summer’s end

I can barely stand how overgrown the garden is at present. August is typically trial by fire month for my little patch of heaven. With such a wet and mild end to summer, I’ve inherited a surplus of weeds and overgrowth. 

My green beans took forever to produce this year. I planted a vine variety instead of my usual bush. It took much longer and a lot more space before putting on. They’ve climbed the stalks of the neighboring sunflowers, like tendrils wrapped around. I poked my head in yesterday during lunch break and saw beans at least 8” long, hanging. It feels like missing a “first” of the infant stage — like finding full-grown teeth protruding from gummy smiles. I feel bad that I’ve been oblivious to their baby steps, and that they are now full grown. I’ve just left them to raise themselves this month. 

I tossed at least a cup worth of raspberries into my mouth, as dessert. I managed to get two rounds of berries from my bushes this year, and the latter is a decent one. It was a lovely surprise to find them rising to the occasion, as a last hoorah to summer. 

We did receive rain last night, so the bed will be tender enough to weed with ease. I appreciate being able to pull up roots without straining. I enjoy weeding after the rain — it does half the work for me. And I get good and muddy. I sure do love playing in the dirt. 

There’s an abundance of moss and fern growing on the north side of the house. They love these damp conditions. With the dampness comes mold, though. I’m still struggling to breathe through it. 

We had some moisture inside our home last night, too — the kind that falls from eyes. But like every morning, new mercy greets us and kisses it better. I’m convinced, now more than ever, that grace is the remedy for every ailment. It’s not just a band aid: it’s the ointment that heals. It’s a lot like the rain, and makes tender the soil of our soul. It’s beneficial to soak it up and allow it to soften. It sure makes the weeding a lot easier, too. 

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trails

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I squint at swaying treetops and wish I could volley overhead like the wind does. Or scamper from branch to bowing branch like the squirrels do. They remind me of restless children bounding on beds, waking every sleepyhead. 

The hawks hover. They barely pump their wings; they just harness the air like a sail, and veer back and forth. Their movements remind me of kites in an indigo sky. 

I wish I was a better whistler; I’d call to the birds and try to join their banter. I’ve attempted to talk to many an animal by mimicking their call. I assume they are not fooled, as such keen connoisseurs of sound and pitch. But I still find my grownup self trying to tap into their high society. How very Cinderella of me. 

I kick a few loose rocks and startle a salamander. I feel like an ogre disrupting such tranquility; yet I, too, am scurrying along this zig-zag path in search of such. Or, will this just lead me around in circles? I’ve made enough rings around empty space to rival Saturn. I have to believe I’m headed somewhere. If not somewhere, then perhaps unto something…or someone.

Today, I’d be content with a breadcrumb trail that bids me the way to go. I’m privy to this much: it’s most likely onward and upward, as all worthwhile destinations are. 

Those boomerangs for birds share secrets like this, I bet. If they instinctively know to fly south with every cold snap, then surely they know the way through less than tolerable seasons. Too bad I never have figured out their vernacular…

paradise found

Open your eyes. Look closely. Deeply. Do you see it?

It’s there. It’s right there.

Like a wardrobe, or maybe a rabbit hole. Perhaps it’s a portal, but it leads to an inconceivable reality where all things are possible, and nothing is impossible. Where what the mind is able to fathom, can materialize with perfect meaning and sense.

The most potent creative capacity dwells here. Everything is alive with wonder and purpose. It all matters. The nonsensical or haphazard is prohibited. Only intentional, meticulous, calculated redemption: living, breathing, pulsing, heaving, bleeding.

Here, every pattern is a puzzle; every texture, a rhyme. Every puncture oozes with purpose; every scar is an oil painting. Every fallen tear nourishes the garden below; every ache and throb, the rhythm to a hymn.

All the questions, a symphony of strings, weeping with inquisition. Every gale, whispering antiphonally, the coveted answers. Sweeping peace, like a dragnet over all – nothing untouched or neglected- all thoughtfully attended to. 

Here, where the breath you draw, draws murals on your lungs, and sets ships on voyage when you exhale. Such fierce, creative virtue in every automated function. The vault of heaven burst open with the same. Gaping mouth, like a womb, giving way to splendor. Birthing, establishing, and placing value within it all. The incorruptible seed of glory: making all things transcendent. They float. They hover just above our heads with such incarnation. A world so existent, we question our own as mere flesh and blood. 

It is more alive and well than we could ever comprehend. This greater-than, higher-than world of reality. I want to step through the mirror to the other side. Escape to what’s surpassing all the lesser things. Find all the lost hopes, moments, treasures…

It’s all there. Waiting for me. 

you’re gonna be ok

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That’s what they said it was. And I can’t argue that. It was very much that, and then some. 

I had never had my mind drift away that far. Like trying to lasso the moon, the rope fell to my feet, over and over. I was lost to me. All the cold space between my head and heart – I didn’t know how to unite them again. 

It was a low humming sound. I won’t forget it. An internal tremor that wouldn’t read on any graph. Nothing computed or registered. Like I never existed. It felt like I flatlined but I knew my heart was still beating in there. Only because I could hear the blood flushing in my ears. Each beat rowing me further out into endless nothingness.

I was freezing, and I felt alone. It was terrifyingly quiet but for that low-grade rumble. It may have been chattering teeth making me tremble. Or maybe it was a fever, trying to signal to all that I was not well. I just know I was not there, in my body. Maybe I had caught a ride with the moon, after all. Where was I if I wasn’t in my body? 

I’m not sure how I made it through that coal black night. I don’t recall sleeping, or being awake. I don’t recall much after that but for haunted images in my mind of at least a dozen ways to die. Or was I dead already? I didn’t know. I just know it hurt real bad, then suddenly I felt nothing. Total numbness: touching my own face and it feeling like someone else’s; being on the outside, looking in, and wondering who that is. Psychosis. Dissociation. Terms I knew little of until I visited them.

All I wanted to do was sleep. Forever, maybe. But even a few hours of deep sedation would have brought some relief. But I didn’t find that. I don’t want to talk about the next five days after that. I don’t. It’s almost like it never happened. No pictures, no witnesses, no log in my journal. Just severe measures to keep me alive. To keep me, period. And though I thought I was surely going to die of a broken heart, I didn’t. I lived. I reluctantly lived. 

And I’m still living: today, tomorrow, and the next day. All Lord willing. The traumas of living in this fallen world can nearly bleed me dry, but mercy, and every grace, and crazy goodness…

And days yet journaled. 

And stories yet finished.

And joys yet tasted. 

And realities yet realized. 

 

I’m here. 

I’m present. 

I’ll never be the same, but that doesn’t mean for the worse. Just different. I’m gonna be OK. 

cradle and coffin

34D50A22-6830-4C0A-918E-DE04A96F9A17My old quilt of a mind spreads out delicately like a bridal train. Gently, now. Lightly. One thought, then another, sinking into the tender patch of presence. The earth is a cradle, and I bed down gingerly into it. It’s also a coffin, but not for me today, far as I know. 

Expired leaves spin effortlessly from above to below. They can be mistaken for butterflies at first glance. All life springs up from the dirt, then eventually returns to it. Cradle to coffin a thousand times over. But yet, just once for every living thing. Just one life. 

There’s birds of prey looming overhead, yet I am not their victim.  They’re making rings around the rosie, but I’m of the living. No bones to pick, here; I have nothing for you.

I once saw a wake of vultures in a burned-out forest clearing. They swarmed like flies over charred debris. I think it eerie that it’s called a wake – where we gather over the remains of the dead.

But, today is for the living. For those of us whom require air, and water, and light. And I cast a weighted net into all of it, hoping to catch something to nourish me. I close my eyes to see shadows dancing on the other side of my lids. Drawing the curtains in order to view, I still see the birds circling, the leaves free falling to their end. 

Slumber is just a veil. And death is just a momentary slumber. One day I’ll open my eyes wider than this world, and I’ll be turned right inside out. I’ll behold, as it truly is: no shadows or perishing; no predators or victims. Just brilliance. Marvelous and magnificent brilliance. 

The sun is now blinding me, even with eyes sealed shut. The wind is swaying me away like one of those fallen leaves. I open my mouth to drink deeply of the moment here, as provision. I taste it rich and filling. I’m laden with life, and all the trappings of such. My net is full. I partake in the land of the living yet another day. 

chase

C5423537-71C2-479E-B8F6-A1CA7913DE4FThe minutes slip through my hands like reigns I’ve lost hold of. There they go, making off in the mouths of horses, within seconds worth of freedom. Why must they be such runaways? Feral moments: I can’t manage or keep you, one bridle or bit.

Chasing. The days are full of chasing. My soul can feel beanpole thin.  How can I ever make gains if I’m burning it all off in this crazy car-tail-light-joy chasing…?

I imagine myself pausing time with each grateful moment. I hear a delicate little voice squeak out accolades and…

Stop.

Right there.

Cut that minute out like a paper heart, and hang it high. Display it. 

Tender whispers from deep within…

Freeze.

Jot it down.

Fold it and seal it with a kiss, then keep it someplace safe from the hurry and hectic. 

Life can whistle through us like we’re harmonicas, and yet never compose a pleasant song. Just blasts of sounds that make us grit our teeth. But, if we are intentional to breathe steadily, and keep time, we find there is a rhythm there: a song buried between frenzied breaths.

The pauses are what differentiate bellows from melodies. Aptly placed space is as pivotal to life as the use of white space in art. Pauses are the still frames of the static we want to capture.

What can I really carry with me, anyhow? I’m too threadbare a dress to hold all I’d hope to. I suppose this is why we lay up treasures elsewhere. High up, on shelves, to pour over for eternity. What a scrapbook that will be. 

forty

I’m 40 today.

Thought I’d take time to count and give thanks. So many things, I love. ❤️

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thoughtfulness 

fresh pine litter in the coop

salty foreheads on my little ones

smudgy fingerprints = signs of life

Murphy’s oil soap & pine-sol

eucalyptus anything

when white cream swirls into black coffee

dark garden soil warmed by the sun

cardamom & anise

mason jars 

his salt & pepper hair 

throw blankets & quilts

wooden & wire gathering baskets

cedar anything

fresh herbs

my children’s’ sense of humor

citrus

carbonated & fermented drinks

pine trees (cones & needles) & all the evergreens

smell of gasoline on water 

all the foliage 

white blooms

textures

embroidered goodness

patina on old trucks

cast iron

the smell of coffee grounds first opened

wood – all of it

overcast skies

clunky boots

sunflowers – scent/beauty/stature/function

starry nights

dusk 

lightning bugs

white anything 

hammock

thunder & lightning & rain

old musty books with yellowed pages

sharp pencils

bright eyes

sun-kissed cheeks

rusted/weathered/aged anything 

green

chunky sweaters

thrift stores

a white Christmas 

fire 

fresh water 

chocolate & mint

back door friends

he makes me coffee every weekend morning

gallery walls

wool socks

Jane Austen 

grandma’s jewelry

scarves and hats

old souls

intuitive people

steady hearts

words

crushed garlic

cheap beer

70 degrees

overalls

diffused light 

heart rocks

black & white photos

redemption

redheaded babies 

autumn leaves

homemade salsa

creaky wood floors

linen

how a chicken runs

sun dresses

documentaries

aprons

rabbit ears

fresh eggs in a nesting box

tools

before & afters

stories 

handwritten recipe cards

contemplatives

telling dreams 

folk art/music/culture 

acoustics

exposed beams

tomatoes on the vine

the sound of deep woods

stainless steel

braised meats

cut-out cookies with heirloom cutters

oversized coffee mugs

crunchy snow

mercy

homemade gifts

all the berries

socked feet in winter

PBS and BBC shows

journals

humble people

hands

brave souls

marked up bible pages

old hot dog stands

lake Erie

when I can see my breath in the air

hearts who love thru the worst of things

seedlings

more chances

rain boots

making flower bouquets

linens on the clothesline

climbing & sprawling vines & bushes

breeze

apparently, names that begin with the letter T

double-barreled truth quotes

art – all of it

lyrics & melodies

Motown

keepsakes

sawdust

fresh paint

windows open/down

early morning 

rain on a tin roof

tucked away spaces

glory drives (joy ride: renamed by kids)

dancing in the kitchen

when everyone is home 

live music

cherry limeades 

empty sink

harvest

awkward moments

little trinket gifts from my babies

laughing until it hurts

kindness

red lipstick

Little House on the Prairie

my hair touched

vinyl records

Sunday naps

hooded sweatshirts

quirky people

relentlessness

happy endings

quotable

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Ain’t that just the quintessential truth? 

Honestly, I oscillate between the two extremes: hide, or be seen. And therein lies the tension of a communicator. Or, more presumptuous a statement — most human beings. 

I could construct an entirely separate world of fiction, and tuck myself deep into some pocket within it. Maybe I’m in the setting, and you can’t spot me because I’m like grass, or sidewalk, in that I’m foundational. You just stroll right by and I am never revealed. My childhood home and memories might serve as backdrops and cityscapes, but you’d remain unaware. I’m camouflaged in the curtains of story sets. 

Maybe I’m laced intrinsically throughout the plot. I might dangle subtle clues with vague cameos of my likeness. But you never truly see me fully. Only innuendos. Nuances of my inner life and narrative. I’m still shrouded, though. Masked.  

That clever cover: allowing one to say what needs to be said via all the context clues and prompts, and yet, direct words remain unspoken. 

A mask indeed, Elywn. A pseudonym for the modest muse.

Or…

Do I dare cast myself as a character? The main? And what if you play confidante, and I entrust all to you, at face(less) value? You’ll be seeing me front and center, here. Age and acne, wrinkles and warts — my face, in your face!

Welp; nowhere to hide my wringing hands. This is the equivalent of standing naked before a jury of your peers. And when the words are released, they are not minced. Or cheap.  Or inhibited. They are the most primitive renderings. Hieroglyphics. And one understands they’re witness to something holy. Something sacred. A vulnerability that undresses in front of you shamelessly and unafraid. 

If I write in this manner, I’m unfolding, unlocking, and unveiling, that you could find me – finding myself – in that blinding spotlight. In this way, we journey together with nods and amens. And you feel you know me, and I feel known.

All this is suicide for pride and pretense, and requires some thick skin to disrobe with words. But what exhilaration to be so entirely free. So exposed. So human.

Sigh.

Mask and unveiling… Simply brilliant, Mr White. 

sketch

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The sunflowers are gracefully bowing out. They’re exhausted, but giving all with their farewell performance. They have been summer-strong and generous — such tremendous givers. Next they’ll transition into drying season, and shed seeds until their heads are bald. Their fading beauty is incredibly selfless, as they give the last of themselves for us to consume.

Yet, I’m over here restless. I want to build and construct, or paint. I have a darting mind and my hands want to follow suit. I’m searching for healthy escape: a productive exit. If I can trick my fingers into believing they are running like legs, then I might just stay put long enough to work through something. It’s difficult to remain immobile when you’re idling high inside. 

I find a pencil and sketch. Quickly, before any of my other extremities catch wind of my nervous system’s fight or flight plans. And I exhale slowly as I settle into this safe creative space. I take a moment to be thankful: for tools and better pathways. I bite my lip as I draw, like I always do when my brain is creating. It’s working. 

Eventually, I make a circle through the dining room and admire the bouquets. I won’t let every sunflower wither on its stalk outside. How I long to get the beauty inside. In my home. In my life. In me. I can hardly rest until I see it or sense it. I tell myself that I am more than the sum of my parts. More than what I do. 

So rest.

And don’t run.

And just be…

Finish strong.

 

muggy

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I walked outside into a web of cotton candy humidity. The air was fibrous. My lungs strained to pull the thickness in. Sometimes breathing is an arduous task. Sometimes you have to labor to rest. Oftentimes, choosing to live is the most grueling exercise you’ll do in a day. But choose, you must…

Choose, I must.

Every step is slow motion. I feel the lag in time and movement and it sets me back a half count straight away. I’m off. Not in step or tune. Arrhythmia. 

The morning is dragging me like dead weight and I am just fine to be cut loose. I wave it ahead.

“Leave me; I’ll catch up later.”

Now I’m performing in deficit red, and how ironic as it’s all I see. 

Behind. 

Below.

Insufficient. 

Impossible.

I’m flush with anger. If these gallows clouds don’t wring with rain soon, I’m going to…

It’s all there, in my jaw. Burning and bulging. Stuck, like everything else in this swelter. I swallow it back; it’s like gravel and barely moves.

My God, I need water, inside and out. 

I’m sorry.

Can we start over?

I blew it in the first measure. Maybe something a bit slower?

How can anyone allegro through this swampy static? I have to begin again. And maybe again after that. Maybe as many times as needed in order to get it right. 

I swear I’m not moving. But I am. Just too minutely a motion to measure, I suppose. Too short a distance between suffocating and inhaling; pressure and precipitation; anger and honest emotion. It’s miles of highway, knotted up in intersections. Such a long journey for such a short distance. Such congestion for only one heart’s traffic.

Please…

Break wide open, heaven.

Spill right over, tears.

Hurry up and get there, heart.