In response to the increasing number of church members who prefer to stay in their homes as much as possible, the LDS church has created a hermit ward. The idea is that members can participate in church activities without having to leave the comfort of their homes. The ward also has the largest geographical area […]
This is one of my favorite writings. I actually wrote it about 6 years ago on a writer’s network called Open Salon, which I don’t think exists any longer. Thank goodness I was able to pull it up somehow and bring it here. I have a new bed in a new house with an added surprise I want to write about soon. “Stay tuned”……..
Often, and again this morning, as I’m making my bed, the thought goes through my mind as I spread and straighten the sheets, “I love my bed!”
This past winter, I bought heavy, micro-fiber gray sheets for it that felt cozy and warm on a cold winter’s night, inviting me to snuggle down into this warm bedding.
With the arrival of spring and the awakening of the newness this season brings, I had an urge to replace my fluffy, gray sheets with something crisp and bright. Spring colors. I wanted to feel the different texture of crisp cotton when I crawled into bed and wanted to see some bright, happy colors when I tossed back the covers. I was tired of the dark, heavy winter sheets and wanted something to match the new season. I found exactly what I was searching for, small stripes in pink, lime green, purple and…
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February 1st, 2016….
A few days prior to this, we were experiencing a nice reprieve from the blistering cold (not much snow yet). We were working on outdoor projects and hardly even needed a jacket. I asked my husband, who grew up in snow country, if he thought we might be done with winter, finally! He retorted without a moment’s hesitation that we probably hadn’t seen the last, or worst, of it yet. I really didn’t believe this. Spring was in the air, buds were even appearing on the lilac bushes and I had seen a few Robins, clearly the first signs of spring. February 1st proved him right though.
The next morning, I learned of the big snowfall via a text from a daughter, living 45 miles away in a similar high altitude with the same record snowfall in her area. She told me they had called a snow day so she, as a teacher, and all the kids got a free day off from school! She also said all roads leading into her town were shut down. This was big news. It takes a lot of snow to bring things to a screeching halt like this. And there was a LOT of snow.
I got out of bed and went and looked outside, towards the front of the house where the streetlight revealed just how big! I was shocked at the thick blanket of snow hiding large articles in our yard. Many reported not even being able to see small cars in their yards. Our picnic table, out back, was completely covered as were so many other things. It was, well, exhilarating to wake up to such a transformation overnight!
The first photos I took were partly shrouded by the predawn darkness. A streetlight, in front of the house, was the only means of revealing this wondrous site.
An inner knowing told me this was not going to be an ordinary day. Something sleeping within me was awakening and alert to events that were coming but still unknown to me. I spent a lot of time snapping photos and reveling in this miracle. I found myself being “put back” into the right order of things, no longer the one in charge of every aspect of my life. I was the observer and nothing more. It made me feel giddy.
After the sun came up, my husband dressed for the cold and went out and began shoveling pathways around our acreage to get around to the places necessary to get to.
He claims he shoveled 400′ of pathways and seemed somewhat resentful that I did not help in this chore. I let it slide off and remained transfixed in my magical bubble of this winter wonderland consciously deciding nothing would intrude on my happiness. I was in an entirely different place than he was and exhilarated to slip into this transcendent state of being. I was busy with other important things like being exceedingly happy, excited and beguiled. I felt like baking and began filling our home with smells, the scent of hot bread in the oven and warm teas. I even made myself a cup of hot, peppermint cocoa that is only on my shelf for the grandkids (usually). I never touch the stuff due to my intolerance for sugar but today was different, and found me doing things out of the ordinary. I found “It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter” on You Tube and played it and other wintry songs, until all that was left were Christmas tunes and this was not about Christmas.
Our day went on in this manner. Chatting with friends on Facebook who were experiencing similar things on this beautiful first day of February. Their stories were also filled with awe and wonder. I felt exceptionally creative and used my newly painted chalkboard for the first time! I was waiting for it to “cure” before writing on it and wasn’t sure it would even “work”. I wanted to make some kind of statement about this magical day that was inspiring me to go to work creating the event in chalk, colored chalk no less, as my first artwork on my newly made chalkboard.
I regret very much that I did not take a photo of my Feb 1st artwork. It had big snowflakes and was a wonderful tribute to the day. My creativity was really overflowing and I was very caught up in this sphere of magical energy spilling out in so many forms.
A Favorite Picture
More photos of the day….This is a natural arbor formed by two trees we usually drive under
to enter our parking area:
The day wore on in this manner and then the tractors began arriving…
Living in a farming community has its advantages, as I was to soon learn.
Being a “city girl” I missed the amazing bike trails and almost daily events going on in my favorite city, St George, just 36 miles away and always wished for the day we could return there to live. This has been my constant rhetoric, pleading with my husband (the country boy) to return to the city I loved. I never really allowed myself to bond with the beautiful country we now call home. The people were all kind, really great people to know and live among; the summers were much more appealing than the triple digits of St George and even the trips to St George were inspiring, driving through the forested mountains to reach it. I just wanted to “go home”, back to the place where my roots began, my mother’s home town.
As the bubble began wearing thin and the stark reality of the state of things began interfering with my happiness and glee in this winter wonderland, I could see there was going to take some real labor to get us to even become mobile again. Our vehicles were locked in. At first I didn’t even care. I had no place to go, no place other than this beautiful, magical area I wanted to be in for the moment. But, as all good things wind down, I began to realize we would have to leave at some point and matters of reality slowly interrupted my sense of living in a wonderland forever.
At first a man we have become friends with, who helps us quite often, arrived in his big green farm tractor. He shoveled our driveway out so we could at least get our main vehicle out. When questioning him about all this, he admitted he got up at 4:00 am and when seeing the situation got his tractor going and had been out doing this all morning. It was about 11:00 when he showed up at our place. I brought him out a big mug of steaming hot tea and our gratitude could not be rehearsed in a mere cup of tea but that was all we had to offer as he would not take any monetary or even trade for his work. We exchanged a brief conversation and he had to be off to help others in the same situation.
“What joy to see people helping one another.”
My husband, who has a small (broken down) Kubota Tractor felt perplexed that he too could not be out and about, helping others in need..as he used to do in his home town. We were totally dependent upon the goodwill of someone coming to our rescue now.
Harv got in our old farm truck and began bouncing over drifts of snow, trying to break them down so that the rest of our driveway could be driven over and to free the rest of our vehicles from their snowy prison. As luck would have it, at one point he slid into a tall water hydrant (faucet) and found the truck “high centered” right on top of the faucet! He had crawled under the truck to see what damage may have been done and clearly the faucet was bent and probably broken and it looked like even some parts to the underside of the truck might have been tangled up in the faucet. It didn’t look good. As we were wondering how he could even untangle the truck from the faucet another friend passed by on another huge farm tractor. Harv waved him down and he came and plowed out the other sections of driveways we have. He lifted the truck up and over the faucet with his mighty tractor then got down on hands and knees in two feet of snow to help Harv dig out the now visibly broken pipe, spurting water. He spent a good 45 minutes or more helping Harv find the main water shut off valve, buried deep in the snow then worked on digging up the 4′ faucet and capping off the pipe. He had been up since 7:30 and had not eaten all day. I fixed him something to eat, that he didn’t want, as he and Harv were working and set it on the seat of his tractor so he could eat it before having to leave to go help someone feed cattle before it got dark, which was quickly approaching.
The real magic of the day
was my finally falling in love with this little farm town and the good people living here. My heart was so full I felt like it could burst with love and gratitude. I realized what a very special place this little hamlet is, nestled on all sides by beautiful forests and farmland. Something happened to me on this wonderful first day of February. I decided to stay and “bloom where I was planted”. Someday, hopefully, I will return to the place of my ancestors. I still must go back, there are so many memories deep in my heart and soul and missing too many of the old folk who have moved on from there. I miss it very much. I miss my adult children, some of whom live there with my precious grandchildren. I miss the cousins I was just starting to bond and connect with once again. I miss my family as I see the people in this small farm town living and doing things with their families who live here also.
But, in the meantime….
I will strive to be happy wherever I am and whatever the circumstances. The events that transpired on this wondrous day on the very first day of the month of love taught me some new lessons I hope I never forget. My heart was filled to overflowing both from the magical wonder of nature’s beauty as well as the goodness of our fellowmen. That is a good feeling to carry around.
A post note:I couldn’t let our truckload of snow go to waste and came up with the idea of taking it down to “Sunny St George” and sharing it with my grand-kids living there, one of whom has never seen snow in his young life. I waited about three days before going down, hoping (ridiculously) that the snow would not melt from the truck before I had a chance to go down…it was like a walk in freezer the whole week and I should not have worried about the snow melting before I had a chance to deliver it.
Before we “dropped it off” in my daughter’s front yard, we stopped to eat at a restaurant and my husband nudged me and pointed to some other diners who had left and were out in the parking lot, taking a little nibble of the snow in our truck! How funny to have shared it in ways not even intended!
Donna nominated me to do this. I will give it a whirl, although, I pretty much have eliminated “Hate” from my vocabulary; it seems too permanent a word and our thoughts and opinions change on things, even things we hate today. Hate feels like a very ugly word to me.
Things I Love
1. F.A.M.I.L.Y. This may seem over-simplified but, by golly, these are the people in my life all the time in one way or another (physically or at least on my mind and in my heart). They mean the world to me. My grand-kids seem to have taken “Center Stage” in this realm; as young people they are so forgiving and non-judgmental. If only we could be more like little kids in this manner. They love me, from the inside out and could care less what I look like, etc. Some say that grand-kids are the reward for not killing our kids but I must say, I love my adult kids just as much. They have turned into friends. Sometimes my daughters feel more like sisters now. On and on…down to aunts, uncles, cousins….these are my roots.
Nothing quite takes the place of the familiarity of family.
2. “LOVE” As a young teen, I fell in love with the wrong kind of guy. He was the typical “bad boy” and like no one I had ever met. My Uncle Earl, who was more like a father to me than my father, (parents divorced when I was a baby) said that I didn’t know a thing about real love and was only:
“In love with Love.”
I see no better goal than to strive to live in a permanent state of being in love with love and life.
3. WATER I have quite a few blogs on my love of water. A few of my water blogs that describe this deep love affair I have with water are found here:
Why write anymore on the subject? These links cover it perfectly.
4. NATURE When I have been cooped up inside or running on full-speed too long to accomplish something that HAS to be done, after awhile I have to just go find a place of beauty amidst nature’s magnificence and dissolve into it. To lose myself in something much bigger and more grounded than myself. As I drive past mountain ranges on my way to the city, I have come to think of these edifices as sleeping giants who will someday awaken, shrug off their deep sleep and stand and be the Gods we do not see in their current disguise. (Just my private fantasy.) Or, they also feel like comfortable, wise, old grandfathers; sure and steady….unchanging no matter what us mortals are doing to stir up problems with one another.
I see God’s hand in nature, and I know I am not unique in this sensation.
5. THE MOON I love the soft light the moon sheds upon the earth through her various stages. From darkest black on a crescent moon’s night, where we can barely see the hand in front of our face, to the softer shadow of the full-moon which softens the rough edges of life. The moon heralds the end of day and the time of rest and rejuvenation. I am glad at day’s end to relinquish the duties and demands to another day and slowly unwind to my nightly ritual: a movie and garlic popcorn!
6. MY BED This next blog I wrote, falls easily after #5 on my “Love List”. I will just post a link to the blog and let you read what I have already written about my bed and why I love it so….
7. A GOOD BOOK/MOVIE Meaning something to “take me away” and at the same time teach me something about something I don’t know about. I love historical fictions where the history is intact and is also entertaining. Little bits of trivia one can pick up from a good novel.
8. MUSIC Ahhhh…what a song can do to us! It can lift our spirits, put us in a reflective mood and become a time-machine taking us back to an exact moment in our lives as we recall a person who shared that particular time with us. It’s just plain magic.
9. ORGANIZATION I am far from my goal of getting organized on all levels but at this stage of my life, this is very important to me. To be organized makes life run so much more smoothly. It also gives us a feeling of empowerment over our things as we clear out what is no longer useful or meaningful and creates way for what we need NOW to come into our lives. I have written a little on this subject as well.
A Sense of Order:
10. MY FAITH AND BELIEF IN GOD I am so grateful that I was raised in a home where it was just a natural thing to pray, go to church and appreciate all that we were given. To learn from Biblical Stories about the outcome of the way we treated others and to believe firmly in a God above who cared about me. There is so much comfort in knowing this.
If only I could live by these principles:
I mentioned at the beginning of this writing I very seldom use this word anymore. It just rubs me in such a horribly negative way. There are certainly things I do not like and even abhor and I will list those things. I prefer taking the teachings of the martial art form of Aikido that is strictly a defensive order of the martial arts. The first time I heard of this was in a magazine article I just happened to pick up and it really grabbed hold of me. It explained it in this way: If someone attacks you, you look at it almost as if you are engaging in a dance. There is no animosity on your part towards the other person. You are confident in your ability to stop the attack of course but you have no harsh feelings towards this person. This certainly can apply to the everyday confrontations we come across in our daily lives as well as an actual a physical attack. Jesus said to hate (I think he used that word) the Sin but LOVE THE SINNER. This makes perfect sense to me and takes away all judgement towards another human being, struggling with who knows what.
Using their (the attacker’s) energy against them, there are certain moves in Aikido to stop the attack and remain in your own, chosen, state of mind. (To act and not react.) I am striving very hard to stay calm in the face of someone else’s choice to live from a lower energy. It’s very hard to not get sucked into the meanness of a battle, which damages both sides. “Grace under pressure.”
I will attempt to list 10 things that I truly disdain…
1. BULLYING This probably tops my “hate list”. I have seen it, not only from a child to another child, but when I worked in the school lunch room I was appalled at the ways I have seen adults humiliate young people over very trivial things. Pettiness at its worst. Then, the bully who does physical harm to another is beyond toleration.
2. MEAN PEOPLE What more needs to be said here?
3. SPOUSAL ABUSE/CHILD ABUSE Don’t get me started on this. If anyone reading this falls into either the victim or the perpetrator; please get help. Do not allow this to be something that is part of your life.
4. LOSS OF VALUES I know a lot of people and religions are against R-Rated movies (a minority of people I’m sure) but in my humble opinion, I always felt mindless movies are far worse. Remember the old days of the stupid sit-coms where someone had to look stupid to make someone else look good? I think this is far worse and leaves me with a very empty, hollow feeling; more so than an R-Rating due to sexual scenes and/or violence; although, I also do not like over-violent movies and feel our kids are being fed this in huge doses, both in real life and in movies.
5. PUT DOWNS This goes hand in hand with things I have already mentioned. What about taking an oath to try to lift others instead of putting someone down. This is one of my favorite quotes:
6. GOATHEADS Okay, since we are dealing with a non-thinking, feeling entity here, I will say I HATE Goatheads. These are little puncture weeds that if stepped on drive deep pain into the point of entry. We had them profusely in our yard a few years ago, they are all over town in fact, and try as we may, we could not rid the place of them. We would track them in the house, unwittingly, from our shoes then walking around barefoot in the house were constantly driving these little devils into our feet. Every now and then, I would step on an exceptionally large one that felt like it had been dipped in poison! Pulling them out hurt as bad as when they went in. Ugh!
7. POLITICS Years ago I was too busy raising a family to pay much attention to politics. I don’t know if it’s because I have more time on my hands now or that it’s practically impossible to escape the atrocities going on in the world of politics but this is another sore spot with me, as with most others who pay attention to the wastefulness we see in our government and the unfulfilled promises politicians make. What happened when we, in the U.S., were a government of the people and by the people. Money. Most politicians are in it for the wealth. Crazy, America was built on the exact opposite principles of that and look what we have become.
8. CONSUMERISM We seem to be on a frenzy to buy, buy and buy more STUFF to clutter up our lives. We are also living in an age where nothing is built to last. In the “old days” it was unheard of to buy an additional warranty for products. They lasted longer than we did. I am weary of false advertising as well and it seems you really have to be awake and alert to avoid the shysters who are not happy with a base payment of something but must be instructed to see how much more they can gouge out of you. I just had this type of experience at a “reputable rental car” agency. I had to really stand my ground to avoid the way I was mislead into getting an upgrade that would have cost me $20 extra a day! I just wanted a sensible, fuel efficient car to get around in for a few days.
9. MARKETING SEX TO OUR YOUNG TWEENS We see this happening in the fashion industry as well as the toy industry. Sex and Violence sells. As parents and responsible adults, we need to take a stand on this and just say no. I feel it’s one greatest jobs of a parent, to preserve their child’s Innocence.
“Let Them Be Little” https://youtu.be/xU9SwD0Z_os
10. DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE I am truly disturbed by the naysayers who predict the worst case scenario in some new adventure or an attempt by someone else to do something. It’s amazing what the human spirit is capable of, thoughts turn into deeds when fueled with enthusiasm and a feeling of seeing the thing as a possibility.
“Those who say it can’t be done, need to get out of the way of those who are doing it.”
I have always struck out to do whatever vision I saw and knew in my heart I could do. Don’t ruin others dreams. You never know what someone may be capable of, even against all odds.
This is a very enlightening, educational post about a holiday in Catalan, near Barcelona (I think). I’ve never heard of Catalan but the title of the blog post caught my eye since I live near St George, UT and my family roots grow abundantly in this area. I enjoyed reading about something new, a new place with a “new” (to me) tradition associated with Roses and Books. What could be better than that!
La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day), also known as El Dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El Dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book) is a Catalan holiday held on 23 April, with similarities to Valentine’s Day and some unique twists that reflect the antiquity of the celebrations. The main event is the exchange of gifts between sweethearts, loved ones and colleagues. Historically, men gave women roses, and women gave men a book to celebrate the occasion — “a rose for love and a book forever.” In modern times, the mutual exchange of books is also customary. Roses have been associated with this day since medieval times, but the giving of books is a more recent tradition originating in 1923, when a bookseller started to promote the holiday as a way to commemorate the nearly simultaneous deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William…
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Assignment Details: Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. So, here goes:
The name of this blog is an unorganized mind, musings and memories….this title seems appropriate for today’s assignment…just write and don’t think about or edit any of it.
I am spending 3 days at my daughter’s house while they are going to Long Beach, CA to watch her middle daughter compete in a gymnastics event. She took 2nd place, overall, here in a state-wide competition and earned the right to go compete in CA in a Regional Event. They left quite late last night and I worried about them driving and arriving so late last night, wondered if when they got to Long Beach if they had to drive around an extra hour to find their lodging, etc. Life on the road can be exciting, fun and scary and even very tiring. I am a morning person so the thought of driving late at night and to a strange location and in busy traffic once they reach the LA area does not appeal to me at all!
This morning, after a wonderful night’s sleep, I let the little fur balls out. Two little mini Schnauzers, both stark black. Very pretty little dogs. They haven’t been groomed for awhile and I think they look much cuter this way. I called them little fur balls with a bark this morning. They are so fluffy and cute. A brother and sister who look almost identical. They look so cuddly, who would think that the brother, Lucky, can have quite an attitude around strangers invading his territory. He is a wonderful watch dog and a good protector of his family. He makes sure no unwanted people come around, even when they truly are wanted by the family, he doesn’t know that and only is accepting of people he’s used to.
Isn’t it strange, how a dog can be so kind and loving it its owner and so mean and even vicious to someone he doesn’t know. We have a hound dog, or, I should say, my husband has a hound dog, that has caused me much concern. He has “mellowed out some” now that he is getting a little older. When he was within the year old range, he actually bit a few people. My husband calls it “nipping” them. He is in denial quite often if he doesn’t like the reality of something, he creates his own reality. The dog, did bite. Maybe he didn’t draw blood, that is Harv’s distinction between a bite and a nip. It doesn’t matter if he instilled fear in the hearts of those he was intimidating and, believe me, a hound dog’s bawl can be mighty intimidating. This has been our “bone of contention”. I do not want anything in my yard or home to cause fear in company (especially young grandchildren who want to get out of the city and come romp and run around crazy in the country.) This is my biggest gripe. I want everyone, including these kids, to feel SAFE when they come to our home. This is more important to me than ANYTHING.
There’s my rambling, unedited assignment. Now, I will take the time to find and post a picture of Pluto. Maybe even the Fluff-Balls just to make this more interesting. I love photos, added to a writing. The visual effect adds so much to mere words. 🙂
Pluto is such a nice dog. He doesn’t even bother the other “pets” Harv has, like in the above photo when he got into the rabbit pen, by accident, and just rubbed noses with them. He never hurts the chickens and lets the two ducks peck on him and bug the heck out of him (they follow him everywhere and nip at him and annoy him to death and he puts up with them). He is like another dog when he is chained up. He scares everyone!
“Fur Balls with a Bark”
I apologize for not being able to remove the “red eye” effect. I couldn’t get rid of it. They are such cuties, yet, the male, “Lucky” can be quite a terror himself to strangers, like I said. My point: An owner may think their pet is the kindest thing in the world and it is, to them. We can’t bury our heads in the sand, though, and think just because they are so good to us and mean to others they are “nice” dogs. Pet owners need to be responsible for the actions of their pets. My daughter is super responsible for her pets and even takes measures to make sure they don’t bark and disturb nearby neighbors. Of course, living in a city, makes us more aware of being considerate of people living so close by.
I was working as the head cook at a health-resort-type place where people came for three weeks to drop bad habits and learn better ways of taking care of themselves. One of the guests who was there had made an appointment in town with a therapist who worked with “Soul Retrieval”. When the other clients staying at the facility heard of her decision to do this, there was a lot of “chatter” and concern. They even suspected she may be considering suicide. No one understood what Soul Retrieval meant. I did. I had heard of it before and knew it was a way of retrieving parts of ourselves we have lost somewhere along the way. It is a way of gathering those parts back up.
It’s a funny thing, we don’t even know we have lost parts of ourselves as they silently slip away. As we travel down life’s highway we seek that which feels right to us. We are drawn to the things that feel like “us”; whether in a certain style we take on or people we are drawn to. It is all in the process of “becoming”.
A snake sheds its skin once a year. It’s the funniest thing to see, the discarded skin a snake leaves behind. I have never witnessed the actual process of it shedding its skin but have seen different skins they’ve shed. You even see the eye holes in the skin, it’s like looking at the complete snake almost, it is so perfectly intact and yet the inside substance is gone. It’s very interesting.
I think we, as humans, do a similar thing as we grow and progress. Certainly the things that attract us at age 12, 16, 24, 38, 50 and 60 years old are not the same things. As we are grow and develop ourselves at these various ages, we are shedding the old “skin” and wrapping ourselves in a new cloak of new colors. We leave the old, outgrown, “outfit” (self) behind.
This is a natural process of progression from infancy to old age. Parts of us develop and change and, yet, some parts of us remain very much the same…our life’s blueprint doesn’t really change all that much.
Sometimes in the journey propelling us into newness, we accidentally throw the baby out with the bath. We lose some of our basic self to try to be something we admire that we see in someone else or an ideology, thinking we want to be that and we let a true essence of ourselves slip away. We lose parts of ourselves and don’t see it happening at the time.
Soul Retrieval Therapists have emerged as people who help us go back and pick up the pieces of ourselves we left behind on our journey.
LOST AND FOUND
A recent experience I had illustrates this so perfectly.
My husband and I had gone back to our old home-site, a cabin we had built together eight years ago then sold. We still had some things out there we hadn’t moved yet and wanted to retrieve some items we needed for an upcoming Mountain Man Rendezvous. My husband used to be quite active in these pre-1840 re-enactments of the American Mountain Men. He hadn’t done one for 13 years and had to go find some of these things from the cabin. There were 18′ tipi poles, long pine poles that are not easy to transport so were left till we had a reason to come back and get them. He also had three tents made of heavy, smoke stained canvas to gather up and a mirage of things he sold from the Trade Tent as well as outfits he wore. It is required in the Primitive Camping Areas to keep everything very authentic and pre-1840; which is no easy task.
I was growing tired, sitting in the heat of the day in this sand dune’s region where our cabin was situated and was complaining about not wanting to bring a lot more “stuff” back to our new home and have to store things that weren’t being used. I didn’t mind getting the mountain man items but he was “dawdling”, as is his style, to mosey along and have little concern about time. I was very weary and just wanted to go home.
He exclaimed at one point that I needed to come look at a box he found. I had no interest in any more boxes of “junk” and he had to coax me to come see it.
I finally dragged myself out of the truck and went to see what he had found. I opened the hardened, stain flaps of the dirty cardboard box and immediately felt parts of my lost self lodging back into me, settling into the places where they once lived. For there, within that box, were treasured items from my past. Each item I saw had a strong memory attached to it; the beautiful green-copper Maple Leaf sculpted in the exact replica of a real Maple Leaf I had bought on a family vacation to Vancouver Island, Canada. Lying next to that was a real Maple Leaf my dear friend, who had recently passed away, had brought home from a trip back east and had laminated for me.
I saw a doll I had made, two Pilgrim Dolls I had bought for Thanksgiving Decorations…the box was a treasure trove of my past. These were parts of myself adhering back into me. I could actually feel some of the gaps in myself being filled. I felt like I had come home. I felt whole again.
This is the best, real-life example I can conjure up of soul retrieval. I didn’t miss these things, I had forgotten all about them. Seeing them, in such a startling, surprising way, together in that old, dusty box, filled me with parts of myself I had lost along the way. It was a bittersweet reunion. Sweet to remember who I was back then and to know I am still that same person, sad and bitter because some of the people whose memories were in the box are no longer alive or a part of my life, like my ex-husband who was on the trip with me and my little children, who are now all grown up.
So there, in that dusty, dirty haphazard old shed in that dirty cardboard box that I had balked at even stepping over to look into I found treasures that were parts of my past, my forgotten self. The effect was very tangible.
Of all the things that are lost and found,the parts of ourselves we lose then find again are the most precious.
Daryl held on to Cynthia’s hand in a robotic manner. He wasn’t even aware they were holding hands as they strolled through Central Park with the bright noon-day sun peeking through the huge Oak Trees and creating funny shadow creatures everywhere, polka-dots of bright light and deep grays. Cynthia could feel his distant manner but was determined to not let anything dampen her spirits this day. Daryl was home, after three week’s absence, she was almost 25 weeks pregnant with their first child, a son, and a radiance shown out and around her that only a woman with child produces; especially her first child.
Daryl had spent the last few weeks in Boston, with his brother and sister, going through their parent’s home and sorting out their belonging’s after losing them both at once in a tragic car accident involving a drunken driver. As is often the case, the driver had no outward injuries to show from the accident. The deep scars he would carry around the rest of his life were the emotional, hidden wounds he could never erase . The accident had landed him in jail for a short stint and then on to a rehab facility where he was sobering up and facing the consequences of falling off the wagon, yet again.
The accident had disrupted six lives that would require time to adjust and heal. Two , would never recover; Daryl’s mother and father.
Cynthia had attended the funeral with him in Boston then flown back home to New York to continue on with her work-from-home free lance writing job for as long as she could before the baby arrived. She was glad to come back to New York as the heavy emotions back in Boston were hard to be around and Daryl’s unresponsiveness to her attempts to console him. She felt it best to let the three siblings be of solace to one another and attend to the necessary details without her, the outsider, only in the way.
As they rounded the bend at the huge park, following the sidewalk running parallel to The Lake, they both spotted her at the same time. A slight woman, probably in her late seventies, hunched over in deep concentration as her knitting needles “click-clacked” rapidly at the red wool object they were constructing in her lap. They couldn’t help pass her by and Cynthia tugged at Daryl’s elbow, bringing him to a reluctant stop right in front of the elderly woman as they approached her and could see she was kitting some kind of small child’s garment.
Cynthia struck up a quick and upbeat conversation with the woman who inquired of her due date and the sex of their child. Daryl sensed a feeling from the woman that they had interrupted her and that she would prefer sitting there, knitting in her own solitude. He subtlety hinted to Cynthia that they be moving along but she shrugged him off. She needed someone, right then, to help break the pent-up emotions between her and Daryl and persisted in this complete stranger as the source. On and on she went with the woman nodding now and then and offering small tidbits of polite conversation. Finally, the woman laid her needles down on top of the tiny sweater and looked up, catching the pain in Daryl’s eyes. There was an unmistakable understanding that flashed between the two.
A softening occurred in the woman as a subtle smile crossed over her expression. Daryl felt her deep, sincere compassion and that was all it took for his composure to melt. His bottom lip quivered uncontrollably and his shoulders began shaking slightly with the pent-up emotion he’d been holding in for three weeks now. He was the eldest sibling and had to be strong for the other two as well as most of the final arrangements and decisions fell upon him. So much business to take care of at a time like that. He had not given himself any time to mourn. That look the woman on the bench gave him was an invitation for the walled up dam to break lose. Daryl felt himself melt, all his feelings pouring down his cheeks, even through his nose. Water was running everywhere and the mask he wore, once cracked, melted in uncontrollable waves of anguish. He had no control over his muscles, nothing in his taut body would obey him. He was melting everywhere.
Seeing this, the woman motioned for Daryl to sit beside her on the bench. Gathering some composure, his first thought flew to Cynthia who was growing heavy with child and at first he resisted and motioned for her to sit, but the weakness in his knees bade him sit.
In low tones, Daryl explained to the woman on the bench what had happened three weeks ago. As he told his story, the details sprang up again, reminding him of the horror of that awful day. He fought for composure and once, leashing his emotions back in, apologized for the outburst. His attention turned again to Cynthia and he took her hand and pulled her down on the bench beside them. She appreciated the invitation this time, as she realized how far they had walked and sank down next to him.
This time, Cynthia allowed Daryl to lead the direction of the conversation, realizing the deep hurt and pain needed a way out. The woman on the bench, seeing the constraint between these two and easily summing up the situation before her, softened and turned her attention to Cynthia, a new mother-to-be who was caught in the cross-fires of this recent tragedy, a victim of sorts. She needed a husband, and soon-to-be new father, to be there with her 100% as the time drew near for their first child’s entrance into this life. So many people, so many needs.
The woman asked if they minded, if she could get their phone number and explained that when she finished the little, red, wool sweater she would like to make it a gift for their baby. Both Daryl and Cynthia were deeply moved by her gracious gift and gave her their phone numbers then after a little more polite conversation felt it was time to move on.
After Daryl and Cynthia had moved far down the walkway and were but small, hazy outlines the woman on the bench also found the wall that she had closed off inside of herself break loose and brought the little red sweater up to her face. She didn’t try to stop the tears falling upon it. She kissed the sweater and promised her little granddaughter, that she would never meet, that she was passing it on to a new baby boy and hoped she wouldn’t mind.
She’d found the sweater, that she had started to make six month’s ago, discarded in her sewing basket in her sun room a few weeks ago. She absently picked it up and began working the needles again, knowing its recipient would never wear it. She had begun “click-clacking” away at the red wool sweater in a robotic trance. Her own daughter, her only child, had been killed in a car wreck involving some teens who had stolen a car and taken it on a joy ride. Rowdy and high on youthfulness, they had taken a corner too fast and left the road and plowed into the mother pushing her newborn in a stroller on the sidewalk where the car crashed and stopped abruptly as it finally came to rest against an ancient oak.
All three of the car’s occupants had died instantly. Five angels soared heavenward in that instant.
The little red sweater would be a gift, tying these strangers together. Little did either the young couple, due to have their first child nor the elderly lady on the bench know that there would be a lifetime bond created because two people exchanged a look.
A look they had both been waiting for to set them free and onto their long, difficult, healing journey.
4-Wheeling at the Butte
I climb on the seat behind Harv on the bright yellow 4 -wheeler and wiggle around to get comfortable in my elevated position above him: “Room With a View”. Still I can barely see above the top of his head really so have to crane my head from side to side to see what’s in front of us. Sometimes I forget about what’s going on down the road and just look at the views I can see flashing by if he is going fast on the narrow, dirt paths we take out in any given direction.
Today, the skies are full of huge, cumulus clouds that hang very low and look like they are ready to pop. We figure that maybe we shouldn’t go too far in case we get caught in a downpour and need to head back home. We choose a path leading us behind the back of Elephant Butte, a pretty drive with two accesses back home although, once we get out there we “get carried away” and forget the weather threat and verge off onto an adjoining trail we haven’t been on before that leads us further away from “the butte”, the endearing name everyone out here calls this mammoth butte that is the background of our community, whose presence is as familiar as the little cabin we built.
Riding along, Harv slows down so we can enjoy the sights and scents. Out this far, with nothing else to compete against, the rich scent of sage fills your nostrils and you can almost feel the menthol effect even from a distance. Up close, I always slip some of the leaves off the stem, crush them a little and hold them close to my nose, sucking in the heady aroma that just about knocks you over.
My eyes dart from the red sand that is everywhere, to hues of sage, yellow flowers, deep greens of the pines and up at the saturation of the bluest sky I’ve ever seen as the 4-wheeler moves past these common points.
We start heading more north now, enjoying the scenery and the air passing over our skin as we ride a little faster. This is another fascinating ride.
We’re so caught up with the sheer joy of it we don’t notice, or care, that the clouds are gathering in tighter, piling up one-on-top-of-another and the marshmallow clouds are drawing deeper shades of grays into them. The little breeze is strengthening.
No matter how caught up we are in other things, this coming storm is beginning to show too many signs by now to be ignored. The one thing we have to pay attention to is the streaks of lightning flashing in all directions in the far out horizons.
We have ventured further from home than what we intended. Literally, “throwing caution to the wind.” We are a small part of this big scenario taking place, in fact, only a minor part through nature’s eyes. Just two fools out on a 4-wheeler too far from home. Realizing our mistake, we now fear there is no way we’re going to beat the storm home.
Big, fat drops of rain start hitting us…almost one at a time at first. Plunk, one here; plunk another one there…we can almost count them as they fall.
Harv has sped up the pace now, taking the rough little path we ride on quite fast and furiously hitting every little bump in the road and driving as one with a purpose; forgetting now about comfort and, I fear, even safety. We are literally flying home and the rain drops are growing more steady, too fast to count now. Between the rain, wind and the speed of the bike it feels almost like a sleet of rain hitting us hard. The sensation is like little pin-pricks hitting us in different places all at once. I pull my head into Harv’s back to try to cover my face. He’s put on goggles, that blur quickly from the steady stream of water running down them.
We’re really going fast now and I yell in Harv’s ear, trying to be heard above the full-fledged storm that has added some thunder and lightning to its arsenal as well, that it feels like we’re galloping a horse home at break-neck speed. We are racing over this rugged, primitive terrain still laughing like fools with a mixture of worry, fear and excitement, we feel like cowboys in days gone by flying over the ground on a pony. It’s an exhilarating experience that has seized and heightened each sensory perception. The sage, now that it is wet, grows so pungent, it is the only smell out there. You could drown in the smell of wet sage!
“…Saddle up the horses cause we’re headed for the hall of fame.”
A line from the song,”I’ll be your Belle Star, You Can be My Jesse James.” From the album, “All the Road Running” by Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris
As we near our property and the familiar landmarks appear, we know it’s only a short time before we pull through our heavy, back-gate with the white Buffalo Skull Harv nailed above it.
I jump off, like the coward I am at times, and run for the house; leaving Harv to pull the 4-wheeler into the shed, turn it off and head inside himself. I start heating water for hot tea. I argue, to myself, that this is a good excuse for me to get inside first; to prepare things to comfort and warm us after being soaked to the bone.
Sitting on the upper, covered, deck we sip our hot tea and gaze out at the downpour and the spectacular lightening show preceded by deafening claps of thunder.
We made it home just in time.
To think, just a few minutes ago, we were high-tailing it home like outlaw-cowboys on the run, trying to race the wind.