Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Magic in the Garden

Even as the weather is changing and the nights are chilly, there is a kind of stark light in the day. Most of the trees have lost their leaves and I had begun to think all the painting fairies had gone to sleep. And perhaps they have, but something wonderful just appeared when no one was looking.

I love that life can surprise me. That the most astonishing moments are often the simplest. And the most true.

Really, I just need to pay attention.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Influenza by Any Other Name...

Today is Day Seven. What I mean by that is that it is the seventh day since the onslaught of a vicious flu known affectionately as the Swine Flu. Or, more accurately, the Seventh Day of the relapse of Swine Flu. The first round lasted five days with almost a full week off for good behavior before descending upon me again like wolves.

Day Six I would not have been able to write. Day Seven is that day where the world seems possible again. And it happens to be the first day without a fever. Hence a few cooked brain cells are making their weak and feeble way to the forefront.

Today the farmhouse is hunkering down to avoid being swept away to Oz by the gale winds that are lashing through the trees. A strong wind advisory for the island has been issued and there is not a single leaf left on the Grandmother Tree. I think that the wind snatched that fever and took it somewhere else.

I knew I was mending this morning when I woke and thought about planting bulbs.

There is something, a kind of intense clarity, that comes after an acute illness. After everything is burned away. The colors seems a bit more vivid. Decisions that had been wrestling with themselves, just seem to sort it out and a deep feeling of gratitude wraps around you like a blanket.

Granna always said it is healthiest to "burn clean" and I know she meant in terms of moods and grief and anger...but there is something about a high fever that has lasted for days. The murky daze and glaze of sweating and chilling. Of burning up. And so today, charred to my marrow, I am moving slowly through the day rediscovering my own breath, my skin so sensitized that I feel the air move around me. And somehow I feel cleaner. And rather sheer and see-through.

And alive.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Changes in Light

The clocks have fallen back. The light has shifted. Everyone has had the extra hour of sleep. The wee goblins and fairies have all trick or treated.

I love this time of year. And today is one of my dearest friend's birthday.

Which made me think about all the people who touch our lives and where would we be without them? I try and remember to be a good friend. To ring them and chat and be present and listen through loves and births and deaths and laughter and weeping. But sometimes I forget. I get too busy. I forget about myself is the real story. And when we forget ourselves, we forget those who've shaped who we are.

So today I am thinking loving thoughts for my dear Jennie's Celebration of Life. And how grateful I am to her for enriching mine.

Friday, October 30, 2009

At the Root of the Matter

I have a tendency to lift off. Granna would say I have my heads in the clouds. And she is partially right. I have my head in the clouds, in the leaves, in the blossoms, in the moonlight, at the tips of branches, in the rain...you get the idea. And when difficult things happened, when I was blanketed with grief, I would always fly away, barely aware of my feet touching the ground.

Over time I have learned to love the ground. There are a myriad of things to wonder at. New buds, dirt teeming with life, rocks, digging and planting, fallen leaves...And it isn't as if I still don't dance in the clouds, but that I've learned to dance on the earth as well.

It has everything to do with heartbreak. Which, for the record, I'm not saying is a bad thing. I can't help but be awake and open to all the unfathomable beauty of the world. And if you are paying attention, really listening and awake, your heart breaks regularly. How could it not? I believe our hearts are made to break, to burst open time and again so that it can hold more; and then some more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's the Little Things

A glass bottle filled to the brim with syrup shattered and while mopping up the mess, I managed to get an infinitesimal sliver of glass in my finger. It wasn't the bleeding or the fact of it, but the invisible pain. The fact that I couldn't find the darn thing and, well, it hurt.

It's not the big things that get to you much of the time. Last night the wind lashed against the house and I could see the white caps in the storm out on the water. The windows trembled and moaned and the kitties and I cuddled close hoping the power would not go out. But I was fine (I admit I love a good storm) and eventually fell asleep feeling brave.

So here I am with a wee puncture wound with some mean spirited piece of glass hidden in there and I am suddenly five years old. I can hear my Granna telling me to soak it in hot salt water before trying to get it out. I can imagine her capable hands taking care of it briskly with a minimum of fuss. All the way to the tsk tsk and the stinging peroxide, band aid and a cookie. And I would marvel at how she could find and conquer the invisible enemy and make it better.

Now left to my own devices, I shall soak it in salt water, find it (hopefully with a minimum of fuss) and pour peroxide over it, get the band aid on and if I'm very lucky I will hear Granna's tsk tsk and remember how often she just took care of things. I don't know if I always thanked her... then. But I do now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Visits From Princess Cupcake

One of the greatest joys of my summer was visiting with a very special eight year old, known to a select few as Princess Cupcake. She brought along her beloved and trusty coach driver, Jennie.

On one particular day, we built rock sculptures at the beach and had a picnic. It happened to also be a day where I saw two bald eagles on land, dancing around one another (I'm certain they were singing "Getting to Know You" from The King And I). Right in front of us! Jennie took stunning photos with her new camera and a merry day was had by all.

On another day we ran around the farm blowing bubbles and chasing the wind. And discussed fairies and very special sock monkeys and favorite books.

At the end of Summer, after Princess Cupcake flew home to the city of angels, Jennie found and shared some writing and pictures our little princess had left and shared them with me. Too wonderful to keep hidden, I share them now with you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Russet Mantle Clad

Surrounded by rain today. I'm grateful for the vividness of color that surrounds me, staving off the otherwise blue-ish gray mood that ever threatens - or at least keeping it at bay. But it's not the rain's fault. I love the rain. It's just sometimes we feel the tang of sadness or melancholy. Whether or not the weather is bright or dim. This is one of those days. The trees are dressed in their finest array today, dancing in the wind. Showing off a bit. Honestly, they are trying to coax a giggle. And may yet succeed.

There is a sweetness in the dreamy mist of melancholy. Perhaps all writers or artists need to reside there from time to time. To watch the rain, walk aimless on a stormy beach.

Whatever the reason, my Granna would say to enjoy the wallow. To dwell there. To feel it completely and then burn clean. And while I'm there, go ahead and do something useful like the laundry or scrub the kitchen floor. (Ever practical, my Granna) So I am proud to say that while I write I hear the drum and thrum of the dryer tossing the clothes willy-nilly.

That tiny, fierce woman is always with me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Painting Fairies

When I was a wee thing, my Granna informed me that there were Painting Fairies who painted the leaves in Autumn. At night, when we were all abed, of course.

Naturally I spent many a sleepless night trying to catch them at it. I was sure I caught a glimpse now and again. And this may have been the beginnings of a lifetime of insomnia. Always trying to catch the night magic.

I still remember running in the house, arms filled with half green leaves, quite indignant that the fairies were so lazy that they didn't finish painting these particular leaves all the way. Granna, as usual, explained it perfectly. It seems in the early nights of Autumn, the Painting Fairies are just waking up, are very sleepy and are sometimes known to nod off, mid leaf and that the green, unfinished part of the leaf is where they slept. When the dawn arrives, they flutter off and forget where they slept and so the leaves are unfinished. By the end of Autumn, they are all quite awake and the leaves become more vivid.

This made absolute sense to me. Though I admit I worried about woozy fairies falling off the leaves or running into a tree for a time.

I thought about them this morning as I watched the sun rise over the beginnings of a crimson array in the orchard. It is Painting Fairy Season again.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blossoms, Blackberries, Bees, Blackbirds and Bats

I woke to a lonely bat having lost his way flying around the living room in swirling circles. He flew out the open door and I wondered if the light hurt his fragile eyes. And however did he get in?

Suddenly, even with the first vestiges of Autumn showing her lovely face, there have been blossoms everywhere. Almost a last delicate push in the waning Indian Summer air, before the trees dress themselves up in bright, brazen colors for a last dance before winter. The air is singing with scent. And a new family of bumblebees arrived today.

The pear and apple trees are lush and so full there are dozens of blackbirds and ravens eating the swollen fruit. One tree was nearly black with the beating and flutter of feathers. I went to pick some fruit and the birds barely moved. Assured, and rightly, that there was plenty to go around.

Sometimes there is so much. So much bounty and beauty that I can barely contain my joy. Something in my chest cracks open, letting it all in.

But for now, it is time to roll the sleeves, don the apron and make a few batches of blackberry lemon cream scones.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Paying Attention

While waiting for a ferry, I watched the people getting off. There were the usual mix of humanity until the very end. A young woman in a red tweed skirt, orange vintage blouse and a jauntily perched plaid cap walked off. She had an English Sheep Dog and a vacuum. It was an old Hoover and she was pulling it along. The dog was leading the way. The hand holding the leash was also holding a small leather bound book that she actually appeared to be reading.

I was so engrossed watching them depart that I nearly missed getting on the ferry.

What was her story? Where had she come from? Where was she going?

I admit I've created a dozen different stories for her. But I am certain none would be as interesting as the truth.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Young Teachers

Yesterday in the cafe garden, a father and his young daughter decided to make a rather extraordinary rock sculpture that belied the laws of physics. He was loving and supportive as she told him exactly how it should be. At one point he told her he thought the rocks would not balance, but she persisted as only a five year old can.

And he trusted her. A small crowd gathered around them and when they stepped away, only when the young artist was completely satisfied, mind you, it was magnificent. Nearly three feet tall and balanced on whimsy and light.

She then dusted off her hands and said it was time for hot cocoa.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Busy as a bee

Lately I've considered the idea that we are becoming human doings rather than human beings. Everyone seems to be getting busier and busier and it is not uncommon for people to double, nay, triple book themselves. Almost as if we could actually do it all. Whatever "it all" might be.

The bees, as busy as they are, do not care for such nonsense. They have their duties and that is all. And somehow that includes drinking nectar and making honey and being part of a community, a hive of consciousness.

There is a great Nina Simone song, "Sugar in my Bowl" where she sings, "I want a little sugar in my bowl. I want a little sweetness down in my soul.." Don't we all long for some sweetness?

Perhaps we might learn a thing or two from the bees and gather up some nectar and make a little honey.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moon Rise

The full moon rose tonight, a copper colored ball with a touch of sass. Geese flew by honking their joy and a screeching owl, the largest I've ever seen, swooped by my head before ascending to the shadows of the upper branches. A small rabbit fled into the brambles and rocks surrounding the Grandmother Tree and I thought, "Run, little fellow!"

The first fragrance of Fall is in the night air. A little precursor of what is to come as the days begin to shorten and cool. The skin lifts in the chill.

Earlier today I was blowing bubbles with my friends between the pear trees, watching them float over the meadow.

How virginal is the future as it sculps into the next moment. And the next.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August Days

I have always, and I mean always, wanted a hammock. There's something essentially summerish about a hammock. Lazy dazy dozy days in a hammock. Sometimes reading. Sometimes napping. Always floating.

August is the hammock month as far as I'm concerned. Watching the light swirl and shift through the lace of the trees. Daydreaming. Letting the breezes dance off the water, the cacophony of birds and sleepy bees. The purity of storm-cleansed air or the crackle of a summer thunder storm.

Sipping lemonade made from scratch with fresh raspberries from the garden.

I know there must be work to do. An entire battery of "shoulds" but honestly, it's warm and the air smells of summer roses and sweet grass. What's a girl to do?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Balancing Act

The thing about spur of the moment rock sculpture on a beach is balance. And patience. Stacking them is one thing. Getting them to stay put is entirely another. And then there's the artistry of the exact right stone where it belongs.

I love making them. Even when the whole kitten-kaboodle topples over. Because when you get it right? Perfection.

And, honestly? Even when it all falls down, it always land exactly the way it should.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Swimming in the Currents

Lately I've been struck with how the smallest things can create blocks and dams in the currents of our lives. It is a challenge to trust and keep moving forwards, or, perhaps more apt, to keep the pathways clear and open and then just hold on and stay afloat on our little rafts of living. My granna would suggest in her dry, Welsh way, that if we never fell out of the boat, we'd never learn to swim and that currents make us stronger. Think about salmon.

My mum would say, "Just get wet! Jump in and let it wash over, under and through you!" (Which is how she has lived her life)

Either way, I am trying to listen to them both. And rather than just carefully putting in one toe, just diving in and seeing where the currents take me. Fortunately, I've always been a strong swimmer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Local Library

My computer died a quiet death yesterday. I was less than pleased, to say the least. As a writer, it seems impossible to exist without the darn thing. I can say that for all I love living in Nature, writing, theatre, the classics and cannot live without Shakespeare, I'd "grown accustomed to the face" of my loyal laptop. I went through the usual panic of "did I back up?!" then hit the anger aspect of "stupid technology!" before coming to a kind of acceptance.

And what I discovered was how perfectly delightful it can be to go to the local library. The delicious smell of thousands of books. The hushed tones of people reading, studying, learning.

The Librarian was so helpful and kind and now I am writing this from the center of the library, surrounded by tomes and tomes of books. I am working on a perfectly (if somewhat impersonal) computer, and am reminded of how much I love libraries.

I will eventually fix the old girl at home or (sniff*) get a new one. But for now, I am reminded how to be flexible, to seek out the adventure of a solution rather than wallowing in the muck and mire that can be self perpetuating. And to top it all off, I'm going to wander the rows and rows of books, breathing in all that booky perfume and maybe even check a few out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Moon Day

I have always loved Mondays. I am aware that this is not necessarily a popular point of view. I know people who refer to Monday as "Moanday" and perhaps that rings true for them.

For me, Mondays are fresh and new with a whole week ahead, for better or worse, filled with the daily flotsam and jetsam of living. The infant day of the week as it begins to age towards the wise and mature Sunday. I love the romance of the name. The origin of Monday came from Moon Day or the day the Goddess of the Moon was honored.

But honestly, I just love beginnings. A clean slate. An empty stage. A blank page. That moment when anything is possible. When something is about to begin. It takes my breath away.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A little bit of earth

In The Secret Garden Mary Lennox asks for a "little bit of earth." I think we all need a spot of our own. Our own secret garden. A place where we can give our imagination full rein.

I remember watching my wise, Welsh Granna in her garden. She would sing and hum and it felt enchanted to me. I would hide behind the elephant ears and ferns and she would pretend to lose me to the fairies.

Her daughter, my grandmummy, was also a gardener. There was always a wild riot of color and scent. And I admit I used to eat her roses. I was a wee thing and I cannot explain why. Only perhaps than growing up with these women saying I was a fairy child might have had something to do with it. That and I loved them. Still do. Something about that fragrant tang on my tongue.

My mum, also loves to put her hands in the earth. As an adult, I still thrill to watch her capable hands, dirt under her nails, face alight with a kind of Grace.

And so I try to live up to these women. And yesterday, found myself buying two pots of bright daisies for my mum which I will plant today in her garden while she conducts me as expertly as if she were conducting a symphony. And the music of her garden will continue to soar and heal and make magic. And if we're very lucky, perhaps a fairy or two will come and visit.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Spin Cycle

I've had insomnia off and on since I was 10. Usually due to too many ideas swirling around in my mind. A proverbial spin cycle. Not always good, nor always bad. But after all that spinning, I would snatch the hour or two of sleep and awaken dizzy to my bones. These days (or should I say nights) it might be due to thoughts regarding a rehearsal or a script. A writing deadline or a snarky character in a story that won't present himself. Or, more recently, worry about my mum. Working and re-working all the variables and possibilities. But this isn't a story I am writing. I don't know what to expect around the next corner.

This morning was another dizzy morning. Deeper than my bones. I know there will be more. But my heart is swollen with love for my mum today. Stretching past all the old scar-tissue of heart ache and break.

This morning I watered my mum's garden while she coached from the side-lines, careful to do it just so.

This morning we laughed at the antics of her cat without the inevitable wince of pain in her eyes.

This morning I am exactly where I am meant to be. Dizzy or no.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All in good time...

There are few things I love more than watching ferns unfurl. It's as if tiny little hands are unclenching, opening, reaching. The ferns on my woody ramble have all been waking up. Well, it's about time, I want to say. We are in June, after all. Still, it's another lesson in patience. (It's an on going lesson for me)

I used to hate it when my Granna would say, "All in good time." What did that mean? I was an eager child who would plant seeds and then watch the earth for hours, waiting. Waiting. Still waiting. And then some more waiting. And ever yet more waiting. I drove my poor family mad, I'm sure. And then I would explode at the first sight of a sprout, joyous, leaping. (It's a miracle they ever let me in the garden)

Now as I watch the ferns, I know they will open in the right amount of time. Just like any of us. We are all unfurling, some more quickly than others, but all, decidedly at our own pace. In our own good time. Whatever that means.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Musings

Emily Dickinson wrote: "Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul. And sings the tune; Without the words; And never stops at all.

I would like to think that Hope could also have paws or hooves. That the healing power that emanates from our feathered and furry friends is so powerful that it can be life altering.

Gomez the horse simply IS. He's in the moment. He teaches me to just stay present. To trust.

And that regardless of what happens in all our tomorrows, our souls can fly or run or gallop.

And that Hope is always here, keeping me company.

Friday, June 5, 2009

After The Rain

After a heat wave, when the air becomes a living, fire-breathing thing, a summer rain is the most exquisite kind of gift. Though I think my favorite part is actually just after the rain stops. How the lilacs out my window just seem to lift and reach. How they shake off the water and create a kind of floral dance, swaying back and forth, sending out their sun and rain drenched scent. And soon there are bumblebees everywhere!

I have to remember this when life sends the Perfect Storm into my world. When I worry about my Mum's health and well-being. When I wonder if I am doing enough. When the pressures begin to weigh in their opinions. Whether or not I asked for them.

I can be like the lilacs and the bumblebees and lift. And reach. And dance.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


There is an elfin quality to those moments just before dawn. A subtle shifting of light and air as if all the magical beings of the night are rustling back to their hiding places. This morning I watched the sun rise and felt surrounded by my thoughts and an unshakable conviction that today was a new day without any mistakes in it. (Which I have to admit is a favorite quote from Anne of Green Gables). And don't we all long for a new day, a clean slate, a fresh beginning? The flowers know and open themselves daily to the sweetness of the sunrise. The birds greet the day with abandon and the rooster down the way vocally stakes out his territory every morning. How will you greet your day? I hope it offers you everything your dreams hinted at minutes before the light changed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Believing in miracles

Today as I think about things, I am struck with how there are miracles everywhere, raining delicious all around us. A baby's first words, a mother's tireless love, hearing music a certain way with new meaning. And who can argue the miraculous nature of a tiny blossom turning into a delectable treat? As Spring sheds her petals and makes room for Summer's fruit, there are infant berries everywhere I look! Keep an eye out. You will see miracles in the everyday-ness of an otherwise ordinary Wednesday.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June is here!

There is something so lovely and lazy about June that makes one feel the softness of summertime mornings will last forever. My darling cat, Feste, keeper of all secrets, is right here helping me. He's very interested in what I am doing. The sky opened this morning to fluffy clouds chasing one another across the sky and a full opera of bird song out my window. An excellent day to take a ramble up the mountain to look for fairy rings.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday afternoon tea and strawberries

The light has been lifting all around the farmhouse today. I've just made everything tidy and clean and have prepared a perfect pot of tea in Granna's tea pot and settled at the window. The light is dancing through the white lilacs and there is a sweet breeze that tosses their perfume into the room almost carelessly. A perfect day for enchantments and day dreams. Just now there are two robins having quite a conversation on the grass. If only I could speak robin I would tell you what they are saying. But then, Granna would say it is impolite to eavesdrop...(I wonder if she meant robins). In any case, they are now joined with the arias of other feathered friends. Today I believe everything is possible.


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