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Tag Archives: spring

a walk in the rain

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Rain has continued for days off and on,

I cannot help but feel like my mind is flooded.

The intensity of spring cannot be described.

I cannot come up with enough words to describe even a short walk.

But there are photos.

These photos I share with you now.

Feel free to leave your own words.

Your interpretations and perspective would be valued.

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Tiny budding leaves

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young elm seeds

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young leaves of a box elder in a puddle

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needles settled after a wash

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nature’s debris

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fallen blossoms of the box elder tree

bursting buds and emerging foliage

bursting buds and emerging foliage

bursting buds and emerging foliage

bursting buds and emerging foliage

dead and down wood, with lichens

dead and down wood, with lichens

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the diversity is stunning

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this is the world we live in

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Note to Self, Resurfaced

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The cycles of nature are fascinating. She has no concern for deadlines. Spring will come when it comes. Even if our calendars say its May and our thermometers say it is 30 degrees, the day still goes on. Nature doesn’t try to fix things. Nature is a master at living in the moment.  We have so much to learn.

But I tried to take on one of my spring tasks this morning. Cleaning out the closed-in front porch. Somewhere around Christmas it becomes a storage area for stuff, and the stuff stays there until it is warm enough to want to move it again and use the space. Is it warm enough? No. I just cranked up the heat and am taking breaks. You see, I really am wanting to re-create some of my spaces. To start fresh. To start new. After all, isn’t that what spring was about?

But, as it often happens when I am cleaning, I found something. Something amazing that stopped me in my tracks and almost put me in tears. Something from a year ago. Not that long, really. But, my, how life has changed.

A year ago

A year ago, I was grieving the sudden loss of my father. I was missing my siblings everyday. I was completely overwhelmed with work. I needed a break. I needed to rest and cry. We needed to settle my fathers estate and clear out his house. We needed to pay funeral bills. I was terribly sick with abdominal pain. All my tests came back normal. But I was clearly ill. I was terrified. I was scheduled for exploratory surgery with the assumption my gallbladder would be removed. I tried to take each day on its own. But even that was too much. I made the decision to leave my job. This was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. But even as I gave my resignation, I had to prepare all the projects, grants, and reports for my departure. I wasn’t in the clear yet. I still had to wake up each day, show up to work, try not to break down, and be somewhat available for two more months.

What I found on the porch this afternoon was a piece of paper that I carried in my pocket on each of those days. It was a comfort object. It was my reminder. I was terrified and felt completely alone. I wrote myself notes. This piece of paper was folded up into squares. A total of 16 areas to write on, on the front and another 16 on the back. When I heard or thought of encouraging words, I wrote them down on a square. When I needed them. They were there for me. And I knew them to be true.

These are the reminders that helped me have the courage to make the changes that I needed in my life, even if I was absolutely terrified to do so.

  • It’s important to know that today is all I really need to worry about.
  • It’s important to know that I am making a choice.
  • It’s important to know that I don’t have to work hard to be okay.
  • It’s important to know that I have friends thinking of me.
  • It’s important to know that I am breaking my dysfunction.
  • It’s important to know what makes me uncomfortable.
  • It’s important to know that I am valuable by just existing.
  • It’s important to know that I am not giving up.
  • It’s important to know what makes me happy.
  • It’s important for me to listen to the trees.
  • It’s important to know that possibilities exist.
  • It’s important to know that my husband loves me best when I am me.
  • It’s important to know that my children value time learning and working with me on the things that I love.
  • It’s important to know where to find myself.
  • It’s important to know what I love to do.
  • It’s important to know that I deserve to be happy (and am allowed to be).
  • It’s important to know that my health is part of my well-being.
  • It’s important to know that my home is my own.
  • It’s important to know that I don’t have to be strong.
  • It’s important to know, I can change.
  • It’s important to know I don’t have to give all of myself.
  • It’s important to know that things can be simple.
  • It’s important to know I am learning what I need.

What amazing, powerful words those are. Some of them still bring me to tears now. What amazing lessons we can learn from life, indeed.

dogwood

Sharing, A Sense of Place

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It just dawned on me, the things I have been documenting through my posts on Pages of Paradigm extend far beyond my own efforts to share my challenges and triumphs in defining myself as an self-employed, thirty-something, mother of two, living in the rural stretches of the Dakota prairies. There is a greater, overall theme at play. It is my creation of a sense of place.

This is one of those realizations that hits me so clearly, but leaves me wondering, “Why didn’t I see it that way before?” For so many years, I dedicated my time to defining myself as something different from my surroundings. As a child, I wasn’t my mother and I wasn’t my father. I was different, of course. The feeling of being overwhelmed by the challenges they faced in their lives gave me the courage to step into the world, on my own, early on. I was 18, but I was still in high school. I wanted to experience myself and wanted to define my own place in the world. I got my own apartment. I ate chinese take-out on the floor of that furnitureless apartment. I kept my clothes in the laundry baskets I brought them home from the laundry mat in. I when to school on Mondays and Fridays, did all my homework, and maintained a B average. I made my teachers furious. I would skip school to sleep in after a late night out. I would skip school to go see the exhibits at the St. Louis Art Museum. I would hang out in the park, drawing the ducks and swinging on the swings. In ways, I had found myself. The stories as to how I lost all that are complex and not for this post tonight. But for the past several months, I have felt a strong reconnection to that time in my life.

Our lives work in cycles. And sometimes we are fortunate enough to pick-up a thread that was lost along the way.

When I left my successful career job last July, I was terrified that somewhere I would mess things up big time. Not just for me, but for my family. My fear was imbued with the echoes of a unhealthy relationship from years past, “You’ll never be happy. You don’t know how. You bring out the worst in every possible good thing you find.” Sadly, those words became part of the rhetoric my inner critic used regularly against me. But I know better now. Those words are untrue. I am proof that my critic, and former boyfriend were both wrong. Terribly wrong. See!!!

We all have good days and bad days. But the value of those days that can never me overestimated. The bad days that I have seen through so far can only continue to teach me. And as they teach me, I heal. I become comfortable with myself. I become comfortable sharing myself with others. I become comfortable being myself around people I don’t know. I become comfortable calling myself an artist and an art gallery manager. I become comfortable calling myself a foodie and gardener, as well as an activist in the local foods movement. I become comfortable calling myself a writer, as well as a consultant and grant writer for various projects. I share my love for photography, plants, animals, art, skeletons, seeds, words, and life. 

I have grown. And that is where place becomes the palette for exchange. What I share, comes back to me. It comes back, just like the birds do each spring. It blooms, just like the buds of trees when the air warms. I begin to feel nourished, encouraged, and supported by the atmosphere that surrounds me, by the distinct shape of the roads I travel everyday, and by the radiance that emerges from even my everyday experiences.

DPRCA Opera House and Latte Lobby

In ways, it lends to an uneasy feeling. With this sense of acceptance and arrival, I have no idea what is next. I guess that it why it is always good advice to take one day at a time. And for the next 30 days, I will be trying something new (and scary). I will be pursuing one of my goals I laid out for earlier this year. I am going to work on submitting a piece for the North Dakota Humanities Council publication On Second Thought’s call for articles on a sense of place.

Somehow, it feels that everything I’ve done up to this point, professionally, academically, and personally have come together to tell me that I am completely capable of sharing my story of re-creating myself in a tiny town in such away that I could truly bloom where I was planted.

What a Tree Knows

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What a Tree Knows

Dogwood Blossoms

This is my place,

Under a dogwood tree.

The delicate blossoms,

The opposite arrangement of the branches and leaves,

They lend a bit of balance,

And I find myself grounded when I am there.

Even when I cannot truly be there,

I have the image,

The aroma,

The entire sensory experience,

The entire conversation,

All within my being.

For all that each offers,

That is what composes a sense of well-being for me.

The time will come,

I will see the green details,

And the intricate beauty again.

For now,

I must know,

That the mud, water, and even the snow

Are just temporary necessities,

And that spring, in time, will surely come.

Just as the blossoms,

and the leaves,

and the grasses always do.