pinch me

I’ve walked down to the mailbox twice now. Why not? It is just so darn gorgeous here, and taking the walk down to the end of the road where the row of mailboxes are perched on the bank of a roaring brook, passing beautiful historic structures that are my new neighbors shining in the late afternoon light, feeling the rightness of it all, continues to take my breath away.  Not to mention the sound and smell and sight of moving water everywhere that feels so sacred…

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My new favorite thing to say is that I have to pinch myself all day long to be reminded I am really here. Every view out a window settles in my heart. Sitting in my small home office I command an almost 180 degree view out the two windows.  Home doesn’t adequately describe what this feels like. It is so much more than a knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, it is a peace and contentment I’ve only dreamed about until now.

The past few weeks of emptying boxes and settling has been fun. With a well-timed respite in my work life at this time, it has been leisurely days to enjoy the process. I’ve had dear friends and family here already for help and nourishment and company.

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I’ve already been able to leave Nora for hours on her own in the house, balanced by hours of her free roaming and dashing in the wide meadow out back.

I am even already set up and working on a new quilt…

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And oh, the woods continue to beckon! Yesterday it was a slow meander down to the waters edge, sitting to take in what is there, watching Nora daringly flirt with the rushing water from tops of large stones, noticing the last of the golden leaves that appear as wings of giant birds throughout the landscape.

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Walking the now familiar path I see something different today. A large rock similar in size to the other moss covered pieces in its presence, but this one is light and bald. Walking up close I see it is a huge piece of quartz, mostly rose, with cream and gold. Holding court in the heart of this magical place…

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And there it is again, the feeling of ‘pinch me’, is this for real?, as I think of the sizable piece of rose quartz that graces the threshold to the house…

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The presence of this quartz in the woods signals the truth of home everywhere I am in this place.

On a more practical note, the new beautiful gas range was installed just in time for visits last week, enabling me to make pots of soup and yummy baked things. After discovering that I’d forgotten all my cookie sheets and racks at the old house (!!) I decided to make some shortbread in a pan using the gorgeous dried cranberries I just bought. Adapting a recipe, it went something like this: preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper, cutting the corners to overlap and fit paper cleanly in the corners of the pan, edges of paper overhanging edges of pan. Cream two sticks unsalted butter with one teaspoon pure vanilla extracts and a dash of salt until fluffy. Add 3/4 cup confectioners sugar and beat until just incorporated. Add two cups flour (I used my cashew/whole wheat pastry flour mix) in two batches, beating each one until incorporated, adding just enough so that the dough is not sticky, but also not stiff. Mix in 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Dust hands with flour and press dough evenly into pan. Score top for desired size and shape of pieces (I scored seven rows, each divided by three). Bake about 40 minutes until top is dry. Let set a minute or two then cut through the score lines. Cool in pan for a few more minutes to set, then lift shortbread out of pan and finish cooling (on the paper) on a rack.

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These were such a hit I had to make them twice in two days. A perfectly simple recipe to honor my new simple life. Ben insisted on being in the kitchen to make the second batch with me, smile. The few that are left are in the freezer now, but honestly, they taste just as good frozen.

A new pot of soup is sitting warm on the stove now in anticipation of company for lunch. We’ll eat, and then go take a walk in the woods.  I could get used to this. Pinch me…!

ha, fooled you, i’m happy!

Standing at the stove watching the progress of two over easy eggs cook just the way I like them, broken yolks soft and just barely firm, I feel happy. Happy for walking an entire hour in the rain on the trail with Nora this morning and for having warm nourishing food right now. Happy anticipating a day of relaxed and easy packing, happy for making space and time for feeling the fun in this. I’m even happy thinking of the amazing sight out my kitchen window yesterday, of an eagle sitting smack dab in the center of the small circle of back yard grass, lifting its enormous wings and taking off as soon as my gaze fully focused on her.

I went out to find a very large partially eaten dead rabbit in that spot. The message that has come to me from this sighting feels powerful. Eagle Symbolism…   by Presley Love   “Eagle totem is the symbol of freedom with powerful symbolic meaning of timing, victory and spiritual quest… helping you to discover your personal power and the route to the destiny of your choosing….” I think perhaps the eagle eating the rabbit represents a victory of transmuting the fear of making this choice to forge ahead with my life in the way I feel destined to. Dear rabbit, oh attractor of fears, spent the summer feasting on the rich grasses of home, making ready for what would come. It is a shamanic tradition that something gets transmuted energetically when one animal eats another. Eagle eating rabbit transmutes fear with vision.

Fully claiming the power to be exactly where I am in my life is, simply, happy.

I was joking with my daughter Molly yesterday during a skype call that we needed to come up with a name for an expression she has that I just love. I saw it on her face in a photo that her boyfriend took of her a few months ago, and then saw it again on a photo I found of her yesterday while packing when she was just nine years old. I knew the expression had something to do with happy, but that there was something else there too…

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It came to me later in the day. I wrote to her that I thought the name of the expression should be, “Ha, fooled you, I’m happy!” Thankfully she wrote right back that she liked it! Because there could have been some resistance to the notion that happiness for her is not completely obvious. Fact is, my daughter and I share a sensitivity that allows us to share depths of sadness with each other more readily that depths of happiness. So it is no small thing to recognize and celebrate where this thing called ‘happy’ appears.

It is also no coincidence that Molly’s first tattoo (yes, she does have a few) is of a condor on her left wrist. The power of this bird is no stranger to her and I am in awe of how she continues to honor the path of her own destiny, even if that vision is obscured to her at times.  Oh, did I mention that she currently lives in Peru?

Helping each other come to an awareness of vision and power that can be a seat for happiness is such a gift.  No need to fool anyone anymore!

with the leaves

Earlier and colder than yesterday, we are moving into still dawn and burgeoning color, steam coming from the ground,

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and a waning moon that is already not as full as its fullness that was captured in yesterday’s photo.

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Going in, the first part of the trail is always predictably dark even if the sun has already risen.

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Anticipating the clearings ahead that will be infused with brightness, I let the ground lead me there. It is a ground boot deep now in leaves, with tops of roots and rocks barely showing through. The actual path is barely discernible.

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There is a certain comfort and familiarity with being with the leaves this way, and I realize that months of walking these paths have given me a blind trust of what is underfoot.   It is a sea of leaves in every direction I look in the dim light, where even familiar structures like the footbridges blend more that call out.

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I know I will stay at this level of the brook with the leaves this morning. Doubling back from the end of the trail before climbing would be necessary, I meet my new friend Celia and her dog Molly walking toward us. We turn around and walk for a short bit back to the end of the trail and I feel the pull to continue with them up the mountain as we typically do.  But my resolve to stay with the leaves is stronger. I feel the bittersweet edge of this choice as I really enjoy the time with Celia. There is no tension as we go our separate ways, and I am taken by surprise at the wave of emotion that rises in me and spills out in brief tears while walking in the opposite direction. I think, what if Celia wants to talk or needs some companionship and here I am selfishly doing exactly what I want to do. But wait! So is she, choosing to continue up the mountain just the way she needs to right now. This is exactly the way it is supposed to be this morning. Smile. Recognizing the old worn out tape in my head, this moment seems to be an apt metaphor for honoring so many unexpected choices made these past years, discerning choices that have led me into all this new terrain that I love. With relief, the tears take with them whatever residual resistance there is to trusting and accepting this truth.

The sun is coming up now. Nora and I greet and pass all our usual companions on the way back. We continue along the most challenging path on the other side of the brook back to the trail opening, one that is hard to follow even without all the leaf covering. Sure of foot and choice, I am flooded with gratitude.   The world of the trail has become illuminated by so much spirit and light.

 

re-charge

It is thirty-six degrees stepping onto the trail this morning. Just the very center of grass already tread upon underfoot is glistening green from melted frost. The fields surrounding us are hush with powdery crystal stillness.

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Entering the forest, the mood changes to one of swift movement and change. The heavy rains of the weekend have re-charged the brook and the sound of rushing water dominates. As I note the change in water level approaching the footbridge, I am dumbfounded at the sight of the biggest heart rock I have seen yet.

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It has obviously been here all these months and I am just noticing it now!? Smile. Today I have my camera. My heart is singing as I take the photos…

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Moving into the still dark recesses of the forest that were, for the past three months, typically filled with the filtered light of a rising sun, I feel the crispness of my gait matching the crispness in the air. Of course. I too am re-charged. I had just spent the weekend with dear friends in the catharsis of just being in each other’s presence for almost twenty-four hours. We simply settled into comfortable couches and chairs with a table full of nibbles between us and basically never left the soft continuous flow of sharing and camaraderie. There were a few time outs for dinner and sleep, but awake early the next day, we resumed our positions and just kept going, taking turns drawing oracle cards and drawing each other out until the flow ended naturally and healing was complete. I realize now how deeply re-charging this kind of time is. Returning home, I made a few stabs at continuing to pack but gave up and fell into a deep sleep before it was even fully dark outside, slept all night and now, can feel the buoyant effects of cells being fully oxygenated and re-charged.

All senses are heightened. I walk into the scent of something strongly organic and decomposing. It seems to be following us. Nora comes bounding toward me from the now harvested fields beyond and I realize it must be the smell of manure and fertilizer, added now for re-charging earth during the approaching winter.

We follow our usual path this morning along the brook where the ground is already several layers deep in fallen leaves and the view all around is of long gray trunks exposed and vulnerable anew to the elements above.   Walking up the side of the mountain, the path of leaves dissipate and by the time we reach the top of the ridge I realize we have entered into a totally different landscape. Here it is the world of pine and oak and again, I am dumbfounded at just noticing this for the first time. The ground underfoot is not much different from what it has typically been all summer, a continuous bed of pine needles splattered with new and spent leaves.

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What comes to me is to consider how the Bach remedies of pine and oak figure into this flow and that I will read about each one when I get home. As soon as that thought processes I find I am thinking about the queen size mattress sitting in one of the rooms upstairs. Do I bring it or do I get rid of it? Precious minutes are spent obsessing about this decision and as soon as I realize I have completely shut down my connections to the energy of the space I am in, I look down and see this….

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and feel the immediate and visceral charge as I realize anew that THIS, the recognition of something beautiful and meaningful, is how my heart consistently re-charges.

Now I see the path down that is usually dark from the shade of overhead growth is a shimmering blaze of reflected color on the ground.

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And how the rising sun illuminates and re-charges the now vulnerable tree trunks with precious light of the day.

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Back home I pull out my Bach Flower Essence reference.

Pine: They are the type of people who are never really satisfied with themselves, despite many positive experiences, and blame themselves for not having taken more trouble. Guilt reigns. A person in the negative Pine state asks more of herself than of others, and if the high standards applied to herself cannot be lived up to, she will desperately blame herself in her heart. People who have been able to transform a negative to a positive pine state receive a great deal of energy!

Oak relates to the soul potential of strength and endurance. People with oak characteristics do not take the easy way out. Oak essence is for busy people who don’t realize the benefits of resting and cannot find and allot proper time therefor, leaving one stressed, pressured and tense.

There are some clear and poignant messages here to consider in this exciting phase of my journey. I am strong, and I endure and in this, am able to recognize the value of rest and re-charge. And I still carry guilt, deep in a recess of a heart that yearns to be completely open to the magic of ‘what is there’ always.  To experience fully, I must rest.  There is no room for guilt here.

Finally, just as I am about to hit publish here, I take a moment to check e-mail and am again dumbfounded, this time to see ‘Re-charging Your Batteries’ as the title of this morning’s Daily Om column (a blog dedicated to offerings and musings for reflection each day, dailyom.com). If I was still sitting in the circle with my dear friends we would undoubtedly all laugh and say of this coincidence that “you can’t make this shit up!” Surely Spirit is guiding the flow this morning in a way to suggest a much much wider circle of consideration for how important re-charging really is. On every level. I am paying attention.