Nature verses the local grocery...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

CHRISTMAS TRAILS: a medley

I am moved to write something to commemorate this special season, have been for several days now. But my muse is missing, lost in action; well, very LITTLE action, is the point!

So I persevered. ‘Maybe someone else has said something worth repeating.’ I pondered; now there’s a thought!

So I surfed, and searched and read and searched some more.  So many heart-wrenching, joyful, memorable stories out there.  The search alone, made my holiday heart quite full.

But I doubt that posting links to all these sites would be something I could sleep with tonight (I like to sleep, - not my fault, I’m Italian).  Maybe, re-write all those…OKAY!  Okay, I’m ‘reaching’…a bit.

So…what to do?!

Then I came across some quotes – lots of them.  The more I read, the farther my muse hid in its Kozy Korner it so enjoys when the heat is on.  Not always though, but I digress, yet again. I do that often. Usually when my muse is unavailable.  Okay! Enough! Back to Christmas.

You remember, Christmas stories, right?  Right!  I can almost hear David Seville on the beginning of the record of Alvin and the Chipmunks, screaming “ALVIN!” to get him to start singing; same problem, different century.  And you all are most likely too young to recall that tune!  Alvin and the Chipmunks, I mean.



Alright, already…don’t get your wrapping paper all crumbled up – it’ll look funny around Mother’s present, for goodness sake!  So here are some quotes! With links, of course.

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.”   Dale Evans Rogers

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.”  Ruth Carter Stapleton

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”  Roy L. Smith

“A goose never voted for an early Christmas.”  Irish Saying  
“I wish we could put some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”  Harlan Miller

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”  Hamilton Wright Mabi

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.”  Mary Ellen Chase

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.”  Helen Steiner Rice


This quote stood out as I searched: “When you extend your goodwill in every direction, regardless of circumstances, you begin to see that we are all one.”  Lao-Tzu

One of my favorites, below: 

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good - will to men!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow   http://www.loveinyourpocket.com/quotes/christmas-quotes.htm

Speaking of old, familiar carols, here is an unusual and lovely pairing of voices...



And last, but not least: “The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart.”  Helen Keller   http://picture-thoughts.com/Christmas_thoughts.html

Remember, way back a few words, Christmas stories, right?  My original pursuit?  Well, I think this one is a keeper.  Enjoy.  http://coffeeclatter.com/encounter-with-a-real-angel/

PEACE  ON EARTH is a common wish during Christmas. To my thinking, this prayer/poem sums up this - sometimes, elusive state of mind:

MAKE ME A CHANNEL OF YOUR PEACE

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your
love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there's doubt, true faith in
you.

Chorus:
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there's despair in life, let me bring
hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there's sadness, ever joy.

Chorus:
Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we're born to eternal
life.
 Francis of Assisi, 13th cent 
http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/PsH/545



An interesting, ethereal and somewhat different rendition of this prayer/poem in song. 
Nature prevails...especially this season


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Missouri Trails: We made it!

We finally moved to Missouri.  It was a long, back-straining, tiring journey for us 'oldsters', but worth every aching muscle!

The garden area is already tilled, complete with lovely rabbit leaved-over donations from a new friend (THANK YOU!). The soil is promising; dark, loose, very few rocks.  Next year's tomato crop (among other munchies) are filling our dreams.

Don't know if we will have chickens again, but have already connected with someone who does;  we're enjoying pretty eggs, varying shades of brown and blue. Yum!

The fall colors here are stunning, same as I recall from my youth in N. J.; the oaks - various shades of brown and rust - only on the top so far.  The Maples in our yard are fading from bright green to a softer yellowish tone.  And the lovely leaves are all over the grass-covered, moist ground - one round already picked up with the mower and 'melting' quickly in the garden soil.

"Wildlife" is prevalent - even here in town.  I re-homed a large Waking Stick from the porch to the large Maple nearby; he was quite cooperative.  A Possum scurried through the back yard last week.  Spiders of all shapes, sizes and color pop up everywhere.  (NOT my favorite 'wildlife'...but trade-offs in life are a distinct reality)  No worries - we've discovered that a nice mist of Lavender and Peppermint, generously sprayed in pertinent areas not only freshens the indoor air but makes living in our space a distasteful exercise for the local arachnid population; a perfect healthy, democratic compromise!

Armadillo 'remains' litter the sides of the highways.  We always seem to have a cute little bunny sitting somewhere in our yard; they occupy many yards along our evening exercise route.

We enjoyed a lovely day-trip this week to Lake of the Ozarks.  A water moccasin convinced DH he probably desired a different rock for his fishing spot! But it was an 'agreeable' interaction...

As I rested nearby watching DH 'test' his new fishing pole along the water's edge near the boat ramp, I received a degree in 'economics'. For about 2 hours, I watched as literally over a MILLION dollars worth of stunning/large/brand new looking BASS boats were pulled off the water.  The smallest one appeared to be worth over $50,000 (if our recent visit to a local Bass Pro Shop was any indication).  Granted, it was the finish of a Bass Tournament. But still...I was awed and stunned by the amount of money represented in these play toys.  And this was not even a holiday weekend crowd. This nation's current 'recession' does not - apparently, affect a large part of the population. I now better understand the source of funding for the inside and outside decor of Bass Pro Shops! 

The rain here is awesome, too; sometimes for days. Soft, relaxing, life-giving to all the vast miles of green in every direction. Makes for relaxing sleeping.

We're home, finally. The Ozarks; where...

Nature truly prevails.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

i am I




i am the depth of your desire
i am the calm in your storm,
i am the strength in your courage...
i am I.

i am the joy in your laughter
i am the kindness in your Loving,
i am the map in your journey...
i am I.

i am the roots of your growth
i am the sadness in your tears,
i am the light in your loneliness...
i am I.

i am the eternity in your forever
i am the energy in your work,
i am the warmth in your humility...
i am I.

i am the tune in your song
i am the feeling when you hug,
i am the power in your energy...
i am I.

i am the softness in your touch
i am the taste in your appetite,
i am the Awareness in your prayers...
i am I.

i am the sureness in your walking
i am the reality in your dreaming,
i am the guardian of your boundaries...
i am I.

i am the tone of your longing
i am the words in your story,
i am the meaning in your words...
i am I.

i am the center of your being
i am the wistfulness of your sigh,
i am the flight in your wishes...
i am I.

i am the lighthouse of your mind
i am the center of your direction,
i am with you always...
i am I.

NATURE prevails...

Friday, May 2, 2014

TRAILS OF LOVE: My forever LILYLOU

TO MY LILYLOU:  MAY YOU WALK THE PATH OF ANGELS; MAY YOU CONTINUE YOUR JOURNEY...PAIN-FREE AND JOYFUL IN YOUR NEW FREEDOM FROM THIS TIME AND SPACE OF PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES. I MISS YOU...ALWAYS.
*******************************************************************************


I walk in and out of this overwhelmingly immense space in my heart this past week.  A space filled with echoes; echoes of soft, silky fur, piercing blue eyes with gold centers, a little pinkish-white nose, a white face and white, delicate paws. Echoes of that well-known soft vibration under my hand – always and every  night, against my cheek, in the dark, that reassured my fears from a nightmare or the early AM anxiety knots in my stomach before a stressful day ahead.  Echoes of her different tones of kitty-speak, a special communication shared with only that small bundle of Love and uniqueness I knew as my precious LILYLOU, Snowshoe kitty-friend of 18 years.

How does one define or articulate a Love so deep and abiding that it was/is threaded, deeply woven into the fabric I call my life?  How do I cope with that space, that void, that nothingness that demands recognition each and every time I look at her pictures, now?  That unbearable incessant echo that pierces my soul as I fluff my pillow for the night ahead…without her.

HER LIFE 

We bought a wood stove in 1996.  In that barn where it stood, a tiny Siamese-type kitten screamed from a far corner the entire time it took to decide on our purchase. When we asked about the kitten, we were told she wasn't going to live long due to a medical problem.  She rode home completely encased and relaxed in the palm of my hand, mouth engaged the entire trip!  That mouth never quit over the years; I recall her trip to the emergency hospital in Denver, a 4 hr trip, during which she continued to share her opinion...the entire time!  The medical condition, by the way, was minor/easily fixed; the kitten...quickly crawled into our hearts and locked the door behind her, forever.

Lilylou was brave through her first major illness which began shortly before her above-mentioned trip to an emergency hospital, and ended a week later with a feeding tube into her little belly.  She learned how to jump into my lap 4 times a day for the process that made her burp and feel satiated, even as unfamiliar and different as it was for her, at her 5 years of age.  After 3 months, her so-dearly-loved ice-cream, finally convinced her to eat normally again, and the tube went away.

Four years ago, an antibiotic resistant bacterium attacked her sinuses and again – brought her to her little, delicate, Snowshoe-kitty knees.  Almost dying on the operating table, she fought the good fight, again reared her life-energy and continued her path back to health.

Soon after, Arthritis crept into her legs, paws and shoulders and her struggle began.  I watched her begin to limp – once in awhile at first.  At first, she cried a little if we forgot to leave a night-light on between her kitty-pan and our bed. 

Two years ago, after taking her on a day-long trip with a few nights stay over in a strange place, she stopped eating and drinking till after returning home.  I later realized she was too old, too scared in her dimming sight and waning hearing, to cope with the unfamiliarity and strangeness of new surroundings.  It culminated in a near Mega-colon attack which included several days of stress for her and a few trips to the vet. It was a wake-up call to my psyche; I began to 'prepare' in  my mind, though my heart avoided all and any attempts to connect with my intelligent and reasoned awareness of the nearing horror in the wings of her life...and ours.

A year or so ago, we found a Precious little pup; from the moment she walked in the door, she adopted Lily as her long lost friend.  She jumped on her, rubbed against her, did everything in her power to lavish Love on Lily - which Lily accepted in like manner; I have never seen anything like this behavior in my life.  Precious behaved coldly to the other 2 cats in the house at that time.














A few months ago, she began to leave me at night in favor of her own bed; I’d awake alone, my cheek cool against the night air, where her warm body used to lean into me throughout the night.

Then a few weeks ago, even the height of the bed frightened her as her vision and hearing worsened, as her weakening ability to withstand the pressure of even a few, small steps down to the floor, without pain, increased. 

A week ago, her digestive system balked – at both ends.  Though she continued to drink, any food ingested went right through her – even after days of antibiotics and special food.

The final straw, for my intelligence, was the distress she endured through a necessary bath to clean the results of her ill attempts to coordinate her kitty-pan with her uncooperative and worsening bowels. After 18 years of communication, my intelligence could no longer ignore her distress sounds; no longer not hear the pain in her cries, the tiredness in her energy, the weariness in her movements.  My intelligence finally over-ruled my heart’s need to continue to bury my nose in her beautiful fur, to smell, touch, hear and embrace her unmistakable Lily-love through all my senses, physical and intuitive.

My intelligence understands all the reams of reasoning that preempted her ‘demise’ – at my hand.  It understands the reasoning that supported – and still does, the purpose of preventing any further suffering, distress, waning bodily functions, arthritic pain that made her constantly move her little twisted paws as she attempted to find an elusive pain-less position. Her screams every night for the past 3 years as she attempted to find her way back to our bed at night – even with the lights on, as she dealt with her increasingly limited sight and hearing; alone in her increasingly scary kitty-world. My intelligence and all it’s mighty, fearless, feeling-less ego-centric knowing-ness…understands that this part of the life-journey - is a walk through time and space, an embodiment of constant change that must embrace loss and death...and all that life shows us, each and every moment we are physically aware. I understand…that I understand.

Lily lies at rest in our garden, in a sunny spot.  She so loved to solarize, particularly in her latter years. As my grieving allows, I will eventually plant bulbs, flowers and a small Amur Maple over her grave.  


As my grieving allows.

When and if…the echoes subside to distant shadows. 

When and if…my intelligence wins the final argument. 


LILYLOU

Summer 1996 - April, 2014

Hasty, Colorado



NATURE prevails...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

MEMORY Trails: The Mystery of Life

 
It is, sometimes, surreal and cruel madness, this life we live of birth to death. I know it is for lessons and growth that we must pass through the trauma of getting grown, and then breaking down, but it is still madness.
 
I watched my friend prepare to bury her Mom today.  A large crowd filled the church and it was obviously a religious experience for almost all present from the Amen's that resounded at times in response to the pastor who led most of the service. And, understanding the pain and suffering her Mom endured on many levels in her life, it was indeed - a positive change - if that even makes any sense in some sordid and macabre dimension, in which I am never too comfortable.  
 
Three days prior, I watched other friends as they circled around the casket of their 19 year old granddaughter...their strained expressions, wet cheeks, the palpable pain resonating throughout the air we all shared against the cold wind that blew around us on a January afternoon.    
 
Waiting in the parking lot for my friends to arrive for a meal of remembrance, I watched one of the swings on the playground near the building, moving rhythmically, to and fro in the wind, though the other 2 swings stood stock still.  I wondered if this 19 year old child might be resting, wondering, good-bying...on her journey between here and there. As I ate the food, participated in a ritual so part of living and breathing and all that that represents, I felt numb and out of place, and again - surreal.
 
Sometimes, as I walk my life-road, the trail is not so clear, some moments - not so easy, the climb - more treacherous, slippery, prone to lack of clarity, hazy at best.  This week led me through some foggy miles.  I drifted back 12 years, when I too, watched my Mommy claw her way through her last 24 hrs on this planet.
 
Our individual moments, ingredients in a worldly soup of dark and light, high and low, are the sweet and bitter morsels we chew on...as we walk alone, each of us, on our own Trails of Nature.
 
 
 
But always...Nature prevails.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

NATURE TRAILS: Morning and Moon-set

Nature rarely announces her third act...you know, the one where all the characters come together, the plot closes and the play makes complete sense; you're even happy to have paid the outrageous last-minute ticket costs.  Such was this rare morning between 5:30 and 6:30.

I always 'greet' the moon - before I plug in the coffeepot.  Just a little routine I have - keeps me in tune with the outside world...the one that really counts. Kinda like kneeling in the garden dirt, about mid August, surrounded by the sound of a few honeybees, birds chattering in the chicken yard - scrambling for the left-over chicken morsels from a dozen over-fed, happy chickens.  The soothing, pervasive musky odors of aged working compost and energized dirt in which my veggies are also feeding.  I believe I feel better for having sunk my fingers into the dark dirt and behind a weed root.  Truth is, I think the electronics of the Universe run through me, steadying the polarities of the stresses gained during the previous days spent dealing with the man-made world in which I attempt to function. "The Force be with you..." comes to mind. These "forces" hold the Universe together...it works for me!  But I digress, back to this morning's rare moment...

Of course, I dared not let my sleepy best friend enjoy the rest of his warm, quiet rest; of course, he 'decided' to join me in my Nature fizz!

First, the eastern sky lightened and a pale pink/purple tinge dusted the bottoms of the few lingering clouds on the horizon.

 On the other horizon, a sleepy full moon began its descent; the synchronicity was palpable! A finely tuned Natural rhythm, chanting a mantra heard only in our racing heartbeats.

At one point, our fingers lost feeling; holding a metal camera in 30 degree temps with a breeze...is challenging.  But the saga had a strong hold and we persevered.


 Then - THE moment occurred - the brilliant red ball broke over the horizon;





Seven minutes later, the moon disappeared for another day...


IN MEMORY OF BOOBIE/POOH BEAR, November, 2013. 

May NATURE prevail through your eternity.

 







Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NATURE TRAILS: moments at Home

"NATURE IS NOT A PLACE TO VISIT: IT IS HOME."
 Gary Snyder

Found this poignant quote today, it touched deeply.  We forget that Nature was here - long before we were, that she rules this planet, as a tough and Loving guardian. We can count on her!  We can indeed, rest in her all-knowing plan, be who we can be at any moment, with her guiding light, warmth, understanding that is obvious in every aspect of her kingdom.
  • Watch the peaceful butterfly as it flits from flower to stem - in complete faith that whether it lives another day or not - it truly is - the moment it enjoys.
  • The Pelican glides up and down, circles and dives in its constant faith that Nature will provide its food. No stress, no worries as it travels through graceful, powerful flight, using every muscle, every moment.
  • The ants move determinedly, quickly, carrying greater loads through their day that we ever could.  Their tasks are centered, full-focused as they create their little worlds.  Their entire being gobbles up their every movement, their every moment, oblivious to the constant peril they face in a world of giants.  Have you ever noticed an ant sitting still on a grain of sand, stressing over lunch, death or large soled tennis shoes?! Their every movement, every effort, is completed - in their moment of given time.
  • Our babies trust in Nature as they sleep their worry-free nights, trusting that Nature will provide. They smile and giggle through their moments, adding joy, excitement, new faith to our moments.


Nature gives repetitive morning sunshine throughout her realm, brings new energy for planet-wide hope and warmth, dreams and possibilities.  Her fading colors at dusk, leave us with beauty and design with which to tide us over through her sometimes, long nites. Her weather permitting, moonlight guides us through our darkness, our dreams, our pondering.



Sit in the moonlight this week and ponder the millions of moments we enjoy.  Learn increased determination and focus from the ants in your life.  Revel in the smile of a baby.  Find peace in the flight of a butterfly. Gain a sense of freedom in the flight of a Pelican.

Be at peace with the glorious moments we have this day. 

ONE MORE TIME


One more time...to laugh and play,

One more time for rays and soft rain...

One more time to hug and smile,

One more time for thought, and pain.


One more chance as a freedom soldier,

One more season with rake in hand; 

One more moment for heart to heart,

One more time to take a stand...


One more moon for pondering light,

One more drive down hiway lanes..

One more time to look and learn,

One more time...while time remains...

NATURE prevails...