I weep as I walk

I never know how this happens.

All day long the thought arises, “Nope, nothing to blog about today.”

Tonight, making yellow split pea soup with burdock–you all know what burdock is, don’t you?–OK, I see some of you don’t.  It’s sometimes accused of being a “weed”.  But those of us who are savvy sometimes sliver the root into teeny-tiny pieces and add it to soups or stews or simmered carrots.  It’s a tonic for your liver.

It’s so powerful and healing that you’ll glow after you eat it.  I swear.

Prickly sticky seed pods of burdock

Your liver smiles smugly, delighted that you’ve attended to it.

The timer says:  24 minutes before the soup has finished.

I walked up the road as fast as possible this afternoon.  It’s hard when the road is slick with snow.  Not much snow, but it’s slippery unless you put one foot in the area plowed down to gravel.

Chickadees sang in the woods, lilting their tunes into the heart.  I did not see any little black and white wings.

I love this place down by the Eagle Pond. Green mossy swamp; white snow...

People are complaining because the temperature is 32 degrees (0 degrees celsius.)  They want colder weather; more winter.  Other people–those who do not like skiing or ice fishing or snowmobiling–nod in approval at the Weather’s Behavior.

My husband wants the temperature to hover at the zero mark.  I try to nod in understanding at his attitude, but secretly I like the temperature just where it is.

My eyes seem to be getting older.  Back in my teens and 20’s and 30’s and 40’s it was easy-as-pie to hike up the road in cold windy weather.  Not any more.  My eyes cry.

Honest-to-goodness, they cry.

I weep as I walk.

Part of me sighs and thinks “What’s going to happen at age 70?”  Barry says, don’t worry. In a few years your eyes will turn dry and hurt instead.


Excuse me, time to check the progress of the soup.

OK, I love this old picture--Blog, 2009--of Barry dragging the Christmas tree out into the woods. We didn't put up a tree this year.

OK, it’s boiling merrily.  18:36 minutes to go.

I grabbed another nine-inch raw carrot to munch.

Barry–who is listening to Minnesota Public Radio on the couch–said in amazement, “Another carrot?”


I love raw carrots, don’t you?  They are an entirely different root from the carrot which bubbles in the simmering yellow split pea soup.

I have no new photos to show you.

Have not really felt inspired to photograph lately.

Have not really felt inspired to blog lately, but that doesn’t seem to matter when a blog requests to be written.

“Write me,” the blog says, and what’s a blogger to do?

I suppose many of you haven't seen this photo. Me, 2009, on the roof, with sun and chimney.

I have been busy in spiritual concentration these days.  Being present, being aware.

You know–chop wood, carry water.

(In other words, putting attention in everything you are doing, including typing.  Being as present to life’s unfolding as possible.  That means when you chop carrots, you are aware of chopping carrots.  When you sliver burdock, you are aware of slivering burdock.  You cry when you cry. You are not planning tomorrow’s dinner.  You are not lost in last year’s memories.  You are slivering burdock.  You are crying. That’s part of my spiritual focus for January.  You are with whatever is unfolding and thus you are surprised, more-than-surprised, when a blog presents itself somewhere between making split pea soup and munching a raw carrot.)

Oh gosh!  Gotta hurry…Barry’s wondering if we’re planning on eating dinner tonight.  The soup is done!  See you later!

P.S.  Sorry if I drew you over to this blog thinking that I wept while walking because I was sad.  I wept because it was cold and windy.  Isn’t it terrible to lure folks to your blog through such headlines?  (They make me smile, because they’re true.  They’re just unexpected.  I hope you’re smiling, too, and not weeping.)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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61 Responses to I weep as I walk

  1. Chop wood and carry water.

    Yes ma’am, I am oh-so-familiar 🙂

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    roflmao i would like to ask you to taste the soup for me, each and every drop, wait maybe pay attention to how the spoon feels…no no no pay attention only to the soup, is the soup better with the spoon? nevermind, just eat it giggling here

    has barry ever offered to hold the carrot lovingly for you while you eat it? (no it is not safe to wonder why i asked this question)

  3. Dawn says:

    Love the idea of not planning tomorrow’s dinner. I hate planning dinner. If I could I’d live in a small village and walk to the meat market, the vegetable market, the baker every day and see what looked good. I have Krogers, which some days I treat that way. Like tonight…go in, see what looks good, make dinner, realize tomorrow there is nothing for dinner…stop at Krogers on way home from work, see what is good…repeat. Makes husband nuts. LOL

    • Kathy says:

      Isn’t it lovely when you can just reach in the refrigerator and KNOW what you want to make for dinner and all the ingredients are handy? I would be culinarily (new made-up word) challenged if I worked full time.

  4. Dearest Kathy, I have several burdock stories, particularly memorable is my daughter’s friend in kindergarten who had a head full after play time and had to have her teacher brush them out with a horse brush. No good soup stories though. Lucky Barry. I send you peace today my dear. Posting a photo on my site in honor of you.
    Love, Teary eyed at 32 degrees too, S

  5. Susan D. says:

    Nummy, the soup sounds so good, as do the raw carrots. Mmmmm … mmmmm. Although not freshly shot, the photos you chose are fresh in accompanying this blog – I like them a lot!

    I cry, too, in the cold now … unfortunately, my nose likes to run, as well, maybe to keep the eyes company. Gets noisy on those “quiet” walks with all the sniffling, but I feel wildly primitive somehow and manufacture stories about being lost in the woods and I must make it home before _____ (insert adventurous event here). A lot of times, I don’t make up stories at all. Haha…

    Thank you for your lovely offering! It’s perfect on this night…just perfect.

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I am glad you enjoyed this offering. As you know, sometimes I wonder why-the-heck I write these. Never thinking that others might enjoy them. I am SO GLAD to have another cry baby (Cry elder?) in my knowing. Today, in the sunlight and 30+ warmth the eyes didn’t even water. We’re headed up to Houghton soon. Barry has to cover a game tonight and we’re eating soup & sandwiches at the Library Restaurant if we can get there before 3. See you ’round!

  6. Brenda Hardie says:

    Dear dear Kathy, I do understand the weepy eyes when walking outside in the cold…and the runny nose as well. Must always carry kleenex with me to catch everything, in case I should meet someone along the way! Wouldn’t want to greet them with tears running down my face and nose all drippy too! What a vision that would be! My biggest discomfort though is how badly my knees hurt with each and every step. That grinding pain very nearly brings a different kind of tears to my eyes. But I bravely carry on…one step at a time. I refuse to give up yet! Sure, I’ve cut out all my long distance hikes and don’t walk anymore on trails (has to be even ground) but I will not quit altogether!
    Hmm…I am not savvy enough to know about burdock. But I am familiar with yellow split pea soup and with raw carrots (both are yummy) 🙂
    I love your picture of Barry and the Christmas tree…would make a great Christmas card! And I always love seeing you in pictures, your smile alone brings sunshiny happiness to me!
    Enjoy your soup…and the quiet reflection and awareness of January 🙂 I am enjoying the balmy temperatures and taking advantage by doing some “spring cleaning”….really purging and simplifying…feels wonderful!

    • Kathy says:

      I always forget kleenex. I kept using my mitten fingers to catch the tears. I got sad reading this and thinking about your knees, and then Barry’s knees, and the fact that my knees sometimes hurt too. How awful awful not to be able to walk everywhere you desire. That is a good idea about the pic making a Christmas card. You are brilliant! And I am glad you liked seeing me, even though it was a younger and more adventuresome me. OK, maybe not more adventuresome. Enjoy purging! I love that feeling.

  7. I’d never heard of burdock. Learned something new–cool. Also, loved the way you packaged this post by the making of soup–framed it. Great job, my friend!

    • Kathy says:

      It is surprising when a story arrives all framed around a bowl of soup. Sometimes I think I am not doing the packaging, Kathy. Perhaps the stories would be better if I sat down and figured out how to package them. Instead I let the stories ride me, or perhaps I ride them like a wild pinto across the prairies of this mind. But thank you anyway!

  8. P.j. grath says:

    This may surprise you. It surprised me. I just learned that sometimes goldfinches get caught by the burdock and cannot detach themselves. Isn’t that sad? Oh, sorry! I didn’t mean to start you crying again, Kathy! Maybe you should go back and look at that photo of Barry dragging the Christmas tree, because it certainly made me smile!

    • Kathy says:

      OK, I couldn’t help it, I laughed out loud after reading this last night! But then began to think about those wee goldfinches and began to sob–no, not really. Seriously, what are goldfinches doing near burdock? Does burdock grow in the water? Are they caught by the roots or the seed pods? I can’t imagine seed pods growing under water. Please, more details!

  9. Gerry says:

    The Cowboy is very intentional about his explorations, too, and often comes home with his curly fur well-decorated with burdock.

    He chews, working the burrs out from between his toes. It is possible he glows.

    I comb, tug, and finally scissor his fur. It is possible I weep. I suspect that even if I got to the root of the matter my liver would be agitated.

    • Kathy says:

      Gerry, between you and Pamela, you had me in stitches last night. (Good therapy for tears, right?) Although I am very very sorry about the Cowboy’s burdock, your scissoring, and any unintended liver-agitation caused by this blog.

  10. Dana says:

    Mmmm… burdock and carrot soup! We just finished a divine potato leek soup up here, and a winter mushroom soup is asking to be made as well. Soup + winter = heaven! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Please pass your bowl of soup through the computer screen and I shall pass mine and we shall sample! (The best reason for winter existing is soup, I am sure.)

  11. Sybil says:

    All I’ve known about burdock is its ability to stick to anything from personal experience. But, eating it ? That’s another matter … very kewl.

    I need to learn to live in the moment. I spend too much time in the past and the future, and not enough in the now.

    I have a quote on my bulletin board, “Do not let yesterday use up too much of today”.

    • Kathy says:

      The moment is a very fine place. Wonder why our thoughts always want to pull us to and fro? They are kind of sticky–like burdock, aren’t they? I love your quote.

  12. bearyweather says:

    My eyes water, too. Sometimes my sinuses burn with the cold and deep breaths are shockingly tough to take. My knees are becoming painful when I climb, too.
    Maybe it is true .. you can tell someone’s age by their health complaints? 😉

    I don’t know about you, but I feel much, much younger then my body feels sometimes

    • Kathy says:

      Bearyweather, you don’t know how encouraged I am to hear that others of us experience that eye-watering thing, too. On a warm day like today (33) no problem. But on those bitter cold wind-blowing days–yikes! My knees hurt sometimes, too, and it’s been painful just to watch Barry suffer this past year. But it’s only our body which is growing old! Everything else is getting better. 🙂

  13. Kathy I have these glasses that I wear if I am awake so I can see what is going on around me. They seem to help with the wind in the eyes dilemma 🙂 So good to be making soup with you at the end of my day. I can almost smell its savoriness from here.

    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, Terrill, I like the sound of those glasses. I wear regular glasses, but it doesn’t seem to help. Yesterday it was being at Niagara Falls and getting splashed with spray… Glad you think soup is as delicious as I do!

  14. jeff v says:

    I think burdock is what inspired the guy who came up with velcro. wasnt aware of its healing properties, wonder how many burrs I would have to eat to undo the self inflicted damage of my youth? by the way, what is the sound of one hand clapping?

    • Kathy says:

      Don’t get me started with that one hand clapping, Jeff! **smile** I am pounding the computer desk and shouting “This! This! This!” (Never mind, the Zen master would just send me back to sitting and say, No, not quite it, sit some more.)

  15. Heather says:

    The soup sounds great! What does burdock taste like? I knew it was edible, but not what parts, and not what they taste like? Also, Dana’s potato leek soup and wild mushroom soup sound good. Here I am planning dinners for next week!
    My eyes also water in the cold and wind. I find that wearing glasses helps some, but sometimes you just can’t get away from the wind.

  16. Burdock, eh? Looks like something that would snag my jeans and cause me to wince in pain. But I’ll trust that your soup turned out wonderfully. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Mark, burdock has that evil reputation! Shame on it… but in soup–especially if you’re vegetarian–it imparts a nice smoky flavor. But don’t take my word for it. And don’t forget to sliver.

  17. John says:

    I don’t care how old they are, I love your pictures. Getting a little Buddism thrown in to the blog stew pot today. Now I have to go back to the kitchen and get a carrot before I go to bed 😉

  18. Claire says:

    I just did all those things with you, metaphorically of course, which all added up to a very nice read. Thanks for the words and the photos.

  19. ceceliafutch says:

    Thanks for the info on the burdock; I did not know. The soup sounds delicious. I could almost smell the aroma! This was a lovely post. Thank you.

    • Kathy says:

      Soup posts can be so tantalizing because sometimes we’re filled with a wild desire to simmer a pot ourselves. I am glad you smelled this soup. Thank you.

  20. Tammy says:

    I have never used burdock but love yellow lentils with carrots and know my liver could use a tonic.

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  22. Val says:

    Mmm… the only thing for which one can’t be in the moment, is blogging. Because when we blog we look at other things that are going to be in the blog post. It’s kind of a meditation in itself, don’t you think? So maybe your mind and body were saying “Kathy, take a break from this type of meditation and go and do that type instead, for a bit.” I’m glad you did.

    By the way, your pic on the roof makes you look like you’re next to a standing stone. 🙂

    I know Burdock – have had it with Dandelion and Burdock cordial, which can be very nice indeed.

    • Kathy says:

      Sometimes I feel that I don’t really write these blogs, Val. It feels like they write themselves, which, I suppose, is a form of meditation. The mind grows still and watches the blog write itself. It’s the oddest thing. I wonder if anyone else feels this way? As for Dandelion and Burdock cordial–oh my! I’ll bet that one is very interesting, indeed.

  23. Colleen says:

    Yes, Zen yumminess and chickadees lilting their tunes into our hearts. Kathy, I’m very happy to be here right now XXOO

  24. Barb says:

    Hi Kathy, I also walked a dirt road this morning and then ran a bit on the trails – sunny with no wind, so I didn’t cry. I’ve heard that UP has “no snow” and a mild winter. We’re in big trouble here in CO if the snows don’t soon start coming (meaning BIG storms). Until then, even though it’s Jan 5, I can just wear my running shoes on the packed trails – unheard of since I moved here in ’89. I love the sunshine and the fact that I don’t have to strap on snowshoes, but we need the moisture so we don’t have a summer of forest fires. So – I’m doing a snow dance while I try to be present. PS I have never even considered Burdock! (Mild Thistle by supplement seems easier to me…)

    • Kathy says:

      It has been so mild recently here in the UP that it’s driving the ice fishermen (substitute: my husband) crazy. They want cold badly. I can’t imagine wearing running shoes on your packed Colorado trails. I hope you get snow. Crossing my fingers that you get lots of snow.

  25. Barb says:

    PS I love the moss and snow pic!

  26. Robin says:

    Oh gosh, Kathy. Here’s another thing we have in common. I weep as I walk, too. My eyes tear up and run and run and run. Wearing glasses makes it worse as the lenses get all salty and fogged and I can’t see a thing. So I’ve stopped wearing them in the winter, and I let myself weep, cleansing my eyes in the coldness of winter.

    Would you please come to the Bogs and teach me how to identify burdock?? It’s included in a soup recipe I want to try, but I don’t know where to find it. I’ll teach you Photoshop and you can teach me how to find burdock. 🙂

    Your photos are so beautiful. I particularly like the one of you on the roof. It’s a gorgeous shot of a beautiful person.

    • Kathy says:

      Hey, there, Ms. Robin! I never thought of leaving my glasses behind…because then I would be a blind walker. But I like the way you describe cleansing your eyes in the coldness of winter. So we have a deal. Burdock=Photoshop. Excellent! (But guess what? It’s really hard to pull out of the ground and clean. I bought these pieces at the co-op. Shhh, don’t tell.)

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  28. Chickadees! They make being outside in the winter with a runny nose and watering eyes worth all the bother! I like the picture of you on the roof with the sun… Still waiting for snow here.

    • Kathy says:

      Chickadees are wonderful. This is the first year in a long time that we’re not feeding the birds. Thus, I have to go seeking the little beauties. May have to bring a camera along and have a Chickadee Morning some day this winter.

  29. I DID think you were sad! I’m glad that wasn’t the case 🙂 My eyes do the same thing when it’s windy.
    Cute picture of you, you look so young!

    • Kathy says:

      I was young back then–two or three years ago! LOL! I am glad your young eyes do the same thing when it’s windy. (And when it’s cold AND windy, it’s vicious.) I feel better now.

  30. walking on a dirt road brought back fond memories of living on a dirt farm in MS of so many years ago
    my dad chopped wood
    i brought in the water from the well

    thank you post for writing yourself 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Chop wood…carry water.

      It sounds like you’ve already done it, Ms. purpleborough.

      (I am especially fond of posts that write themselves. Less work for the blogger! tee hee)

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