In frigid winter, while the land is bound in muted tones of brown and gray and the seas in angry purple, life freezes still. But warm in a nest of rich dark soil, the seeds of spring gather strength. Soon the earth will burst open and sing in the bright colors of life reborn. Even the daffodils are readying to launch a thousand yellow suns to light the way to summer. But for now, it is enough to once again feel the heat of the sun on my face.
I snuggle deep in the covers of my shape-shifting bed, far from the worries and expectations of the real world. Here, I can explore wishes, dreams and possiblities, without fear of the sharp criticism of the magpie crows, who sit in judgment of all that is not ordinary. I can drift down the Amazon or have frilly pink tea parties on the lawn. I can sleep in the tall grass while a butterfly rests on my nose. Too soon, I will need to rise and don the gray color of recession and reality...but for now, I will wrap myself tightly in a blanket of what-if's and happily-every-after's woven from my technicolor dreams.
I was late leaving for work today...you know the kind of morning I'm talking about, when the alarm malfunctions and the keys can't be found and the car windows are covered with dew or frost and have to be scraped clean before you can turn the ignition on. Today it was all three...plus a good measure of thick fog.
I knew I had the keys when I got home from the gym last night, took out the trash and laid down on the sofa to "rest my eyes" - of course when I woke up an hour later, and went to bed for real, I left the keys behind, cradled between seat cushions, and my son laid a blanket on top of them. So as I am leaving for work with moments to spare, the keys are no where to be found. Panic set in and it's old friend, frustration. I become reaquainted with a few words I would rather not have in my vocabulary as I search frantically for the keys...20 minutes later, there they are...in a place I searched three times before, but just failed to turn over that last fold of blanket.
I run for the door, only to find the windows on my car to be opaque with dew. I hurriedly grab a washcloth and wipe them down, throw everything in the car and take off...in pea soup fog. By this time I am seriously considering if this is a sign I should call in sick and spend the day in bed with the covers pulled solidly over my head so the day can't get in. I was frustrated, angry and disgruntled...
And then I reached the corner where I turn and stopped to clear traffic. I see a movement in the fog and wait to be sure I won't hit something or someone....but it's not a car at all. On this cold, foggy morning, a diminuitive pixie of a grandma came riding out of the haze on a vintage. sea green and white Schwinn bike, with a bike helmet and round, owl-like glasses...and she's smiling....beaming really....like a beacon in the fog.
I stare at her for the longest time....and she stared at me with her serene face and beautiful smile that crinkled the corners of her eyes and without even realizing it, I am smiling back...a big, genuine smile...I am sure I resembled a lantern in the fog. The anger and frustration disappeared in a wink and I am excited to be alive. With only a smile on her face, she changed my day. As she finally rode away, I'm sure I saw a trail of fairy dust sparkling in her wake.
And in that moment, I was truly convinced that just maybe there really is a fairy godmother lookng out for me...
I am the daydream girl. I watched life from my safe, airy perch while others embraced it head on. I wandered the woods alone and buried my toes in squishy, creek mud and caught niggly, slimy tadpoles in my hand to feel the promise of metamorphosis. I am the fidgety girl whose window world meant more than the sage's words. My soul flew with the birds, breathing the lemon crisp air and racing the turquoise clouds. I am the solitary girl who laid across the sun-warmed dock and counted the stars in the sky and made a wish on each and every one of them to someday know what I want to be when I grow up. I am still hopeful that wish will someday come true...
Today is the day I wait for in every winter. Today I heard the bullfrogs sing, the first harbinger of spring. A warm, sunny day filled with sparkle and shine, for the rains have cleansed the earth and hung it out to dry. I walked along the lake and listened to a cacophony of bird song. Jays, chickadees, geese, bushtits and a lone hummingbird graced the air with a symphony of celebration to send winter back to it's dark den for another year. A few brave plants have already issued buds and the snow is gone from all but the mountains. Many others have joined me on the path; humans and dogs alike squint at the forgotten sun and the children run around in circles, excited to be outside without trying to run between raindrops to stay dry. And a lone retreiver jumps into the water to fetch a ball and make his way back to shore. Life begins again
There are a thousand black nights in your glossy feathers; your eyes are a galaxy of dark stars Your haughty strut through the grass reflects your royal bearing, even when your feathers droop with rain. You are legend to many tribes and ride the shoulders of witches each Halloween and are quoted often, "nevermore". Yet now you sit humbly by my feeder while songbirds eat their fill, unaware they are in the presence of celebrity. Your dark modesty belies your trickster zen, my little Buddha raven.
Topaz eyes view the world through lazy slits pretending indifference holding secrets and a certain avarice for small creatures who dart and fly beyond the glass Disdaining affection and wrapped in smug arrogance king of the cats.
But late at night when nothings stirs and anonimity is guaranteed and only then a furry face will nudge my hand and beg for love shamelessly and with great insistence knowing his secret will be safe in the dark moonless night
My journey begins this day; this moment in time. I can no longer look to the past; No amount of regret or remorse can change it. And no matter the careful plans you craft, the future remains a maybe, always just out of reach. Instead of sorrow, I choose to meet the challenge brought by unexpected change. Instead of worry and dread, I choose to focus on staying present in this moment. Instead of anger, I choose to walk in gratitude and hope, So that I can say at the end of years, I did not live, without living at all.
From the highway, you can see a river so green, that if you dipped a brush in it's waters, you could paint summer leaves on the winterbare trees. But on this day, frost has dressed the branches in shimmering rainbow ice; fit clothing for Sunday service in nature's temple.
Rain drums a 4 beat rhythm on the roof. Soggy birds huddle in the bare branched trees trying to stay dry by squeezing between raindrops as they fall and gather in swollen pewter puddles. The world wears a grey mantle of clouds obscuring the colors of life.
But I am curled up by the fire in the warm colors of my nest, snug under a mountain of down, reading a story of yellow sun and ocean waves and a scallop in the sand.
And for a moment, I escape the winter gloom and become a hot August day.
The lot sits vacant filled with trash tossed by uncaring minds. "Will build to suit" the sign proclaims. Yet judging from the gnarled trees that frame the ghosted square, a foundation once anchored memories here. If you listen closely, you can hear the old house still sighs in the wind, with the voices that called this home. The windmill whining in a stray breeze The laundry flapping its silly dance and from the frayed rope in the old tree, comes the laughter of children, shrill with excitement, as they swing higher and higher trying to reach the moon. And old dogs lay in the long grass and dream the twitching dreams of puppies chasing their tails. And just over there, where roses once carefully tended, grow with wild abandon, the voices of the women sing of home, and hopes and cherry pie and by the fence, the men worry the weather and the price of beef. Can you not see? This lot is full of memories. There is no room for your building here.
Blue grey smoke fills the air with the campfire smell of dancing hearth fires. The sky is wrapped in a steely blanket of clouds gathered to storm in force. The bare twisted fingers of winter trees reach skyward pleading for the warm winds of spring. An early blackbird calls plaintively feathers ruffled against the cold while a bullfrog croaks a grumpy reply. From the mud flats of the lake, the gravel crunches underfoot as I hurry towards the warm comfort of home having savored the last of pale winter light.
I was so excited to sign on to teach at Patricia Seggebruch's Encausticamp Retreat scheduled for this summer near Salem, Oregon!! Imagine three full days of intensive classes in all things encaustic...sounds like a dream to me, but it's all going to happen July 13 through 17, 2011 at the Mennonite School in Salem, Oregon. I am honored to be part of an all-star cast including Crystal Neubauer, Bridgett Guerzon-Mills, Judy Wise, Michelle Belto and, of course, Patricia, herself!! In addition to classes, there will be a vendor night and a BBQ complete with S'mores over a campfire! As for me, I will be teaching my encaustic doll class for the session showing how to put together a waxy belle out of found objects and wax. The Encausticamp site opens for registration today so hurry over and save your spot for this amazing event!
Fly wild and free! Joyously celebrate your freefall weightless dance in the clouds while singing your trumpet songs. I close my eyes and feel your wind on my face and become a feather on your wing, taking my yearning heart to a warmer land, leaving behind my time worn body to contend with the bitter cold and dream of the daffodil sun.
The wild, winter wind tossed the tempestuous moon from a black night sky while seeking the warmth of the sun. Dawn giggled in delight and dressed the morning sky in frilly petticoats of pink and yellow tied with ribbon made of the song of tiny birds.
One day, I woke up and found, my life is no longer a someday future whose varied outcomes are daydreams created to pass the time on an endless day; my life is now, in this moment of time that will never pass again. I need to make a jump...now... into this life I've imagined and celebrate the opportunities to make my dreams come true, lest those opportunities become the regrets forever trapped in the lost moments of the past.
A year ago today, my son's father died. Diagnosed with cancer in November, we had less than two months to say goodbye. We had shared 17 married years together and the last four years as good friends, emailing everyday to say hello in the morning. Although he was 425 miles away, he was always the one person I could email or call when the world turned upside down and he would patiently listen to my worries. We were closer apart than we were together. And somehow I thought he would always be there...I would always wake up to that email and the world would be okay. I took all it for granted.
Eight weeks was not really long enough to say goodbye. We talked about our time together and told our old stories and laughed and appreciated the road we traveled together. But we really didn't even scratch the surface. And then he was gone. And suddenly you realize the memories you shared are alone in your heart and no matter how you try to explain them to others, even my son, it's not the same. The nuances cannot be explained.
For a year now, I have started sentences with "Do you remember?" and heard only a lonely echo. I miss you, my friend, and hope you are in a place filled with peace.
Ah, to be the wind with freedom to travel to distant places and make them yours to wrap your arms around the mighty Himalayas and breath the incense of their snows to sail solo through stormy oceans of waves and create piled dunes of shifting sands to ruffle the feathers of penguins and drag your fingers through a lion's mane to carve windows in rock and turn the world lacy white with blowing snow to erode mighty mountains into gentle hills and turn the world dark with raging storms Yet you do not stop to admire your creativity your itchy feet are always on the path to new adventures I want to be the wind when I grow up...
A sudden breeze gathers the brown parchment leaves in scattered books of winter prose and binds them in west facing corners waiting for spring when fickle birds who do not read will line their nest with pages of already forgotten poems.
The cars fly back and forth across the Sam Jackson bridge. The drivers faces drained and largely devoid of expression as they scurry to their destinations. They drive unaware of the river below them on its slow journey to the sea. What a tale they miss by not stopping to hear the water tell its story. From birth in a thunderstorm, high in the mountains where it joined a tumbling stream, growing faster and wider with each drop of rain; through its wild journey down the river of no return, tumbling through the frothy rapids and basking in the lazy backwater pools while eagles plucked lunch from the water; through the slow crazy oxbows of the Snake River; and on to the mighty Columbia. An epic journey that few humans have made. Instead, most choose to focus on our smaller lives and hurry on to engage in empty tasks. Never realizing that in doing so, we lost the opportunity to take a moment and learn how to be alive.
I wake up in the night and peer out the window between the delicate jeweled frost that twinkles with starlight. A dark cloak of solitude embraces the trees that by day are an explosion of crowded song and the secret whispers of leaves. The moon and stars travel their endless night journey, while the moths swirl and churn around the porch light flame. A freight train moans in the distance singing to the rolling river that captures moonlight and carries it to the sea. Beyond the river is a hundred years ago, when the night was filled with mystery and the song of a hundred wild animals. My soul fills with primitive longing to belong to the dark night and ride the cold wind on the back of a red-tailed hawk racing towards the dawn.
A brand new year, but for all the firecracker sparkle and big bang celebration at midnight, this day seems remarkably the same as the day before. The cats and dog seem nonplussed and the birds sing the same song as they did yesterday. Yet, as the clock chimed midnight, a neighbor went down the street telling everyone who would listen, "Happy New Year!! It's gonna be a great year!!"
I can feel that eternal hope in the air - I can taste the offer of better things to be. I see hope in each face I pass - that belief that against all odds, in spite of all that is wrong with the world and the horror stories sung by the scarecrow press - there is still, and always, hope. And hope can make all things possible.
Here's to a new year filled with hope. I, for one, would be content if the simple transition from one day to another could change my life for the better.