Category Archives: Uncategorized

honesty

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to be honest, these are last year’s flowers :)

It is another Monday, something that tells me it’s a beginning once again, something that pushes me towards more honesty with my words, with my writing. I know that there is no need for dishonest words; what purpose do they serve? I know that I have pure and honest thoughts scrambling in my head all day long trying to get out but …I hesitate. Is it my sensitivity towards mankind that is afraid I offend, is it my dread of conflict, my desire to stay still and within the lines? I do not know, but I do know that I am not being completely honest with my writing and I also know I admire those who are.

 

the cycle

the cycle

 I painted a sign of sorts to hang in the kitchen where my twins cook which simply says “cook good food”, reminiscent of the sign in my head from the teachers of my past that says “do good art”, some sort of mantra I suppose. I think of that and know, why would they want to do anything but cook good food? There is no desire to cook bad food, there is no passion to do such a thing and that leads my thoughts to…why do anything, if not honest; what satisfaction does anyone get from dishonesty?

 

 

 

I see deceit everywhere on social media, on TV, in magazines, so much illusion pumped into our consciousness every day and I wonder why? I am trying to understand what purpose it serves? I understand FANTASY and its dutiful and positive purpose to stimulate our imaginations. This, I speak of, is illusion selling itself as real. It leaves a harmful trail of deception.

Anyway, here are my honest thoughts spilling awkwardly out onto this Monday morning keyboard, thoughts I felt compelled to jot down before I begin, with much gratitude, yet another Monday of my life. My hope and my challenge is that whatever and whomever I encounter today will be an honest experience and that I find the right way to express thoughts that are (positively) real…a lofty, yet honest, personal goal.

As a post script to this enigma, I do understand the need to be kind with our words and actions, I am not referring to brutal honesty here, for it is true, some things are better left unsaid…

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and so I begin again…

The following showed up on my computer this weekend…not magically, of course, but because of a curious click on a file titled “misc. musings”. Anyway, it may have been a previous post, I really do not know, but what it is to me now, is a launching pad…a “note to self”. It is a mission statement of sorts, one I connected to and in celebration, I have put new pictures on my blog header and resurrected my FB page. and made a humble, and “sketchy” commitment to write several times a week…it’s soul food for me and I need it. Anyway, read if you care to…

 

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A blank page and a new day sit before me…I can easily fill this page with positive attitude and observations, but the day, not so easily. I persist with my art. I have found this reason to write and it soothes me and I have always had a love affair with paints – that outlines me. What becomes the problem is transferring these thoughts and “clichés” into the blank day – that sometimes eludes me. I understand and love the idea of this brand new day  – this gift to unwrap and do with what needs to be done – I get that, but somehow, during the mist of it all I let go and I become reactive to things that don’t matter – that is why this blog was started. It is a place to talk to myself and to you if you care to hear – about keeping superficial things at bay and focusing on the things that do matter.

I know that this kind of “encouragement” is all over social media – quotes dangle from nearly every post and advice and inspirational stories assault you every time you open a tab. I wonder why we need all of this inspiration to get through our lives? Or do we? I remember in my youth before that outside world was constantly on my doorstep bombarding me and trying to make me into someone to function in this contrived society, I went into the woods (sorry to Henry David for even associating myself with his genius) – and I walked and I noticed the dew and the sky and the garden that was nearby and I heard the solitude the sounds of the birds made and I heard what was in my head and what I heard was ME – not this clutter that is continually posted and attacks your identity, messes with your thoughts and dilutes your self-esteem. I have this strange idea that Nature provides us with the answers and I worry that we see less and less of Her and more and more fabrication.

Ok, enough rambling. I have finished my coffee and have raised my awareness level – this new day is ahead of me and I feel gratitude- it is a special gift. I will treat it as though it will never be here again and at its end, I plan to come back to this place where I write and hopefully realize my success.

The first thing I will do is cut a handful of the gardenias I see from my kitchen window and bring them into the house where their fragrance will infuse my thoughts with a time of my youth and cause me to remember my muse, Miss Sue. I noticed plums from my yard and half of a watermelon that scream summer to me in the refrigerator – that sounds like breakfast. If you are here with me, I hope you find your peace within this day

I did not return on the night I said I would, the night I was supposed to write about my “adjustment” – busy I suppose. I am here now though, after a walk around the yard early in the morning. It is different then. I see and hear things that are not there when the sun is declining. Because it was so early, I got the best plums that had fallen from my Santa Rosa – before the birds. I also saw the bees getting ready for their journey, gathered and hovering as though they were waiting for that family member that is always the last to be ready and then launching anxiously out into the woods. I got my shoes wet from the dew and I heard the slight sound of a baby bird and the noisiness and aggression of the mockingbirds. I snapped a magnolia and checked for tassels on the pecan trees – anticipating autumn. I felt the heat of the summer sun, even in the earliness of the day, and knew it would be a day of supreme growth for my fruit trees and perhaps abuse for my annuals. The world seemed right this morning…let the day begin.

I missed the Full Strawberry Moon rising last night – it was cloudy and I was, regretfully, distracted, but I did see it hang above the trees an hour after its debut. It was pure splendor, this first full moon of summer. Quickly I think of my brief time spent in the Tuscan countryside just a short while ago and try to imagine how beautiful the Strawberry Moon was hovering over the hills of Tuscany, silencing the day and shedding light on the night. I do not like to compare and I concede that this heavenly body was so beautiful shining over the fields of home but because I had previously only visited the Italian countryside in my dreams and because I just had the pleasure of seeing it for real, I had to imagine Tuscany topped with this theatrical presentation of this dramatic celestial orb – the proverbial icing on the cake. Anyway, I missed the rising but stood outside for a while and watched it as it sat atop my house framed by the trees in the woods and for those few moments, only allowed its beauty to tangle there within my thoughts. I hope you saw it too.

Summer is in full bloom here in the Deep South. Today I will pick the last plums from the Santa Rosa and begin to hear the harsh sound of the locust as the thermometer reaches 90 in the middle of the day. Later, at dusk, I will walk through the field to wait again for the now waning moon and to hear the tree frogs and, for yet again another summer of my life, instinctively look for fire flies in the approaching darkness. I think that every year of my life I have seen fireflies – how wonderful that I can claim that.

I took a picture of this small plot of earth to remind me to go there, to amend this place with compost and leaves from the autumn trees and maybe, if I am diligent with my work, I will eat from here – turnips and cruciferous vegetables and carrots and beets. This winter I will make soups from what will grow here and in the spring I will till it again and plant…again. This cycle is the cycle I want to be a real part of, I want my garden to feed me and make me work until I am tired and cause the sunshine to enter my body and help me to stay healthy – this is what this small piece of land can do – if I let it, if I go there.

 

I am writing this to encourage myself to make this commitment. The garden is not very big – it is something I can do, me and my little rear tine tiller. The Deep South is a wonderful place to grow food and, unfortunately, bugs – they will discourage me, I am certain. I will again research natural sprays on the internet and possibly thumb through old gardening books that sit on my kitchen shelf and try to find a way to co-exist with these creatures from the earth. It can be discouraging. I hope to find my way with this garden for I have had many trials in the past – this one is special. First, it is smaller and that, in itself, gives me confidence. Also, I am more and more committed to providing myself with my own food – the entire process is positive and it is something I can do, me and the bees. The bees will be another entry – I am learning about beekeeping and hope to journal, here, about the journey. Anyway, I will keep you posted on this effort, this challenge I have put on my plate. This is a place I need to be.

looking ahead without falling behind

something from 2012 that I thought you might like…

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The moon is somewhat of a sliver tonight and the air is heavy but soon there will be a front that moves in and tomorrow morning will be crisp and fall – like. I look forward to that.

I felt somewhat discombobbled today. All day I had thoughts going on in my head, words I wanted to put together to tell you something but I was not here. Now, I am here and the words have vaporized. It is so difficult for life to align itself, for everything to be synchronized; components seem to be missing many times. Or are they? Maybe we just don’t see them.

The fronts are struggling to find their way into this delta but change is in the air for certain. The ground is mottled with intensely colored leaves and the woods are tinted with ambers and burgundies, all under an azure sky that darkens suddenly now instead of the slow dimming brilliance of the summer one– Nature is busy preparing this glorious season. It is the last autumn of childhood for me; next fall only Skip and I will remain here in this house, everyone will be far away in school and at work. It is just as it should be but somehow, so challenging a passage for a mother to go through. They were all just upstairs playing or sleeping, rumbling around through childhood, a safe time I thought would never end. Now, it’s a plane ride to see them and a faceless voice when I hear them. They are (wonderfully) grown. Once again, I think of my mother and something she told me. When the twins started Pre –K, I was feeling like this – happy but shadowed by melancholia – and she enlightened me by referencing her own path as mother and told me how she looked forward to each new chapter of our lives. I suppose it is the best way to look at life, to focus on what is up ahead and just use the rear view mirror for an occasional reminder of how wonderful those yesterdays were.

I go forward with that thought and share it with you while I fill my heart with the wonders of yesterday and wait to embrace the gifts of today. And like my mother, I will celebrate each new stage and try to keep my sentiment on the pages of this blog – I so thank you for sharing this place with me and allowing me to get soppy sometime.

 

“A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories”.

Honore de Balzac

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earth day bliss

bee keeperaI had a bit of happiness today that was unexpected and so fitting to happen on Earth Day…the beekeepers showed up with the bees! These bees are not my bees (I only have one hive thus far), they belong to a commercial beekeeper and every April for the last several years, the beekeepers come. Usually they come during the middle of the night, when the bees are more settled and lethargic but today, lucky for me, they came in the daytime. And even luckier still, I do not teach anymore, so I was home! These bees have been in the Atchafalaya Basin and when they leave here in July, they will go to Arkansas…at least that has been what happens in the past.

On summer mornings, I will, once again, make the trek to the edge of the woods and watch them in the early and most vibrant rays of the sun, leaving the hive to go out into the countryside to gather nectar to bring back for all to flourish. It is very communal and they work hard together, everyone works and has a job and the benefit is realized by all. They will stay busy all summer building their brood and collecting enough honey for the winter when the nectar will be scarce. If the season is good, and it usually is here in the South, there will be a fourth box that is filled with honey for us…their needs must be met first, however. Throughout the spring and summer my garden and fruit trees will benefit from the bees also – what a natural balance it all is. Anyway, I hardly know summer without bees anymore, I am glad to say that.

I am so happy today to be a really small part of this wonderful world of bees… I know it’s all kind of cliché and seems to be a trend lately, but for me, it is pure bliss…sweet as honey.

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wabi – sabi

DSC_0314I got a little interested in the Japanese concept of wabi – sabi. I find it so comforting to submit to the acceptance and even appreciation of imperfection. After stressing myself out over things being just right for a decade or so, I have found my way back to where I was and I love being here again. It is amazing how much worry and trouble you release when you put no value in “things”, specifically the appearance of things. I am not suggesting neglect; I am referencing “character marks” – like chips on furniture and scratches on floors and a slightly slanted tooth.

I found an article by Japanese architect Tadao Ando on wabi – sabi and I wanted to share it.

“Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.”

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I think it is impossible to be happy if you think in terms of perfection since perfection does not exist in this life – let it go, celebrate the quirks and blemishes, the lines and scars, for these are reminders of living – release and breathe…

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a pond to ponder

IMG_4099“This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense, and imbibes delight through every pore. I go and come with a strange liberty in Nature, a part of herself. As I walk along the stony shore of the pond in my shirt-sleeves, though it is cool as well as cloudy and windy, and I see nothing special to attract me, all the elements are unusually congenial to me. The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night, and the note of the whip-poor-will is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled. These small waves raised by the evening wind are as remote from storm as the smooth reflecting surface. Though it is now dark, the wind still blows and roars in the wood, the waves still dash, and some creatures lull the rest with their notes. The repose is never complete. The wildest animals do not repose, but seek their prey now; the fox, and skunk, and rabbit, now roam the fields and woods without fear. They are Nature’s watchmen — links which connect the days of animated life.” Walden…Henry David Thoreau

For me,Thoreau wrote the book on simplicity, literally. I am not moving to a cabin in the woods, but I will, by week’s end, have two rather large cardboard boxes filled up with unnecessary clutter and delivered to Goodwill. The boxes are sitting perceptibly on my keeping room table to remind me of their urgency. I will tend to them and at the end of the week, or perhaps sooner, I will feel gratification, for my life will be just a bit more relieved. This quest for simplicity, I am discovering, is a physical as well as a spiritual journey. I am also discovering that the physical achievement is much easier to attain than the spiritual.

 

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be(e) there

landI took a picture of this small plot of earth to remind me to go there, to amend this place with compost and leaves from the autumn trees and maybe, if I am diligent with my work, I will eat from here – turnips and cruciferous vegetables and carrots and beets. This winter I will make soups from what will grow here and in the spring I will till it again and plant…again. This cycle is the cycle I want to be a real part of, I want my garden to feed me and make me work until I am tired and cause the sunshine to enter my body and help me to stay healthy – this is what this small piece of land can do – if I let it, if I go there.

 

I am writing this to encourage myself to make this commitment. The garden is not very big – it is something I can do, me and my little rear tine tiller. The Deep South is a wonderful place to grow food and, unfortunately, bugs – they will discourage me, I am certain. I will again research natural sprays on the internet and possibly thumb through old gardening books that sit on my kitchen shelf and try to find a way to co-exist with these creatures from the earth. It can be discouraging. I hope to find my way with this garden for I have had many trials in the past – this one is special. First, it is smaller and that, in itself, gives me confidence. Also, I am more and more committed to providing myself with my own food – the entire process is positive and it is something I can do, me and the bees. The bees will be another entry – I am learning about beekeeping and hope to journal, here, about the journey. Anyway, I will keep you posted on this effort, this challenge I have put on my plate. This is a place I need to be.

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it’s all good

plumsI did not return on the night I said I would, the night I was supposed to write about my “adjustment” – busy I suppose. I am here now though, after a walk around the yard early in the morning. It is different then. I see and hear things that are not there when the sun is declining. Because it was so early, I got the best plums that had fallen from my Santa Rosa – before the birds. I also saw the bees getting ready for their journey, gathered and hovering as though they were waiting for that family member that is always the last to be ready and then launching anxiously out into the woods. I got my shoes wet from the dew and I heard the slight sound of a baby bird and the noisiness and aggression of the mockingbirds. I snapped a magnolia and checked for tassels on the pecan trees – anticipating autumn. I felt the heat of the summer sun, even in the earliness of the day, and knew it would be a day of supreme growth for my fruit trees and perhaps abuse for my annuals. The world seemed right this morning…let the day begin.

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this day

 aA blank page and a new day sit before me…I can easily fill this page with positive attitude and observations, but the day, not so easily. I persist with my art. I have found this reason to write and it soothes me and I have always had a love affair with paints – that outlines me. What becomes the problem is transferring these thoughts and “clichés” into the blank day – that sometimes eludes me. I understand and love the idea of this brand new day  – this gift to unwrap and do with what needs to be done – I get that, but somehow, during the mist of it all I let go and I become reactive to things that don’t matter – that is why this blog was started. It is a place to talk to myself and to you if you care to hear – about keeping superficial things at bay and focusing on the things that do matter.

I know that this kind of “encouragement” is all over social media – quotes dangle from nearly every post and advice and inspirational stories assault you every time you open a tab. I wonder why we need all of this inspiration to get through our lives? Or do we? I remember in my youth before that outside world was constantly on my doorstep bombarding me and trying to make me into someone to function in this contrived society, I went into the woods (sorry to Henry David for even associating myself with his genius) – and I walked and I noticed the dew and the sky and the garden that was nearby and I heard the solitude the sounds of the birds made and I heard what was in my head and what I heard was ME – not this clutter that is continually posted and attacks your identity, messes with your thoughts and dilutes your self-esteem. I have this strange idea that Nature provides us with the answers and I worry that we see less and less of Her and more and more fabrication.IMG_0119

Ok, enough rambling. I have finished my coffee and have raised my awareness level – this new day is ahead of me and I feel gratitude- it is a special gift. I will treat it as though it will never be here again and at its end, I plan to come back to this place where I write and hopefully realize my success.

gardenias

gardenias

The first thing I will do is cut a handful of the gardenias I see from my kitchen window and bring them into the house where their fragrance will infuse my thoughts with a time of my youth and cause me to remember my muse, Miss Sue. I noticed plums from my yard and half of a watermelon that scream summer to me in the refrigerator – that sounds like breakfast. If you are here with me, I hope you find your peace within this day

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a trip to Tuscany

vincivinci3A phone call from Elizabeth and my mind is reeling and my senses are pulsating – she so vividly described a place  in  Tuscany   she visited yesterday, Vinci Italy,  where Leonardo da Vinci lived- a place and a way of life so many try to copy but can never. She drove there in a Fiat, of course, with her friend from NY and a new friend, a Roman man she met at the market a few weeks ago. He is a former art history teacher that now sells vintage clothes in the market in Florence – I am not kidding, these beautiful people really do exist. The smells and the sounds that she told me of is a place that is only in my head. She said it too, it is a place that she only imagined and never thought was there. But it is.

After talking to her for nearly an hour and “seeing” the Tuscan countryside through her vibrant metaphors, I made coffee and while it perked I went outside and turned over the still cold earth. It was something, however small, I could do to extend the conversation and the mental and spiritual connection I made to Tuscany. In disparity, however, I found myself working in this ridiculous invention called a flower bed – why have I done this – this is not how flowers grow, they are not meant to grow in beds with toxic nuggets and Miracle Gro, they grow free in fields and plots of land where honey bees pollinate them and rich soil is amended with leaves and time and they grow where you want them to be not in some lined up pattern that has “curb appeal”. They grow under the Tuscan Sun.

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That is what I saw in her words – Nature unleashed but so beautiful and real. She told me of little farm houses and each had small quirky gardens where the people who live there kept their food and the sky was cerulean and the air was sweet – untouched somehow. There were butterflies and bees and good food and drink and people who remained true.

100_4052I left the ridiculousness of the flower beds and walked in the field behind my house to smell the blossoms on the plum trees. I stooped down to smell the strong fragrance of the narcissi bulbs that are blooming and scattered in my yard – quaint reminders of each Christmas I have spent in this house (I have forced them each of the 30 plus Christmases I have lived here and then planted them in my yard each of the 30 plus springs that have followed).

 

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And I collected the brown eggs from my prolific hens.  

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I moved some St Josephs from a place of concealment to a place I will see each day when I drive up. These bulbs were from Miss Sue’s yard, a pass along plant, and are so valuable to me. How special that I am tending to them today, this day that is much about Italy for me. They bloom around March 19, the feast of St Joseph – the fava bean, the feasts at the altars, and all that great Italian cultural matter. The Universe is syncing for me today…

 

I am feeling  wonderful about this abandonment – no rules to follow today – just going where spirit takes me. That trip through Tuscany did it for me and the purity of my daughter’s viewpoint brought it home…I know I have said this before – we can learn so much from our kids – their minds are so open and untainted and they  generously share their thoughts and experiences, we need to listen.

So here is an entry that exemplifies the real reason I began this blog – it is a letter to “self” – it is my soul telling my ego what to do and because I enjoy writing – this is where I easily and comfortably go. And as I wrote many entries before, if my little “stories” are things you connect to also, then it is a really “good thing”, if not, it is just “my thing”…

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