Posted in Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Endings, Exploring, Family, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Grandparenthood, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Heartfulness, In these strange times, Life, Little Peanut, Little Wookie, Love, Mindfulness, Nature, Ohio, Photography, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Summer, The Bogs, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Yoga

Where to start?

A sunrise.

The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.

~ G. K. Chesterton

Redbud leaves.

As we approach the end of our stay in the Bogs, I’m finding it difficult to begin this post about endings.  So, I’ll start with beginnings, with the morning ritual of watching the sunrise and doing my morning practice.  My morning yoga practice isn’t what most Westerners think of as Sun Salutations.  Nonetheless, that’s how I think of it.  A salute to the rising sun.  A salute to something big and bright and constant in our lives.  Oh, the angles change and there are long days in summer and short days in winter, but the sun, even when we can’t see it through the clouds, is always there.

Changes happening in the dogwood tree by the pond.

This week I’ve been going over to see the Little Wookie and Little Peanut early in the morning, after my morning ritual and practice but before they start their at-home preschool day.  Their regular babysitter is back on the job for the morning shift.  That should help transition the boys back to their normal day when we leave.  (In case you’re wondering, their mommy takes over in the afternoons.  She works from home in mornings and if she has work in the afternoons, they somehow work things out since M the Younger also works from home.)

Thistle in the meadow.

The early morning walks are nice.  Even though things have changed, I still know this land pretty well.  This is one case in which familiarity does not breed contempt.  The year of getting outside every day (2010-2011), taking photos and blogging about it, taught me well about place and the seasons and the rhythms of life in this place.


This time of year is all about big changes, from one season to another.  There will be plenty of warm/hot weather in the coming weeks, but the light is different, the days are discernibly shorter, the nights cooler.  It is, to me, much more noticeable here than on the Eastern Shore.  By the time we return home, the goldenrod will be nearly finished whereas here, it’s just beginning to bloom.  The turning of the leaves on the trees, however, takes longer in our part of Maryland than it does here.  It will be a while before the cooler nights arrive there.

Changes are happening around the edges.

On my way back from visiting the boys yesterday morning, I saw a praying mantis that was molting.  They molt 7-9 times in their life before becoming a sexually mature adult.   Molting is a dangerous business for the mantis.  So many things could go wrong.  If it’s too dry, they could get stuck and the new skin will become too hard.  Or they could fall.  Or become prey to other bugs while they are in their delicate state of emerging.  It takes 24 hours for the new mantis skin to harden.

Same mantis seen in yesterday’s post.

I saw numerous caterpillars on the milkweed.  Several were Monarchs and many were Tussock Moth caterpillars.  They have similar colors, but the Tussock Moth caterpillar is described as looking like Cousin It (of the Addams Family) although I would describe it more as Rod Stewart or Tina Turner (in her “What’s Love Got to Do With It” video from 1984) hair style.  Tousled, wild, sticking out all over.

I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to have to emerge into a new skin or a completely new body.  I saw a Monarch butterfly just as it was emerging from its chrysalis one morning during my walk over to the Lovelies when I was substituting for the nanny.  Monarchs go through five instars.  Once they reach the fifth instar and hook themselves to a leaf, enzymes are released that digest all of the caterpillar tissue so that it becomes a rich, culture medium.  Imaginal disks or cells grow like crazy, forming different parts.

Munching on milkweed.

It’s amazing.  How would it feel to go through such a process?  We humans think of transitions or rites of passage as being reborn or changed, and sometimes there is a physical process to it.  Even so, it’s not as if we are completely dissolved in the way a Monarch caterpillar is or having to shed a whole, old skin the way a snake or a praying mantis does.  (Note:  I do know the human body replaces itself with new cells over a period of seven to ten years, but that’s different, it seems to me, than having to do it overnight.)

But sometimes it feels that way when the change is a painful process.

Sharing a meal.

I’ve been reading a lot about how yoga is an intimate and individual spiritual journey, but it is also about relationship and community.  It’s not either/or.  It’s and/both.  Is it just me or does so much of life seem to be and/both?  I really don’t think it’s just me.  I believe there are a lot of us who feel this way, who have come to realize that paradoxes are everywhere and we can somehow hold the and/both.  Like Francis Weller’s take on holding grief in one hand and joy in the other.  In the middle of that, in our heart center, we hold gratitude.  That’s what makes it easier to hold the and/both of life.

One of several. We found more later in the evening. The boys were thrilled.

I reckon that’s enough from me for now.  I think my next post will likely come from Maryland, from the home ground we call the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  I have a ton of photos to show you from this trip.  Just yesterday M and I met up with close friends near The Ledges Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We had a physically distanced picnic lunch and then went for a walk on the trail.  It was wonderful to see them, to know that they are well.  I miss the hugs, though.

Thank you so much for visiting with me again while I’m in the Bogs.  I don’t think we’ll see much of a sunset this evening.  Clouds moved in overnight and there are storms in the forecast for this evening.  The remnants of Hurricane Laura will be coming by this weekend, and no doubt her clouds will get here before she does.  Our best chance of seeing any more sunsets from here will probably be on Sunday evening, our last evening in NE Ohio.  But you never know.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:07 PM tonight.  (I went back to look and on July 6, the first evening here I made note of such things, sunset was at exactly 9:00 PM.  Kind of interesting to see that even though I could already tell the daylight hours had grown shorter in the time we’ve been here.)  Meet you out by the cornfield if it’s not raining or storming.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.

Have a heart. (From our short hike on the Ledges Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park system yesterday.)

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,511)  To have had 1,511 things I could list to be happy about and grateful for.  1,512)  M, always.  Today is our anniversary.  44 years of life together.  Lots of ups, downs, and everything in between.  1,513)  The family that was created through us.  1,514)  Rain.  I hope we get a good soaking.  The land here needs it.  1,515)  Surrender and release.


Robin is...

24 thoughts on “Where to start?

  1. Hope you get the rain without the wind. We had a storm this afternoon bring a inch of most welcome rain, the trees and plants were looking so stressed. Laura may bring more on Sat. I hope.
    Have a safe return journey, see you on the flip side. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 It POURED here yesterday and through part of the night. Buckets and buckets of much-needed rain. I hope it has made its to you by now and that your stressed trees and plants now have a chance to relax.


  2. I know the last days together with your family are bittersweet. You long for home, you long to stay with them. I know that from my visits to Alabama when my folks were alive. Sometimes I didn’t visit just because I couldn’t deal with the goodbyes at the end. But how wonderful that you were able to spend so many weeks with them. They will miss you too, but will always remember the summer that you spent with them. I hope you are able to do it again soon. Have a safe trip home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Dawn. 🙂 Goodbyes are difficult and I try not to drag them out. It’s kind of like ripping off the Band-aid. I’d rather do it quickly and be done with it. Unfortunately, events in life don’t always work that way. This weekend is all about getting the boys mentally ready for our departure. The 2-year-old doesn’t really know what’s going on. The Little Wookie, however, does and has already said he’s sad and is making impassioned speeches about why we would should live here forever. I don’t entirely disagree with him. I do feel so grateful for having had all of this time with them so I’ll focus on that (and see if I can get a 4-year-old Little Wookie to focus in that direction, too).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s fascinating, Laurie. Miraculous. 🙂
      I keep reminding myself about how lucky we were to be able to spend so much time with family. Not everyone is able to do so. Plus, the physical distance was there before Covid-19 so it’s not as if we saw them all the time before the world turned upside down.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Life these days confuses and befuddles me. Neither/not, either/or, and/both – I’m just not sure. I’m happy you had time to spend time with your little ones, and wish you a safe trip and smooth transition to Wabi-Sabi.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you’ve had this time to be with your family and also see friends–how wonderful–though the goodbyes will be hard, I’m sure. You gave us so much to think about with the caterpillars and change.
    I’ve been listening to a podcast about a bog, and it makes me think of you (the word bog). 😀 I think it’s going to be sort of a scary thing–it’s fiction– so maybe not something you’d be interested in, but it also describes the development of the bog over centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Anniversary, Robin and M! I noticed the date – the 27th. It’s now the 28th here, but yesterday was my inlaws 65th wedding anniversary. Also yesterday, my youngest son’s divorce was finalised, almost five years to the day that he was married. I mention my son because he told me he wept with relief that his marriage was finally over. It was a happy day for him. You and M, and my inlaws, are so blessed to have found the right person to share your lives with. ❤
    Safe travels back to the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a beautifully written post and so much to chew on. I love the mantis. Magical creatures. And the butterfly’s transformation. And you’ve got me thinking–I should do more yoga:).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful post, Robin. So much to see and feel here. I’ve noticed the days, the angles, shadows…they are subtle or not seen at all by those who focus on the numerical calendar rather than the natural one…that we can observe and feel. Wishing you safe travel on your trip back to Maryland. Having lived in both states – Ohio and Maryland – I appreciate them for their differences, which are vast! Looking forward to your next post from your Maryland home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie. 🙂 I appreciate the two states for their differences, too. Some things are vast, some not so much. Politically, one might think they are different but it depends on where you are in Maryland as to whether you feel you’re in a blue state or a red state. It would be so much nicer if the differences I just mentioned weren’t so polarized. We need a party of kindness and respect for differences.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Safe travels as you return to Maryland, Robin. I know you will miss your family when you get home, but you’ll probably also appreciate being back there in your own space. It is so synchronistic that you posted about both/and the paradoxes of life. I was contemplating writing a post about that this week, too. One small practice I’m learning is offered by Deb Dana in her work on polyvagal theory and the nervous system. Let’s say part of us in annoyed or angry at another person (not an oddity these days, unfortunately as many of us are stressed out.) She suggests we tell our inner story and then change one detail. If I’m feeling annoyed at someone I just tried inserting an image of positive times together. It was interesting to watch the inner mood change to allow for both/and. I could still feel the annoyance but also the love at the same time. Am going to try and remember this. Thanks for such a beautiful blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Kathy, and thank you. 🙂 I like the idea of changing something about the inner story. Those inside dramas can really play out if we allow them to run rampant. Did you write a post about and/both? I’m sorry to say I haven’t been keeping up. I’ll check soon.


      1. Thanks, Robin. I have been playing with that inner story-changing-thing all week and it’s really been helpful. No, have not written that post yet, but maybe one of these days…


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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