Out my door

Big nature day today out my door. Early this morning we saw a family of pheasants – parents plus five babies! No photos, sorry. Trust me, they were beautiful. Later, we saw a snake. Either a garter or ribbon snake. Teens dive bombing head first into the water and lastly, my main man, who found the most disgusting, standing water in a ditch to enjoy.

…and now he’s done for the day.

Momentary Quarantine

Nothing else to do but isolate in my studio while waiting for a covid test result for my 98yr old mother. I had just visited her and she wore a mask that was way too big. I spent maybe 10 minutes adjusting her mask and discussing her laundry that I was dropping off.

The test was negative! I kind of liked spending deafening alone time. Door closed with nothing to do but paint. The 24 hr wait was a little unsettling. I two big thoughts. Food. Who would feed me? My husband is not into food at all and I am 🙂

The other thought was that I felt sorry that the family would be burdened with all my artwork if I were to die. Lunch first though!

Who Flirts With A 60 Year Old? What Happened On Day One

I didn’t think my first day as a 60 year old would make that much difference. Yes, I had the normal amount of anxious thoughts. For instance, does “old” start now? Am I now decrepit?  I wondered if my body was going to start breaking off piece by piece, like in that great movie Death Becomes Her. Or maybe it would be more like Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the knight is being hacked to pieces and he’s left with no arms, no legs and continues to insist “it’s just flesh wound.”  I’m already beginning to feel a little bit like that but that’s not the point.

So, the birthday was great, family, gifts etc. Then the next day, it’s off to workout. The gym is not my kind of place. I’m a loner and sedentary at best, so when I go, I hide behind my earphones and close my eyes while on the elliptical thingy and pretend I’m not really there. No one bothers me and that’s all I ask while I suffer through my exercises.

After warming up, it was now off to lift weights and there the problem
presented itself. I was happily lifting away the old-lady-flabby-arm-parts and doing those squatty-lungie-things while holding a stupid amount of weights, when I realized too late that I had made a fatal mistake. I had taken off my earphones and was left open to not only the whole world but to the man that was one bench over pumping iron like his life depended on it. He looked at me. I quickly looked away but I could feel “it” coming. It was like the electricity you feel just before the storm. You can see the dark line of cumulus clouds rolling in straight for you but it’s memorizing and we’re just to transfixed to move out of the way. Not only that but in this case there was nowhere to run to. I just had to resign myself that I was about to get dumped on.

I paused for a second and thought about my rights to be there, in the weight room, even though there were mostly macho-dudes and intimidating equipment. I stood my ground and watched as the storm came in. His name was Joe. He hadn’t seen me here before but boy did I look fit! (Could I say f*** you now or did I have to take more?) He looked to be in his late 70’s and all of a sudden I got dizzy. This is who I’m attracting now that I’ve turned 60?!!? I turn 60 and I lure octogenarians?  He told me to enjoy my work-out after a little more ogle, but the damage was done.  I was shaken and could only stretch for about 30 seconds more before feeling the need to flee. Most of my exercise came by sprinting out of the rec. center with downcast eyes so as not to attract the attention of any more senior citizens…like me. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! Such was day one of being 60. Do I now have to be thankful that I got flirted with at all? Jeez.


Fear of Buying A New Car

Wait! Read this before you buy your next car! So, you want to buy an environmentally super expensive, fantastic car, like, oh, let’s say a Tesla? The problem is, in the show room it looks pristine and perfect but what happens once you leave that controlled temperature, locked door environment? This is when stress happens, the very beginning of road rage. Well, fear not, I have an idea worthy of a whole new business that will put your anger and anxiety to rest! Pre-distress your vehicle and never fear another fender bender again! Here’s my 30-second elevator speech. Ready? Continue reading

Sumi Became A Tree

Sumi was becoming a tree. She already had as many branches as an old southern oak and was as bushy as any thicket in mid summer. She stretched her leafy fingers towards the sun and could feel it’s powerful force surge through her, strengthening her boughs and nourishing her leaves. As she grew and strengthened, faces bloomed with-in her leafy fronds, popping out like so many flowers. At first they were people she knew, family and friends. Then friends and family that knew the first blooms began to show up so that the population exploded. Soon other species came; bugs, quadrupeds, bipeds, birds and fish. Each found a place in and around her every expanding canopy. Both animal and humans, budded at junctures meant for leaves. The people and animals flourished as they felt the security of her ever broadening shoulders.

Sumi could hold millions of people in her arms and even more animals. It was a never-ending cycle, the more she held the more she grew. By holding them suspended in her new growth, she could protect them from any direct contact with the elements. Their tender feet could step on nothing sharp and the sun, wind and rain could barely reach them through her dense foliage. Because of this protection it was fast becoming shelter to many. The growing number of inhabitants had lives of their own as they nested on her limbs but they all relied on Sumi’s wisdom to abate their fears.  Words were never needed; her silent existence was all that seemed to be necessary.

The more life scurried and played around her, snuggling deep into her arms, the deeper her roots slipped through the earth so that she could support them all. Her spine felt unbreakable as it thickened and strained. Her neck was now as thick as her waist and her ears flattened against her head. When she tried to feel her legs, she became aware of how they pointed, digging deep into the soil. They lengthened as she wiggled and twisted. It was a slow process for each time her legs reached a little further she could feel them sucking at the rich earthy nourishment and moisture. Worms wrapped themselves around her long, skinny toes, while other earthy bugs tickled and crawled close to her elongating feet.

The permutation was almost complete. She felt solid, real and permanent. To be a tree was a potent and powerful position that she reveled and immersed herself in. In this unique position she seemed to be giving birth continuously. She held death in her bows as well. She loved them both equally and began to see no difference in the two states of being. No one in her care minded death. Death was inevitable and in fact a cherished. Life and death buzzed through Sumi like a fruit fly. They were on equal footing with her and if she felt that it was natural and normal.

Life and death traveled quickly and beautifully when viewed from the time orientation of a tree. It was like a continuous comet sprinkling life in Sumi’s branches and then taking it away in a ball of fire. From the slow vantage point of a tree, this cycle sped by like so many lightning bugs. She was alive and sparkling. Giving life and letting it go. The cycle to Sumi was magical and the only ones that didn’t seem effected by it or at least in the same time frame as the people and animals, were other spirits, like the one she was becoming. The rain had it’s own spirit, as did the rocks, the sky, the sun and the earth, and each one came to visit Sumi and to give her the gifts they could afford. In turn she made her contribution to each of her visitors.

Her world twinkled with light and it felt balanced and safe. The time that passed was indistinguishable from the time that didn’t pass. Ego and self were non-existent, as were past and present. The only thing that mattered was the other spirits and the support she gave to life and death. Sumi was almost no longer, she was fast becoming Tree, and as such she no longer cared about self or time. She had no thought of how long she had been a tree or how long she would continue to be one. She simply enjoyed the light show twinkling around her, the sun, rain, wind and the rich earth.

One of the little fireflies of life and death began to tug at Sumi, the question was whether to ignore it or not. If she stared too long at the flickering light she knew she might get lost in it. Instinctively she knew this little buzzing light would pull her away from her motionless life and deep inside she knew that it would one day have to be. This new rooted position was fertile, productive and so firm, it was unthinkable that she might have to leave. The thought made her sad. All memory of self had begun to disappear. Yet with the appearance of this tiny spark it was making it difficult to be rational. With the advent of emotions, she felt her ego sneak in and make it’s grab for her. The ego is a strong adversary and it began to reappear bit by bit.

As a spirit, light was always meant as a good thing, even as a human, light has always been preferred over darkness. But now the spark of ‘thought’ had snagged her. With desperation she tried to go back to the process of “treeing” but her eye couldn’t leave the flickering spot. Thought, like ego, was a powerful deterrent from pure existence. It was difficult for Sumi to rein it in and now she found it even more difficult to hold on to her roots.

The light grew a little larger and offered a jewel to refract itself by. Like any animal and apparently like any plant she found herself drawn to the little beacon, which was now the size of a pebble. She became like a deer mesmerized by headlights and her own curiosity drove her enough to take the fatal second look. Spreading her boughs to the side she created a whole large enough to see the light coming from the jewel. Ego had won and taken it’s hold on her as she delighted in the lights glitter and gleam. A smoky topaz diffused the shiny blaze sending soft beams of buttery light to all the remote corners of Sumi’s mind. It felt good, as good as the earth between her toes or the sun dancing on her greenery. She was coming home to something familiar, something else as solid as the tree only not quite as in touch with the balance of nature. In any case her sadness at leaving her new shape was replaced with a deep peace and satisfaction.

For the first time in a long time, she began to feel other things like the coldness of the rock she was sitting on or that she was apart of another world and not the leafy one she had been so absorbed in. Details emerged, like the simple fact that she had ears and a mouth. Her identity was coming back to her. She was becoming Sumi once again, an elderly woman meditating on a granite slab, high above a salty cove that was filled with mussels and seals.

Was it her leaves still tickling her nose or her long, black hair being blown by a briny wind? The internal trek back to reality would take some time. Her neck thinned and shortened as did her waist and her legs. Coming back was difficult; at times she wasn’t sure what was reality and what was dream. It happened slowly and methodically. Reluctantly she let go of her tree family, sadly letting the faces pop back to where ever they had come from. Her majestic trunk shrunk back to her own slender spine, the branches that held the elements from her people, gently folded to rest lightly in her lap and the roots that nourished, retracted to they’re rightful position, tucked beneath her. Though her concentration was on the slow return to normalcy she sensed the presence of a figure, some one stood very close by – waiting. With out opening her eyes she knew exactly who had come to visit. She stayed at ease; some things could not be rushed. Still inside her own world she managed to greet the intruder.

With roots and leaves now a distant memory she opened her eyes, breathed in the ocean air and felt the chill of the late afternoon just beginning to set in.  Sumi had returned, no longer a tree, now a complete woman, with a friend waiting patiently to bring her inside for tea.

Cabin In The Woods

There’s a place I go to live some times, way deep in the woods. It’s easy enough to get to when the weathers good, but when it snows, there’s no way in but on foot or one of those atvs. Can’t afford no fancy buggy like that, so I just take the short cut. It takes maybe an hour or two walking, depending on the weather and who’s about. I carry a gun for just those occasions, for the bob cats and bears. I never did kill anything, just scared them to death. They take off running in one direction soon as they hear the shot while I tear off  in the other. I wonder if their heart is thumpin’ as loud as mine. One time I tripped over a rock only to come face to face with a fox. I thought he’d bite my nose off but he just growled ‘till I was out’ a there. Once again my heart was pounding so loud and I didn’t even think about using the gun that time, guess all I wanted to do was disappear.

Every time I go out though, something happens, that’s why I keep going. I had to go by this skinny part of the path where the creek comes right up to a steep bluff. I’ve tried pulling logs and rocks over to build it up, but it don’t work for very long. The minute the creek floods just a little, every thing washes away and I got to start all over again. This one day, the snow was up to my chin, I swear it seemed like, and everything was white and frosty lookin’. The air smelled like ice and the sun was just streaming through branches casting long, blue shadows. That however was the problem. I had started out way too late to make this walk alone. I had my gun but still when it gets dark out there, it’s damn dark and it comes on quick.

I was just getting to the skinny part of the creek as the sun was inches from the horizon and realized something or someone was following me. They must’ve smelled my knapsack full of food. Sunset is when everybody’s tummy starts to rumble, ‘specially raccoons, and those kinds. They’re all looking for dinner and it was either me or what was in my sack. Even so I stopped solid and listened. My feet were freezing up, there in the snow but nothing else moved and I heard only some chickadees.

Then, there I saw it, jumpin’ right at me at full speed only the fool thing didn’t realize there was a creek between me and it. She flew through the air like a jet, landing on one of the twigs from the mess a stuff I kept building up to make the side of the creek wider. The log was a good thick one but the twig attached was thin, dry and about to crack.

Her little feet were a scrambling to get up on the log and the harder she fought the weaker the stick became. It threw down my knapsack and hat and climbed out on the log to snatch her up before she fell into the creek. Just as I neared she plopped right into that freezing ice cold water. She swam towards me hard and fast and it took me two steps into that same icy water to catch up to her. I never did see a little bobcat kit up close but no sooner did I pick her up did she sink her little claws into my sweater and snuggle up deep under my down jacket. Sloppy wet and with the sun going down fast, we climbed our way out of that creek and headed towards home fast as we could before we both froze. I watched my back the whole time lookin’ for ‘mama’ but never saw her. I named the little kit Jet and she and I have been together ever since. Wild as she is, she won’t leave my side and I have to tell ya, that was the fastest I ever made it up that mountain.

Another time, it was late fall and only an inch or two or maybe three of snow lie on the ground. My road was still drivable so my friend Dave came to pick me up. He was a crazy man that Dave was. We eventually were married but back then he was a long tall drink ‘a water, smart and crazy like a loon. We went out on that snowy night, driving into town just for the fun of it. Dave had an old station wagon that might’ve been for a family wagon once upon a time but he used it to haul firewood, furniture or anything people would pay to have brought from one place to another. This time the back was dead empty, and so were our pockets. We didn’t have a stitch ‘a money, not for a beer or not even a cup of coffee. It didn’t make no difference, we were off to see what trouble we’d get into.

Coming into town there’s a straightaway before the road takes a dip downhill into the village. It was just on that part of the road that crazy Dave jumped out of the car while it was still moving and he was the driver! I screamed bloody murder, which didn’t help a lick but got me out of my seat fast as can be. I slid over to the driver’s side and wanted with all my heart to just stomp on that brake, only that’d send me spinnin’ in a hundred circles. Instead, I shifted down to first gear and decided I wouldn’t stop at all until I got to the village square.

Sure enough a minute or two later there comes Dave runnin’ alongside the car hangin’ on to a piece of stove pipe. “Turn around!” he hollered. “I know somebody that wants one of these.”

Sitting on the side of the road was an old fashioned pot bellied stove with all the scrolly edges and everything. “How we gonna get that thing into the car?” My hands were on my hips and my foot was tappin’. I knew he’d figure something out; he was an inventor after all. He invented all kinds of things only then they’d show up on TV a month or two later before he was done drawing them down on paper. That didn’t stop him though, he kept on with his creations just like he was gonna do tonight. He’d figure a way to get that one ton thing in the car, no problem.

Darn if that stove wasn’t into the back of that wagon in under an hour. I knew just where we were headed with that thing too. It had to be to Doc’s house. He was a doctor of antiques and knew everything there was to know on the subject.

Dave  jumped into the driver’s seat already planning on how we  would spend the money Doc would give us for that old stove. Only we never did spend the money, ‘cause we never did see any of it. Doc said the stove wasn’t worth the work it would take to haul the thing around even if Dave did all the haulin’ work. It wasn’t a total loss though; in fact Doc fell in love with Dave that night. Not real love but admiration love and from then on that boy found antiques hidden in the darnedest places. He learned how to restore them, guess their worth and how to sell them. It was a new beginning for my friend and made a whole life time of adventures for us.

All I remember from that night, was the next morning. Jet and I were all snuggled in between the sheets, deep under the great patchwork quilt. The sun was pourin’ in the bedroom window, all warm and buttery, and the rich, thick smell of coffee was coming from our new pot belly.

The Bull In The Sky Blue Moo Moo

A bull was dressed in a sky blue moo-moo and came charging angrily around my family – we were having a picnic by the pool. When the people ran and scattered, he caught sight of the swimming pool and decided he just had to go in.

As the people trembled behind trees and hid under tables, he stepped in the cool water, gingerly at first, getting just one hoof wet at a time. It was a slow process for a beast and with each step he took it was completed by a low, throaty rumble. When he got up to his tummy he flopped the rest of the way in and sat at the bottom of the shallow end, his sky blue moo-moo floated around him so that he looked like the center of a tropical flower.

Swimming Bull

I wondered how long he could stay down there, it seemed way too long. When he did finally come up, he was a changed bull. A smile spread across his full face and joy twinkled in his eye.

The children among us came out from hiding and slowly approached him. He smiled and allowed them to pet him and feed him crackers. He loved the crackers, especially the peanut butter ones in the little cellophane packages. He ate delicately, nibbling each cracker and savoring the salty coating.

The pool party resumed, everyone came out from behind their hiding places and had a merry time. The bull got out of the pool refreshed, well fed, and ready to go on his way. One of the children straightened out the sky blue moo-moo and off the bull trotted, cool, happy and content.