Between Two Worlds

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                                            Image courtesy of: AllPosters.com

 

She inquires

Are you coming back or just visiting?

I ask myself

Have I ever left?

My spirit resides in cold, granite rocks and crisp, gripping air

I stood outside at the airport

Basking in the north wind

Rejoicing in the sky that bore more clouds than sun

The southern nights have been restless in anticipation

Sleep elusive

I toss and turn in the stifling and stuffy night air

Rains of  sweat beneath my forehead and between my breasts

My body longing for the chill of a drafty house

and the warm pile of a fluffy comforter

The tip of my nose cool to the touch

Nostalgia keeps me coming back, I know

But the tug and pull of my  new life

reminds me of a joy that I am just beginning to sow

Day 13.  I am back in New England for a few days to visit the boys and my friends. My legs need some hills and a mountain to climb. I have been greeted with “Welcome Home!” already. Although in truth, I now have two places that bear the same name.

 

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Hot Spell Hibernation

Image courtesy of: http://www.skymetweather.com

My stepdaughter once said to me, “We have only two seasons here: hot and really hot.” We are well into the second season here. Unlike the Northeast, where an ocean breeze feels like air conditioning and the heavy surf is bracing cold (maybe 65 degrees if you’re not on Cape Cod) the beaches here do not provide any true relief. The breeze is torpid and the water temperature is 89 degrees! We are at the height of heat and the new school year is just around the corner!

I have found it strange not to have a clear demarcation of the four seasons. Even in the darkest, coldest and snowiest of winters, we knew it would eventually end.(Although if you lived through the winter of 2015, you might beg to differ!) Winters are the hardest part of living up north for various and valid reasons, not the least of which is hoping that your roof doesn’t cave in from too much snow or your pipes don’t freeze if the power goes out. Of course, if you live in the city and depend on public transportation to get to your job, and the conditions shut everything down, it has the realistic potential of your losing a few days’ wages. When you live there, you just have to be prepared as possible for the worst weather and it is often very disheartening and depressing.

Still, I cannot help but compare. I’m looking outside right now and it’s gorgeous. What the heck am I doing sitting here? Well, for one thing, I’m wiped out from my long morning walk and back yard weeding. It’s 91 degrees with a dew point of 80. It’s damn hot!  The current conditions just sap away at my energy. When I lived up north and it was sunny (regardless of the season), I went outside for as long as possible. Why? Bad weather was always around the corner. Sometimes it was weeks away, sometimes days, sometimes hours or even minutes. My body and mind were in sync with this practice. Plus the air was so refreshing and invigorating! Even on a zero degree day with the sun out, it was tolerable. Trust me, I have done it.

In contrast to where I currently live, we hibernated during the season when most of Mother Nature goes dormant. Those deep, dark December days when the sun sets at four can are at once agonizing because of the lack of light or pleasing because it’s a great excuse to get into your jammies and curl up with a good book.

So, is this a matter of synchronizing my body to the fact it will always be less dark and more hot here? Is it also a matter of adjusting my mind to the idea that despite of how the day looks, it is just as bad as a cold and dark winter afternoon? Perhaps. I’m just grateful that we have good air conditioning!

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.

Evening Somnolence

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Chasing a moment 

An arc of an instant 

The fading light a fiery pyre

The day’s ending brilliant in its parting

 

Day 30. At last. An unplanned evening excursion through town gave us this gift. Taken behind my church where many of our town’s ancestors sleep.

Night Storm

Credit: www.flickr.com

A rare rumbling rolled in during the darkest of darks

Throat sounds

The mumbling of a monster

Tossing and turning

too tired to open my eyes

Wondering when the flash and flicker of lightning

will illuminate slumbering shadows

Tossing and turning

Anticipating the next racket and ruckus

Awaiting the squall that is bound to follow

I lie still

A stone attempting to hide in an open field

The rampage hovers over me

arriving in an unusual rage

I pull myself in tighter

knowing there’s nowhere to hide

Electric daylight remaining at bay

But wait! 

Mother Nature’s search and rescue

Singing a soothing song

The serenade that subdues the monster into submission

Day 21.  A tempestuous thunderstorm arrived some time in the wee hours of the morning unaccompanied by lightning. It was incredibly loud. Yet somewhere in the midst of the cacophony I heard a chorus of birds.

Capturing a New Day

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Last quarter moon in the first part of the day

Still high in the Eastern sky

The day is beginning to burst

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The pond is composed

Presently unoccupied

Bullfrogs as yet to call their mates

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The stream across the way

bubbles in contrast to the easy

manner in which her mother rests

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Her brother runs faster

Rounding a bend in the road

Gliding over rocks and under

fallen trees who lay across

his banks in a final surrender

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Back home a view of our sweet land

Snow hanging on in the back forty

Sunlight kissing the maples and birches

The bonfire pit anxious for a conflagration

And shoots of fresh grass

winning over the sleeping earth

 

Day 15. I woke up to see the last quarter moon outside my bedroom window. These photos were taken with my phone.  Took the easy workout this morning, walking for an hour watching the golden sky light up and taking pictures of pretty places near the homestead.

 

 

Emerging Emergence

Credit: www.rgbstock.com

Yesterday I heard the spring peepers

Mother Nature’s front line amphibians

The cacophonous infantry that beat back Old Man Winter

The lone bumble bee also sounded the call

A buzzing scout announcing His final retreat 

A butterfly dances across my line of  vision

in search of a sip of succulent nectar

 

Today’s morning run doused my exposed skin

in the green scent of a warm shower

Precipitation that precedes the budding on the sleeping branches

Birds sang in a chorus

Chirps and twirps and rata-tat-tats

drowning out train whistles

and the early morning bustle of whooshing traffic

in the distance

We’re no longer afraid to hope…

 

Day 14.  We’ve kept ourselves in a semi-permanent brace against the cold and snow since late January. I think we can finally let go and enjoy the flow that only Spring can bring!