Into the Garden


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.


The Eastern Sunset


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:  (silence)
Me:  (I should say something)
Me:  Yep.

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


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.

Dear E,
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.

Love in Action


He smiled and told me a story about walking by the flower section at the grocery store and how he wondered if he should get me some purple flowers because he sensed I was having a bad day.

He did and I was. IMG_8591

Free As A Bird


I did a brave thing.  I let vulnerability happen and shared my feelings.  In the end, I felt empowered, heard, and loved.  Bravery has not been kind to me in past relationships, unfortunately.  This time, this experience, gave me hope beyond all expectations.  This is freedom.  This is love.

The next day, I unlocked my front door, looked down next to the porch behind the bush, as I have done each day for almost 6 years, and I saw a bird.  Not a real live bird, but a figurine of some sort.  I reached down to get a closer look and picked it up.  It was pressed into the dirt and leaves a bit.  I took it inside to wash off the dirt.  Its beak was broken and the base looked as though it had been attached to something else somewhere along its journey.

Where did it come from?  Why was it there?  How long had it been there?  Why had I not seen it before?  What the fuck does it mean?  Is it a sign?  A sign for what?

So, I’ve been thinking about what birds mean to me.  When I interview someone for work, I always ask the question:  If you could be an animal for a day, what animal would it be and why?  I have found that the answer to this questions solidifies my character assessment of the person.  This is not scientific or Human Resources approved, but it is important to me to hear the answer.  When I answer this question for myself, the answer is:  bird.  For me, the bird is free to fly and sing, rest when needed and can observe all that is going on below.  I have spent a few days spent on thinking way too much about concrete bird statues and recall that several months ago I had shared this interview tool story with the man I love.  He didn’t laugh, he didn’t mock me as others have, but he said, “What kind of bird?”  I paused and thought about his question.  I replied, “No one has ever asked me that question.  I honestly don’t know.”  What kind of bird am I?  No one on this planet has wanted to know what kind of bird I am, but he does.

Birds symbolize hope, freedom, liberation.  Did I only see the bird when I was feeling hopeful and free?  Did the last layer of dirt and leaves finally blow away to liberate this bird that had been under cover for so long?  Am I this bird?  Am I this bird, who is a little broken, but found its way out of the muck and darkness to glorious freedom, love, and a prime spot on my mantle?

I don’t know if the bird is a sign or just a bird.  I do know I have felt at peace while marinating about birds and the meaning of life these past several days.  I am worn and a little broken.  Also, I am free and I am loved.

a bird in hand