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If we were having coffee: Roller coaster of life edition

Sunset stretch.
Sunset stretch.

Your heart will be shattered by sorrow if you force it to live in tomorrow’s ephemeral imagination -world instead of in today’s reality-now.

~ Sri Chinmoy

Tangier Sound sunset.
Tangier Sound sunset on Friday.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would be delighted to see you again.  Hugs if you’re amenable to them.  A respectful nod or handshake if you’re not.  Come on in!  Let’s grab whatever we’re drinking, and maybe some snacks if you’re feeling peckish (I know I am!), and let’s go out to the three-season room (aka the back porch) where we’ll have a great view of whatever is going on in the backyard, and still remain warm and cozy.  The weather has really cooled off, hasn’t it?  A cold front moved through on Friday night or maybe it was Saturday morning.  I was half asleep or at least trying to sleep, listening to the rain, but didn’t note the time so it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty that it was Friday or Saturday.  In any event, our temperatures are much more autumn-like now and it looks like it will stay that way for a while.

How are you?  What have you been up to since our last chat?  Have you traveled anywhere?  Visited any new places?  Have you gone on any good walks?  Seen any new sights?  Have you spent time with family or friends or maybe met some new people and made some new friends?  Have you seen any good films or read any good books?  Listened to music whose beauty whisked you away to otherworlds?  Maybe you’ve learned something new you’d like to share?

The Monarchs are still enjoying the garden.
The Monarchs are still enjoying the garden.

Since our last chat, I finished reading An Imaginative Experience by Mary Wesley.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The book is about grief and love, and Wesley’s dry sense of humor keeps it from becoming sappy.  This is only the second book I’ve read by Mary Wesley, but she had a way of inventing the most interesting characters and putting them in the strangest situations.  This novel begins with a woman stopping the train she’s on in order to run out into a field and rescue a sheep.  Two men who witness her act will then become intertwined in the story and the woman’s life.

I am now reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things: A Novel.  It’s a fairly hefty book (512 pages), but I don’t think it will take me long to finish it.  Only about a fifth of the way in, I’m fascinated with the main characters, the plot, the history, and the time period (the Age of Enlightenment).  I’m finding it difficult to put down, and that is always a good sign when it comes to books.

Oh, hai!
Oh, hai!

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would apologize for being late this week.  I was sick on Friday.  I had an appointment with my doctor Friday morning and part of that visit included a couple of shots in the arms (vaccines).  By Friday evening, I felt as if I’d been hit by a truck.  After a long, sleepless night listening to the rain, I was feeling pretty exhausted on Saturday, but M and I had errands to run that couldn’t be put off.  I did fit in a porch nap after we finished, and felt a thousand percent better once I shook off the nap.  Sometimes naps leave me feeling bleary for a little while before the renewed and refreshed part kicks in.

Take it Easy
Takin’ it Easy

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it has been a week filled with highs and lows, ending with disappointment and some sadness.  Great highs can bring great lows.  Someday I’ll tell you all about it, but today is not that day.  Suffice it say that the good news I alluded to a few weeks ago is not to be, at least not at this time.

I was reading a daily meditation from the book Everyday Osho: 365 Daily Meditations for the Here and Now, and it starts with a bit about how people close themselves off so they can’t be hurt, and how that also closes them off to being happy.  He continues:

When you start becoming open, both things become available.  Sometimes it will be cloudy, and sometimes there will be sun.  But if you remain closed off in your core, then there is no cloud and no sun either.  It is good to come out, to dance with the sun, and yes, sometimes to feel sad with the clouds too — and sometimes it will be very windy.  When you come out of the cave, all things are possible, and one of the things is that people can hurt you — but this only one of the things.

He then goes on to suggest we think of all the possibilities, “a thousand and one possibilities,” not just the one in which you can be hurt.  Think of love and happiness, of laughter and celebration, of being available to all of life.

Cloud reflections dancing on the water.
Cloud reflections dancing on the water.

Beautiful things can happen when you dance with both the sun and clouds, especially at sunrise and sunset.  It is good to remember that.

When it all comes together in the end.
When it all comes together in the end.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would move on to other subjects now.  Did I tell you that we are working on the front porch?  No?  You might have seen it on your way in.  Things look a mess out front right now, but it will be lovely when it’s finished.  It should come as no surprise to those of you who have been following this whole-house renovation that we found trash under the stairs, and that pulling up the floor of the porch was an adventure as well because instead of fixing an obvious water problem, the previous owners relied on covering it up.  You wouldn’t believe how many layers of plywood were there, all of them in various stages of rot from water.  It would have been easier, and probably cheaper, if they had diverted the water rather than let it continue to run on to the porch when it rained.

September 27, when we started taking things apart.
September 27, when we started taking things apart.

M will probably be calling me any minute now to come out and help him cut the decking.  It’s in long strips and he needs someone to help him stabilize it while he cuts it.

October 3. Not sure what we're going to do about the pillars. Probably try to repair the old ones since new posts will be expensive.
October 3. Not sure what we’re going to do about the pillars/posts. Probably try to repair the old ones since new posts will be expensive.

If we were having coffee, I would suggest we take a little walk if you feel up to it.  It is a beautiful day.  It was a little chilly this morning (the temperature was 48°F when I rolled out of bed), but it has been warming up quickly.  It is supposed to get up to 70°F or so by this afternoon.  We could check out the scrounger’s garden to see who is visiting today.

The scrounger's garden is busy this time of year.
The scrounger’s garden is busy this time of year.

Then we could stroll through the woods to see what’s popping up out of the forest floor.

I know where to find the prettiest mushrooms.
I know where to find the prettiest mushrooms.

The meadows are nice this time of year, too, and I know where the magic happens.  There is a spot where the butterflies like to gather in the fall, and now that the sea and wax myrtles have gone to seed, it is an enchanting sight when the sunlight hits it just right.  The fluffy seeds float through the air like small stars or fairy dust, and the butterflies add their beauty to the mix of colors and flight.

Myrtle seeds caught in a spider's web.
Myrtle seeds caught in a spider’s web.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, it would be time for me to go out and assist M with the porch project.  Thank you so much for visiting today.  I always enjoy your company and our chats.  Hang out here on the porch for a while longer if you wish, or feel free to wander the trails.  If you’re feeling really ambitious, another pair of hands would help the porch project go a little faster.

Capped.
Capped.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Three on the fence.
Three on the fence.

This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.  Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

A memory: Three years ago.
A memory: Three years ago.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

42 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Roller coaster of life edition

  1. It was so nice to read you. Your photography just gets better and better. The sun picture was so beautiful and I loved the boat too. Im sorry you are touched by sadness today and hope your family finds healing. I also just attempted The Signature of All Things. I’ll wait till you finish to share my opinion.

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    1. Thank you, CascadeGirl. 🙂 Are you blogging again? Because if you are, I am super excited. And if not, that’s okay too. I’m still excited to “see” you. Since you wrote that you attempted The Signature of All Things, I’m guessing it wasn’t up your alley, so to speak. But I’ll wait until I finish reading to ask you about it. It’ll be interesting to hear (or read) your opinion. When are you going to write a book? You really should.

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  2. I think today I would like tea – anything you have is fine. Before I arrived here I had two cups of coffee at home – my wake-me-up potions – and that’s really my limit. It is a lovely day, isn’t it? So nice when temperatures moderate and the humidity goes down.
    I am now reading Nora Webster – I’m not very far into it yet so I really don’t have an opinion. I just finished – a book. I am so bad about titles! Oh yes, The Glass Girls – it was okay. Most of my books are obscure, because I get them at Amazon but through the recommendations of Bookbub, with prices ranging from free to $2.99. Last week my Netflix DVD movie was Divergent, and last night I watched Insurgent. Not the kind of movies I typically go for, but I enjoyed them both.
    Much of my time has been spent raking pine needles – that annual fall and spring job. I had the front paths all cleared out two days ago, then the wind came back yesterday and now it needs to be done again. I try to say “oh well”, but often the words that form in my thoughts are much less charitable. Today, however, I am going to stay inside. I am going to make Bailey food, then I am going to wander through the house with eyes wide open so that I can see, and actually do, those things that I keep saying need to be done – before I go a different direction and forget what I was going to do. Perhaps I will also go through my photos to see if one jumps out at me as one that needs to be printed. I recently bought a voucher to get a photo printed on 11 x 14 canvas at MyPix2.com and one of those jobs I need to do involves moving some framed photos around, which will leave an open space.
    Perhaps I should go start doing these things or night will fall and they will remain undone. I thank you for the tea, your company, and the walk – the myrtle seeds in the spider web was a particularly delightful find!

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    1. Do you have a new Gravatar picture, Carol? I love it. You look so happy. 🙂
      You’ve reminded me that I need to take a look at my Netflix queue and rearrange things. Some of the movies on my list are so old now that I’m not sure I want to bother with them when there are so many new films out that I’d like to see. It’s like most things in life lately. Just not enough time to see and do it all.
      You have also reminded me that I should do something about printing out some of my photos. I haven’t been printing any lately, or making the books I’d like to make, or updating my RedBubble shop.
      I feel for you when it comes to the pine needles. Although it doesn’t involve pine needles or cones, I have my own Sisyphean tasks outdoors this time of year. Without a riding mower, cutting the grass has become an everyday affair since it is the only way to keep up with it when I’m using the push mower. We had rain a few days ago, and the grass I cut before the rain is already long! I keep reminding myself that it’s good exercise.

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  3. The photos are amazing, as always. You really have a gift. 🙂

    Sorry to hear that your good news is not-to-be and that you’re a bit sad, but I’m glad to hear that you’re not overly discouraged. Hoping for more good things to come your way soon. ❤

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  4. I’ve been away from the internet for close to two weeks. Coming back to hundreds of emails and posts was overwhelming. I think I’m finally catching up a bit, but I may have to slow down a tad on how much time I invest in blogging. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this visit with you. Wondered how you did with the hurricane. I didn’t even hear about it until I returned to civilization… or did in not get close to your area?

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    1. I have a similar sense of being overwhelmed, Gunta, without the excuse of having been away. I think it’s simply impossible to keep up in the blogging world. I keep telling myself I’m going to give up or slow down, but I don’t manage to do either one of those things. I’ll have more time in the winter months, maybe, to get caught up or at least be in a place where I feel I can start from where I am and not worry about catching up.
      Hurricane Joaquin veered east, thank goodness. We had some wind and rain from a nor’easter (the same one that caused massive flooding in South Carolina), but all turned out well for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Robin… if only life wasn’t so messy and closure could be neatly found in a self help book!
    P.S. Went oyster gathering near Franktown. Not as far up as you but still a gorgeous day on the Eastern Shore.

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    1. Yes, Anna, if only. It’s the open, messy parts that keep life interesting, that’s for sure. You were only an hour away! I hope you enjoyed the oysters. Lots of oyster festivals going on now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the restful post. I opened your blog up and said..hmmmm really like that leaf, and then oooooohhhhh!!!!! I love the purple blue of Tangier Sound!! And of course the seeds floating magically. If we were there we’d definitely help with the porch project. I’m sad that you got sad news. I wish everything could be happy. I send you sheltie hugs to help make it a little better.

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    1. You’re welcome, Dawn, and thank you. Sheltie hugs are wonderful. 🙂 Safe travels to you, and I hope your trip is a success. You are on important business.

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  7. Hi Robin, I’m re-reading The Signature of All Things… and looking for “clues” to insights about life, sadness, loss, love, growth, change, happiness, possibilities…of being available to all of life, as you wrote in this post. And, as I read the book, I noticed the word “signature”…Robin, “signature”…I never noticed this…. has the word “nature” in it! Soooo… reflecting upon and realizing “The “nature” of all things………..” You wrote about and pulled together so many of those aspects in this post…… wishing you well….

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      1. Robin, I think if you follow that “train of thought”…you might find them leading into the midst of some insightful understandings.
        I think aspects of “Nature” may intrinsically contain and offer us much, or maybe all, of the wisdom we try to figure out, including healing…. being sensed or realized…. embedded within Nature’s own “nature”

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  8. Disappointments stab deep into the heart don’t they Robin – and I know that in that moment I forget that all things come when the time is right – then later on I do remember and and can let go the lost hope. Life it seems is so often a progression of hope and lost hope – hope and let go – and relearning to live with the blessings one already has. Osho is a great teacher!

    I am ploughing through a giant [800+ pages] tome ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton – it is a complexly structured novel written by a country woman of mine and set in the regions I have either lived in or live in – -which is the only reason I am continuing with it. I find the structure quite cerebral and certainly this first part of the book slow and heavy going – a bit like trawling through sludge. I’m told it gets better but I may not last the distance. Life is too short for indulging someone’s writing hubris!! I think I’d rather be reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s offering!!

    I’m working on making my uber tiny courtyard garden into a courtyard minus the garden so there is room to sit and enjoy the sun and cool night air this coming summer – we are told it is going to be a long hot one. The task is taking longer than I originally thought and hoped…….

    Your house looks delightful – is that what you called ‘shingle siding’ on it. And the renewed porch will be a delight when finished I am sure. So great that M can do much of the work himself. As always the photos are beautiful and portray your part of the world excellently – I always want to go live in your forest or meadow 🙂

    I hope your coming week brings more joy than sorrow x

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    1. Thank you so much, Pauline. I also gain so much from your comments on these coffee chats. Hope and let go. Yes, that’s the easier way, isn’t it? I think it was Pema Chodron who said to abandon hope, that hope and fear are two sides of the same coin. Another friend once advised me to give up expectations and practice anticipation instead. I forget that sometimes, but it comes back in various reminders.

      I have a 50 page rule for books these days. I don’t mind a long book if it keeps me interested, but I have little tolerance any more for a long book that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. “Trawling through sludge” would probably not pass my 50 page rule, but I can’t say for sure. I’ve been known to stick with books like that in hopes (ah, there’s hope again) that it will get better. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.

      Yes, that’s shingle siding on the house. It looks remarkably like cedar shingles but it’s vinyl. It’s hard to tell that it’s vinyl partly because the company that made it had problems with this particular batch and so it starts to age, almost like real wood would. I’m delighted with it! The only problem is that we had to use the newer version of it on the addition to the house and it won’t age. They made the product “better” and now it will always look new. But they could be wrong. We’ll have to wait and see.

      M is very handy around the house. We’ve both learned to do a lot of things I never thought we’d be doing. This is our second whole house renovation, and before this we got in some practice doing things such as hanging drywall and plastering.

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      1. I cannot see me ever giving up on hope – I remember it as being the one thing left in Pandora’s box – and therefore a thing of great importance in overcoming the darker things of life and our psyches. [Sorry Pema] But I’m with your friend on giving up expectations for anticipation. Expectations are the ruin of relationships and lives really………..

        It’s such a pity we can’t get it right all the time! 🙂

        I’m liking your fifty page rule – which means ‘The Luminaries’ is bound for the bin – I’ve been eyeing my copy of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s ‘We Never Asked for Wings’ and would love to get stuck into it! I loved her first book ‘The Language of Flowers’ did you read that?

        I love renovating and redecorating – it could be a full time hobby for me if I had the income 🙂 Having someone to do it with though must be even better – happy days!! Have fun. you’ll have to let us know how the shingles get on with the aging process. It looks nice in photos 🙂

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  9. As always, a fabulous post, warm and welcoming, and shared over coffee (or a beverage of your choice). Love the blues of Tangier Sunset and the prettiest little mushroom I’ve ever seen. Congratulations on the progress on your house. The siding is wonderful.

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  10. Another lovely post, Robin, if bittersweet. The photos are beautiful, and I’m certain your house will be, too. Good luck with the remodeling. I’m sorry about your disappointment and not feeling well, but I’m glad you have good things going on, too. It’s always nice having coffee with you and catching up. 😉

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  11. Beautiful, beautiful butterfly pictures. I am sorry you have some sadnesses and hope for the best, whatever that may be. Goodness, the porch. Sometimes people should have their heads pinched off when they’re born (I know this assumes they’re plant life, but…).

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  12. Oooh! The photos in this post are absolutely divine, Robin! I will soon be cracking open a book by Elizabeth Gilbert as well, although not the same one you are reading. I’ll be reading Big Magic, which I’m sooooooooooo excited about! Things have been incredibly busy lately: finishing up at the harbour, moving (again), taking a few courses (Reiki Level II and one about coaching), and… drumroll, please… I’m also getting set to participate in my first ever Intuitive Arts Festival! It happens early next month, and I’m BEYOND STOKED to offer in-person oracle card and intuitive readings. Feels like a big step! 🙂
    PS: I fully agree about the downsides to shutting yourself down emotionally. Yes, you might be able to shield yourself from a little hurt and sadness, but in doing so, it also ‘shields’ you from everything positive and joyful, too. It’s definitely one of those ‘easier said than done’ things, but I think a full-spectrum life is well worth it. xx

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  13. Such a pretty post – I’m sorry whatever it was that you were hoping for didn’t work out. I found some cute little suprises in this post that made me smile, like the “oh hai” under the butterfly (LOLZ cats reference, right?) and the seeds in the spider’s web were just so neat! Love your sunset colors as always.

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  14. I enjoyed this coffee break–I needed it as we have just returned from a memorial for my cousin’s son. Enough on that.

    But I have been entrenched in music all afternoon, painting the meadows too, hoping it would “whisk me away” for a while.

    I believe it worked.

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  15. If we were having coffee, I’d bore you to tears as about all I have to talk about it is what I’m doing at work. I love it and love talking about it, but it’s hard to follow if you’re not in my field. Such tax nerds!

    I am doing a lot of reading, mostly fiction as my brain isn’t too receptive to thinking about other things besides taxes.

    I could bore you even more with all kinds of pictures of my grandson. He’s getting so big!

    Nancy

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    1. lol, Nancy! I don’t think I’d understand much when it comes to tax talk. But I’d love to see the pictures of your grandson. Grandchildren, as far as I’m concerned, are never boring, not even in pictures. 😀

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  16. Stunning images as always, Robin. Love the header with the raindrops. I loved ‘Signature of all Things.’ It didn’t get good reviews, but I thought it was great. What do critics know? 😉
    Love your butterflies and the porch is going to look great – so nice you have a handy man as a partner, lucky you! Wishing you buckets of sunshine!

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    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 Buckets of sunshine are exactly what they’re forecasting for the next ten days.
      I love “Signature of All Things” so far. I didn’t realize the critics didn’t like it. I agree with you. What do they know? 😀

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  17. Robin, your photos are always lovely but these seem extra special for some reason. Looking at your pictures always makes me feel at home and welcome. I especially love “Takin’ it Easy.” Tim & I traveled to Cape Cod for the three day weekend. Besides visiting some of our usual stomping grounds we explored some new places there. I know what you mean about disappointments and sadness – it seems like our trip was a mixed bag of blunders and delightful moments. Mirroring life in general. Hope you’re feeling better and making good progress on the porch project.

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  18. Robin, your photos are beautiful. I love butterflies and hope to one day experience the migration of the Monarch butterflies and to appreciate them en masse. I bought myself a butterfly ring recently. The top is made of ceramic like a flat stone and the butterfly is painted on top and looks like it’s perched on my finger about to fly off into the sky.
    I recently returned from a week away in Byron Bay on Australia’s East Coast. It was so beautiful and very relaxing and I’ve been so inspired and written so much. Here’s a link to my Coffee Share post: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/weekend-coffee-share-byron-bay-back-to-earth/
    This week is almost over and I feel like there’s still so much to do. Take care and thanks for coffee xx Rowena

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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