Soaking Up The Rays


As many of you readers know, I’ve been on a mission of contentment in my life. Pretty much since I moved almost a year ago…and maybe even some years before that really. Coming to the south was part of that on a number of levels for obvious reasons. Gee, I figured living where it was warm all the time, well, I would just naturally just be happier.

Today I had an interesting realization related to that expectation. Usually this time of year, as midsummer rolled around in New England, I would almost get depressed. I love spring and summer. They were my favorite times of year! You can’t beat the beauty of those seasons in the North–let’s face it! The budding flowers, then in full bloom, the trees filling out with their greenery, the smells and birds. And of course, the lack of snow and cold!!! This was the best part.

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Winters could seem endless there: the blizzards, downed power lines, leaking roofs, shoveling snow, winter jackets/boots/mittens/hats/scarves and frozen body parts, plus the driving. It was all just awful! When those days finally melted away into warmth, it was heaven on earth. Those who haven’t experienced it, well, they don’t know real beauty.

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So when August would come, I would think: summer is half over and that means Fall and that means it will start getting cold soon. I know, silly of me, but I couldn’t help it! The summers seemed so darn short some years and the winters horrendously LONG. And time just moves faster now that I’m older. All the projects one planned for the summer, there was never enough time…

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But I realized today: wait a minute….there IS no real winter here! No fall or snow coming in few months. In fact, it’s lovely weather (although I haven’t minded the hot weather either). It was crazy to think about! I’m tan, have no winter clothes to drag out, no boots to find, no moth eaten hats, no rusty shovels to find…nope, just my flip flops. Yesss!

True, the gardens aren’t as nice. I do miss that terribly. I’m not crazy about cactus or Palm trees, or lizards. But I have seen Cardinals and some other cool birds. Maybe the new place I’ll put up a feeder. And maybe I’ll try some more potted plants. And since it’ll be my own back yard (sort of), I’ll sit out more and enjoy.

You see, I have this tan now–all year round!

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Tornado


We had a tornado watch at work today. A strange alarm kept going off in the dungeon where I was working and voices kept coming on overhead to announce the possible tornado. Everyone but me seemed pretty calm having lived through it before, although some were checking the alerts on their phones (actually we’re not supposed to have our phones on at work). But I was just sort of bewildered figuring when I left work that I would be swept up like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz never to be seen again….

I told them this at work as I was leaving…and they assured me that I would know if one was heading towards me, but not if it was coming from behind. And yes, I might just end up in Oz…so just make the best of it. Yikes, I had actually forgotten my ruby slippers….

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You see, I’m actually a girl of blizzards and ice! This I know from…cars doing 180’s or hitting your breaks and having nothing happening. But being picked up off the ground by a giant funnel of wind? Egads! No thank you! Give me snow and freezing rain any day! That I can deal with!!

When I left the building there were some guys standing around where I punch out and they assured me the tornado had left the area, but it was still pouring. Oh great, my umbrella was in the car and the parking garage is not close! When I mentioned this, they asked why I wasn’t walking through the hospital to leave? Um, because I’m new and didn’t know the way I said sheepishly. Luckily these dudes were happy to help a sister out so I only got slightly wet.

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I have no idea if all the palm fronds laying on the road were left in the tornado wake or just from heavy winds, but I made it home safe and sound…. And I didn’t see any Flying Monkeys on the way home either!!

Yes indeed: there’s no place like home!

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Christmas 2015


As I lay in the heat of my tropical bed last night, listening for the jingling of Santa’s reindeer–I thought about how I just couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit this year. Not physically anyway. It just didn’t feel right somehow to drag what little I brought with me, and garnish my apartment, only to look out and see palm trees and feel 80 degree weather. Nope, does not compute as we used to say… The only thing that looks remotely “Christmas” are some cards sent to me that I did decide to put out.

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Christmas past

So I thought about what defined this particular holiday for me, especially since I’m not Christian. I certainly have celebrated it, along with the other teeming throngs of stressed-out Americans. So I started to make a list, a list of what was missing this year that made it feel all wrong and why I simply let it slip by instead:

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  • The mad wrapping of presents for my daughters, both as kids and when they were older, both with and without a husband.
  • My famous stocking stuffers, (which always included a whoopee cushion), each one wrapped and sometimes filled 3 stockings a piece.
  • A morning run or walk in the cold, maybe with snow–other neighbors bundled or shoveling.
  • Endless Christmas music in the stores.
  • Santa everywhere you went.
  • My friends.
  • Sending and receiving special gifts (money was tight this year).
  • Hearing The Messiah being performed.
  • Seeing The Nutcracker with my daughter.
  • Children everywhere.
  • The warmth of my home on a winter’s day.
  • Either a day off or filling in for someone with small kids.
  • The knowing that spring will eventually come.

These are some that were missing.

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My wonderful home

I went for my walk here on Christmas day. It was strangely quiet. I imagined everyone inside with their families. It made me think about this global thing that happens today. It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. Everyone, everywhere doing the same thing.

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Imagine if people could put that energy, the money spent, toward other things? Say even half of it. If there was a day, like Christmas, where the whole world concentrated on world hunger, or world peace, or global warming or violence against women or racism. If everyone took the energy they take preparing for this holiday, took the money they spend on it and put it towards one of these things…? What if….??

Do you think Jesus would mind?

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Winter Solstice 2015


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And now the days grow as the Winter Solstice visited with the longest night.

The turning of the wheel continues its infinite progression towards the Equinox. It leaves tracks of glittering dust left on Mother’s skin.

Days will gather light while seedlings rest under dark and quiet earth. We pull the cloak of contemplation around weary winter waiting.

The candles are lit. Bring the sun to the longest night. In caves, in huts, in circles, in forests –draw down the light and return again. The light, the warmth, the green!

This we’ve asked, sung, chanted, drummed and danced in hopes that we continue to be a part of the never-ending cycle.

Blessed Be!

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Waiting


How many times in life do we wait? If we think about it, we probably spend most of our lives waiting for something! Sometimes good things, sometimes bad things–but it seems like minutes, days, weeks are spent simply waiting….

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  • For the bus or a friend to take us to work; or our car to warm up.
  • The divorce papers to go through or the wedding date to arrive.
  • Nine months of wondering what sex the baby will be or wading through the adoption proceedings, or if the in-vitro took.
  • Wondering if the kid will ever be potty trained and then if they will ever grow up to be respectful, loving adults.
  • For vacation to come–or even the weekend.
  • The doctor’s call with results of the tests.
  • Months of treatments and sickness to be over.
  • One more minute of sobriety turning into years.
  • Enough money.
  • Your birth family to show up one day.
  • Morning to arrive and a glorious sunrise/bedtime after a grueling day.
  • The kids to all get along.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Waking up every day with joy and no worries.
  • Never looking back.
  • For your dog to actually talk.
  • The end of that triathlon, marathon, 5K.
  • Life to really begin.
  • The perfect blog piece.
  • The yelling to stop or the bruises to heal.
  • Summer to come or maybe winter if you like snow.
  • A miracle.

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How many more? What are you waiting for…? We wait for so much!

It feels like we’re often standing on the edge of a cliff and we don’t know what’s down below. But as we get closer, our heart thumps in our chests and peering over can be the death of us. So, we must just stand back and be patient–something that is not a virtue of mine!

Today I wait to hear the final word on the new job. Nothing huge really in the grand scheme of the list, but for some reason I feel nervous. Sleeping will be hard tonight–I’ll be up tossing and turning and, well, waiting. Why couldn’t they have emailed today?

But such is life: dots of doing little things connected by endless moments of waiting. So that, my blogging friends, is what I will continue to do…..

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Phases


Phases are found in every aspect of nature and life on this planet. Look to the moon and watch it wax and wane in its monthly cycle around the earth. And the lovely butterfly: from larva to amazing gold studded chrysalis and then birthed into flight as a full winged angel. There is the brilliance of Summer painted with color, bursting with food; and the glorious riot of Autumn with trees hung in their last hoorah before the solemn rest of the snow covered quilt of Winter lays the world to rest; and on to Spring where babies and sprouts tenderly crawl and peep to start it all over again.

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These cycles, phases are so numerous, so abundant and obvious that often we simply take them for granted. They beat within us like the ancestral clock that started from when we crawled out of thick slime and our eyes first opened to the great firey ball in the sky. And this clock has not stopped ticking since.

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But there are also the human phases we face. These too may be obvious like the ones where we pass from childhood to adulthood. We celebrate the turning of our phases by weddings, funerals, Bar-Mitzvahs, Baptisms as to honor the next phase into which we are passing.

Some phases are not chosen by us: a divorce therefore making us now a single person, moving out of the once blissful cycle of marriage. Or maybe we were once clean but life, circumstance and inner struggles have moved us into the cycle of addiction. These kind of phases can be painful to pass through, seemingly bottomless pits of despair and pain.

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When we are young these cycles seem to whir by like scenery in passing car, our noses pressing up against the cool window–life flashing by blurred and blending together. But as we grow older we begin to grasp onto phases, realizing that maybe with regards to our own lives, there may be some choice.

Some are surely beyond our fingertips: one can’t stop the wrinkles (no matter how much cream you apply) or the creaking bones. It’s more the direction one’s life is headed and the quality of one’s soul work that may be within our ability to manipulate.

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As we grow older and begin to value the need for quiet and being alone (at least at times), one can begin to hear the song inside one’s own being. All the accumulated time we have spent speeding through our phases and watching the cycles of our world have woven together a story in our hearts. This story, when we sit with it, begins to form a pattern and as it takes shape can clearly lead us down the next phase of our life.

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It is at this point that we do not have to sit back and be unwilling participants in our lives where the world happens around us, or let people do things to us. But rather we begin to steer the boat and head toward the shore where we want to land. This is the beauty of growing older.

So within this phase, I continue to honor the Earth as She tries desperately to follow the phases that She has for millions of years. It is in joy that I watch the birds, plants and animals in their cycles upon this world and the planets, stars and clouds cross the vast sky. And it is with great humility that I now try to move forward toward the next phase of my life.

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The Window


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My last full day in my home and the small New England area where I’ve been for 20 years broke to drizzly skies and patter of rain out of my bedroom window. It is a window at the head of my bed whose scene wakes me every morning I arise. The seasons turn through that window–from the buzzing, blooming, brilliant days of summer; views of small trees heavy with fruit and painted with warm colors of autumn; or the swirling fury of the blizzard beating at my screen making my yard a winter wonderland; and finally to the tender shoots and leaves of spring time.

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I took my usual walk despite the gentle rain, my lake seeming solemn. My trees appeared to weep thus making me cry. The lake brought me such peace. It’s beauty and secrets: the loons mournful cries, the solitary heron and mallard pair returning each year to greet me. Each with their lessons for me about flying solo and about love. Each sunrise and sunset utterly beautiful, no material gift could match. And the tender quiet that I know I may not find where I am going.

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On the road was a bright red salamander brought out by the dampness. Of course I had to save two today from being squished. It is like a fire dragon and filled me with the hope of sun and a bright future.

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With every new journey, we leave something behind. Through every window, we may see the day ahead, but we also live within the house on the other side. Tomorrow I leave that house and head toward a new one.

It will have new windows and new days for me to embrace.

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Poem: Melt


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Reflections in melting life

Renewal mirrored in opening pathways

Warmed by eternal equinoxes

The land made on water

By winter’s wicked grip

Now quietly vanishing

Slipping away like an unwanted visitor

One day from this shore

The rippling lapping slap

Will wash up

And the sun will set

Behind the other shore

Painting its golden glow

Across the water’s wonder

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