Friday morning psalm of your grandma’s gingerbread cake and sweet Joe-Pye Weed

We’ll start this Friday morning psalm with a fleeting memory of your grandma’s gingerbread cake, or that strawberry rhubarb pie, or those sugar cookies she served you with a cold glass of milk.

While you lick the crumbs of memory from your fingers, let’s tie our sneakers and walk outside and listen to summer cicadas and watch how sweet Joe-Pye Weed blows in the breeze.  Wonder how it petals up to the sun so beautifully while the dictionary calls it a weed.

Joe Pye Weed

How can it feel so cool and hot in the same moment? The thermometer reads 65 cool degrees, and yet the sun pounds down hot and persistent on the broken pavement as you walk up the half-dirt road. Hot and cold, both. How can such a thing be?

How can you be happy one moment, grinning ear to ear and giggling about something silly–and the next moment stewed in sadness, a soup of simmering confusion?  How can life tell you a truth so right you feel it in your bones, and the next paragraph it’s all smoke and mirrors designed to slay friend or foe?

Oh, gingerbread girl, watch how your mind weaves untruths and then gifts with insight so sweet and honeyed, like an angel come from above to dwell among the gargoyles, like grandma come back from her flowered grave.

Cemetery

Cemetery

Look how buttercup and raspberries and deer die and rot into the soil, just to create dandelions and baby lettuce and zinnias. Look at you cycling around in this compost of words, creating again and again something from nothing, and lassoing back to the beginning again.

See how storms sweep through our homes, collapse our roofs, while the next morning waves lap gently and tenderly against the shore, as if nothing happened. As if nothing happened, nothing at all!

Queen Anne's Lace

You Queen of Lace

How over 1,000 people died of COVID in the United States yesterday and yet didn’t you laugh with your child on the phone, truly laugh, a big guffawing belly laugh that lit up the lantern of your soul and spread it across the meadow like yellow buttercups?

Do you ever wonder how you can dislike and like all in one afternoon, before supper calls you back to yourself?

Where it’s not always “happily ever after”, but more like a young girl or boy on a swing flying up toward the sky and down toward the earth. Or a couple young girls jumping fearlessly off a tall Lake Huron buoy.

Or like a roller coaster careening up toward the heavens and plummeting down to your heart’s deepest ache. Sometimes we disembark and exclaim, “Let’s do it again!” Another lifetime, please.

We asked her, "If someone jumped in the lake, would you jump, too?"

Jump!

Some of us didn’t eat dinner tonight.  No salmon patties, lettuce salad with goat cheese and cherries, multi-colored carrots.  No after-dinner popcorn.  Some of us suffer so damn much.  Fears lick our plates. Forks pierce our hearts.  The color of our skin matters.  The legacy of our grandfather matters.  Our genes matter.

And so does something else–the elusive burst of wind through the trees.  Sunlight reflected in a mud puddle.  Something holy and strong and loving and fierce rises up with the moon tonight.  Something like shining pearls in the milky sky. Or owl eyes calling us back to what’s real, what counts more than coin.

In this world of ups and downs, love sings its golden psalm. Hidden, it peeks out of the ordinary kettle, cup, cracked plate. Hidden, it peers out from despised weed and mask and despicable Facebook posting.  Hidden, it feeds us in the spaces between all these words, whispering holy, holy, don’t forget it’s holy here.

Spotted Knapweed

Holy Spotted Knapweed, oh ye invasive species, oh ye immigrant upon our shores

Like an elusive river otter, it sneaks into view–and then dissolves back into the inky darkness of night.  But it never disappears.  Never disappears.  Never truly disappears.

Look around, sweet sister. Fairy godmother is spinning your crown of sweet Joe-Pye weed and humming you whole again, because she knows how hard you’ve tried, how very hard you’ve tried, and you’re almost home, Cinderella, you’re almost home. Taste the gingerbread and reach out your open hand. Grandma’s coming to remind you to feed your soul in this land where nothing stays the same and yet something stays still and steadfast, never born and never broken.

May this Friday psalm spin you back to how you felt in Grandma’s kitchen, whole and loved. May sweet Joe-Pye Weed bless your weekend, dear one.

Look!  An old picture of Grandma I just found.

Grandma

 

 

 

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.
This entry was posted in July, 2020 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Friday morning psalm of your grandma’s gingerbread cake and sweet Joe-Pye Weed

  1. dorannrule says:

    You are a fantastic writer!

    • Kathy says:

      Dor, I don’t know about that, but it made my soul swoon last night to try and express what’s pretty much inexpressible. Thank you, dear.

  2. I am left breathless by this! Stunningly beautiful writing, Kathy…thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, this means so much. That you were left breathless, too. So was I last night. As if the words dropped from the stars onto the page and my job was to simply write them down. I thought: what would I like for people to feel after reading this? Maybe just that their soul was ignited for a few moments, like mine was. xoxo

  3. Susan D. Durham says:

    Oh, Kathy. Wow! Soooo beautiful. I will eat this up again and again. Packed with sweetness and power. Thank you!

  4. debyemm says:

    For my self as well –

    “How can you be happy one moment, grinning ear to ear and giggling about something silly–and the next moment stewed in sadness, a soup of simmering confusion? How can life tell you a truth so right you feel it in your bones, and the next paragraph it’s all smoke and mirrors designed to slay friend or foe?”

    When I could hike long distances still, in the hot summertime, I would pick a Queen Anne’s Lace to sweep away the flies.

    It’s not always “happily ever after” but somehow we muddle on.

    That’s Life. Better to have than to lose it. Still, I’m not afraid of dying and believe this is not the only life my soul has known. I take comfort in that idea.

    I do intend to have “Another lifetime, please.” “Something holy and strong and loving and fierce rises up” in willingness.

    “Nothing stays the same and yet something stays still and steadfast, never born and never broken.”

    So nice to have a real and peaceful interval with you here this Friday morning. Best wishes.

    • Kathy says:

      I am so glad to have you here with me and sharing your own psalm of “Another lifetime, please” and how that Queen Anne’s lace could sweep away flies on your hot summertime walk in yesteryear. Would you like another piece of gingerbread, my friend? ❤

  5. Carol says:

    Your words and thoughts flow so beautifully – an escape from the unpleasantness that surrounds us on a daily basis. Back to the days of making gingerbread houses, rhubarb pies, and Christmas cookies. Thank you.

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks, Carol, I love it when words turn into magic wands and take us away from our broken hearts. Back to the days of grandma. You are welcome, my friend.

  6. dawnkinster says:

    Where’s the LOVE button? Expressing what so many feel, yet are unable to find the right words for, you have found those words and spun magic.

    • Kathy says:

      Honestly, Dawn, I can hardly take credit for writing it. It’s as if the “man in the moon” traveled down and perched on my shoulder and whispered the spun magic words. I just recorded them, delighting how they made me feel. Glad they warmer your heart, too.

  7. Larissa says:

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  8. Barb says:

    Your thoughts spin out like magic, Kathy, and land in my heart. You’ve made me remember simpler times, and I believe those times remain a part of us. I love your Grandma’s smile – much like your own.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, your thoughts just reminded me of a spinning fishing rod, and how the line drops onto the mountain river, and how a silver fish can land in our hearts and stomachs, too. I may be going overboard with all this metaphor! Was just out picking garden carrots and heard the phrase “what the carrots say at night” and wanted to keep writing poetic words until the day I die–or tomorrow, whatever comes first. How kind of you to say that about Grandma’s smile. I am sure your grandma is smiling down on you, too.

  9. Stacy says:

    It reminds me of Proust’s Madeleine cake and how the taste and smell brought him back. The way pine trees swaying brings me back – both joy and melancholia wrapped up in a single memory. This life is full of contradictory contradictions. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, well thank you for the introduction to Proust’s Madeleine cake and that path back into memory’s hidden corners. Picturing your pine trees swaying you into your heart. The smell of pine needles can do the same for me at times–suddenly I’m back in a lost woods at my grandparent’s cottage–far away from the adults, free, blissed out under the trees. And yes–oh ye contradictions–the truer truth of our crazy and magic lives.

  10. Ally Bean says:

    I never knew my grandmothers, but I take your meaning. I like being whole and loved– and acknowledging all aspects of my humanity while looking at nature. Not sure what Joe-Pie Weed is either, but I’m sure it’s a good thing. 🤔

    • Kathy says:

      Ally, you have put your finger on it perfectly “acknowledging all aspects of my humanity”. That’s exactly what all these flowery Joe-Pye-like words were trying to say. 🙂

  11. rehill56 says:

    Extraordinary poetry today dear Katia. Beautifully woven and sung. Love.

    • Kathy says:

      My heart leapt to the tallest poplars in Aura as I read your sweet words, my dear Ruth! Thank you with love, said I and the garden carrots and the Joe-Pye Weeds beside our Aura roads.

  12. Gay says:

    That was beautiful Kathy, you took me back, away, for a few sweet moments. To savor innocence and unconditional love, warm summer nights, sweet smells of summer. Thank you for blogging and sharing your soul with us. You are such a gifted writer. I’m watching the rain coming down here in the foothills of NC, the heat has been exhausting this week, but farm life goes on, we feed and water the chickens, the pigs, the horse and tend the vegetable garden, we mow and weed eat when we can…I’ve been canning, beans, pickles, jams and will start tomatoes soon. Life is sweet when we focus on family and friends, the animals we raise, but the news and the world creeps in to remind us of the troubled world we live in. We find ourselves reminiscing about the “good ole days” and feeling fearful of the world our grandsons will grow up in, but the farm pulls us back to our chores and away from the worry, it is such a blessing. Yes, we have laughter and joy and then I remember a friend whose husband is going through chemo and radiation for lung cancer, a brother battling depression from the death of his daughter and a failed marriage…. I pray, cry out, hope for better days, but the joy never leaves me, the unexplainable rush of excitement with each sunrise or the peaceful sunsets that let me drift off to sweet, exhausted sleep. Life is funny, tragic, dark and beautiful all at the same time! We all share in the sorrows, in the joys and the wonder of it all. Blessings to you and yours!

    • Kathy says:

      Gay, it felt like reading YOUR poetry as you shared your comment here. Sweet jams and pickles and beans and tomatoes…the hard work of life on the farm…but also the joys and laughter, too. Do you sometimes feel that you’re just learning that it can be light and dark together, and that we needn’t blame or shame ourselves for the dark times? I am feeling like writing this is birthing this revelation in me anew, although will probably forget it come sundown. So nice to hear from you! Blessings back to you and your loved ones, too.

  13. Shirley Khodja says:

    This is beautiful, Kathy. I read it over and over and will read it again, each time enjoying something new. Poetry.

    • Kathy says:

      Shirley, so nice to hear from you, as always! Thank you for your kind words. Still can’t believe these words appeared while sitting on the couch with my iPad the other night.

  14. Beautifully written, Kathy. It was like you were holding my hand and we were walking along everything you mentioned. It made me feel sad and happy and grateful. Well done and have a nice weekend.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Micah. All those feelings running together inside us and out as we hold hands. Beautiful comment, and may you and Markus enjoy your weekend as well.

  15. Judi says:

    Sigh . . . everyone has expressed my deepest response to these beautiful words. Thank you for being the conduit of such magic!

    • Kathy says:

      Judi, you described it beautifully. “Being the conduit of such magic”. I just typed. Whatever came through the conduit felt like being in the “flow”. It was more a letting go than a struggling to create something. Gotta love it when this happens. xoxo

  16. Wow! Kathy, you really dug deep and turned it on with his post with fantastic word usage as your described so many thoughts and emotions. This was down and out profound and no doubt about it. I don’t know what turned your key to on but this is charming and lovely.

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Yvonne and thank you! Who knows where this came from? The ethers, I think. 🙂 Loved what you said about “what turned your key”. And I am glad that you thought it was lovely, too.

  17. Lovely weeds, Kathy, and meaningful words. I love the picture of your grandma. ♡ I had a pleasant, comforting dream about my grandfather a few nights ago. Doing a lot of careening up and plummeting down these days…

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, this should have really spoken to you with your ancestral ponderings of late. You have been learning so much, and I am not surprised your grandfather appeared to you. (Hmmm, now I had better look out for grandma–or maybe even my other grandma who might wonder why she was mentioned. Even though she was. I combined two grandmas into one.) Ahhh those careening and plummeting moments. I wish us all some calm sailing during these challenging times, as well.

  18. Bonnie Johnson says:

    Oh Kathy, so beautiful. Your words paint pictures in brilliant colors or grays, boisterous or muted, everything so meaningful. I haven’t visited for a while. I have missed you.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Bonnie! It’s so good to see you again–I’m glad you came over for some gingerbread cookies or perhaps the words painted in brilliant colors. Hope all is going well with you and your family.

  19. Margie.Merc says:

    Kathy, I adore your writing. So many images that put me right there, in that spot with the sun on my shoulders. Laughing. Then crying. Even with the world upside down as it is right now, there are still joy bubbles that deserve to rise to the surface. Many thanks for this lovely post!

    • Kathy says:

      “Joy bubbles”! I love how you put that, Margie. And so appreciate your kind words. This writing has been nourishing my soul recently. Blessings to you and your family!

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