I am writing this from the little sunny morning room as the sun shines down again after days of clouds and rain and snow. Our last snow, I hope. A loaf of seedy bread is waiting to go in the oven after a long rise overnight by the woodstove. I’ve spent the morning tending small things…beginning to put in place the Spring Cleaning adventures for Wisteria & Sunshine in April…setting breadmaking bowls to soak in the kitchen sink…placing logs from the dwindling woodpile in the woodstove…printing some cards in my studio. Then I listened to the whisper to sit down and write something in this space.

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you will know how I have struggled to be here. During this journey of menopause, I have more outwardly quiet than ever before…but the conversations I have with myself, with my soul I suppose, flow on. I swing between passionate outspokenness (with friends and family) and contented, mute days when I hardly speak at all. Just last week, as I sifted through the last of my papery notes from the year past and created some rhythms and rituals for the new year, I came across the word outpourings which I had written down in a corner of my Daybook. When I picked up that scrap of paper, all the ideas I had written down for plans for this blog…a regular pattern for posting…a few categories for the month…disappeared like dandelion seeds blown to the winds. I may find a few of them wanting to sprout in the future, but for now, outpourings when I feel the urge to will be my path here. It is time to let some of those internal conversations see the light of day.

Last month, I sent out a newsletter with the usual mix (or so I thought) of what I have been thinking, creating and noticing. Amongst many other reflections, I shared that I planned to go to the march in DC on the 24th, to support the students working for gun sense in our country. I received several responses from women who were unhappy that I mentioned that, and few that unsubscribed as a result. It used to be so challenging for me to receive negative feedback of any sort and it still comes with a momentary pang, but only momentary these days. We must all live the lives, speak the words, choose what we read and take in according to our own truths and longings. I’ve been doing so in quieter ways for most of my life, but lately, I feel the need to do more.

Just this morning, in between the other sorts of tending, I spent some time online doing research on plastic bag bans. All winter, I’ve spent a goodly part of each drive into town agonizing over the all of the plastic trash I see in the bare winter fields I drive past. It is present all year long, of course, especially if you look in the ditches along the roads, but the winds of late winter make it all more noticeable. I’ve not accepted a plastic shopping bag for years, but my loved ones do all the time, even tho’ they know better, as does most of the world. But not all of the world. There are towns and cities and even countries who aren’t afraid to say no. So as I drive, I ponder, and I picture myself going into local stores and shops to try to shine a light on the problem. But that would be so hard for me to do, on many levels. Then I think about legislation, taking care of it county or statewide. But the research I did was so depressing. Many times legislators in Virginia have tried to pass such legislation, but it is always undermined by the plastic industry. It turns out that Virginia is one of the main producers of plastic bags! : (  So there is little hope here at the moment, and I know that I don’t have it in me to fight such uphill battles in the public eye.

Back to the drawing board and my small ways of sharing about the problems and the very simple and lovely solutions there are to be found. I do that most focusedly at Wisteria & Sunshine, but will be doing so more freely in all corners of my life. It is part of my New Year’s path, now that I’ve spent the first part of the year reflecting and mulling. My birthday has been celebrated, Spring is springing and I feel myself ready to bloom more fully. I will be marching this Saturday and I will be sharing about all that is on my heart and in my life in the days and years afterwards. What else is there to do?  Life is gentle and life is harsh. There is beauty and there is ugliness. There is understanding and there is ignorance…in myself and in the world around me. Tho’ I seek Wild Simplicity (you too?) there are wild (and artificial) complexities all around, to be sorted and sifted through…and spoken of.

When I think of outpourings, I tend to think of something voluminous and lively, cascading, gushing. But they can also be gentle tricklings or mellifluous flowings, can’t they? The important thing, it seems to me, is that our soul’s speakings not be contained. When I feel quiet, it is not containing by keeping my thoughts to myself. But when I am stirred, whether by beauty or despair or clarity, to contain my response because I am unsure how it will be received? Well, I hope to be finished with that as I continue this path towards being an elderwoman.