~thankful thursday~ stoking the gratitude fire

11/16/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 16

i am thankful for dragons. we have fondly referred to our house as the dragon house since quinn was about 5 years old. all three of us love dragons. like many households in oregon, there is a head on the wall as part of our interior décor, but in our case, it’s a sculpted glittering dragon, not an elk.

a friend commented on my post for days 11-13 about edges, that dragons used to be drawn on the edges of maps by cartographers who had reached the limit of their geographical knowledge. it took me until just now to put that together with my dragon loving husband who likes to drive off the edges of maps for fun (which i mentioned on day 9).

my friend also mentioned how dragons traditionally guard treasures of rare and unsurpassed value, and i think that in retrospect, this makes them a very fitting guardian of our household. dragons also stood guard over our wedding!

quinn knows that all the best stories contain dragons. he had a dragon theme for his 8th birthday party, and is often to be found playing video games that involve dragons, reading the wings of fire series about dragons, or creating characters and landscapes for dungeons and, yep, you guessed it, dragons.

there is so much to love. their mystery, their magical capabilities, their indomitable spirit. their ability to wield fire.

fire dragons can be protectors, exhibiting strength and courage. i also think of them having enthusiasm and energy, ready to overcome obstacles in the path.

water dragons might be more concerned with connection, depth, transformation, peace, compassion, healing. but that doesn’t mean they lack courage and passion.

my relationship with fire has been long and not always peaceful. i loved helping my dad “fix the fire” in our cellar wood-burning furnace when i was little, shoving sticks into its bright orange mouth. and of course nothing was better than summer campfires at fish creek campground. however, when our heifer barn burned down, i was only four, and i think a touch of irrational fear of fire stuck with me after that. as a person who tends to feel chilly, i do love wood stove heat in the house, and the handsome fellow who fixes that fire for me daily, and seems to be able to handle flaming hunks of wood bare-handed, is a welding fire building fiery guy. all that hotness is hard to live with, but i manage somehow. (on my tour of the manifold pictured in last night’s post, so he could show me the rainbows, i hung on his every word about how “you have to get the heat right to get the color.” did you know colorful welds are strongest? just as i would have suspected.)

but i digress. about my husband. as usual.

anyway, we’re keeping the gratitude fire stoked at the dragon house.

11/17/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 17

jumping for joy and full of gratitude to have my dragon boy home at the dragon house.

11/18/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 18

i am thankful for my great aunt margie. i attempted to write how i feel about her in a post a few weeks after she passed away, and just a few weeks before rich and i got married this summer. today a small memorial was held for her, and many of her loved ones were not included in that, but in a way, i can hear her saying, “i don’t want a fuss.” i don’t know the story behind why it was kept small and all but secret, but i decided instead to focus on my own grieving of her death/celebrating of her life right here, and it’s easy to feel immense gratitude for the unparalleled impact she had on my life. of course, tied up in that is incredible sadness and a gaping hole in my heart. exhausted from selling organic brussels sprouts and cauliflower and butternut squashes all day, i laid down for a while and read back through that post, and shed some more tears. after that, there was only one thing to do. so i got up and made nachos for dinner.

11/19/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 19

i am thankful for my dog ruby. i don’t actually have my own dog, but at the same time, ruby and i both know we are human-dog soul mates. she’s only the second dog in the world i have felt that way about. i am far from a dog person, and certainly don’t love all dogs across the board. some of them are smelly and some of them are scary, and a little one bit me one time for no reason. but ruby is my doggy love. i am her fairy dog mother when her real family goes out of town or especially when they go camping. she favors comfy chairs over campgrounds. one of our favorite times to be together is for thanksgiving. her family is vegetarian, and the week she spends here while i’m cooking turkey, ham, sausage, and lots of gravy, her mom says is like a dog spa retreat. she is asleep on my lap as i type this. she may eschew camping, but she does love long walks on the beach, just one more reason we are meant to be together, once in a while, which is all i can handle of the responsibility for a canine life. quinn is thrilled to have her for the week, they also have a special bond, and to give our kitties their usual sleeping space with us, ruby gets to sleep in quinn’s room, and he loves the company. borrowing ruby is the perfect arrangement, everyone wins, especially me.

11/20/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 20

i am grateful that although i would pretty much rather gouge out my eyeballs than play the game risk, the folks at hasbro at least made it rainbow-rific to look at. also, i am thankful my son wants me to play games with him, and thankful for the tip from my friend to serve honeybush tea with honey and heavy cream at bedtime. thankful for drinking in sweetness as the theme of this gratitude-enriched season. and also for parsnips.

11/21 and 11/22/17

~30 days of gratitude~ days 21 and 22

i am thankful for today, the penultimate dorkaversary before we celebrate six years together! rich and i have now been married for 4 months, and celebrate like goofballs when we realize any given day is a significant one (namely, the 22nd of any month), or when it’s not and we’re just happy to see each other after a long day of work. looking around on a day like this, prepping for a big feast, it’s easy to feel gratitude for all the abundance surrounding us. the food is bountiful and fresh, the boy cranking the apple slicer has grown into a competent helper, loved ones are close at hand, and a kitty is in the empty ham box. the borrowed pup is sprawled on her blanket on the couch, nose pointed towards the wood stove in worship. tomorrow the man i love will shut off the alarm and we won’t get out of bed any earlier than we want to, and we’ll be so grateful for the extra sleep.

11/23/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 23

happy thanksgiving! it’s been a great big gratitude day here at the dragon house, stuffed with goodness and topped with gravy. i’m feeling thankful for amazon prime getting my new oven element to me on tuesday, because when it gave out on the friday before thanksgiving, it could have presented a minor source of stress (if, you know, there wanted to be anything baked for said holiday). i am thankful for a relaxing morning after a busy night of making pies, and time to play skip-bo with quinn and listen to him read to me about the ice cow goddess audhumla of norse mythology from whose udder flowed four rivers of milk, and about the rainbow bridge bifrost connecting asgard to middle earth, all from one of his library books. i am thankful for how my son’s pursuits inspire me to learn new things; i have so many questions about this cow! i am very thankful for cows, i know i mentioned growing up on a dairy farm during last year’s gratitude posts, and riding around in the passenger seat next to rich, he is used to me mooing out the windows whenever i see a pasture full of cows. i had no idea, until today, that such a cow featured in creation mythology, and i’m thoroughly intrigued. cows are the quintessence of birthing energy in my experience, which includes years of observational and participatory cow midwifery, and this choice of motherly cow likeness licking the father of norse gods (buri) into being, brings me joy. and then we can talk about rainbows some more! you can imagine my delight at having these things brought to my attention through the voice of the son i birthed into being while channeling all of my inner cow mojo over ten years ago. i am thankful for this family i am blessed to be a part of, the wonderful surprises life brings, pie crust confidence, libraries, friends, rainbows, and cows today.

other posts you may enjoy:

~thankful thursday~ navigating transitions

11/9/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 9

i may have already mentioned a certain man i am thankful for, but recently i’ve been specifically feeling gratitude for his navigational skills. there is just about nothing i’d rather be doing than riding in the passenger seat while he drives me anywhere. it was why we chose to go on a road trip for our honeymoon this summer. we are very happy driving places together! this still blows me away, because there was a time in my life when not only was i expected to do the navigating, i was put down for how badly i did the job. i still claim that i am better with directions at sea than on land, but i don’t think i’d be so bad at land navigation if i hadn’t been emotionally abused so much in that area. now, on the exceedingly rare occasions that rich does ask a navigational question of me, guess what? it’s okay with him if i make a mistake or simply have no idea what the answer to the question is. it’s just simply not a source of stress in our lives.

most of the time, however, nothing is required of me in this department, because rich just seems to always know which way to turn. we drove a different way to portland last weekend, back roads the whole way, until at one point he told me, “ok hang on, we’re going on a new adventure!” and put on his turn signal. it’s amazing how he never has to back track or ask for directions, and equally amazing how he turns off on so many unmarked country roads that seem like they probably don’t go anywhere, at least to my eye. we made it to portland with time to spare for coffee and a burger before the show.

in the state of oregon, his directional abilities have a lot to do with having driven his kids back and forth across the state for years on their way to track meets, basketball games, and other sporting events. he rarely even consults an atlas anymore, when we are traveling inside the state. when we drove across state lines to montana for our honeymoon, he could be found sneaking a peak at various maps. i think it is recreational reading for him to study how the roads all weave together across the terrain. all of this is lovely for me, since it means i get to ride in my favorite seat and photo-document the journey.

 

11/10/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 10

today i am grateful for date night, rainbows, and inspirational women!

 

11/11 and 11/12 and 11/13/17

~30 days of gratitude~ days 11, 12, and 13

i am grateful for forgiveness. i sometimes lose track of days and plans and agendas and schedules whenever the week transitions from life with quinn to life without quinn. i forgive myself for not getting an A in gratitude, and skipping a few days while i regrouped (and worked, and played, and went on a date, and cooked and cleaned.) i forgive myself for putting off writing a holiday to-do list, and i forgive myself for that list being insanely long once i finally wrote it, in spite of wanting to keep the holidays simple, and i forgive myself for not checking any items off the list yet.

i’m thankful for the way ani difranco (who i got to see on friday night, so lucky, so grateful!) has managed to write lyrics that describe my life for several decades running. she had her daughter a month before i had my son (and he was almost a month overdue), and while we were both pregnant she wrote, “you’re gonna love this world if it’s the last thing i do, the whole extravagant joke topped in bittersweet chocolate goo, for someone who ain’t even here yet, look how much the world loves you…”

it feels like an extravagant joke topped in bittersweet chocolate goo to drop off my son only to turn around and get taken on a date. i miss him but i think i appreciate both him and the time alone with my man all the more for the times in between. and then i am overjoyed to pick him up a week later.

transitions are a way of life for my kiddo, who spends equal halves of his life in two separate households. he has grown so much in his ability to transition gracefully, and now he does a better job than anyone. and that’s not to mention developmental transitions that are going on all the time. into fifth grade, into percussion lessons, into packing his own school lunches, into attending theatre workshops, into defying his mama and staying awake to read his book under the covers by head lamp. more bittersweet chocolate goo!

i am thankful for how forgiveness of past hurts frees me from the poison of resentment. i am also thankful for the perspective to know the difference between forgiveness and acceptance of unacceptable behavior. forgiveness is a present i give myself, not a welcome mat for abuse.

i thank my lucky stars that my husband and i don’t venture into areas requiring forgiveness.

like the little creatures in the ocean that bioluminesce, i am trying to generate my own light during this dark time. many organisms are triggered to glow when they encounter disturbance, and transition times are a continuous source of predictable disturbance for me, like waves, like tides. i have always felt like that dynamic position in the universe where air, land and sea coalesce on the edge of the ocean is the most magical, and of course that transition between rain and sun that brings us rainbows is another personal favorite. i am thankful for the magic around the edges of things.

11/14 and 11/15/17

~30 days of gratitude~ days 14 and 15

i am thankful for rainbows in unexpected places and other surprises.

p.s. last night i was thankful for nachos again!

other posts you may enjoy:

~thankful thursday~ birds and bees

i have been making a daily gratitude post on facebook once again this year, (if you’re interested, here are last year’s posts) and once again i will transcribe them all over here on thursdays so that my friends who have had the better judgement not to join facebook may read them.

 

11/1/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 1

i am thankful today for hummingbirds. i am once again entering november with an inkling that i could stand to realign my partly cloudy attitude with some gratitude. today i got a text from a friend inviting me to come and see the costa’s hummingbird visiting her feeder, which i will do tomorrow. when i got home after work, i took my camera outside to visit our own hummingbirds and realized this one would let me approach it quite closely for some glamor shots. i ended last november’s gratitude fest on providence, and i think it is not coincidental that this little harbinger of joy is returning to my awareness today. while i have a tendency to let thoughts weigh me down, these tiny beings show me how they alight here and there, without all that heaviness. they change direction as often as needed; they remind me i always have a choice to redirect towards joy. they guard fiercely, but dance joyfully, and choose to drink in sweetness. they surround themselves in flowers, hovering amid beauty, embodying lightness of being. i’m grateful for their help today getting me on the right vibration for this practice.

11/2/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 2

both cats are on my lap leaving no room for my laptop, so i’m contorting my wrists to type off to one side of the chair, it’s late after a delightful date night, and i must head to bed soon. but guys, i got home from my costa’s hummingbird visit after work, only to have my husband waving me down to the edge of the forest, flashing the “bring your camera” hand signals, and we got to hang out with this amazing barred owl for a nice long photo session. he told the owl it needed to hold on until i got home, and of course, the owl listened. the conversation went something like, “who cooks for you?” to which he replied, “my beautiful wife… she’ll be home in just a minute and i’ll introduce you!” we’ve been listening to this owl and even spied it in the dark on one of our walk-to-the-mailbox dates, but seeing it in our trees with some daylight left for photos was an unexpected treat. i am very grateful that i get to be married to a guy who appreciates the magic of the natural world as much as i do.

~30 days of gratitude~ day 3

today (yesterday… posting belatedly what was on my mind) i am thankful for the ripple effect of this 30 day gratitude practice. i would never have started doing this if i hadn’t read wonderful gratitude thoughts from good friends of mine prior to last year. then, this year, it seems i have inspired another friend to give it a try. in addition, so many great connections are made by friends whose comments also serve to amplify the gratitude. selfishly, i have been enjoying my own gratitude posts from last year, thanks to the memories feature. while it may seem a bit circular to be grateful for gratitude, i realized when my post from last year about my amazing mom came up, for whom i am forever grateful, that every one of these i write is essentially extending gratitude forward through time to influence my future self to dedicate even more neurons to feeling grateful, where the ripple effect of blessings can compound the interest on today’s investment in the thank bank. i’m envisioning this little hummingbird flying back to me in another year, tiny saddlebags overflowing with blessings that have been packed into it today, special deliveries from this present moment.

11/4/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 4

i am thankful for my family!

i was curious about last year’s 30 items for which i was grateful, so i made a list.

2016 gratitude list

  1. fiance, wood stove fires
  2. karate and yoga
  3. mom
  4. abundance
  5. quinn
  6. laughter
  7. best woman lau
  8. big ocean waves, perspective, impermanence
  9. words
  10. music
  11. community
  12. kitties, wood stove fires, safety pins, memory loss
  13. dad
  14. the farm
  15. wood stove fires, kitties, food, baths, whiskey, coffee, soft blankets, music, home
  16. siblings
  17. books
  18. joe biden and his work advocating for women
  19. outside time to work on my garden, board games with friends, grandma’s pie crust, kids whispering to each other’s faces, farmer’s market, etc.
  20. therapy, not needing get an A in gratitude, photography
  21. love notes
  22. nachos, dorkaversaries, chats with mom, chats with friends, library, nachos
  23. wood stove fires, music, friends, family, things that are bigger than my little circumstances and help me have perspective, kitties, playing games with my kid, nachos, books, and my fiance
  24. water
  25. our kids
  26. buyers of my future book, words beginning with q
  27. role models (barbara kingsolver, jane goodall, ani difranco)
  28. dolphins
  29. awareness, friendly reminders, long hugs, e.e. cummings
  30. providence

i know that last year i fluctuated between feeling like i couldn’t possibly fit all i am grateful for into a mere 30 days, and feeling like my gratitude gland was shrunken and all the wonderful things were distant and unreachable. it makes sense, because we all have good days and bad days. right now on the gratitude-o-meter, i am feeling extra thankful, and that probably has to do with spending a day and a half on back-to-back consecutive dates with my husband, and then ending today with my son back at home with us. kitties are snuggled near the wood stove fire, good food, friends, family, and live music have been involved in the various dates, and since being home i have been serenaded via both radio and you tube. quinn typed a zombie novel inside a minecraft book, and stuffed himself with grilled cheese and tomato soup and green cauliflower and ranch dressing. feeding my people well always makes me feel like i am doing a good job at life. maybe that is why i was disproportionately thankful for nachos last year (i still am). looking back at last year’s list, i had to laugh at how repetitive i was on some of the days i remember as being the ones where gratitude was harder to access… default back to kitties, nachos, and wood stove fires if all else fails. which is code for, i love these two people and the family we are together and the home, kitties, nachos and wood stove fires we share, with all of my heart.

11/5/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 5

sweet like candy to my soul, sweet you rock and sweet you roll ~dave matthews band

i am grateful for honey! today my honey drove us through the colorful maples and oaks of the valley to pick up our annual 4 gallon bucket of local honey, which will last us almost until this time next year. it will sweeten the pancakes and bread that will nourish us, and mix into the elderberry cough syrup i am going to make. it will feature in hot garlic and lemon beverages to doctor any winter colds. my wedding ring will keep making a happy clicking sound on the side of the honey jar every morning when i pull it out of the cupboard to add it to rich’s coffee, honey for my honey. (he sneaks into so many of these posts, that husband of mine! so grateful for him.)

 

11/6/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 6

having sailed through most of this first week of gratitude with an apparent fixation on birds and bees, i would like to wish everyone a happy national nacho day! i am thankful for nachos, and you all already know that, but i can’t very well focus on something other than nachos, now that i know this is their official holiday! i am indebted to my friend for alerting me to this important fact. we dutifully ate nachos for dinner tonight. i realized i did not want to use a photo of nachos (which i haven’t taken, because i don’t find them all that attractive to look at, especially by dinner time in november when there’s no more light for photography), so i decided instead to post a nacho-related photo of summer. we traditionally eat a giant multi-family meal of nachos on our annual july 4th camping trip. i believe these kids, for whom i am grateful, may have just consumed said meal, because this is the way their hair lights up in the evening sun in july, and i am grateful for that, even though it’s not the way the light looks in the evening in november. if i could mother-may-i my way in large leaps towards the summer i would probably do so, but i think there must be a good reason i’m not allowed to accelerate through this part of the year. while i am waiting to learn how to embrace winter, i will spend these chilly dark nights thinking of those warm sunny days, in gratitude.

 

11/7/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 7

today i am thankful for a beautiful sunrise.

11/8/17

~30 days of gratitude~ day 8

i’m thankful for apples today. when we got home from work and school today, quinn sat in the car and read his book. in spite of staying up reading by led candle under his covers past 11 last night, he still wanted to keep reading. i may need to have a talk with that rick riordan fellow. anyway, i decided i’d warm up some apple cider and poured some into quinn’s travel mug, and by the time i had it finished he was still in the car. i delivered it to him there, and went off to read a book and have a cup of cider myself, in the house.

our cider came from an annual gathering attended by the same families referred to in the 4th of july nachos post, and several gallons are stored in jars to see us through the winter. drinking in sweetness seems to be a theme for me this round of gratitude posts!

apples also make me think of my parents and their apple endeavors on the farm. my parents have spent the last few years rehabilitating orchards on the farm land, and my mom has become quite the expert on the local heirloom apple varieties. gratitude for apples makes me think of gratitude for my parents and the example they have set for me of a couple happily going on dates (via tractor and wagon to visit their apples) every chance they get, after 40+ years of marriage.

i think apples will always remind me of all of the connections among my friends and family members, many of which reached a new level of connectedness this summer during our wedding festivities. as quinn sipped his cider today, he mentioned how much he loves the dried apples his grammy sends him each christmas. that warmed my heart every bit as much as my warm cider.

other posts you may enjoy:

quest for sparkles

the day after our 3 month anniversary, i went for a run on the beach and noticed what looked like shimmering glass marbles in the surf zone. upon closer examination i figured out that they were jelly blobs, and more specifically, ctenophores. i have had a love for ctenophores ever since i learned about them in my 20s, and witnessed some of their more magical tricks like bioluminescence. the ones i found seem to be a non-bioluminescent species, i think from the genus pleurobrachia, but they still made rainbow shimmery sparkles as they floated in the vessel in which i whisked them back to my lab in order to peek at them under the microscope and watch them moving their cilia and tentacles to my heart’s content. (since they were gasping their final whatever-is-analagous-to-breath-for-an-invertebrate, i felt ok about scooping a few up out of the sand and plopping them into some water before their inevitable demise.)

i looked back at my 2011 post about bioluminescence, and it made me smile, because so many of the things coming to mind to say about it, i have already said. memory loss is special. at least i remembered that i did write a post. to review:

  1. all cells bioluminesce! including our own, though most do so in a range that is outside of our vision;
  2. dolphins swimming through glowing waves are stunningly pretty, and walking on the stars, on beach sand full of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, was our college pastime;
  3. there’s a long list of unanswered questions in the science of bioluminescence and i am content to leave room for the mystery;
  4. choose your own glowing totem, or as 4 year old quinn would say, spirit guy, and let it inspire you to shine your light.

while trying to identify my gelatinous friends, i learned about the role they play in regulating the food web. as predators of other smaller zooplankton, they can keep copepods from overgrazing the phytoplankton. the marine ecosystem exists in delicate balance. i would bet that their turning up in numbers on a sunny day in october was just part of the ebb and flow of maintaining that balance.

even though my little sea gooseberries aren’t bioluminescent, they did put on a fabulous flickering rainbow show for me under the microscope, their rows of cilia waving like so many prayer flags in a breeze.

in my 2011 post i referred to a trip into a bioluminescent bay in la parguera, puerto rico. here is my journal entry following that sparkly nightswimming magic. and while we’re humming r.e.m. songs, this passage feels half a world away, both in geographic distance, and in the fact that i was half my current age when i wrote it:

3-13-98

“our watch began at 7:00 but was pleasantly interrupted not long after it began by our quest for sparkles with captain pepe. this is one place I have to bring lauren someday, because although these aren’t purple sparkles, they sure are amazing. we drove in the boats for about 20 minutes to get to the spot, all the way singing “on top of old smoky” and “found a peanut” and playing telephone and the animal game (moose) which was a riot. (ribbit ribbit quack quack meow sss!) when we got there, people started jumping in the water, and you could see their hands and feet moving as they tread water. it was a muddy bottom and only about 3 or 4 feet deep. we all had on our masks and we watched our hands move and light up and sparkle as they moved through the water. it was so magical. if you lifted your arms out, they sparkled for a moment. the sparkles clung to hair and bathing suits especially well, and my black swimsuit sparkled as I climbed back on the boat. for the first few minutes of the ride home, we were totally silent, like we had just witnessed something extraordinary. it’s the things like that, which seem unnecessary but add so much, which make me just as sure as ever that this world is not random.”

i read recently that bioluminescent bays around puerto rico (there are only a handful) may have been affected by the recent hurricane. considering all the rest of the hardships they are going through, it would be yet another loss. as so many there are living without light, it would be sad if their glowing bays were to go dark as well.

on the evening of october 24th, the next day after i brought stray ctenophores home from the beach, i walked outside to find my husband standing in the front yard. it is not uncommon for me to encounter him this way, and as soon as i stood beside him and he put his arm around me and we both looked up, a gigantic shooting star streaked across the sky above us. “is that what you wanted me to come outside for?” i asked, and he answered in the affirmative.

rich and i have already lined up a date for july 28, 2061, just after our 44th wedding anniversary, to watch halley’s comet, whose tail is responsible for the orionid meteor shower from which our shooting star originated, return to the inner solar system. he’ll be 91 and i’ll be 83. we won’t talk about how old we each were in 1986 when we both remember seeing it the last time. (awkward!) gazing into the vastness of the universe has a way of rendering minor age differences completely irrelevant anyway. december 2061 will mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of our quest for sparkles together, which will be a very sparkly-twinkly time indeed. not that we’re in any hurry! we are enjoying the fiery bits of comet tail we get to witness in the meantime.

what’s 8 earth years in the grand scheme of things, really?

now that there are more hours of darkness than light again, and the abrupt shift away from daylight savings makes the available light feel even more scarce, i find myself yearning for light all the more. just when my need for light intensifies, a bright light streaking across the sky, and a little reminder that i carry light in my own cells is just what i need.

i suppose that is where this post came from; it’s my attempt to generate my own light to shine into this darkness and be a rainbow, like my little spirit guy ctenophores, and bend that light into a spectrum of colors.

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ hummingbird rainbow

i said one time that i wanted to make a whole rainbow of hummingbirds, and this week my wish has come true! most of these will be photos from the past, until we get to the biv section of the rainbow, where a friend’s costa’s hummingbird filled in for me this week.

red!

orange! this is the same one from the first image, and there are two more of him as well, he was a particularly colorful guy from dragon house 1.0 who managed to cover royg all by himself!

yellow!

greens… this one seemed very green when he held his head at this angle. then of course we have the females’ plumage with lots of greens:

 

blue: i admit that i didn’t even know there were hummingbirds with blue coloration, and i am in total awe, and so glad my friend shared her front window, as well as a delicious cup of rooibos tea, with me. looking at this picture, i have a line from a song that susan tedeschi sang at the concert rich and i attended friday night, a cover of a george jones song called blue must be the color of the blues:

there’s a rainbow overhead with more blue than gold and red
blue must be the color angels choose

even though i don’t have the blues, it was a very pretty song and this is a very pretty bird. and for some reason, rainbow lyrics jump out at me.

we never seem to make it through a concert without a rainbow making an appearance, and i never seem to make it through a show dry-eyed. the first encore was susan accompanied only by piano, singing leon russell’s a song for you. heart achingly gorgeous. like him:

purple!

red violet… it wouldn’t be a complete rainbow without it!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

dislocated

one thursday in april at the dojo, i was sparring against a very tall, much bigger guy than me. he reminds me of my brother due to his 6’6” height and his day job having something to do with technology. my left arm up against his right arm was no match, and my shoulder was suddenly out of its socket, and i was screaming, “my shoulder! sifu!!!” in spite of the intense pain, i had the presence of mind to know that if i could just get someone to put it back in, it would stop hurting. this is due to my experience with knee dislocation twice in the past. for those keeping score at home, knees hurt more, but i don’t recommend dislocating either one! as i was shouting for sifu, who couldn’t hear me on the other side of about 20 kids sparring in pairs, and i sat down on the mat, vaguely thinking that intentionally sitting would be better than falling. sifu’s wife, who had been sparring close by, was already behind me, putting my shoulder back in and i immediately stopped screaming and started drying my tears and calming my breathing… no more excruciating pain. we put ice on it right away, and she helped me get a sling for it before i even left the dojo that night. several of the kids came up to me individually later that evening and told me they hoped my shoulder would feel better fast, and gave me big smiles. quinn insisted on carrying both his bag and mine, and opening all doors for me when it was time for us to head home. by then i felt like i was in good spirits and drove with one arm the 3 minutes home.

when i got in the door and told rich, i found that i wasn’t in such great spirits after all, and the reality of what had happened started to set in a little bit. it was time to make dinner, to get ready for the next day at my ending job where hauling buckets full of water and fish was a common task, thinking about how to increase my hours of farm work (also with the buckets and the hauling!) to offset my upcoming unemployment, and i wasn’t even sure how i was going to take off my t-shirt.

luckily it was nacho night, and luckily, rich still remembers how to make them, and helped me with all of the parts requiring 2 hands. he gently chided me that i did not need to injure myself to get him to help in the kitchen. faced with tasks such as getting a glass of water (requiring one hand to hold the glass and one to press the dispenser) or washing dishes, i felt despair creep along the edges of my consciousness, but rich kept taking on whatever needed to be done that was normally in my realm, with good humor. in the end it reminded me to have gratitude for him being there to take up my slack, and for all of the ease with which i go through life with my two good hands. i knew that my arm would only temporarily be out of commission, and it gave me a new appreciation for all i take for granted on a daily basis.

the next morning, rich refreshed his memory on how to put someone else’s hair in a ponytail, something he may not have practiced in a couple of decades since his daughter learned to do her own. he also helped with the dresser drawer full of unmentionables and when i gave up on putting on socks, he put them on me as well. in sickness and in health, he’s who i want to grow old with, let me tell you.

i’m finally writing this post, that has been incubating for half a year, because of my recent visit with the dragonflies. looking back on a dragonfly post from 2010, some things stand out about my winged friends and what they may represent.

“maneuverability and movement, propulsion into new ways of being and doing”

 “transformations (they spend up to a couple of years in the mud as nymphs before they emerge and fly away!”

 “finding true vision; visualizing and manifesting positive outcomes”

 “seeing around things from different angles; seeing color and light”

i shared back in april that “for fun i looked up shoulder injury in louise hay’s you can heal your life, which i’ve found to be startlingly accurate every time i’ve referred to its hippie dippy master list. it did not disappoint: joint injuries represent changing directions in life and the ease with which we make those transitions.”

having gotten back on the karate mat, i am now a (technically lethal) purple belt. my employment ended around the same time as my belt promotion, and i relied on savings and farming income and rich’s stable employment for the summer, crossed my fingers and prayed for the couple of months we went without health insurance, and stayed incredibly busy getting ready for our wedding. shortly after our honeymoon, i was employed once more, in yet another tenuous, temporarily grant-funded position, with a different health insurance, different retirement, different contracting agency. this one will run out on me in the spring again, and i am not excelling at maneuverability and ease in these transitions. actually, i’m driving myself nuts listening to my own jaded complaints. i did a good job advocating for a 30 hour work week through april instead of a 40 hour work week through january, which is helping me be 3% more sane now that farming season is calming down. i guess i should be 25% more sane, i’m not sure where the other 22% goes in this equation. when i listen to my vulnerable inner thoughts, they whisper of essays, books, blog posts i’d like to be writing. but mixed up with those dreams there is so much self doubt. the repetitive blows to my ego of losing jobs in the career i’m still paying student loans on piles on more of that.

dislocated worker is an actual term for someone laid off, terminated, or in an otherwise tenuous employment situation because of natural, economic, or other causes that are out of their hands. being a dislocated worker happens to farmers, fishers, loggers, and others like them whose employment embodies a sense of place.

i’ve talked about having a sense of place, and it just so happens it was in that dragonfly post:

“as one who has left the place of my birth, and settled far away on a distant shore, i want to believe that i can nurture the same level of love for this land that i now inhabit, that i could have had if i had stayed put in rural central new york. i am not sure how that will go, but i am going for it, and i can already say that i love this place more than i could have imagined. at any rate, i am heartened by the little dragons of the air, who are born far away from where their parents were, and yet somehow know exactly where they are going and what to do. i am thinking that my inner dragons needed to grow some wings and take to the air… and i think somehow, i am going to know what i am supposed to do.”

that post was written almost 7 years ago! i can say that i have grown into this land, this place with some deep roots. my intention has remained steadfast to embrace this place, immerse in its local language, and tend the small pieces of which i have had the privilege to be steward. it’s not that i never feel homesickness for the farm in new york, and i recall around the time of my shoulder injury feeling a spring breeze coming through an open window that made me keenly aware of that longing… it’s that i would feel an aching longing for this land now, too, should i ever have to leave it.

meanwhile, i’m trying not to judge how much time i’m spending here in the mud, awaiting my emergence, and trying to trust that i will have clear vision of the way ahead once i transform.

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ stars and flames

 

a week of sunshine brings out the rainbows, even in dead flowers and table clutter.

a rainbow veggie grand finale to a great outdoor farmer’s market season.

red: chickens!

red: the special effects department spray painted a plastic cup to give charizard a flaming tail!

orange: i wanted this year’s halloween costume to be worn beyond halloween, so i made his charizard costume out of some comfy organic cotton i had lying around from the days of earth huggy, and now he has a new set of pajamas, with wings!

orange: quinn’s jack-o-lantern.

yellow: the yellow center of this late season hollyhill starburst dahlia seems appropriately wind-tossed.

green: a forest and its keeper.

blue: little stars of borage.

purple: and a purple star leaf.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

wedding ~ prayer flags

i have so many things to say about our wedding that i have decided not to worry about being organized in how i start to tell about it. i’m just going to share bits and pieces that come to mind, and if i keep doing that, maybe i will eventually cover a fraction of the love and beauty and amazingness that day (and the whole week surrounding that day) held for us.

this little bit was an idea that came to me thanks to a group of online radical mama friends i connected with when quinn was a baby (one of whom made my wedding dress, another who came and took photos at the wedding, several of whom still read this blog). at one point in time, i remember us each creating a square to contribute to a long string of prayer flags for one friend’s birthday. since rich and i knew that quite a few of our far away friends and family members would be unable to join us for our wedding, but who would love to be here in spirit, we thought this would be a way for everyone to be included, while also providing some colorful decorations for our day. this was the text we included in our rsvp card, which is how the flags made their way back to us one by one.

“we will decorate our reception tent with prayer flags created by our guests. please add your words, drawings, or blessings to the fabric square and enclose it when you return this rsvp. we’ll let the breeze carry the prayers and blessings of our community skyward, and create a cheerful banner to brighten up our day. (sharpie marker is fine, we are not asking for fine embroidery, though feel free to be creative – paint, sew, embellish as you like!)”

cotton gauze, a yard of each color of the rainbow, just after being dyed.

cut fabric squares, ready for inclusion in invitations.

we underestimated how much we would be blown away by each and every one of the flags we got back.

quinn’s mandala flag.

an amazing dragon family.

mom and dad rew. quinn insisted his be right next to grammy’s when the flags got sewn together.

each time, the exact right thing just seemed to show up.

most of the flags made a string long enough to stretch all along one whole side of our big reception tent!

each flag has its own story and i am sure not all flags are visible in these photos… but the way we got to receive each one over the course of months, expectantly walking to the mailbox on a “date” each afternoon to see if we got another one, practically giddy if we got more than one in a single day! each one got our undivided attention as it was received, and we were amazed each time with the love and care put into the thoughts and artwork applied to our flags. each one was a blessing to receive, and it was a joy for me to add each one to the long ribbon; a visible and tangible representation of our great abundance of loved ones.

that radical mama photographer is also handy with a needle and thread, and hung the last few stragglers up just above our head table while i was having my hair done. luckily i had multiple photographers to make sure such details were captured!

there will be many more flowers in other posts, but i loved the way the prayer flags framed this image of early morning on our wedding day.

the whole day was full of amazing things like having a rainbow set of prayer flags show up to hang directly behind us, fully put together by people who love us. i didn’t even lay eyes on these particular flags until they were already sewn and hung up!

i love these pictures of rich giving his toast, and me laughing hysterically. humor is pretty foundational to our relationship.

and also, kindness. here we are feeding each other the yummiest cake ever baked, backed by om symbols, a phoenix and st. mary magdalene, on whose feast day we happened to get married; my catholic friend responsible for the mary flag wrote in her rsvp that she is “the patron saint of women, among other things: glovesmakers, converts, tanners, hairdressers and more!”

later in the afternoon, it was time to turn on the fireflies.

 

 

 

now that we have been married for three months (as of sunday!) we are still enjoying our prayer flags, hung up around our bedroom. it’s such a cheerful and colorful reminder of all of our friends and family coming together (physically or in spirit) to celebrate with us.

other posts you may enjoy:

~tuesday tunes~ something good coming

the dragon house soundtrack has consisted of every tom petty and the heartbreakers album on repeat, since we lost tom. our alarm clock has been playing the last dj and the living room player has rotated through wildflowers, hypnotic eye, highway companion, and mojo. it was while quinn sat on my lap in the happy spot one afternoon while mojo was playing that he told me he liked this song, and i had to admit i agreed. while i like all the other songs folks have shared since tom’s passing, they tend to come from the greatest hits album, ubiquitous in music collections across america, while i think a lot of people may be missing out on some of his more recent albums. 2010 is “recent” ish, right?

since i know at least a couple of my readers will want to look up the lyrics, i will save you that step:

I’m watching the water

Watching the coast

Suddenly I know

What I want the most

And I want to tell you

Still I hold back

I need some time

Get my life on track

I know that look on your face

But there’s somethin’ lucky about this place

And there’s somethin’ good comin’

For you and me

Somethin’ good comin’

There has to be

And I’m thinking ’bout mama

And about the kids

And the way we lived

And the things we did

How she never had a chance

Never caught a break

And how we pay for our big mistakes

I know so well the look on your face

And there’s somethin’ lucky about this place

There’s somethin’ good comin’

Just over the hill

Somethin’ good comin’

I know it will

And I’m in for the long run

Wherever it goes

Ridin’ the river

Wherever it goes

And I’m an honest man

Work’s all I know

You take that away

Don’t know where to go

And I know that look that’s on your face

There’s somethin’ lucky about this place

There’s somethin’ good comin’

For you and me

Somethin’ good comin’

There has to be

my working man is on 10-hour shifts this week (monday’s turned into 12 as they took advantage of a dry day to get as far as they could on their current project) and i’m mulling over the experiences of friends shared in #metoo posts, pondering domestic violence awareness month and how to use my voice most effectively, hearing a lot of unease from friends in general, feeling some myself, especially in the context of my career, dreading the onslaught of winter… but also savoring the last blooms of summer, the first wood stove fires, appreciating my hard working husband, and the steady supply of work available to him, enjoying the bittersweet emotional processing my son has been doing, enjoying a small uptick in creative energy and time to deploy it, enjoying this coffee i’m sipping this morning, and feeling gratitude for this life. something good coming has just the right sound for today, suggesting spirals and cycles, a bit melancholy, but ultimately hopeful.

 

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ meadowhawks and dragonberries

 

rainbow veggies! i am soaking in the brightly colored summer vegetables while we still have them for a little bit longer. and of course, i compulsively arrange them into rainbows.

a real live rainbow!

pink: pink and pink! and a shout out to flat bride, wherever she may be adventuring!

pink: the seashell cosmos have done very well in the rainbow garden.

red: the day was october 3, but following so closely on the heels of self care september, and being my half birthday, i gave myself an extra hour at the beach after my lunchtime run so i could enjoy the dragonfly migration. meet Sympetrum corruptum, the variegated meadowhawk.

red: zinnias of the red persuasion.

red: dahlia “northlake pride.” isn’t it fun when the freebie tossed into the box of dahlias you ordered turns out to be completely awesome?

orange: dahlia “crazy legs” was another freebie and has been one of the most productive plants.

orange: dahlia “fire magic,” which was obviously a chosen dahlia, based on its name!

orange: same goes for dragonberry, of course!

orange: my single tiger lily bulb did not seem to thrive, but it did produce this one lovely bloom.

orange: itty bitty sunflower “evening colors”. the deer ate most of my sunflowers.

yellow: lovely zinnia isabellina

yellow: a rainbow bouquet, but that “happy day” dahlia sure stands out!

yellow: these happy surprise anemones bloomed in our front yard recently.

green: i almost filed this under orange, for all the sparks!  and hotness. i got to watch my man doing man things with a grinder, and that was a highlight of my weekend. he is helping revamp our family cider press for our upcoming annual apple cider party.

green: the reason i went back inside the house on the morning of october 3. then i stuck my camera in my car, rather than take it back inside. and then the dragonflies appeared!

green: i’m just a little pine needle. nothing to see here.

green: some of the dragonflies were not meadowhawks, and i’m not sure whether they too were migrating, or whether they were just in the same vicinity doing their residential thing.

green: i cannot be sure whether this is a meadowhawk, i think not because it is more silver than red, but i often see them perch just like this. and also, i’m ok not knowing.

blue: i am more interested in bearing witness than studying them, anymore.

blue: and playing with my camera to try to photograph impossibly moving subjects.

blue: actually, gray. but the ocean sure was blue that day! and it was soooo annoying that these whales showed up, because then i had to decide whether to focus on them or the dragonflies!

blue: ok it dove! back to the bugs.

blue: this might be a first-time accomplishment for me, capturing two in one frame! they helped by flying by me about one every 10 seconds! i went back two days later, on another gloriously beautiful, 80 degree, windless day, and not a single dragonfly. year of the ephemeral indeed.

blue: man doing more manly things. taking care of my car. swoon!

blue: quinn also pulls his weight sometimes. sweeper of the trampoline!

blue: my husband is also handy at spotting things up in trees. we foraged! these elderberries will become some lovely flu prevention syrup for this winter.

blue: that blue stuff is also very useful for preventing the flu, but i’m still taking my vitamin d supplement, even though we have been blessed with some lovely sunny days.

blue: i am very proud to have grown this beauty from seed. it’s the little things!

purple: midnight moon is a gorgeous dahlia, which really does resemble its namesake.

red violet: actually, its name is purplicious! but we love a little red violet in every rainbow.

red violet ish purple ish: sunset is starting earlier, but we still have a few flowers. i must remember that fall is not yet winter.

black: it’s coming up on black cat season, and now we are ready to sprawl out like this silly guy and get some rest.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy: