stuck on a rock

IMG_4474.JPG

I’m stuck! Help me!!

The thing is, my little friend Buddy, you aren’t really stuck.  You got up there; you tippy-toed through the water and climbed up on your perch, tail wagging and smiling until you realized where you are.  In the middle –  surrounded by – feeling abandoned and helpless.

The only thing worse than the feeling of being stuck with your feet in metaphorical quicksand as you struggle to move, to make decisions is to watch someone you care about struggle with being stuck.

But…. we’re human and terribly imperfect klutzy beings so we laugh.

When I was seven years old I decided to climb the huge cherry tree in our front yard in Oregon City.  I climbed, and I climbed.  Oh, I was a nimble little monkey scooting out on a big branch and surveying the yard from my lofty perch as I gorged on plump Ranier cherries. Then the lightening bolt of terror hit me. Suddenly the fun drained out of my adventure and I was paralyzed with fear and couldn’t move. I couldn’t scoot back to the trunk and shimmy down; I could only sit on the branch and hang on with sweaty palms. I yelled at my big brother to go get Dad to help me.  Of course big brother laughed and my moment was saved from time immemorial only because we didn’t have the ability to snap pics and text them to our network of friends. Dad eventually came out and all he had to do was lift up his arms and hold me as I slid off the branch which was barely above his head. To hold me in his arms until the panic subsided and he set me off on my next adventure full of confidence to climb again when I found the next tree to explore.

Being stuck is so much a state of mind; in a tree or on a rock, and the best we can do is offer arms to catch and hold long enough to set us free.

The swift water rescue team is on the way Buddy, as soon as your Mom stops sending me pics of you stranded on your rock and wades in to get you.

 

 

Advertisements

that one friend

IMG_4475.JPG

Who’s to say where we find that one friend – in a new job orientation session, in an airplane, in a theatre sharing Ted X, in a dish drainer.

Pipy found her friend who doesn’t judge, doesn’t criticize, just listens in the dish drainer. While Pipy’s friend resembles her in almost every way, it isn’t a prerequisite or condition of finding that one friend.

Friendship is wondrous as it grows and evolves. That one friend what just”‘gets it” is a true rarity and an adventure to be brave enough to dive into head first. Watching Pipy and her friend as they talk, talk, talk sharing excitement, chirps and joys is how others see us interacting with our one friend.  The engagement is contagious and we can’t help but share in it, by backing away and watching Pipy chat with her friend or by having a stranger comment that watching the conversation is heartwarming.

The beauty of that one friend is in celebrating differences as well as shared vision. The daily chat of that one friend as a steady companion in shared situation, a shared “help you get through the day”, a shared “well done!” Priceless.

The beauty of that one friend is the resilience that allows the friendship to go on sabbatical and come back refreshed.  Tanya will inevitably empty the dish drainer and put that one friend away, but not to worry Pipy, the true friendship will show up again the next time you are together.

As always, thanks Tanya for sharing Pipy with me.

 

 

broken things and the hummingbird

IMG_4464.JPG

As I moved the table to sweep behind it this morning, it fell apart.  The legs separated like they were too weary to stand and the side piece fell out.  I was upset and tried to put its legs back to where they belonged and get them to stay there so I could provide first aid and mend it.

Why was I so upset? After all, it’s kind of regular little table. My son recently bought a house that has two matching tables left in a pile of other discarded stuff in the garage.  I said to him “hey those match my table.  You should take them in and use them.”  He said “nah, I don’t really like them.

This little table was left in the first house we bought and with little to no money for extra furniture, I spent hours stripping the turquoise paint and sanding it to turn it into a useable table. It’s come along to every house and home with us for 30 years like an old friend.

It’s not a big deal; just something broken to be fixed.

A change of scene took me outside to water my flowers for some nurturing zen- in- the- flower- garden time.  I know that the hose connection leaks.  I’m reminded every time I drag the hose clear down to the road to reach the farthest hanging baskets as the hose spurts, gurgles and squirts water out of the joint.  And yes, I have tightened it and tightened it and tightened it complete with new washer in it.  I need a new hose, yup.

As I pull the hose and stretch to reach the hanging baskets, the leaky joint took direct aim at the front my  shirt and with a fountain now having graduated from a single squirt, it got me full on.

In the seconds as I looked down and grabbed the hose to yank it away, a tiny blue-green hummingbird darted in and hovered  six inches in front of me in the spray of water.  I stood still and didn’t move and watched the delicate tiny bird play.  It darted to the flowers and back several times returning to hover in the droplets of water. I stood there as background for hummingbird play until it darted off to whereever hummingbirds dart off to.

Heading back up to the house, dragging the hose and dripping wet I smiled.  It’s not always about what’s wrong; what’s broken.  Sometimes, it’s just about what’s right.

 

 

 

i’m here not gone

IMG_4461.JPG

Every once in a while we run into an urgency  in our lives that makes us stop the car and run out to deal with it. Somewhere between the first and second MRI was my moment to slow the car and pull over.

At first all you can think about is the urgency.  The “this is here and now and if I don’t deal with it I will explode” feeling. Overwhelming. That’s what it is.  And we’ve all been there; not one of us is exempt from it hitting us in varying degrees throughout our lives.

So pull over and stop for a few minutes and understand the dynamics of the situation.  My hearing is hurt because… or my life is changing because….or my life hasn’t really changed because….. so many variables to understand.  Stop and pull over.

We’re not defined by the moments we need to be held up but by how we climb back up the bank, get back in the car and continue the adventure. I’m back in the car and on my way.

By the way, this photo is of my Mom and sister – which yes, has provided my brother and I endless amounts of sibling glee over the years and I have to admit…..it still does. It seems we never really grow up.

 

 

 

wild strawberries today

IMG_4699.JPG

The wild strawberries are ripe.  Little splashes of red winking at us as Jasmine and I wandered on our walk today.

I used to pick wild strawberries and make jam.  It took hours to pick enough  to make even a few jars of jam and it was a labour of love for Mark who appreciated the effort and loved the jam. There was time.  Time to spend long afternoons picking wild strawberries, saskatoons, blueberries and after a hike up to the abandoned mine on the mountainside, prized huckleberries.

There was time.  In Hazelton we had two television stations…..on a good day.  Letters and updates – contact with friends and family came by way of letters in Box 84, South Hazelton. If we were home to answer the phone we did and if we weren’t home the phone just rang and rang. There were no voicemail messages, no robo calls, no text messages. Term papers were typed on a manual typewriter. There were no ear buds keeping us plugged in and it was just the quiet;  the sounds of the river, the birds and the occasional bear crashing through the woods in search of the same berries I was after.

Now my  phone is in my pocket on my walks and listen to CNN on my bluetooth hearing aids as I walk .  I snap pics of Jasmine just to text to Mark as he is at work.  I watch television shows chosen from hundreds of channels and movies on demand. Work follows me home with laptops and cell phones and doesn’t end with an 8 hour day.

Today my heart hurts because someone I knew only from television and books took his life.  We’ve become interconnected with strangers in intimate ways sharing dreams and sorrow in ways I never could have imagined all those years ago.

Today I am a bit scared at being called back for a second more intense MRI with all that can mean again in ways I never could have imagined all those years ago.

Today I feel frustration, helplessness and anger watching the shit-show the selfish, spoiled child running the USA is spreading around our world in ways I never could have imagined all those years ago.

I’m not saying it used to be a better place all those years ago, but there was time to pick wild strawberries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cherish the company you keep

IMG_4078.JPG

Taking my ratty 2017 calendar down and thumbing through the months is a time for reflection. The charity and minor hockey raffle tickets I purchased in support with draw dates long gone and no phone call. The receipts for my hair appointments paper clipped to the side and the dental appointment cards to be moved into next spring.

Never mind resolving to lose the muffin top; that’s important sure, but instead  I take stock of where I am and who I am.

I’m thankful that the close call to someone I love was left unanswered and he came back from the precipice to be with us.

I wave goodby  and wish those well who unceremoniously  unfriended me when I didn’t fit in with the changes they made.

I embrace the new opportunities and friends that showed up at the same time this year.  Both enrich my life.

I feel blessed.

It’s a time for reflection as I hang my 2018 calendar up and as a dear friend once said to me   “make new plans, Susie”.  I am, and in doing so I have good reason to cherish the company I keep.

Happy New Year, my friends.  I wish you all the best.

 

and then it was winter……

IMG_4279.JPG

Those of you who don’t live where there are seasons; I mean REAL seasons don’t experience the dramatic here-today-gone-tomorrow of the warm summer on the deck and the empty snow-covered deck in six short months.

The laptop and glass of wine move indoors and the wood heater radiates warmth as I look out the window at the wonder of my winter white world.  Sounds all smarmy and romantic, doesn’t it.

Winter reality is, well……. kinda different.  Crazily slapping and cursing at mosquitoes is replaced by crazily slipping and the graceless fall on your ass on the ice. And it hurts bad.

Winter reality is doing that weird little double tap on the running board of first your right foot and then your left to kick the snow off as you climb in the car.  The tricky part is remembering not to do that when you visit your brother in Santa Clara so it doesn’t look like you have OCD.  Or not….. he knows me well 🙂

Winter reality is watching the cracks appear and spread like a virus across the windshield from the “sand” on the road.  “Sand” that in reality is just rocks.  Rocks big enough that with a little mortar could be stood up as a retaining wall. Just saying, Department of Highways; maybe grind it up a little more?

Winter reality is the greeting “how’re the roads?”

Winter reality is moonlight on snow with sparkles in the air like fairy dust that take your breath away from the cold.

Winter reality is that it will switch again in six months to a memory as I sit on the deck in my flower garden with a glass of wine.