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A Thursday Ramble

Light and shadows

A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see.

~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds:  Fifty-four Variations on Voice

Three turkeys in the front yard.

I am in the mood for a bit of a ramble today, wandering this way and that, not really caring where it leads or if it leads.

Osprey in flight.

Have you read The Artist’s Way?  And if you did, did you ever do the Morning Pages?  I never finished reading (or working through) the book.  After several tries, I finally gave it away.  Maybe someone else found something in it that I didn’t.  I’ve written about it before so I won’t bore you with it again now.  Besides, it’s the Morning Pages I mean to write about, not the book.

Getting ready to dive into the pond to catch a fish.

I finished reading the book When Women Were Birds:  Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams.  I should probably save that for our coffee chat, but there’s no time like the present, is there?  It’s a wonderful book and I’m debating with myself about giving it away or keeping it to read again or, if not read it in its entirety, at least dip into it here and there.

After taking a dip in the pond. Don’t know if s/he caught a fish, but look at the way the light is hitting his or her feathers.

I like the idea of writing Morning Pages, but have had difficulty with the reality of it.  It’s a wonderful way to clear my mind, to randomly empty out word-thoughts on to a page.  The difficulty I had with Morning Pages is having them sit around where anyone could read them.  Not that anyone (that would be M since there are only two of us living here) would read them.  But what happens to them when I die?  Will someone read them?  I’d rather they didn’t.  That left me with the solution of destroying them each day or waiting until I’d filled a journal and then destroying them.  Either way, the destruction of a journal (or simply some pages in a journal) takes time and effort.  Burning is usually the best method, and that means waiting for our spring or fall bonfires.  What if I die in the meantime?  (Does anyone else think of these things?)

Chesapeake Blue Crab in the pond.

Ms. Williams, in her book When Women Were Birds, presents a solution to this problem and it is marvelously simple and effective.  She calls it repetations.

When I want to see the furthest into my soul, I will write a sentence by hand and then write another sentence over it, followed by another.  An entire paragraph will live in one line, and no one else can read it.

~ Terry Tempest Williams

Cherry Blossom reflections on water, a double exposure.

So this morning I sat down to write my Morning Pages, something I haven’t done in a long time because I tired of having to destroy what I’d written.  Although I suppose this method of writing could be seen as a way of covering up my voice, to me it was a way to let my voice free.  Not only is it unreadable, but I didn’t once think about my penmanship or messing up and having to cross out (scribble out) mistakes.  Julia Cameron’s instructions concerning the Morning Pages include something about not worrying about penmanship, punctuation, spelling, good grammar, and/or mistakes because it is a stream-of-consciousness style of writing.  I try not to pay attention to flaws, but the inner perfectionist would always take note. “Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow, ” writes Julia Cameron.  Yet I always did over-think it.  With repetations, I don’t care because it doesn’t matter.  I write, and the words flow.  I start with a blank page.  I fill it up.  Then I go over it with my second page of words.  And the third page goes over that.  Three pages of words flowing across one page.   It looks like this:

Instead of something like this:

A poem I copied.

Spring is short this year, and it feels like we’re going right into summer.  I suppose that’s the usual way of things south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but I’d have to go back to previous blog posts to know for sure.  No matter, really.  It is how it is this year.  I was out in the garden pulling weeds the other day, digging around under the lavender to pull up the ground cover that is taking over the world.  I don’t know what the ground cover is, and haven’t seen it here before, but it is EVERYWHERE, growing over and under and around everything.  If you stand still long enough, it will start winding its way up your legs.

Hanging around.

As I was finishing up under the lavender, I looked down for some reason and saw several tiny ticks making their way up my arms.  Five of them were crawling up my right arm.  Five!  And there were two sneaking up my left arm.  I avoided going out to the garden or anywhere outside except the deck for the next two days.  I didn’t feel like donning all the gear and anti-insect spray required to protect me from ticks.  That’s an unrealistic stance in this buggy jungle world I live in so today I geared up and went back out to do some more weeding before the garden becomes nothing but weeds.  There is mowing to be done, too, and there are seeds to start (I still haven’t done that and really should get to it soon!).

The cherry tree branches are heavy with blooms this year.

A doe (a deer, a female deer) was out near the scrounger’s garden yesterday.  Yesterday was one of those days I didn’t want to go out in the long grasses.  I opened a window and shouted.  The doe, tall and lean, looked up at me and twitched her ears.  We stared at each other for a moment or two, then she went back to walking towards the garden.  I shouted again.  Then whistled.  When I was a child I spent a summer learning how to do one of those loud whistles that results from sticking your fingers in your mouth in just the right way.  The doe merely looked at me as if to say, “Is that all you got?”

I went out to the porch and on to the deck, waving my arms and talking to her.  She became a statue in the garden area, refusing to move except for the occasional swish of the tail or twitch of the ears.  I let her be.  I shouldn’t have.  The deer have been bold lately.  Deer ticks earned their name by feeding on white-tailed deer.  But I was reminded of my mother, and of the deer that have turned up whenever I think of her.  Mom loved flowers and gardening, and she had the greenest thumb of anyone I know.  She brought back plants from the dead, she was that good.  Maybe the doe was Mom’s way of visiting my garden even though there isn’t much to see out there right now.

Faces to the sun.

I reckon that’s enough rambling from me for one day.  Thank you for stopping by the Wabi-Sabi Ranch on this warm and beautiful Thursday.  Shall we go to the Point to see the sunset this evening?  There are enough high, thin clouds to make it interesting.  Sunset is at 7:37 PM.  I’ll be there early.  I haven’t been out to the Point in a few weeks, and it will be nice to take my time and see what’s been happening on the small beach and in the marshes.

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

Red-bud glow.  (This is the first year that we’ve had flowers on one of the red-bud trees we planted a couple of years ago.)

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  171)  Deer medicine (according to Ted Andrews in his book Animal Speak, the keynote of deer medicine is “gentleness and innocence — gentle luring to new adventures”).  172)  The scents of lavender, sage, cherry blossoms, and the earth.  173)  Wild turkeys strutting through the yard.  174)  Pizza from a local joint that makes a decent New York-style pizza.  175)  Morning Pages and the privacy of repetations.

Separated from the double exposure.
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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.

16 thoughts on “A Thursday Ramble

  1. What anti-tick insect spray do you recommend? We’ll be camping up in tick invested woods again this summer, so any advice is appreciated.

    It’s 7:19 p.m. Hope you’re out enjoying the sunset!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dawn, I thought I’d put my two cents in. 😉 I use 7% Deet (Skintastic) and spray clothing, hat and anything exposed, as well as tucking pants into socks. It has a 2-hour effectiveness, so needs to be reapplied. There is stronger formulas up to 50%, but since the liver has metabolize the poison, I go with the lower dose as I’m rarely out longer than a couple hours. Also, take along one of those sticky lint rollers for clothes. They are great to run over everything after your walk to pick up the ones too small to see, as well as those you do, and on your tent if they are crawling there. Lastly, to clear your tent site area, drag a large white cloth (I use an old curtain) along the ground to pick up ticks. Turn over every 20′ and pick off ticks and drown in soapy water. It is very effective and will give you peace of mind. I admire your camping despite the ticks, don’t let the buggers stop you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fantastic advice here, Eliza. Thank you! I never thought to use a sticky lint roller on my clothing. I just abandon most of my clothing outside until I’m ready to throw it in the dryer. That method works fine when there’s no one else here (one of the advantages of living where we have plenty of privacy), but summer is coming and that means guests. A lint roller would be just the thing.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I didn’t make it to the Point, Dawn, but did watch the sunset. It was lovely. 🙂 As for anti-tick spray, Eliza gave such great advice. I can’t think of anything to add other than anything with Deet is said to work.

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  2. I’m waiting for the real spring to get here. I’m weary of the Klamath Basin spring, with too frequent snow showers and freezing night temps. The morning journal is interesting, but isn’t part of the reason for voicing feelings that you can go back later and read them? See where you were and where you are?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Morning Pages are just an emptying out exercise, Carol. I used to go back and read some of them, but they really weren’t reading. Some mornings I’d write nothing but a long stream of complaints, whining my way through the Morning Pages. Other mornings I’d have little to write about and I’d find various ways to write that I had little to write about. There were insights from time to time, but the important ones made it into some of the other writing I do. The best way to think of Morning Pages, in my opinion, is as a warm-up to writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely spring blossoms – such a joy to see.
    You have beautiful handwriting – a vanishing skill, I fear. I tried the Morning Pages and couldn’t stick with it, as I have no discipline! A wild child raised by wolves. 😉
    Tick season is such a groan, isn’t it? I’ve been spraying my pants and coat before I go out. The dog has had several, even with Frontline and checking after walks. Miserable buggers. But I REFUSE to let them defeat me when it comes to gardening or partaking of nature. Where would I be without my daily infusion? So I grimace (no grin, sorry) and bear it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 There were some news stories lately mentioning that after abandoning cursive writing, some schools are bringing it back. I can’t remember why other than it helps with some other skills.
      I sprayed for the first time yesterday. My husband went around and sprayed near the house and gardens. It’s early enough that he can spray the ground and not worry about bees since there are no flowers in those areas yet. The county will start spraying for mosquitoes soon, and that keeps down the ticks, too.

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  4. I love the “repetation” idea…I’ll have to remember that. I did Morning Pages for a while on my computer, typing instead of writing, and just deleted the page when I was done. However, I hate Cameron’s work; it relies much, much, MUCH too strongly on the idea that every creative person has pleasant affect recall of childhood, and that a big part of owning creativity is returning to a childlike state of presence and wonder that many emotionally/psychologically abused children really never had. Almost all of the exercises were deeply alienating and upsetting to me, for that reason.

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    1. Thank you, David, for your take on Cameron’s work. I did not like The Artist’s Way and no matter how many times I tried to get through it, I never made it past the first few chapters. I think you just helped me figure out some of the why. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I began to experience some of that childlike wonder, learning it through being with my grandchildren and by spending time outdoors. I’ve been learning how to play, too, but even with that I tend to hold back (control rather than spontaneity although I’m getting better at letting loose from time to time). I know I had some wondrous experiences when I was very young (usually related to my midnight escapes to the backyard when it was snowing or the moon was full), but at some point I became an overly serious child. There are big gaps in my childhood and teen years so if there is a cause other than my own personality, I don’t know what it might be.
      I do like the Morning Pages, though, and find that to be helpful in keeping me writing and exploring. I like writing by hand (always have) although typing is certainly faster and easier for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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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