Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dia de Los Muertos

Today in Mexico, and many Latin American countries,  the two days after Halloween are celebrated as the Day of the Dead, when we are most able to honor and learn from our ancestors who have died.
  This may include beloved pets, friends, even memories of being with our loved ones.
I wept deeply, suddenly, not at first aware why.  Mom, have you a message to share with me?
   Carol, you have so much of your dad's spunk and adventuresome spirit.  He too loved to travel uncharted territory.  He adored the mountains, hiking alone or with a buddy, and skiing was his favorite way to explore in the wintertime.  And he so loved having a good time, with me yes, but with so many friends, for he was way more outgoing and open than I was, and yes, sometimes I felt jealous of his love for living, even in the most challenging times.
    Mom, we never learned exactly how or when he died; it was likely sudden, but we shall never know.  His loss was huge for you and for me as well.  I am a survivor, and it is taking being open to my wonderful community, not just any one person, for me to keep up my own spirits, especially in the winter months.  Like Nana, I love the Christmas carols and being around kids who still have their spirit and parents who are there for them.  It felt so good to sing chants embracing death as well as living at the Unity service today.  It felt good to have a kind, openhearted man to my right, and a brand new woman friend to my left.  Heather and Richard's music was amazing, so honoring this sacred time when we can better contact our ancestors, and a sense of the dreamer within as well, and the possibilities still to come.  It was such a moving service.
     May my writing, maybe singing too, be channels for sharing my own passions.  Oh dear Nana, so little has survived of your writing, but the Hudson Saga reveals my lineage of literate, articulate ancestors who also wrote letters and poems to express their heartache, their everyday joys, their troubles with relatives.  Thank you, Nana, for having the discipline to preserve these letters that show my rich heritage, and your and Grandpa's passion for travel and adventure when you were still in decent health and had the means to do so.  As Norma said today, we need festivities that honor life itself is a crazy dance we do with death, and a good cry is part of the letting go, letting the past be whatever it was.  Sometimes coming home means honoring whatever feels nurturing in this moment, letting go any judgment toward ourselves or others.  I am enjoying My Fair Lady on Pandora, and feel ready for a nap next!
May dia de lost Muertos be a special time for you as well, to gently honor and listen to your ancestors this hallowed time of year!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Enjoying Indian Summer on the Oregon Coast

A feeling of freedom as the waves, the wind, the sunshine and beauty of  this place embrace our tired yet eager bodies as we enjoy one last camping trip together before colder days and longer nights make camping difficult until springtime returns.
    With a hefty, bracing tailwind and soft,  forgiving sand we walk at a brisk pace, limbs eager to walk with these primal  forces gently pushing  us toward pleasure we seldom feel when the air is dry and hot, the skies polluted with so many fires this summer. A five in the afternoon  walk at home is uninviting this time of year.  And here we share the simple tasks-dishes to wash, water to fetch and boil,  meals to dream up from the cooler (and fresh albacore tuna from the Port Orford dock store) and cook on the Coleman stove.  We share touch, laughter over our meals, and a chance to enjoy our lovely surroundings as well as being together, away from our often busy lives and appointments that don't allow this kind of one-on-one time to slow down and savor rest and activities we both so enjoy.
   So often the news can be depressing and  even overwhelming.  Here life has a simpler rhythm that soothes and beckons us to gaze at the star-filled evenings, play in the sand, watch the sea birds and even a playful whale cruising the kelp  beds.  Here we are able to leave our home distractions aside and meet as two adults who have both survived turbulent times and heartache in our families, in our personal choices that have been tough at times.  We are ready to embrace and honor one another not in a traditional pattern  of submission and domination, or possessiveness, or  clinging.  We share a deeply human, more open, humble and grateful love that is consider and  gentle, one where two solitudes protect, greet and treasure one another; this stage has not come easily,  for  we've both had to do our inner work and discover what our own gifts are, and where we're  still needing to unlearn our conditioning.  This is the work of a lifetime, and it requires being able to communicate as honestly and openly as possible, forgiving ourselves (and each other) when we do make mistakes.
    Part  of me was afraid to take a trip this late, when it's already dark before eight, and the nights can be chilly.  We had good flashlights, nearby water and restrooms, and neighbors who were considerate.  Even the large camping dogs were quiet in the night; our only night visitors were raccoons who checked out our picnic table for any possible food left unprotected.  They dined on some grapes, but food that mattered was back in the van at night.  We had fun exploring, sharing,  just having these precious days to be together.  We never had time for the reading, for there were better things to do by daytime and it was too dark for books at  night.  It was a wonderful adventure, and affirmed how well we do camp  together!  We've done so in different places in our earlier years, but both of us love being outdoors on  the wild side, where nature calls the shots!   It is so much more fun to have a partner for trips like this, especially when we complement one  another. Time for me  to get to bed now, so I bid you all a good night's sleep as well!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It is Wise and Possible too!

It is wise as well as possible to enjoy a broader circle of friends to enjoy being with
Not just on-line, but to share interests we may have in  common, and to encourage  one   another.
   I don't have grandchildren or daughters who live nearby, and I need more contact with young people, for their friendships feed my need to belong to the larger circle, and they have perspectives not always found in  my own age range.
   It would be fun to share a meal not just with Meet and  Eat folks, but with women friends who are open to this too, and we enjoy one  another's company.  I am a people person, and get lonely with too much time in solitude, or focusing all my attention on a man's friendship.   When  my Davis  friend Mary died, I felt bereft, for midst our ups and downs, we were there for one another, and we believed in one another.  I welcome a few more kindred spirit women  friends in  the years to come, not only on-line, though that sure helps too.  Kris is one such friend from my past; we've not seen  one another since high school, yet she believes in me and knows I am going through a tough summer with so little chance to enjoy being in nature this smoky August, and having our air so compromised.
   So OLLI and fellowships are places I  am likely to be open to new friends, or my water class too.
It is good to live where there are so many vibrant, wonderful women as well as menfolk with courage, patience and a sense of humor midst life's very real challenges too.  There are even kind women right where I live, and it's  good to take the time to visit as we go about our lives.  Like  Dee yesterday saying how she too is looking forward to her OLLI  classes, for it  is just too confining to spend  so much time in our tiny apartments and not having a chance to broaden our   horizons.
We may be growing old, yes, but we still need meaningful friendships of all ages and genders!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tribute to a Wonderful Man

A kind and playful man was Dave, even in his senior years
He so loved this church and being a vital member of the choir here
  along with singing with so many other groups as well, entertaining & uplifting us all
He and Toby have shared a long, special partnership
Being there for one another, In illness as well as in health

We shall miss his boisterous smile and deep abiding faith
That has comforted so many, when he sang, or gave us a helping hand
    when we were moving, and sure needed a man to give us physical as well as moral support

I weep, for we have indeed lost a noble soul, now at rest, free from his earthly travails
May he look down on us all as we celebrate his life
Forever grateful for Dave Deller's gracious life of service and steadfast friendship.
He was a man we could count on, and he sure had a big heart!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

On Awakening this April morning

Outside the sky looks stormy, and snow has returned to our mountains.  Early spring, a time of frequent changes, new beginnings sometimes glorious and light, sometimes more cloudy, and the way really unknown.  This week my OLLI classes begin anew.  Today I hope to enjoy a new venture into tai chi, this form utterly new to me.  My intention  is to  be attentive and disciplined, to be  encouraged by the instructor and presence of others, and to hopefully carry with me lessons I need right now, too long neglected, to give strength and agility to my body and soul.  
    Yes, I love being in the water where it is so much easier to move, to flow, to socialize if we so choose, too.  But  I choose Tai Chi this time,  not a dance class, which I know would also be a challenge.  This will be a new adventure.   Maybe I can share what I learn with friends,  as well!
     I chose to drop the 9 am class in  Conscious Aging,  and instead take Anything Goes, where I shall listen to other writers, and  share some of what moves me as well.  Tonight is my last memoir class; I will say open  to finding ways to share what I  write in this arena, and find resources within and from others to let my book unfold.  Already the Magdalene Path calls to me, to create some sacred time each day, especially in the morning and evening, to honor my own self-care choices.  I need to honor the goddess within, beginning with more deliberate intention to find her voice, and she needs  encouragement!
     My third class will be about exotic travels to places I am not likely to go in person.  But I do love travel, so doing so vicariously shall give me joy and food for thought, too.   Annette leads this class, and I very much enjoy her enthusiasm for theatre, for travel, for exploring our inner landscapes too.
     So I ask for  assistance from my own spirit guides to stand by me, encourage and correct me, share their wisdom and light when I  waver in my faith and experience doubts.  And I treasure friends who respect the Carol moving into her Crone years, still playful, but honoring a pace that will ground and center her.  That's it for now....may this be a time for greater consciousness for us all, for finding our niches in community where we matter, and can  contribute to making changes that sorely need to happen so the power of love, laughter, and integrity matter more than  the old domination model, power that erodes the rights of so many folks and undermines a healthy future for our planet.
     It's a time for awakening to more sane ways of living and of dying, too.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Poetry allows the heart to soar, to see each day anew.  Spring Equinox marks the ending of winter, and transition  into a brighter season.  The daffodils return each year, and now the forsythia is also in full bloom.  I enjoy reflective readings in the morning, while I am still emerging from sleep.  Today I turned to a long-lost booklet by Stephen Covey, First Things First Every Day.  I like this one.  "It's important to be deeply honest and self-aware, to connect with conscience, to use independent will and creative imagination to consider possibilities and commit to positive change."
   I am learning that letting my caregivers have a holiday (it is now spring break here, despite  the dreary sky outside) means I can be resourceful on my own, and welcome support from others, too.  If an activity sounds like too much, I can say , no, thanks.  The fact is, we are often better together than alone, so our good company may be music, a friend, being part of fellowship  (today there is a workshop for singing, playing, making choices about the direction of my Unitarian Fellowship), a student massage, honoring my body's need for down-time.  I can choose to spend 15 minutes learning clutter, as this is an on-going one for me.  I can take some time to explore a new neighborhood instead of focusing on where I feel overwhelm.  Self-acceptance is critical to making wiser decisions.
  Here is hoping you have some pleasant surprises this new day too.  Here is a brief poem from my heart to yours.   "Love allows us to be more present, open, and trusting we are worthy of miracles.
Love lets us move on when it is time to do so.  Love is a mystery, an unfolding to the wonder of this our precious life.   Adieu!"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Short Tribute to a Silent Friend

The Great Horned Owl
Perches silently in the  bare birch tree (sorry no photos of an owl yet)
A sentinel, watching, waiting
Unhurried, we both soak up the sunshine
I'm on a break from doing my wash this Saturday morning
We both pause to give thanks for this new day.
Owls have been my allies for decades
Reminding me to be observant, and honor times when silence
Is truly a blessing, and taking a higher perspective is often wise.
He has flown off now, free to roam as he chooses!