I woke up today when a little kitten playfully jumped on my face. It’s not the worst alarm clock. It was a good reminder to play and smile and be grateful for another day.
I then started thinking about my “to do” list for the day. I should do ____. I need to do ____. I do this every day of course, today is no different. Because it is the eve of the new year, I feel the need to add something of significance to the list – not the “today” list but “THE” list.
Why do we wait until the years end to ponder any maneuvering of action or thoughts in our lives? We sort things out in calendar years, quarters, months, time slots, etc. I absolutely appreciate the organization and predictability of such things, but why only take personal inventory and declare action one time a year?
Haiku To Do…
Jump. Care. Dance. Love. Do. Hope. Cheese.
Yes, I know cheese is not a verb. However, love is a verb and I love cheese. #profoundshiz
I love my neighborhood for many reasons. One reason is the abundance of large trees. I like the shade, I like watching the leaves dance in the breeze, I like losing myself in wonder as I ponder the stories they could tell and the people who stared in awe at the trees before my arrival.
This may seem weird. I have spent a lot of thought and time figuring out what to name my oak tree. It was obvious to me that the tree is a “she” somehow, with her mighty strength, battle scars, and unpredictability. But, the one who names her ukulele, bunny who lives in the backyard, and the sideboard in the living room, probably names a tree or two.
Her name is Artemis. Artie, for short. Artemis was a Greek Goddess who was a fighter. She loved nature, animals, and children. She protected them fiercely, even at the expense of self. When I met Artie six years ago, she had a steel cable binding her together to keep her from falling apart. About four years ago, lightning struck and a large piece of her fell onto the corner of the house, coming in through my bedroom window. Since then, I sleep downstairs on the sofa when the storms come through. Over time, the steel cable has finally broken and many limbs have fallen to the ground. It was noticed after the two most recent storms that she now has a new split. Another battle scar has revealed itself. She is getting tired of carrying all that extra weight and burden. Aren’t we all? The problem with hanging on to things for so long is that little pieces of ourselves fall off and can damage life in their path. Sometimes, it is okay to take stock in our history and let the pieces fall off safely or at least control where they fall. There, I said it. That “c” word gets people all kinds of riled up. Or perhaps it just gets me all kinds of riled up. Just so you know, I’m not a control freak. I don’t need to control everything. I do like to know what’s going to happen next and make sure it is what should happen next. I like to call it: extreme helpfulness.
I am a professional overthinker. So, after running through every scenario possible, I must let some things go and Artie is one of those things. I really dislike the thought of taking down a fellow warrior. However, she is an unpredictable old lady and I prefer not to be crushed to death in my sleep. Sleep has come easier these days for me as I gain wisdom in age and continue to interpret life and love and joy and meaning and my deep longing for bread and cheese.
As the story goes, the Greek Goddess Artemis is immortal. So, Artie will survive as the stump lives on. Rest well, brave one. And I will, too.
“Love and be loved,” he said. Wise words.
I come to the garden alone and He still comes, and I still belong.
I’ve had a tune stuck in my head for days. It’s an old hymn and one of my favorites, Into the Garden. It reminds me of my grandma Katherine and the old Methodist church in Hammond, KS that we used to go to when we would visit our grandparents farm in Fort Scott. I can imagine myself there, how the air felt, the creak of the pews, the smell of the old books and freshly perfumed senior citizens. I miss it. I miss church. I haven’t been to church in a while. That’s about 3 blogs worth of explanation for a later date.
Sometimes, my grandma comes to me in a dream. Or, I dream of her. Or, I have a dream and she is present. That all depends on your perspective. When this happens, I feel peaceful. She was a petite, busy, kind woman who smelled like roses and gave me long squeezy tight hugs. I miss her. I miss the farm. Maybe she will visit me tonight? Sweet dreams.
I struggle. Silently struggling is my jam. The highs and lows of this year have been taking their toll and I was reminded last week that I don’t always have a healthy way to deal with stress in my life.
The conversation went something like this:
J: Are you stressed?
Me: I was born stressed.
J: I’m sure you have healthy ways of dealing with stress.
Me: I’m pretty sure that I am not using a lot of the healthy ways of dealing with stress. Also, sharing time is over.
J: Well, that’s why we have God.
Me: (I should say something)
Last night I received a text about the beautiful sunset. I had been planted on the inflatable sofa for hours of binge-watching Netflix, so I figured a pretty sunset might be enough reason to get up. I looked outside. Yeah, I suppose that’s a cool-looking sunset, I thought. Then, another text arrived suggesting I get in my car and get a better look from the highway. So, I did. That’s when I realized I had looked the wrong way. I had looked East. Wow. Once the sky turned my head, I just started driving in that direction so I could see it longer. I kept driving down the highway, seeing the brilliant colors and bizarre cloud patterns. I was mesmerized and also hoping I would not wreck the car as I was looking at the sky. I needed to find a spot to sit and just take it all in. So, I went to church. I drove West, and time was running out. The colors started to fade, the reflections on the clouds were disappearing. Hurry, there is a sign and you’re going to miss it! As I do when I feel lost or late, I drove faster. I will see this sunset and it will be meaningful, dammit! I sat in the church parking lot with a full view of the western sky. I watched the end of the vibrant blues, purples, pinks, oranges turn to pale yellows and grey as the horizon gulped up the sun.
As I drove home, my mind was buzzing with ideas and thoughts and a desire to write and discover the meaning of this sunset, this sign. Then, the shutdown sequence began. It’s too much. It will just be random words that don’t make sense. I can’t. So, I didn’t.
Today, I’m home with more repairmen in the house fixing more broken stuff in my beloved broken space, so here I sit. To quote another summer repairman, “Ma’am, your shifter is broken. It has shorted-out.” Ah, there it is. Yes, change displeases me. My shifter perhaps has always been a little shorted-out. Go see the sunset, he said—and I looked east. My compass is off. My shifter is broken. My space is in need of repair.
Moonlight Sonata. It is a piece that I have played for many years. The sheet music has markings and reminders of all the accidentals and my commonly missed notes. It was my go-to piece to play where I could just sit at the piano for a while, concentrate enough to play the music, and enjoy being in the moment of the sounds of not thinking. It has been a valued life survival tactic to briefly escape my over-thinking brain and distract myself from the chaos.
The two floods in my home this summer have put a grinding halt to a few things around here. Except for one book that my daughter had in her backpack, all my music is gone. This is music that I have collected over the 30+ years of playing and singing, just gone. My grandmother’s hymnal, gone. My go-to escape route music, Moonlight Sonata, gone. Also, since pianos are made of wood and metal wire, the water was not a welcome visitor. It still works, but with the added creaks, screams, thuds, and dissonant echo when the pedal is used.
The first piece of replacement music I bought was Moonlight Sonata. I started to play it and quickly realized how much I relied on my markings and notes. It felt like I had forgotten how to play at all. This was not relaxing, this was disheartening. I fumbled my way through the song to the end. I walked away, frustrated. That was about 4 weeks ago. Today, I tried again. I realized that there were some parts that my hands just remembered to play correctly while simultaneously, my mind was fearful of hitting the wrong note. I finished the song after playing a thousand wrong notes with intermittent measures of perfect music, all while feeling various level of panic. I sat at the piano and stared at the music for a while. Should I write in new markings? Should I just re-learn the song as is? Will I ever be able to play anything with all the added racket and weird noises coming from the piano’s insides? Ugh.
Moonlight Sonata. I miss the softness from the worn, discolored pages. I miss the gently bent corners from the page turns. I miss the markings and reminders –they were like little love notes to myself from the past. I miss my escape route.
Change happens. Sometimes change makes life shitty. Sometimes change makes life beautiful. Stop thinking so hard and mark up the damn music. Play the piano. Move forward.