doe's dawn

8.06.2022

 


My beloved mom died last month.  She had a big, generous, complicated heart that positively impacted so many lives, and I feel so lucky to have been a tiny star that she chose to be in her orbit.  I have so many feelings that I seem unable to express right now.  Perhaps with time I will, but for now I will keep most of them, and her, close to my (broken) heart.    

A few nights after she died, I dreamt that I was in the living room at my childhood home.  It was dawn.  I stood in front of the multiple tall windows that looked out over the back yard, the pasture, barn, and chicken house beyond.  I noticed that a doe was in the rhododendrons just outside, two spotted fawns at her side; she nuzzled them and looked into my eyes.  Just then I heard a rushing sound, looked up, and saw a huge flock of white birds descending.  They swooped and swirled, flying right up to the windows, emanating a warmth and love that wrapped around me like one of her hugs.  I woke up and smiled for the first time in days.  

Mom always walked.  (Dad still does every morning, at age 90 now pushing a walker along for stability.)  We did several Volkswalks together here in the Pacific Northwest, but for years she did them wherever she traveled.  She joined walking clubs and kept pins and badges from various organized walks she completed.  She just loved walking, plain and simple, organized or not.  My parents' influence has had me walking for years, but early last year I committed to getting outside to walk first thing in the morning.  There were a few days last summer I didn't make it due to unforeseen health issues, but I did more often than not until it became a sacred practice, even through winter (which I find more enjoyable than summer).  Mom wasn't really able to walk much the last few years of her life, and she often lamented that fact and how she wished she could get out and walk like she used to.  I've been feeling her with me in the mornings these last few weeks, and I know now that when I need to feel close to her all I have to do is get out and walk.  Every walk I take now is with her.   

slow notes:

A few books I've read and liked recently:  


The beastly temperatures of last week have given way to much more tolerable ones this week, albeit still quite warm.  My little garden loved the heat while it lasted; there are a couple of ripe sungold tomatoes to pick, the mystery squash plant is positively majestic in size, and the lettuce is bolting before we can eat it all.  My flower pots and baskets that thrived and cascaded last year have not done well this year, but that's okay.  It's been a very strange spring and summer so far and I think we have all done well with what we've been given, yes?  

When things happen or I feel overwhelmed, my first instinct is to withdraw.  I'm hoping that feeling goes away and I want to dip my toes into the wider world again soon, but for now I'm content just showing up here.  I've thought about closing this space, or starting a new one, as life feels so different than it did when I started writing here 12 years ago, but going through posts and pictures recently I realized there really is a continuum here that I don't want to break, at least not yet.  And so, onward.  

Sending out much love.  Until next time ~


relief

6.30.2022

 

Minto Brown Island Park, a favorite place to walk.

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Written 6.22.2022.  

Here we are in June already, and June has felt a lot like March.  I actually found myself wishing for a fire in the wood stove a few evenings, so damp and chilly it's been.  It has rained so much in the last couple of months I have feared that our garden will never get going, but a week ago I planted my tomatoes and marigolds, along with a few nasturtium seedings I nurtured by the big window in the small hall.  My calendula patch has been blooming for at least two months now, the California poppies as well, and the herbs planted last year have all done well despite having very little sunshine this spring.  

Yesterday was Summer Solstice and, after a walk in the morning, I spent it working in the yard most of the day.  My husband and I took Pip for a walk at the park downtown in the evening, and it seemed the whole town was there, joyously picnicking, playing ball, playing music, everyone unabashedly reveling in warmth and light we haven't had for so long.  Summer weather arrived on the first day of summer, and temperatures are supposed to hit the 90s this weekend.  

The boy got his driver's license in April.  School's out for the summer and he'll be a senior when it starts again in the fall.  I'm having a bit of a hard time with the fact that we are at this point, and I'm going to make the most of every single day we have him at home still.  

I've been craving quiet so I'm going off social media, perhaps for the rest of summer, perhaps longer.  My mind needs to declutter.  Some things have been deactivated (Instagram, Pinterest), some permanently deleted (Twitter, Goodreads).  I've been trying out The StoryGraph for several months now and I'm keeping my account there, but private and solo for now.  It's different and may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I love that it is black-woman-created/owned, it links to Bookshop, not Amazon, and it feels much less like a social media account.  I'm starting to feel free of the noise that builds up in my head from too much of everything.  I'm feeling relief.    

I'll try to be here more often, the one place I might feel like sharing a little bit, but for the most part I hope to be spending a lot more time sitting outside on the deck reading, tending the garden, going on long walks, learning to play my violin (!), or otherwise getting creative.  But first, a trip!  What are you up to?  

Until next time ~ 


why not?

5.13.2022



I've been trying to write this post for weeks now but have felt, just, quiet lately.  These pictures are from almost a month ago now, on a day where we were able to sneak away to the coast for a few hours.  I've always been a little jealous of people who have a clearly defined heritage.  I grew up (adopted) knowing that I had some Portuguese on my maternal side but nothing about my paternal side.  I felt/feel a strong affinity for certain countries and their cultures, but mostly I feel like a child of the Pacific Northwest.  The forests and coastlines of Oregon and Washington are in my bones.  The golden hills and sparkling streams of Northern California where I spent two years as a child forever hold a place in my heart.  I can't imagine being away from this part of the world for long.  

I started an online challenge of walking 175 miles in early April and finished yesterday.  I'd been walking pretty regularly before that, but I love a goal and my daily miles increased every week.  I am thinking about setting some walking goals combined with observational learning for each season, starting with what's left of spring.  Beyond that, getting my miles in has led to walking places I wouldn't  normally, like the grocery store and the library - basically anywhere I can reasonably get to on foot - and it has been a game-changer!  I'd like to make going on errands by foot a new normal.  I love the exercise and how it makes me feel at the end of the day, I love how it keeps my car off the road when it's not necessary, and I love exploring my neighborhood/town and seeing all the things I never noticed from the car.  

Another positive change in my life is that today I've been alcohol-free for 46 days.  I feel so good without it, I don't know if I'll ever go back.  

There are always things going on behind our curtains of self-preservation, beyond the self we show to others.  And there are things going on in the world that are not only discouraging but frightening and horrific.  I'm aware of the absurdity in thinking anyone cares about my walking/eating/drinking habits.  But, with feeling good about these things comes the wish for others, for you, to also feel some happiness and a sense of well-being, in whatever form that takes, whether it is through lifestyle changes, artistic endeavors, or things on a more global scale.  When we feel better (about at least some part of our lives, despite what is going on behind the curtain) we can nurture not only ourselves, but nurture each other and the world better.   So,  why not try something new today that you know will make you feel better?  

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slow notes:

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Until next time ~



stormclouds

3.10.2022



Blue jacket, blue sweater, blue sleeping bag, blue eyes with thunder heads rolling over them.  I saw him folded on the sidewalk ahead as I crossed the street.  He said nothing, but those eyes silently pleaded as person after person walked past.  I got out a few dollars and then guiltily covered my expensive bag with my arms as I approached him.

I'll often stop (I don't care what the money is spent on, it's the moment of kindness and acknowledgment that matters), but I rarely exchange more than a couple of words. 

After I walked away, I heard him call out.  I went back and knelt down beside him this time.  Up close, I saw the child in his face.  I thought of his mother.  Does she know where he is?  Is she a safe haven for him?  He asked me why no one stops.  "Everyone just keeps walking, like I'm not even here."  Then, on the verge of tears, he asked, "Why is everyone so mean?  Why is everyone just so angry?"  A dozen reasons flashed through my mind, none of which I could bring myself to say.  

I touched his arm and said, "You're right, people are angry.  I'm sorry.  But I'm not angry."  A slight untruth, that last part.  I tried to smile.  A couple sitting outside the coffee shop clearly didn't like anyone giving this human being who was cluttering up their sidewalk/day/reality any attention or reason to stay.  

His voice was somehow both ragged and childlike, his back curved in defeat.  I didn't have the right words (I never do) or any soothing answers.  He was gone when I passed back that way, but his questions and those stormcloud eyes have been with me for weeks. 

I know there are reasons to be angry.  There are things that deserve outrage.  The world can be a very unkind, unjust place.  And no matter what we look like or how we manage to pass ourselves off, we all carry some kind of storm inside.  What if, instead of outrage toward our fellow human beings, especially those we don't like the looks of or don't understand, we offer a little tenderness and see what that world looks like?

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slow notes:  

This, on compassion.


po(em)path

2.24.2022



Poems.  I don't mean the written word, but the seen, the heard, the felt.  I find them most often in the forest, for that is where Douglas fir, Mahonia, licorice fern, and Trillium live.  It's where wild ginger, chanterelles, singing birds, the scent of humus, and a thousand glorious shades of green live.  It's where life and death and love and all manner of magical unseen things live.  But I also find poems in my own back yard, crawling under piles of rotting leaves, inching their way up tree trunks, or dripping from the rain-filled gutter.  I feel them settling into my bones like a valley fog when I walk with the moon.  I can sometimes taste them, salty and wild like a coastal gale, and my heart becomes an ocean.

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slow notes: 

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Have you found these kinds of poems?  Maybe in the touch of the dog's nose on your cheek?  In the rhythmic ticking of an analog clock?  In the caw of the crows outside your window?  In the scent of the garlic you grew last year browning in a cast iron pan for tonight's dinner? 

I know that some may feel that there is no poetry in the world right now, and my heart is with you.  

Maybe today you are the poem.   


stirrings

2.10.2022



January was slow and quiet.  Its calm and nothingness felt so soothing after the busyness and social activities of the holidays.  The chance to decompress and go inward was deeply appreciated.  I inhaled soft silvery fog on long morning walks and spent  many  dark evenings with a book in my chair by the wood stove.  We took four trips to the coast, where winter's king tides luxuriated on our favorite stretch of sand.  High winds came to visit our town more than once, scattering gifts of soft mossy branches with each gust.  Clear blue skies and sunshine were often present, too, giving us a lovely balance of the natural forces.  We baked bread and made stews, deep cleaned and decluttered.  We had movie nights and music nights.  We bird-watched and book-browsed.  

As we now approach mid February, daffodil greens have pushed up through the sodden ground and the towhees are back in the camellias.  Trametes versicolor (turkey tail) is taking my breath away on trails by the river.  Buds swell on the end of branches in joyful rebirth.  Baby cleavers, so delicate and bright green, tell me that the wheel is turning.  I can hear spring gently journeying up through roots and rocks, whispering sweet promises of fragrance and color and things brand new.  

I can feel the lists of flowers I want to plant / vegetables I want to grow / projects I want to start all beginning to germinate in the back of my mind.  I dream of tomatoes, hollyhocks, suppers outside under the twinkling lights, bats swooping through the trees, and bare feet in touch with the earth once again.  But, for all of these stirrings, I'm not ready to part with beloved winter just yet.  That soft silvery fog is calling again today and I'll happily fade to grey once more for the chance to be wrapped in her magical spell.

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slow notes:


by mlekoshi