The making and the medicine…..

I’m coming back from a hard prune,
grateful to see little tenderlings shooting up fresh from the cuts.
It’s tricky to celebrate the shears and their scars and I’m not there yet
so I won’t pretend to hurl thanks for those slices;
instead I’ll say quick the pain
and then share the medicine
because we all need the balm when life cuts like a knife.

Doing the big-girl-panties work of grieving the loss
of my old jalopy laptop and it’s hard drive crash
which swept away every picture and bit of writing I’ve made for the past 15 years.
Every last word and image
(except what I’ve shared here on my blog or in journals and notes to loved ones).
I’d let my backup lapse for the last weeks of Summer struggle
when our cash flow dried up with the rivers,
waiting for the Autumn rains which would hopeful stir the flow.
The back-up backup I thought was in place was not.
The loss has felt crushing.

Also, the “miracle” shot I’ve been taking for my asthma
stirred a full blown rheumatoid flare which has my body red hot with swollen pain
and feverish for weeks after each injection.
Pressing through to do my daily work in the hot Summer sun
has felt like a Survivor challenge
and sometimes the frustration runs down my cheeks without my permission.
But grace has swarmed in – even sometimes as bee stings (!)
Who knew?  I work among honey bees and they seem to know when I need another shot
of their anti-inflammatory wonder:)

Then I got my heart broken in a double-you-over kind of way
and so the pile of hard clippings grew
until the bare of me felt barer still.
I know – this sounds dismal – but please read on;
I won’t tell you a forest fire without the rain

Because when losses start to pile like branches tossed to flame
it can feel like un-love and here the story can get spun
because we’re meaning-makers – we need to make sense of suffering
and when it comes storming we get busy writing our narrative
because it makes us feel a little control.
“It’s all my fault” even feels a balm because then we can know.
And knowing,  even if it’s false,  feels better than uncertainty.
(this is what the great teachers say)

So while I was making up my story I remembered (thank you dear friends who remind)
to lean into the heart of wisdom
where I’ve learned to find my rest
and do the messy, often awkward stutter-step of going open again,
of unfolding my angry hurt where I clamped down tight
to seal myself off from feeling it all too hard.
Courage to let go,  to open the fist of me and breathe instead into the waves as they wash in
– it came as I prayed help…me….trust,
help me

and in ways I couldn’t manage or imagine
I began to feel again the river flowing,
to sense the whisper of buttery quiet truth in it’s unassuming way,
“how do you feel when you prune something you love?”
Prune something that I love – I know this feeling well,
have spent years there in my work.
I feel hurt for the hurt but hope for the next… “please feel the love”
because this is temporary ache and your roots know what to do.

 Good Lord,  how perspective paints the pain a healthy shade of true.

And so I’m landing bumpy but safe
in a place with no despair.
Ache,  yes.  But without the burden of hating the cuts
there’s this energy enough to draw from these roots and pull life on up
into every space left barren and bleeding,
to draw deep from the river that keeps flowing
and to hope and yes and open and rest
and flourish untethered into the flow.

So I will celebrate it,  this creativity that we share
with the fountain that never runs dry.
Will celebrate both the making and the medicine,
and lean, open wide,  into the next try.

Thanks for reading along while I process.
My words here sound way smoother than the wrestling it took to get me to them:)
Forgive anything that sounds trite or oversimplified – still finding the wordsand spilling them slow.
I appreciate you,  dear reader friend,
and can’t wait to share what may grow in this freshly pruned place:)

“But grace can be the experience of a second wind,
even though what you want is clarity and resolution,
what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.”
– Anne Lamott


  1. Elephants Child on August 27, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring are flowing your way.
    And they are teamed with waves of gratitude, for the openness and beauty you share.

    • jennifer on August 30, 2019 at 7:19 am

      I feel those waves; they refresh me so:)
      Big thanks and joy toy ou, Sue,

  2. Kathy on August 28, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Sending my loving thoughts and healing prayers that you mend and feel so so much better.

    • jennifer on August 30, 2019 at 7:17 am

      Thanks much, Kathy:) I’ve been helped so lovingly and am grateful:)
      Big joy to you,

  3. JULIA on August 28, 2019 at 8:45 am

    You have been missed, dear Jennifer. To have had your hard drive crash is so unfortunate. What a hard pruning this has been, yet you still want to continue to celebrate your creativity as your roots still know what to do. I like your attitude of never giving up… Someday, you may be able to recover the content of your hard drive.
    Warm hugs, Julia

    • jennifer on August 30, 2019 at 7:16 am

      I hope so, too, Julia. Have had 4 different techs try so far. The last guy
      told me of a place in NYC that supposedly can open the hard drive in a clean room
      and possibly repair it (for significant cost). We’ve spoken with them and plan
      to mail it up for diagnosis. They didn’t sound encouraging on the phone. Will ride
      this wave out and see. Meanwhile, making fresh starts:) Thanks for your kindness:)
      Big hugs,

  4. jeanie on August 28, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Nothing trite or oversimpified. Just from the heart. I’m sorry you have had to deal with hard drives, rheumatoid pain, broken hearts and cash flow all at the same time. OK, I’d be sorry for any single on of them alone and am. But together, quite the boulder that rolled over you. And yet, you rise. And you celebrate, you breathe and you climb back. And believe me, I know how hard that is. Thank you for sharing so openly and so full of heart. Sending love for healing.

    • jennifer on August 30, 2019 at 7:13 am

      Thanks for hearing, Jeanie. Quite the boulder roll:)
      Healing love received and sent out with big hope that
      this next year is your most beautiful so far:)
      I appreciate you so,

  5. Lisa on August 29, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Words seared deep in my heart.
    Wisdom revealed through the abrasive sanding
    that hard events score onto our souls.
    Your bravery is illuminating.

    • jennifer on August 30, 2019 at 7:12 am

      Thanks, Lisa, and so glad you found something here
      to nourish your beautiful heart:)
      Big joy to you in your own journey, braveheart:)

  6. elk on August 30, 2019 at 7:36 am

    lump in my thoat at the pruning….

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      I love how I know you understand. Thanks, Elaine. Your listen
      is dear to my heart.
      – Jennifer

  7. Emily Smith on August 30, 2019 at 8:05 am

    You are so strong! Lovely, wise words after such a trying time. Bootstraps, baby. Thank you for the big share! Love and hugs to you.

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      Bootstraps baby:) Love that:)
      Thanks for encouraging me so:)
      – Jennifer

  8. Patty Hight on August 30, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Always here sending love and hugs. Go Jen!

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks, Pad:) You are wildly dear to me:)
      – Jennifer

  9. Robin on August 30, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    I have no words for your words. How can I even come up with words to describe what your words do. You are amazing. All I can say is how sorry for what all you’ve been through…how grateful I am that you are (hopefully) back so you can continue to fill my cup with your words and allow my imagination to go to places it’s never been before.

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      Gosh you encourage me so. Thanks, dear Robin:)
      Cheers to your cup and the heart you so share,

  10. Lynn Wilkinson on August 30, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Jenn, I am heart sick that you lost your work. if you wish I will copy your incredible images you sent to me over the years and will send them back to you to help fill some of those empty spaces where the “pruning’ went a bit too deep.
    As I read your blog I thought of a forest fire leaving everything chared and gone only to set the stage of a new time to experience the growth of what comes from the ashes and all it’s glorious splendor. I hope you are finding the words rushing back in so that you can use them as the salve you need to heal and grow and rebuild/regrow that forest of glorious beauty you have become over the years of sharing your story and journey with us… thank you for being who you are and allowing the authenticity to hurt, burn and chafe as through those wounds there will be a revitalization of newness and freshness. I look forward to your next blog and your pushing to find the right words that you do so tremendously. Thank you for this share. I have missed the blog and missed you. Much Love to you my dear friend.

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      So kind of you to offer, dear Lynn. I appreciate:)
      I’m learning so much in this new place. Learning new ways and finding parts of my heart
      that may have remained buried otherwise. Who knows. Just riding the waves as they come
      and learning some more riverly ways:)
      THanks so much for your picture-share – I feel that and take it to heart.
      In a big way.
      Much, much thanks:)
      – Jennifer

  11. Susan on August 30, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Well, that was kinda like being on a scary roller coaster ride for a couple of minutes but landing soft in a warm pool of water. So intensely sorry for the loss of so much important and personal stuff and for the bumps and bruises, the bad reactions to what will hopefully help you feel all better. Just remember to always come here, to this space of love and caring where you are held and keep sharing your glorious words and images.

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Ha – I love your description:) Yes, and yes and yes:)
      I love this space because you are all here! And you’re dear:)
      I so appreciate,

  12. Lucille on September 1, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Always enjoy your expressions of fullness
    Of life. On my last leg of my healing
    Journey making room for thanksgiving
    In my heart . Looking forward to fall
    Leaves 🍁 coming down for me and you
    Creating new expressions of life . I pray the gaps
    Be filled in to rearrange atmosphere of our hearts
    Love you lots 🥰

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      Lucille you are in my heart as you recover and mend.
      Thanks for saying and always i appreciate
      your encouraging presence.
      Love in the gaps:)

  13. Louise Gallagher on September 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    We cannot lose words spilled out as truth on computer screens and pages of life turning. What we lose is the evidence of their being set down. Alive within the collective of our consciousness, the words still resonate. Shimmer. Flow in the river to the sea of love that pours out of your heart with every ounce of your being present.

    This line — “And knowing, even if it’s false, feels better than uncertainty” — this line gave me hope, drew in the light and helped me ride a rough spot where my heart was having trouble breathing in the beauty of this day for the sadness of days past.

    So grateful for your beautiful presence and your capacity to illuminate the darkness with the light of Love.

    • jennifer on September 8, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      Louise, thank you. Truth – thanks for reminding me.
      Still shimmering and grateful for the river she keeps flowing:)
      Learning, learning her riverly ways:)
      Glad that some words landed well and for your light shared:)
      Much much thanks,

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