No Destination Required…

The summer flew by melting everything in its path and scorching the green ground beneath us. While September dawned, the acrid heat of summer lingered and fall snuck surreptitiously in the back door. The air is autumn crisp and it crackles with seasonal suspense. The winter is coming but first a display of the magnificence blazing colored leaves, dotting the horizon, a feast for the senses and artists alike. There are roads to be explored and adventures to be had around each corner. 

And so this summer began with my oldest son getting his driving permit. We practiced daily and for any reason, “out of bread? need air in the tires?”. It was disconcerting to find myself getting in to the passenger seat, watching my son navigate the roads with ease, and confidence, (it’s the confidence that scares me), and having no control. My youngest, urgently sensing the unforeseen benefits of his own looming freedom, suddenly became more interested in the mechanics and responsibilities of driving.

The sands of time had fallen one granule at a time and I found myself in the role of the wise (I’m going to leave the word “old” out for obvious reasons) sage. I sat transfixed, listening to my sons talk, unprompted, about their school, friends, hopes and dreams. If we had we been sitting at home, in our usual routines, I might have gotten a few grunts between bites of food, perhaps a head nod or two. But here in this magic car, in our own cocoon, seeking out unknown routes and looking for adventure, and most of all new places to eat, we were having conversations. We rode in comfortable silence, or debated philosophy, politics, religion, and relaxed while the countryside and it’s farm stands flew by. 

In these quiet moments of concentration, watching my sons driving, becoming young men, I sat back in silent gratitude and soaked in every moment. I prayed I would always remember this hot, hazy summer of their budding independence and hopeful dreams. The future, once far away, and out of reach seemed impossibly close, as if it was just around the next corner. I’ll cherish the memories of the smell of the freshly mowed grass as we drove by. Or the sticky ice cream cones that melted in their hands and made the two of them laugh like little boys. There were unexpected water fights, the ever-present eye rolls, non-stop suggestions, and the awkward hugs that feel more like small body slams by Olympic wrestlers wrapped in Axe body spray, than a soft place to land. 

The picture doesn’t look  how I imagined it one year ago but I do think my aunt would be pleased. I’m still looking forward to aimless magical rides throughout the seasons, on roads I have never been, looking for new adventures only now it’s with my sons. I have come full circle. No words necessary. No destination required.

The Wonder of Fall..

                  Sometimes I think we are losing our wonder about life. You know, the moments when you are sitting and wondering about how far we are from the stars and the moon? Why huge, murky gray waves arrive in a bluster of wind and churning sea only to return gliding to the sandy shore in a whipped froth of white foam. Pausing breathlessly as it surges once again swirling, ebbing and building into a another magnificent wave in all its thrashing, crashing, splashing glory. 

                   We don’t wonder about these things anymore because, as my ten-year old son put it, “I don’t have to wonder about stuff, Mom. I can Goggle it.” Right… we can Goggle it, instant gratification, no wonder or imagination necessary. No pondering or mulling it around in your mind like the lyrics to a song you are trying to remember.  Just go to your computer and Voila!

                   Life is a mystery filled with wonder, and magic. A mystifying journey, the discovery of life. Googling information about our perplexing planet and the deeper questions that emerge as we grow, is more about reading the brief  synopsis or “facts” about a subject without ever having really experienced the subject first hand. Even worse, recitation of facts becomes the norm and actually having the experience or knowing someone who had a life changing experience, well that’s Passe. We can just read someone else’s words, opinions or facts about any given topic and, BAM!!! Now we too have knowledge about any subject, but not the feeling, not the experience.

                    Is the recitation of knowledge, the hearsay of information better than wonder, adventure or imagination? Aren’t there some things that are unknowable and that adds to the mystery of our existence? Some experiences that you simply must have rather than reading Wikipedia’s definition of joy, happiness, miracles, or love.? Aren’t there just some things in life that simply must be lived in your heart and imagination?

                   Like walking in the woods on a fall day with the leaves sprinkling the forest  in a blaze of golden hues. Maybe stopping for a moment to listen to the stream sweeping the leaves blissfully downwards to the end. Where do the leaves go? What happens when the earth sleeps and hibernates for the winter? What happens when we float down the stream to the end?

                 All questions that take a life time to experience, share and live. The unknowable is what makes our mystical, perplexing, frustrating, mercurial, and extraordinary Universe so magical.  It’s what makes us continue to stare up at the sky and wonder about the moon, the planets, the stars, and the people who have gone and left us behind. It’s what keeps us seeking, searching and asking the age-old question? Why am we here? An existential quest for answers you just won’t find on Google or Wikipedia just in the magic and wonder of our own lives. 

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Wild Moon…

“Wild Moon Woman

You were not made to be tamed.

You are an earthquake shaking loose

everything that is not Soul.

Shake Woman Shake!!” elyse morgan

     imageedit_9_2721769336                                             My photos of the Lunar eclipse. 

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Peaks and Valleys…

Summer has flown by and yet there were achingly slow moments where time seemed to stand still.

The summer was filled with our usual flurry of activities that left us exhausted, drained and planning our next day’s adventure with hopeful anticipation. There were camps, counselor-in-training camps, swimming, scouts, over nights, island living, lunches, brunches, gardens, library trips, movies and baseball which morphed effortlessly into football as we drove from one event packed event to the other. 

We got a puppy, because life just didn’t seem complete or full without the added unconditional love of our beautiful dog, Bella Luna, “beautiful moon.” The boys have been asking for years and I succumbed to the pleas and relented. Turns out Bella is the kindest, gentlest, dog ever born. Her beautiful brown eyes smile gratefully as she settles into her new home with not one but two boys who lavish her with praise, devotion, and affection. Ahh, the life.

It truly has been a memorable and wonderful summer with a view from the mountain top of happiness that I will remember and treasure. I am blessed.

Still, the glory of the summer was interrupted by the sorrow and grief of losing my 35 year old cousin, Drucilla. My beloved Aunt Maureen, has now lost both of her children, a sorrow no parent wishes to contemplate let alone discuss. A waking nightmare. 

I know there are no words to say. No comfort that will ease the hellish and unrelenting despair that has seeped into the crevices of her spirit and etched itself on her face and in her skin. Drucilla’s young children are dazed and lost in a land where solace has no home, no name. Their life’s tapestry, woven since their births, has been forever altered, splintered and shattered into millions of pieces and life will forever be defined as “before and after.”

The summer’s joy for all of us will be shadowed by the finality of her death. While the summer peaks offered magnificent views and gratitude in abundance, the valleys remind us that the “woods are dark and deep,” and traversing the terrain of heartbreak and grief requires humble acceptance that life is a balancing act. Nimbly moving through joy and pain with alacrity and I pray, Grace.

 

 

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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