Monday, February 28, 2011
My mother kept on attending church after the fall, but primarily would only go to the very quiet and sparsely attended 8am service. She was raised a Methodist. Her denomination changed to Episcopalian when she married my father in 1949. She did her best to be Episcopalian, but, truth be told she never really was. The better part of her remained with the church of her childhood.
My siblings and I have drifted from religion. In and out, bouncing here and there. But, as it stands now, only one of us has an official church of record. None of us are Episcopalian. I dance on the edges of Quakerism, but, unlike my son, have yet to commit. He is a member. I am best described as a sporadic attendee.
So, why is it that I have held onto this old and battered collection of bibles, prayer books and hymnals? They stand in the corner of our living room. At the ready. I wonder if it isn't more about the connection to family and their connection to a higher power than my own. A sense of history that grounds me.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
You do not necessarily expect to stumble into a piece of forgotten family history. But there it was, walled off and semi-cared for, the Russell family plot.
There are seven souls occupying this clearing in the woods. The youngest is an unnamed infant in an unmarked grave. The oldest is 50 year old John Russell. They say that John is buried standing up. Something about fox hunting and hearing the hounds as they beyed.
There is a bench on top of the hill where the Russell family rests. I put my camera bag there as I changed lenses. And when I had taken the images I came to get, after I gently closed the wooden gate and latched it tight into the notch carved into the encircling stone wall, I sat for just a moment in respectful silence for them all.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Now she stands exposed. It is then that her true beauty is realized by all who take the time to see her. Her multicolored bark arranged in random patterns taking on the textures of rough and smooth simultaneously. Her long and twisted branches reaching far beyond her roots reach below.
The older the Sycamore gets the more pronounced her beauty, the more she stands apart from the average oak or maple. A testament to maturity and strength.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Mostly, though, you know that John is around by how you feel. There is a mischievous air, a sly smile and an open heart ready for you to crawl right into. Last Christmas as I was flying around the house in panicked preparation mode anticipating the arrival of family for dinner, I happened upon a bit of John. Tacked to just the right place was a sticky note. The note simply said, "Remember to breathe." That's John.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I would like to tell you that I watched him pack his luggage without worry. I would like you to believe that as I smiled while he practiced his haggling skills with his Dad, a shadow did not darken my mood. That as I watched him help an elderly man retrieve his boarding pass from the ticketing kiosk at the airport, I did so without anxiety. But, I didn't do any of that. I admit to fearing for his safety as he lives with a family in the West Bank, as he walks the ancient, narrow streets of Jerusalem, as he tries to understand the separation wall, and as he swims in the Dead Sea.
I guess there is only one explanation for my behavior. I am his Mom. And this growing up business is harder than it seems.
Monday, February 21, 2011
He looks pretty docile, doesn't he? You would never know that he has been caught removing cash in the middle of the night from my brother's wallet. Or that he can hold a grudge against even the mildest of humans, chasing them back behind bedroom doors while releasing the scariest and most guttural of sounds. Yellow eyes blazing. He is formidable. Unpredictable. Mr. Gray is, after all, of the feline persuasion.
Perhaps it is the manipulation of reality or a flight of fancy that drives this new experimentation. I'm not sure. But, it has given me a new song to sing, a new tool in my bag of tricks. Keeping it interesting, fresh and new. A chance to color outside the lines. Again.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
I am not limited to stones that I find. Over the years, I have been given many. My favorites are heartshaped. On days when I am feeling a bit blue, I search out a bit of stony heart. I roll it around in my fingers, press it between my palms and absorb the simplicity of shape and substance. Love in it's most earthy form.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Nothing really touched me this morning. Especially not Mr. Peepers. His gaze trickled in and set off a fountain of tears. And when the fountain ran dry, the words flowed.
Barb brought me kleenex. She listened. She heard me. Mr. Peepers looked the other way. He was waiting his turn.
After hours of friendship and caring, I reached for Mr. Peepers. He looked me in the eye and gave me his contagious, crooked little smile.
Thanks, Mr. Peepers. I am ready for my next step.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Today, I share his flowers and his poem.
Spring has sprung
The grass has riz
I wonder where
The birdies is
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The irony is that our shadow can not be escaped and, in fact, the key to wholeness is to embrace it.
Often buried in shadows are amazing patterns. Plays of light and dark. Movement. Rich texture is revealed in shadow. Warm light and reflection.
All the best parts.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Six years ago, I decided to look for my dog. At the time, we had a lovely family dog named Jack that the kids adored. He was a collie mix breed that entertained us all with his herding of neighborhood squirrels and chipmunks, not to mention kids. I thought I could slip my new dog in under the radar.
I decided a small dog was what I wanted. A breed that did not shed. A smart dog. And a female. Not that I was being picky.
From there I did everything wrong. I went to a pet store. And I took a kid or two. We milled around. Played with a few pups. As I was rounding up the kids, I caught a glimpse of a tiny red ball of fuzz. That was it. I was a goner.
Katie is definitely my dog and I am her Mom. She spends her day following me from room to room. In the spring, she gardens with me, riding beside me on the little John Deere. She keeps me company as I walk in the woods, blazing trails, exploring the creeks. And when I return home after being out, she greets me as if it is the most exciting event ever.
At night, she curls herself up often in the crook of my knees. If I wake during the night, I reach down and feel the warmth of the love between a dog and her girl.
Like I said, a goner.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
They belong to no one. They belong to everyone. Cars stop in the street to let them pass. No one takes offense as they wind their way in and around diners feet snatching bits of this and that before the 3 second rule takes hold.
A part of the fabric here in Key West. A bit of off beat life that makes this place a place worth remembering with a smile.
..."But I got cat class and I got cat style..." Brian Setzer
Saturday, February 5, 2011
So, tonight, as the sun made it's firey exit off of Key West, as it caught the folds of a heavy, muslin beach hammock and transformed it into flowing silk, as it caught the calm surf just off the shoreline reef and dotted it's crystaline blue with gold and orange, I warmed my spirit as I will soon warm my hands by the fire. The work of the day is done.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Visions of days gone by are evident in how she dresses, how she looks to those who come. Shapes and signs begging for the future to slow down just long enough to gawk and smile before driving by, driving through to calmer cooler times and places.
So, why, you may ask, have I selected this image? The answer is simple. It is not an image of snow. I shot this image in the lobby of our little hotel in Miami Beach.
Last night we flew away from snow and ice and into Oz. We walked the beach last night, thawing our frozen toes in the warm sand. This morning as I write this, Maddie and Doug are happily splashing in the hotel pool. It is freedom.
And here, in our snuggly piece of warmth, as we made our way back to our room after our giddy walk, I noticed this wall of glass. Warm and colorful. Full of shadow and highlight. It is clear that someone had given this wall a great deal of thought. The exact placement of the glass. The colors standing in complimentary order. The lighting set just right, setting off the swirls, transparency and opaque glow of each piece. And as if that were not enough, they set halogen spots above the whole wall. The cherry on the sundae. Starlight for those who take the time to really look.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
All that being said, I admit to having more than my fair share of shoes and boots. I line them up in closet and mud room like so many obedient little soldiers awaiting orders. Some missions are easy and require little effort, some are downright trecherous like a good long hike into the woods and over the boulder field. There are shoes in my closet that really were not meant to be worn. They are works of art in shape and line. But no self repsecting foot would be considered a true match for the tilt, rise and balance required to navigate an evening out in them. Ankle busters, limo shoes. If you have nick names for your shoes it is not a good thing.
Then there are the boots. Fashion boots, waterproof boots, hiking boots, boots that can not get wet. Anklets and knee highs. Square toes, pointy toes....
Come spring I will put them all away and happily forget that I have them. I will kick off my shoes and let my feet out to play. And we will be who we really are...my feet and me.