P is for Every Picture Tells a Story

Hello Friends,
Today’s post is a bit personal. Please be kind.
Love,
S

 

Every Picture Tells a Story

Peaches have grown in California since settlers brought them to the region over dry creek beds, vast mountain ranges, and roaring rivers. With names like Arctic Supreme, Fay Elberta, Forty Niner, Redwing, and Somerset, the dreams and joys of many people are wrapped up in the notion of a peach. Sweet, sticky, juicy and maybe most important of all, fleeting; the peach can transport, enrich, and deepen one’s experience of summer.

The peach is a member of the rose family. Peaches and roses. With all things sweet, there are thorns and trade offs. I learned about trade offs in the summer of my seventh year. My mother had just moved us back to California. We were living in Auburn as if it was a way station, a stop along the way, after her heroine addict husband died in a car wreck in Wyoming during a snowstorm. Now that he was gone she could get my two young brothers back from the foster home she had put them in shortly after marrying him.

Auburn was a place where we regrouped and learned again to be a family. I shared a bedroom with my two brothers for many years after that. I may have said from time to time that I wanted my own bedroom but sleeping in the same room with them felt safe. I could listen to them breathe, deep sleepy breaths, labored at times over some bad dream, but other dreams would take their place and restore that soft breathing which reminded me that we were all together and safe.

Anne Marie looked like Shirley Temple in the movie Bright Eyes and she was my best friend. Because she was my best and only friend, she held a preeminent place in my life. Her mother, Marta, was good friends with my mother and so there were many opportunities for us to get together and play. We created imaginative lives full of rich stories of redemption and reward. Every story featured a heroine who was wronged at first but in the end always ended up with all the riches both symbolic and tangible.

One day we were left with a teenage boy to be looked after while our mothers picked up their welfare checks and took care of errands. The house they dropped us at had many windows and a little dog. As the dog yipped and snapped at our ankles our mothers drove away in someone’s borrowed car. The boy let us go through his music albums and we chose what we wanted to listen to. The sun streamed in through large many paned windows across the floral couch and sparkling glass-topped table. We lay on the cream-colored plush rug digging our toes into the long soft fibers with our long tangled hair splayed out around us like one of those drawings of the sun with many long rays spilling out all around, listening to Rod Stewart wail about Maggie May. We listened to the song over and over, singing along as the morning lazily turned to early afternoon.

He made us lunch and we sat at a small table in what can only be described as a breakfast room. Surrounded on three sides by floor to ceiling windows, a delicately woven floral rug covered the blond wood floor underneath our feet. He placed before us a cheese and bologna sandwich and a peach. As I ate my sandwich I could smell the juicy, almost cloyingly sweet peach. The colors of the peach were only heightened by light pouring through the windows. I don’t know if I had ever had a peach before, but this peach was like no other; juice dripping down my wrists and chin. Soft and tender flesh tinged rose with summer kissed color. Sweet, rich with flavor; this peach was a song and a summer day all wrapped up in one luscious bite.

You lured me away from home cause you didn’t want to be alone
You stole my heart I couldn’t leave you if I tried

As we listened to Rod explain to us what grown up life was like, as we sang along while finishing this amazing peach; I had a new awareness of my place in the world. I knew in that moment that I would never, ever, have another peach like that one. That very peach I was greedily devouring was the best peach of all. A sunny day with my best friend in a beautiful home where we could lounge on clean floors listening to a boy sing about his broken heart I knew this was one of those moments. Those moments when time stops and you see yourself experiencing something profound and fleeting.

About six months later, by the side of the freeway, Anne Marie was held for the last time in her mother’s sobbing arms as the last drops of life drained out of her. When the car crossed the median and crashed into another vehicle traveling south Anne Marie was flung through the windshield to land far off on the bank of the freeway.

By that time my mother had moved us to an old miner’s log cabin in the Sierras. We moved in with her nineteen year old boyfriend who had found this new home for us. We brought with us twelve baby chicks all of whom died within a week of moving there. The winters are cold and the drafts that swept under the doors and through the cracked windows were inhospitable to most life.

D is for Decay

Hello Friends,

I started this blog as a place to write. A place to start back down the road of creating story again. I wanted to have a place where I could relearn and redevelop my writing habits. I have stories I need to write and I have stories I don’t even know yet that I need to write and a blog seemed like a good place to start.

As I thought about what I wanted this place to look like, feel like, and be like I struggled a bit. Did I want to focus on cooking? I mean I love to cook. Everyone loves what I come up with.

Did I want to focus on fashion? Probably not. I have never felt confident in that area. I have struggled mightily there.

How about gardening? I have a huge garden and I am always experiencing triumphs and tribulations with the natural world that exists outside my study window.

No. None of those felt right. There are so many blogs out there where people are doing such an amazing job! The talent. The creativity. The dedication and the depth of story and view are clearly beyond my talent and scope.

So, I thought more about the core of me. The core of my writing. The place where I am, me. That place is dominated by a sense of impermanence and imperfection. There is a tension in that place.   Maybe it is in the acceptance that one finds grace. I struggle with accepting imperfection and impermanence. I want perfection. I want immortality. But it is in the flaws, the ripped seams, the faded blossoms that we find grace. It is in the mortality that we find value and meaning.  All things are fleeting and there is imperfection in everything we do. We are human and their are frayed edges to each of us. This is the meaning of wabisabi.

I have a garden that is almost a year round garden now with food growing through every season. I love living in an area where I can do that and I am taking full advantage.

So I started a compost this year. I have a large bin near my garden and not too far from my back door. Inside while I work out all the kinks of composting, I am using a huge clear glass apothecary jar to hold the bits and bats that come with eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. It is probably a three gallon jar with a clear glass lid that makes that satisfying cookie jar lid clanging noise when you close it. It sits next to my kitchen sink in front of a large bay window. I keep this jar very clean. You can see right through it and out the window to the garden.

As I drop my onion ends and orange peels and red pepper ends in to the jar it creates these layers. Right now there is a layer of lettuces left over from a salad. There are sections of coffee grounds from our morning coffees. There are egg shells from my son’s breakfast. There are all these layers and they represent our days. Our days pass and the layers grow. After about three days the jar is close to full and I can see that things towards the bottom are settling down into their respective places. Things are beginning to marry with each other.

I like the look of this. I like that the passage of time is so clearly laid bare right there in my kitchen. I see it every day. Every time I get a glass of water. Every time I wash a dish or pour myself another cup of coffee, I can see the physical manifestation of the passage of time.

No one else in the house has really embraced the “compost bucket” in quite the sweeping way that I have and that is okay. I know this is a part of me that plays out continually. Noting the passing of time. The shift in the light out the window that signals the days are getting longer. The buds on my lemon trees that promise more tea this fall. And that is okay. I can watch for these things for us. I can note the small changes and bring them here for us to talk about. I will be here whenever you want to join the conversation.

Love,
S

A to Z Challenge and Theme Reveal

Hello Friends,

I am participating in a challenge for the month of April and it will be a blast and a challenge! I plan on writing an entry for each letter of the alphabet during the month of April. This will mean I will be posting every day but Sunday and referencing a letter of the alphabet.

Each entrant for this challenge has chosen a theme, My theme is impermanence. The name of my blog references this theme as do many of my posts. I feel the passing of time more fervently these days and I also love the idea of impermanence.

All things pass. There are seasons, births, deaths, sunrises and sunsets. I know that is stating the somewhat obvious for us but impermanence is about letting go. Accepting. Surrendering. Being present in the moment without getting called into the drama or the trivial. This is important to me.

I will still be posting some of my “regular” posts as well. So there will be plenty to read and comment on. I am so excited about participating in this. Let me know if you decide to participate too. It will be a party!

Here is the link if you want to participate.

A to Z Challenge

Love,

S

Crowd

Hello Friends,

Don’t crowd me. Don’t push in on my edges. Don’t play loud music in your car next to me at the stoplight. Don’t stand so close in line. Don’t pick at your teeth around me. Don’t eat smelly food next to me on the plane. Don’t slurp your drink or soup. Don’t carry on personal conversations on your cell phone while I am shopping for shoes. Don’t clip your fingernails while waiting for your packages at the post office. Don’t meander slowly as if the rest of the world can just wait for you. Don’t spend ten minutes carrying on a conversation with your child in the school drop off line while the rest of us are waiting to drop off our kids.

Crowd.

Don’t crowd me. I need space and plenty of it. I am private and I believe in privacy. Some things should only happen behind the doors of your home. We all need a little more space, physical and psychological. Being raised in the country down a long dirt road, on land with no running water, electricity, indoor plumbing, or for that matter, glass windows, I learned to appreciate solitude and quiet. Crowds don’t freak me out. I am not agoraphobic. I can go to concerts, crowded bars, and the mall. I just prefer solitude. I prefer wide open spaces and the freedom to move.

Lisa Jo Baker has an interesting task every Friday. She calls it Five Minute Friday and it is a writing exercise posited around a particular prompt. You write to the prompt for a total of five minutes, uninterrupted, unedited, and then you link your writing to her site. As well, you go back and read two entries and comment on them.
She has, in effect, created a writer’s workshop. I love this and find it fun to participate in whether or not I had a blog. It is about the writing after all.

Love,

S

Willing

Hello Friends,

Willing.

 

I am willing. I am ready. I am open. I am a vessel ready to receive and receive I will. All things good and joyful. All things righteous and true. I am willing to open my heart to the possibility. To the wonder. To the promise. To all that can be in my life.

Willing.

There have been so many times in my life where I have not been willing. I have been afraid. Afraid of failure, disappointment, rejection. Haven’t you been afraid? Haven’t you been afraid to be willing? Because really, to be willing is just another way of saying your arms are open to possibility. You are willing to risk. You are willing to be vulnerable. You are willing to, fail, really. You are willing to take on risk, vulnerability, rejection, love, goodness, acceptance…

Willing is good. Willing is necessary for any change. At least any sustainable change. Any change that really matters. Step up. Step up. Hear ye. Hear ye. With willingness comes reward. If we open our hearts and we are willing to accept all that comes our way; the good and the bad, we will find our road.

I am willing.

Lisa Jo Baker has an interesting task every Friday. She calls it Five Minute Friday and it is a writing exercise posited around a particular prompt. You write to the prompt for a total of five minutes, uninterrupted, unedited, and then you link your writing to her site. As well, you go back and read two entries and comment on them.
She has, in effect, created a writer’s workshop. I love this and find it fun to participate in whether or not I had a blog. It is about the writing after all.