the time has come…

 

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The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.
Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.
Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.
For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

“New Year Resolve”
written by May Sarton, from Collected Poems, 1930-1993

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Thank you to David Kanigan for sharing May Sarton’s , “New Year Resolve,” which, according to his blog post, Kanigan discovered back in 2012, on another blog entitled,  Waiting for the Karma Truck, who’s author says she found it on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac … and on and on.

As seekers, we pass collections of words,
like light with form,
like precious contraband,
from palm to palm,
sipping carefully,
then gulping desperately,
as we discover the taste of truth.

In these words, I see my reflection as “old age silts in the stream,”
and ask, can I stop here?
Can I stop to pull off the sticky, infectious urgencies that threaten to smother me?
Can I finally release what I grip so tightly in my shaking hand —
those small and powerful things which envelop me in shadow?
Can I bring in the quiet, which sits “shivering” and starving
and begging,
“on the mat” just outside my door?

Happy New Year to me,
and to you, my friends.
God help us all, as we strive to live alive.
May we leap that we might fly.

Growing Season

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There are four cars in the driveway now — if I get too close to the edge as I pull in, my tires inevitably slip off and sink deeply into the mud. The slimy ruts fill with water.
Action item:
• Haul in stone to extend driveway.

The grass is greening and the birds have grown loud, as they always do in the Spring.
As I look out the window of the hearth room, I catch a glimpse of a bluebird darting in to build it’s nest in the box on the back porch.

I scan the changing landscape and wonder when it will be dry enough to till.
Never it seems.
Spring always comes in with a soaking that lasts for weeks.
We’ll have to watch for the one weekend that comes — there’s only one.
On that weekend, the ground will be dry enough to till.
Miss it and lose.
Of course, last year, and the year before, and the one before that, and so on,
we were watching soccer games on that one dry weekend.
Hm. Not this year.
No spring soccer for the boy.

I dig into the cold dirt in one of my garden boxes- it’s full of worms, and I smile.
There is a constant rhythm — I believe I hear the beat.
It’s time for another growing season.

Time for my son to graduate.

One day soon, he will leave and take his contagious laughter with him.
He will pack up his crazy shrieks and silly songs and the kisses he plants on the top of my head.
Gone will be the thud of his giant, plodding feet.
My cupboards will no longer suffer the wrath of his vacuum powered appetite.

The halls will grow quiet and hollow with the lack of him.

It’s Saturday and he’s in Nicaragua. He will return and bring with him the final countdown.
And while he’s not leaving immediately, it seems the whole world is about to change.

But for today, it’s time to plant seeds,
for in spite of the mud and the muck, and the fact that I can’t till —
the ground is warming and it’s time for another growing season.
The grass is greening and the birds are growing louder,
and the ruts along my driveway are full of water.

What do you come home for?

While this video is two years old, and while it has been viewed nearly a million times, and while it may present a few opinions that not all would agree with, and while this may not be everyone — I find that it haunts and astounds me in it’s presentation of reality.
As I prepare to grow vegetables in my garden, I am struck by the lack of dirt— the lack of the organic — that I see in the video. It makes me think of how, in the suburbs, we press the button on our automatic garage door openers, glide in, and close the door behind us —  sealing ourselves off in our homes for the night.
For me, the video captures some kind of collective groan.

 

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I saw the video: What is Wrong with Our Culture, Alan Watts, on the Collective Evolution Facebook page.

Letting Go…

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My children now see me as a separate person.
That feels strangely vulnerable.
What do they mean by saying they can see Dad and I living here or there?
Or that they can see us doing this or that?
There is a Dad and I?
I had almost forgotten.
Forgotten that one day — it would be he and I,
And we would be over the hump — that there would be another chapter,
Another chapter of he and I.

I have been inextricably entwined in the beautiful necessities of the precious everyday.
Deeply engrossed in the job of giving my absolutely everything.
Watering and tending the root, only when the day allows.

I have spent years treasuring my beloved and most cherished place as mother.
The cushion is still very warm.
I sit there awhile, looking out over the day.
It is increasingly mine.
I rediscover that I have my own preferences, my own desires, my own passions.

I am once again the lord of my own radio.
Let no one touch my pre-sets.

I find my husband’s hand… it is beautifully familiar — but strangely — not the same.
Do we remember how to dream together?

My heart is in the chair, my foot is on the road.
I look forward with anticipation and back with yearning.
A balancing act.
Let go.
I must learn to let go.

Thankful.
I have done this thing- however not perfectly well.
I have experienced the excruciatingly beautiful and primal process of receiving precious seed, carrying hidden life, and laboring through birth.
I have been made drunk with the desire to love, nurture and mold my brood —
my people — those who are connected to all that I am, all that I was, and all that I will be.

And now I am called to let go.
Not a little- but completely.
I am invited to drink from a new cup, explore a new realm of necessity and desire, and enjoy the warmth of a new season.

Obviously, to be continued …

Success…

I was told that I must work myself out of the job somewhere along the line- I just never fully understood the ramifications of such a success.
I’m somewhat familiar with the phenomenon;
I have watched my friends feel their way through the murky waters,
laughing while in tears;
resigned, yet determined.
Another life revolution.
Another season that comes without beckoning.
A successful release.

A silent game change for one of the most underrated, yet essential workers on the planet- the successful repositioning of mother.

Mother: the assigned life-giver, the assigned tender of tender shoots, the assigned protector of fragile bodies, the assigned cultivator of hearts and nurturer of souls.

 

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Photo credit: Jessica Garcia©2008

It doesn’t matter how many women I have seen walk this path and it doesn’t matter that they have lived to tell the tale- the experience still comes fresh and unfamiliar.

My life has been intricately and intimately woven into the lives of my children.
The inevitable unraveling comes with a tug and a pull, which results in a dull pain and an occasional sting. I find I’m not quite ready, no matter how many warnings I have been given.

It feels like being tied to a post- I vaguely know what’s coming and I watch it roll in, like tendrils of acrid smoke, and I brace myself.
I am to breathe deeply before being released.
Released into a new reality.
My position is suddenly redefined.

Now, quite shockingly, I feel like an old type-setting machine which has been relegated to the corner.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I served faithfully and quietly as: Executive-in-Chief, Staff Administrator, Assistant to the President, Facilities Manager, Human Resources Manager, Event Planner, and Queen?

And, wasn’t it just yesterday that I served- maybe not so quietly- as: janitor, chef, counselor, medic, seamstress, decorator, chauffeur, and friend?

Yet, somewhere along the line, I managed to go from knowing everything- to knowing nothing; from being better than anyone at everything- to being rather less than satisfactory in my employment of skills.

Culturally, ‘mother’ is a job title assigned very little merit.  The serious pursuit of excellence in the execution of a mother’s duties is not considered worthy of accolades;
so it falls relatively low on the list of important achievements.
But God does trust women with a great and magnificent responsibility.
He trusts her to conceive and carry life,
to grow and nurture life,
to train and model life,
and finally, to let go of and release life.
The choice to fully embrace the role of motherhood with passion and intentionality is the highest achievement.

Ironically, in the end, mother isn’t given a letter of termination- or a severance- or even a security walk to the exit.
She is ultimately beyond and above that, trusted to be wise,
to laugh and weep,
and to keep walking with a more mature poise than when she first began.

Decades have passed,
my hands are worn and wrinkled,
and my eyes have grown wise…
I have worked long, grueling hours for the high payment of joy and tears.
I have given it all, mind, body and soul…
But now, it seems it’s time.
Like something out of an epic movie, I’m to be locked outside the gates of the city I helped to build.
I’m to follow the well-worn path that leads to the sun, which is setting on the horizon. Time to close this chapter of the book and begin scrawling in another.

I will be called back an undetermined number of times, to serve in my newly structured position. My technical expertise will be required on an as needed basis.
I am now consultant, sub-contractor and outside-insider.
Come closer- stop.
Stop- come closer.
And if these gyrations aren’t enough,
I am to know precisely when to keep my mouth shut.
God, that’s very funny.
You really have trusted me with the big stuff.

I hear the screeching of the tires- it’s time to get out of the car. There is to be no outward display of emotion at this point. I am just supposed to get out, keep moving, and carry on.

Mind you, I have not been dismissed as beloved mother and friend, and I have not been sacked as trusted and wise counselor… but I have reached the place where I have successfully worked myself out of a job.

My jacket buttoning, and brussel sprout cajoling days are over.
My teenage counseling services are almost unnecessary and my constant stream of advice is no longer welcome.
It’s on to the next chapter.
So, like a modern-day Mary Poppins, with a heart stuffed full of treasured memories like an old carpetbag, I take my first barefoot steps down the path ahead,
both laughing and crying,
resigned, yet determined,
ready for the next adventure.

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Photo credit: Rel Luttrell©2014