Letting Ghosts Be

So fellow travelers, as I mentioned yesterday I am on an extended weekend trip visiting friends.

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Dawn at a rest stop

Taking a few days for myself at the end of the school year is something I’ve been doing for several years.  Whether I camp  at a favorite spot or take a quick road trip it’s my way of hitting the reset button. When I return home I am ready to tackle the substantial list of to do items which has accumulated during the school year. Yes, July and August are two reasons I love my job at our local high school.

For the past few years I’ve attended a bi-annual event where a growing number of people from a creative group gathered. Often we were meeting in person for the first time,  yet it felt as if we had known each other for ages.  That’s a tribute to what can happen when people are given a space to be open, honest and genuinely themselves.

There were of course the elements of darkness, which we all know are part of us, an inevitable piece of our flawed human condition. Over time the group fractured when the shadows grew too menacing and real to be ignored. My decision to leave came only after I had taken time to process my feelings and I was clear my reasons were a core decision not a reactive response.

Thankfully the friendships formed have remained intact, at least for me and several of those friendships are the reason I attended part of the events this past weekend. I meet with several of my friends for either lunch or dinner, wandered quiet nature spots and purchased beautiful treasures at the event’s art show. I was blessed to hear one friend give an inspirational sermon on Sunday morning and another read poetry from her book published just last year.

Yet there were echoes from memories of those I missed.  “There are ghosts here ” one friend said to me. Indeed. I knew there would be, which was why I went.

I went to meet those ghosts and make peace with what was both lost and gained. I was there because I believed connections forged from truth cannot be destroyed by lies. I stood knowing my faith in Light is stronger than my fear of darkness. Finally, I left thankful for the lessons learned and willing to let the ghosts be. They taught me well.

 

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Morning Grace

So fellow travelers, I woke this morning to birds songs and golden light in tall pine trees

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Such sweet melodies following a pre-dawn serenade of coyote calls would be grace enough to fill my heart with happiness.  Yet blessings abound this morning as I take in the joy of spending some time with my good friend Kate and her canine companions Horace and Aggie

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This visit is one we had in mind for awhile, which for one reason or another didn’t fall into place until this year. It’s timing is perfect coming a week after a major family  transition and right on the heels of a weekend filled with ghost wrangling (post pending on that matter.)

Sitting on her sunporch, second cup of coffee on hand, I can actually feel the breeze gently lifting heaviness from my soul.  As the wind dances through the trees  I’m taking in the cheerful twitter of goldfinches and warblers, grateful that things happen exactly when they need to on the path.  Let the ghosts rise and fall with the shadows on the walls. My spirit is ready to take in their lessons.

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Where have all the humans gone? Is civility dead?

A most excellent piece on a most essential point from my friend Kathy Dewez

Ramble in the Bramble

*climbs on soapbox* Soapbox7

As one of the ugliest political races that I can ever remember continues to rage *out there* I’m left shaking my head in bewilderment.

We are bombarded daily with televised and written media and we do have a choice whether to watch or read, but I want to talk about social media, Facebook in particular.   Most of us use Facebook to keep in touch with the people we love, to participate in online groups, or make new friends.  To this point in my life, it’s been a great addition socially.  But for the past few months, my Facebook newsfeed seems to be polarized and filled with posts of anger and blame on any number of issues or raging hot topics.

People who have been friends for years are unfriending each other or calling the other names because of their politics and beliefs. When did we stop…

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Through the Valley

So fellow travelers, twenty eight years ago today I became a mother.

Mine was not to be a typical initiation into the sisterhood of mothers. Our first child, a son we named Zachary, was stillborn. He arrived prematurely at seven months; we’d just been told he had a genetic mutation known as trisomy 18, a condition which causes multiple developmental anomalies. Stillbirth was a blessing of grace, heart wrenching but yes a blessing.

Over the years I have come to know that moment more deeply than any other experience. It opened levels of compassion and empathy I  did not know existed within me. Even if I could, I would not change anything about my time with Zachary.  It defines who I am today. I did not leave the hospital with my baby but I returned home a mother. In the days and weeks of intense grief which followed, I vowed I would be a Mom to all children who came into my life, whether they were born to me or not.

Now today, nearly three decades later I will guide my daughters and stand with my three nephews as these five amazing young adults bid their cherished grandmother Godspeed on her journey home.

Their walk through the Valley of the Shadows is one we make together bound by the Love which lives forever in our hearts.  It is a path I can walk with steadfast steps, for it is one known to me.

Happy Spirit Day, Zachary and thank you for giving me the gift of knowing grief is the crack in our hearts where the Light shines through.

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Solace and Solitude

So fellow travelers, there are moments in the steady onslaught of things which must be done when every fiber of my being cries out for respite.

Late this afternoon was one of those moments so Delilah and I headed for a park which I knew would have less foot traffic than our usual walking trail by the lake.

Finding just one other car in the parking lot made good on my assumption.  We set out for the path which wove through the woods, I seeking solitude and Delilah seeking critter scent trails.

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Take heed denizens of the forest, the Huntress is on the prowl

As she zigzagged across the path from promising brush pile to hollow log I listened to the sweet songs drifting down from the trees. Vireos, thrushes and song sparrows warbled a chorus punctuated by the sharp bright alarm calls of chipmunks startled by our wanderings.

This small sanctuary so peaceful and gracious, allowing me to take in the softness of wafting popular seeds

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the magic of light on the green canopy

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the sweet smell of wild blossoms

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all reminders there is solace from the harshness of humanity’s inhumanity found in the solitude of the sacred spaces. Keep seeking, it may be just ahead on the path.

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Look up

So fellow travelers, lots of sadness in the world these past few days, including a personal loss in our own family; a passing not unexpected yet one which occurred sooner than anticipated.

Finding a post in my inbox about a celestial event* was a timely reminder of the healing power in the simple act of looking up. A simple yet significant truth: it takes more effort to maintain a frown if we tilt our head back and look up. It is also harder to hold a smile if our heads are bowed down.

As our family walks through the process of bidding a cherished elder member goodbye I will remind myself to look up to seek and honor the Light of the newest star in heaven. I will take that Light in my heart and send it out with peace, comfort and hope to all those who are bidding loved ones goodbye.

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Sky reflections in my garden gazing globe

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and Godspeed to all souls traveling homeward these days.

*You can read about the current celestial event here

 

Wishing on the Sun

So fellow travelers, a few weeks ago I came across a post about a phenomenon called Manhattanhenge . Twice a year the setting sun lines up exactly with the east-west grid of streets in New York creating a simltaneous golden glow of light on every cross street in the city . (Neil deGrasse Tyson has a good description you can read  here )
Naturally it’s become one of my wish list experiences. Weather permitting I might catch it this summer or sometime in the next few years.

If for some reason I don’t that might be ok because Friday morning’s sunrise created my own moment of alignment. As I came downstairs just before 6am, I saw a  beautiful golden light. The rising sun had aligned exactly with the center of one glass panel in our front doorway.

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It cast prism rays all through the entrance as if my wish had been heard and acknowledged in a small yet personal way.

One wish silent thought
Golden light replies You are
heard and you are loved

Do I really believe the sun hears my thoughts? Not on an intellectual level, no of course not. Yet we have lived in this house for 29 years and although I have seen many beautiful patterns created by the sun shining through the glass panels, not once have I seen the sun align with the center diamond before. Perhaps it’s me who finally hears the messages in Light.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Art Show

So fellow travelers, our high school has display space in one area for student art work with rotating exhibitions through out the year. It is a space I visit often during the week, taking a few moments to appreciate the awesome pieces on display each month.

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Allie Brown and Riley Carlucci

Once a year, during the last week of school, an entire wing and lobby are converted into gallery space for the senior art show.It’s become one of my favorite moments of the year.

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Each senior who has taken classes in the art program is given a display area and I love watching their portfolios unfold.  Reading their individual artist statements is fascinating.

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Kylie Fischer

There’s a gallery reception one evening during the show and it’s not uncommon to over hear parents murmuring comments of astonishment at their child’s accomplishments

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Marisa Madonna

Naturally, there are pieces which speak to the angst and challenges of teenage years

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Anna Davis

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Katie Doyle

and pieces given to flights of fantasy

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Brihanna Drake

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Austin McClaskey

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Carl Livingston

For a week, the long hallway is filled with color

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Brad Krahl

and texture

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Courtney Hines

 

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Jenny Boden

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Danielle Johnson

and artistry reaching beyond the young years of these graduating students

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Mike Morris

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Sarah Hamilton

and my own spirits rise with hope for this future generation of creative spirits.
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Claire Shonyo

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Gorillas, rhetorical fences and the anesthetic of blame

Insight, balance, well spoken post on the much discussed events of last week from writer, outdoors adventurer and friend Jennifer Bowman

The Trailhead

Unless you live in a sensory deprivation chamber, you know that a few days ago, a little boy slipped into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, prompting zoo officials to shoot and kill one of the gorillas, a 17-year old male named Harambe, in the enclosure. What ensued in the larger society looked something like this:

And so we braced ourselves for the life cycle of these things: internet rage mob, followed by the rage mob against the rage mob. Shortly thereafter, people would start posting on Facebook about how they are tired of hearing about the gorilla, already, and you would know it was running its course, without any real understanding ever taking place.

But I’m hoping this one is shaping up differently than other internet outrages, like the killing of Cecil the lion. The initial anger against the allegedly negligent mother  who let her kid get into the gorilla enclosure, and…

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The Miracle of Random Joy

So fellow travelers, cleaning off the deck on this warm breezy morning I found two little sticks which looked like letters. Smiling, I looked around for one more shape I needed. Right at that moment a flower fluttered down from our little dogwood tree which blossomed last week for the first time since we planted it almost a decade ago.

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Miracles are all around us everyday. We find them when we need them most.

One fallen flower
   Two random twigs
       Three wondrous letters
          For all a gift

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.