Not just ours…

sunset

We watched it.

Mesmerized by it’s glow. It’s charm.

Its seemingly languid way.

Of slipping away.

Until it was gone.

Kind of like it was teasing us with a childlike chant…

“now you see me, now you don’t”

The afterglow was proof enough that truly we hadn’t just imagined it.

It really had been there.

But.

If we had blinked, we would have missed it.

We watched it slip behind the horizon, slip off the edge of our today.

A new thought washed over me.

We think of the setting sun as ours, the closing of but just one of our many days.

I, for the first time, realized…

that final slip, that closing…

…is not just ours.

It is now the beginning of something altogether new.

For someone else.

It is not just ours

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Mm-hmmm

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Driving my almost a teenager kiddo to school this morning.

Silence and music for a bit.

My mind snaps to gear; plan for the day.

Must review the plan.

Remember, you have a game tonight.

mm-hmmm

Change into your your uniform after school.

mm-hmmm

Walk to the club like normal after school, ok?

mm-hmmm

I’ll call you when I am on the way to get you. We have to leave in time because of the Friday traffic.

mm-hmmm

Oh, make sure you order a snack too, there won’t be time to stop on the way and you’ll need something before the game.

mm-hmmm

___

Don’t say too much now.

You might use up all the words.

And, that would be such a bummer.

Snarky mama.

mm-hmmm

and an ever so slight and could-have-so-easily-been-missed

grin.

Or was that a smirk?

Have a great day, bug. love you.

love you too.

 

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Those Rocks. That Tree.

snowset2

As time passes, and life happens to and around us,  we are not necessarily the same people year after year.

And, it seems, to me, that we shouldn’t be.  Without compromising who we are at the core; we learn and grow. As a rock erodes into a pebble and eventually into sand over time, we have the potential to change in seemingly invisible ways every day. Our minds can change. Lord knows our bodies change. Relationships come and go and add rich layers of memory and story and sometimes hurts and forgiveness.

Our kids, the people we are raising, leave us changed daily.  Responding to the struggle(s) of the day, whether it’s the 7th grade math, freshman year jitters, college goodbyes, first heart breaks, puberty, or the teething and diapers – it all becomes part of our core. Like cooking from a recipe made so many times we feel it more than we can explain it. It just is. We just are.

My son is on the early cusp of puberty, my father has dementia. I am still a mother and a daughter but what that means and requires of me is changing as they change. Some days it looks no different than the day before, and then suddenly it’s obvious we are all different.

That said, among all that we juggle – the balls we manage to catch, and the ones we simply know are hovering in the balance, seemingly invisible but so very present – comfort can be found when we return to a place that does not change. A place that is somehow a constant for us, a landmark in both the metaphorical and concrete kind of ways.  A place that somehow soothes our soul, beckons us to memories that we can smell and feel from visits gone by, but it’s as if it were yesterday each time we return.

When you recognize a tree in the forest like an old friend, and know the one rock on which to sit by the lake.  They are unchanged and exactly where you saw them last.

That.

A place where the soul settles and rests.

And exhales.

We should all have that kind of place.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.  – John Ruskin

A place where we are sure of who we are, excited about possibilities we perhaps can’t even fathom (but like those balls hovering in the balance, we know they are there…) and revel in all that has been.  From good to difficult and everything that lies between. A place where –  no matter the season,  no matter the weather  – gives us just exactly the moments we need. No matter in what direction the winds may blow, to have and find comfort in a place that we are so very lucky to know.

And I’ve been lucky enough to learn that when someone you adore adores the same place as you – well, that’s one sweet exhale.

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Ps…thanks to Lori for the Ruskin quote!
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Quit your whining. Move.

2012-07-06 09.21.20

Running. Trying to run.

Gasping. Stopping. Whining

Two weeks off.

A trip.

Of gastronomic proportions.

Eating. It all.

Jet lag.

No movement.

One with the couch.

Gasping. Last one in at run’s end.

Feeling bitchy about how easy it doesn’t feel.

Round the corner.

Head down. Eyes to the ground.

Almost.

There.

Glint. In my eye.

A car. Parked. The door opens.

Eyes still down, in view are two rubber stoppers.

Those things at the bottom. Bottom of crutches.

Two stoppers. One shoe.

Shit.

I have two legs.

Shit.

Run. Run. Run.

Dig deep, woman.

YOU.Can.Run.

Heart rate picks up. Pace picks up.

Momentum surges.

Still last runner in.

Still gasping.

But running.

On two legs.

Quit your whining.

Move.

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This memory, from a few months back upon returning from our Paris trip, is still SO vivid in my mind, in ME, and was triggered by yet another  lapse in momentum.

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A Dearth of Words

dearth

Dearth.

Yes. A scarcity of something. Words. Here.

And it’s noticed, I know. A few folks I know have commented, casually, ‘uh, you haven’t written anything in awhile….’

And, then leave the comment trailing…

All I can seem to muster in those moments is a quasi-quizzical look and a mild sigh. Then, I try to explain what I haven’t yet sorted out for myself.

They know all that you all know about the the circuitous and yet full circle path I’ve been on, and so when they say….

Maybe you don’t need to anymore?…”

… I am – every time – simply silent with no real meaningful response.  You might say, a dearth of wit in those moments.

In my silence, however, I am uncomfortable. Not at rest. Maybe even slightly agitated.

But – and because – I am unable to articulate why. Even to myself.

Until the other night, or rather very early morning, when I should have been sleeping snuggled and sound; instead my mind was busy. No dearth of 3 a.m. thoughts, of that I can assure you.  In that vast, wide open space otherwise known as the middle of the freaking night, I circled about, eyeing this notion like a bird preying it’s lunch down below.

I thought of something Mimi wrote in her last post about “becoming a paean to gratefulness.

I thought about how much that resonated with me.

I thought about why that is.

I thought about how as a young girl, I was drawn to writing my thoughts and how when I look back at my old diaries, I see many starts but not as many finishes.

I thought about the idea of why we write. Why I write.

And then…

I thought about all this thinking.

And then…

I thought about the satisfaction that comes from writing.

I thought about so many issues sorted and unraveled because I wrote.

I thought about the community of friends and writers created and curated here, over time.

I thought about how it feels when I do write.

I felt it.

….

I kept circling back in my thoughts,  back to the comment, ‘maybe you just don’t need to anymore…’

Like writing was simply a temporary friend during a lonely and unsettling time.  (You know ‘that friend’ who constantly cries on your shoulder about this, that or the other thing, and never lets you know how things turned out? )*

A band-aid to put on during something that hurt.

A salve to soothe an an open wound.

….

And then I finally landed on the morsel.

But I do.

I do need to write.

I need the writing.

It is part of me that I (re)discovered during all that. The silver lining, so to speak, in the mess of of it all.

maitriser-le-web-reseaux-sociauxIt’s how I distill meaning from what’s in and around me.

It’s a way of thinking that makes sense to me.

It’s like the friend who totally gets me. *(And I don’t want be ‘that friend’ to writing.)

….

And, I fell back to sleep, but not before imprinting this in my mind’s eye, to come back to. Here.

Because, I need the writing.

Even in the absence of angst, without a glaring problem to solve or sort. There will always be – the way I see it, the way I want to see it  – something to distill.

So, what does this mean? I am not sure yet; I just know that the next time someone says, ‘oh maybe you just don’t need it anymore?” I know that I will say, ‘oh but I do…”

And while it’s true, life as I know it now is so much brighter, full of promise and love and possibilities limited only by infinity, it’s ok to still need the writing.

I need the writing.

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She had to ask

paris2

Standing at street’s edge; waiting for the light.

A dynamic, vibrant, bustling world class city.

Next to us a young woman stands, waiting.

Poised, stylish, together, confident in her own skin kind of way.

An unlit cigarette in hand.

The signature scarf worn in that effortless and elegant way;

the way of Parisian women.

We catch a moment’s contact of eyes

and then return to our impersonal, stoic forward stares.

Waiting.

I sense movement to my left and turn.

She leans in, so subtly in her graceful way.

Parlez vous Francais?

She had not pegged us as tourists.

There was the chance.

She had to ask.

travel

Non.

But my eyes said more.

Merci.

Merci beaucoup.

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it just keeps getting better…

those rocks that tree

When you don’t do something for awhile, it can seem unfamiliar and the starting point anything but obvious. So, somewhat recently on Live & Learn, when David shared three lines of a poem in the midst of one of his posts, it stopped me in my tracks. Not just because the words were just spot on truth for me. Not just because I found myself wishing that I had been the one to assemble them in the way the author had so eloquently (and seemingly so effortlessly) done. But because those three lines capture what had been elusive to me: what I needed to get this post started.

The three lines by poet John O’Donohue posted on this blog read like this…

Unknown to us, there are moments

When crevices we cannot see open
For time to come alive with beginning

and reminded me that much as we try, we can’t know what is to come.

In months that have somehow managed to have sped by, under the hood has been an ongoing process.  An examination of not my conscience, but rather my very consciousness and a riotous path of change and growth. Big things have ended, little things have cropped up and simmered right back down and all along there has been an eyes-wide-open-deer-in-the-headlights-bring-it stance on it all.  I like to think of it as beginner’s mind, which for me is any time we find ourselves in some degree of both amazement and trepidation – and often, dogged determination – in some kind of new or changing time.  But beginner’s mind cannot last forever, for eventually a beginning moves to somewhere in the middle. Yes?

There is the saying that all good things come to an end.

I think perhaps that is not always true.

And, on the contrary, it can actually get better.

However we slice it, in review, it might help for you to know that as I cast my glance in the rear view mirror, I see a marriage that ended, and necessarily so; and subsequently I see a rift in a family for a young and yet so wise and resilient young boy; I see a move to where less truly became more in ways so unexpected and a brand of co-parenting of which I am proud of for my son.   I see professional hurdles and challenges and just a whole lot of unpleasantness that are best described as hanging on tightly to a ship’s mast out on a stormy sea. I see a bank account that some days had more question marks than dollar signs.

But in the midst of all of that: endings, upsets and so many unknowns, there has also been grace and goodness, and so much understanding and without question,  many unanticipated lessons.

wrong roadI have navigated these last few years, with my kiddo and I, bolstered of course by our magical friends and family, in an intentional and optimistic way. I found a way to go at it at my own pace and in my own way.  I wanted to – I had to – go through the pain, not around the pain.  I wanted to understand, and to admit where the wrong turn(s?) have been made and why. So, the kiddo and I, we have laughed, we have logged miles, we have sat side by side on the couch checking off episodes of our favorite TV shows. We created our signature ‘funk-food-dinner-and-movie nights‘ (sometimes, mama’s in a funk and can’t find her way around the kitchen…). And, we have done our own thing – he with his friends, me with mine. Sometimes that happens all together. I dipped my toe in the dating pool. Murky waters I tell you.  But that is another story for another day. Or not.

With this in mind, almost exactly a year ago, I took a few days away to reset, and continue this re-evaluation. I went up to the mountains, a place that I consider a second home.  I spent nearly a week: I went driving around the entire lake, hiking, sitting, walking, and chasing sunsets.  And thinking. A lot.  And learning. For example, one night the power went out. All of it. Guess what I learned? That I really am a little bit afraid of the dark!  Who knew!?  

I learned something else equally important.

On my last day there, I positioned myself at a stunning location facing west and since the summer rush had subsided, the beach was nearly left just for me. And my glass of wine.

beach

I sat in wait and I was not disappointed.  The sunset was literally spectacular. And slow. And evolving.

Like we are.

I savored each moment as the sun performed right in front of me.

sunset

As the sun sank lower and lower, and aware that I had parked somewhat far away, I – so reluctantly – left in time to get to my car before darkness set in fully (I’d  already completed my Intro to Darkness course, successfully, I might add). I walked along, hopping over some boulders, looking back to catch every last possible glimpse. I wanted that image printed in me as much as in my camera’s SD card.

We all see sunsets, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Right? The sun sets every day. It has to.

I thought I’d seen the last of it, but the sunset had changed once again.

It was like it had one more act, an encore perhaps?

I found myself smiling, relaxed and leaning up against a railing on the boat launch and muttering to myself, ‘it just keeps getting better’. And then, I thought to myself, huh, and nodding, and thinking, realizing…

…it’s all going to be ok. It just keeps getting better…

I was smiling.

sunset4

I’m not going to lie.

The last few years have been enlightening, maybe you could even say “exhilarating” at times. But not easy.

But, I realized what I was saying. Out loud.

As I heard myself, I smiled bigger as I realized, yes, it does. It just keeps getting better.

It’s true.  There have been moments unbeknownst to me where things were at play and I had no idea.

My kiddo is doing awesome. He continues to teach me and surprise me.   His resilience is not just comforting; it’s affirming. At work we have a new captain of the ship and while you cannot turn a ship on a dime, it seems the seas have calmed and we are headed in a better direction; I am excited to be starting a new academic year, energized and maybe somewhat overwhelmed, but excited.

Colleagues have said to me, “I’m so glad you hung in there…”

And, I met someone. Someone most special. In the most unexpected of places.

People keep telling me, “You look so happy, it’s good to see you smiling again…”

It just keeps getting better.

Kiddo and I mixed it up this summer and instead of hitting the road, we jetted off through the friendly skies to enjoy our annual summer trip. Let’s just say, it was monumental.

So lessons learned:  Don’t get stuck in the dark. And it can definitely get better.  Sometimes we just to have to trust the wisdom penned by John O’Donohue.

And a ps…to the ‘nudgers’, you know exactly who you are, and thank you.  You have no idea…

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