washing dishes makes me insanely content. I like to sweep the floors. Hanging out laundry is like these other "mundane chores" a meditation and it thrills my soul. It is hard to find this place if you are in the midst of chaos...screaming kids, telephone TV. tonight I had the window open, the field outside, the moon coming up and I washed the dishes. My dishes are pottery and lovely. the water, the soap, the quiet all very magical if you slow and allow it, don't fight it. If you go into bed making, vacuuming saying I hate this, well it is going to be unpleasant. You put that in place, didn't you? But if you honor the bed, the rugs, floors, the machine well it takes on that and suddenly it is not odious, but pleasant, magical and deep and rich. Why are we here if not to enjoy the day to day. We are so rich and we are so incredibly stupid about our riches.
From the time we are born we are moving towards death. The "we" includes us humans (egos seem to only think- we is US), but it is grass, trees, crickets, birds, frogs, rabbits, dogs, elephants. The where when and how is something unknown, but death really is a beautiful continuum of life. We leave and what we leave behind in true nature feeds and nurtures those that follow. We live on in this way. It is the way of life. I was there the day my mother died in a fire, the day my father stopped breathing with cancer, the day my great Dane had a seizure and when the vet gave a shot that stopped the heart of another great Dane. I have seen cats kill birds and robins. We seem to take that personally. Consider. When we rip out a weed, we kill it. When we cut down a tree we kill it. Is one more sacred than another? We play god daily. There is a book from the 60's that says plants feel pain and scream when we prune them. I believe this. I try to remember to be in the moment and to thank the tomatoes that give up their lives to feed me, to the trees that we cut for wood, to the trees I take to open space, to the grapes that make wine, to the hops that make beer. I forget and that bothers me. Sitting in witness to someone, something dying, to an animal dying or the weed or tree is an honor. We in this age do not respect death. Those that die pass forward to something truly wonderful, yet we are upset, we grieve because death is not a part of lives on a daily basis. People don't die at home we move it away from us. We don't kill that fish or meat We don't honor that animal or plant that gives its life so we might continue ours (for awhile longer). And we don't remember that that mushroom feeds the earth. What do we need to do to remember that death is all around us? What do we need to do to remember that it is not horrible or scary, terrible. It is a beautiful part of life. Birth/death, the beginning/the end. Both miracles.
I found this picture recently and am so excited to have it. This is Mary Julia Gaines who started working for our family when I was 12 after our first maid Dora died. This is a lovely shot of her. No uniform., she is all dressed up and looking beautiful. Mary was a Mom to us and a Mom to 2 boys at home. She took the bus 5-6 days a week to come cook and clean. She loved us and we loved her. She was a part of the family -- and not. In those times she was still the help and although we might share a sandwich in the kitchen, she was not going to be invited to dinner. These pictures were on my wedding day. Mary fixed a luncheon for me and my bridesmaids. The first place we were going to have our reception did not allow blacks. I changed the location. How could I have not had Mary there? It seems so strange now looking back to think that in 1967 there were places that did not allow blacks. It was not that long ago, was it? 2 years later in Baltimore when my sister was getting married there were riots in MD. Mary's neighbor was badly burned. Thank the good lord that this has changed. It never should have been in the first place.
Roland Park was a great place to be raised. Big old houses styled like English suburbs with lots of places to walk, nice yards, very POSH! big houses, we had help, maids, gardener. It was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in. We could play outside unsupervised. the neighbors were nice, stores and schools nearby. Yet I didn't want to be a Roland Park person when I grew up. It was not a real conscious thought. Maybe it was reading over the years that made living in the non suburban setting so appealing Heidi, The Egg and I, We Took To the Woods. Maybe it was the visits to my Aunt and Uncle's farm and the farm where my sister lived. All seemed more romantic, more me, more us. Roland Park was proper. One understood, knew that one must marry well and do everything properly there. Living in the woods seems such a nice alternative. Maybe we were just children of the sixties, hippies.
We didn't want or need big and/or fancy. I liked the concept of working the land ourselves rather than hiring people to work for us. We left suburbia year one, heading to Maine where we bought our first land and built our first house. Maine was hard for 20 year olds with Not much work, no money and Nothing happening. We did a year and came back to work on Tim's father house, then the house at Olney, then we bought 27 acres delapated house in MD and really got to work..... trash removal and renovations and gardens and geese and animals. We had to work to support that 27 acres.
I never thought as a teenager that I would live on 27, 12 or 80 acres in a rural area. Here we are tiny town Maine. Now I cannot imagine living any other way. I walk out in the morning in my PJ's in the fog in the grasses and look at the trees, birds, spiders, and mountains and am in awe of being here in our non fancy totally romantic place.
Our life here and where we have been, feels right.
This is the nest and it may be 8 x 10. It is not big and I lost a mattress in it. Mind boggling isn't it? I thought perhaps a senior moment of did I really put the mattress out in the nest or did I park it somewhere else? I knew in my soul of souls I had put it out here. It was a hot humid day and I walked and carried it. Shunka was with me. It didn't seem to be where I left it on top of the beds, nor made into the beds or put up in the loft. So I questioned myself and checked the house, the garage, the sauna looking for my missing mattress. I called Tim. Absolutely crazy making. I allow neighbors' kids to use the nest. I called both
neighbors. One who was home suggested looking outside the nest. I did. The
kids had dragged the mattress outside behind the nest. Now it is stained, muddy, soaked. I called the
neighbors back, got the mom of one who was very upset and offered to pay for a
new mattress (this one was custom made). I told her no. Haven't heard from
other neighbor who has two girls. All are 10-12 which seems old enough to
respect others' property. I have put the nest off limits, vacuumed the mattress
and put it in greenhouse with fans - hopefully it will dry out and not mildew.
don't know how long it has been out. We have had big rains for days on end
here. Martha and Mom appeared last night to apologize. It was Martha with a school friend. Other neighbor's kids were at Bible Camp and innocent.
At least I wasn't having a senior moment. Overall it is funny. I knew I took it, but since it wasn't there I kept
looking for it anywhere and everywhere.
So the lesson is believe in yourself. And the lesson the kids learned, respect others' property or you may not get to use it.
Here are two kids that don't have animals at home. Kids are drawn by animals, horses, rabbits, cows, cats and it seems sinful for kids not to grow up with the lessons animals teach - responsibility, loyalty, love I could not, would not live without animals in my life. They are my bestest friends. Want unconditional love, forgiveness, understanding, friendship I would put my money on an animal over a human. I come home and I am always greeted at the door by my dogs and sometimes my cats as if I was the best thing to hit the door in a 100 years. I wish I could say my husband, sister greeted me that way. Which is why it is no contest as to who is my bestest friend. They are a nuisance and expensive and yet the cost in money and time and heartbreak is not important compared to the return. So animals are my thing. Many think they want/need a dog, a cat, a rabbit but making the commitment and taking the responsibility is not for all. Believe me it is work. That is why shelters exist. I bet if you could put kids in shelters, there would be people who would do that. It would be a relief to them. There is a thought.
Years ago there were meteor showers here that were spectacular. I got up in in the middle of the night and lay out on the lawn for hours watching them go over. Meteor showers have been forecast for July and August but the moon and the weather have not been cooperation. Weekend of 11-12 supposed to be good. Let us hope.
Slow down; God is still in heaven. You are not responsible for doing it all....
Remember a happy, peaceful time in your
past. Rest there.
Each moment has a richness that takes a
lifetime to savor.
Over the years I have tucked little pieces of wisdom in files. This is one and I have no clue where or when it arrived in my life. This is a tiny piece of a long piece on slowing down. Even those of us who move in the slow lane need to be reminded. Don't you relish that last line?