Crow's Feet and Time
If I lean in and peer closely enough I can still see her past the crow’s feet and time.
A tiny pocket miracle with sponge-like brown eyes drinking in the world as if it is Kool-Aid.
The latitude of her smile is geographically incorrect as it spills past her cheekbones and her ears and bounces light around the room at the tail end of her laugh which fills the air like happy wind chimes.
I drove due South for a piece where Kansas kisses Missouri. I landed just north and a little west of Joplin where a twister summarily leveled an entire community in 2011. Once I hit the Bourbon County line I lost all cell reception. I doubt this is a coincidence. The road was straight with more dips and interest than its neighbor. If lucky, two lanes to pass the 18 wheelers. It was peppered with scrap metal trucks, two-toned cars with replacement doors and Chevy’s towing silver Airstream trailers carrying both rust and American Flags for the Memorial Day Weekend.
Showing Up and Holding Space
There’s a lot of God and sex in Missouri. The billboards tell me so. They advertise misspelled pleasures and repentance in equal measure at approximate 200 yard intervals. They lull you into the lazy pace that seems to inhabit the sleepful walkers who live here. Towns are named Peculiar and Tightwad and Bland as if to foreshadow who you might next meet. Overalls never went out of style; and bushy beards too cumbersome for the early May heat are back in.
These two things are on my mind today and I spent a fair amount of time with them in meditation and during a walk in the woods.
When people talk about ‘showing up’ they usually envision the physical manifestation of this. Attending a wedding. Sitting at a bedside in hospice. Loaning money. But, this is not all of it. Some of us ‘show up’ in very different ways without attendance taken. These count just as much…sometimes more…and take many forms. We set something in motion and get out of the way. We listen for hours in a living room with no ‘credit’. Some people pray or send light and love. Other people heal with words or hands. And sometimes our absence is the best possible way to ‘show up’ because it is what is needed most.
Tattooing is spiritual. Sometimes representing a transformation in our lives or an acknowledgment of our connectedness. I have only one tattoo but it is vital to me. I recently placed it on my left rib cage near my heart to guide me on my journey forward.
The idea behind my particular design has been tugging at me for a decade. When I first visited Ashland, Oregon in 2010 I knew that this would be the place where I would have it done; and upon meeting the artist I knew instantly that it would be he that did the work. Despite all of this the timing still wasn’t right. I had much to discover about myself before I would be ready.
This ‘balance thing’ is difficult.
• Live with intention – but let things flow.
• Focus – and breathe.
• Change – and accept.
• Feel whatever you feel – and then feel gratitude for it (including those things that hurt).
• Understand your wholeness – outside of your story.
For me, these things are more challenging than learning to write with my non-dominant hand. Or mastering a yoga balance pose on shifting sand. Or apologizing (particularly when I know I am the one who is wrong). Or listening patiently when I have something to say. Or being open to examining myself ~ truly examining myself ~ and then being willing to change.
Last evening I fell asleep in an Adirondack chair listening to the sounds of Sixth Lake. It’s a frigid early Fall already here but that was of little consequence. I was happy to shiver, a small price for this kind of peace. Perch jumping. Creaking pontoon bumpers against the dock where I rested. Canoe paddles dipping as sunset approached. Nearby ducks slapping their tired wings against the water as they labored to take flight while the loons warmed up their vocals ~ the changing of the guard. The distant sound of tired little boys who had one cannonball too many. Haunting wind chimes grumbling as they were jostled to a wakefulness but even their distress was no match for the angry wind itself.
Olfactory Day in Review
When life gets too difficult to bear, I rely on Truth.
I know. I can’t crumple it like grungy money in my pocket that would keep groceries in my refrigerator. And it doesn’t smell like the lavender on my pillow during the few more hours of sleep a different job that didn’t require 12 a day would afford me. It certainly isn’t as immediately available as the oxygen that would come from living free from the person who promised to spend his life in pursuit of my ruin. It isn’t warm and pliable like sand around my toes at the Outer Banks; a feeling I have to forget during this chapter of my life while I put my kids through college. And it doesn’t replace the sensation and strength on my left side that used to allow me to climb a simple set of stairs without help which, for the first time in public today, I was unable to do.
Nonetheless, Truth is my ‘go-to’ and is unalterable by anybody or anything ~ lies, desire, effort, manipulation, time. The Truth is simply the Truth. Whether or not one person knows it or everyone does, it’s still the Truth.
A Little Bit of Lasher
Tide and bounce on my pillow case smell of morning and night at the same time. Tugging somehow to pull me both in and out of the day.
Coffee beans. Banished before. Necessary now. Three weeks of illness make it difficult to wake. A sick day ahead ‘to rest’.
Newsprint on my hands smells of braggios ink impatiently screaming the day’s news and the oily smell of ‘wash me’.
Joy dishwashing soap with lemon.
I love the smell of talcum powder, especially when nestled in a baby’s soft neck just after a bath. One thing that I wish I had more of are boots….lots of boots…a room FULL of boots. Especially the Western kind that yield with kindness like a lover who knows what he’s doing. I enjoy speckled light cast through leaves on a walk through the woods in the summer, and the sound of a nearby creek or river.