Growing Flowers

catching babies, raising daughters in the high desert……

A Surprising Morning…..

I haven’t written here in a while, and I regret it. I have been busy with other projects, life. Everything. I came today to tell you the story of my morning.  

I had just returned from a morning visit with a friend. I was feeling open, and a little raw. Our home is so sunny and it heals everything in me. My couch is piled with books I want to read. A promise of relief. My daughter reading on her iphone at the kitchen counter. She received a subscription to Scribd (Like Netflix for books). She kept chatting and I was reading interesting articles online. 

I heard a thumping and assumed it was the dogs or Kaya’s knees on the wooden counter. It came again from my front door. I answered it, sure to find Jehova’s Witnesses. It wasn’t.  A good looking man, with kind eyes and handsome hair, youngish – like maybe late 40s  stood  there holding a carved wooden box and a large plastic yogurt container. A woman was with him. She was bleached blonde. She had a hard face, like an ex-addict or current. A smoker voice. She was thin and wearing black. She had red-rimmed eyes. 

She explained. “We are so sorry to bother you…..” She used to live here many years ago. Both of her dogs had died recently. Athena was a dog of hers, her ashes were in the wooden box held by the man. Her name was engraved in metal and adhered to the box. She called her dog “Theenee.”  She loved this house and she wanted to know if she could scatter the dogs’ ashes around the property.  

Of course she could. 

I told her about my dog Ernie’s death. Just recently and how we buried him here on the property. She asked about the owner of the house. 

I told her she had died. 

She gasped and screamed and turned her back to me and sobbed. 

I felt horrible, I stammered out an apology. I hadn’t known her, I wasn’t sensitive, I was so sorry she had to hear the news like that. The man smiled at me kindly, thanked me for my sweetness. He said she would be ok. She cried and cried and I went back inside. My house is all windows, so as I ate my reheated hash browns and “spiegel eier” at my kitchen counter.  I watched him hold her as she read some words from a paper and threw the ashes around. They walked around a bunch and then I watched as they walked up my driveway toward the mountains. It’s a long driveway and after awhile, they stopped and he held her, hugged her forever. 

When I looked again, they were gone, I thought. But they weren’t. He was sitting in my driveway holding her on his lap. She was crying and crying. Holding on to him. They sat there forever. They could be still there, I haven’t looked for the last 1/2 hour. I wanted to stop peering into their lives and witnessing her pain.

 

See the Fabulous

I feel gratitude so acutely. I practice it desperately. It is really my only way out of pain sometimes. Fear. It takes that little spotlight in my heart and points it at the geraniums on my windowsill, illuminates the love and darkens and fades the sadness. This worry threatens to overwhelm sometimes.

When the creak of the crack of the bright spot opens, it’s a relief to remember, “Oh! I have this already.”  A deep down sigh. Relief. It washes over me in the warm sort of flooding. Not that ice cold, shivering, shaky in my legs and bottom, flooding that I also know. I can be bathed in the gentleness and awe that true gratitude brings. And it is so simple…

It’s easy to practice gratitude… just start. Just begin with one line on a piece of paper.

“I am grateful for…” – I like this even better, “I love….”

I love this coffee brought to me every morning.  Its steam is accompanied by such gentle awakenings – whispers and kisses. Actually a lot of goofiness – silliness.  God, how I appreciate and love these mornings still cocooned in the tender duvet, so sleepy.

I love that the dogs are outside and not putting their muddy paws on my white sheets. They sit in the flower garden, squishing the delicate poppies, yet – with their heads cocked to the side and looking in at me. I’m in love.

Grateful I will see my daughter this weekend. I will sneak hugs on to her and breathe in her familiar sweet scent of her soap or new laundry detergent. But it will have to be subtle and so fast – before she notices.

Grateful for that birth, and for the last one too and one before that that went so well – so normally.  No bleeding. No moments of terror. No insanity. Just awe and remembrance and a recognition of that power and safety of our bodies. Sometimes.  A sinking into a deep tub of water, warm water.  Relief.

It’s just these little things – the roof creaking in this house, reminds me of where I am. Home.  The beeping of the coffee machine releases endorphins; my daughters are growing up well and facing this life with deep wells of reserve and security. They can always come home.

A quiet Sunday studying together, reading. And the glorious walk in the evening. It’s the same walk every night. The dogs INSANE with excitement like it is the first walk they have ever been on.   Passing the deer prints. Yesterday we saw a large elk run by, chased by our dogs.  Three weeks ago there was a mountain lion print in the mud at a neighbor’s home.  There is this one bird that sings in this one piñon tree every night.  Two ravens on that same Ponderosa. Always.

Train your mind to find the good. Practice it. Do it. Just stop for 10 seconds and ask yourself. “What gives pleasure right now?”  And then savor it. Breathe it in and hold your breath.

Before you eat dinner. Before you go to sleep. As you have lunch. Write down three things. Just three. Frequently you won’t be able to stop at

three. Sometimes you will have to be grateful for your tears. But find the joy. Find that sweet magic. Choose it.

 

You would see the wooden fence roughened by sun and rain and snow. You would notice the texture of your soft, soft socks and comfy flowered yoga pants. You would acknowledge the returns of all the studying you did last week. You would notice yourself noticing your daughter sleeping, talking, laughing. You would taste the chocolate that dripped on your palm from your croissant. The warmth of your tea mug. (Coffee!) The crispiness of the pinecones you step on.   What about the smell of that book you are reading? It’s new!

Pay attention to the fabulous. When you practice, you improve.

Touch the sweetness.  See what you have already.  It is a game everyone can play. Everyday. We all have things to love.

It’s all I need. This walk. This man. These daughters. This life. This gratitude.

This Beauty that is mine

I’ve missed writing here. I’ve been working on other projects and truly lost myself in the thrill of being published for Elephant Journal. Being rejected a million times by them, but also being accepted multiple times kinda got me high. It felt profoundly good. ImageImage

Here are the published pieces. Feel free to read and share! 

 

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In the meantime Falko and I have become hermits. Bonded deeply in the sunny warmth of our home, it’s hard to get us to leave it. He puts on a little Bob Dylan, I cry through listening to Harry Chapin. He studies, I read. And Kaya came home. We have a teen in the house for this week and it’s been fun to see her soak up the sleep. She texts, facebooks and reads and we tease her that it is time to do her wash and get ready for the bus! 

We celebrated her Birthday again! She’s sixteen. I made a monkey-bread. Tradition in our family since I was small. I think it may be my most favorite cake in the world! I love it. Warm jackets, leg warmers and hand warmers were gifted. And we watched the snow fall all day. 

I’ve been struggling with much these days, fear of some of the unknown coming up this Spring – yet I am good at loving the beauty right in front of me. I will live in this winter. I can see it, smell it, taste it. I can do this. And If you could see the sun on my wooden table where I am writing. Feel my back as it is drowned in the sun and making me even sweat. You’d know. You’d get it too.

Raising Teens

Raising Teens

The Only Way to Birth

The Only Way to Birth

Ten Awesome Things about Having the Girls out of the House!

Ten Awesome Things about Having the Girls out of the House!

How we are transitioning into being empty-nesters…..

Reading

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I am missing this blog… this quiet place to reflect. But I have found other quiet places, mostly in my home, on my couch with Falko. In the hotel in Minneapolis, where I spent a week alone. (At a conference) 

I’ve been reading a bunch…finding the time and making the time again. I think it is so imperative for me. Perhaps as an escape, but also as a connection to being human. And the gratitude – this is saving me. I have so much joy so easily found – right here with me. All the time, and it helps with the fear that lies in open wait. 

 

 

Wahoooooo! Published!

Wahoooooo! Published!

Joan’s Pie

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Bringing Joy on September 11th

September 11th, 2001 – This is what I remember.

Christy, my friend and partner apprentice woke me up, maybe not super gently. I was sleeping the exhausted sleep of someone who had been up all night at a birth. I was sleeping in the green room, on top of the quilt and with my shoes on. I could hear the freshly born baby crying in the pink room next to me as it learned the ways of nursing and fussing. 

Christy told me what was happening in New York, and in the haze of disbelief, we quickly got dressed, brushed teeth and washed our faces in cold water.    We posed for a picture with baby girl in the pink room and our director and senior midwife EDG hurried to the supermarket to buy food.

When things were difficult or hard, her response was to feed everyone…. so we loaded plates and plates of food out in the waiting room of the Birth Center. We continued the morning as planned, and then cancelled the rest of the day to head over to Elizabeth’s house and watch the footage of planes on the news. Here in New Mexico it felt so far away….. 

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Today…..12 years later. Anastasia turns 12 and a new baby girl is born, bringing beauty and joy to another family in this world. Step by step we can find peace instead of war. 

 

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