Saturday, October 15, 2016

voices in my head

yesterday i took a walk with my dog. 

it was the farthest i've walked with her off leash. she was such an awesome companion, splashing through the creek, coming and going but always staying within range. it reinforced my heart connection to the wild. 

it was the best possible therapy after a really difficult week. 

while i was walking with her and feeling alive, the voice of trump occasionally tainted my inner dialogue. it would barge in, saying trumpian things like, "i have all best trees." 

i was walking through the woods, you see. 

that the voice of this pernicious virulent xenophobe was echoing in my skull made me quite uneasy. his voice has become omnipresent. people are impersonating him (all the best people). he is being broadcast. and even when denouncing him through sketch comedy or political dissection, his voice is reinforced.

it feels personal. 

it feels like an abusive man has manipulated his way into my psyche. a man with the ill intention to dominate, rule, and have his way. 

i know i have the power to exercise his voice from my inner world. and i hold on to so much hope that no way will he be elected. but that his voice is there at all, digs the deepest pit of disappointment. so many of us are in that pit together. right now.

i scroll through my facebook newsfeed in the evening. sometimes once, sometimes multiple times. the dialogue about things that matter is one of the few good things coming out of this travesty of an election. a dialogue that has arisen out of very deep concern. 

there is now the very prevalent spotlight on sexual harassment. and the bombastic voice of dismissal ringing out, minimizing acts of violence against women, and attempting to absolve the language of degradation. all the worst words.

as a woman i find myself recounting situations where a man, a leering older man, or a real fast young asshole, has invaded my space. i have not suffered rape. but i have had my sacred space penetrated. 

like the time i was trying on a skirt at a fair; the shopkeeper was straightening it out for me when suddenly he groped me. just like trump describes. he grabbed me by the pussy. i was an adolescent. no man had ever touched me there. i said nothing, as if we'd brushed elbows. but i froze inside. i retreated into the dressing room feeling confused and frightened. i left without a word to my companions, who may have also been groped. what i can't fathom in my adulthood is why i bought the skirt.

there was the time i was home from college for the summer. i was walking down the street and an older man pulled over, asking me if i needed a ride. when i said no, he asked me how old i was. thinking that i should be polite, i told him, "18." he said creeper-like, "you look like a school-girl." i carried on and so did he. but i was left with a dirty silt on my skin.

when i was a twenty-something living in seattle, another old creep pulled over. he asked where REI was. in a friendly tone i instructed, "go straight three blocks. turn left. you can't miss it" he narrowed his eyes at me and said with thin lips, "will you get in and help me find it?" i carried on and so did he. but this time i wanted to throw street garbage at his car as it slowly crept forward. 

there are so many other incidences. a stranger who telephoned daily after my grade school day and before my mother came home from work, saying nasty sexual things to me, until i fooled him into thinking the phone was bugged. a classmate who flashed his penis at me on the school bus. boys pulling my dress up. an old man in a medieval cypriot fort following me around telling me i'm easy because i'm american. a man sidling up to me in the woods on a himalayan trail insisting i "be his friend." a stepfather who called my mom and i words like cunt and slut. a boyfriend who told me it was my duty to have sex with him. and all those times a man has stared at my breasts, rather than my face, while talking to me. 

these are the acts that trump defends and minimizes. this is the culture he brings with him to this election. it's time women spoke out. that we catalogue these incidences.  i can't even fathom how many eerie stories will emerge. situations that are somehow just part of the fabric a woman wears. let's tag it #voicesinmyhead. because if he spoke, that voice is still likely there, and if he didn't, your voice is probably still processing the encounter. we need to share our stories and let people know that this is what presidential candidate not only condones, but encourages.

that is not to say there isn't a woman who has grabbed a man by the crotch or backed him into a corner forcing herself on him. when rumors of such things tear loose, the woman's reputation is surely taken down several notches. but not that many people talk about these things when men are the perpetrators.

it's the culture we all know. it's the culture we have been working on for so long to heal and transform. it's a culture that has made great strides. and there is such a long steep climb still. we don't want to slide back. we don't want to lose our foothold. 

we need to have all the best arms pulling their way up that hill to victory. these arms DO have to reach out and vote. and my hope IS that they vote for hillary. because if she has enough votes to win, trump won't. and while we might not see wall street reform or world peace or an end to fracking, we WILL hold onto to the sacred female ground we stand on right now, and from where-we-are, we can continue to move forward on the issues that will make a better world for our children. 

as women, we ARE the ultimate creators. the growth and protection of all earthly things begins with us. let's begin by protecting ourselves in this election. let's make sure trump loses.

Friday, September 23, 2016

All is Well in Autumn

My blog has been in summer hibernation. It doesn't like the humidity. But on beautiful first-days-of-autumn like today, it is kindled by a dry warmth and a new light.

This morning as I walked Skye along a route I hadn't walked in a surprisingly long while, I was washed with a rare joy inspired by the air on my skin, the wildflowers along a pasture, and the sun reaching through leafy limbs on a woodland lane. 

Some of those leaves are turning.

In June our daughter, Tashi, graduated from high school. How is it that I didn't blog about that? 

Summer included a camping weekend on Loft Mountain . . .

A mother-daughter trip to New York City . . .

And the slight overwhelm of elder-care, a day job, family logistics, doula care, college prep, young-boy care . . .

It was a busy summer, a summer that lacked gardening, swimming, and a steady connection to mother earth. It was very simply that kind of summer—fleeting, with very little down time. I made the most of my weekly visits to the dog park.

Summer wrapped up well, with a foray to Lockn' where I saw Ween tear it up and Phish for the first time and Phil with the Infamous Stringdusters


I got to have a romantic night with Dan in the oppressive heat, sleeping in a makeshift blanket-fort in Zoksang's awesome shop, our kids joining us the next day for more music and dancing and shop-keeping.

No sooner did Tristan start second grade than we headed off for a week in Wisconsin, where we enjoyed family and friends and a cottage by a lake . . .

AND we dropped Tashi off for her Freshmen year at Lawrence University . . .

How is it that I didn't blog about that?

It was beautiful really. Bittersweet, of course. But just so exciting. She is in a good place, in great classes, and is just so happy. What more could we ask for?

We returned to our humble abode without Tashi, but to family, to friends, and to music. These are great themes in my life. I am blessed.

At night now, after we put Tristan to bed, Dan and I look at each other and say, "now what?" Our teenager isn't here to play Boggle with, or to binge watch some series with, to impart our love of David Bowie and Pink Floyd to, or to help with homework and conundrums. We are not wondering when she will begin that winding drive home from her various jobs, or from a night out with friends. We are not quietly wishing she would come out of her room and talk to us. 

She just isn't here.


Sometimes I walk into her room and simply stand there. Dust motes. Sheet music. So many books. Beautiful multi cultural wall decor. Her room is like a tiny exhibit: Chamber of a Well-Read Girl on the Brink of Womanhood. The pets follow me in and take seats variously. We all just gaze about. Breathe her in. And think good thoughts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Grateful May

What a sweet day. The sun was out. Like, ALL day. This has been a rare thing around here. May is the new April. Wet, grey, sweater weather. But not today. 

The first thing I did after work was go and watch the first grade play, Jack and his Comrades, an Irish version of the Bremen Town Musicians. It certainly was lively. And full of such very sweet songs.  Tristan was a donkey today.

After a celebratory ice cream cone on the downtown mall, we picked up Dan and Skye and went on an impromptu hike on O-Hill. Danskos are not ideal hiking shoes, so we kept it short, but it was still a delicious taste of mossy rocks, big trees, filtered sunlight, and exercise.

(all photos to follow were taken with my outdated cell phone)
After our romp we went to Moe's Barbecue for dinner, as I had won a gift certificate. It was tasty and there was an unexpected selection of special sides, like Albita beer bread, squash casserole, and tomato cucumber salad. The fresh Coleslaw was really good too. I went for the pulled pork, which was fresh and not full of fat. Dan had the fried catfish, quite breaded but really tasty as well.

Once we got home we continued our romp in the sweet weather. Skye will not rest until she spends some time in her creek, so Tristan and I wandered down there with her. It was a good opportunity to examine some of the new blooms around us.

These are a couple of pictures of Skye at our very favorite Chris Greene Lake Dog Park. 
We went the other day in another rare moment of sunshine. The lake was mirror still,
a stunning sight to behold.

While the gloomy weather has been difficult to endure, it sure makes one value the stretches of sun. I think we've had a very nutritious dose of precipitation, but may bright days of warmth take hold, calling us out into the verdant world and a playful season.

What do you do when the sun comes out?

Friday, May 13, 2016

may i have a moment?

my eye seeks beauty. but sometimes the darkness in my mind is a shade. sometimes my busy mind lacks focus. sometimes i see the beauty but move on so quickly that the bright moment slips away. i blog, snap photos, write poems to capture the fleeting moments of clarity. beautiful moments. profound moments. and troubling moments that give me pause. 

it is strange sometimes how long the scrim stays in place and i can't quite find the path to the words or focal points. the scrim itself can be beautiful. an intricate tapestry, fragile scarf, old worn bed sheet. in my landscape of sight and thought, even what is most difficult is most beautiful. the contrast of good and bad forces one to think. and the ability to think is a gift.

almost two months since my last blog entry i'm parting the scrim for a moment to consider the days — a boy turns seven. a shepherd is walked daily. spring break unfolds followed by a prom. more chemo for my mom. a college decision after lots of indecision. a craft fair, choir concert, spring carnival, art show, soccer game. a date or two with my love. his birthday. a birth series. some showers. cars broken and breaking. rain. rain. and more rain. spring cleaning. sore throats. sneezes. taking care. care taking. and a job that is still so new. lots of preoccupation. not much meditation. an impending graduation. and the arrival of babies who populate the universe with blossoms. 

i am always so happy when i'm given the gift of a slow day. i can watch the birds. go on a long walk. see insects rise from flowers. think about the long term. and capture those sharp, bright, clear moments. i'm so happy that today, the rain came. the rain went. and the sun finally appeared and affirmed that the light, in fact, does return.