Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ireland

Recently spent almost two weeks in Ireland.  Glorious.  Totally fell in love with it and for so many reasons.  It is beautiful.  Life is older, slower and more satisfying.  There are seventy shades of green! There are animals everywhere, even in cities.  There are no chain stores to speak of.  Butcher shops, fish mongers and greengrocers still exist.  There are flowers on every doorstep and windowsill.

It was an intense trip and it is going to take more time to sort through emotions, photos and memories but I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go.  I felt my ancestors who are still there I am sure although I found no trace in County Cork or County Kerry.  I will explore more and am seriously considering dual citizenship.  Time will tell where all of this goes but I know one thing for sure, I love Ireland and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been introduced to her. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Afternoon Tea

Sometimes it is the littlest things that delight in a very big way.  A sweet friend sent me a tea blend last week called "Birdsong".  It smelled heavenly in the bag.  Early this evening, when I returned home from work, I dusted off my favorite teapot, a lovely white porcelain one that I have had for over forty years.  Then I found one of my favorite china cup and saucer and commenced to brew up a pot of "Birdsong".  I thought this was rather synchronistic as I have been particularly enjoying the trills of finch lately.  While I waited for it to steep, I lit a candle and relaxed, breathing in the heady aroma of the tea leaves releasing and blending their delightful flavors.  When it had steeped for just the right amount of time (about 4 minutes) I poured the golden liquid into the white cup.  It was magnificent.  It was rich, yet light, with flowery overtones and had a slightly spicy finish.  I loved it.  As I sipped and savored I realized how this little tea ritual was making my day.  I felt calm, relaxed, joyful and perhaps just a little sophisticated!  A simple pot of tea brought me so much delight.

Interesting side note I have been reading little tea cozy mysteries by Laura Childs and the main character in one of her series owns and runs a Tea Shop!  There are all kinds of lovely references to teas, blends, etc., and recipes in the back for scones, tea sandwiches and other tasty treats.  Then there is a short section of various types of tea events.  My event this afternoon was delicious and delightful!
A Tea for my soul that will be repeated often in the next weeks I think!  I recommend it highly.



Monday, February 15, 2016

Birdsong and other delights

It feels like spring has crept in. We may have more snow, we may yet again freeze, but today I feel spring.  I woke with the sun peeking up over the mountains and birds singing.  They were trilling and warbling in that very special way.  I love birds all year round and they all let their presence be known, each in their own unique voice.  But for the past few days I have been hearing the spring repertoire.  The sweet little finch are singing their hearts out.  There have been others too, some I can identify and others I just enjoy.  The snow is melting and I am loving the sun on my skin.  A time of rebirth, regeneration and hope is spring.  We may get more winter and that is fine but for today I am enjoying spring.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Many Faces of Winter





Here it is January and I haven't posted in forever!  I have not written much at all in fact.  I have been missing it.  It is time to be the she bear and hunker down and write.  I sit here with a great cup of tea, sun is out, birds are feeding like crazy, and dogs are tired out from playing in the snow. I am capturing some words.  These words were inspired in a roundabout way.  Yesterday while visiting a client, I noticed the snow in her driveway was in odd shapes and crystals were evident growing out of those shapes.  It has been very cold, then we got snow, then it warmed and got cold again.  The recipe for snow crystals. They were magical and I kind of got lost in them. They were lacy and delicate and in various shapes and sizes. The images were quite captivating and unusual - magical even- as the sun shone through them. She wondered what I found so interesting in her driveway and smiled when I told her! Those crystals conjured up so many memories of snow and winter.  You see, we haven't really had much snow in recent years.  

The first memories were those of a child, a very young child with a bulky gray snowsuit, pink mittens and big old bulky boots.  I distinctly remember feeling like an overstuffed chair in this get up, but it kept me warm. I remember struggling through the snow that was almost as high as I was.  I remember the scent of fresh snow, the freshness of it. I remember eating snow cones I made in my hands and then I was left with wet, mittens that had that horrible wet wool smell.  I clearly remember sledding down the hill in the back yard, over and over again and just loving the feeling of freedom. Later I remember creating igloos with my brother.  We had a mold that was a plastic rectangle with a handle into which we packed snow and it popped out as a snow brick. We crafted marvelous structures with this. We thought we were amazing engineers! That was back when we got snow!  

There were times that as a young teen we would pack into someone’s car (parents would drive of course) and head to Big Blue...the great tobogganing hill up in Milton.  It is a wonder we didn't maim ourselves for life we were so reckless and fearless.  But, we did have fun.  My best friend Barbara went into the convent (Sisters of St. Joseph) and continued her tobogganing at the motherhouse.  She ended up with forty some odd stitches in one leg as a result.  I believe the nuns suggested a more sedate winter activity to her after that. 

I remember later as a teen and young adult disliking driving in snow but loving to walk in it.  The winter of 1969 I was living in the little coastal town (really a fishing village) of Wickford, RI.  It snowed and snowed that winter.  We lived in a tiny little cottage snug and warm up on a hill.  The entire town became enveloped with snow. We were living in a snow globe!  I was pregnant with my first son and my husband and I went out after the snow stopped falling.  We shoveled our walkway and headed into town which was only a short distance away.  There were no vehicles out at all but many of the people of the village were also out walking!  It was magical.  We saw people we hadn't seen in months and probably wouldn't see again soon.  Everyone was in good spirits and friendly.  Winter by the sea, a study in white. 

My next real strong memory of winter is when my sons were young.  Michael my oldest and I used to sled together and of course make many snowmen and then share hot chocolate.  We lived way out in the country then in West Greenwich and often we would walk through the woods in search of animal tracks and try to identify them. Those were magical times too, returning home again to hot chocolate, cookies -cheeks pink - reading books snuggled under a quilt.  He grew and enjoyed sledding with friends on that same gentle hill. 

The two younger boys came along and there are many sweet snow memories with them.  
 I remember the first time David, my middle one, touched snow!  He was probably six months old and screamed when he touched it.  He didn't like the cold.  Another memory that stands out is putting an old wooden crate well anchored on top of the sled, an old Flexible Flyer.  Putting a pillow or two inside and tucking David in with blankets to be pulled down our dirt road (now snow packed) under a brilliant full moon. Warm spiced cider followed when we got home and of course books and bed. 


Soon thereafter his brother Bill had arrived.  He was much more excited about the snow. His dad had an old Scout International and plowed snow.  By the time Bill was three, whenever it snowed, he would grab his snowsuit and boots.  He couldn't put the snowsuit on unassisted but he did put his boots on first.  This occasioned many laughs around putting the snowsuit on.  Their Auntie Barbara had made both boys backpacks with their names on them.  Bill would always grab his and I would pack it with snacks for the trip with Dad to plow snow.  

Many years passed with only vague memories of shoveling, sniveling, and getting stuck, sometimes in my own driveway.  The years have a way of passing.  My next really strong memory is the winter of 1999 that I spent down at the Stage Coach Stop...alone...in a travel trailer.  That winter was spectacular.  We got snow, snow and more snow.  I would sit with a dog on either side of me and watch the storm play, dump, move in and out. It was really an amazing winter.  We had no snowplow down there until long after the sun was out but my friend Valetta who had a Dodge Ram Dually would drive up and down the driveway to make tracks for me to follow in my little Toyota Tercel, when I finally had to go out.  

Probably about eight years ago Robert and I went for a great moonlight walk after a big snow.  We made it up the road a little ways and decided to make snowmen.  We made three of them along the S curve in our road.  They stood for weeks. Winter sentinels. That was great fun.  We were like kids that winter. 



Winter has finally decided to return and we have had snow again.  Yes, I shoveled, and shoveled but it was light and actually a bit disappointing...too dry to make a snowman.  After the weather warmed a bit I discovered it was wet enough to stick so the dogs and I made a snowman in our yard and dressed him. 

So happy winter has returned.  Now, how many days ‘til spring?  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring, Renewal and Rebirth


Spring...new growth, green sprouts, robins, birdsong, misty mornings, first leaves, daydreams...



Such Singing in the Wild Branches (2003)It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky— all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

for more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then— open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

— Mary Oliver, "Such Singing in the Wild Branches"
     Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays,
     Beacon Press, Boston, 2003, pp. 8-9

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve


It is Christmas Eve.  Solstice was just last Sunday.  The days grow longer and we shed what we no longer need and allow a rebirth.  Beauty abounds.  The world is full of chaos and anger...I know this.  All I have to do is read headlines.  Yet, gratefully my world is filled with love, joy, peace, harmony and once again a little magic.  I have so much to be grateful for!  My health, my beloved children, my beautiful snug home, the mountains that hold me, the wonder of snow sparkling in the yard...a field of diamonds, the birds feeding at the feeders and singing, the dancing fire at night, the critters in the barnyard, my job and sweet co-workers...so very much to be grateful for...and I am.
The myth and lore of the season enrich me.  I feel grounded and joy filled.  The packages are mailed off in plenty of time and have arrived safely. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.  Each card I sent had a special message and a message of peace. I completed the Twelve Nights of Solstice meditations and accompanying art or writing with Cat Caracelo.  It was grounding, sweet, and a delight.  I have enjoyed the preparation for this season with so much energy and love this year.  Why?  The world seems to be falling apart around me.  I really don't know but I am tremendously grateful.
I miss my children with an unimaginable ache in my heart... but we are in touch, we have a genuine connection and share a very deep love.  This consoles but the ache jumps out often.  I send them hugs and much love on the phone, by text and e mail, and energetically.  We have a special something...and I miss their presence.  I love them beyond the stars and back again.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a very good night.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Welcome September

It is the half lit waxing moon...according to Fiona a time that follows the dark of the moon where she sat in that dark and surrendered to the void.  Releasing, resting in the deep wisdom that she opened to receive.  As the first silver of moonlight appeared she gathered and prepared for regeneration and re-emergence.

Now under the half lit moon she empowers her plans and anchors her commitment as the moon waxes she will further hone and align the path she has chosen this cycle.


The half lit Moon calls our attention once again to balance.  It is a time to pause and reflect on where we are in this moment of the cycle.  This is a time for new ideas and inspiration and we are reminded of the deep caring we need and deserve, and of the eternal, limitless love and wisdom to be manifest.
I am thinking of this tonight as I sit, peacefully under that half lit moon.  I see it between the branches of the pinon.  Birds in flight heading for sleep.  Bats begin their swooping.  The light changes oh so suggestively and subtly growing dimmer, through hues of gold, silver, violet and then disappears.  Magic.  I am reading Wild and tonight am feeling very melancholy.  A state I rarely find myself in these days.  I am remembering the three or four months that I was wild and free, a gypsy, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley, parts of the Trail of Tears in Tennessee, savoring old barns in Kentucky, North Western Mountains of CO, Sedona, Walnut Creek, and so much more.  I was untethered, unencumbered and free.  I am not sure if it is sitting outside celebrating the end of day and welcoming the night, or the book that has me longing.  Longing for what?  Freedom under that half lit moon, an opportunity to be untethered again, to roam and explore to savor life without fear, worry, doubt or constricts?  Perhaps all of these things.  
I also remember in my first month sitting way down canyon watching fireflies.  I was told they were not here in this part of the country…but I know differently.  I saw them that year and have not seen them again since…but I have that sweet memory with so many more of being free.