retreat in the woods

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

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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.

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layers

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

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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?

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my own oasis

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

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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.

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life, the way i want it

January 27, 2008 at 11:33 pm (beauty, longing, magic, simplicity)

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i want to live simply. i want to feel safe. i want the children to prosper and have opportunity. i want the luxury and beauty of the earth all around.

i dream of living in a place where the air is still fragrant. i dream of innocence and friendly neighbors. i dream of children playing together with the adults loosely watching. i dream of sunny mornings and the dappled shade of trees…afternoon naps under fluffy, soft blankets. i dream of gathering with friends and their children, raucous dinner parties with wine flowing freely.

i want to move more slowly and feel my life as i’m moving through it. i want to shift from doing to being and i’m not sure i know how.

the city i live in is the city i was raised in. it is sprawling and intense and still growing. i remember the wide open spaces that used to surround the city. it felt like an island, far from either coast. a city surrounded by vast fields that went from spring green, to burnt yellow, to crumbling brown, to snow swept and scoured and back again.

i was desperate to leave when i turned eighteen and leave i did. i lived in other cities where high culture ruled and people were well dressed and savvy. places where music and art and alternative thinking thrived. i lived on both coasts and spots in between but i always came home. i never felt at peace anywhere else, always the gypsy on the way to the next place.

i’m looking for a new home. there’s no rush, no need to hurry but i’m looking.

my fear is that finding the perfect spot won’t solve the riddle. it is my inner world that needs healing. the simplicity i crave must be created in the shadows and haunts of my heart and soul…the beauty i crave uncovered in the caverns i created.

still it would be nice to wake up to pure, earth magic which seems to be dwindling where i am.

is the dream viable? or just a fantasy to sooth me when sleep is elusive?

we shall see…

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crystal ball

January 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm (beginnings, grace, reflection, simplicity, wealth)

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i wish i had a crystal ball and could see what lies ahead. some things i know…the children will grow, the seasons will shift, i will work and continue to push ahead.

i hope i can start to pull away from the financial stress that keeps me up at night. i hope my husband and i can grow closer and live more harmoniously. i hope that i continue to grow spiritually.

i want to fall in love with the life i’m living. i’ve made progress. i want to be creative and dynamic and find new ways of approaching old problems. i want to be of good health and want the same for my family and friends. i want to experience more DIVINITY in my day to day dealings.

sometimes i feel like i was born at the wrong time. the world we’re in is stimulating and intense and overwhelming. i long for simplicity. after pondering for a long time, i realize that simplicity is an inner state. no amount of organizing and cleaning and downsizing can get me to that place of peace. i think too, that simplicity for me may require a degree of surrender to what is.

surrender is tough. i’m a fighter!

so…if i had a crystal ball, this is what i hope my forecast would be:

KEEP ON GOING…face life squarely, no more drifting off to sleep in a fantasy, you’re on the right track and whatever challenges come up, you have the resources to overcome. life is wondrous and magical and fantastic. SHOW UP WITH LOVE. you are doing a great job…

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