Unknown Chance…

Solitary red.
Solitary red.

In the midst of sadness and grief over losing my cousin at the age of 35, I learned again the value of spreading your wings and testing your faith in life.

For some, staying immersed in a life that is comfortable and challenging to maintain, seems like the safer and more obvious choice. There may be missed opportunities, times when going left instead of right, was a chance worth taking. The Unknown.

There are moments that are hazy, hopeful, glimpses into the future of what might be….but the road is scary, blurry and unknown. What if you don’t succeed? Something whispers, “turn back, you don’t recognize anyone or anything here. Turn back.” Fear causes people to retreat, and fall back. There are loved ones surrounding you, encouraging you to leap. But if your fear is deep rooted and intertwined with the fears of others…though they love you mightily, they will not wish for things to change or for someone to grow into a person they don’t recognize.

Perhaps a beautiful and courageous soul cannot soar into the limitless possibility of their own lives when fear runs rampant through their spirit. If unwittingly the voices that are the loudest are also the ones that stifle ones faith in unearthing the treasures within, then it may be impossible for them to even try to vanquish every doubt and fear they possess. There is no recognition, no reconciliation, no expectation of the majesty, mystery and miracles that guide all of us in our daily lives. How can they be convinced to gamble their talents, wisdom, and love and to see what is as yet, unseen? How can they be encouraged  to believe they already came to this earth with all the tools they would need to live an extraordinary and joyful life filled with gratitude, self-love, and triumph? That life is grander and abundant and resplendent with beauty!

You can’t. It’s that simple. The lesson may be to know deep within yourself that God or your Higher Power wants you to emerge victorious. That there are bright colors, friends, family, strangers and magic all around. If you train your eyes to search for beauty, it’s all around us, through us, and in us. If we are open to it, the world isn’t just black and white. We can live in Technicolor.  Godspeed Love!

Abundant green.
Abundant green.

 

 

 

Silence in Summer…

What a glorious summer we’ve been having. It’s seasonal arrival was right on time and our family has reveled in its warmth and verdant views. It is truly a blessing after the winter of Snow and huddled nights under the blankets for warmth and comfort.

Spending most of my summer waking hours with my beloved sons, is a tapestry of color, laughter, and love that I will carry with me all the rest of my days. I take a piece of each of them with me, in every breath I take.

Still, there are days, I long for a lazy summer in the hammock, reading, drinking iced tea and the only sound for miles is the birds, squirrels, and the whispering of the wind through the shades of the over abundant and ever-present, green leaves. Silence is never truly silent, is it? There is always some sound or another present in the stillness. I long for it anyway.

I loved living on my own, in my own company. I loved knowing that when I got home the expectations and demands of other people, were locked safely outside my door. Their presence only required, if I requested.

Family life is nothing like that. You are totally ensconced in each other’s daily rituals, foibles, side jokes, habits, and plans. There is nowhere to hide even if you wished silently and perhaps fervently to. And believe me when I say, there are days that I wish to hide away from the inane and mundane, to run away and lounge about in a supine position, and veg., all day and night with a great book and drift mindlessly away.

So it’s ironic that when I finally get those rare moments of solitude and silence that I so longed/begged for; I miss the bedlam and mayhem that encircles my son’s lives like an orbit of chaos, where ever they go. I miss looking over and seeing their eyes alight with joy as they jump off the dock into the water, or ride their bikes, camp, pitch a good game, score a soccer goal, toast marshmallows, or pitch a tent in the yard. 

I miss their mischievous giggles when they are up to no good. Usually that means they are getting along even if they are teaming up to spray me with the hose or trick their dad into taking them to the lake for an evening swim.

I miss their curiosity and fearlessness that gets me to try things I would ordinarily wish not to try, simply by saying, “Come on Mom, you can do it”. This is how I found myself staring down at a darkened floor well at the “Drop Floor” ride at the local water park. I climbed into a sealed, coffin like, bubble tube and the floor dropped out from underneath me with a flourish and a thunderous jolt. There was a moment of sheer panic when my brain realized that the floor beneath me had disappeared. Soon I was falling, tumbling, choking, coughing, and swirling, awash in a giant, enclosed, snake-like, colored hose, with gallons of chlorinated water tossing me about like a stick in a stream. Abruptly, I arrived, spit out of the tube, and unceremoniously dumped, gulping down gallons of chlorinated water,  gasping for air, into a shallow pool awash with fluorescent lights and a cacophony of indiscriminate sounds, where the staff smiled benignly and perhaps with a bit of smirk, at my valiant effort not to drown. 

I struggled with as much dignity as I could muster, positive everyone had heard my lady like shrieks and screams throughout the park,  to get out of the water without further embarrassment or worse yet tears. Tears of joy mingled with tears of all-encompassing terror and fear. I am proud that my kids got to see me and my mom do something so terrifying and live to tell the tale.

So while I long for a day of silence from time to time, there is nothing like summer days and nights with your kids. Photographs and vignettes for the mind’s eye photo album. It makes me glad to know that I am building memories with my kids and that they know I love them so much that I would even take risks with them that no other people on the planet could ever convince me to take. Now that’s real love folks.

I hope everyone is having a blessed and joyful summer. I hope in the midst of the long lazy days of summer, you take sometime off to enjoy a bit of silence.

#summermemories

 

Lost and Found…

I have to admit that I lost my creativity.. Yup, it’s true. It just up and left me and at first, I didn’t even notice. I just thought I was doing the usual procrastination thing that I do when I don’t want to write. The one where I stall and decide that I need to reorganize the kitchen cabinets, do laundry, or (and this truly reveals the depth of my decline), clean the bathroom, rather than write or take a another photograph.

I stopped carrying my camera and that might have been a moment for reflection or pause, but I missed the warning signs, once again. Soon guilt tripped into the drama and I realized something was, indeed, off kilter. What could it be? Um, right, I haven’t had the urge, the passion, or the slightest interest in indulging in the one aspect of my life, that has saved my life, my art. Instead I invited the shadow dwellers of negativity to stop by and visit and I guess they never left and I never really noticed they’d taken up permanent residence.

Still, a small part of me kept encouraging myself to take a picture, sit at my computer and find my curiosity, wonder, and inspiration. It had to be out there, right?  I used to know just where to look for it. I didn’t ever have to look so far to find it. I didn’t recognize the signs of depletion and exhaustion that ate systematically through my joy and replaced it with a grainy, facsimile of my life. My priorities were all screwed up. It’s no wonder that I had lost my way. I was looking and walking down a totally different path than I had intended. It was time to get back to my world, my life, my spirit and let go of the things that are weighing my soul down. How?

I invited the shadow dwellers of fear and worry to leave and welcomed the bright light of restoration, reaffirmation, and reflection home in their stead. The veil of worry seems to linger longer than the rest, I guess that’s an improvement over my insolent indifference. I found myself walking along the road looking at life passing by and suddenly I stopped and looked back to see what had drawn my eye. It was nothing spectacular, a bumble bee, but the fact was, I saw it. I stopped to observe it and found myself enjoying the wonders of pollination and I realized, I found my creative muse right where I left it, outside, in this very moment. Turns out it wasn’t as far away as I had imagined. 

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

I think sometimes I am so caught up in my day to day grind that I forget what is happening around me. I complain because a class is cancelled or a check didn’t arrive on time or the damn squirrels are eating all the food out of my bird feeder…and then I am sharply reminded about real pain and suffering.

When someone I love is in unbearable pain, suffering in some way, my hear shatters with and for them. Recently a friend of mine was caught in the quagmire of grief and angst and there was nothing to be done about it. It was not pain of her own choosing but someone she loves more than anything. Her sorrow and palpable grief tore my soul asunder. I could do nothing to assuage her heartbreak, nothing but sit in the shadow of her hurt and to be present and bear witness.

Like falling down the rabbit hole, everyone who loves her is swept away in the torrent of her unspeakable, unshakable, unbearable agony. Down, down we all fall, tethered to her as she tumbles further into the abyss. All that can be done, is to fall silently, supportively, and soulfully into the darkness with her so that she isn’t left alone.

I know that I can’t heal or spare her this wrenching horror. I also know that by sitting in the stillness, the injustice, and sadness, I pray I am helping. It works against my nature to not be able to offer some solace or a game plan to ease her pain. Instead it is in the steadiness and assuredness, and the uncomfortableness, that I can show her my love, my loyalty, and my faith.

I try to remember and to focus on, all I can do is show up and pray that the waters will calm and she will commence sailing on smooth waters once again. Until then, I will weep, hug, laugh, and pray with every fiber of my being that she be free from this immense misery and that there will be a profound and magically lesson learned, after this tragic storm.

#friendship #sorrow

Cabin Fever

Usually I write when things are crazy. It’s how I cope but with the endless snow and the kids being home more than in school for the month of February, I’m exhausted. As if the snow days weren’t enough, we are coming to the end of February vacation and though I love my sons and would rather spend time with them more than anyone else on the planet, I can’t wait for them to go back to school. To get back to some sort of routine; theirs, and mine.

The snow is higher than my windows and I admit, I may be suffering from cabin fever. Oh sure, I’ve been out and about and working super hard but the white, whiteness of the snow is getting to me. Everywhere my eyes can see, there are mounds and mounds of snow too tall to throw snow on top anymore. Shards of ice dangle precariously from everyone’s house, and businesses, and the lakes and oceans are coated with huge chunks of floating, frozen, frigid white ice, far and wide.

I crave colors, green grass, the smell of fresh flowers, the warmth of the sun, and the water cascading over my head as I wade out to swim in the ocean. This is beginning to sound more like a plea for help or a message in a bottle from some foreign land. I’d laugh but I’m afraid it might sound a bit maniacal.

So hopefully, March will roar in like a lion and I know everyone here on the east coast will dance with fevered merriment and joy when the temperatures hit 50 and the only sounds we hear are the drip drop of snow melting, melting, melting. And our lives return to some semblance of order. I will end by sending the final snow photos for 2015 and hope that the next thing I write will be more optimistic and this winter will be something I talk about with nostalgia and not while gritting my teeth, my white teeth. I know, I’ve gone too far.

The freezing ocean
The freezing ocean
Dock frosting
Dock frosting

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#endless snow #cabin fever