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tea lights

This surprising year.

HemlockSky

This morning’s write is populated by a surprising jumble of images – the giant blue Christmas bulbs on the giant tree at the Distillery District’s outdoor Christmas market. A market that featured a Christmas Angel who wandered through big fat snowflakes and the crowds, occasional a capella singers, a snow-covered booth selling mulled cider and warmed the whole area with the smell of cinnamon, apple, nutmeg.

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Warm sunlight through the golden curtains of the curved tower room windows, spilling over the shoulders of my lovely daughter and across the old worn carpet. The clink of cutlery on breakfast dishes, cup on saucer beneath the rise and fall of engagement, conversation. The simple happy of my Mother’s rich red sweater.

A painting of Guido Fox on the wall at The Duke of York. Ah. He was Spanish. Of course he was – why else would his effigy be burned in ritual these past 413 years, by inebriated English people?

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The welcome pause there, the sprint-walk back past Margaret’s house to the B&B, the gathering of family from across the city, our arrival like love spilling from the car and through the door, the all hands on deck preparation of feast, the sit down in gratitude and conviviality.

Between us, ten countries and four continents traveled. Gathered at table from five different cities. All of us altered, in this surprising year.

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The Shape of Water – with courage, we find a way to move into what we love, no matter how fearsome or impossible the obstacles seem. Thank you Del Torno, for giving us this beautiful tale of a specific kind of defiance.

Let the lanterns be lit and set on the sill.  Like thoughts, like mulled cider to warm those we love who cannot join us in body, but join us nevertheless. 

I’m going to savour every one of these final days of the decade, the surprising year of 2019. May we all find a way to move into what we love. Happy Solstice, everyone.

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Cabin Stories 4: weather

The tarps work well. Easy to pull out and put away, which is required since sometimes rain comes unexpectedly at 3am. I am quietly and ridiculously proud of this.

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It occurs to me that I haven’t been myself for some years now. That the strong, creative me, fully open to possibles and wonder is only just now beginning to stand up, be seen and look around again, in these past few weeks of Cabin.  She sings, draws and writes every day now.

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There was a glimpse of this me in 2014, but it was chewed up and diverted by small town commercial gallery egos (abetted by my own stubborn naiveté about the way things work in that world), by painful/ joyful diversions into and out of romantic love and by the increasingly heavy requirements of paying for culturally prescribed things. Things that, from here, I’m not sure I needed.

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Many of the things I did need then I don’t need, now. In retrospect, the psychological distance between those needs then and these now is a lot like the distance from the top of the dover cliffs to the rocks below them.

Down is where you look when fear runs in your veins. Down to the meeting place between Forever Sea and Rocky Shore (while your friend the little white dog tugs at your leg to pull you back from the edge).

And then if you look up, where fear has no place, you can see your old, embedded practicalities for what they are: just a few small options among a big-sky-full of others.

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As I surrender to the last hours of Day 29 after The Leap of Faith, I can see what I could not have imagined before I found my courage. 

My ‘friend the dog’ is the cat who joins me to watch the sun set each night. The place where rocky shore meets the endless water has expression as vast and diverse as any behavioural spectrum, but this inspires fascination, not fear. On every level I know I am stronger. 

When the beauty around me reaches impossibly generous levels of gentleness, I stop drawing/writing/reading/singing, and just witness.

Gratitude.

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There is strong emotional weather, to be sure. Beauty without shadow is nothing you can build a good path from. I welcome it – there’s always room for change. Change is all around, here – dancing with life. 

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During and while all of the storms pass over and through, the spiders spin, the birds forage, The butterflies do their impossible, the waves sculpt the shore, and the trees drink both sun and rain, stretch themselves steadily upward and down. 

The clear sky remains the same, regardless of weather, full of options. I trust the sky.

I’ve landed well.

 

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Rage like a mountain

There’s nothing new. But there is a new urgency I can’t ignore or discount – to do so would be futile, and frankly, cowardly.

It appears that I’ve come to a place of no return with critical parts of my life that have always been up for negotiation.

Like the movement of tectonic plates, a deep and radical shifting of my priorities.

I find myself, with some regularity these days, shaking with rage. I feel also, and at the same time a profound sense of deep and steady calm, no less intense and alive than the anger.  The word Ferocious comes to mind.

I have somehow expanded my capacity to contain Ferocity.

It feels quite safe in a dangerous sort of way.  I’m mindful of a need for care.

While I read for my masters.  While I make buffalo stew.  While I use my chainsaw to cut firewood, practise new bow technique on my cello.  While I write, sew, draw, listen to Joni Mitchell and RVW Symphony number 9 for work and pleasure.

While I think about wise, strong people who have been denied a voice of their own for far, far too long.

It’s difficult to put my finger on the ‘why now’ of this.  I think that doesn’t matter.  It’s the thundercloud that matters.

I will do the things I do for better reasons. I’ll learn to do other things, because they need to be done.