Monthly Archives: February 2013

genius

I just wanted to share this tidbit with you. It is in line with the many books I’ve read about the power of our subconscious mind – the place with all the answers. I hope you can draw from this…

“During his day, Edison would take time out by himself and relax in a chair or on a sofa. Invariably he would be working on a new invention and seeking creative solutions to the problem he was dealing with. He knew that if he could get into that “twilight state” between being awake and being asleep, he could access the pure creative genius of his subconscious mind.

To prevent himself from crossing all the way over the “genius gap” into deep sleep, he would nap with his hand propped up on his elbow while he clutched a handful of ball-bearings. Then he would just drift off to sleep, knowing that his subconscious mind would take up the challenge of his problem and provide a solution. As soon as he went into too deep a sleep, his hand would drop and the ball-bearings would spill noisily on the floor, waking him up again. He’d then write down whatever was in his mind.”

http://www.wilywalnut.com/Thomas-Edison-Power-Napping.html

a place to rest a while

a place to rest a while

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It all started with the irises…

It seems the weather is hinting at Spring here and while I wish for a deep freeze to kill the mosquitos, I do love the way the sunshine feels. In response to this mild weather, I decided to move around some Louisiana Irises. These densely packed rhizomes will soon hide the ugly spot in my backyard with their perennial green vertical beauty and brief show of yellow flowers in spring. While digging in the dirt, my hens kept me company – they knew what was just below the surface of that undisturbed soil – worm treats!a white hen

I also spotted a tiny ladybug sitting there doing what lagybugs do so well. All of this bucolic reference made me think of the bees that would soon be back – I am blessed with a nomadic beekeeper that delivers about 100 hives to my property in very early spring and then moves them in summer.They sit at the edge of the woods near a small canal and fly through the woods everyday that they are here. They not only give me honey, they give me tranquility. The irises, the hens, the ladybug, and the bees…life is good.ladybug

bees

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sometimes there are clouds

And so…yesterday was a myriad of feelings. I had some news that I worried tremendously about and then worked through and amongst that darkness, I had some wonderful news. I, like most mothers do, hung onto the worry and hardly recognized the good. By the end of the evening, the worry was soothed and this morning I can focus on the good. It seems, for me, the clouds shield the sun, the clouds always “win” – I am not happy to admit that about myself and that is the complete reason for this blog…to express the small things that are good, to constantly remind myself to notice and celebrate the little things – for they are the fabric. I haven’t much time this morning and I feel a bit depleted from the night, but I did want to post a picture of a wonderful gift from my neighbor across the street – a purple cabbage and turnips. This is the stuff that “takes me there”. Hope your day is well spent and I hope you live in appreciation of everyone in it.
 
 I’m thinking smoothered onions and turnips and a cole slaw with purple cabbage and green apples? I cannot wait until I have hours to spend in a garden, but in the meantime, I am so lucky to have these neighbors.

 
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between winter and spring

 

I had so many messages about  my last post on the “empty nest” – just says how we, as mothers/parents, all feel so deeply and universally  about our children; we all feel the  heart tug of letting go. I did these funny angels to remember these times…

 

 

It’s the end of the day, the end of carnival season, and Valentine’s Day is soon. I lit a candle in the kitchen; one Elizabeth got for Christmas, and made some hot tea. I want to write a few words and cherish this February evening and the fragrance from the candle and the steeping of the tea make it a bit more special.

 
 I love this little pocket of holidays – beginning with Ground Hogs Day, then Mardi Gras (for all of us in South Louisiana) next to Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and culminating with Easter and Passover – so quaint and simple. And then, the first day of spring is in there somewhere. The weather is still unsettled and some days we must stay inside to rummage through our houses, sorting, finding, doing, and some days give us sunshine and we go in our yards to check the buds on fruit trees and move away the leaves to see what might be peeking beneath. I watch the small birds that are visiting in the side yard under my kitchen window, the ones that seem to make the ground move as they do. I wait for the robins to come from the woods and to see a lone honey bee in the sparse clover – it’s the cusp, a place between winter and spring, a place to watch how Nature moves so beautifully from one season into the other.
 

I look for the signs of spring while holding on to the quietness of winter, quiet here in south Louisiana anyway. I need more time in the winter. I want to write more and paint more, when spring arrives, I am outside putting together some sort of garden. I am so pathetic then, no discipline to stay inside.
It seems there is a conflict as to when spring will arrive according to the Almanac: “As you may have heard, Punxsutawney Phil, arguably the most famous prognosticating groundhog in the United States, did not see his shadow this weekend, which means spring is supposed to come a bit early this year. Of course, as we reported last month, we’re not expecting an early spring. So, now the race is on to find out who is right, the Almanac or the rodent.”

 

Don’t you love the lightheartedness of this? Amongst a world of virtual images and digital everything, there is still room for a groundhog and the farmer’s almanac trying to decide when spring will arrive! I feel happier just reading this – hope you do too.

 
 
 
I also feel happier looking at some still lifes in my friend, Tere’s early spring yard – so beautiful and so promising. Some people use paints to cover a blank canvas, she uses flowers…

 

 

 







and my favorite…

 
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windchimes and dreams

And so I did this one important thing yesterday, I planted a Bradford pear in the middle of a field amongst the other hopefuls. I see this as a confirmation that I will be here yet another season to watch it grow and years later to pick the fruit and, in that August  watch the chickens enjoy the overly ripe pears that have fallen from the tree when I have had my fill and have given away and dehydrated until I’m done. I will watch with delight as I let them out of their coop and they run and waddle to the space beneath the tree where they are so satisfied and happy. They will pay me again with the eggs they lay, the eggs that have become part of the tree that is part of the ground that is part of the Bradford Pear I planted today!
a water break
 

 

           It is Sunday morning now and my sleep was crowded with images and dreams. I woke to the clinking of wind chimes right outside of my window instead of the harshness of the alarm, but even with this lovely awakening, I feel somewhat downhearted from my dreams. They were not bad dreams but they were imaginings of my life – mostly of me and Elizabeth.
 
 
 
 
She was little, something I always thought she would be and we were here in the middle of a summer day or a week end and I said, “let’s ride over to …”and we got in the car, she with her pigtails and missing front teeth and me with my youth and a day to enjoy and we went on an adventure. On the way, I held her tiny hand as I drove – something I always did and we listened to the Beatles, something we always did, and we did “something”. I didn’t recall what we did in my dream, for that was not the importance, the importance was that we “did”, that she has been my little friend, my little companion for 18 years and soon she will be someone I rarely see.
It is not nearly June, not nearly graduation and my heart is already tender. These children, these changes – they take your heart, they make you grow, and then they become these wonderful people that find their own lives – just as they should, just as we want. But, I think every mother reading this knows they all still have little hands to hold.
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questions answered…maybe

I wanted to post something today and I began a story about an owl I saw this evening but no “story” emerged, just a snapshot appeared. I write:

 I went for a short walk today, late in the afternoon but before evening. I walked across the field towards the little coulee that separates my space from a neighborhood and watched for the moon. I did not see it, this winter moon in its waning phase for the sky was cloudy and filtered its light, but as I stood there I heard a whoosh sound cutting the stillness. I looked up to see an owl in flight. It landed near where I stood in a tree – perched there and magnificent. I felt I didn’t belong there, this was his space, it is a place he had come to many times before when there were no people, no houses and concrete. He now seemed out of place and that made me sad.  Later, as I was writing, I heard him outside of my window. By then it was nighttime and he was hooting. There is something mysterious about that sound. It seems foreboding and ominous.

That’s it, that’s as far as I got. I distracted myself from the owl and began rummaging around in my folders and I came across something I wrote last summer – I may have already posted it but, that’s okay, I post again because now, unlike then, I can answer some of the questions. I suppose if we just allow our lives to progress as they should, we can find answers, but that’s not what we typically do, we force things to happen – patience is a virtue. Anyway, here it is, perhaps, again.

 

 
summer 2012
I couldn’t sleep past 5 am this morning even though my bedtime last night approached midnight. It’s good though, I have wanted to see the summer sunrise and hear the silence in my house and I did this morning. There is something special about the beginning of a day – the feeling of aloneness, a place to connect with yourself before the rattle of the day distracts you and you become the chameleon once again. I can see myself more clearly  and I can admit my fears and flaws  and I can get to know me a bit better here in the very early morning when the world is somewhere in the distant and I am “alone” in it. I set goals for myself in the quietness of this morning, simple things like starting a canvas I have already created in my head and packing away the childhood memories in Matt and Drew’s room and then more difficult things like completing  the unending book I began nearly a decade ago, a memoir about Miss Sue and another goal to untie a few more apron strings, to “let go” , to redefine my role as mom and view it more as a sideline “job” while , all the while, wearing my heart on the outside– this is tough after so many intense years of being in the middle of things but it’s rather restful also – less doing and more enjoying. This post is going nowhere…

 
 It’s nearly noon now and I have some reoccurring thought in my head. It’s about change, lifestyle change. I can’t maintain the appetite of my youth – I have to let a few things go before I get weighted down with age and upkeep. I think I will begin with the garden. I have been gardening in one capacity or another since I was 15; Miss Sue taught and inspired me then. I have, by early June, semi abandoned mine and as I look at it I realize it is like a child and needs a lot of attention if it is to blossom and reach its potential. As I look within myself I realize I am not willing to give it the time it needs, at least not now. I have discovered this wonderful place to give me compensation, however, the local Farmer’s Market. I will limit my garden next spring to a square root box containing tomatoes bell peppers and eggplant and maybe cucumbers. Done.

 
 

I am still debating about my chickens at this point. I really do enjoy the fresh eggs and do not trust anything in the supermarket so perhaps I will scale down my flock from 18 to just 4. This will have to take its natural course of course, for I do not cull chickens. From this bucolic scale down I propose and post, I hope to unveil time – time to paint, write, and leave, just for small excursions probably to visit my nomadic kids.

Then there is the question of this house – this huge great old house where I raised my family – what do I do? What do we do – us who have rooted ourselves in memories and a place and now want more flexible time and less domestic work; it seems a choice between sentiment and pragmatism – who wins? It’s a great place to accommodate my large family but nearly each day of the year, after Elizabeth leaves, it will be an oversized space for just two people. I do not want to be its slave nor do I want it to be my money pit – I can think of so many other places to throw money, places that make a contribution to someone. I am not prepared to answer this nagging question just now, I think more needs to unravel before I know the answer. I will just pay mind to the contents at this point and try to lighten the interior load and perhaps one day soon, I will know what to do with the rest.

 
Ok.There you have a fair portion of a summer day’s rambling – questions posed, few answered. Exhausting, but it does help to write it down.
 
 
 
 

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random acts

I am trying to wean myself from caffeine – coffee, specifically. Thankfully, I have no health issues and this is voluntary. The first day was tough because of the headache – a fierce headache that only a relapse could cure. I had ½ a cup and the pain disappeared. I am now doing 1/2 cup in the morning and again in the afternoon. Before, I drank only about 2 full cups a day but that was enough to cause an addiction. The addiction is what I’m escaping from – the idea that I have to have caffeine or I will feel bad. The benefits are tremendous – I slept 8 straight hours last night – that never happens. Anyway, I am drinking my swig of coffee doused with coconut milk as I write and I am feeling pretty happy about this journey. It seems I don’t have the discipline I had in my youth so this is also a conquest to achieve this goal, determined to be disciplined, at least in this one small arena of my life.  

I am enjoying herbal teas now – especially blueberry. I use a pack of Stevia and a fat slice of lemon from my tree. Sometimes I use honey, but I’m counting calories so Stevia is best now.At night, I usually paint and this cup or two of hot herbal tea is company for me in my studio – soothing and something to do while I am trying to decide about where the next splash of color should go.
 
 
Speaking of art, I received a painting from Lucy Hunnicutt yesterday – a Christmas present. My happiness meter soared when I opened the neatly wrapped package. I can’t explain the feeling I had holding this piece of art made by someone I adore and respect and made especially for me – the transfer of positive energy was tremendous and my ordinary day became stellar. This feeling is what, I believe, good art transfers – it startles you and makes your heart full.
 
Anyway, I wanted to tell you this because even though you may not do art, you can send a handwritten note or a gathering from your garden to someone you know and make a difference in their lives – like Lucy did in mine. Personal touches are our best defense against all that is “wrong” in this world – it is so powerful to do something for someone else;” Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
 
a letter from Beatrice Potter
I have managed to gather a few things from my winter yard. These are things I have not tended and I admit the landscape out of my backdoor is a “sight to behold” – I mean that in a negative way. I have not tended to much this winter and I am sad about that but I hope to feel more motivation this spring. Anyway, I am posting a picture of my small, but lovely, gathering and I send these words along with the visual.
 
 
This post was not ego driven – I am not telling you about these happy snapshots in my life because I hold myself and my experiences as noteworthy – I am posting this to perhaps encourage discipline and kindness. I have thought many times of writing about more personal experiences and even mentioning family members but I do not want to come across as self-absorbed – but I realize that the best way to write is to write what I know and within my “story” the reader will find theirs.
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