knee deep in weeds

notes on living a life

spring normalcy

“Because dogs live in the present. Because dogs don’t hold grudges. Because dogs let go of all of their anger daily, hourly, and never let it fester. They absolve and forgive with each passing minute. Every turn of a corner is the opportunity for a clean slate. Every bounce of a ball brings joy and the promise of a fresh chase.”
― Steven Rowley, Lily and the Octopus

the week is full of spring normalcy
we clean out the vegetable beds, finding a few potatoes
and those beets i grew tired of last fall . . .

now they sit in that bucket waiting for inspiration . . .

we divide daisies, phlox, and astilbe in the perineal beds
and lay fresh compost down. i fight with the dog, who
won’t leave my tools alone and scold him when he runs off with them

i come in and treat myself to the first gin and tonic of the season . . .

one day we pack a lunch and head off for a small hike
we walk around a close by lake, and stop for real
coffee milkshakes on the way home

we should have walked further, i tell him as i slurp mine down . . ,

i do my best to learn from the dog,
to live in the moment, open my heart with a clean slate,
pay attention with all my senses, and

give spontaneous affection . . .

“Be present in the moment. Give spontaneous affection.”
― Steven Rowley, Lily and the Octopus


yesterday afternoon

“These are our few live seasons. Let us live them as purely as we can, in the present.”
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

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“This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you.”
― Annie Dillard, The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New

spring awakens

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

the week is full of dirt, weeds, and spring.
i am surprised at how warm the soil is,
even thought there are two small patches of snow left in the yard.
it seems spring was not fooled and was doing her job
beneath that white, icy blanket.

i come in each day tired, in a good way; feeling content and blessed.

i make a “take in the good” list . . .

  • waking at sunrise

  • dirty fingernails

  • the red crowns of rhubarb in the garden

  • the dog curled up beside me, using my red weeding bucket for shade

  • Katie’s IG feed and their trip to Germany

  • listening to the birds and trying to identify their calls

  • beautiful evening light

  • a hot shower after being in the garden all day

  • a glass of red wine

  • the song of spring peepers coming through the open window at night

nothing mind blowing
but all of it so good, and worthy of my attention.

“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

sunday morning

“Fulfillment derives not from lofty achievements, but from ordinary feats. It arrives not once in a lifetime,
but every moment of the livelong day.”
― Karen Maezen Miller, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life

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Sunday morning dawns as the dog and I leave our bed. My husband rolls towards the middle, finally having the bed to himself, and sleeps on as we slip out the door.

I let Baker outside and watch as he mills around the yard smelling here and there, checking for any night visitors we might have had. He takes care of business and makes his way up the deck stairs to the back door. I open the door and watch as he darts towards the couch, surveying the front yard out our front window, looking for any intruders in the watershed across the street.

I join him with my latte and we settle in, him watching, me reading. Soon I am pulled towards the sounds of geese honking and I watch out the window as two Canadian geese make their way to the pond behind our home. The book lies in my lap as I listen, and my mind settles, I am surprised when I feel my body relax too, as I didn’t know I was holding stress.

Soon he is back at the door wanting out. I let him go and watch again. Nose to the ground, he leaps towards the back of our property, running pell mell until he suddenly stops and looks up; his bay deep and soulful. I slip on my clogs, grab a treat and head out.

High on the branch the raccoon is watching him with intent. I marvel at his sweet face, but also know he is scared and looking for food. This winter has been hard on all of us.

I break the treat into thirds and coax Baker across the yard, telling him what a good boy he is as he follows, knowing how hard it is for him to leave. Once he is safe inside, I step out onto the deck with binoculars and watch as the raccoon makes his way down out of the tree, heads over the fence, and leaves our yard.

“Every bit of life comes with instructions, when we are attentive enough to notice.” 
― Karen Maezen Miller

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I hear the geese before I see them. Above me, the two Canadian geese fly gracefully as they leave the pond behind our home. I stand and watch them and once again I feel an ease flood over me.

I head back inside, feed the dog and make some toast; understanding what I am feeling is “at home”.

a new project

that week i start a new project to help with my chattering mind . . .

"Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns...We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small."
— Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha)

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"Sweetheart, you are in pain. Relax, take a breath, let's pay attention to what is happening, then we'll figure out what to do.” - Sylvia Boorstein

I have started a new project, which you can find under the navigation tab.
No rules or expectations . . .


Thank you so much for your comments, emails and kind words.
Thank you for taking the time to come here every few days for a peek into my world.
It means so much to me.

exhale

that week when everything was ordinary and beautiful . . .

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“Life is amazing. And then it's awful. And then it's amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it's ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That's just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it's breathtakingly beautiful.” 
― L.R. Knost

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sunrise

that weekend we went to the beach to get away from the snow. . .

"We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there."
— Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon)


snowdrops

that day i went to the arboretum for proof spring was coming . . .

“Snowdrops: Theirs is a fragile but hardy celebration... in the very teeth of winter.”
- Louise Wilder




that Sunday we drove to Bellingham to meet the kids for brunch . . .

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It's not only children who grow. Parents do too.
- Joyce Maynard




the best season

those few days when wildlife filled our yard, and drove the dog crazy . . .

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Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.

If your mind isn't clouded
by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-Men


heart to heart

snow play, and that day i discover Baker has a perfect heart on his nose . . .

“There’s a section toward the end of the book where I talk about how dogs love unconditionally and love you, flaws and all. We need to accept those (flaws) in our lives or it won’t work. Animals aren’t concerned with social class or status, they’re much more pure, heart to heart. A dog can teach us what matters most in life and what’s important in life if we open our heart and listen. Basic life lessons, loyalty and friendship, and guilelessness.”
-John Grogan, author of Marley and Me


hunger

that day birds filled the yard, and a hunger for life filled my being . . .

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“She came to understand that people had to decide, really, how they were going to live.”
― Elizabeth Strout, Anything Is Possible


participating

that day i took photos out the car window . . .

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“To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe -- to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it,
organs that draw nourishment from it - - is a wonder beyond words.”
― Joanna Macy

have a beautiful weekend,
Cathy


the dog park

that day i promised him; i will never dress you in purple . . .

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Dogs invite us not only to share their joy but also to live in the moment, where we are neither proceeding from nor moving toward, where the enchantment of the past and future cannot distract us, where a freedom from practical desire and a cessation of our usual ceaseless action allows us to recognize the truth of our existence, the reality of our world and purpose, if we dare. - Dean Koontz

I am not sure who enjoyed the day more the dogs or their humans.