Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Soil of Communion

When the veil is thin between the worlds , those who walk between and those who do not , cross paths frequently, creating friction that leaves invisible trails behind them. When we inadvertently move into these energy streams we  get caught in tangles not of our own making. Unusual disagreements crop up, anxieties re-emerge, suspicions and guilty memories of past actions become first conscious again and we find ourselves wandering , not a little lost in a mist of "where did I put myself?"and we can compound our distress by realligning our energies with the friction stream.
 Dressed in Carhartts lined in flannel and counting my breaths as they hung outlined in frost, I felt the confusion and painful distrust  crowd around me as I picked up the tools from the back of the suburu. Three rakes, a spade, Felcos :large and small, large green shovel and wheelbarrow from the shed. Wheeling to the swale, the past weeks of difficulty were the companions closest at my heels, not the brisk breeze, the carrying bird calls, the swiftly changing light as clouds were rearranged, not the sweet smelling earth waiting for me. For  weeks now I had been working through internal fears of my clients evaporating, mistrust in particular from one group, and the bleed through of this fear into all of the other aspects of my life. It  has felt there was no respite , no gentle space of quiet to compose and reunite with serenity.
Unloading the tools took minutes to lay  out in order . Pulling roots, following the creeping vines back to their in - ground start , cutting back the Viburnum, raking , raking , and raking some more to expose the fertile soil beneath the rubble.  Pitching rotting limbs, broken sticks, and sawn log ends, spading out weeds, and carting barrow after barrow of detritus to the pile. Pulling my belly in as I pulled the spring rake back , down the hill, arching into cat stretch as I pulled tenacious 7 foot long creepers from the earth (roots and all) and exhaling as my foot hit the spade around the large weeds. Breathe , move , bend , stretch. ....And then I got to dig. 
My youngest came for the last hour of a twelve hour project with his two rakes and shovel, his plant tool belt , and his smile. And we got down to the business of digging. Serious business digging in the soil. The contents of which we can analyze with microscopes and spectrascopes but only really understand when we put our hands into her and dig. We needed to make beds for the bulbs, 130 narcissus ,crocus, and galianthus that would be cozy and warm and nurturing while they did their winters work. So into the  mix went  a 41/2 year old 's shovel scoops of compost , hand kneaded into the site  then planting "noses up bottoms down nestle in season round"( our planting rhyme), a sheet of compost then a blanket of earth tucked in around  each bed of bulbs. A prayer for safe keeping. And it was time to clean up our tools and to head on out.
 After dinner and before bed  I felt  myself seperating from the stream, peace and a subtle radiating joy make its way through my consciousness. Bone weary. Dirty. Very ,very dirty. In my hair, my pores, my nose. Ground in to my clothes. Just for today , just for right now, I felt reunited. Little boys and dirt. Mommies and sons. grace. Chilly grey days of promise. what's growing in the earth may blossom in the spring  but it has taken root in our hearts today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is This Life Sweet Enough

Is this Life Sweet Enough?- When we allow ourselves to find value and definition in flat bellies and trim thighs we gain something...a footlocker as heavy as any seaman carried on his shoulder boarding ship. We store in there any hope we might have of carefree delight in crisp crunchy french fries savory with salt or gobbling brownie sundaes as we did as children: the whipped cream piled to heaven and chocolate fudge sauce smeared on our cheeks in greedy delight. In there  too, are seconds. Seconds on Raisin Brand cereal not because you are hungry but because finding the raisins stuck together on the flakes is a sweet secret joy. Seconds on hot buttered toast with cinnamon sugar. Seconds on your beloved's barbecued ribs that make you weak in the knees and swear you'll do the dishes for a week if they'll do them again this weekend.Seconds on the amazing pastries at the exquisite shop you and your friends found by accident dodging rain drops in Portland that summer weekend. Seconds on mashed potatoes with butter and gravy.Seconds on Girl Scouts classic Thin Mints. Seconds on......
Which is not to say we do not "indulge ", that we do not "give in ", that we do "fall off the wagon", that we do not use a whole host of language designed to perpetuate the heavy load of that locker.
For the past week I have been eating dessert , sometimes twice a day.Sometimes two at one go.Vanessa 's insight into all of this is that her mom, Lucinda ,was a baker,  and I am missing her sweetness in my life. I am keeping company with myself as I explore my footlocker which seems to hold an inordinate amount of longing for seconds..and unfinished firsts.My life is just too big for me to have a flat stomach right now.. maybe ever again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chocolate as Alchemy

  Chocolate in the face of death - I am not a consumer of chocolate, indifferent to its charms and very aware of its power to disrupt my brain into paroxysms of steel crushing pain, I have left it to those who surrender to its siren song. But at 2:00 am it has been in its embrace that I found release from the tears haunting me for the last week.Dark, smooth, quiet..a mourner's embrace.
  Returning to the present left  by a beloved companion, the metallic wrapped squares seem to be a ticket , punched by Morpheus, for an exotic destination : forgetfulness , mindlessness, devil-may-care- if I do-ness just not the ever present aware-ness. 
 The ticket was genuine- not necessarily round trip, that remains to be seen, for I slept.
Content with not having brushed my teeth  again, ( for what are cavities of the mouth when your mind keeps slipping onto ones greater?) and with leaving the delicate plastic  wrappers , ripped so neatly, on the floor like so many discarded mosaics, I slept.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Witness on Love's Last Journey

We,  as women , have become removed or often separated from another crucial role in our community and families. That of Witness. It is expected we star , direct, produce, or otherwise operate as central casting in the life and lives around us leaving us separate from a whole where we can act as the  witness .
In action something vital can be lost. Not doing but being.

In the early time ,before light and just as dark begins to lift , they sat in a circle , in silence. Warm hands, wreathed in soapy bubbles gently followed the the cooling landscape of the mother's vessel. First her face and then her arms through... to all of her outward being. Dried and powdered, we dressed her gently and covered her in a cozy blanket . ...Rest, Momma.We are your witness.

The women in the circle , loosely formed, were  the grieving kin of Lucinda. Two of her daughters, 18 and 15, sat gathered in ,faces turned inward amongst the rest of the bodies huddled in the small light of the living room. They bore mute witness as we bathed and dressed Lucinda in  the soft cotton dress and clasped the silver necklaces around her neck. Necklaces that had been resting on her pillow as she labored through her transitions in this her last earthly journey. The nurse and I stroked , crooning and humming , whispering to her as she lay,"We are going to turn you now, sweetie.That's a baby, gently down. "Her chest, while silent ,still felt that it held on so we held on. Drawing the blanket up around her shoulders , tucked against the draft of the opening door as it admitted  more, soft kisses on her forehead, " Rest now, Momma, this work is done. Rest Momma."stepping back into the shadows cast we join the women bearing witness to another of our ranks called, leaving behind babies needing arms to hold them , hearts to hear them  and years to guide them.