Sunday, January 24, 2010

another slice of paradise

we left kona this morning as a veritable horde descended on the place we've been staying. but it was so peaceful our first few days, remarked Beloved, as we trundled our suitcases around and down to the parking area.

that's how we know its time to leave, i said.

we made our way to maui with no problems and the pilot was kind enough to fly directly over the dead volcano, haleakala (sp?). he looked pleased when i thanked him. saved you a trip, he said.

sure did, i answered. i consider that a gift from mama pele, who seems to understand and approve my peculiar approach to vacationing.

to those Gentle Readers who may be wondering, no, i didn't see the volcano. no, i didn't snorkel, i swam all of six strokes diagonally across the pool the first day there. (don't faint, i told Beloved.) we didn't see the Place of Refuge or King Kamamehamahe's ancient residence. we made it into kona three times in ten days and our busiest day consisted of going to the post office and having a massage.

i need to sink into a place, feel the place, Be in the place before i have any desire or wish to starting Seeing the place. for me, my first trip to kona was perfect.

mama pele, i prayed last night, if im meant to come back here, could you please send a whale tomorrow morning?

sure enough, a mama and her baby showed up to say goodbye.

and furthermore the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

kona gold

in kona, you can tell the morning's coming when the stars begin to fade behind the mist that rises off the ocean. for the first couple hours, the sky and the water turn an opalescent pearl. and then, as the mist begins to burn, and the sun rises over the black crest of the mountain in the background, the light turns to gold and the world bursts into color.

this morning, another couple of whales showed up. these two arrived without fanfare, very early, just as i was finishing my breakfast, breaching and blowing far enough out that no one else noticed. for a few minutes it felt like my own private visit.

yesterday turned into the perfect souvenir shopping day, and today looks like its going to be absolutely wonderful for doing more nothing. the only thing we need to do - other than my massage and Beloved's facial at one - is get to the post office before 3 PM in order to ship the stuff we bought yesterday.

two long-tailed mongooses are playing tag among the tide pools and the jetty in front of me as i type this. a bird with a bright red head is pecking in the grass around my feet. the noisy opthamologists from slovakia have been escorted off, and the old people who are wearing red lanyards seemed to have been bused somewhere, too. the only other noise beside the thrumming of the wind through the palm trees is the wash of the waves over the reef.

no wonder i don't want to leave.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, January 22, 2010

sedimentary, my dear watson

this morning, we decided to try a new schedule since what we've been doing for the last week has only served to encourage any sedimentary tendencies Beloved and i might both share.

i wanted a place i could roll from the beach to the bar to the bed (and back) without a lot of effort, and that's exactly what Beloved gave me. add in a laptop, great views of the water and ancient hawaiian ruins, visits from dolphins and whales, unlimited coffee, unlimited booze when the coffee runs out, and neither of us has much of a reason to leave.

im feeling sedimentary, said Beloved a few days ago, and i know exactly what he means.

so today, instead of breakfast, writing or brokering, sunning, and drinking, we're going to try breakfast, writing or brokering, trip to kona, and then sunning and drinking. i think it's the only way we're going anywhere.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

watching for the whale

yesterday morning, while Beloved and i were drinking our coffee, a mama whale and her baby showed up, too. they splashed and rolled and cavorted, mostly swimming in circles, alternately diving and blowing. they put on quite a show. this was the third time we've seen whales. i've noticed they come when the tide is high.

this afternoon, when the tide is low, i plan to walk out to the most cauldron-like of all the tide pools, and leave the offerings i've brought for mama pele - a shell from the beach at tenth street in ocean city where i grew up, a piece of peat from ireland (not just the homeland of my ancestors, peat, too, combines aspects of fire and earth) and a tigers' eye that i've worn. i also found two feathers here, one brown and speckled, and one black and white.

this morning, a school of big red fish are leaping up and out of the tranquil water, while several ominious black fins circle back and forth. Island Broker - Beloved's new alter-ego - has been hard at work since 530, when he noticed the market plunging. as for me, im just watching for the whales.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

orion, twisted and askew

a few days ago, i asked my facebook-friends if i was seeing the same stars here in hawaii that i see at home. i was assured it was the same sky. this morning, while i drank my coffee and stared across the water, i recognized orion, off to the opposite side from which i usually see him, and lower, so that my perspective of him was slightly different. from my position, he seemed twisted and askew.

but for one brief glorious moment, what i know about geography, and what i remember seeing in the sky above pond house, merged with what was in front of me, and i had a momentary sense of the arching vault of the enormous space above my head, and the tininess of the surface of the planet on which i stand.

last night, Beloved and i had the first tiff of our vacation. it had to happen, of course, because two human beings cannot be in each other's more or less constant company for 24 hours of seven straight days without serious compromise and flexibility on both their parts.

what sparked it, you might ask?

people who don't fight over money or sex or housework can still find something to argue about, believe me. in our case, the only thing that really presses buttons is the differing values we have regarding our children. this is not uncommon, of course, but in our case, it's probably the single source of the most tension.

it's not a skirmish worth continuing, of course. what we value with respect to how we think we should raise our respective children is as much about what we each wish we had been given when we were children ourselves. neither of us is wrong... we just see things differently because we come from different places.

it's like the way i perceive orion, as twisted and askew.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

moonscapes and other majesties

yesterday, after three days of playing hide n'seek with the intense hawaiian sun, Beloved and i ventured out even further. we tried to go south, but because it was a holiday, the road was closed. i didn't quite understand the correlation...though i suppose it must really help on thanksgiving to keep the holiday traffic in check.

so we turned north, and drove up through kona, past the airport, and into the lava fields, huge tracts of undeveloped land so recently turned to black stone you can still see the enormous bubbles, the ripples and the folds. in some places the rock is bare, in others, small clumps of straw-colored grass has taken hold.

white stones pock this eerie landscape, spelling out names and other sentiments, in english and hawaiian, and maybe other languages, too. "for the girls" read one, "for the boys" read another. "mahalo mama" read a third.

i saw a pair of black goats picking their way across the craters. for the first time i understood why its considered bad luck to take a piece of lava from this island and something about the energy of this entire island. this lava is too raw, too new. to take it home - for the unaware, at least - would be like taking home a newborn baby without understanding how to care for it.

no wonder mama pele doesn't like to let it go.

but no wonder they have a race called the ironman, and no wonder people have been drawn to practice fertility rites. the energy, because it is so new and young and raw, feels particularly rejuvenating, especially regenerating.

this morning, Beloved is buying and selling and trading and managing. i've got a couple loads of laundry tumbling, and the mist is just beginning to burn away. it's going to be another glorious day.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, January 18, 2010

just another day (in paradise)

yesterday afternoon, Beloved and i roused ourselves from our late-afternoon sun-induced siesta and left the grounds of the hotel for the first time since we arrived late friday afternoon.

we drove a few miles up the narrow road that winds along the beach to kona. we found a place to eat that Beloved remembered from 30 years ago, and walked out to the pier, where the locals were fishing in the last fading light.

kona is a lot like all the other resort towns i've ever been to - full of braindead tourists, t-shirt shops and mountains of souvenirs. i know i wouldn't want to LIVE in kona, but i'd be perfectly happy to look at it... from a house up on the mountainside, where the dusty roads disappear. its the same way i feel about the ocean and the fish - i have no wish to swim in water that has so many fish in it, but im very content to look at it.

but then what will you do in hawaii, asked a friend when i shared my admittedly unique outlook on my preferred activities while on vacation.

absolutely nothing, i replied with a deep sigh of anticipation. hawaii's the only place on earth i've found where i can do nothing, and not feel guilty about it in the least. just yesterday i had the thought i might want to try out the fitness center while we're here. and just as quickly, i had another thought: maybe tomorrow.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

nestling into paradise

Beloved hit a grand slam when he picked our hotel. a few miles south of the center of kona, the place is nestled between a reproduction of a bungalow that belonged to the hawaiian king david, and the restoration of a series of hawaiian temples, one dedicated to love and fertility.

the water washing beneath the pier where im writing this is a perfect acquamarine, and so clear i can see the fish and the turtles and the eels swimming around. the morning mist has finally disappeared, and the sky over the ocean has just turned blue-topaz blue. through the row of palm trees beside the black ruins of the ancient temples, the mountains rise against a glowing peach-pink sky.

the breeze which woke us chilled around 3 this morning has subsided and the air is balmy. a black bird with a yellow bill and white markings on his wings is pecking at a french fry under the next table. every so often he looks at me and cocks his head and backs away as if to see if i want some.

this morning, while Beloved caught up on killing people in pimpworld, i drank my coffee on our little porch while the stars faded into gray mist. except for the occasional tap of his computer keys, the only sound was the ocean pounding against the reef, washing over the black shore. its a sound i grew up hearing, a sound i find infinitely relaxing, infinitely comforting. this morning it occured to me its a sound that the dinosaurs heard.

according to a documentary the airline showed us, the hawaiian islands are the most remote islands in world, and only 500 indigenious species of plants and animals found their way here. that people did, too, in little boats not much bigger than floating logs, seems almost impossible to believe.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

when you're good to mama...

the sole glitch in our travel plans (other than my father's health, of course)occurred yesterday when ten minutes before our scheduled boarding time, we were informed our flight to honolulu had been delayed due to “maintenance issues.” the trouble was that the plane was going to be delayed so long we were in danger of missing our connection to kona. Beloved and i stared at each other in horror.

but it all worked out serendipitously well because in the blink of an eye, a few taps on a keyboard, and a sprint across two terminals, we were given seats on another flight, direct to kona, in first class, no less.

call me crazy, but in it i could feel the hand of Mama Pele.

i’ve known people all my life who speak of Jesus as “their personal savior,” but i’ve never felt the need for a personal kind of god or goddess. the Divine is very real for me, the OtherWorld as close as just around the corner, just beyond the hill. raised a monotheist, and having evolved into a pantheist, a “personal” diety smacks a bit too much of polytheism to sit easily with me.

but on my first trip to hawaii four years ago, i remember how, when my foot touched the tarmac at the airport, up through the asphalt, i felt a bolt of energy shoot from the sole of my foot up my leg, all the way up my spine, to sizzle in my head. i had a migraine for five days, and I didn’t care.

despite the discomfort, the whole experience was of a connection to Something that had Identity, Personality, Awareness... and understood the same of me. it was as if some great energy had reached up out of the ground, wrapped a hand around around my ankle, and didn't just claim me, but recognized me in some way as already belonging to her.

i read a few days ago that some people who see the film Avatar experience a profound depression, because in their experience, our world falls far short of cameron’s created one. and yet, my experience of Mama Pele, of the Divinity that infuses hawaii, tells me that pandora isn’t just possible here, it exists. It exists on every continent, on every island, assuming we don’t kill it first.

i am not sure for what purpose or why Mama Pele Called me. i don’t completely understand the nature of our Relationship. i only know that here, on her blessed earth, i have found the place i know i’m home.

the leader of the band is tired

my daddy is back in the hospital. he was there earlier in the week, unbeknownst to us. he goes so regularly that it's become a routine. what happened was that the chest pains he experiences - the angina - didn't respond to the nitroglycerin tablets he usually takes.

he's also suddenly gone deaf in one ear. among the possible reasons for this occurence is a slight stroke.

my daddy's heart is giving out. there's no way he could survive surgery, and so the plan is to manage him as best as possible with medication. but the plethora of drugs he takes has its double-edge: sometimes, as they did this time, the combination is not so smooth.

as heavy as my heart is at the thought of losing my daddy, if i had to pick anywhere on earth to have to contemplate such a reality, it would have to be here. as i sit and type this, the waves are washing over and around the black reefs, and the sky is starting to glow. the neon colors of a hawaiian dawn hover around the edges of the clouds.

Beloved is pottering around the room... settling in, he calls it. my father would not want me to be upset. the best thing i can do for him, i think, is to enjoy myself as much as i possibly can.

you have the most important job in my kingdom, my daddy said to Beloved the other day.

what's that, said Beloved.

taking care of my princess, said my daddy.

for some reason, in hawaii, i don't just feel taken care of, i feel loved.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, January 15, 2010

next leg

we spent last night at a hotel near the airport. the view from the bar, overlooking the Bay, and one of the runways, was fun to watch, and the nice man sitting at the other end of the bar was fun to talk to. (one of the biggest differences between Beloved and mister ex is that other people like Beloved.)

we're still feeling the effects of the time zone change - last night i lasted until 830 and fell asleep in the middle of inglorious basterds or however its spelled. it was okay - i thought what little i saw of the zombies was more fun. and world war two just seems soo yesterday - haven't we had enough other wars in the last sixty years to provide enough scope for anyone's imagination? i grew up watching world war two movies, after all....enough already. and this one was just bizarre - everyone knows hitler didn't burn in a paris movie house. i don't like movies that leave me scratching my head wondering what was the point.

so far everything at home is going smoothly (fingers crossed). the puppies slept in til 730 - they know how to endear themselves to the girls. i talked to baby jake, or j-michael as my father suggested we call him - and he said... in his garbled baby speech... i love you nanoo.

i love you, too, j-michael.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

california dreaming

considering all the horror stories you read and hear about these days, our flights to california went very smoothly. there were no long waits on the tarmac,no mixed up gates, no strip searches or missing luggage.

even my head's behaved.

my father enjoyed his gifts, my stepmother, who has alzheimer's, was on her best behavior. my stepsister and stepbrother are funny and fun.

last night, i fell asleep way too early watching "zombieland" and woke up wide awake at 3:00 am. i had this crazy thought about bringing all my kids out to see my daddy for his birthday which is in a few weeks. but i have a lot of crazy thoughts, so we'll see.

today our plans are to hang out with my father. tomorrow we head to hawaii..ive already got my laptop set on island time.

and furthermore, the war will end... blessed be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

all my bags are (mostly) packed

the sheets are changed, the new shower curtain hung. the throws and pillows and quilts are all freshly washed and dried. the checks (at least the ones i've remembered) are written. the last minute packing items are gathered, the floors are vacuumed, swept and mopped. the refrigerator's cleaned out, the laundry's caught up. i have a new toothbrush waiting for me, and my cellphone's charged.

i have to get my carry-on bag together and make sure i have the latest files copied on the little do-hickey drive that goes on my keychain. i have a few more things to tuck in my suitcase, and i need to clean out my purse.

other than that, i think im just about ready.

it's been two years since Beloved and i treated ourselves to any significant time away. Gentle Readers who've followed this blog may remember our only get-aways have been short trips down to new york city or the jersey shore, scarcely long enough to open a suitcase, let alone to unwind and relax.

it's been a tumultuous two years.

among other things, we've coped with my grandmother's death, the sale of the family house, Beloved's mother's failing health and subsequent need to move up here. in my own life i've experienced the loss of a person i believed to be my best friend. my last novel's been rejected a few times, it's been a while since i finished anything. Beloved's been battered by the ups and downs of the financial markets like a pair of sneakers on air-dry.

there's a weariness in my bones, a sag beneath my skin. for the first time in my life, i feel i NEED this vacation.

the light this afternoon has a tinge of gold, the breeze a hint of warmth. this time tomorrow - goddess willing - we'll be sitting with my daddy, in the deepening california dark, watching the lights twinkle at the base of mount diablo.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, January 11, 2010

in the midst of life

on saturday, Beloved and i paused in our packing to attend the funeral of a friend of Beloved's, who just dropped dead early on the morning of the winter solstice as he went out to plow the snow.

this morning, the local headlines are full of a story about a high school student who died on saturday when the school bus he was riding in was hit by a volvo station wagon driven by another high school student.

in the midst of life, we are in death.

i happened to sit next to the grandfather clock at the funeral. as the non-denominational chaplain (he was quick to assure us in an irish brogue thick as guiness) attempted to comfort the crowd, i watched the clock tick away a few minutes of my life.

in the midst of life, we are in death.

the truth of the matter is that it doesn't matter in the end where we think we're going or what we think we're going to do. the cold hard tap on the shoulder can come at any moment of any day. every day i get up, part of me wonders if today is The Day.

and then another part of me decides it doesn't matter if it is, because if today should happen to be the Last Day, i want to make the most of the time i have. if today is the Last Day, let it be the Best least as far as i have power to make it. i'd much prefer to leave everyone wanting more, than sighing in relief that finally That's Over. (my grandmother - at great pain and suffering to herself - taught me that.)

the dual benefit of this outlook - at least as far as i can tell - is that it leads to a lot of happy yesterdays and people who will be genuinely sorry to see you leave.

that's certainly how both these two went the midst of life.

my deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of joey hammond of canton and vikas parikh of rocky hill.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

decisions, decisions

i've picked my tops, i've picked my bottoms. i've got ten pairs of underwear...most of which i could go to the hospital in and not be embarrassed. i've got sandals and walking shoes, a sweat shirt that can double as a sweater, two dresses that will double as beach cover-ups. miraculously, everything goes with everything (more or less) else. life in my world, right now, is good.

i had to buy a suitcase today. the little one i wanted to take just wasn't going to hold everything and leave room for souvenirs. because we're stopping in san francisco both ways, i need an extra season's worth of clothes. i have a couple small gifts for my daddy.

my laptop's ready, but this time im not dragging a lot of books with me. im bringing my manuscripts, and some notes from my co-writer, karen, but that's about it. i even decided to buy my reading material at the airport.

tomorrow and tuesday im planning to finish packing, and to give the house a good going-over. i want to come home to a clean house, and that's much more likely to happen if i leave it in the condition in which i want to find it.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

of menopause and migraines

the other day, while discussing my migraines,a friend of mine attempted to convince me to try something called BioIdentical Hormones. BHRT for short, these substances are supposed to be superior to more traditional hormone replacement therapies, which shouldn't be difficult, since that's basically the ingestion of the equine version of only one kind of estrogen synthesized from the urine of pregnant mares.

but you don't understand, i said, when she finally paused to take a breath. i don't want to replace my hormones. i want them to go away.

why on earth would you want that? she practically shrieked.

it wasn't even 8 AM when we had this conversation and im not sure i was adequately coherent. but even if i didn't have migraines linked to my own hormones (i can't even begin to imagine what migraines linked to hormones OTHER than mine might be like) i don't believe in trying to replace what nature is clearly intent on taking away. when i went through labor without so much as a bullet to bite on (four times), i didn't always completely understand what was happening inside me, but i knew i could trust my body to do what a hundred million years of evolution designed it to do.

the way to do that, i found, was to keep breathing and to stay out of the way. i don't see myself as "toughing out" anything...i see myself as surrendering to the process.

you're going to feel like shit, my friend said.

as i almost said to the nice man i went to see about my foot, we'll see about that.;)

this little pagan stayed home

the other day one of my facebook friends asked, in response to a status update i posted, "what do pagans study?"

i was so disappointed. i was all set to go to pagan study group that night and talk about "how we know what we know." i wanted to take the question to my pagan study group friends and see what THEY said. but when i came down with the Mother of All Migraines, i was forced to take two imetrex AND a nausea pill. fourteen hours of sleep later, and i feel (almost) good as new.

i missed the meeting but at least i can think coherently enough to write what *I* think. i hope any other pagans out there reading this will chime in with comments. :)

the short answer, of course, is EVERYTHING. most of the people i know who identify themselves as pagans are insatiably curious, about just about everything, and insatiable readers, the sort of people who read the tubes of toothpaste on the potty if nothing else is handy.

my own spiritual path has taken me down a lot of roads, including a very thorough grounding in the judeo-christian faith as it's practiced by american roman catholics of irish/italian descent. additionally, because my mother - who defines herself as "intellectually protestant" (whatever THAT means) - other branches of the family so to speak - jews and christians of every flavor - were welcomed and listened to. my mother was even willing to talk to mormons and jehovah's witnesses when most people on our street shut their doors and pulled the shades.

my mother had lots of ideas about what constituted an "education" as opposed to "training" - and this included four years of latin, which in retrospect was probably one of the greatest gifts my mother ever gave me. not only did it hone my memory with its thousands of conjugations and declensions, but it gave me a sense of what history really means. the study of latin isn't just the language - because there's not a huge body of material, we covered a lot of history and culture and philosophy, not just of the Romans, but of the ancient world in general, including Palestine in the time of Christ.

it was this convergence of the history and the spiritual beliefs and practices of my own family that made this all so real for me. i'd had a latin missal since i was five. the first thing i did after my first latin class was to pull it out of hiding in the back of my top drawer and start looking up words in the dictionary in the back of my text book. what i found there was fascinating. the dictionary meaning of some of the words was slightly different from what i "knew" the latin meant because i heard the mass said in english by then every week. an entire world of possibilty of interpretation opened up for me in that moment and i never looked at anything quite the same way since.

from there, i've ranged far and wide across time and space. my spiritual inquiries have led me to read subjects as eclectic as celtic history and mythology, the uses of salt, herbalism, energy healing, quantum physics, the evolution of parasites, neuroscience, milton, blake, yeats, buddhism, tibetan buddhism, and carl jung. and yet, intellectual inquiry is only a piece of it.

my own personal path has led me to various forms of therapy - including massage - and to meditation and to yoga. and i am not much different from any of my pagan friends - even if their paths have led them in vastly different directions from mine. pagans are in my experience a wide-ranging and eclectic lot: any group of pagans always reminds me - energetically at least - of the cafe scene in the first Star Wars. this diversity alone, while i can find it intimidating and unsettling at times, also infuses me with a sense of how breathtakingly and awesomely unique each manifestation of the Divine can truly be.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

packing and other particulars

i learned to pack light when, as a kid of 17, i spent a year as an exchange student in england. when you're limited to what you can easily carry and you weigh barely 100 lbs soaking wet, you learn quickly how little you really need.

from that time on, if i couldn't fit it into a backpack, or a suitcase the size of a backpack, i generally didn't take it.

on my first honeymoon, i brought one suitcase and my purse. mister ex had three suitcases, a tennis racket, cameras and scuba gear.

its been a long time since i've planned to be away this long, and needless to say, it's causing me some consternation. much of this is because i don't want to travel any less lightly than i do for shorter trips, and hotel laundry facilities tend to be expensive. on the plus side, warm climates make for lighter clothes, and six camisoles can be packed in the space one sweater takes up.

consequently, i've been consulting the internet and my more travel-friendly friends over what, exactly, to pack.

one friend suggested a lot of bathing suits and floaty dresses. i liked the idea of floaty dresses, since i have three i really like, and two can double as beach-cover-ups.

on the internet, i found the suggestion to take all the ratty underwear you'd normally throw out. the beauty of this idea is you wear them once and throw them away, thus gaining valuable souvenir and t-shirt space.

one of my globe-trotting friends shrieked in horror when i shared this tip: you'd take all your ratty underwear on a romantic vacation with your husband?

she was so appalled i asked Beloved what he thought. i think it's a great idea, he said. i don't care if you want to wear ratty underwear. by the time im close enough to you to notice your underwear, it's off.

the same globe-trotting friend shared her philosophy of packing. she advised not to plan what im wearing in terms of amount, but in terms of color. pick two, she said, and then add a third accent color.

oh dear, i said, feeling my blood pressure suddenly spike. i don't know if i can do that.

try, she replied. take all your clothes, lay them out on a bed, pick three colors and pack so everything goes with everything else.

oh my, i thought. when you like as many colors as i do, it's hard to pick just two. or three. or four.

right now, there's a rainbow spread across my bed, in shades that range from brown, and taupe to khaki, cream and ecru, through lavendar and lilac, blush, coral and rose into periwinkle and turquoise, sea foam, grass, mint and sage, sprinkled throughout with touches of yellow, orange, black and navy blue.

needless to say, i have no idea what to take.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

thoughts on the seven of pentacles

last night, despite my aching head, i drew a tarot card. my intention was to know the present "theme" or task for the present moment. the card i pulled was the seven of pentacles.

what was interesting to me about this card is that it was one that libby pulled out of the deck while i was reading (or trying to read) meg's cards. (it's hard for me to read my children - my emotional investment is so great i might too readily see into the cards what i want them to say.)

this card is really calling to me, mommy, said libby. why is that?

it wants you to pay attention to it, i said, as i peered at it. i thought it was something of an odd card for a 16 year old to get, even though there are certainly areas in libby's life that have taken root and borne fruit. this is a card of reevaluation, i said, slowly, a card of taking stock, enjoying some of the fruit, and deciding where to direct the energies most effectively next.

i recognize a synchroncity when i see one. the fact that mercury is retrograde underscores the message of the card. now is not the time for forward movement, but for contemplation that allows for refocusing, revisioning and reevaluation.

in my new story, ive been feeling pushed to go back to the beginning. in my own life, ive been feeling drawn to re-examine my own practices, to tweak and to add. this has not felt like a time to go forward, instead, a time to rest, refresh and renew, all with an eye toward where the energy will make most sense next. this morning, while Beloved drives to brooklyn, my girls drive back from my sister's, and the wind howls like banshees outside, im going to indulge this energy in this bit of silent time and space.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

happy birthday, sheila claire

my little sister turns forty today.* it's hard to believe that nearly 40 years have passed since the day i tiptoed into my mother's bedroom and peered inside the white bassinet at the foot of my mother's bed, to see a white bundle with a lot of curly black hair on one end tucked inside. i fell instantly in love.

if only the years leading up to that moment had been equally so easy.

on that cold january afternoon, we were three years into what i have always thought of as the Great War, the divide that slices my childhood neatly into two halves: the Time Before, and the Time During. it was a nasty, angry war fought not between my parents, but between my mother and my grandmother, marked by long periods of frosty distance through which i was mostly the messenger and the pawn. it could've made me a lot meaner than i am.

but it didn't.

in large part, it was due to the fact that sheila's timing was perfect. i've always liked babies, but to be presented by one, having reached the age where i knew i would be trusted to help care for it was like being handed an amazing gift. i remember thinking as i gazed at the squishy white bundle that it was never going to matter - not to me, at least - if we had different fathers, if our last names were different.

she's never been half of anything in my mind.

because of my little sister, i learned very early that Good Things can come from even the most painful of circumstances.

so happy birthday, sheila claire... thank you for shining your beautiful light in my life for forty whole years... from the nannybelle who loved you at first sight.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

*this post is a day late because of a migraine brought on by the weather!

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy new decade

ten things i've learned in the last ten years:

1. i've stopped worrying how my adolescent-young adult children feel about me at any given moment; i've learned that once they have kids of their own, they'll Understand.

2. i've learned that how i look is not a measure of who i am.

3. i've stopped worrying about death; i've learned that a long life lived miserably is far worse than a short one lived merrily.

4. i've learned to stop worrying so much about what might happen tomorrow, and to care more about what IS happening today. if putting things off til tomorrow makes for a lot of empty yesterdays, addressing what's going on under my nose seems to ensure calmer tomorrows.

5. i've learned that love can make me blind. (i sort of already knew that but i had to learn that one over again.)

6. i've learned grief comes in waves and that when someone you truly love dies, they leave a hole in your heart.

7. i've learned that the birthright of every human child should be a network of people who surround that child with ooey-gooey love and that when one child suffers, we all do, whether we know it or not.

8. i've learned that dogs and trees can be better company than people.

9. i've learned that bad decisions make good stories.

10. i've learned that people who judge others are hardest of all on themselves.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.