Riverly resting along…..

I lay awake and watch the stars dip low and call me out onto the porch
where I lay down my resolve to sleep
so early that the moon hides still behind the house,
the bright quiet of her shine
crisping the only edges of the yard and dusting the treetops with silver.
I wish for poetry but feel only dull;
the tired of me can’t rise to dance in the beauty rolled out here.

Until I lean the tiniest lean – just a slight nod of spirit
into the hush-away from all my questions humming.
Shhhhhhh – rest here now for just this breath.
Rest.  here.  now.
And as I breathe and then breathe again,
click goes my heart and open it swings
to this ordinary moment,
showing up like a weary traveler
to the unremarkable slice of time happening just exactly now.
The present.

I wonder how many friendly welcomes I’ve rushed on by,
feeling like a stranger in an even stranger place
just because I’m clinging stubborn to the season passed,
the one I’ve known and loved.

Breathing here,  now,  feels truer.
I can feel the changes work the rough edges of me over until I smooth
to the road that I’m on
and so the travel goes lighter.

And if I go quiet enough I can hear her,
river flowing~flowing~flowing
singing love that rolls over fallen things
and quick around stones that won’t be moved
and when they clash she sounds like music
and it lifts me,  too,
above my broken down ways
until I’m riding a new rhythm
into the living I’ve yet to do.

“I think there ought to be a little music here:
hum,  hum.”
– Mary Oliver

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…open,
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…..like “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

Even Song

Even when the night dances so dark on your mind
that your peace splinters tears,
when life feels over-budget and overdrawn
but under-spent;
in the ache and stall and prickle
and in the fear that can sit so heavy on a belly
that you freeze clear through to your spine
…even then it is there,  rumbling low,
fluttering hope.

In the fear that your mistakes may cost more
than you can ever help to pay,
that you may have loved much but not well,
may have caused more harm than healing,
more thicket than clearing,
more frustration than good,

that a stray word or exhausted miss
may have broken things so hard
that the
final word
is suffering.

Even there in what could quickly become despair,
a bud burns still inside to open,
to sizzle and surge and batter through rock
and shriek life into all that died.

In the stabbing glare of all you may have wasted
or wandered off from,
there’s an epilogue unwritten still
but swirling always fierce with hope
that won’t let go even when you must.

It rumbles new beginnings,  new pages,  new leaves and buds and seasons,
that what was lost may still be found,
that what was buried may yet live.

That in all of the loss and leaving,
in the dreams that died in the shell,
your heart is safe to lean in to what’s coming,
into the quiet thunder that’s humming
resurrection,
hold steady,
it is well.

“What is this breaking,
this hopeful re-making,
shifting stones,
addressing dry bones,
dizzying me with blessings,
intercepting my grieving
and raising the dead all around me.”
– Enuma Okoro

Happy Springtime,  dear you:)
I’ve been busy living like a farmer and I realize I say that every April or May; it’s as true as ever.
I’ll be back regular now – thanks for being your loving selves with my
dirty,  achy, sunburned,  tuckered out Springtime way.
You are a lovely garden and I plop down grateful in your gentle shade:)

Hand in my pocket and heart on my sleeve….

The biggest,  warmest hello to your much loved eyes
and even mucher loved hearts.
I’ve missed you…..missed  sending out my words to you and feeling them embraced and safeheld.
I’ve missed reading the words you say in such uniquely your expressions,
missed our front porch visits and the texture you bring to my journey
with the stories of your own.
I feel as if I’m back from a long travel to somewhere scary
where I had to leave my broken jeep beside the midnight river
and hike out barefoot and without reception.
I feel footsore and rattled and slowed down hard.

I’ve had so much to say that I couldn’t say anything at all.
But I’m gonna let the words trip out in bumps and starts now,
because it feels like time and if I wait until I can talk pretty
I may get stuck in the silence.

My hand hurts.  Always.  In the most noisy and sometimes searing kind of way.
My making hand – the one I’ve used for being me.
My writing,  arting,  planting,  pruning,  driving, doing hand.
And I’ve done the things medical and alternative
but it still feels like potholes in my ride each day
and there’s this fear that rides along -Who are you now like this?
And what are you going to do?

And I answer “still be me” and keep on walking
but the night sounds howl a little louder and the shadows make my jumpy heart race.
Because my loss of hand is not the storming down,
it’s just the how I know to ride the waves.
When life is hurting hard,  my doing-hand is what I use to shoo the sting away
enough to work it through,  to process,  to find a way to stay
when my feet want to run and help me hide.

And so into the chaos,  the ugly question creeps:
what if there isn’t enough to me without what I can do or show or make?
what if I don’t get a seat at the table
without what my hands can bring.
And it comes thumping around in my soul’s basement
that dark-corner question:  “who will love me now?”

Life has a way of making us look at the things
we fear may grab us from beneath
in the places where we’re leaning into rest.

(And aren’t we all learning how to rest in unrest?
We may have different tangles to navigate,  but perhaps we all show up to our stories
feeling capsized at times.)

So, yeah,  the waves feel high, I’m calling it adventure,
and ready to say my things. 
I’ll be here following the river;  come ramble awhile with me.

“Creativity comes from accepting that you’re not safe,
from being absolutely aware,  and from letting go of control.
It’s a matter of seeing everything – even when you want to shut your eyes.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

“When the night is holding on to me
God is holding on.”
– John Mark and Sarah McMillan

 

Even song…….

Even when the night dances so dark on my mind
that my peace gets shut down hard,
when my life feels overdrawn and over-budget
but under-spent;
In the ache and stall and prickle
and in the fear that can sit so heavy on a belly
that I freeze clear through to my spine,
even then it is there,
rumbling low,
fluttering hope.

In the fear that my mistakes may cost more
than I can ever help to pay,
that I may have loved much but not well,
may have caused more harm than healing,
more thicket than clearing,
more frustration than good…..

that a stray word or exhausted miss
may have broken things so hard
that the final word
is
suffering.

Even there, in what could quick become despair,
a bud burns still inside to open
to sizzle and surge and batter through rock
and shriek life back into all that died.

In the stabbing glare of all I may have wasted
or wandered off from,
there’s an epilogue unwritten still
but swirling always fierce with hope
that won’t let go
even when
I must.

It rumbles  new beginnings,  new pages,  new leaves and buds and seasons,
that what was lost may still be found,
that again what was buried may live.

That in all of the loss and leaving,
in the dreams that died in the shell
my heart is safe to lean into what’s coming,
into the quiet thunder that’s humming
resurrection,
hold steady,
it is well.

“And in great decay comes great renewal.
Life finds a way out
of the darkest spots.”
– Tyler Knott Gregson