Archives for posts with tag: spring

I woke up sort of cross and stupid, and bumbled clumsily through my morning routine, until I sat down with my coffee. Most of my ideas, at that moment, were half-formed, vaguely annoyed, and wholly human. I considered unpacking my complex relationship with anger – and traffic – or bitching about some other mundanity a great many of us struggle with daily, and lost interest before the ideas even began to take shape. You see, there’s a small bird in the hedge just beyond the stoop, outside my studio window, and this bird is singing, chirping, and generally really making itself heard. First, a “distraction”, now the soundtrack of the morning; I pause, and listen.

I am now enjoying a quiet morning, with a nice cup of coffee, and the sounds of early morning traffic, and birdsong. It’s a better-than-average start to a morning. I refrain from contemplating the day ahead; I’ve got an entire commute for that. Instead, I think about my garden, and consider the weekend for a moment, and quickly return to sipping coffee, and listening to this wee bird chirping and singing, beyond the window. I wonder what woke the little bird so early, this morning?

I give myself a moment or two, to fully wake, to be more prepared for the day ahead (any day ahead, really, not just this one). I sip my coffee, feeling quite content, and at ease. I consider how I want to approach my commute, this morning… knowing it likely won’t matter what I “decide” to do; I’ll find out what I’m doing about that as I drive along, just at that moment when a decision-making turn is necessary, and I see what I did about that, in fact. lol

I guess the point, today, is fairly simple; slow down. Let go. Exist for a moment without demanding so much of yourself, or your time. Just be.

Begin again. ūüôā

It’s definitely Spring. Small sprigs of new growth are turning up everywhere. Flowers beginning to bloom, though generally only those that bloom earliest, not minding the remaining handful of chilly rainy days to come. There’s a metaphor here.

Leaves unfolding, welcoming Spring.

I looked out onto the deck yesterday, early in the morning, and made a decision to begin readying the container garden for Spring. I let go of grieving roses lost to summer heat and succulents lost to winter cold, and looked on the garden with new eyes, vision no longer obscured by tears. There is so much promise in a Spring garden. More metaphors. I sat down with seed catalogs and thoughtfully considered what to replace, what to move on from, and what new opportunities are in front of me, now. I made careful choices based on a lifetime of experience, which now includes the heart-wrenching woes of the past year, and also, the extraordinary joy I’ve found, and so often. I made a tender sentimental choice to replace just one of the lost roses, with another of the same variety. I took time to appreciate that it will be “the same rose”. I made mental notes of some things I’ve learned from caring for that particular rose for nearly 3 decades, in a pot, and some things I can do more skillfully this time around. I made an exciting choice to add a long-gone favorite I’d had to leave behind many years ago, and somehow never replaced, in spite of how much I loved it. I’m eager to see it thrive here, in this more wholesome place. I added a rose that has a tiny bit of baggage to it, too, unconcerned with any of that, and trusting that the here and now will allow me to let all that go; it’s not my baggage, and it wasn’t my rose. I picked out a new one that so beautifully complements the others that it just seemed to be a necessary thing. (Are you keeping track of the metaphors, here?)

The Spring garden is about more than roses. I like to grow some vegetables, too. I also happen to be a tad whimsical, a bit careless, possibly with a tendency to be a bit lazy… and… yeah. I’m the gardener I’ve got. I do better each year, and learn more about making the most of what, and who, I am. This year I made the choice to pick out a handful of veggies I’ve done very well with, that don’t seem to require much of me, and just one thing that tends to insist I am attentive to a lot of higher-maintenance details. Ease, balanced with challenges. That’s the goal, anyway. So, this year it’s carrots, beets, various salad greens, Swiss chard, ground cherries, and tiny alpine strawberries. I’m fairly terrible with growing peppers, so why bother with that? Tomatoes? Well, I grow pretty awesome tomatoes, pretty easily, but they don’t agree with me so much these days, and I don’t generally eat them. lol There are more metaphors here. Are you listening?

Ready for Spring.

I’m not trying to tell anyone else how to tend their garden. I can’t even make skillful recommendations; I don’t know the lay of the land out your way, or what the soil conditions are like, or whether you are an urban gardener, or someone with a hobby farm, and I certainly don’t know what food you like to eat, or whether you have a fondness for beetles, or… you see, it’s all very personal and subjective. I just know that when I tend my garden, I need to show up, to really be there – or the roses die in the summer heat, the vegetables bolt or whither, and the succulents die in the cold. I’m just saying, my garden is a deeply useful metaphor for a great many things going on in my life, rich with lessons to teach me as I reflect on my experience, fingers in soil, birdsong in my ears, and gentle breezes kissing my cheek.

It’s time to begin again. I finish my coffee, smiling, and thinking of Spring. It’s a metaphor.

This is a lovely gentle moment. Last evening was also very nice. In between these moments, ideally, would be several hours of sleep. I am content with the handful of hours of sleep I got, and a couple¬†more of rest and meditation, and I woke to my alarm feeling comfortable. My arthritis is felt as a distant thing, this morning, managed and of no real consequence. My coffee is very welcome. My jeans, a size smaller than I’ve been wearing, feel comfortable, relaxed, and soft against my skin, like very old broken in favorite jeans – a very nice way for a new pair of jeans to feel. There is a lot to smile about, this morning (and even most mornings).

I will take today as it comes, practicing good practices, shoring up practices that I know work that I may not be fully committed to, practicing not practicing practices that don’t work as well…and treating others well.

One spring moment of many, with all the possibility and potential of any new moment.

One spring moment of many, with all the possibility and potential of any new moment.

This is a lovely moment. Many of them are, actually, even in the face of my own chaos and damage; so often it is embracing the fundamental loveliness of some ‘now’ moment or another that calms my storms, and helps me ‘find my way home’ to a gentler heart. A few deep breaths, a moment or two of real stillness, the solitude to find calm; these are so essential to maintaining balance and building resilience. Learning to allow myself to meet those needs has been challenging, and totally worth the time and effort to learn, and to practice.

However loving the lover, however caring the caregiver, however tender the heart of someone who wants to support me, first and perhaps of greatest importance has been learning to love and care for myself, my own heart, my own life – and not because there’s no one else out there, or because others cannot be relied upon, or because the world is in any way ‘unworthy’ – but because it is my own ability, and will, to care for myself well that shows everyone else ways to love and care for me, too. Besides, who else would be a better fit as ‘lifelong super best friend’ for me than me?

Does it seem odd to bother with writing such a simple post, on such a slim bit of an idea? I find that some of life’s best bits are painted across my experience with a very delicate brush¬†– it’s not all drama, big deals, or epiphanies. Some of the stuff that has mattered most to me is pretty simple, basic, every day living. I’m okay with that; simple is easier to practice. ūüôā

Today feels full of possibilities. Today is a good day to embrace the moment with wonder and enthusiasm. Today is a good day to connect, and to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Today is a good day to change the world.

After numerous flight delays, I finally reached my destination, and a taxi. I was one 40 minute cab ride away from home.

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My homecoming was delightful, warm, loving, supportive. I know we hung out for a little while, I know souvenirs were brought forth, shared, discussed. There may have been an anecdote shared, or two. ¬†I think we ‘got caught up’. I didn’t stay ¬†up late, but I didn’t rush to bed, either; Las Vegas got me used to just going and going and going…ending the evening and going to sleep was challenging, in spite of obvious signs of exhaustion.

Yesterday happened. Most of it involved sleeping. I woke in the morning, too early, had coffee and started an argument. It hadn’t been my intention, and in-the-moment I wouldn’t have described the circumstances that way, but looking back, the step-by-step process of ‘starting shit’ was evident, and well-followed with considerable precision. I was still so incredibly fatigued that I was highly volatile, and that’s a poor moment to attempt conversation about political matters – ¬†important or otherwise. This was not ‘important’. I was just killing time, waiting for an entirely other sort of moment, actually, and my choices were poor. ¬†(Not surprising, really, my decision-making when I am fatigued is often quite peculiarly poor, and I suspect it is due to the specifics of my TBI.) I went back to bed, once it became clear I just wasn’t rested enough yet to be fit to interact with human beings.

Yesterday I slept 16.5 hours, waking 4 times for various reasons, and durations of time. I managed to drink about 128 ounces of water (thank you Hello Kitty water bottle!). I even managed to fit in some meditation, some yoga, and a couple short walks. ¬†Apparently that is what it takes me to recover from 4 days in Las Vegas. lol (I think we could all have done without including a nasty tearful temper tantrum, next time I’ll try that.)

I am excited to be home. I am rested. Life feels very good.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to change the world.

When I was wee I thought coffee was simply the most horrible thing grown ups had come up with for self-torture. Adulthood had to be fraught with peril for that foul black brew to be anything but deserved for some great wrong-doing, possibly to children. It was bitter. It left a bad taste in my mouth. It just wasn’t good. That’s where I left coffee until I joined the Army.

On a humid, hot, Alabama morning, dizzy with fatigue, and dehydration, I slouched over my breakfast tray in the mess hall – first Army breakfast, first morning of basic training; I just wanted a cool shower and to go back to bed. I was very certain that the whole ‘join the Army’ decision was a huge mistake. While¬†I sat there staring at my uneaten breakfast, toying with the scrambled eggs while I toyed with questions about my judgement as an adult, a drill sergeant’s shadow fell over me, and a white¬†ceramic mug entered my view. The burly man-voice in my ear followed the too-loud-for-this-to-be-real clack of ceramic mug to table with a hearty “drink this, soldier, you’re going to need it!” ¬†Hesitant to do anything to rouse the ire of a drill sergeant, I put the mug to my lips and took a taste. I know what I expected, I know what I got.

For years after that, I drank coffee – with sugar and half n half – like my body was 60% coffee, rather than water. lol I’ve quit once or twice, when my consumption got so ludicrous it had the potential to affect my health. I’ve spent months at a time on decaf, and always gone back to the real thing, eventually. ¬†Years ago I found my way to really good coffee: exceptional beans, from verified sources, well-roasted by local craftspeople, really fresh, ground-to-purpose just prior to use; really exceptional coffee is a very different experience from the Yuban and Folgers my Mom drank when I was a child. ¬†More time passed, and I eventually found my way to buying my own espresso machine; everyone in the house favored really good coffee, espresso beverages, and it was both a better value, and more consistent quality to have our own machine and learn to pull really good shots. Lattes every morning have been the thing, for a long time.

This morning I drink my coffee black.

This morning I drink my coffee black.

In this all adult household, more than one of us is off dairy, either temporarily, or for the long haul. ¬†It’s a recent thing. For me it is likely temporary, but this morning, I am drinking black coffee. It’s been a while since that has been my early morning practice. The taste of coffee is so different without the smooth ease and luxury of a little cream, the sweetness of a bit of sugar. ¬†On top of the simple change to unadorned blackness in my morning cup, we had also run out of our preferred morning beans (if you’re curious, that’s Ristretto Roaster’s ‘Beaumont Blend’ these days). ¬†A quick walk over to the local grocer, and our weekend coffee was assured, but they don’t carry Ristretto Roaster. I got a couple other roaster’s beans for the weekend, and the beans of Saturday and Sunday were by far more pleasant than the beans of this morning, which are strangely reminiscent of Army coffee in the 80s.

So…I write about coffee, this morning. The taste of it, the memories, the importance of the experience… It’ll be black coffee for a while, at least a week, maybe longer.

There are other exciting bits and pieces. My visit to The Grotto on Saturday was lovely, and I got some amazing pictures. It was mildly disappointing, too, because although it is a garden for meditation, contemplation, and even advertised that way, it was quite crowded with large-ish extended families visiting (probably due to the Easter weekend) and they were more boisterous, and louder, than I expected or found pleasant. Gangs of giggling high school girls taking selfies and sharing social network items vocally while they lagged their parents steps were distracting, and quarrelsome couples, or people with fussy children, took the potential for real stillness right out of the experience. It was still worth doing. I got some great pictures, and enjoyed exploring the features on my new camera phone.

Symbols, and messages, in the forest.

Symbols, and messages, in the forest.

It poured down rain the entire time I walked the paths and explored The Grotto. The Stations of the Cross are not my symbols, but the powerful arrangement and beautiful statuary were moving, even so.

There were also flowers that hinted at love...

There were also flowers that hinted at love…

And the soft light filtered through rain and clouds made some blossoms seem luminous.

And the soft light filtered through rain and clouds made some blossoms seem luminous.

Colors stood out from the lush greenery, seeming magical and more exotic than 'real life'.

Colors stood out from the lush greenery, seeming magical and more exotic than ‘real life’.

From a distance, even symbols that are not 'mine' might speak to me of things that matter.

From a distance, even symbols that are not ‘mine’ might speak to me of things that matter.

It was a lovely spring weekend. Flowers, fellowship, and love generally make for a fine weekend I think.

Simple flowers, a rainy day.

Simple flowers, a rainy day.

I took a lot of pictures. The lingering sensation for me is that the pictures somehow capture things I didn’t experience in-the-moment, that day. It is strange to look at them later, and feel those feelings that were missed in the din of chattering school girls, arguing in-laws, and assorted people who’d only come along ‘because it matters so much to her‘. I wonder for a moment, if the ‘her’ I heard referenced so often is a mother, a grandmother, an in-law, or… the woman for whom The Grotto exists, in the first place? She is of many faiths, many religions, many followers; she is woman, herself.

A powerful symbol of life, of love, of family; a woman and child.

A powerful symbol of life, of love, of family; a woman and child.

Well, Spring, that was lovely. Let’s do it again, sometime. ūüôā