knee deep in weeds

notes on living a life

mirror, mirror

“I realize that humans lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.”

― John Green, Paper Towns

Because we can’t find a place to hang the huge mirror that hung over our bed in our old home, we hang it at the end of the hallway which leads out to the main part of the house. It is not a fresh idea, but rather a borrowed one; as there was a mirror hanging there when we looked at the house the very first time.

I surround the mirror with pieces of small art and I like it.

As I walk down the hallway I can’t help but see myself, in full view; straight out of bed, after a workout or shower, ready to head into town, or in my pj’s, in the middle of the night, when I get up to let the dog out. I witness what I think is a clear view of myself.

I notice how I sometimes limp towards late evening, but walk with power after working out. I note how old and baggy some of my clothes are and how my hair looks upon waking. I mark the slight dip in my left shoulder and how I really need to drop twenty pounds. I scrutinize my refection for a few days and find I am neither happy or sad about what I see.

A few days after hanging the mirror I start to slow my steps down while waling towards it. I stare hard at my reflection, trying to discern what I am seeing; i look for clues that might tell me a bit more about what is going on deep inside of this woman, secrets I hide even from myself. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of something I don’t recognize, and I pause, giving her time to allow whatever it is to surface. I find myself looking back at her over my shoulder as I head to bed.

I bring her with me as I settle in bed with my book; her and me, and all of our secrets.

Slowly she has started to share, and slowly I am learning to listen . . .

where old leaves fall

"How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days."

- John Burroughs

 
 

We set out to explore a new park one morning, only to discover her tiny pathways are not long or many. One takes us to the lake where a small beach awaits, while the other leads us into a stand of tall trees, giving us the illusion that we are several miles from town. We walk along the trails, leaves crunching below our feet, as others cascade down around us. Their colors are muted, as the rich colors of fall are starting to fade, but I still find each one beautiful.

On the way home we stop at the donut shop where we buy a chocolate cake donut for me and a maple bar for him. Fall and doughnuts make the perfect pair.

what i crave

“Without a calendar, where would the week go?”

― Anthony T. Hincks

The week is full of the last October skies; blazing blue, crisp and golden. The new home, that is going up next door, looms over us, so close; blocking part of our view from the back yard. I watch with curiosity, as the framers do their job, and try to imagine each room along with grass in the yard, and the sound of children’s (three boys) laughter next door. We have never had neighbors so close.

The kids come for Sunday dinner (curry and cookies ) and I marvel at the ease in which they all settle in. There is a comfortable routine to it now that brings me joy along with peace and assurance that I did not fail motherhood. Something I need right now.

I stumble across this book and think the author has plagiarized my journals. I can’t put it down and realize what a teeter-totter parenthood was and understanding floods me. Her stories are so familiar it is comforting and heartbreaking; often so close to home I am jolted into memories that leave me exhausted. I am thankful for her braveness, as her words validate some of the responsibility and sadness I will always carry, allowing me to own it with grace. I grasp how many balls I was trying to keep in the air, and am able to see the mother I was and still am, with tenderness and admiration.

Craving my own company, I leave the dog home, take my camera and walk a neighborhood new to me.
I spot the red tricycle and after that inspiration comes effortlessly.

have a beautiful weekend . . .

speak up

“The beauty isn't in the jewel itself, but in the way the light shines through it.”
― William Kent Krueger, This Tender Land

 
 

I start and stop dinner preparations several times to walk outside with my camera. What I really want to do is jump in my car and drive to the bay to watch the sunset. We could grab something to eat on the way home, or eat a sandwich, I think. But I don’t suggest it, and later that night I question why.

Answers come to me, some I don’t want to share, and some are so obvious it makes me crazy.

radically altered

“But we overlay the present onto the past. We look back through the lens of what we know now, so we’re not seeing it as the people we were, we’re seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered.”

― Ann Patchett, The Dutch House

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The week is full of finding balance and understanding. I tuck away my wireless headphones and some mad money (at different times, in different places) and still have not found them. The headphones were old and frustrating and so I let them go, and then one day he surprises me with a new pair, a good pair, and I am thrilled. I know I will find the money at some point, and decide it too will be an unexpected gift to myself, from myself. But the frustration of losing things overwhelms me at times, leaving me unsure of myself. Is it age? Or, just a new home, with new tucking away spaces. I think the latter, but still . . . My head swims at times as thoughts bob around, and I am unsure of where to categorize them. So for now I agree to allow them to be and focus on taking note of the world around me.

I head into town alone one day to buy a gift, but the gift is really to myself. I need some breathing room, some time to think and wonder, to try on new feelings and explore with no explanation other than curiosity. I check out the library, roam alley ways, and stop in to have a chai tea in a real cup to celebrate fall. I come home refreshed and he thankful he understands me better at times than I do myself.

We meet some of the kids in town on Friday night for a Halloween pop up and it feels good to be out among people. We are home early and I can’t wait to fall into bed. Sleep is fitful so I am gentle with myself as I grasp just what it is I am struggling with. I consider just how easy it is to fall into old ways, and question why I even go there when I slowly start to comprehend that it a way to deal with past pain that lingers deep within me. I also see how the pain is overlaid by what I know now to be true, and there is a huge breakthrough while understanding sinks in. I wake knowing myself better.

The dog and I walk among morning dew, and beautiful fall light. I tell him about what I uncovered while he slept the night away curled up beside me. He listens, while sniffing the world around him, both of us grateful for this beautiful fall day.


have a lovely weekend. . .

lakeside

"In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touct
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind?

~ Mary Oliver

 
 
 
 

The weather turns and i ditch the gym in favor of walking the dog for a couple of hours. We walk along the water’s edge, among the sparkles and deep fall colors. He does a bit of wading as I move around with my camera. We both head home feeling like we got the better deal.

poppies

"And now my beauties, something with poison in it I think, with poison in it, but attractive to the eye and soothing to the smell . . . poppies, poppies, poppies will put them to sleep."

—The Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz (movie, released 1939)

they are scattered among one of the garden beds in our new home, dancing among
the row of carrots and the few beets left for us by the previous owners.
i will pick them soon, placing them in tiny vases around the house,
allowing them to dry. come late winter, as soon as the ground can be worked,
i will break the pods open and sprinkle the tiny seeds
among the flower beds in our yard, and along the sides of the roads,
where Baker and I walk.
secretly hoping they are red. . .

no need to hurry

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself."

– Virginia Woolf

There are constant conversations that takes place in my head. Questions are asked by me to me, and because I have to think about the answer, I feel like I have failed myself in some way. But I remind myself that change takes practice; it takes me telling myself it is okay to do things different, to change what has always been, or not, but to take that pause to allow my feelings to surface. Then, and only then, I whisper an answer.

I am shooting more, mostly for the daily lists (which you can find in the navigation bar up top), but also to get to know my new surrounds a bit better. I look for things that are new, but also for things that are the same. I mess around with camera settings, depending on how fickle the weather of October is being, and take my time post processing, allowing the feeling I was after to direct the final photo. I use the sliders in lightroom with intent and don’t rely on presets. I reset each photo a number of times it seems, but I am in no hurry and have no need to satisfy anyone but myself.

It feels right,
have a great weekend . . .

surrender

The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.

- Julia Cameron

she finds inspiration in conflicting environments
allowing herself to surrender to it; freeing herself of control


I have started a new 365 list project because I do love list and I am hoping it might inspire me to shoot more. You will find it under “the lists” tab at top. As always, thanks so much for stopping by to take a look.

I am also over on ViewFinders today talking about our move. I hope will stop by for a read.