knee deep in weeds

a personal photo journal

harmony

"A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself."

- Maya Angelou

Lately I have been lingering in happiness; lingering in tranquil slow goodness that has found its way into my life. I don't resist, or bow out, but rather ask for open-mindfulness and curiosity. I have come to see that my real work is to listen and notice, and to be kind and generous with my heart. In short. . .  to love. 

I have learned to open the windows. For it seems that even in the coolness of winter, I ache to connect with the landscape around me. The rain, which falls relentlessly this time of year, nor the dark sky which surrounds me does not change my mind. All I see are possibilities of the next beautiful thing. 

I realize that my soul is the window to my life and how it was repressed for so long. The air inside was stifling and I blocked any opening where light might seep in.  But today, I keep my soul open and each day I wake for the purpose of noticing; for the purpose of love. 

If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully.
— Maya Angelou


I arrange for each day to include a bit of closeness with him, along with laughter, friendship and kindness. But I also allow for time alone, preferably a walk with the dog. This dog, who is such good company, and does not step on my toes. He is patient and understanding as long as he is allowed to sniff. I am surprised at how often we come to a place in the road where we both need to stop, for our own reasons. He never questions my motives, but rather seems to embrace the opportunities it opens for him. 
 

I question at times if this is real. I could worry about the possibility of waking one day to darkness. But that would only be a waste of my time. We get to where we are with everything we have experienced up to this very moment and we cannot change that. 

We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate - thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.
— Maya Angelou

Mostly, life takes my breath away. . .  

have a magical week, 
xooox

a book review

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?”

— Mary Oliver

I placed a hold on Mary Oliver's new book even before our library had it. It was published in October and I picked my hold up a few days ago; all in all, not a bad wait for such a treasure. 

I was enjoying everything: the rain, the path
wherever it was taking me, the earth roots
beginning to stir.
I didn’t intend to start thinking about God,
it just happened.
— Mary Oliver

It is a huge book with over 400 pages and encompasses over five decades of her poetry. There is not room for it and Basil together on my lap, so I curl my legs up underneath me, and place him next to me. He is a bit miffed by the whole arrangement, but accepts it. I read to him one of my favorites and I like to think he gets it. 

He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

Tell me you love me, he says.

Tell me again.

Could there be a sweeter arrangement?
Over and over
he gets to ask it.
I get to tell.
— Mary Oliver

I will be buying the huge volume as I can't get through more than a couple of pages without needing to set it down to let her words sink deep inside of me. She reminds me to notice, to pay attention, and that most of what is important in life is right in front of me. I want to see the world as she does; to allow it inside of me without holding back. To allow the earth's reflection and all her beauty to penetrate my very being. 

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
— Mary Oliver

I feel her love of dogs so deeply, even her love of snakes in the cold of winter. I try and grasp the beauty she finds in the simple act of the sun on her face in the morning, or the taste of peaches. She is just what I need to balance out the uncertainty in our world today.

She gives me hope. 

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?” 
― Mary Oliver

I would suggest you put it on your Christmas list for giving and receiving. 
Have a great weekend. . .  

“Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.” 
 ~ Mary Oliver 

give and take

Imagine a great net spread across the universe. Each juncture is a “being,” and if we imagine that consciousness as a drop of dew, we can see that in each shining drop resides the reflection of every other drop on the net.
— Sandy Boucher

We carry into each holiday, scenes from the past, both good and bad. We bring our traditions together with the blessing of each new family member, morphing them together to make new traditions. Some things, like that crazy cheese in the jar my husband always has to have. we can't let go of. While others things, like my daughter-in-laws amazing vegan mashed potatoes made with cashew cream, we embrace and make it part of our growing family's traditions. 

Our Thanksgiving was slow and lovely. We had time for a long walk with the dogs, and time to play a game with snacks and champagne before our dinner. And yes, Basil could not resist that red hydrant, but I resisted posting the photo I got of him in action. 

I don’t eat anything that a dog won’t eat. Like sushi. Ever see a dog eat sushi? He just sniffs it and says, “I don’t think so.” And this is an animal that licks between its legs and sniffs fire hydrants.
— Billiam Coronel

The newlyweds live in a beautiful neighborhood full of old homes: each one different and full of lovely character. Some have been completely redone while others added on to in different ways. There are no split entries or ramblers and each one hosts a sidewalk leading up to the front door.  Many of them have amazing gardens in their front yards and gates on the side that I imagine lead to a magical secret garden in the back. Or an old shed and a picnic table. 

The cats were out in full force, even though we had both dogs with us. The dogs paid them no mind and the cats posed. One got a bit inpatient with me but I managed to catch her before she jumped. 

The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.
— William S. Burroughs

Thanksgiving reminds me of soccer games and traveling east of the mountains to be with family. It reminds me of spending so much time in the kitchen that I don't want to even eat some years. It reminds me of the years Jordan was gone, working in The Bahamas, and how he had to eat lobster and how we missed him so. It reminds me of playing hide and seek with my cousins in the dark attic of the old house I grew up in. It reminds me of the time the new bride left the giblets in the neck of the turkey, because she did not know it was there (and no, that was not me but rather a cousin). It reminds me of my mother making the stuffing in a large, gold plastic dish pan, that she saved just for that purpose because it was the only thing she had big enough to hold it all. It reminds me of the big turkey roaster she would bring down from that dark attic and plug in so she could use the oven for other things. It reminds me of the strips of leftover pie dough, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and how we could eat those before everyone arrived, but not the pie. My daughter-in-law did the very same thing, offering us beautifully browed crust before we ate. Her pie dough made from her grandmother's recipe. 

Holidays are bittersweet, full of nostalgia, memories and traditions. They help ground us in this ever changing world. But they should not stifle us. Gathering with those we love and those we care about is what matters. For the first time in years I was not stressed or tired. I did not wake up with a food hangover or any kind of resentment or expectations other than to just enjoy what was offered up to me and give back what I could. The couple of days we spent with our kids up north was full of relaxed goodness. 

Give and Take...
For to the bee a flower is a fountain if life
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love
And to both, bee and flower,
the giving and the receiving is a need and an ecstasy.
— Khalil Gibran

I appreciate you stopping by to read my rambling each week. It really means so much to me. As we head into this new season, take time to enjoy and notice all the goodness surrounding you. xoxo