I. Stoking the wood stove hour after hour comforts me. The repetition feels soothing, logs clinking upon logs, flame burning, heat rising.
II. Writing sentence after sentence burns the same way inside me. Joy builds with each unexpected word. Delight tingles when two opposing ideas reconcile. I am stunned silent before the power of words, and always grateful for this craft, this stoking, this amazing possibility of tinder and flame.
III. Photography takes my spirit by surprise. I never think about taking pictures. Days and weeks and sometimes months pass without interest in capturing sight, curve, flash, energy. Photography inhabits my body sometimes, takes over, grabs the camera, insists upon expression. It’s not me. I’m its servant. When it lights its match, I’m putty in its power. People glimpse me with a camera in hand and think its me. They see joy and think its mine. They don’t know I’m simply the log burning itself to ash in those moments.
IV. Another hour, another log. Burn, my child, burn. You’re not losing anything. We’re gaining your precious heat.
Many of us live our wild & precious lives burdened down under a heavy weight of “should”.
Instead of celebrating who we are–can there ever be a more perfect you?–we second-guess and third-guess and quadruple-guess our actions. We think ourselves crazy with expectations. We focus on what doesn’t seem to work in our lives, judging ourselves unworthy. We monitor our every thought, feeling, sentence and paragraph and conjure how we might succeed in becoming the perfect person, the should-less being, the enlightened one.
Worse yet, we often peer for approval from friends, from relatives, from society. We want them to declare us acceptable. So many of us ache to be liked and fear saying something–anything–to upset the apple cart.
Yet we do. We upset the cart and apples spill everywhere, no matter how nice we attempt to be.
1. First of all, relax. You don’t have to DO anything on another snow day. The Universe gives you permission to relax and lie on the couch all day–in your pajamas–if you so desire. Breathe in, breathe out. Simply BE. That isn’t so hard, is it?
2. Watch the snow fall. Snow descends from the sky in such fascinating different ways. As previously discussed, when the wind is a’blowin’, snow sometimes falls down and then ascends up. Sometimes it scatters sideways. This morning, cuddled beneath the white comforter in my jammies, it seems the flakes fall tenderly. Can you imagine tender snow drifting downward?
My friend, Suzi Banks Baum–you know who she is–the one with Lake Superior flowing in her veins and heart–even though she lives somewhere out East, maybe in the Berkshires or some place near that Atlantic Sea–posted a blog yesterday which ignited my beating heart big time.
‘Twas a gratitude post, Santa, you know, the kind where you state for what you’re thankful, instead of what you want.
We humans are such wanters.
We want this, and this, and how ’bout that too?
They say that gratitude balances our wanting.
When wanting tips the scales in our lives, we might turn to a little gratitude and realize what we already heave.
When gratitude blisses us out, OK, maybe it’s OK to express a little wanting.
Santa, with Suzi’s example, I am making a list and checking it twice.
Telling you what I’m grateful for today, what blessings abound.
The light of the world
“Do not try to save the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there patiently
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.”
- Clearing by Martha Postlewaite
Bitter cold still freezes tears this morning. Laughter ricochets off icicles.
I curl up on the couch on this day off work and ponder the dense forest of my life. One hundred thoughts arise like one hundred trees, all competing for attention.
I’ve been waiting patiently and impatiently for the song that is my life to fall into these cupped hands for a long lifetime. Sometimes I hear the tune, so very clear, like ice forming in the bay a quarter-mile away, and feel truly at home. Other days one wanders lost in the forest, wearing fear or sadness like a winter parka, fingers icy in woolen mittens.
Our Little House in the Big Woods
Picture this. The day before Thanksgiving. Waking up to about eight inches of beautiful fresh white snow outside our Little House in the Big Woods. The wood stove humming and throbbing to heat our home, relishing its breakfast of hardwood logs.
Still, we shiver. The back-up gas heater kicked in during the night. It’s frigid for November. I toss more logs into the ever-hungry stove. The logs clink hard against each other, promising more heat.
Barry still slumbers so I sip tea and ponder conflict. Oh, how I loved writing and pondering yesterday’s blog! Oh, how it resonated and thrilled and danced in my psyche all day long yesterday while the wind blew sideways and we purchased our first organic buying club order here in L’Anse, and we traveled up to Houghton on icy roads for Barry to cover a hockey game for his job at our local weekly newspaper.
One might imagine a morning breakfast of hot steaming grains, perhaps oatmeal or wheat berries or quinoa, to jump-start such a freezing morning. Instead I whirred together buckwheat groats and cashews in the food processor. Added chunks of frozen bananas and, OK, maybe some vanilla yogurt just because it smiled so dreamily from its perch in the refrigerator. Healthy ice cream for breakfast!
The pulsing clamor of the food processor woke my husband.
“I thought you were grinding rocks again,” he muttered as he settled on the couch, still sleepy-eyed.
“I don’t think people understand me,” I said.
He rolled his eyes silently. It was obviously going to be one of those mornings in the Little House in the Big Woods.
Posted in November 2013
Tagged conflict, immersive attention, inspiration, Jennifer Roberts, life, little house in the big woods, personal, stress, Thanksgiving, thoughts, writing
Lately I’ve been enjoying rising in the dark, listening to the whistling teakettle and the humming wood stove, and writing stories. Did you know the Native Americans reserved many stories to share only in wintertime, when wind whipped outside wigwams and snow froze tiptoeing foootsteps?
Grandmother Moon’s tears turned white last night and an inch or two of new snow covers our cars. We’re both off to work early today, and tonight Grandfather Snow’s threatening an all-out November fit with several inches of his wrath. Why are the heavens fighting? A Native American elder might keep the kids entertaining for hours explaining the god’s drama.
My drama? Thank you for asking.
We tend to think of blessings as positive happenings in our lives.
We win a million dollars, we secure the desired job, we raise perfect children, we finish school, we live secure and content happily ever after.
We tend to think of other events as challenges. We ache, we get cancer, our children make mistakes, heck, we make mistakes. We worry about money, Obamacare, our depressed nephew. We suffer from rejection, real and perceived.
It’s sometimes hard to find blessings in part of life, isn’t it?
Two of the three pastors. tee hee.
Way back at the end of September–gosh was that only a week ago?–I vowed after reading Harula’s post:
Once a week in October, November and December I will share Blessings, both received and given. To consciously acknowledge some of the ordinary and extra-ordinary gifts of each day. To focus on the many blessings which arise like the sun over our multi-colored ever-changing earth.
Every evening I scribbled a daily blessing in a small notebook covered with multi-colored circles. The practice, thus far, has proved both inspiring and challenging.