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Showing posts from 2017

winter wonderland

It was 14 degrees when I went for a walk the other morning. Three layers under my puffy, wool socks, fur lined boots, checked scarf and a knitted beanie. Oh, and omni-heat gloves, but my hands were still cold.

The morning fog was clearing and tiny ice particles drifted from the frosted air, dusting everything in delicate white.

Faint sunshine was marginally warmer than the shadows. Interesting, at that temperature, to experience a meager difference.
Belle was oblivious, romping and sniffing in the cold, while I wandered, observing. Observing iced trees hung with pinecone ornaments and glistening leftover crab apples. They looked like candied apples to pluck.

Diminutive birds fluttered from branches overhead, joyous, as one would expect. And a squirrel or two ventured out, fleet of foot.

I found myself humming "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." It's one of my favorite Christmas songs, always reminding me of my Granddaddy. Later on, we'll conspire, sitting by the fire.

T…

the lights just clicked on

The lights just clicked on. The ones we hung outside last Friday when the day was bright and fair. Today it’s cloudy and cold. It’s dark earlier. So, the lights just clicked on.

It’s pretty. If I squint, the white fairy lights look like tiny gleaming stars. Bordering on gazing at an inky sky, dotted and specked with minute bursts of light.

Two Moravian stars with multi-faceted points hang. They sway with the breeze. Moving to the wind’s breathed music. They reflect in the open window; mirror images, star duets.

Santa arrives in a helicopter descent at the Old Mill. He sets up shop, elves and reindeer to join later. High fives, and shy giggles, the kids approach. Innocent, bright eyes wide open and hopeful.

It’s a magical and expectant season. It’s Advent.

Advent – the arrival of the awaited One – is more than my lights clicking on, the Moravian stars dancing and my grandkids’ wonder at the arrival of Santa. I love each of these experiences and the specialness of the memories.

A baby sh…

thanksgiving and stress boxes

Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m intensely aware of being thankful. I’ve been remembering three years ago. We were moving. Our son and his family were moving. A baby was on her way, and my full-of-life father-in-law had died.

Stress levels were off the chart since we were ticking way too many stress boxes. I remember being sad and afraid, angry and crying, but also very grateful to have my kids and grandkids all living in the same town. In our fluid world, this is a rare blessing.

The dust has settled – as much as it can in Central Oregon – but there’s stuff. There always is, right?

While standing in line at Trader Joe’s on Sunday afternoon, I watched people. The scene was alive, buzzing and organic. Noise levels were high; the place was crammed. The bustle made me happy. And, I thought, what stories do these people have?

The guy checking my groceries said he was single, had been invited to join friends for Thanksgiving, but wasn’t sure. He saw too much drama in all the expectation and …

pieces of me

We went away for the weekend; a quick getaway stolen to breathe. Stolen to rest. Stolen to connect, with each other, maybe with random encounters.

The sea was stormy, but we could walk on the beach without being soaked or blown away. Experiencing the power of the waves, noticing stones and debris, some quite large, tossed like one would toss Pick-up Stix. Sunny beach days are glorious, but for me, there’s a special appeal in the moodiness of a storm.

Our paths crossed with vendors and servers and other visitors such as ourselves. Two encounters were different, no actually three.

The initial encounter was with the servers at our first breakfast joint. The guy behind the counter was polite and refined in his jeans, t-shirt and Vans. The restaurant only accepts cash. Who carries much of that anymore? We had some, but needed to pay attention to what we ordered since we weren’t prepared. The gal said, “No worries, it happens all the time. Just stop back and pay us later.” Who says that now…

wild world: facing the wind

The page furled in the wind, several, actually as I struggled to control my notebook. The wind was crisp; it blew hair out of my face. A cerulean sky hung over head; the sun casting low.

I watered my potted plants, perhaps for the last time until spring. Snow’s in the 10 day forecast, which seems odd since only a few days ago it was 70 degrees.

Birds were chirping, squirrels doing their thing. They know the season is changing to the dormant time where food will be scarce and only the flimsy bare branches will shelter.

It’s November. We’re on the cusp of winter. Temperatures will be harsh. My thoughts turn to the outside folks; those who live in tents or boxes, occasionally scoring a room at the local shelter. It’s easier…when the weather is fair, but never easy.

Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” blares rather loudly from my Sonos. Two lines rattle for attention:

a lot of nice things turn bad out there you know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do

Things are wild out there – the wind messi…

waking

waking: aware, conscious, alert 
Morning musings as I meander not so meticulously. This particular day was one of those stellar days. It was cold and ice clung to the just-watered grass. It was crunchy and slippery. I needed to pay attention, at least in part, to my steps.
Noticing my steps makes for a mindful walk. I see things. Experience what's going on. Breath could be seen, not just taken in. Air movement felt, causing hands to be pushed further into jacket pockets. My steps made prints in the icy grass. So did Bella's and every other dog roaming around.
I would not begin to equate my park walks with my labyrinth walks. 
However, I do notice that I walk quickly to get to the park. Slowly while in the park; leisurely on the way out of the park. This rhythm sets a good tone for my day.

day is waking up                 assorted birds say it’s so with their voices the sun is much lower; to the south
shadow play is on a different slant, it streams through sparse leaves, flecked by a…

she lived an abstract life

she lived an abstract life,
         one painted, but lacking elements of realism
existence was too harsh
whereas the color-washed reality was delightful and delicate, full of impulse
                 open to possibility        children live an abstract life                     she had chosen to join them

Existing in thought or idea, but nothing concrete and tangible - abstract. Paintings, feelings, the wind, these are intangibles. I often feel like I live in and relate more to things, people, places that are abstract. There's a certain mystery, something to uncover.

Abstract is experienced, felt. It's not quantitative. It can't be defined or put in a box with a pretty little bow.

I often wonder why we want to define everything. 
Think about it. Your job has a description, an ailment is named or given an acronym and heaven forbid we leave the house without our phone which contains our defined, concrete life.

I have a job description, a few named ailments and kinda freak out if my…

ticking away a dull day

Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” has been rumbling around in my car for the past several weeks. Ethereal, out-there, reverb melodies echo. Lyrics seem odd to the casual ear turned only to the instrumental depiction of helicopters and clock alarms sounding.

The song, “Time” says, “ticking away the moments that make up a dull day.” That phrase has been stuck in my head. Maybe it’s because we view much of life’s routine as dull.

dull: not sharp, blunt, causing boredom, tedious, uninteresting, not intense or lively, passionless, flat, stagnant, routine, usual

What makes up a dull day? The answer to that question is as broad as the people you ask. For me, a dull day is a day without creative stimulus; for others it might mean having to do the same repetitious routine they did the day before and the day before that and so on ad finem.

When I looked dull up in The Thesaurus, words like common, usual, routine and ordinary came up, along with a slew of others. Some caught my attention becau…

i didn't slow down

I didn't get it written down because I didn't slow down.

I was mindful of needing to physically slow down my walking pace. Your voice was clear; a tangible choice to make, mirroring what my soul needed to do. So, I did ... momentarily.

I was mindful of life to be seen in the desert. It had been hot and dry, but tiny wildflowers sprinkled the rocky, barren ground with dots of pink and purple with grey-sage leaves. Dragons darted in the parching air. Killdeer bobbed the earth while unseen birds crooned.

I was mindful of stepping onto the dock; the bleached boards reflecting the sun. Small, almost see-through fish schooled away from under the landing. I'd known if I watched long enough, searched enough times, they should be there; and they were, they are.

I'm mindful of how quickly these observations vanish like a mirage when my pace returns to frantic.

Missy

If you have been mildly amused, challenged or inspired by what you have read, please pass on my blog to a friend, co…

silencing the stranger

There’s icky stuff happening.

Everywhere you turn there’s strife, displacement, floods and fires. My heart goes out to those affected by hurricane Harvey, as well as all of the wildland firefighters here in Oregon, as we watch our forests be consumed by the flames.

Taking it a step broader, our culture, our world can’t agree on anything. Everybody’s right and nobody is wrong; or is it vice versa? We live in a gritty world of real needs and hurts. The stranger crawls in, abusing, demeaning and using. How will we emerge?

I trust you see the optimism in the last lines, for there is always hope, no matter how desperate situations appear. It takes a resolute effort on our part to see the woven crosses and to stand strong, not silent.

“Hush, be silent,” crouched in quiet              words of warning heard all too often
“Plug your ears, don’t listen,” put it out of your mind                 still, the sound of slamming doors and objects crashing … or people                                 seeps…

adding an "ing"

I like words. I use a thesaurus. Words are expressive. Words trigger thoughts and tell stories in and of themselves.

Recently, I’ve seen two words which are normally nouns turned into verbs; a thing became an action. Cool concept, right?

A little awkward to say: neighboring - storying

Common words – neighbor and story – were given an “ing” suffix. Instantly, they took on a new life. No longer was a neighbor just a person, it was an action, a way of relating to those who surround us. It implies presence, friendliness and hospitality. Neighboring requires something, the giving of a part of us. (See full article about “Neighboring” at Relevant Magazine)
Storying took neighboring to a different place. Movement was attached to the telling. It was used in relation to sharing about God with people living on Lake Victoria in Africa. Stories were put in context of the culture and given hands and feet.

I guess what I respond to in both words is they beg for my participation and presence.

How ofte…

after five days i let the horse run free

‘cause the desert had turned to sea
there were plants and birds and rocks and things
there was sand and hills and rings
- America, "Horse With No Name" -
I’m reentering our long, indirect road trip in May. Not by accident we had “America” as our ‘tripping music when we reached the ocean in SoCal.
Following an intentional wander through silent deserts, now it was time for plants and birds and crowded life. Just as the solitude of the desert is good for the soul, so is watching waves that go on forever while earthing your feet in minute grains of sand that can’t be counted.



The Northern journey to “Ventura Highway,” while actually driving on Ventura Highway was just as known and unknown as the desert trek. The beauty of travelling during the shoulder season is spontaneity; reservations aren't necessary. 
I'm gripped by the Missions, which are scattered throughout California, so they were on the agenda. If by chance we stumbled upon a few wineries and perhaps a handful of…

silent sounds of the desert

During my journey in the desert, I had the comfort of writing.  I wrote of activities and sites. I wrote descriptive phrases for photos. I wrote pieces of poetry that express more than pages and pages in my journals.
These words, I think I’ll keep close as they teach me a way to live in awareness and mindfulness. I hope  you, too will find some inspiration in the silent sounds of the desert.



road tripping: a desert trek

I love the freedom of road trips; stopping when you want, turning on a side road or adding an extra day to a particular place just because you can. The freedom of the road is romanticized in novels and movies, but some of those depictions are reality when traveling with your love and best friend.




We left early afternoon, and after pushing through the Oregon high desert with water levels equally high and wildlife abundant, we stopped for the night in Austin, Nevada. It’s a small, mostly boarded up, for sale town wedged on the side of the Toiyabe Mountains. Austin is mostly dead and abandoned, but not in a cool ghost town sort of way. Its rugged beauty though, includes a castle, stories of colorful silver miners and hiking, biking and other desert exploring stuff. 


Leaving, we dropped into the Big Smoky Valley on the Loneliest Highway in America. It widens and closes in as you travel, encircled by mountains which were still dressed in snow, defining the ruggedness that often goes unno…