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Little Things

hyacinth are peeking up in my garden

It was a grey and cold and rainy week.  I’ve got a chill that I can’t seem to shake, even when the sun peeks its head out.  I’m doing all the “celebration of spring” things you might expect, but I’m still not feeling it.

This is actually the hardest time of the year for many traditional peoples.  The stores are gone and the new food, spring’s promise, has not actually arrived.  Pulling the sap from the trees was probably originally an act of desperation.  Weather transitions are not easy either, and in Minnesota those transitions can swing very broadly and with little warning.  60 degrees one day and snow the next is not unheard of here.

Ran across this shrine down by the river.

I’m trying to pay attention and really honor the small things.  The little delights and surprises in my days.  I met a friend last week and she said, “Do you want to go out for lunch?”   YES!    I made a lovely venison stew and brought it to share for dinner with another friend.  I threw colored eggs in the river (a magical act that’s part of my Tradition’s practices for the season) and came across a lovely shrine.  I think it’s Hanuman the Hindu God who represents devotion and intellect.   Hmmmmm……..

I also saw a bunny in a knot of wood.   It made me smile, after all it is the season.  I picked up my pastel colored M&M’s the last time I went to the store and I’ve been eyeing the Cadbury eggs.

Bunny in the wood

This morning I went to http://gildasclubtwincities.org for the Euro Cafe Social.  What a treat to have breakfast made for me.  This is an occasional event for members to meet and get to know each other.  The origins of the Euro Cafe were with a member, who most of us knew as Uncle Jack.  He lobbied for more social events and cooked for the first several Euro Cafe’s.

Uncle Jack loved to cook, had a great sense of humor and always had a hug for anyone who needed it.  He was the one who noticed the day I got my diagnosis of endometrial cancer.  He didn’t ask what was going on, just if I needed anything and gave me the hug I asked for unconditionally.  Working at Gilda’s we do lose members to cancer, but Jack’s memory will live on and I’m honored to have known him.

Ryan making crepes for breakfast

That sweet bitter sweet is very much my mood of late.  It’s how I’m feeling about the changing seasons and about the world in general.  Talking to people it seems like it’s a feeling that’s going around.   How are you coping?

Inspiration

It is the spring equinox, when day and night are of equal length.  We’ve had such odd weather I’m not sure if spring is coming or going.   I’m looking at the celebration of new beginnings and feeling like I need a little inspiration.

I spent the weekend going outward for inspiration.  I went to my writers group and listened to these amazing women talk about their plans for their books and their writing.  I left feeling better, but it was St. Patrick’s Day and that seemed to be what filled the air.

I also went to Paganicon, the local convention.  I saw old friends, attended a few workshops, and escorted Orion around.  I didn’t present this year.  He really wanted to go, so this year it was his convention.  One of the unique things about Paganicon is the exhibition of Pagan artists, sponsored by the Minneapolis Collective of Pagan Artists.  There were some beautiful pieces this year.

I left the convention with some ideas about things I’d like to plant in my life this new year.  I just don’t have clarity about how I want that to work.  On the way home the weather turned again.  The sun was shining and it was 55 degrees out.  It really felt like spring.

I decided to follow an impulse and stopped to buy flowers.  I brought them home and put them around my house.  They are my inspiration.  They are a little sign that spring is really on its way.  They make me smile.

What is your inspiration?

 

Previous blogs about the spring equinox and about Paganicon:

Emotions

Happy Spring

Spring Fever

30 degrees

Paganicon Weekend

Paganicon

Grateful

 

Hello/Goodbye

20160507_204506It’s always bittersweet coming to recognize that it is time to let something go.  Drawing the line in the sand and saying, “enough” takes courage and strength.  Being able to walk away when something you care about is no longer willing or able to receive help from your presence is heartbreaking.  Moving on, knowing you’re doing what you need to do, and being free from those obligations that have become burdensome is freeing.  Being grateful for what you have, what you’ve left and learned, what opportunities that freedom opens up, is healing.

Neither my Mom nor Karina was available on Sunday

Neither my Mom nor Karina was available on Sunday

For whatever reason I seem to be participating in various stages of this process this month in multiple arenas.  I have friends both walking away, and unable to walk away from toxic relationships.  I have friends in desperate need of medical support some choosing to get it, others in vehement denial.  I put  lot of volunteer hours with an organization shutting it’s doors, and more hours with another involved in a large fundraising drive.  It was Mother’s Day weekend, and my Mother was out-of-town.  It was the weekend the family chose to celebrate my ex-father-in-law’s 90th birthday.

Volunteering at Gilda's Club

Volunteering at Gilda’s Club

This appears to be a year of transitions for me.  The slow process of getting my house in order is the physical manifestation of what seems to be going on in my spirit.  I have opportunities.  I’m writing another book, I’m looking for speaking engagements, I’m trying to figure out what a career will look like at this stage in my life.  I’m also struggling with letting go, setting boundaries and managing my time and resources.

It’s all up in the air!

I’m grateful that it’s spring.  Although my gardening is going on “hold” again this year, the season still carries all that potential.  The lilacs and apple trees are blooming.  The birds wake me up in the mornings.

Saying goodbye to our Local Council supporters

Saying goodbye to our Local Council supporters

I’m setting seeds into my life.  Some will sprout, others won’t.  Some will come up, and then need pulling. Others will thrive.  That is what I’m hanging on to.

Colors

Hyacinth

Hyacinth

We’re getting the spring greening early, but now I’m starting to see the colors coming as well.   It’s been so lovely Orion and I took a walk to get his haircut.  (We usually drive.)  Quite the adventure.

magnolia

magnolia

I had the opportunity to notice the flowers are starting to bloom.  My hyacinths popped as promised.  (So has the little bleeding heart.)  The magnolia at the end of the neighborhood is blooming.  (I know that seems late for those of you who live in places where magnolias are native.  But they are a light-sensitive bloomer and we finally have enough!)

The utility companies are planting in living color!

The utility companies are planting in living color!

Unfortunately those aren’t the only colors that have started popping up!   It looks like there will be a lot of sewer repair.  I’ve run into cones on the highways as well.  The second season (road construction) is also getting an early start this year.

I took Orion and his new haircut to the hardware store to look at paint.  Another way to procrastinate is to get ahead of yourself.  I don’t have a contractor yet.  I don’t have the loan I need from the bank.  But I’m looking at colors and cabinets.  It’s just more fun!

Orion with his summer haircut and "possibilities".

Orion with his summer haircut and “possibilities”.

Hi’s and Low’s

Hyacinth ripe and waiting for another sunny day

Hyacinth ripe and waiting for another sunny day

It’s spring in Minnesota.  We’ve had unseasonable warmth and a very early spring this year.  But the weather is still unstable.  Yesterday there were highs approaching 70.  Today we can expect it to stay in the 30’s.   The weatherman is talking about snow.

Snow isn’t unusual in April.  It just seems unexpected after a warm week like last week.  I’ve started taking some planting risks with cold friendly seeds.  I’ve put in some peas.  I’ve set in some radish.  I’ve even sprinkled a little spinach about.

Onion's wintered over are coming up like gangbusters!

Onion’s wintered over are coming up like gangbusters!

I found some onion sets that wintered in my garage.  I’m tucking them in as I dig up preparing beds.   It would ordinarily be too early.  But when I look at my volunteers I have to think I’m being reasonable.

It’s cold today, and promises to be all week.  I’m hoping to get out in the yard again but my priorities are still in the house preparing for contractors.  I’m not sure how much I can or should plant, not just because of the weather.  I don’t know how much damage this construction project will do to my yard.

I swear the bleeding heart wasn't showing yesterday.

I swear the bleeding heart wasn’t showing yesterday.

Things are popping up all over.   As I sit bundled up waiting for the snow to fall I’ll take that as a hopeful sign.  It may be slow going, but the seasons do turn.  Likewise with this remodeling project, right now I’m waiting for contractors to write up proposals with actual numbers.  I can’t hurry it along, but I trust it’s still moving forward.

The strawberry bed still needs some serious work

The strawberry bed still needs some serious work

Spring Fever

Anticipating the equinox

Anticipating the equinox

I don’t want to sit inside and write.  It’s been unseasonably warm these past few days.  Sunny and up into the 50’s!   That may seem entirely reasonable, but typically we would expect another 3-8″ of snow in March not greening grasses.

Many of my friends are throwing open windows during the day just to air things out.   I’d like to do that as well, but then there’s that little allergy piece.  The warmer weather brings out all the mold.  I’m not miserable yet, but I can feel it in the air (and in my eyes and in my breathing.)

I’ve been out and about quite a bit in the past week, birthday dining.   I went to tea with a good friend.   My kids took me out to dinner.  There were seasonal rituals with much feasting (not really birthday related, but this one happens every year in competition with my birthday weekend so I’ve adopted it.)

Dinner with Karina and her boyfriend and Orion. They put candles on desert.

Dinner with Karina and her boyfriend and Orion. They put candles on desert.

I picked up some tulips at the grocery store to brighten my inside.  Since the kitchen is becoming more and more useless I need the “pick-me-up”.  I’m anxious to spend another day buried in seed catalogs and garden designs.

The spring thaw is an important lesson in balance.  It’s easy to pick up a cold when the allergies are threatening the immune system.  It’s easy to dress too warm, or not warm enough.  It’s easy to put off the things that need to be done and just sit in the sunshine.

A few spring flowers brighten up even the cloudy days

A few spring flowers brighten up even the cloudy days

It’s too early to be out planting the gardens yet.  Patience is part of the lesson here.  It’s probably fleeting.  Chances are very good we still have some freezing days ahead.  Theres an unsettled feeling.  A sense of growth, bursting forth that isn’t quite ready to happen.

The equinox is still a few weeks away, so spring isn’t officially here yet.  Even when it comes, experience tells me that it won’t necessarily feel like it.  Still the sun is shining, the days are longer and it doesn’t hurt to enjoy it while it’s here.

Manifesting

I'm not manifesting a garden as much as reclaiming.  I do have a few volunteers.

I’m not manifesting a garden as much as reclaiming. I do have a few volunteers.

Manifesting has been a buzz word for quite a while now.  The book “The Secret” made a big deal about it.  There are all kinds of business protocols about dreaming big for your future.  People make vision boards to keep their eyes on the prize.  If you can make it work it’s the greatest.  If you can’t, it’s easy to feel like a failure – especially as a measure of spiritual connection.

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Even when it's too early to plant, it's not too early for the weeds to get a foothold!

Even when it’s too early to plant, it’s not too early for the weeds to get a foothold!

I find it hard to get out of my own way when I can’t see where I’m standing.  I recognize when I’m 100% behind a desire, state it, work toward it, and it happens.  I also understand when I’m resisting my desires, even if I’m not always sure how or why.  Occasionally there are good reasons to put things off.  I’m not always aware of those either.

The books and workshops make it sound easy, but it’s not.  There’s a piece of manifesting that has to do with recognizing the flow of your life.  It’s like giving a toddler a choice between an apple and a chocolate and them having a tantrum because what they want is a banana.  The banana isn’t going to appear, but if they wanted an apple or a chocolate life is happy to give them one.

There are a few things I want right now.  One of them is a garden.  I’m digging beds out from under two years of overgrowth.  I’m not working very fast, or even in very long stints.  I’ll get as far as I get and I’ll be happy with that.  In the meantime I’m enjoying the process as much as I hope to enjoy the outcome.

There's so much overgrowth that it's hard to even find the bed.

There’s so much overgrowth that it’s hard to even find the bed.

Another thing I want right now is a schedule that allows me time to work and time to play.  I want time off being Orion’s Mom/Caretaker/Case Manager.  I’m pushing the edges of that the way parents do with grade school aged kids.  I ran off to the grocery store to pick up some milk before waking Orion up.  I’ve taught him how to get into the house so I don’t have to race home to be here before the bus.  I’ll let a sitter leave once he’s in bed, knowing he’ll just sleep and not notice when I get home.   It’s coming, but I’m not quite ready to let go either.  I get in my own way and I know it.

The third thing I want is an income, a career, a life.  It’s part of the reason I want that time off.  It’s also something I want to feel good about myself, my recovery, and just to be out in the world.  Being a writer is part of that.  Taking classes through the National Speakers Association is part of that.  But that’s building a business, and isn’t really impacting my cash flow in a positive way.

Sometimes it's just a matter of perspective.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective.

I hit that line and told my daughter that I’m ready to look for a job.  The same day I got a call from a friend.  She knew someone who needed copy-editing done, right now.  It’s a short-term gig, and work (of all sorts) may come in bits and pieces.  But THAT’s manifesting!

Greening

dandelions in the park

dandelions in the park

April showers didn’t bring us much of anything except grey day after grey day.  May showers on the other hand have finally brought spring to the north!  Even on a rainy day, there is enough green to combat the grey.  The world around me is blossoming and I’m making an effort to spend time outside to enjoy it.

Johnny Jump-ups voluntarily spot my lawn

Johnny Jump-ups voluntarily spot my lawn

I like the cooler (but not cold) days and the frequent rains have kept the pollen count to a tolerable level.  I’m trying to reclaim some of my gardens.  It’s still a challenge.  My up and down can get a little unsteady.  My back is limiting both my carrying capacity and how much time I can spend at any one task.  My shoulder makes reaching and pulling a challenge.  Even so I’m making progress and enjoying every minute of it.

Pansy goes in each year for my Mother's Mother an avid gardener with simple tastes.

Pansy goes in each year for my Mother’s Mother an avid gardener with simple tastes.

As I get to dig again in my ancestor garden I call up bittersweet memories of love and loss.  There are people  I honor here who I would love to be able to share this season with, and I suppose in a way I do.  I have mixed feelings as well as I dig through the strawberry bed.  This was my ex-husband’s project.  There’s very little about it that went with my suggestions and so it’s not designed to be easy for me to maintain.  It’s a garden in the front yard and I knew if I didn’t at least make some effort the neighbors would start fussing.  It’s amazing to me how well the strawberries have managed in spite of total neglect for several years.  There’s a resilience in this garden that asks me to be resilient as well.

strawberry blossom

strawberry blossom

With all the fresh new growth and warmth I feel for my friends who are being challenged with the deaths of their loved ones.  This time of year is so contrary to anyone trying to grieve.  I know the feeling where you want the world to stop right along with you, and it doesn’t.  But I also know that there is a gentle consolation inherent in the obvious manifestation of the cycle of life.

Love and blessing to all my friends who are challenged with loss in this season.

30 degrees

Noon 16 April 2014

Noon 16 April 2014

What a difference a week makes!  I’ve talked about our crazy weather in previous blogs.  The Twin Cities has the largest population on Earth that deals with the Broadest temperature range.  The other place where the highest highs and the lowest lows are that far apart is somewhere in Siberia!  Even when the weather talks about “average” temperatures – that average is plus or minus 15 degrees.   Hence the title of this particular blog. Last week I got to drive across town in a blizzard.  Well, there were storm warnings and white out conditions.  The temperatures were just below freezing hovering between 29 and 34.   The storm system split across the cities.  Out in the western suburbs of Minneapolis there was 6-8″ of snow.  In town there was some snow (maybe an inch or two) but mostly sleet.  In St. Paul it was rain, mixed with a little bit of snow.   They got a dusting.

7 am 17 April 2014

7 am 17 April 2014

Both Orion and I woke up the next day because it was so bright!  The setting waning moon reflected on all that new snow came in our windows brighter than sunrise.  I tend to be very aware of the light because it changes so much.  The variation in length of days isn’t as dramatic as further north, but it’s not insignificant.  The angle also shifts as the Earth shifts in its relationship to the sun.  And then there’s the effect of the weather.  I may have mentioned that during our winters a bright sunny day generally means frigid temperatures and a grey day is considerably warmer.

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You see that planter in the first photo?  This is what it looks like 7am 21 April 2014.

You see that planter in the first photo? This is what it looks like 7am 21 April 2014.

Last weekend the high temperatures were between 70 and 74.  The sun was shining and there were plenty of folks outside for Sunday BBQ or Easter egg hunts.   It was glorious, even into the evening.  Our days are getting noticeably   longer.  Sunset isn’t until after 8pm.  Last month at the equinox sunset was 7:27pm.   I got home later in the day Sunday than I expected because sitting outside was so bright and pleasant.

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Promise of flowers and mowing.  :)

Promise of flowers and mowing. 🙂

The rains continue to come and go, but at these higher temperatures its cleansing and pretty rather than dreary and deadly.  The month is almost over and we’re finally coming to the point where April showers – rain or snow – may indeed bring May flowers.

Happy Spring!

The only way I could see daffodils springing up out of the snow.

The only way I could see daffodils springing up out of the snow.

Last week was the vernal equinox, the official start of spring.  Dare I mention that we had snow flurries this morning?

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A friend dyed these for Orion and me.

A friend dyed these for Orion and me.

Dying eggs is a big deal this time of year.  Whether you dye them for Easter or Ostara or just because it’s fun I have to wonder if part of the reason for dying eggs is just to put some color into the landscape.

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Running water in Minnehaha Creek

Running water in Minnehaha Creek

In warmer climates there are native breeds of chickens that lay eggs of different colors.  If you think about the climates in places  like the Ukraine, famous for their egg dying techniques, winters are longer and springs can be pretty grey.

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Ice lace tunnel

Ice lace tunnel

There are signs that spring may indeed show up after this very hard winter.

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We have had quite a lot of melt (honest).  There was running water in the creek and I even saw a minnow swim by in the icy water.

Melting sheets of ice in the river give new meaning to "ice dams".

Melting sheets of ice in the river give new meaning to “ice dams”.

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This year we blessed our eggs for the strength to hold on through the thaw.  It may still be awhile, but it’s coming.

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