Mouse, grudges, virus, sirens and baby robins

Taking flight

I wrote a long blog post earlier this morning filled with too many words about my own opinions involving emotions and the human nervous system.

Now it feels like there’s no life or ooomph or immediacy in that post, so let’s Take Two.

What’s true in the now of our little house in the woods?

Birds chirping off the deck right now.  A couple of days ago a baby robin burst upwards in flight from the nest.  What a riotous cackling ensued!  Baby robin didn’t know what to do once he perched atop a branch.  Mama flew clucking around him and eventually fed him a worm to keep his energy up and cheer him on.  I might have stayed and watched yonder robin drama, but instead the dishes–or something equally important–called me inside.

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

One year memories of Positano, Italy wedding


First view of Positano

Such a nostalgic day!  One year ago today–June 22, 2019–our daughter and her fiance married in Positano, Italy.

It was the trip of a lifetime.  Twenty of us traveled across the ocean from the United States to see the bride and groom exchange vows of love and commitment along the Amalfi Coast.

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Home invasion

Chipmunk listening to my stories

On Wednesday night we drove maybe twenty miles to our friends’ home for a socially-distanced dinner on their porch.

Before we departed Barry paused to feed our dear tame chipmunk, a descendent of the infamous “Chippy” with whom we shared seeds and petting a few years back. We actually have two pet chipmunks this year, a shy sweetheart and a bold fella.  (Not that I know their actual sex; I am only guessing.)

Barry fed and petted the bold guy while I waited impatiently with the keys.

“C’mon,” I begged, “he’s had enough.  Let’s go.”

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Porcupine, bear, lake trout & crunchy grasshoppers

Electric lime greens in the early summer woods

Electric lime greens in the early summer woods

Lots has been happening in our Little House in the Woods.  I seem to forget, at times, that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic.  Here are a few highlights:

At 1 a.m. on Sunday morning a noise startled me from sleep.  Bang, bang, bang!  What the heck?  Sleep felt so lovely…but it sounded like Mischief in the Woods.  I had to get up and investigate. Sure enough, our wiley & quilly porcupine friend had decided to eat our front porch.  He was gnawing the steps with gusto.  I shouted.  He glanced up to say hello.  Barry (from bed) suggested shining a flashlight in his eyes.  He blinked.  I sighed–heart pounding fiercely–and decided to open the front door and chase him away.  He raised his quilly butt and shook it threateningly, but duly waddled away.  Barry, good man, roused from bed and sprayed the chewed wooden steps with Wasp and Hornet Spray, to provide bad taste should our marauder visit again.  The next day he slopped paint on the errant boards.  Don’t come again, ye porkie.

A porcupine on the road

Not our current porcupine.  This one visited in 2013.

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

The ahhhh of retreat

Waves and stones

Good morning, dear blog reader.

Let’s talk about ahhhh this morning.

The ahhhh of waking up on a fresh Monday morning with light shining through emerald green June leaves.  The ahhhh of feeling centered and “right with the world”.  The ahhhh of feeling recovered from too much news, too much national bickering and agony, too much COVID, too much racism, too much division, too much, too much.

So what’s a person to do when “too much” clouds the system with dark rain clouds?

How about take a retreat?

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

I made a mistake. I am sorry.

You listenin', Mind?

Admitting when we’ve made a mistake can be hard.  We can feel such shame and guilt and embarrassment.  It can be hard to say “I’m sorry,”  “I was wrong,”  “Please forgive me”.  Especially because parts of us may not want to apologize.  Because parts of ourselves still rally behind the original opinion.

A few years ago–perhaps 2013– I wrote a blog insisting “All Lives Matter” soon after the “Black Lives Matter” movement birthed.  In my mind the heart went out to all involved in the terrible tragedy of racism:  to both sides of this horrible and painful issue.  My heart embraced the oppressor and victim from the largest view possible.  It felt horrified for those experiencing racial persecution and the policemen on the front lines.  It felt broken for a system that refuses to celebrate color and diversity in all people–but also compassion for the other parts of humanity that haven’t come into the light of love.  For the parts of our human selves that experience so much fear (much of it perhaps unconscious) towards those who are different.

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Buddha on the page, Jesus in the rafters


Dearest readers!  I had no intention of writing a post today, honest.  But just finished morning meditation and wanted to share it with you here.  Just in case any of you might feel like playing.

Do you sometimes have trouble meditating?  Or, if you don’t meditate–stilling yourself long enough to sink deep within?  Do you sometimes careen outward into the day without pausing on your couch or easy chair to check in with the heart of you?

Here is the question that I have been pondering daily lately:  What’s true for me right now?

What is really really truly TRUE?  Not:  what is true with the world?  Not:  what is happening with my family?  Not:  what am I going to do today?

What is TRUE right now?

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

After the storm


Storms sweep around, between and through us all the time.

Nature sometimes delivers with a vengeance, doesn’t she?

Viruses, bacteria, parasites, cancer, heart attacks, tornados, fires, hurricanes.

Storms sweep through our lives, often arriving unexpectedly, tearing up trees, homes, emotions.

We may not like storms, but Mother Nature delivers anyway.

After the storm we look around at what’s fallen, take stock, and move forward into the next tomorrow.  We learn as we go, don’t we?  How to clean up debris, how to continue living, how to move on with our hearts bruised but intact.

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Posted in June, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Emotional storm


Last week Barry asked if I might ride with him to a couple of local cemeteries.  He wanted to take Memorial Day pictures for his job at the newspaper.

Sure, I said.  Let me grab my camera, too.

First we drove to the Aura Cemetery.  Then we motored on over to the Pequaming Cemetery.  The sun shone, a few clouds danced above, temperatures felt warm.  A beautiful spring day in the Upper Peninsula.

My mood felt light and happy.  A good day to be alive.

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Posted in May, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 67 Comments

Do we contradict ourselves? Yes, we contain multitudes…

Running black wolf

Running black wolf

I’ve heard it said:  the human brain prefers to quickly take in information and make broad assessments.  When we’re chased by a tiger through the jungle, we’d better make a split-second judgment that the beast is dangerous and run, run, run.  No time to contemplate the tiger’s possible sweet friendly nature.  No time to ponder its hungry babies in the den.  No time to philosophize about our tiger’s intentions, his inclinations, his growling stomach, his territorial nature.  Run, sister, run!

Parts of our brain, some scientists say, are hard-wired to process like this.  Take a pile of thoughts and condense them to the most logical conclusion.  Get your information from your most trustworthy sources and decide.

In this methodology our brains scan through dozens or hundreds of details and thoughts, rejecting or ignoring those that don’t fit the preferred or necessary interpretation and we make our assessment on “what feels right” or “what seems right” or “what we think is best”.  If it’s the limbic brain—we just run.

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Posted in May, 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments