Badlands and bounty and loving it all……

DSC05963edited

I took a week away unplanned because I was spent from tugging some story into words
and then I lost my faithful little sidekick,  Lucy,  and I needed to hold some quiet
around me soft while my heart sat with it all for awhile.
In all of my remembering,  I met again the word that found me at the new year.
I’d danced with several.
The one that wanted to come home with me was so bold and sure of itself
that I could only smile and take it’s hand
and go.

All

And so began a year of leaning in to be brave enough
to learn to live from the all of me.
With all of my heart.
Even when I feel the hiss that I’m too loud,  too expressive,  too ebullient,
too much.
Be the all of me,  anyway.
For all of my life.
Give it my all.

barn beauty

Always.
All day long.
Leave it all on the table.

Lucy lived this little word in a big way
and we loved her for it.
And so I welcome again the gifts in the grieving,
both the side that hurts hard
and the side that celebrates the beauty and wonder
and laughter that she gives us still
where we hold her in our stories.

Life is a bounty
and I want to live it all.

I’ll be back next week with a fresh batch of words
strung together just for you.
Wishing you all the joy your heart can possibly hold,  friend.
And a couple of measures more.
A cup-runneth-over type situation:)

DSC00701edited

“Hope knows that pain does not get the last word.”
– I’m not sure who said this
but I like it.  A lot.

I’m giving away a package that I’ve added to my quiet little etsy store
– a soul spa,  of sorts.  It’s given me such joy to make and write and send these out
that i want to offer them up to anyone who wants.
I’m plumping them up and letting them sing a little louder now:)
Leave a comment and I’ll draw a name next weekend.
With much love.

fluttering fingers and moonlight twirls…

DSC09429edited
I didn’t mean to see her so big.
Went looking for an address so i could send a letter that was for our eyes only
and, like a dream, I found her instead.
I wanted to make sure she’d heard me….to walk all the way to the edge
and lean over the side to make certain that she’d received my heart unedited.
But there she is and I cannot look away.
It’s like discovering this incredible Christmas present in the closet when I go looking for the lights.
I know it hasn’t been offered yet,  but my eyes can’t keep from dancing:)

I scroll through more images,  like I’m hearing her echo under years of rubble.
and my heart thumps wild hope as I dig.
The rest of the world goes quiet as I unwrap gifts – a local talkshow interview
and then another,  and I’m hearing at last the music of her voice.
The moving water of my children all together laughing is my favorite sound;
now hers is flowing across my ears and I throw back my head and join every glad noise
in the universe, belting out thanks for the wild beauty of this thing.

There is a timbre that siblings share,  like the voice of rippling waters.
The river just got wider and my heart stretches with the sound.

I watch her mannerisms, mesmerized,  matching every nod and tilt and gesture,
all so famliar – I know this rhythm.
I need to grab somebody’s arm and say,  “look!” – to share the wow of this discovery
but my feet are planted where they stand,
wilding over the beauty – her intelligence and humor and heart..
What she’s building in this world is just so cool and I’m grooving to her words,
powerful and clear,  even as she explains,  “I’m adopted,”
and I take in the way a shadow passes over the light in her eyes when she says it,
the way mine do when I’m feeling hard or pain
and my hand floats unthinking to the face on screen.  Am I seeing anger?
Is that grief?  Shame?  Or do I only imagine – just my fear on the screen.
Oh baby girl.
“Please talk to me,” I ache.

053

Facebook.
Do I even dare?
I’m standing in front of her profile picture
and the long road I’ve traveled seems to end right here.
I squeeze my eyes to hush the “don’t you even.”
My fingers flutter above the friend request key.
No.  Stop.  Too much.  Is it?  It’s an invitation,  right?  Or is it barging in.
Will she welcome this discovery or feel it intrusive?
I don’t know.
I don’t know so hard it hurts.

Instead,  I keep my hand over my heart
and let my eyes wander through her posts and pictures and perspectives,
savoring each one as I go,  like picking up feathers and leaves in the park.
I’d choose to hang out with this woman.
Like all of my kids,  this is someone I enjoy.
I can’t dig any deeper and not say something…..it feels stalker-ish.
And disingenuous.  I need to brave up and tell her.

I hit the message box on her profile and the daunting blank canvas pops up on my screen.
What do I even say?   
I want Amanda to know that I found her and I’m here,
– just a few pecks of the keys away – want to connect?
And if she doesn’t want,  or doesn’t want now,  I promise not to push.
If I don’t hear back,  I won’t withdraw my love.  I’m in either way.
I tug the message into words and my finger stalls on “send,”
my heart a jumble of joy and yes and please and oh shit.
I can’t do this.  Yes you can.  Go.  Just go – I mash the button quick to send.

When at last I get around to checking addresses that night,  I’m spent,
so it doesn’t bowl me over right away the several years she spent living in my city,
leaving just before we arrived.
Tomorrow I’ll go see,  I sigh as I finally nod off,  drained by the electricity of the day.
Like a kid after too much Christmas.
A few hours later,  I pop up with a start – Instagram!  I totally forgot to check….
I trot down the hall to my computer and  there she is again -too beautiful for words.
I linger for a while,  so punch drunk in love that I can hardly send my silly self back to bed.

One more quick check – facebook, did she answer back?
Not yet.  Okay.  It’s okay.  She’s on the west coast right now – time difference and all that.
I sit for a minute and hold the sheer awesomeness of even knowing this now,
my soul twirling grateful in the moonlight.
I’m guessing tomorrow,  then.  When she’s had time to digest.
And as sleep sweeps me up at last,   I’m smiling still.

big rock love
“When you get right down to it,  Lily,  that is the only purpose grand enough
for a human life.  Not just to love,  but to persist in love.”
– Sue Monk Kidd
(The Secret Life of Bees)

 I’m seven weeks into this Summer series and I love that you’re here.
Thanks for hearing and holding the pain of my story with such balmy care;
If it doesn’t shine through the ripples yet,  I’ll write it more clear around the bend,
the peace that’s holding me and the squeeze of Love’s hand.

 

 

Rippling waters and many moons …..

DSC00761
Maybe it’s just the noisy crowd of this big wide earth –
this thought takes hold of me as I barrel into having a website built.
My first blog.  I stumble eager onto the web so that she can find me if she wants.
Maybe she feels the imposition of  eyes at the agency as deeply as I do;
I’m gonna stand up,  wave a sign,  and make some noise.
Clueless,  inspired,  and boistered by the strong winds that are often mistaken for courage,  I dive.

I have no camera and no agenda;  not sure what to do but I want to be real.
I’d been earlier asked by a gardening client if I would make some notecards to sell,
like the little bites of art that I sent out with each invoice.
Making and sending them out on the waves of my days has poufed fresh breath back into some
places grown thin and now an idea bubbles up like a song:
I’ll write a little something and show a picture of what I make
– I think it’s the most childlike thing I’ve ever done:)

I walked into this room looking for her and found you.
And my voice.  And my own way home.
This is pure gift and I know it.
I was jumping up and down so maybe she could see,
but in the way of serendipity,  God was dancing me back to me.

terminally hopeful

In the years to come I send her bites of art that I  feature in the images on my blog
with a tiny “Ripplespeak” sneaked in here and there,  like a secret code that will lead her to me
if she wants.
It’s why I don’t use my name.
I laugh at this now,  so deliciously silly and unnecessary,
but it empowered the joy that buoyed me.
She can find me if she’s looking and I take comfort in this as the years pass.
Five of them,  busy and full.
Always challenging,  often joyful,  but deeply painful,  too.
I reach and let go,  grieve and hold on,  riding the waves with my arms stretched mostly wide.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
March is always crazy-hard and it’s March again,  2014.
Edith calls just before her birthday and I hear sorrowful news in her voice.
“I’ve heard from Allison; she’s asked me to let you know that her mother has died.”
Her mother.   One of the most influential women in my life.
She has been this mythical tower of intimidating virtue to my 16 year old parts,
the one who bested me,
and I’m 35 years grateful and jealous and altogether curious of this woman.
Now she’s gone,  her memories and stories with her.
Years earlier I’d asked Edith if I could write her;  would she please forward a letter?
No,  I’d been told.
I respect.

Now she has died and I’m so sad for my girl.
For this family that I’ve long loved and longed to know,.
It is a strange and dizzying pain to long to comfort the child you bore
because she has lost her mother.

Keep writing,  Edith counsels;  it’s lifegiving, Allison says,
and I’ve only ever wanted to give her life and so I do,
careful to only offer,  invite,  welcome and accept –
resisting hard the urge at times to push or press or plead,
and this feeds my life,  too,  in a way I can’t even understand.
But I feel it like a cold wind blowing,
my place in the storm,
outside.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Grief is a casserole best served warm and in good company.
Cold and unnamed,  it’s ugly business to swallow.

026

“Was she strong enough to allow both of them to be themselves?
Bahama had instilled in her an honoring of promises,
but she could not keep her promises unless she was willing to allow Nik to be Nik,
not a projection of someone who could fill her empty spaces,
heal all her wounds.”
– Madeline L’Engle

Thanks for sharing this Summer series with me;  it’s a tall glass of water to have you along.
I needed to take a smaller bite this week;  my heart is wrestling this out as best I can.
I appreciate your patience.

A singing river runs through it…..

DSC01394edited
I’m wrapping up a long and demanding growing season with Rivergreen,  our family business and livelihood,
and it’s been a bumpy go,  with me longing for change,  body and soul.
I’ve been wading out deep in swirling waters,  listening for the yes of what my heart is thumping,
and I’m answering a knocking and a nudge
to build something new,  not with soil and seed and stone,
but with the words I love to cobble and craft into copy and stories and song.

I’m happiest there in the river,  swept along and caught up in the flow,
choosing words like pebbles and sifting through rhythm
to paint pictures to share and to show.
It’s my growing joy to wordsmith for others,  giving voice to their own heart’s rustle and rhyme,
until their story is fleshed out and finding big air,
and they’re hearing their own vein of song.

DSC03841

And I’m calling it Singing River,  like the sound of Muscle Shoals,
because I feel the life-blood in my spirit,
the ripples,   the current,  the pulse.

And I carry a tenderness for the people
who lived here first.
Before.
Somehow part of my heart beats on a drum for them,
for recompense,  for healing of the land,
for every way that a collective heart can be restored.
I want what I build and leave behind
to honor these,  and the River who runs through it all.

Opening for business soon:  The Singing River Wordshop.
Big dreams and baby steps:)

DSC07388

“So this,  I believe,  is the central question upon which all creative living hinges:
Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
-Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Summer go softly….

DSC05692edited
It’s good to be back here again,
to settle back into the gentle rhythm that I love
and let my swollen fingers walk soft across the keyboard
in the lingering way that I’ve missed.
I’ve felt homesick for the quiet of it all.

DSC09908
It’s been a swirl of change and ache and beauty and stretch
and I’m grateful that we’re free to walk in whisper
when words feel unready to be said.
I like letting ripe happen.

DSC00113
I haven’t many words today
but have a handful of fresh,  summery zines
that I’d love to give away.
If  you leave a comment,  I’ll plunk your name into the basket
and draw 5 or so next Sunday.
I want to share the bounty of my garden with you:)

“One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky
But ’til that morning, there ain’t nothing can harm you,
with Daddy and Mammy standing by.”

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy
(Ella Fitzgerald)