I’ve started. Back to the basics, to prod me once more.
The preface has already juiced my brain.
I encourage us all.
Thank you, Natalie Goldberg.
Thank you, old used bookstore in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
It’s been a summer, hasn’t it? All of my best intentions that started in January (or was it February?) were thrown into a big pile of “I’ll get to it…”
All my promises to my readers about the things I carry are still on the table, etc. All the promises and writing desire during the first part of the pandemic never saw the light of day. I have been lost in the domesticity of life and trying to work while freaking out internally and trying not to, over the COVID-19.
So, I sit here, with my cat by my side…she has a stool that she inhabits when I write, or sit at the computer checking to see in anyone may listen, or reading others…she waits to be pet, she loves to be groomed, her heavy long fur dreadlocks have become unmanageable for her and she can use a little help (but it stimulates her and she cannot help but get up and twirl around trying to get comfortable until I move the brush down her back again, and it starts all over again!).
Anyway, summer is half over and we are fairly well established in our little cottage. The 3 hummingbirds like to fight over two feeders. The butternut squash is choking out my perennials (roll over, Beethovan) and the farmer has been forbidden to plant the squash plant there next year (he knew, he just didn’t tell me, after all, vegetables are more productive than flowers, in his eyes–at least, that is what I have come to believe about his stand on things). The artesian well is my lifeline and I hold my thermos for work underneath the clear fresh stream bubbling out of the pipe, my magic potion for my day.
We’ve “gone to town” on the blueberry picking at the local blueberry U-Pick. Bob really knows how to do blueberry bushes right. And they are abundant and every one of them is SWEET. Wowsers! It has been a record year for Kuhn’s Blueberries, here in upstate New York (this is not a paid advertisement, this is just sayin’). Maybe people just need to get out, and this is a safe way of doing it. Yes, it is.
I’ve become a Persian rug junkie. I fell totally in love with “the oriental” carpet last fall. It hasn’t gotten much better. I started watching YouTubes on design and authenticity. I’m getting there. Slowly. I’ve gotten 3 more carpets. I wanted to write a cute story about a magic carpet, until I saw on YouTube that the magic carpet is made completely of silk. I’m a purist, I need that magic carpet now. So the story needs to wait a bit. (Which is why stories never quite get done…)
If I ever do write something (for publication), I think it will need to be a series of short stories, as short blogs are about all I have attention for, at this point. I can read the novel, but only a page or two at a time. So, with that in mind, I will tailor my writing for my fans to that.
I could run on and on, but I think I better let you keep moving onto the next. Or you could search my old posts…
She sits, quiet, stoic, patient, hidden from us. We try to use the front door, persuade the cats, who somehow have not noticed her, to hang out with us doing our outdoor activities. They do not mind, raised interactively with humans, they enjoy hanging out (it’s when we aren’t there that they tend to get into trouble, bringing in a dead varmint to play with…).
We have watched the killdeer off and on all day. Nature is so patient. We humans certainly could learn some lessons, couldn’t we?
New resident here at Tynerdale Cottage. A nest built in the lawn designed with nature (a temporary feature), she guards her nest carefully, and we have to be mindful now of the cats! Nothing like teaching them how to go in and out, only to now have to rethink that.
But this is nature’s takeaway today and it’s all for me, because I ask.
P.S. we had to name the bird Kadie.
Each day this week I have tried to take stock and pay attention to 1 takeaway a day, a blessing, you could say.
Monday – a bird on our front lawn, helping us get rid of the chaff to uncover new grass, stopping every few steps and collecting for her nest.
Tuesday – the weather perfect for my lunch break walk, I spotted two killdeer in conversation at the edge of the road. Carefully walking and crossing to the other side (as to not startle them), they were beak to beak and then calmly turned to head down to the stream with another 2 that were waiting.
Wednesday – the deer popped out in front of me and I almost hit her. Looking back into the rear view mirror was deer #2. She had waited. (Whew!)
Thursday – I had to fast before blood work. Aggravating a bit, I stopped into the local mini market for coffee to complete the morning ritual but at work. I got to work and took a sip. It was the best I’ve tasted in quite awhile.
These are my takeaways, blessings if you will. Share yours below.
I just saw a report on the news regarding the young ladies in Minneapolis, whose restaurant had been vandalized. They looked with arms crossed, trying to be understanding as to why.
They have been given grace by God. I have not. I don’t need that grace, I am unaffected. But, I have been a shopkeeper. I understand what it is like to try to run a business, to be in debt, to make ends meet.
Where are those that did this? Why aren’t you back there, helping these women put their life and their livelihood back together? This is your responsibility.
Go and do. Let your actions really speak for themselves!
This is based on my own experience, and is not necessarily the experience of everyone, so please forgive me if you had a different experience, or a different perception of it.
About ten years ago, I became very ill. Unbeknownst to me (due a lot to my own naivety and stubbornness), I had a bad gallbladder, and after 23 years (!) it finally took it’s toll on my body and my liver could not function properly. My skin, the largest organ of our body, took over and I had developed psoriasis. I finally conceded, after attempts at home remedies, off the wall remedies, acupuncture, and Chinese (!) medicine, to realizing that I needed modern medicine and an injectable medication to clear it. Not realizing that I needed more, we did the blood work and guess what. I needed more. Keeping this story short for all intense purposes, I ended up with 4 endoscopies (total), a colonoscopy, and a gall bladder removal, before all was said and done. I went through each procedure (4 different hospitals), steadfastly, without flinching, having no idea of the cost, having no health insurance, I was just going to have to trust these people and see what would happen. But that is not what I am here to write about today (that’s for another day…maybe).
One of the side effects of the endoscopy is internal bleeding. I wasn’t smart enough to know the signs, and suddenly, five days later, I went into such a weakened state that I could not go up the steps without sitting down to rest for ten minutes. It got worse. I went to my follow up appointment two days later (I mean–my practical brain thought–I was going to see him anyway, it’s okay to wait), I told him what happened and he sent me for blood work. I went up, I went back home, did errands, etc. Got a phone call from the primary. “Get to the hospital!” Okay, which one? “The closest.” “Okay, I’ll be right up.” “No. You cannot drive.” “Why not?” “You might not make it.” Oh. I went through the next 5 days in a hospital bed with blood transfusions. I was so tired. All I wanted was to sleep.
I made it, I made it through that, I came out of it. I am here, nine years later, to tell you about this experience. What do I want to tell you? It’s okay to not be able to see your relative that is sick at this time. As a patient, I was TIRED. I did not want to see anyone, I did not want anyone there to have to think about.
I ran across a picture yesterday that I took during that time, it was the patient bulletin board over my bed. It read: Goal for today (Tuesday)–tolerate transfusion. I had taken a picture because I got a kick out of it. That’s why you are reading this today. We lost a beloved retired teacher from our area yesterday to the COVID-19. His girls have kept us all abreast on a daily basis as to his life, their lives, their hope, our prayers. It was Day 27 (or 28). He slept a lot.
It’s horrifying that our loved ones have to die “alone.” It’s horrifying that we cannot be there to comfort them. But then, I remember being sick. You are just tired. You just want to sleep.
A world of intrigue, the small child (me) visits Gramma every other week or so, trading places with my sister, for an overnight with my grandmother.
What does a child do with her Gramma? She plays. Gramma sits at her card table and plays solitaire. This is the 1960s, so there are at least two decks of cards out, one older, and a new deck, when necessary. A spot on the right of the cards for her magazine and TV Guide. The first in our family to get a color television!
But I digress.
The child goes to the China closet. I rearrange the collection of salt and pepper shakers: there was a little yellow ceramic “basket” that held blue and yellow penguin shakers, there were the vase styled almost mother of pearl looking set (that I exchanged in the yellow basket because I liked them better there…). On the list can go, but I don’t remember them all, only those two favorites. Then there was the huge shell with the art work of a sea animal, that was beautiful. A wooden shoe, from Holland (the other matching shoe was said to have disappeared when my grandfather threw it out the window at a noisy drunk one night). There were her iced tea glasses (too fragile for anyone but company). These are my memories of what she had inside the China cabinet.
I inherited this China cabinet last year when my parents downsized. I had no clue as to where I would put it, or what would go inside, but as you well know, things can fill up pretty quickly!
The moment it came into my house, my grandmother, quite magically, reappeared. Imagination? Or do they leave some energy behind? Asking my mother, she told me that her father had a cherry pipe tobacco and every now and then she could smell it. Nose to wood, I press myself against it, hoping, too, for some resurrection there.
Bonus! In moving mom pressed upon me the swan light from on top of Gramma’s console television set. I did not realize it was still around, a forgotten until now piece of her. The swan has brought a collection of others to her.
I sit and reflect as I cherish this piece. It is a part of my peace.
Several years ago, I read a poignant story by Tim O’Brien, “The Things They Carried.” This story was about of the men of Alpha Company, a squad of soldiers in the Vietnam War, the human side. I hope Tim does not mind the use of his quote — “Stories are for joining the past to the future…those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are…Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing left to remember except the story.”
In my recent move, his quote above cannot be resisted from coming to the forefront of my mind. Admittedly, when I read the book, I copied it. I keep coming across the index card it was written on, I added it to my Book of Prayers that I have created for myself. I look at the objects going into boxes, coming out of boxes, trying to decide what I need, and what I can live without. And I look across the room, and see those things that I have carried.
Each one I think about, wonder about, and hope (someday) to re-gift, hopefully to a child or grandchild who will want them, but with the knowledge that they may end up in a garage sale or consignment shop.
But they are the things that I carry, and the “things” that make up a part of who I am here on earth. When you see these things, they are my heritage, and I am a part of them. As I can feel my grandmother in the china closet, I am reminded by my mother, also, of the smell from her father’s cherry pipe tobacco, embedded in the wood, and I put my nose to it, to gain his scent. He died long before I ever met him, though I did meet him in two different dreams.
Each one of these items is a story. That story will be told. Stay tuned.