Those Rocks. That Tree.

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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Fill Up for the New Year

A few days ago, when I logged into Facebook,  front and center was a blessing that a friend shared, as it had been shared with her. It resonated with me, deeply, and I have been going back to it almost daily in the time since.  Each time I go back for a re-read, I get something new from it, a new layer of comfort and understanding.

I often say I am late the party, and why break tradition at this point? Though the holidays have finally been wrapped up, and a new year has fluttered in with a new calendar page, it’s never too late to stop and reflect on what it is that nourishes our souls, and seek more of that not only for ourselves, but so that we are filled with something to share with others, as we begin anew.

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What will you fill yourself with this year?

Beannacht (Blessing)


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colors,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

–John O’Donohue

Happy New Year to each and every one of you!

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Twinkle Toes

When my husband and I first started dating, a few moons ago, he took me  hiking in his homestate of Arizona. I was intrigued; the mountains in the desert are so different than the rolling hills of California where I grew up. Excited to climb to the top and chatting the whole way; I wasn’t really paying attention to how far up we had gone or exactly how steep it was.

After a picnic lunch, it was time to head back down.  My husband started easily down the mountain and I was trailing behind him, calculating every step I took. I was certain that  each step I took would result in me performing some fantastic somersault down the mountainside.  As much as I hated to, I had to keep asking him to wait, slow  down, wait.  After what must have felt so painstakingly slow to him, I hear him gently chide me,

“C’mon Twinkle Toes…

We went hiking yesterday, to one of my favorite places on earth where open expanses  of granite are punctuated by trees, waterfalls, lakes, boulders and of the course the wide open sky.

Each year, we never know what  we will find  here, it all depends on how much rain and snow we got the previous winter. Since it was a fairly dry winter last year, the falls that are normally roaring, were just a trickle this summer, giving us an all access pass to this playground nature created.

As we hiked up and down and all around, Twinkle Toes was out in all her glory [I should have a  hiking shirt made ….. with Twinkle Toes emblazoned across the front…and why am I only just now thinking of this?].

Even though I am familiar with the trail and the area, I found myself tip-toeing through the terrain, taking my own sweet time.

At each step of the way, I found myself scanning and assessing, searching intently for the best route, for me.  My husband is more the hop-to-it hiker, moving swiftly and easily from rock to rock, while I make my moves more intentionally.  I want to be sure that where I put my foot will hold steady, will give me the most secure footing. I want to move forward along the trail, not downward!  I will often take a slightly longer route to be sure that I will land on solid ground, that I can trust the earth to support me.

In the quiet of the day, I found myself thinking about my twinkle toes in a new light.  I realized that how we scamper over the rocks can mimic life in a way; some of us jump right into situations, while others watch, wait and listen; some speak and then think, others hem and haw before a word comes out. Some wear their emotions on their sleeve, others require quiet time to reflect and figure out their feelings.  I know that I often feel the need to observe before I engage and need to reflect before I share, but I know that this is not the way for everyone. Sometimes I envy the ways of others, and how they make it look so easy, so swift; and sometimes it’s the other way around. We all have a lot to learn from one another.

Some of us are rock-hopping hikers through life, others among us are twinkle-toes looking ahead to make sure the footing is secure and safe; and I realized that no matter how we make our way along the trail, that  even if the ground is wobbly, most of us are strong enough at our core to counterbalance the wobble, and insightful enough to know when to trust ourselves to risk the shaky step or look ahead and find a different route.

The best part? There is no one right way; we all get there in our own time and our own way; hopefully teaching others as we go.

.And does it really matter how we get there, if we find ourselves with companions who wait, slow down and enjoy the rewards along the way?  🙂

Happy Hiking!

Yours Truly,
Twinkle Toes

a.k.a