Archives for category: winter

I woke up to snowfall this morning. That wasn’t much of a surprise, honestly; weather forecasting has gotten pretty good over the years, as data sets build in size over generations of meteorological expertise also accumulated. Even in weather forecasting, incremental improvements over time are a thing. 🙂

My first look at winter storm “Maya”, before dawn. 

Rather a lot of snow for this area. Rather peculiarly late in the year, being, already, mid-February. I sip my coffee, which turned out rather poorly for some reason, and consider Winter. I think of my Traveling Partner, who headed out yesterday, late in the afternoon, to head south for a gig, and to pick up more of his stuff to continue the moving home process (almost completed). I missed him, some, within minutes of his departure, but also enjoyed the quiet, after a very busy week of moving things in, moving things around, and getting caught up and settled in together in shared living space long-term. It was a pleasant and deeply connected week. I sit for some minutes, reflecting on love, loving, and being loved.

This morning, the world quieted by a blanket of snow, alone with my coffee, I miss him much more.

I had made brunch plans with a friend, for this morning…lol.

…Doesn’t look like I’m going to brunch. Thanks, no, I’m good here at home. lol

Oh, I know, this “isn’t that much snow”. It’s only 4 inches or so, and lots of places in this country that wouldn’t even slow folks down. I get it. People here aren’t used to it, and they drive exactly as though they aren’t used to it; they don’t have the right skills (or gear) for these conditions, making driving doubly hazardous. The communities, by and large, at least in this metro area, also don’t do shit to clear the snow and ice from the roads, they just let it sit there until it is gone, mostly… which… yeah. Wtf? lol I don’t know. Not my circus, not my monkeys. What I do know is that it was a wise choice to do the grocery shopping yesterday, and to bring my laptop home with me from the office, Thursday after work. I’m well-prepared, even if I am stuck here for days.

I over think a detail, and step through the house turning faucets to drip very slowly, hoping to prevent any pipes from freezing. I don’t need that headache, for sure, and it is quite cold. 🙂

Daybreak unfolds, and the sky lightens. I notice small birds here and there, and get up to put out bird seed, peanuts, and dry corn, for my furred and feathered neighbors. Within a handful of minutes, it looks like a forest-creature version of Hometown Buffet on my deck. I sit with my coffee awhile, delighted with their presence, and pleased with my forethought while I was shopping yesterday.

Minutes later, visitors still coming and going, lots of kinds of tracks in the fresh snow.

Winter comes when it comes. It’s like a lot of things in life that may take us by surprise. We can be prepared for so much. Sometimes, we won’t be. Planning helps with that. Being aware of conditions is also a step toward wisdom, generally. Being willing to “take care of” a future we can’t see, with our choices in the moment, can definitely have the potential to turn disaster to mere circumstance, of little consequence. It’s not easy, though; there’s no map. No clear timeline of all the shit that could go wrong in life. Things change – and change again. All of this also applies to great good fortune, and circumstances that are wholly positive, and also characterized by change and upheaval. What are you going to do about it? Prepare skillfully, or just take that wild ride hoping for the best?

Last summer I bought de-icer for the driveway, even though I didn’t know if I would need it. On February 1st, I noticed it there, and found myself amused, because it really seemed, just then, a complete waste of money. 8 days later, snow everywhere, I’m pretty appreciative to have it; I’m likely going to need it. Same with the winter-strength washer fluid I put in the car. The upgraded all-weather tires, replaced in October, too – all part of preparing for a winter that seemed not to come, after all… until last night. I’m just saying; look ahead in life, as far as you are able. Go ahead and make room in your experience (and your budget) to take steps that will ease you into positive outcomes. Why not?

Winter comes when it comes. This is a metaphor.

Even when I haven’t had the financial resources to put a lot of money into such planning ahead, the reality is that there are not only helpful other things one can do, it’s also helpful simply to prepare my mind for those potential events. I don’t mean to suggest endlessly agonizing over shit that hasn’t happened, but could, getting all hung up and anxious over the future, which doesn’t exist yet outside our thoughts. Not at all. I’m suggesting simply allowing yourself to consider things, evaluate their likelihood, and be mentally (and where possible, logistically) prepared for the most likely of those.

The pay off in taking care of myself, both right here and now, and also looking ahead to support my needs over time, is that, this morning I am sipping hot coffee, warm, dry, and comfortable, with a well-stocked pantry, plenty of books to read, and a day ahead of me to enjoy at leisure. (I’m suddenly feeling, also, alarmingly privileged to be so well-supported by my planning – but also by my circumstances; I am fortunate, and yeah, that does matter, too. I take time to quietly contemplate what I can do, from right here, to help others who may not be so well situated on a cold winter day, instead of sitting on my ass contentedly enjoying gas heat, and a snow day. It’s a small world, and a smaller community, and we’re all in this together.)

My coffee is gone. The birdseed has been picked clean from the deck. It is daylight, and I hear an occasional car brave the steep hill of the road I live on. A new day starts here. 🙂

 

I am sipping my coffee, and taking a few moments for myself at the start of the day. Another work day. One of just 4 remaining at this job, which admittedly feels strange. At this point, it’s mostly meetings, and writing process documentation for things that simply must continue to get done, in spite of my departure, which has nothing at all to do with me. Right now, moments for me are rare. Purposefully winding things down at my job, while I am in the office, and, at home, committing most of my limited leisure time to listening to the tales of a traveler. 🙂

My Traveling Partner is moving in, and there is newness and adjustment to be had for us both. The first time we moved in together, I’m pretty sure I did most of the talking. I had a lot to say. I hadn’t been really listened to (and certainly did not “feel heard”) for what felt like years. I talked. He listened. I needed that consideration and moment of regard. I earnestly needed to feel heard. I’ll be real about it; the person who wasn’t listening with the most commitment to oppression and disregard was actually me. I didn’t understand that, and I would have no idea what to do about it, once I did. It’s been a journey.

We each have to walk our own hard mile. Along the way, I’ve learned how much listening deeply really matters. I’ve also learned that it is a skill that must be practiced, and takes time to develop. I’ve learned that I’m not “naturally good at it”, myself, and that means practice must be committed, and undertaken from a position of presence and self-awareness (otherwise, I just start talking again). At this point? I’m often pretty good at it. (Still takes practice, presence, and self-awareness, as well as consideration for another.)

This time, as my partner moves in, he talks. I listen. I’m learning a lot about this human being I hold in such high regard. My affection has deepened with the telling of the tales. I wrap my lover in listening. We all want to be heard – to feel heard. I do my best. The listening matters more than any observation or reply I could make. This is not the time for my words. I continue to listen, setting boundaries gently when I need stillness, or a distraction, or a break from an intense moment; listening deeply can be work (it’s a bit topic dependent). We set explicit ground rules together, as partners, about things like checking in and making sure it’s a good time before starting down the path of discussing childhood trauma, or very emotionally intense topics likely to evoke a visceral reaction. We check in with each other when we see a micro-expression suggesting emotional pain, discomfort, or something left urgently unspoken that perhaps could best be shared.

About listening deeply… deep listening, as a specific practice, is simple enough to describe, and I’ll spend a lifetime practicing, because practice is what is required to become skillful. Deep listening only requires that I set aside all else, and just listen. Only that. No “waiting for my turn to talk”. No impatiently fidgeting with a reply I just want to get out there. No interrupting to make “corrections”. No taking what I hear personally. Just listening, present, aware, and also non-judgmentally. Asking clarifying questions can be part of listening deeply, but I definitely have to be very aware, such that I am not interrupting in order to do so. Deep listening is not a passive process, and I have found myself unable to hold onto hostility or to be confrontational, while also listening deeply. There is compassion involved, gratitude, appreciation, awareness, and yes, even love, and certainly consideration.

So, yeah, in general, this change in my lifestyle is still feeling pretty… well, “effortless” is the wrong word here, because unpacking things, moving other things, doing housekeeping, fixing small broken things, moving stuff around, all that stuff that goes with moving, well it all amounts to effort, for sure. It’s just not “hard”, and feels pretty natural. Like having my best friend move in – which makes a lot of sense, since he’s been my bestie for close to a decade. 🙂

There will no doubt still be moments ahead of us when, perhaps, one or the other of us is taken over creatively by a moment of inspiration, with no bandwidth remaining, at least temporarily, to give over to our lover. There may be moments when tempers flare, or we’re cross with each other, purely as a product of being very much made entirely of human. It’s hard to worry about it; things are very excellent, deeply loving, and connected, right now. Right now is enough. 🙂 Still… it’s helpful to practice those practices (such as listening deeply) that nurture and connect us so deeply. It’s helpful to be mindful of my Big 5 (respect, reciprocity, consideration, compassion, and openness), which have stood so many tests, so well. I can always use more practice. 😀

It’s time to begin again.

Winter finally attempted to prove some point, yesterday, with a bit of snow, and a lot of cold. The furnace ran most of the day. The roads were icy. I worked from home.

It’s not a lot of snow, it is, however, more ice than it appears to be. I chose safety.

I have recollections that there was some past point at which an ex, with whom both my Traveling Partner and I had cohabited with (together), had chronically complained how difficult it was to work from home, when he was also at home. I do not find it so, and the day passed well and productively. It was pleasant to make conversation over a break, and to finish the day in the company of someone so dear to me. It was a quiet day. Have I grown? Has he? Are we different people than we were then?

An afternoon visitor on a snowy day.

Actually, those aren’t even hard questions. Sure, we’ve both grown. Both worked through some individual baggage and bullshit. We’re different people than we were, because we have grown. That growth, chosen or forced on us by circumstances, isn’t the whole of the matter, though; we’ve also made room in our hearts and our awareness to acknowledge both our own growth, and our partner’s growth, too. We didn’t just become different people than we each were, we also accept, appreciate, and acknowledge those changes. We enjoy each other now, every bit as much as we enjoyed each other when we met – in some cases for new reasons. Love evolves. Love deepens.

We take time with getting more deeply re-acquainted. Listening to each other talk. Connecting, sharing, and discussing the past and the future – and just loving each other. We spent happy minutes discussing a bird on the deck I didn’t recall seeing before. We cook for each other. Tidy up together. It feels good.

It’ll be days, even weeks of settling in together, sorting things out, moving things around, adding things, removing things, changing things that may suit one or the other of us, but that don’t suit us both, together, in a similarly pleasing way. It’ll be months of talking, planning, sharing, experiencing – and yeah, more growing. We are not nouns, to paraphrase R. Buckminster Fuller.

Here it is, already morning again, already a new day queued up, ready to be lived. So many choices to make, so many moments to experience. It’s hard to contemplate getting in the car to drive in to the office, but it looks pretty do-able, so… yeah. lol Another day. Another beginning. 🙂

 

I was a bit nervous about my Traveling Partner making the trip home yesterday. There is an active winter storm warning, and snow in the forecast. Weather forecasting has become, over the years, very accurate.

Here it is this morning. No snow. Just another drizzly morning over coffee. lol The lesson here is clear; do check the weather forecast (or any assumptions), but then also, seriously, seek clarification before becoming fused to some outcome, because, as is so clear this morning, your real-life experience may be quite different than expectations set by someone else may have led you to believe it would be. Where possible, it’s best that our decision-making be tied to reality, and verifiable truths. It’s less confusing that way, and generally less prone to being covered in a snowstorm of inescapable bullshit. lol

…Still… there are snow chains in my car, and emergency gear appropriate to winter weather. So. Yeah. Multiple life lessons on this one. Layers of truth. I’m just saying; it’s not about the advertising. It’s not about the hype. The mystique is irrelevant. The narrative is not the reality.

Fact-check. Act with wisdom, consideration, and great care. Look ahead in life to meeting your needs over time. Living in the midst of plenty right now? How’s your future look? What are you doing about it?

So, I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about the variances between forecasts and actual outcomes, in life, in work, in this moment right here, in the next moment, somewhen out there… It seems a good turning point upon which I can begin again. So many beginnings. Less than 24 hours since my Traveling Partner arrived, and began to settle into life here. Only 8 working days until I leave one job for another. 44 days until the Vernal Equinox. 86 days until my Traveling Partner and I celebrate being married for 8 years. 128 days until I turn 56. In the meantime, there are plenty of small things to consider, to manage, to fit in, to start over, to work around, to celebrate, and to change. It’s a very human life.

It’s enough.

Time to begin again. One day of many. One moment of many. It is indeed enough.

(…I’m pretty glad it isn’t snowing…)

Busy weekend. Home making. It’s satisfying work. I am tired and eager to see my Traveling Partner at the end of his long drive. This isn’t a moment that requires any analysis, or any sort of deeper-dive; it’s quite enough exactly as it is.

An earlier moment, almost forgotten in this busy weekend.

I look around satisfied with the day’s progress. I smile in acknowledgement of all the small things that remain yet to be done. The smile is because now I’ll have time. I just got a lot of time back that won’t be spent driving. I gain time in my life back, because I’ll be right here at home – and still get to hang out with this singular human being that I enjoy so much. It’s a brilliantly efficient choice. lol It’s an utterly commonplace choice. These things exist in the same moment of contemplation and joy.

I think about the container garden on the deck. I failed it in every regard, last year, in the ridiculous summer heat, because I was away most weekends, and exhausted most week days. I lost roses that had survived decades of moving with me. It didn’t end up being heart-breaking, which, for me, I realize now was quite an extraordinary bit of progress and healing itself – and I didn’t even notice that at the time. Circumstances were what they were, and I understood them to be a clear consequence of my actions (or lack of), and recognizing my accountability, and understanding what would be needed for a different outcome, I simply let it go at that point. I never noticed the lack of heart-break, the lack of emotional storm. It was what it was, and regrettable, but little more than that. I can, and will, do better this year.

I knock back a cold glass of water. Then another. I pause to appreciate having clean, safe, potable water, right here in the house. I recognize the privilege this presents. Realistically, it isn’t something everyone in the world is so fortunate as to enjoy (and not even reliably right here in the U.S.).

Tonight? Gratitude. Love. Sufficiency. Tomorrow? I begin again. 🙂