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all things flow…

“No single thing abides, but all things flow”


I am taking comfort in this view, one that Gladys Taber shared when she was writing about the arrival of spring in one of her Stillmeadow books. We recognize it in the circling of the seasons, this flow…not so easily within our selves. At first glance, my life looks anything but flowing lately. It often feels sputtering and muddled to me, not at all flowing. But if I take a longer view, I can see that none of my muddles and sputterings have abided…nor the joys and times of certainty…but that all of it, taken as a whole, is a flow.

It is very much like the weather, I suppose. We look forward to spring looking and feeling a certain way, but of course, it may not unfold that way. Yet…it is spring! And it will come around again a year (or so) from now in the flowing of the seasons. My sixtieth birthday was very lovely, but I weighted it with too many expectations…that I would have so much sorted out by the time it appeared. Everything that wasn’t sorted out and that has happened since-my mom’s sweet car breaking down…a biopsy on a mole…getting behind in my watercolor class…still thinking about cake (wasn’t it pretty?) when I want to be happy with my nourishing, pared down meals…intending to have all my rhythms and routines nicely arranged but not actually getting there, yet. And so on. I am up and down hourly and daily, but again, with a long view, I am flowing.

Do you do this, too? My dreams are of the same flavor, I am always trying to get from one place to another and finding it a challenge. At least, the challenges have lessened. I used to find myself at the bottom of a staircase that I could never fit in, on, through. Now, the staircases are roomy and inviting, but there are still obstacles further on. I am encouraged by this progress over the years, tho’, and will try to remember more often that I make progress in my waking life, too, with each little step I take…to repair the car (or-sob!-get a new one)…make yet another doctor’s appointment…lure myself back to my painting spot…and put those rhythms down on paper finally-or accept that that’s just not my style. We’ll see.

One of those longed-for rhythms is posting here. I’ve promised to be more consistent with it, without actually managing it. But here I am today. And every fortnight or so, I hope to be here in the future. From the emails and notes I receive now and then, I know there is a hunger for glimpses of older women’s lives…our dear, everyday lives. Another one of those expectations I had was that my menopause journey would be over by now, that I would have crossed a threshold into vibrant, confident days after the wonder and travail of the past many years, that it would make for steadiness in all parts of my life. Well, I am still on that threshold, and anything but steady, but there is plenty life to be lived and relished. I’ll try to share about mine more often.

And perhaps it’s not just the elderwoman piece, but that I am woman with hopes and fears, insights and visions, the ordinary and the not-so-ordinary…but I struggle to bring them into being. I am not an expert or particularly skilled in something that many are waiting in line to share in, just a woman who found that putting words and pictures together many years ago satisfied something in myself and enough others that I keep blogging, making lovely places out of pixels and paper, baring my soul or just my missing Vera after seven seasons with her, turning to my kindred spirits out there in the world as we navigate this brave, new world…erractically and imperfectly…but with love, that I send along with the clicking of “publish.”

P.S. The comment link is at the top of the post, please use it if you feel drawn to…comments are so welcome to me. Or share with a friend, pin to your boards…

“leave things be special “

I first noticed the banners on the lamposts and the artificial greenery being hung in town in early November and by the middle of November, there were Christmas ads and movies everywhere, the artificial red ribbons had joined the greenery and the familiar feeling of my spirit wanting to push back against it all had begun. When I grumble about these things (lament, mourn, sigh) Doug put’s on a grumpy old man’s voice and says “Get out of my yard, kids!” But I don’t think its a crotchety attitude, so much as wanting to let each season be its own particular self.

Thanks to Lissa, I found this, which illustrates it so well. As does the artist’s comment…sh-sh-sh. That is just what I want to do, gently put my finger on the mouth of the consumer machine of Christmas and hush it for awhile.

“With only a fortnight to go before Christmas Day Lulling people were beginning to bestir themselves about their shopping. London might start preparing for the festival at the end of October; Lulling refused to be hustled. October and November had jobs of their own in plenty. December, and that latter part at that, was the proper time to think of Christmas, and the idea of buying cards and presents before then was just plain silly.

‘Who wants to think of Christmas when there’s the autumn digging to do?’ said one practically.

‘Takes all the gilt off the gingerbread to have Christmas thrown down your throat before December, ’agreed another.”

-Winter in Thrush Green

Miss Read

On the way home from our Thanksgiving-in-the-city, I thought to look up the Splendid Table’s Thanksgiving broadcast that we had missed earlier in the day. In the second portion of the show (at around 32 minutes in, to be precise!) the host told a story about an elderwoman chef in New Orleans known for the dish she makes every year on Holy Thursday. In the way of things nowadays (Doug would be getting out his old man voice right about now : ) people began to clamor for it, to want it at other times, and her response was “Leave things be special.” Isn’t that lovely? As is the whole little conversation around this story in the show. Do give it a listen if you feel the way I do about this rush to Christmas.

Tho’ I have been pondering all of the people I know, especially women, who love to break out the Christmas music, movies and decorating as soon as possible and who are also wonderful at enjoying other seasons thoroughly and well. I would love to understand. Of course there are the warm, nostalgic feelings that come with Christmas that I can understand wanting to wrap up in. I guess I can’t sustain that for weeks and weeks and weeks. And I am also not good at overlooking the noise and shininess and the pressure that come with the quieter bits. Honestly, even I could handle it all more gracefully, I just don’t want to. Anticipation is something I value and enjoy and I simply don’t need or want weeks and weeks of Christmas. It seems incompatible with the beauty and meaning of the Winter holidays to me. And I guess I can’t separate the waste and harm that ripples out from the way mainstream Christmas unfolds.

So I’ll keep trying to walk next to this smaller stream of honoring and festiveness, still noticing the leaves on limbs and underneath my feet, and the beautiful spareness that is growing all around and wait for my Christmas season to begin.

How about you?

P.S. And tho’ this wouldn’t at all work for the Lulling folk, I will be closing my shop earlyish in December, so that I can sink into Christmas when it does come near for me. So please order in the next week or so if you are planning to. And if you aren’t, but you appreciate what I make and do, I would so appreciate the sharing of my work in whatever way you like to share…Pinterest, blog mentions, Instagram. I am coming right out and asking because it is the loveliest sort of advertising and I need the word to spread farther than it has so far. I’ve been making Pinterest-worthy pictures in my shop listings and have also been trying to pin what I make a little more often so it is out there in the world. So grateful!