Something wonderful happens. When we're not looking for anything there is this wonderful space that opens up in our minds and our hearts and everywhere.
What would happen if we stopped searching and working so hard for what we think we need and want and if instead we stand at the kitchen counter and take our time to chop the garlic up very, very fine; crush the fresh tomatoes into the tomato sauce with a wooden spoon; stand over the stovetop stirring the pot and smelling the complex aromas; bake the bread and add the rosemary even if the recipe doesn't call for it; and stare out the kitchen window at the backyard trees until we have seen them all. I wonder if we may feel a little lighter, a little calmer. A little more ourselves.
Stopping the worrying, the thinking, the planning for the future gives space in our life to what wants to happen. It gives room for whatever dreams need to get organized and show up to help us on our way.
We work so hard at living. It can be truly exhausting. I think it is only when we give it up and stop for a minute to rest and forgive ourselves for what didn't get done today, to look out the window at the clouds and the birds that this generous life energy we have been blocking is freed and something wonderful begins to happen. Just like that.
It occurs to me more and more that the dog we live with understands everything we say.. She acts like she's just lying around, eyes half closed, head heavy on her crossed paws but I suspect she's thinking about us and the cat and making some plans of her
The gardens are done. The fat tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and peppers long ago picked and their parent plants lie drooping against the frosty ground having done their work. The only thing left is the hardy swiss chard and rosemary, thyme and sage, sheltered in the herb garden.
Thanksgiving morning. Prepping our contributions to bring to our new in-laws home. Cooking in the kitchen, bumping into each other over the sink. Pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, stuffing. The house still smells of the coffee and bacon from breakfast and now of pumpkin, onions, garlic. It is what I imagine heaven smells like.
I am missing my sisters and brothers in New Jersey and the big happy crazy quilt of family and friends that make our Thanksgiving what it has been for every year but two for me. This year we are staying in New Hampshire to be with our pregnant daughter, her husband and his parents. A new tradition.
I go outside to the herb garden to snip what's left of the thyme and sage to add to the stuffing and stop and pick the tiny pink rose I've been watching from the kitchen window all week. I hate to pick it, would rather see it living on the stem. But it is cold, snow flurrying, and getting colder and I know the frost will nab it soon.
Inside I set it on the window sill over the sink. "I expect to see a painting of that tomorrow," my son-in-law laughs.
It turns out that Thanksgiving is wherever you are with whoever you're with. The memories of our lives are stored in pungent aromas and textures and tastes and stories that transcend time and place. One of the human gifts we have is our ability to remember, to make connections and create new experiences. Pretty lucky to be human as far as I can tell.
And so, after all that we left the stuffing with the garden sage and thyme behind on the porch and it never made it to Thanksgiving dinner.
Our dinner was lovely, the wine just right and our celebration as good as could be. A new baby to come and new life to be lived and loved. Thanksgiving.
And in case you wondered, here's the garden rose.
The stars are still there.
We’ve waited long for this 2016 election to arrive. Have at times felt desperate for the day to come. To know this divisive election cycle has ended and to feel at peace and free to go about the business of our lives. We’ve waited a long time to know that the democratic rights we’ve honored and lived by for over 200 years stand steady and sturdy and strong. That we are whole as a country, a state, a neighborhood, family are OK.
And yet, and yet, and yet all is not yet calm. There are issues unresolved and unfinished today, two days after the election is over. We as a nation feel uncertain and unsettled. Like sleepwalkers bumping into walls and coffee tables and chairs. We are numb, like someone who took a sleep aid at breakfast by mistake instead of our morning vitamin. We are confused. No one is happy. Not the winners or the losers or those who never did decide. Who are we as a country? Who will we be in the future?
And then tonight we take the dog out and look up at the stars and milky night clouds and the silver sliver of moon that has grown larger somehow since Tuesday. We feel the November air that has its own kind of exciting chill and we pull our sweater around our waist. We hear the dog sniffing and shuffling through the leaves and then see her running back to the house impressed with herself that she peed. We come inside to the warmth of the gas stove and the light of the kitchen and we think really we’ll be OK. Because we have to be and because we’ll make sure that we are.
We’ve waited a long time for this election to be over. But perhaps the life lesson tonight is that really nothing is ever “over” rather it is our collective journey, a journey that continues and evolves and resolves over and over again. Just like each of us. And tonight the stars are still there.
There were tiny golden seckel pears in the produce section of the grocery store this week. The old apple trees in the yard have dropped the left overs all over the grass for the yellow jackets to savor. There are three pumpkins on the old stone wall in front and we are careful not to slip on the damp sugar maple leaves blanketing the driveway. The squirrels are busy and the chickadees and nuthatches busier. We need to order wood for the woodstove in the living room. We, like the squirrels and birds, know that our gorgeous autumn days will turn cool then frigid cold and the air will soon send deep chills through our jackets and under our scarves. We’ll need more wood and wool and gloves and boots. But, for today on this warmish late October day we look outside our windows at the winds rustling ferns and clouds shifting without hurry over the gardens. For now we are warm and happy and we know where to get as many apples as we may ever need. Maybe we’ll tell the chipmunks, or maybe they will tell us. Or maybe we’ll figure it out together.
The October sun is casting a wide golden swath across the lawn outside my office door. The sugar maples and old oak trees behind the stone wall are coloring up their leaves waiting for the next big wind to send armfulls of autumn sailing to the ground. I can’t stop looking out the window. Over the tops of the piles of papers, folders, sticky notes of reminders of things to do, appointments to keep, reports to write, is this amazing beauty.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”