retreat in the woods

March 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm (beauty, history, innocence, longing, simplicity)

7272dogwood-posters.jpg

i don’t know what it is about this painting…

it reminds me of places i visited as a child. my grandmother had a small cabin in the woods by a river. i used to love to visit her there. the smell of the mountain air so fresh and crisp, and the smell of her big fluffy quilts packed away in the winter.

i was scared to sleep there. it was very dark at night and i could here the hum of the generator, tucked into bed with one of my brothers and a small dog.

my family sold the land when i was still small. i remember how depressed my father was and find myself wondering why they did it. i think my mother wanted some spending money.

now with my own children i find myself pining over that little cabin. it would be so wonderful to have a place like that to retreat to. i would love to take the kids up to the mountains to pick wild flowers and wade in the ice cold river.

i think my parents are so foolish to have cast off such beauty without thought for the future. it’s one of many things i grieve more intensely as i age.

lately i wonder if i’m one of those people who’s going to be marked with bitterness over choices i made, how casually i passed on opportunities to be bigger and better.  will i carry a dark heart forever when i think of my family and the squandered legacy?

it could be that i’m tired as anyone with small children tends to be. the state of our country is so depressing right now. i look for a place to retreat to and find nothing. i’ve been following the election, hoping that maybe someone can get in there and make this place better. the whole thing is so ugly, i can’t look anymore.

did i mention i grew up in a very political family? it left me with a terrible attitude about the whole dirty business. children who are pushed to adult matters sometimes get turned off for a long time. others take on the family business. i guess i’m coming back into involvement slowly.

nature seems the place of purity, far from the manipulations of men. now when i go to nature, i stay in uncomfortable hotels, trying to relax and remember why i came.

oh for a little cabin in the woods!  maybe more than the cabin, i’m longing for a purity of heart, the belief that people are good and there is enough for all of us.

someday, i’ll make my fortune and the first thing i’m going to do is find my little retreat…humble and sweet, a tiny patch of heaven in the middle of nowhere.  that’s my bliss.

Permalink 3 Comments

layers

February 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm (grace, innocence, mothering, simplicity)

70211songs-of-innocence-infant-joy-1789-posters.jpg

layers of meaning, layers of moments. the complexity of life is astounding. my feelings shift quickly from a moment of gratitude to a deep lament.

i want so much for myself and my family. i feel the intensity inside, a fire burning, burning. i want to relish this short life despite the complications and annoyances and struggles.

when i was younger i wore crazy clothing…layers of velvet and satin. i ran about in the wee hours sweaty and stained, starving for more. those layers of old fabric sticking to my skin, concealing a black heart.

my self absorption was legendary. there was room for no one else in my narrative. i wrote the play of my life and cast all the players. i never let them break from their prescribed roles.

how unfair is that?

now i want safety. i want rest and comfort. i want peace for my children. i’m still selfish as hell. it’s a constant battle to put aside my pettiness.

the layers i work with now are the layers of protection i place around the tots. the prayers for safety and prosperity. the layers of meaning i need the children to understand so they can grow up and navigate the world with some degree of effectiveness.

i layer them in alternating emotional responses; love, annoyance, impatience, celebration, play, disapproval, and on and on.

they are bundled up for better or worse in the concept of reality i created for them. someday they will free themselves to write their own stories.

where will i be then?

Permalink 2 Comments

death of sardanapalus

February 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm (destruction, history, innocence, power, sexuality)

35896the-death-of-sardanapalus-1827-posters.jpg

my family had a book of delacroix paintings when we were growing up. i remember being fascinated by this particular painting. i felt naughty looking at it for it hinted of things i didn’t understand…sexuality, the power of men over women, violence…

i couldn’t understand how the man in the bed seemed serene amidst the carnage. the women, so helpless, what had they done to deserve this?

it turns out, sardanapalus was under siege and when he knew defeat was inevitable, he ordered all his riches (including his women) destroyed. still, it puzzles me that he is so relaxed watching such horror unfold. imagine my confusion as a child!

as a young girl, i keenly felt the disparity between men and women. my brothers had masculine chores like taking out the trash and working on the yard. i was relegated to dishes and housework. i protested as soon as i was able. my family was politically liberal but my protests fell on deaf ears.

as a young woman, it bothered me that boys could behave a certain way and be cheered and encouraged. when i tried to pioneer, i felt resistance and sometimes even shame for being so bold.

i resented the physical vulnerability of being female and resented the attention that came from being pretty and charming. it took years for me to grow into my power. even now, i have moments of fear about being attacked, physically and or/psychically. i worry on behalf of my daughter, knowing that just being female means being a target of certain crimes and injustice.

it’s no wonder that for many years i distanced myself from anything too feminine. it just wasn’t safe.

is it safe now?

Permalink 3 Comments

my own oasis

February 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm (beauty, grace, innocence, simplicity)

e-k916dolce-far-niente-posters.jpg

friends, i’m tired. how i wish i could curl up like a cat and nap the day away. it’s been a long time since i had such a luxury!

i used to live in a little, old house with big rooms. there was a wonderful tree in the front yard. it was over a hundred years old, the biggest tree on the block. i loved to look out the window at the big old tree. the western sunlight would glitter off the leaves and the breeze in the branches made a sweet rustling sound.

the house was a shrine to comfort and beauty. it was an oasis and a retreat for me and me alone. i hardly ever had visitors. i didn’t know the neighbors…didn’t want to. my bedroom was in the front and i used to rest in bed with a pile of books and that shimmering tree out front. i felt safe under the canopy of that great beauty.

i would get sleepy from reading and drift off. it was a lovely time in my life. the absolute quiet and the delicious freedom of being bound to no one now seems incredibly seductive. of course at the time i remember being lonely and concerned that the future was stretching out before me with no surprises in store.

things changed when my future husband moved in.

he is a friendly guy and quickly met everyone on the block. my anonymity was slipping away and i gladly gave it over. i didn’t want to be alone anymore. the naps fell by the wayside as our different schedules meshed and we started creating a life together.

i miss that sleepy little house. i miss the fantastic tree. i miss my soft bed, covered with books and the western sun casting shadows across the floor.

still, i wouldn’t trade it for what i have now.

a life bustling with noise and intensity, little children who smell like sugar cookies.

the messes, great and small generated by the torrential energy of the little ones.

shrieks and screams and conflicts galore.

still, a day in my old oasis would be wonderful. i could use a little rest.

Permalink 6 Comments

fading vision

January 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm (beauty, innocence, longing, magic)

10100736afairy-on-a-spider-s-web-posters.jpg

i need to see the magic in the world. it’s not a desire, it’s a need.

it was easier as a child. i didn’t just see it, i felt it.

when i was younger i believed in the inherent goodness of people. i felt strongly that when people behaved badly, they were undoubtedly guilty and repentant.

growing up on fairy tales and the happily ever after colored my view of the world. i was sure that in the end, all would work out no matter what obstacles appeared. i felt that all people truly wanted to work together to create harmony. i believed that we all wanted peace and the protection of the earth.

now i’m not so sure…

i find myself tipping into cynicism. i see the selfishness and the pillaging. i see subtle slights and terrible injustices and wonder about the true nature of the human being. we are warm blooded, we need each other to survive and yet there is a murderous streak in many of us.

still, i need to see the magic. if my sense of the magic left me, i would be lost. i too would slip into bad behavior, taking what i want when i want it with no second thoughts.

luckily, the magic hasn’t left…it’s just my sight that’s blurry.

Permalink 8 Comments

mothering

December 31, 2007 at 11:52 pm (divine feminine, innocence, love, mothering, reflection)

sargent.jpg

i have two small children and i love them dearly. i wish i were more patient and focused on them.

i’ve always been a bit of a hermit, a private person. naturally, it’s tough for me to handle the chaos and demands that children bring. i am ashamed that i’m not better at the job.

i recently went back to work full time after spending three years with my son and one year with my daughter. it has been incredibly energizing to have a business to build. still, i feel some regret that i’m not one of those lovely mothers who is happy to care for the children all day, coming up with fun craft projects and trips to the park and the zoo.

i’ve found it difficult to bond with other mothers and women in general. there’s a thread of competition that seems to run through my interactions with other mothers and i’m always on the losing end. i find it amusing most of the time. i’m one of those people who wants to shout to the world I’M HUMAN…I’M A MESS AND I’M NOT GOING TO APOLOGIZE FOR IT.

there is some truth to this. i’ve been told that i’m incredibly accepting of others’ faults (though my husband would beg to differ). in my own internal world, i am mean as a snake in my self-reflective glory. i know what my potential is and i’m not there AT ALL. i’m not even trying.

that’s why the parenting haunts me a bit. i know i could do better and i just don’t.

still, they love me and i love them. i am so very very grateful they are here to help me become more of who i’m meant to be. bless them for this thankless task.

Permalink 2 Comments