Subtitle: Seasonal Affect Disorder in March

Today’s break in this year’s unending winter weather prompted me to take a nature walk.  I wanted to take advantage of this: 

Glenn Carlyn Park today
Glenn Carlyn Park today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the weather once again turns to this:

My yard last week
My yard last week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t a beautiful day, the sky was milky but it was warm which brought out all manner of creatures;  squirrels, joyriders, walking widows and kids. Lots and lots of kids. There were also lots and lots of birds, mostly robins.  I didn’t need my binoculars to watch them as they were confident enough to hop and peck around the mish-mash of natural material on the ground. Apparently they gathered, discussed and decided we walkers were no threat. I  thought I was there in the park to bird watch but it turned out I was actually there to contemplate, write and look for signs of spring. It appears, we’re not the only creatures sticking our “necks” out on hope and optimism:

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Anyhoo….Today’s weather reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago titled:

Spring’s Deception

Do you feel the sun waking warmer in the morning?
It’s gentler when rising every day.
It spends time a little longer now
Chasing the winter blues away.

Did you notice the air has changed its’ smell?
It’s including a trace of the earth.
It’s teasing with that aroma of promise
Suggesting of green and rebirth.

There are days when the chill is obstinate
Then spring’s certainty seems a cold deception.
But March winds will blow the clouds from here
In time for the sun’s scheduled reception.

  
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Prodigal

My very dear friend’s mother passed away. Her funeral is today. Rest in Peace, Elsie. 

Prodigal

“Then Jesus said, ‘There was a man who had two sons”
My mother gave birth to five children, of those two girls lived and stayed with her into our adulthood. My mother passed on two years ago.

“The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of the property that will belong to me.”
I was always aware that my younger sister asked for and received money from my mother even after she was grown and had a job. I resented her for it and complained about it to my mother.

“Not long after, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant land and there squandered his wealth in wild living.”
My sister got married, moved away and lead an extravagant, upper middle class lifestyle she couldn’t afford so she still needed money from the family. My mother and I discussed, more than once, the character flaws that led my sister to be in constant financial trouble.

“After he had spent everything there was a severe famine…. and he began to be in need…He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.”
My sister’s husband died and then she had a stroke. That chain of events led to her final and total financial ruin. She couldn’t keep her corporate executive job. Her home went into foreclosure and she had to apply for food stamps. She was embarrassed in more than one way. To make matters worse, she didn’t have any friends in her adopted city to help her.

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
By that time my mother had suffered a heart attack so she was in a weakened state herself. Still, my sister came back to our home state and told my mother that she had bad luck but she had also made bad choices.

“And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.”
My sister moved into my mother’s apartment. My sister wasn’t working because of her disability. She did my mother’s grocery shopping and they cooked together. They enjoyed meals together most evenings.

I asked my mother how she could be with my sister so easily after all that was said and done. She said she was glad my sister had survived the stroke; glad she had known enough to come back home. She said she was glad she could “lay eyes” my sister every day.

When my mother died my younger sister got a lot of her furniture, including her beloved Grandfather clock and many of her books. I didn’t care about any of it except for the books. My mother had a lot of theology books. It was a subject she and I shared a love of. Many times I drove her to her bible study class and listened to her discuss the lesson on the car ride back to her home. I was angry and wondered why she didn’t leave the books to me.

 I remembered something my mother said to me a few days before she died. First she said, “I really love you, you know. Then she said, “Take care of your sister because everything took a lot out of her and she needs you.” To this day I am left wondering, was my mother leaving me a lesson about forgiveness? Or was it a lesson about acceptance? Or did she just want my sister to have the books?

(I wrote this piece as an experimental exercise for my writers group. It’s a work of fiction. The news of Elsie’s death is what prompted me to post it.)

One Chair On The Beach

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. They’ve been very difficult to get through since my husband passed away. Unfortunately, the passage of time doesn’t make them any easier. While I was reminiscing, I re-read this piece I wrote. It was published in my writers group online magazine (http://atableintheback.blogspot.com) earlier this year but I want to share it here too. 

 

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How I love the ocean.

When I was young my mother would make a lunch, pack us up in the car and drive from Boston to Gloucester, Massachusetts on Sunday afternoons. Mom had a bad case of wanderlust so for her gazing out at the ocean meant plotting possible places to land. I must have inherited my love of the sea from her.  She’d park along the shore road so we could get out and walk. The shoreline in Gloucester is glorious and the air is salty and brisk, no matter the season. I loved running along, challenging the grey water and annoying the fisherman from the enormous rocks at the edge of the water.

When Bill and I were dating and had money to burn, we vacationed in Nassau in the Bahamas. We went to nighttime barbeques hosted by hotels on the beach where we danced in the sand under colored lights strung from poles.  In the daytime we rode horses in the blue waves and white foam of the tide. We lay in the sun holding each other. For us, the beach was romance.

After we married and had children, Newport R.I. became our family getaway spot. It was only an hour and a half from our home so it was easy for us to go there on day trips to swim and enjoy the seaside. When the kids were in elementary school we spent their spring vacation weeks there. We’d get a time-share right on the water where I’d stare at the yachts on the horizon late at night, relaxing and losing myself in the their rocking on the waves.

The ocean has always been one of my best friends. Right now I’m sitting on a different beach looking out at another lovely ocean view. I thought coming here to Cancun would be good for me. I thought seeing the sun and the ocean in a different place would rejuvenate me. I bought this e-reader so I could read on the beach. It’s supposed to symbolize that I recognize my vacations have to have a new take on an old theme. I feel foolish using it though. It doesn’t make me less of an old woman sitting alone, passing the time.

I know I should be grateful that I have memories but I miss those good times on the water and I miss everyone so much. Mom and Bill are gone. The kids aren’t kids anymore and they’re off making their own memories.  It’s a gloriously sunny day and I’m sitting here watching plucky seagulls hop across the sand but Bill isn’t here to make jokes about them. I see children up the shoreline playing in the surf and I wish they were mine. The beauty here seems cruel because I don’t have anyone to share it with.

It’s such a beautiful day and I’m here wrapped up in my sarong and my own arms. But this is my “new normal” as my therapist calls it. It’s my new reality and I’ll have to get used to it.  So I’ll be taking a walk along the beach, leaving a single set of footprints behind me.

Stop Along The Way

Today I’m stumbling.

Sometimes as I’m moving along on my journey I come to obstacles that are hard for me to overcome. You see I have anger issues.  I’m the kind of person who gets irritated at people easily and frustrated quickly, to put it mildly.  My late husband used to tell a story about going a computer store to correct a cord problem. The tech person hassled him about it so he said to him, “Listen, my wife is a very angry woman who wanted to come in here and rip you a new one. I thought I’d save you that but if you’d rather deal with her…..” He came home with a new cord. And since I’ve gotten into more than one bad situation because of my road rage, I had to buy a paper fan-like device called “Smile on a Stick” to disguise my face so I…

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Summering in Gratitude

The Love of Livie

I’M a very happy person right now. Circumstances have coalesced so as to give me the opportunity to be away from my “regular” life this summer. I’m spending the time basking in love and light. The love comes in the person of my beautiful one year old granddaughter who I’m looking after. (Don’t go making  judgements about my age. You don’t know what the deal might be. LOL.)  The light comes from the place. I’m living south of my permanent home. I love the weather here. I’ve written in the past about how much I dislike the cold and dark and being here seriously makes me question why I live where I do.

Because there will be a lull in my usual responsibilities, the plan is for me to do a lot of writing. I’ve already started and the topics are popping into my head at breakneck speed. Some of them I’ll be sharing in this blog. My location leads me to want to write about the Civil War and race history in this country. And I think I’m going to try to tackle feelings about growing older (yeah, it’s the grandmother thing. I said, don’t judge!) I always write about spirituality and religion so I’ll continue to do that. Last but not least, I’m definitely going to write about gratitude. I’m so grateful to be in this position this summer. I’m aware that it’s enviable and a blessing. At this point I feel as though the bridge that the waters of my life have flowed under may be gone but I sit in a boat of gratitude floating onward.

Are there any summertime topics you think I should write about? Please let me know by posting a comment. Help me make this time well spent!

Thoughts On The Season

This is the first post that is difficult for me to write. Before I started this blog I carefully considered why I’d be doing it. I took all the time I needed to define the aim and the message. (Please see About This Blog) I went through a long period of questioning whether I was ready to expose myself. This included testing the waters by creating another blog about which I told no one and I even used another personae for authorship. Finally I felt confident enough in my voice and writing skills to go public with what I had to say. Even after all that it took a year of planning and collecting material before I felt ready to launch.  I never intended for this to be an “off the cuff” blog ala Twitter. I edit my pieces a couple of times before I actually post them. I committed to myself to write at least one post a month so as not to put too much pressure on myself, which I knew would be self-sabotage. I thought I had covered all the bases.

So what happened this month? A close family member went through a frightening medical event.  It threw me off my game mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I’ve gone through similar experiences with others and I know that I’ll process through it all and regain my balance. But I couldn’t figure out how this blog fit in with that process since I hadn’t planned for it. This is where I confess that I’m a planner. And by planner, I mean control freak. Doesn’t exactly jive with the Yoga/Buddhism leaning, does it? And that’s the point of what I learned about making time for this blog during rough periods. Although I doubt I’ll ever write a “stream of consciousness” post, I think they can be edited but not guarded. They can be organic if not spontaneous. They can be  “in the now” if not “in the minute”.  So this is not the post I had meant for this month but it’s the one that happened. If I get a chance I’ll type the “Easter” piece I had planned. (Hahahaha).

And now back to the business at hand. Last month I talked about Easter and the moon. Tomorrow is Easter of course and it’s late this year.  Easter is a “moveable feast” holiday which means it doesn’t fall on a fixed date on the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar follows the sun cycle. Moveable feast holidays follow a lunisolar calendar similar to Jewish holidays. So this year the Christian Holy Week and the Jewish Passover coincide as they often do. I prefer it when it happens because it reminds me that we beings are all connected in the world, whether I like it or not. That connectedness is important for me to think about at this time when the emphasis is on forgiveness and salvation. I reflect on how I treat others and how I want to be treated. But I also reflect on how I respond to how I’m treated by others because that’s the tricky one for me.  When I perceive that I have been insulted or aggrieved will I turn the other cheek?  As I’ve talked about before, I’m still working on “the bow”.

Speaking of reflection, tomorrow, Easter is the beginning of the last quarter moon phase. The waning moon is a perfect time for reflection and meditation before the renewal of the new moon and new projects.

I’m giving my best wishes of the season to all of you who celebrate Passover and Easter.