any kind. So I will just say thank you for stopping by, your comments are as welcomed as Hersey's Kisses, and I'm sorry for the lack of color here. For now. Just for now. Love kj ♥
Well! Here I am on almost Bunny Day, which kj said I shouldn’t call it that because she said Easter is about something very more serious than what I celebrate but I am sorry because all I can think about is:
1. Solid Chocolate eggs 2. Carrots dipped in chocolate 3. One giant chocolate rabbit wearing overalls and a pink hat with a flower 4. Mutilcolored Jellybeans 5. Marshmallow chickens 6. Grape lollipops
I hope if you celebrate Easter or passover too that you are thinking like I am and not ignoring even m & m’s and Cadbury cream eggs and Reece's peanut butter cups it you want to have some or give some to somebody who would smile if you gave them one. Or you could dig up a plant in someone’s yard and maybe put it in your own pot and keep it near your bed or maybe even give the plant to someone nice or someone you want to be nice.
See this picture? Do you think the rabbit in the picture is me? kj draws me flat like a pancake trying to look like a silly imp and lo drew me dancing and adorable and Sonja drew me zany and babs made me slinky cool and mim made me a cartoon, which could make me famous in which case I would have to give her at least 15% of all the money I made except that my business manager jos will probably need some money too.
So guess what? do you think this picture is me? Yes!This is exactly what I would look like if my ears flopped down instead of up and I weighed more and were older and I were sweet. Hahaha!
I really cannot concentrate on anything right now except candy and jellies and lollys. I hope you are smart enough to know what your priorities are like I do so you will not waste your time on worrying or working because if you do that you will miss your own candy and jellies and lollies, metaphorically speaking*
*kj added this 'metaphorically speaking part only because she knows and i know too that what are jellies and lollys for one person may be junk food for another, so everyone should find their own substitute that makes them as happy as candy makes me and then let that be the most important thing.
My blog is bound to have a new appearance. But I wasn't counting on it tonight. If I knew how to change it back, or change it forward, I would. But for now please indulge me while I take a bit of time to figure how to get my sidebar back and my colors back and the layout to my satisfaction. Maybe I'll even hit the template upgrade button. I have very little idea what I'm doing and god bless all of you who try to help me. Just for the record, I may not have computer skills at a very high level but I like people and that gets me far. :^)
For one thing, I am finally able to visualize my second book. Its bones will be written this summer in Provincetown and I am feeling ready. I have 200 plus first draft pages written already, begun at a hard time, in the format of snippets--one or two paragraphs that tell a story on their own but are also part of a larger whole. I'm not sure that format will remain. But I do know this: whatever I write and however I write it will be driven by my own integrity.
I've had trouble uploading photos this week but I somehow knew the problem would fix itself and as of tonight, it has. So here is some of my week in pictures, not counting the garden that got raked today and the sunflower and zinnia seeds that got planted in little pots tonight.
I wanted you to see that the runners of the Boston Marathon were not all fancy atheletes. These folks had run 20 miles already when I took this photo. I could not have been more inspired.
She won't like this photo: I can hear her now. "Mom, what were you thinking? that is hideous!" But I don't see it that way. This is my Jessica, she is very beautiful, and I love her to the moon and back.
I love being in and around Boston...
And I love where I live in Western Massachusetts.
And I love my new kitchen:
It's not put back together...
But it's very darn sweet. I'll be happy in this space. That's no small thing to say outloud.
. We are driving together after an exhausting day and JB and I are not patient. At first we snip a comment or two, and then one of us adds a pinch of sarcasm. It didn't take long after that to begin arguing.
"Dammit JB," I say. "You drive me crazy!"
"So do you," she snaps back.
Then, from nowhere: Sillypants.
We have forgotten that Mr. Ryan age four is in the back seat.
I turn around.
"Ryan, what did you say?"
"Sillypants," he repeats.
And then he says, "That's what you say when people are fighting and then they stop."
"Ryan, who told you that?"
"You made it up yourself?"
To recap: two adult woman start bickering and arguing with one another and it's headed nowhere good until a four year old little boy intervenes.
It was the best diffusion he could think of.
It worked so well I am recommending it without reservation.
Have you ever seen a Marathon? It's a 26.2 mile race, including, in the case of the Boston Marathon, a grueling stretch called Heartbreak Hill at the 20 mile mark: this year, 27,000 runners competing with themselves to the finish line.
Watching the runners today was enough to restore my faith in humanity and in our collective ability to know what matters and to get it right. It is thrilling to watch the effort and grit required to run a marathon.
There were men and women of all ages, running alone, running in small groups, running by the hundreds, pushed forward by their own determination and the steady claps of a grateful crowd; wheelchair athletes, a few folks in their 70's, so many pretty regular people who had trained their bodies and minds for this race, for this time.
There was one special runner.
His name is Mike.
He is my son-in-law.
Mike never ran a marathon before. His number and ranking was 22,524 out of 27,000. He trained himself for months, wanting to finish in 3 hours and 50 minutes.
We his family and Janna who is also family had to be out of the house and on the road by 7:30 this morning so we could get to the other side of the route that would be closed to all but the runners.
We took ourselves out to breakfast, walked a bit to a spot midway up Heartbreak Hill, and we watched elite men with low numbers, 3, 12, 23 fly by as if they had wings on the soles of their shoes. We waited for how long? two? three hours? before we saw Mike.
We saw him coming fast and his four year old son--Mr. Ryan--saw him, and he looked unbelievably fantastic. He stopped to kiss Ryan and then Jessica, his wife/my daughter, and then he ran another 6 miles, finishing what he set out to do, 45 seconds above his goal.
Jess and Janna took the subway to meet Mike at the finish line and Ryan's three grandmothers took themselves and him to Dairy Queen for ice cream.
Later he talked to his father in the car by cell phone.
"Daddy,how are you? did you finish, daddy?"
Ryan gasped, then smiled a mile wide.
"Oh Gram, BB, Mimi: Daddy finished!"
I will never forget the sound of that four year old little voice, beaming about his daddy.
He finished alright. Yes he did. Quite nicely.
(Mike, if I'm off on your actual or projected time, please forgive me. Writers do that sometimes: they come close but not always accurately. I tried to be a good listener....) xoxoxo
I wrapped up a long day of work and spent tonight with a sisterhood.
JB and I and 49 other women were invited to a local restaurant called the Apollo Grill for an specially planned evening of meeting and relaxing with one another. Our friend Lori invited us and it was wonderful: talented, interesting, women ready to enjoy a good meal, clink drinks, and sing-a-long together. I sat beside a woman named Evelyn Harris who was the guest performer and a singer in Sweet Honey and the Rock for 18 years. I don't know how or why she ended up here in the Pioneer Valley but her music was sweet and when she sang she rocked the house.
JB and I sat with a woman who paints wall size canvasses of amazingly realistic apples and pears; a professor of photography at a local college, a naturalist who raises standard poodles, a private practice psychiatric nurse, the owner and CEO of a disability consulting firm (our friend Lori), and Evelyn Harris, who shook her bones and sang so deeply from so deep within that she had all fifty of us on our feet rocking and clapping and belting out "This Little Light of Mine" and another that assured that Everything's Gonna Be Okay.
I want to tell you that it was just awesome to be in the company of women like this sharing the theme of the evening, which was about Friendship and Balance. And it was.
But I have to say I looked around and saw a collective weariness too; an uncertainty and an inability to just relax, coast, let go...a desire to hold on to the slippery slope of balance.
Why is balance so elusive? Hell, I only work part-time and almost every day I am juggling and wondering how I will carve out my time, how I will get the chores and demands done so I can play and gallivant and prioritize and practice.
I wonder if my own Mother felt this kind of low grade uncertainty and exhaustion? I don't think so, I really don't. Her world was less complicated, with fewer choices and stronger roots. Perhaps the state of her world was no less secure, but she was and her family was. She did not worry about violence, bankruptcies, natural disasters in the same way. They may have happened but she didn't expectthem to.
The women I sat with tonight, and I include myself, worry more and play less. I could see it on too many faces.
Now why is that?
And beyond the why, WHAT allows the change from worry to contentment? I have a suspicion the "what" may be smaller than we dare imagine.
Here in the northeast it's been the longest winter. There has been snow on the ground for months now, constant frigid temperatures, black skies by 4:30-5:00 each night. . But not today! Today my part of the world welcomed spring. The sun was bright & the sky was brilliant. It was a perfect first day to get reacquainted with my yard.
There is not much I like better. I pulled out my rake and in a tiny area in the front yard I picked up leaves that had accumulated from last fall. There is rich soil where I live: my yard was once part of a large farm. It was so good to see that black soil again. Tomorrow morning I will walk out my kitchen door and delight that one small patch of land is now clean and ready for plantings.
Here's some of what made me happy today:
JB's Magic Cottage: once a shed, now a studio
It's really not this bad. The kitchen is getting its low budget remodel and the garage is storing our sink, stove top, two by four pieces of wood. Tomorrow new Corian counters will be installed. I am over the moon with anticipation. It doesn't take much to excite me which, personally, I think is a good thing.
If there is any rationale for four seasons, a huge one is early spring when the ground literally cracks itself open. This is rhubarb breaking through. In time these buds will have one and two foot leaves.
Is this a message? Hieroglyphics?
There are a variety of plastic lizards in my yard. JB likes lizards. I try to ignore them...
I got this trough for my birthday last year. It is very old, from China, where it was used for chickens. Soon I will fill it with water and float my first flower in it. As long as I have a small container of water somewhere outside, and maybe a splurge of one lily pad, I'm happy.
I will have a small vegetable and flower garden and JB and I will landscape some. We will work, break for lunch, sit on the front steps and then in the backyard chairs, and we will walk around the yard on the lookout for whatever peeks out. I love this time of year, and I'm grateful for it.
It's a quiet night after a busy week. Sunday morning I'll get to read the Sunday paper and maybe rake a few leaves. Spring is trying to arrive and the sky knows. .
Here are a few current thoughts: .
"The past is never dead. It isn't even past." william faulkner
"When I'm alone I practice my oscar speech and I never forget to thank you." . .
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
When is a door not a door? when it's ajar .
And finally, I have no idea when I wrote this poem.
It's titled FLU.
First my head ... Makes me stay in bed... Then my lungs...My teeth and tongue...Sore and tight... It’s just not right...My arms and legs... Weigh two kegs.,,,I deserve... To be better served... Than this sorest throat... That can’t emote...Even my toes... And both elbows... Not to mention... No attention... To my many chores... And open doors...On my sleepy pillow...I’m a weeping willow.. .I rest my head... And pretend I’m dead...I feel like lead... What’s worse instead?... Damn! Damn!... I’ve been slammed! ...There’s nothing here... to misconstrue..... I have the fricking flicking flu. . . .