morning

500B5786-D43B-4E08-942E-53EB14B2F229Sunrise slips under the covers and whispers me awake. New day. New mercy. The hens are gleaning and preening, per their usual morning routine. They’re quiet until they catch me in their line of sight. Then it’s all the chatter of a hen house as I sip hot coffee.

Some folks read the newspaper; I check the nesting boxes. I spot a pretty pink egg that stands out among the others. I hold it up and marvel, still, over porcelain pastels. It’s always fresh. Always new.

It’s been 3 days since I’ve picked the garden and I’m bracing myself. It’s like a fussy girl who changes her outfit a dozen times. Or like walking into a room that rearranges every few days. “Weren’t you just wearing…that? Weren’t you just over…there?” It’s constant growth. Change. Surprise. I’ve known it all since conception but am always caught off guard. It’s like I forget with each slumber. It’s like that with many things. Now I’m thinking of Ann’s “soul amnesia” and wondering if I’d forget my own face if I wasn’t made to deal with it each day.

I drown out road noise and pretend I’m not in the center of town. Pretend I have nowhere to go. Pretend I can just be for a moment, and not do. The cats are hung over tables, steps, coop. They are the very best I’ve found at just being. No rush. Only thing harried is their coat, and they’re grooming now, as well. There’s cut grass on my toes and I’m leaving a trail. I may want to trace my steps later when I feel a little lost. But all prints point to home. I’m real glad for that.

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gain

28152EFE-8D0C-4635-8EAE-B438FC692345Waxy fruit squeaky between my fingers. It’s the sound snow peas make as they are being twisted for the table. Berries that droop lower and lower, weighty with juice. It’s a race to catch them before they free fall to the mulch below, or are marred by the birds. Crimson draws all the life. The birds, the hens, the humans. We love the sweet savorings of the ripest fruits. Big fat bumblebees moving in and out of the dark sunflower centers, like they’re stitching a garment. They pierce the bed head again and again. The ray flowers blaze like the sun. And again, with the draw. Our faces long to feel it. Our countenance, reflect it. We want to take it into ourselves and grow round with its goodness and brilliance. Oh, the gain that is the garden

catch it

9C83A080-7BB0-4145-A272-A5C13BB6060CLightning bugs arise like steam out of the tall grass. The setting sun is draping gold silk over the trees. It’s serene for a split second. Summer has been kind so far. Merciful.

The clothesline is stretched naked but for the pins drooping below. No breeze to blow dry. I don’t mind; I am too moody for laundry, anyhow.

Little eyes with rings of gold and lashes long, they smile at me. Bright white frames them like matted fine art.

Masterpiece.

Priceless.

I’m tired, but I’ve just enough muscle to wrangle in a moment. I catch it like a lightning bug in the palm of my hand. They’re similar; both flash for a wink and then you lose sight in between.

My moment lit up and glowed verdant with life. Now it’s peering into the dusk until it comes again.

I’ll keep watch.

yellow

E6DACB4D-ECCF-48A0-A3DE-F4B99B3BBA76It’s early morning and I spy a spiderweb stretched across the clothes line. It looks like spun silk glistening in the flickering rays. Dancing shadows from leaves and light entertain me. We’re all just waking up and stretching ourselves towards the day.

My red songbird perches on the wisteria vine. He’s a male Cardinal with a sleek crest on his head. His call is loud and unmistakable: long swooping whistles, then sharp chirps like sixteenth notes. He’s a soloist this morning. Sometimes a lady friend will accompany him and they dodge in and out of the blackberry bushes. It looks like a frenzied game of tag. I wonder if he’s as familiar with me and my tendencies, as I am his?

The Goldfinch swings from sunflower to sunflower like a trapeze artist. I’ve seen a trio of them, springing about like they were being juggled. And in all my watching, I’ve discovered a theme within the sunflowers and its lovers: they attract things of the same color. Bumblebees, yellow finches, and even Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. All perch at the round table and get their fix of seeds and sweets. Perhaps the motto is true, that we attract what we are? That’s entirely too deep a thought for breaking open the day, but I find myself most reflective here. Here in the beginnings, before it drags me off to wild endings.

hard

E3683F74-D6C2-4498-8620-F5B711ED1AAE.jpegI’m trying to wrap my arms around a mountain. Trying to embrace the very things that have hedged me in and hindered my view.

Failures.
Disappointments.
Traumas.
Loss.

I’m trying to make a circle around these massive jagged stones that hold all the hard things. It’s an enormous rock wall built of small and sedimented stumbling blocks. Layer upon layer, they are like stone pages and tablets. Chronicles. Stories sealed. History petrified. And I know I’m in there. In that mountain. My own hard. My own obstacles. My own story. A lot of things I’d rather just climb over. But I have this notion that there’s something in there for me, if so much of me is in there.

What if it is not just for scaling? Or conquering? Or tossing into the sea? What if it’s intended for something more? Maybe it’s my very own Wailing Wall, and the remnant of promise and protection. Maybe I pray there, cram every plea into the crevices and wait patiently for answers. Maybe it’s for aesthetics, setting a humble stage for unlikely triumph to come. Maybe it’s for throwing myself against, producing muscle and grit with every exertion. Or for clinging to, when everything else is shaking. Maybe I should kiss it, because so much of the struggle is meant as gift. Or just march around it seven times, surrounding it with shouts, in hopes that it will crumble before me. Or what if I strike it? Will water flow? Will the mineral matter erupt with something that really matters?

I don’t actually know. Yet. I just know it’s there, so it must serve some grand plan, well beyond my insight. I don’t believe in waste. Nothing is for nothing. Everything serves something. So I’ll keep my arms open wide and take in as much of the story as I can fathom for now, until it all serves its full purpose. It almost looks like worship.

rain

9727927C-7FF0-4332-9E70-F8D8CA1DA24D46640F37-F652-49C6-8BAA-FB19B032F61ED6C9A09E-8646-487B-943A-BC8CC210A6A3Early morning rain on the rusted tin roof. It begins as ping after ping then it accelerates, like a dozen children knocking, looking for me. It’s only moments before it’s a finale applause, though the show has just started. The storm is on top of me but I’m hiding in the coop. This is where I prefer to be when it rains. The acoustics are perfect for thoughts to ring out. My wrist feels weak holding my coffee mug. All the trappings of precipitation, felt in my joints. Yet it doesn’t deter my love for it.

The hens hush when it rains. I think they’re listening, just like me. There’s one leaky spot in the roof nearby so it slowly puddles there. I’ve scaled the shed and repaired the tin but the drip remains. A year ago the north wind bent several panels backwards. Folded them right in half like sandwich bread. I guess I’ll need to pull it back and patch below. There’s still some sort of hole there. Things leak when they have holes. I’ve hemorrhaged a lot the past few years, too. Thought I’d lose all my life blood at one point.

Many times I’ve dubbed this shed the crying coop. I remember building the chicken house alongside my eldest daughter’s flight from home. I thought it ironic how I was assembling a nest while my first baby bird was positioning to take flight. I cried a lot during that time. I’d sneak outside, scoop up a chicken, and bawl. I realize that promotes me to crazy-chicken-lady status, but it is what it is. The shed is where I’ve shed the most tears, so I suppose it’s not too far-fetched to camp out in it when the sky is crying, too. Maybe I’m normal after all.

32CCA078-EC85-4085-82D0-6F45F6F2446C5A789A08-9D1F-4D47-AC2C-99A47200B0EAFeeling a bit puny today. But I have a very attentive (rather, insistent) sidekick. She has a way of making my eyes roll, my voice raise pitch, and my belly laugh. She’s like a headache and a pain reliever, both. At one point today I think she tapped me 20 times within an hour.

“I just have questions!”

Yeah. I do, too. Lots.

I had to lie down a bit to recoup. She came to check on me. Noticed I’ve been coughing and sneezing. She was concerned.

“Mama has a summer cold, I think.”

She zips away, then returns with her Baby Alive stethoscope. She climbs my tall bed and begins to listen to various body parts. Then off again, out of sight. I hear a little banging in the kitchen. I realize she’s emptying the K-cup filter. Next thing I know, she’s baby-stepping towards me with a mug of hot coffee. I sip. She asks another question.

“How’s your coffee?”

She knows how I like it by now, with a splash of half-n-half. All the children know how to make coffee for mom.

She slips away, yet again, and returns with a little cupped hand, presenting me with a Star Wars gummy vitamin, and a chewable vitamin C tablet. I take them in. Take her in. All her tender care of me. She truly is a nurturer, though she’s also the one to drive you to bed, dizzy. She makes me tired, but she also revives me.

Now she’s holding the hairbrush and she’s climbing behind me to pamper. It mostly just hurts, but I redirect her with the idea of braiding instead of brushing. She is happy to caretake. She really is something else. What that else is, remains to be seen. I just hope she stays wild and free, but within the boundary lines marked out for her.

“Tru Evelyn, my darling child. Tru Evelyn, you’ll drive me wild.”

waist high

36529E0E-33B3-4FAC-AAB4-CC5164D1353858A30FE2-54BB-4926-BBC5-EBB7612EC643It’s darn-near perfect outside.

What an incredibly mild week of summer we’ve had. A reprieve. I love that word. Its definition is to cancel or postpone punishment. The heat can assault and afflict. I’ve seen it scorch leaves and vines to yellow crisps. And then that’s it – no more producing. I think that is probably the most painful way to go: to slowly wither and waste away.

I noticed the roses coming back. Usually they hide in the peak of summer swelter, then re-emerge when it’s safe to show their fair faces again. But they have clearly been told that conditions are ideal for budding and undressing. They are such show-stoppers. I rubberneck each time I catch a glimpse of their glamour.

Speaking of undressing, my Naked Ladies are standing unashamed. I find it fascinating that she only appears once her greenery dies off, and I forget she even exists. Then suddenly she’s there, in all her nude comeliness, only clothed with her natural beauty.

Yesterday I stood waist-deep in the Zinnias at dusk. I just wanted them to pool around me like children, so I could take them in up close. Look each one in the face and gape over the intricacies. They have all grown up together, but have unique bloom patterns and coloring. It’s very much like my own children, and looking into faces that have grown up in the same space, but are each undeniably distinct. Funny how that works. I purpose to not let their adorableness go to waste, and promise them a bouquet inside, where I can enjoy them in another way.

in love

FEC3C425-9AA4-4C11-857A-EAD02DABBFB3“Mom! Mom!…I AM SO IN LOVE WITH YOU!”

My five year old suddenly shouted from behind a bush on the side of the house. I was standing nearby, looking at his tiny bare feet poking out below. I could hear the bashfulness in his voice. He couldn’t look at me directly while making his bold heart confession. It was the sweetest little voice with big words I’d ever heard from a shrub. Maybe this was my burning bush moment. I just know my heart caught fire for a minute when I realized what was happening.

“You are?! You’re in love with me?”

I hear a simple “yep” reply. He’s stepped out now, making all of himself visible to me.

I can’t contain myself any longer and I scoop close this little mister into my middle. I hug him with my knees and arms and squeeze my response back into him.

“I’m so glad. I’m so in love with you, too, buddy.”

Then he trots off, reassured. And I prance off with high steps because I feel like the most loved woman in the entire world. Yeah…my burning bush moment. Holy ground.

mash

599DA111-9FEE-420C-AD3C-CBCA043D0220This evening my friend shared a beautiful sprig of prose with me. Just a snippet of the scent of her person. We sometimes pass words back and forth like notes under a school desk. Secrets. Longings. Fragile things. Like little girls we tell stories back and forth, wide-eyed.

Remember playing MASH? And putting to paper all the what-if’s? And then scratching off the possibilities until left with your would-be future? We all want to know where we will end up. Whether it be a Mansion, Apartment, Shed or House. We want to know who and what we will be. Where we will be. And exactly what will be our lives. I remember holding my breath and hoping my lot would be a very specific set of possibilities. Alas, MASH doesn’t work that way. And neither does life. You get what you get. And then you make the very most of it.

So what of these tender musings passed back and forth between grown women with girls’ dreams? What of making-believe and making-do? What of words and vision, ideas and business? My friends are lucid dreamers. I’m careful to keep myself inspired by each one. Each of us is working with what’s been allotted. So many variables to a dream made life. And maybe it’s a shed for now…but that doesn’t stop us from believing for mansions. Or from wearing heels on a threshing floor, or updos in the midst of down-trodden despair. We keep telling each other the stories, and sharing the foolish things. Because these things remain for a reason, until they are well realized.