Slowly she is resurfacing, the Muse that feeds my imagination and nudges the words out of my mind and onto the page. I know the change in weather has something to do with it. For about a week now the days have been warm and full of sunshine, just the right environment to entice me out into my beloved garden to work the soil, scatter seeds, and plant some flowers.
Nature has also responded with much burgeoning growth. Trees are budding out at the speed of light and the St. Augustine grass has gone from hay-colored to fresh spring green in the flash of an eye. Tiny green shoots are poking through the earth, a promise of beauty and color yet to come.
Another deciding factor has been the time change. We sprang forward last weekend and the evenings are lighter longer which always brightens my soul. And even though this afternoon the sunshine slowly disappeared and the sky became leaden grey, I was able to feel very grateful and even lighthearted when the rains came to soak the parched ground.
We have had a very mild winter and we really need some rain. I am especially grateful that it has rained today because this means that I do not have to expend time and energy to water the garden tomorrow. We do not have an automatic system and it is quite time and energy consuming to move the sprinklers all around the garden to their allotted spots to make sure everything gets a good soaking.
So here I sit, in my wonderful lanai, outside yet sheltered from the rain, allowing the thoughts to flow and the fingers to run across the keyboard. The sky is still mostly grey and I think we will probably get some more rain this evening. Everything is a fresh lush green and, even though it is already 7.15pm, it is still quite light. I love moving through spring into longer days. For whatever reason it makes me feel more alive.
I think the change in weather and the change in time have happened just perfectly for me right now because both of these events have helped me to move outside and beyond the prevailing sadness that surrounded me and weighed down my heart. This was due to five deaths that have happened among my friends and family since the end of October last year. Dealing with death, even as I accept it as part of life’s cycle, takes its toll in a physical and emotional way. I am just so grateful that I have strong support systems and the right tools to help me deal with it.
Just as nature cycles through her seasons, so too do we humans. And to appreciate and enjoy the new life we also need to accept and appreciate the dying to the old life. I am grateful to have a faith, a belief in God and in a life hereafter. So once I move past the sorrow of loss I can rejoice and celebrate at the soul’s onward journey. Who knows what joys and what adventures await us in the Big Beyond!!
It is Sunday morning and I am sitting in my lanai. I relished a short lie-in this morning after our trip home yesterday afternoon, unpacking and sorting out clothes and getting them washed and put away. It is good to be home in familiar surroundings. We had a great week in Orlando and it was good to be away from the usual routines. But it’s always lovely to come home.
It is a gorgeous day. Another one of those sparkling “Princess Di” days. The sun is shining brilliantly from a clear blue sky and there is a slight breeze sighing through the pine trees out back. Everything is gently moving and I can see all the individual needles on the pine trees fluttering in the breeze and shimmering in the sunlight.
I sit back in my chair and breathe in the soft, warm air. Yes, it’s warm here in sunny Florida at the end of November, although I hear that temperatures are going to dip down later on this week. In the meantime, I am enjoying this “Indian summer” and feel very happy and content. In fact my heart is full joy right now as I look at the beauty that God has placed right here in my back yard.
I notice that the small brown birds, I believe they are sparrows, are back again as they pass through on their way to who-knows-where and they are clustering on the feeders. There’s a flash of red as a colorful cardinal claims his place and the sparrows flutter away until he is done. I can hear the squirrels barking in the trees as they playfully, or maybe not, fuss at each other. Mokka, our cat, sits in the sun, her tail slowly swishing as she thinks her cat-thoughts about the birds.
But even as I am aware of the joy that I feel I am also aware that there is sadness punching and poking at my heart. It feels as though one ventricle is full of joy and the other is full of sadness. My life is blessed in so many ways and I am truly grateful for that. Yet I have a longing for a healed relationship with my sister who I miss so very much, and another longing for a happy, satisfying relationship with my daughter who I also miss very much.
And I am reminded of one of my favorite authors, Kahlil Gibran, who, when asked in his book The Prophet to speak about Joy and Sorrow, responds with these wise and wonderful words of wisdom:
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.”…………..
“Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?”……………
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”………..
”Together they come [Joy and Sorrow], and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
And so hangs the balance of all life. One moment we are in joy, and the next we are in sorrow. And sometimes we carry them together. And I can only learn to surrender to what is, to accept the gift of my emotions no matter what they are. As a character in the movie Shirley Valentine said, “If I can feel it means I am alive.”
The butterflies are dancing all over my stomach. We are about to embark on the most adventurous Harley ride ever. Today we leave Jacksonville , Florida and head to San Antonio, Texas. That’s almost eleven hundred miles one way!!. My biggest wish: that God protect us and give us safe and joyous riding.
Harley is packed and waiting patiently to rumble out of the garage. Rich has cleaned her beautiful blue chassis to a sparkling shine. The side saddles have been packed since yesterday, and once the king-pack is packed with “last bits”, the remaining two bags will be strapped on top and we will be ready to roll.
It’s amazing how much stuff you can get on a motorcycle if you plan carefully. I cannot believe that we will be gone for ten days and I have packed so little! The only real “rule” I created for myself was, only one pair of jeans for the three-day ride: they can be washed and readied for the return ride home too. Oh, and I also made myself not pack deodorant. We can share for this trip:-).
We are keeping a careful watch on Alex as he blows across the Gulf towards Mexico. Rich has been calculating times and distances and although we may run into some outer band rain showers, we should be arrived at destination before anything too strong might hit. We have good rain gear and so are well prepared for riding in the wet. If things should change drastically then I guess we will have to “hole up and hunker down” while we evaluate and readjust.
I am looking forward to seeing some new country and more of God’s great creation along the way. We have been as far as New Orleans going west from here but this is much further west. Our first stop is projected to be Pensacola by this evening. Tuesday we plan on heading for Lake Charles in Louisiana and then Wednesday will see us arriving in San Antonio.
I also need some personal down time, and there’s nothing like riding the back of the Harley for that. I know I will be spending much time in prayer and there will probably be tears too. But that’s OK because my “Buddy” will be with me upholding me and getting me through. Harley time is great for some private personal self nurturing.
Why the tears, you ask? Because of sadness surrounding my daughter, and more sadness surrounding my eldest son. Then throw a deep sadness in there for the shaken relationship with my sister and voila, the makings of a good country and western song!! Hopefully there will be much joy along the ride and even greater joy at our destination to balance out any sadness I may be carrying in the depths of my heart.
So I may be “off the grid” again for a few days. Richard will be taking his trusty Netbook with him so I will have ability to write if the urge comes. I will just have to see how my availability happens around the events that are planned for San Antonio. Safe travels to one and all and have a wonderful Fourth of July!