Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Syrup Summer

Each summer seems to have a theme or a raison d'etre.  Last summer or maybe the summer before, I felt compelled to bring a little left bank to my small New England town and start think tank salons with all my gal friends.  They didn't bite or I didn't push or both.  We remain salon-less unless you count our fancy hairdos.

This is the Syrup Summer.  Everything is hot and hazy and slow moving.  I seem to be stuck in a kind of lethargy brought on by humidity and grief and yearning to be free of something.  Sometimes, it is my kids reciting the same litany of complaints:  WE are bored, we are bored, we are bored.  How can that be when you have been in nonstop camps since the end of June?  You have biked, hiked, crafted, swam in the ocean, in ponds, made smores, caught fireflies, frogs, and butterflies.  I'm working up a little lecture on negative space.....the need to experience solitude and read and do nothing to appreciate the canvas of life.  They are not biting.  Maybe they are trapped in syrup too.

In the syrup summer, I am worried about the health of  a loved one.  The bigger than life elder in the clan who I can't imagine going anywhere except to raise hell somewhere.  We love you and are with you in this.

So, swim on through the sickly sweet substance that has you in it's grasp.  Even if it is just an overdone metaphor.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Time Past

My taste in poetry has changed:)

A Time Past

The old wooden steps to the front door
where I was sitting that fall morning
when you came downstairs, just awake,
and my joy at sight of you (emerging
into golden day—
the dew almost frost)
pulled me to my feet to tell you
how much I loved you:

those wooden steps
are gone now, decayed
replaced with granite,
hard, gray, and handsome.
The old steps live
only in me:
my feet and thighs
remember them, and my hands
still feel their splinters.

Everything else about and around that house
brings memories of others—of marriage,
of my son. And the steps do too: I recall
sitting there with my friend and her little son who died,
or was it the second one who lives and thrives?
And sitting there ‘in my life,’ often, alone or with my husband.
Yet that one instant,
your cheerful, unafraid, youthful, ‘I love you too,’
the quiet broken by no bird, no cricket, gold leaves
spinning in silence down without
any breeze to blow them,
is what twines itself
in my head and body across those slabs of wood
that were warm, ancient, and now
wait somewhere to be burnt.

Denise Levertov

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bite of mindfulness

It has been too hot to function in the Northeast so that has given us all an excuse to go off the res, or to go off the mat. Be careful out there on the edges.

I practice yoga on Tuesday nights with folks who have been namasting together for years. Our teacher takes no crap for a blissed out yogini so it is no use complaining about the heat. She does have seeds of compassion in her and told us to get off the mat and practice on the cool floor. The practice of yoga builds heat and as the night wore on, the floor became a welcome balm.

I have blogged at length about my complicated relationship with yoga and suffice it to say we continue our uneasy partnership. I feel after 15 years of doing a blessed forward bend, I should be able to touch the blessed floor, but god bless it, that is not the case. Often, my yoga teacher shakes her head sadly while she is watching me in a pose but we continue gamely on together. That night it felt good to make it through the heat to the pay off of shivasna.

The corpse pose. Not aptly named, as it turned out, because when a corpse is bitten by an ant she does not grab her back, let lose a stream of obscenities, and lunge for her yoga block to kill the murderous little vermin.

I will say this, I did not disturb my fellow practitioners. I quickly thought of Thich nhat Hanh's teachings about incorporating distractions into one's practice and letting them become a path to mindfulness.

The ant is no longer with us but I am grateful for his lesson, showing me how far I have to go. As for the heat, it can turn you into a cold blooded killer, right in the middle of reaching for something else.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Pensees

We are back from New Hampshire where we did not even remotely come close to killing anyone on a ridge hike. Promise.

I picked up a copy of Gary Snyder's book "The Practice of the Wild" which is worth reading. He writes in a gentle, but compelling way about the importance of remembering that the wild is the real world and all of our constructions have moved many of us out of balance. He also talks about the importance of place. We feel that when we are visiting our friends in New Hampshire and marvel at the previous generation's foresight in creating community for the folks who came after.

I am out of balance not because I have been out of the wild but because my ninja book club is reading "Infinite Jest".....I finished the 1400 pages plus tome and can say no more except that it was worth the time. Hurry up my ninja friends, I do have some thoughts about it. I will say this, he writes as authentically about addiction as I have read. Can I say that as a non addict but as someone who has done addiction counseling? That swings us over into literary relativism which I like to steer clear of so I will just move on to the next thought......

My son is attending camp with a lot of older kids. He is headed out tomorrow for 3 days and 2 nights for the first time. This growing up thing has some drawbacks. Day 1: "mom, this is torture, you know social situations are not my thing".
Day 2: "I think I will attend this camp each year until I go to college".

I am supposed to be working on a book, refinancing the house, and planning some kind of big celebration for our 50's. We might just sneak off to Holland.

Enjoy the flow of summer, when "the song sings itself".

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Summer started this year with a whirlwind trip to Texas to celebrate Tiny's marriage to Dave.  Tiny is my sister who, unbeknownst to me, has been passing herself off as the tall one in the family while I have been trying to survive up in the Northeast.  At her outdoor celebration, 110 degrees and that is not even hyperbole, I passed on to 80 of her nearest/dearest friends that "Tiny" was her nickname growing up.  Although technically not the truth then, it is my truth now.
Check out Finger pistol's website and listen to the song "Still in Texas."  They posted a great picture of Kat and Dave and they absolutely kept the crowd from fainting from the heat with their amazing music.  My nephew, Isak, who is coming on up here to attend Berklee College of Music and my stepdad played beautiful sets as well.  I had a heat induced epiphany that night that Texas creates such amazing musicians because it is too damn hot to do anything else.

We head out tomorrow for our favorite summer get away with our dear friends Dave and Ruth who invite us up every year to New Hampshire.  We are beyond blessed with generous friends and loving family.  I was able to get away to Texas because Scott's sister took the kids for a couple of days.  Another aunt/uncle are taking them to the Cape in a couple of weeks.  Dad masterminded my surprise visit to Texas and I can honestly say that it is the first time in my life that both my mom and sister were speechless:)

So, as I compile my bucket list for the summer, I find myself just wanting to catch up with the community that I sometimes neglect in the chaos of the year.  I will see you soon.