My heart is breaking for the thousands and thousands of people flooded out of their homes. In 1990 I lost my home to a flood. It was a devastating experience financially, emotionally, and physically.
It takes so long to recover. When our basic need for safety and shelter is unmet, we go wild with fear. We need time to grieve what is lost, the future we took for granted that is no longer ours.
If this is you or your family or friends, take a moment to see yourself still standing. There is strength in this. Even if standing looks like you flat on the floor with grief. There are many of us willing to sit with you. We will help you clean out the muck and begin this new chapter.
At this moment, we weep with all the heavy burdened muffled by grief. Our hearts break over what can not be fixed or changed. Beauty and love will come to us again. Just as the storm passes and the dawn breaks.
Still Points Quarterly: Patience's Pearl
Take a look at this fun, original take on life here in the Cedar Valley. The latest edition of Mag Pie, published by our own Emily Stowe.
And by the way, (shamless plug) I have an essay and art in this edition!
Everything reaches its zenith in July.
The sun swings to its peak in the sky, pausing before retreating in its arc. Shrubbery, trees, and garden, even the lowly weed, revel is downy youth.
Hot summer afternoons fill with the sound of children at the pool, racing to catch the ice cream truck, the buzz of mosquitoes, power saws, neighbors mowing.
All summer sounds reach this cocoon of hammock stretched out under the sheltering shade of the oak. The cricket and cardinal preach their summer sermons. Soon the full-throated cry of cicada with all its missionary fever will join this summer Chautauqua.
Gone are the floral notes of spring, replaced by the heady scents of summer: coconut suntan oil; sun-burned, sweat-soaked skin, chlorine, campfires, and burgers on the grill.
Out there, a flurry of activity: fireworks, parades, festivals. Here in this blissed pause of July, there is a hammock, thick book, cold drink, long nap.
Mind swings from one thought to the next in a lazy, hazy summer way of cattle lowing in the meadow, berries ripening on the hill, the slow waxing, and waning of the moon.
The trees applaud July’s performance. The brook murmurs its approval. The book lowers to chest, eyelids heavy; a pause
a July Pause.
June’s full moon is called the Strawberry Moon. Here in the Midwest, strawberries ripen as this month’s moon waxes and wanes.
In a good year, we’ll get two, maybe three, weeks of sun-ripened sweetness that shows the sham of store-bought berries.
Many of us make annual pilgrimages to the local berry grower. We either pick our own or buy quarts of early summer sweetness distilled into small red berries.
Thank goodness there are still things that capitalism, with its relentless tactics of anxiety, envy, and distraction, can’t touch. Field strawberries naturally ripened are too fragile to ship even a hundred miles, let alone thousands.
Tasting a strawberry plucked from the dirt, ripened by sunshine under an open sky, reminds us of the difference between eating and tasting.
It reminds us too of the cycle of seasons. Seasonal ripening speaks to the reciprocity inherent in nature. Nature grants us rights to harvest only so long as we bear the responsibility to nurture and protect soil and water.
This past year brought home to all of us how interconnected we are. Hopefully, we learned that our well-being depends on everyone’s well-being. Maybe we’ll yet remember that our well-being depends on the planet’s, our only home, well-being.
Back home, I pause to savor this annual pilgrimage. This ancient process of recognizing the season, taking time to harvest, and listen to bird songs. The pulse of wind and sun on my skin reminds me home is bigger than the walls around me.
It’s easy to fret and worry. What will become of us? But slipping a plump strawberry into my mouth becomes a promise of more springs and summers to grow wiser. A promise of future Strawberry Moons shining on a planet where we’ve learned to care for each other and our home.
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“The season has begun to pry at winter buds, loosening their tight knots, patiently untangling them into blossoms.” Mary Jo Hoffman
Sometimes our hearts are like buds, tight tiny knots. We hang onto those knots as hedges against uncertainty, ambiguity, fear, and loss.
The spring-flowering trees have been flamboyant this year, full of blossom and scent. But their beauty has been short-lived, nipped by freezing temperatures and stifling heat.
These swings between searing heat and numbing cold have been hell on blossoms. The forecast for the next 10-days is for more stable temperatures without the wild swings of seasonal disorientation. Now the late flowering crabs are coming into their moment. Will the moment last?
So much of life is about timing. Spring’s texture is more challenging for me to grasp than winter, summer, or fall. It’s both more ephemeral and less predictable. Its many texture changes from shivering cold to searing heat make me wonder whether spring is now endangered, a vanishing season.
Spring in my life has been the season of longing and restlessness. The time when all of nature sings of passion and I join in. There’s a feral-ness to spring I embrace. I want to play hooky, shedding adult responsibilities, the dependable productivity of my days.
Perhaps that’s springs purpose, to renew a spirit of exploration and adventure. Two friends write that they are playing with the spring muse. One is considering taking an art class, the other getting back in the saddle. One worries she may be a “bit late.” The other thrills that muscle memory lets her enjoy her time atop a horse. Age, she reports, is a “non-issue.”
Here’s the glory of this moment, whatever your age, flower where you are with the ideas ripening in your life. May your heart unfurl, untangle and release whatever is holding the budding potential.
May you blossom.