Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day Four and Five: Getting Outside when it's Cold

Well, technically it's not cold outside today. At least not compared to the last few days!  40 seems balmy compared to 20!  
Yesterday I was very busy packing to come to North Carolina for our family Thanksgiving visit.  But I did manage to get outside to empty the compost (does that count?! haha) and to do some sprints in preparation for the looong car ride.  What did I notice?  Really strong wind.  Warming temperatures, the huge disc of ice that I dumped out of the cats' water bowl still frozen in the same shape.   Water dripping down the frozen gutter cup cascade (whatever that's called).  Bright crisp blue sky.  Hmm. I can only come up with 4 as I'm looking back on it... 

Today we woke up in the "mother-in-law suite" at the cabin.  It is so quiet and restful out here, with nothing to do but hang out, huddle by the fire, eat, and then go outside to get some fresh air, walk off the meals, get away from family for a few minutes ( ;-) ), and tromp through the woods.   
Tromping through the woods might be mine and my sweetie's favorite thing to do together.  And what a treat it is during these times to have ample childcare, and no place to be, so that we can take long leisurely wanders through the woods.  We inspect deer tracks and scrapes, admire mushrooms, listen for wildlife, and talk about stuff you get to talk about when you're away from child and day-to-day business matters.  Ahhhhhh.  This situation is the exact opposite of what makes it hard for me to get outside in the cold during my regular life.  Going on our wanders is what we enjoy and look forward to most when we're here (well, and hunting ~ if you're Troy).  So this doesn't even need to be accounted for in my "Getting outside when it's Cold" accountability journal.  But I'm on a roll!  :-)  
What did I notice?  
The only leaves left on the deciduous trees are oaks, I do believe.  Rusty brown and/or red. 
Enchanting microcosms of moss ~ 4 different kinds in their own wee little forest.
Many deer scrapes!  And all kinds of hoof prints.  
Rusty red clay.  
Mushrooms like little penises pressing up out of the mud! :-D  

I could go on and on.  How can I incorporate this kind of delight into my everyday life?!  


rusty clay, pine needles and oak leaves. <3 



sunlight through rusty oak leaves. 



microcosm.  

Day Four and Five: Getting Outside when it's Cold

Well, technically it's not cold outside today. At least not compared to the last few days!  40 seems balmy compared to 20!  
Yesterday I was very busy packing to come to North Carolina for our family Thanksgiving visit.  But I did manage to get outside to empty the compost (does that count?! haha) and to do some sprints in preparation for the looong car ride.  What did I notice?  Really strong wind.  Warming temperatures, the huge disc of ice that I dumped out of the cats' water bowl still frozen in the same shape.   Water dripping down the frozen gutter cup cascade (whatever that's called).  Bright crisp blue sky.  Hmm. I can only come up with 4 as I'm looking back on it... 

Today we woke up in the "mother-in-law suite" at the cabin.  It is so quiet and restful out here, with nothing to do but hang out, huddle by the fire, eat, and then go outside to get some fresh air, walk off the meals, get away from family for a few minutes ( ;-) ), and tromp through the woods.   
Tromping through the woods might be mine and my sweetie's favorite thing to do together.  And what a treat it is during these times to have ample childcare, and no place to be, so that we can take long leisurely wanders through the woods.  We inspect deer tracks and scrapes, admire mushrooms, listen for wildlife, and talk about stuff you get to talk about when you're away from child and day-to-day business matters.  Ahhhhhh.  This situation is the exact opposite of what makes it hard for me to get outside in the cold during my regular life.  Going on our wanders is what we enjoy and look forward to most when we're here (well, and hunting ~ if you're Troy).  So this doesn't even need to be accounted for in my "Getting outside when it's Cold" accountability journal.  But I'm on a roll!  :-)  
What did I notice?  
The only leaves left on the deciduous trees are oaks, I do believe.  Rusty brown and/or red. 
Enchanting microcosms of moss ~ 4 different kinds in their own wee little forest.
Many deer scrapes!  And all kinds of hoof prints.  
Rusty red clay.  
Mushrooms like little penises pressing up out of the mud! :-D  
I could go on and on.  How can I incorporate this kind of delight into my everyday life?!  


rusty clay, pine needles and oak leaves. <3  



soffffft. 



sunlight through rusty oak leaves. 



microcosm.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day Four: Getting Outside When it's Frickin Cold

The high today is reported to reach 23.  I was feeling pretty low today, and was not even planning on going outside ~ truth be told, all my Good Habits fall by the wayside when I need them most.  Yoga?  stoopid.  Fresh air?  fuck that.  I was very glad to have some time to myself while my husband and girl ran errands.  And then I looked out the window to spy a FOX preening himself where our chickens usually like to sun themselves.  Oh, shit.  Since he wasn't "in the act" I thought it safe to take a hilariously poor-quality window shot to prove it (zoom in really far and you can see him with his copper-colored head bent over, pretty much smack-dab in the center of the photo, to the left of oak tree with clinging brown leaves) before I dashed out the door and hollered at him, saying what always comes out when I am shooing away animals we don't want to feed:  "I see you!"  And of course he escaped quickly and fleetly.  Any other time, I would be sneaking around doing my best not to startle a wild creature, so thrilled am I to spot one.  I have only recently even seen a fox ~ maybe even this one ~ in our woods.  After I scared that one away bc I was jogging, I swore I would never run in the woods again.  And here I am yelling at one with all my might.  I ran out to the yard, no chickens in sight.  To the coop.  The door is frozen shut, so I peek in the little chicken door.  I see the crumpled feather-fluffed body of one of the black n white ones.  Steaming.  Still warm.  And the thing about foxes is they don't even eat the whole bird.  So unfair. :-(  I feel responsible for these girls.  I get up and turn to see three of them huddled against our house, with their new rooster friend shielding them to a certain extent.  I roam the rest of the yard ~ the woods ~ where predators usually run off for their feast, and around the garden fence.  No carcasses, but no live girls either.  I call out, and one quietly tells her story from the tall grasses beside the shed.  I've found 6 out of, well ~ nine, now.  We have lost 3 in the past two weeks.  :-(  I guess it's time to get a dog.

What did I notice today?
Dead chicken
6 out 9 remaining chickens
bitter bitter biting cold wind
frozen water bowls
fox.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day Three: Getting Outside When it's Cold

And how! We definitely have some Winter Weather in effect; the high was 28! But Anjali and I made it out! For over 20 mins (I was keeping track). Better than nothing.
I noticed:
bitter cold wind
kitty cat paw prints on the back deck in the snow ~ at least 2 sets, if not 3. and some bare girl feet prints! ha!
frozen chickweed
a bunch of cardinals and robins in the trees at the end of our wooded area
some forsythia blossoms already bloomed! confused, I say!

Doing this! Doing it!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day Two : Getting Outside When it's Cold

Anjali and I set out to get some energy out and some fresh air in. What did we sprint on to?! The scene of a crime! Bloody probably-chicken feathers, and even a tuft of downy fur from an apparent skirmish. Not what we set out for, for sure! :-/
What I noticed:
Gray practically-raining skies and brisk breeze
Bloody white feathers
A trail of feathers
Tufts of fur
A pile of white feathers with bloody tips still fresh, in the crunchy brush in the beginning of our wooded area, just outside the perimeter of the yard.
:-/

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting Outside When it's Cold: Worth It!

I'm going to use this space as a place for me to be accountable to my self for getting outside even when it's cold.  When it's warm and even mild, I spend as much time as possible outside.  I pee outside, chop veggies for dinner outside, and we eat every meal outside.  Literally, I made Anjali eat a dinner outside with me when we could see our breath a couple weeks ago.  I said, "soon it will be so uncomfortably cold, AND dark, that we won't even consider eating dinner outside.  So let's suck it up for a few more meals."  haha.  Living outside keeps me sane.  And I have known this for years now.  However (or shall I say AND?), my body is averse to cold.  I have Reynaud's syndrome that makes my fingers and toes so sensitive and painful in cold.  And, I just don't like  the cold.  Well, that's not excuse enough.  (And obviously, since I work at home, I don't *have* to walk outside most days of the week, even to get in the car, let alone walk briskly across town or campus, etc. )  Even if I go out to get the mail on a cold day, when I come back in, I feel better.  I remember during the "polar vortex" last year, how much I actually really enjoyed taking care of the chickens, making sure they didn't freeze to death or die of dehydration by warming their water, making sure their spotlight was on to keep the coup warm, etc.  Even though my boogers froze the moment I stepped outside, I relished that shock of rejuvenating cold.  This year I want to go outside, every day, on purpose, even when it's cold.  OR Raining!!!  (did I write that?! panic!!!)

So I want to make this my accountability page.   I'll stay out there for at least 15 minutes, ideally more than 30.  And going from the house to the car doesn't count! :-)  I'll write down five observations.  And take a photo, for proof.  OK????

GO!!!

I noticed:
The moon is less than half, waning, and the fullness is on the LEFT side.
The most wild life I noticed were many cardinals flitting about and foraging in the trees and on the bushes. :-)
I ate wild onion and chickweed.
I noticed what I now know are skunk nosings and scrapings in the dirt.
In the shadow of the fence, there was thick frost, but where the sun had fell, it was melted and wet.
greg grey kitty in my coat.  *swoon!*

it's cold, and I'm not dead. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Mermaid Moment and Meta

Seeing as how it's July Third, I've been thinking about Independence, and Freedom.  
I would like to dedicate this post to Freedom.  True, Deep-Down Freedom.  
For Everyone.  

Whoa! The keyboard is so dusty I can barely see the letters!  Ha!  Enough of that.  It's been over a year.  Here I am.

Wanted to share an experience.  We spent a week on Ocracoke Island, getting cleansed by the sun and scoured by the salty waves.  After about a week, my cares had finally drifted away.   Our little familia packed a picnic and found a secluded beach spot for sunset.  By secluded, I mean:  we didn't see a n y o n e for as far as we could see on either side, and rarely a car drove by beyond the dune path we hiked to get to our picnic spot.  (This, by the way, did not seem hard to do on Ocracoke ~ even on close to the busiest week of the year! Highly recommend.)  After the dinner of roasted root veggies, sautéed snap peas and meatballs, sweet Sealion and the girl ran off to play and I was left to my own thoughts and lingering meal (to this day I'm the slowest eater I know).   When I got out of my own cares enough to look at them again, they were buck naked and dancing around in the surf!  If you know my family well at all, you know this is not surprising.  Really the only surprise is how much privacy we felt in our little slice of beach heaven.  I was contented for a long while to spectate on their naked shenanigans ~ hunkering down on their bellies and letting the waves scoot them forward with a wooosh!  (She adorably had her floatie life vest-wing combo on.  Period.)  They continued playing for quite a while.  As I finished my last morsels, I thought, "I guess I could pack us up; the sun is setting."  And then I realized:  when's the next time you'll have the opportunity for naked ocean frolicking??  I didn't know the answer to that.  And if you know me well, you also will know that any activity is better done naked.  It's not just for kicks that I crave nudity, and I surely don't have to be drunk to bare it all; my urge is primal, and it goes way deeper than exhibitionism or drunken thrill-seeking.  I quickly stripped my sundress (because along with that primal urge for nakedness, I wear undergarments as infrequently as I can get away with.  In Oregon this was so easy; the social climate of the Southeast makes it much more of a challenge for me).   I dashed to join my family in the waning sun.  They were thrilled that I joined.  We danced in the surf holding hands and sang Ring Around the Rosie, timing our "all fall DOWN!" for when a foamy wave came and bathed our lowered tushies in the warm water.  Soon we ran back to our picnic spot to towel off.  The tide was rising and would soon be teasing our stuff out to sea, and the sun's last rosy light was fading from the western horizon.  It was time to pack up.  The breezy air was also unusually chilly.  We thought for sure we would be covered in goose-bumps once we emerged from the water.  But we weren't.  Within a moment, I tossed my towel and was back in the surf.  Wanted to seize the opportunity for all it was worth.  I called to Sealion to take my photo.  Not so I could post it on Facebook or Instagram, but so I would have the photo to remember my experience.
look at that bright white full moon!  hahaha!  

Here's what I wrote in my journal the morning after:
I was self-aware enough to realize I wanted him to take a photo, while at the same time telling myself:  live the experience; don't simply pose for the picture.  Be Here Now in this water.  Do what you always dream of doing.  But really live.  Don't do what you've seen other people do, or what you think people ought to do.  Feel into it.  Be Here Now.  
For a moment my attention and identity got lost in the waves that were darkening with the disappearing sunset.  the ocean was beckoning me, mesmerizing me like a dark siren.  I imagined all the animals emerging with the darkness, and simultaneously desired to give myself to them.   To give myself to Her.  All that in an instant.  I felt the warm Mama water on my yoni hair and yoni.  Inner thighs and lower tummy.  All the "naughty" parts were getting loved on and bathed and splashed just like they always want to be.  Just like they truly should be.  Seaweed swirling rushing by and gently wrapping around and caressing my legs and arms as I crouched.  
Soak it in.  Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.  I didn't want to let it go, yet felt ok getting out, letting the moment be a moment and have a closure, drying off, clothing, joining my family, departing.  
I am not merely posing my life for the camera.  I'm not living to tell about it.  I'm living for Life. 

The social media phenomenon has been an interesting one for me ~ starting with this blog, TEN YEARS ago.  Cameras and phones have come so far.  It's so easy to snap a shot.  To share with friends, and even with not-friends.  My intimate moment shared with no one but me (and my sweet family on-looking) can instantaneously be a public moment.  Really, though, I experienced this existential conundrum even before I had a cellphone, at least fifteen years before I joined Facebook.  When I was an English major, with a Creative Writing focus.  I noticed I had a little narrator in my head who was describing what I was doing as I did it ~ so I could write about it later.  !!!  When I noticed this, I vowed to live my life for the living of it, and not simply so I would produce writing worth reading.  This is a touchy and nuanced idea.  But I think what I was trying to get at is just that:  Be Here Now.  BE here now.  Live here now.  Feel here now.  Not viewing it through a narrator's description, or peeking through the viewfinder of a phone, dammit.  If I were never to have the capability to take another photo (Goddess forbid!), or write another narrative word (even more!), may I live each moment with my whole being.  As if it were my last.  Not living to tell about it.  Living for Life.

[And
I'm not judging people for being on Facebook.  I have found a whole lot of value there.  And still do.  I cherish the sharing and connection I find there.  I like looking at photos of friends' kids.  And surely I'm not saying we shouldn't write about our lives.  Good writing brings me willingly to my knees time and again.  Good writing (and art in general) can also live into experiences when we can't ~ when, for sanity's sake or simple survival, we must check out in the present moment (as my highly revered poet teacher James Baker Hall emphasized time and again).  But I don't want these ways of sharing to take the place of my experiencing the actual moments of life.  "Pics or it didn't happen" just isn't the case.  Sometimes the pics happen, but our minds and hearts are far from IN the moment.]

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gratitude Every Day: day ten

Any moment in which you have the space to stop and realize, "I am Here Now," is one worth celebrating.

I'm grateful for full moon celebrations.  More than that, I'm grateful for full moonrise celebrations that include grand mountainscape views, lively companions, and delicious and mindfully-prepared food and drink.   Even more than that, I'm grateful for friends who find it valuable and worthwhile to make the effort to celebrate such events.    





Gratitude Every Day: day... 25

Hello!  I'm here and I'm grateful!

Yesterday I woke up to this news.  It got under my skin and wouldn't leave me alone.  Then I let myself just weep about it.  You better believe I didn't drive a car yesterday (I have been driving about once a week since we moved to Lexington; I'll find the bike route for that one).
Sorry to mess up your day if you hadn't heard.

So today, on Mother's Day, as people get gushy about their mamas, I'm getting gushy about my mama: my Mama Earth.  I do so love the experience of being an earthling.  Even at this time and place in history.  I get down about it.  But I do believe I'm here at this time for a reason.  So after I cry a little (or a lot), I get back up and get back to gardening and spreading the love and light.      


communing with fellow earth-inhabitants:  namely, newly-blossomed violets.