In the Meantime….

Do you ever notice your shadow when you’re outside on a sunny day? I’ve never paid much attention to it; perhaps because cloudless days are fewer in New England or perhaps because I no longer have that childish wonder at the sight of it. On a run last week, I noticed the full and extra long length of mine and it got me thinking about my current life’s path.

I still remain surprised that I live in a place of palm trees and low lying land. I drive to work as the sun makes it debut (it rises just a bit later on this side of the Gulf) and wonder, “How did I get here?” (A line from the Talking Heads “Once in  a Lifetime” comes to mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98AJUj-qxHI.)

Then I start to think about the  2016 Lenten theme of my faith community up North. “Walk with Me” is the one for this season. Admittedly, I missed the deadline for getting it published in the booklet so I decided this post would be an alternative means to share some thoughts.

I am old enough to know and accept and embrace that life’s path is never straight.  Even if you operate under the illusion of the straight and narrow, sooner or later you wake up to the fact that you actually may be going nowhere. (Again, cue another Talking Heads classic “Road to Nowhere”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWtCittJyr0.)

It occurs to me that the precursors to the seismic changes in my life came about on walks with friends or other loved ones. I distinctly recall a question posed by a friend back in 2005: “Are you spiritually hungry?” Realizing that I was in fact in great need of fulfillment, I entered a community that opened my heart, mind and spirit and, in turn, helped my sons gain some safe ground in a time of severe turbulence.

Then I think of the long walks I took with my husband before we were even dating. First, a morning  hike in the woods and later, a longer walk on the beach (the very same one we were to be married on years later!). Intense, open and honest conversations took place that day in late 2008. Our lives were never the same after that time together; we began a journey that overcame distance and trying times in our independent lives.

A steadfast and true walking companion will always be Emily. My heart warms at the memories of Sunday afternoon ambles in the bird sanctuary with her dog Blaze. These trips were never wholly planned; usually a text or call to drop whatever and go. Things were shifting both in small and large ways during those times. Mother Nature allowed for openings in the clouded spaces of our thoughts and worries.

Surely, I would be remiss if I did not speak of those wondrous mountain hikes with my youngest son (joined on occasion by Emily and older brother). I have written about all of them in previous posts but in looking back, I believe they were symbolic of a relationship that had come full circle. The rough patches were behind us; we could manage the toughest and steepest paths knowing the reward was waiting for us at the summit.

Still, there was something larger at play, I think. A force or spirit or a higher power that reminded us to stay present because it was present. The moments became richer and sweeter as a result.

So here in this new place and space, I bring my full self. Each day is different; I feel as if I am in a tremendous labyrinth with many paths I can follow. So I do. I remain open to new possibilities along the way, knowing my journey and my destination are one and the same.

Gatherings, Gratitude, Guidance and Gumption

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Photo courtesy of D. Jacavanco (jacavancostudios.com/blog)

I’m writing this piece looking out at my new back forty; a verdant park is now my backyard instead of the long expanse of grass and thick woodlands. The journey to my new life is at once complete and just beginning. We were married in late June on the beach with the roar of the Atlantic and soft tunes of a love song in a circle of friends and family.

 The day was picture perfect-the bluest of skies, the warmest of suns and greenest of grasses. The party was held outside in the backyard, a culminating celebration and the best way to say goodbye to my house and land that survived loss and was revived by love.

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The boys had moved to a beautiful apartment on the other side of town earlier that month. We had time to adjust to being apart before my own big move a thousand miles away. Although I had been in the house alone before, it was never so empty. I had trouble sleeping, not out of fear but in the sense of knowing it was permanent. It was difficult to work with all the emotional upheaval that comes with making five life changes at once. I was saying good-bye to everything.

I went for one last big hike in the mountains with my youngest during that time- a necessary reprieve from the planning of the wedding and packing whatever I needed to bring.

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I said good-bye to my therapist- a woman who provided me with strength and courage  for a decade and helped me get back myself.

So, two days after the wedding, we hit the road with everything I had- and all that I needed- packed in the car. Books, clothes, photos, paintings and two cases of wine arrived safely  three and a half days later.

And, two weeks after the wedding, my house was sold. My husband and I are  at last making our own home together. At times, I feel like a stranger in a strange land. The climate is different-and I am not just talking about the humidity! I will leave the details of my observations for future posts; they are stories unto themselves.

Until then, stay tuned!

Between Certainty and Doubt

Credit:www.liveluvcreate.com

Standing at the window she looked out at his car backing out of the drive

and wondered what she was saving her feelings for

She nearly said “I love you” the night before

He was clearly waiting for her confession

She couldn’t keep up

Her heart had been closed off for so long

She had forgotten the rules

Of course she loved him 

But the words dried up in her mouth before they could escape into the air

This affair was no practice session for the next one

She knew it in her gut and he did too

The angst and agony and the suffering

that comes with the human condition

pulled her away from the edge

of the one great leap into the blissful abyss

Would her fear of making him feel better

somehow be a loss that would make her feel worse?

 

Day 29. In the process of digging through an old trunk, I came across a yellowed piece of paper in my twenty-something handwriting.  Some anonymous long quote about the risks of loving another. I held onto it and this is the result.

An Unexpected Find

Credit: oldfriends.gettalk.net

I found a picture from long ago

A black and white snapshot

Halcyon days, golden school days

Half a dozen young men on the campus wall

Teetering towards the real world

in the days before we were scattered apart

and away from one another

The memories come back in snippets

My college brothers

The ones who stood by me through my first big heartache

Winter break nights sleeping on your couch

in a room with cold heat

We worked all day and broke bread at night

I made you keep the toilet seat down and the bathroom clean

We were unapologetic about being young

Wild and willing to touch the edge of our limits

Living in the moment

Creating our own world and sharpening our minds

 Kamikaze nights and pitchers of beer

Thursday nights at the Stein

Random times singing

“Run Around Sue” and Bruce’s “Hungry Heart” with the jukebox

Knowing these were our own glory days

Years that were foolish and  fleeting but oh so much fun! 

We moved on and forward

We grew up and maybe a little old

But those bold and beautiful days are still in my heart

Day 27. You come to realize how much of a life you’ve lived when digging through old items. Yesterday I opened a trunk and found some photos from my college days. A black and white one from 1982 struck me and brought back many happy times with the guys who were a big part of my experience.

Bittersweet Good-byes

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Credit: www.youtube.com

 

Some good-byes are unexpected

Seeming to come out of thin air

A sudden, tragic death with no chance for a proper farewell

 

Still others we wait for in agony and tortuous anticipation

A diagnosis with a termination date

Time to prepare, yes

But is there really enough time?

Each minute is precious

Each day a gift

Time for truths to be told

At last- the final moment- permission to leave and be released from pain

 

And there’s the relationship existing long past its expiration date

You take a step towards tossing it out

But the grip of fear holds you back

Starting over, being alone are the vises that lock you in

Then the hammer comes down and you are at once relieved and reveling

A warped dance of grieving a false love

and the  idealized version created for appearances

Mourning the idea and plowing the depths of sadness

Tending to it and then letting it go

 

Then they are the Someday good-byes

Ones you know will happen in life’s ebbs and flows

Children leaving the nest

Ready to tend their own gardens

You’ve given them the seeds and the soil and the rakes and the hoes

Their minds and hearts will continue to be sown

They are seedlings with strong roots

 

Each farewell challenging on its own

Each wrought with the messiness of change

Each allowing for transformation

And the the beginnings of a new day

 

Day 26. Can you sense a theme this week?  Preparing to leave this place is an exercise in quiet intensity and healthy sentimentality. The corners of the house have been poked and prodded. Old items-keepsakes from way back-have been rediscovered. The attic-though sparse- had its own treasure trove. The kitchen table has old photos scattered about. They haven’t moved for days. I’ll revisit them before I reorganize them and put them away.  Others are well-packed in albums and stored in a bin. Thanks for staying tuned in!

Recollections and Reflections

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We’re taking a journey to the past

Deliberately digging

Rediscovering ourselves

Who we were back then

The cache of moments revealing treasures hidden away

Tiny Instances and minor flashpoints of lives in one place 

School times

Christmas times

Easter tides

Carnival rides

and Halloween’s candy treats

Snow days bundled up- oh  those rosy cheeks! 

Summer days, freedom days, no shirts and bare running feet

The world looked greener then, full of promise

The present is a place of demarcation

The time when the bond of bygone times bears fruit for the future

We stand together at the precipice, hearts pulsing

All systems go for the epic Act III

 

Day 24.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conscious of time as I have this week. Shortly, this house will be a part of our past. The boys will go together to their own place and I with my beloved. Honestly, it is very exciting, despite the work of packing up and getting rid of things. 

Home

Credit: www.nickischroeder.com

Sometimes I want to retreat into that quiet

The space between the noise and the chaos

Abandon the trivial

Embrace the meaningful

The world whirls around me

And I stand in its eye

I want to leave the misery

and embrace only the joy 

I want to sit in the early morning quiet

and listen as the earth wakes up 

I want to hold close my loved ones

and soak in the ordinary moments

that give life to extraordinary memories

Small pieces of  smiles

and laughter

loving tears and deep embraces

 

Day 16. Late, way past my bedtime. A lovely night at home with family. Enjoyed a delightful dinner with a bit of spirits. These are the days I will always remember.