Posted in Aging, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Heartfulness, Home, In these strange times, Life, Love, Lovingkindness, Maryland, Meditation, Metta, Mindfulness, Nature, Other than human, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Words, Writing

Oh, the joy

New blooms.

Healing does not require that you master the unreasonable side of your reason. Nor does healing require inner perfection of any order. A common trait shared by people who have healed is that they cease being unreasonable in ways that no longer matter in the greater scheme of life. Against the scale of life or death, how important is winning an argument? How important is holding a grudge? How important is anything other than how well we love others, how deeply we regard the value of the gift of life, and what we do with our life that makes this world a better place?

~ Caroline Myss

I believe our survival demands revolution, both cultural and political. If we are to survive the disasters that threaten, and survive our own struggle to make it new – a struggle I believe we have no choice but to commit ourselves to – we need tremendous transfusions of imaginative energy. If it is indeed revolution we are moving toward, we need life, and abundantly – we need poems of the spirit, to inform us of the essential, to help us live the revolution. And if instead it be the Last Days – then we need to taste the dearest, freshest drops before we die – why bother with anything less than that, the essential?

~ Denise Levertov, The Poet in the World

Hens and chicks.

Summer is almost upon us.  The weather here certainly agrees with me and with that statement.  The unusually cool springtime has departed, and the hot and humids have moved in to fill the vacuum.  If you’ve followed along with me for a while, you know this is not my time of year but I do my best to get along with it.

Little things.

There are little things that help.  Flowers blooming, plants springing out of old tree stumps, mosses, the variety of greens, and visits from our local residents (rabbits, deer, foxes, birds of all stripes) almost make up for the unbearable heaviness of the sauna-like weather that will be with us for the next few months.  Ok, I’m exaggerating.  It’s not unbearable.  Just damn uncomfortable.  We’ve been lucky this year with our cooler spring.  We’ve also been lucky when it comes to the heat.  Our old place in NE Ohio has seen some hotter temperatures from time to time this spring than we have had here (they were in the 90’s yesterday, with a heat index of 106°F, while we were in the lower 80’s).  That’s not normal.  Perhaps it is the new normal.  I don’t know.  Weather is hard to predict, and climate change will make it tougher.

I am reminded of when we first moved to NE Ohio (eons ago, it seems) and the advice we were given regarding air conditioning was that we wouldn’t need it.  We were told that they got, at most, three hot days during the summer months that might require air conditioning but otherwise, summer weather was usually mild.  A fan would do.  That’s not true anymore.

Spots of pink in the wheat.

I’ve been doing some writing lately, some of it as part of a writing workshop.  I have been surprised, and not surprised, by some of what has arisen from the pages and pages of words I’ve written in the past few days.  The first two sessions of the workshop were spent coming up with an intention for the workshop.  I don’t know what I thought my intention would be, but I wasn’t thinking of aging as a focus when I started.  Perhaps it was the theme of the workshop — of looking at where we might be grounding in life, where we might be creating something new, and where we might be composting the old to make nutrients for the new — that drove me in the direction of aging, ripening, maturing.  Perhaps it was the oncoming summer itself or the wheat or the flowers.

I think this is a type of milkweed.

There were writing prompts and instructions, and eventually we were to come up with a short sentence or phrase that would sum up or represent our intention.  Before I got to the part about brevity, I wrote:

Oh, to know the joy of being in this human body, to stop trying to be young when youth is no longer present, to know the joys of my own age, to know the joys of my own wisdom and life experiences, to know the joys of hearing the whispers of Silence (Love, the Divine) murmuring in my own ears, my own heart, my own soul.

A little over the top, maybe?  Maybe.  I shortened it to “oh, to know the joy of this human body in its present, in its here and now.”  Because that’s where I need to be.  In the here-now.

In the Yoga Sutras class, we are learning about how we are not this body (that was also a theme in the Gita classes, but I digress).  And yet, we are, aren’t we?  It is through this body that I am experiencing life, love, pleasure, suffering, and all the things.  For a split second or two, as I pondered what it would be like to know the joy of being in this body, I thought about my guilt and/or regrets in terms of abusing and not loving my human body, but who has time for that anymore?  Let the past stay in the past.  I am here, now.  So I will, like Whitman, celebrate the body and remind myself of this: oh, to know the joy of being in this human body, to be grateful for this experience of the present, to be grateful for the chance to experience life and aging and whatever that brings.

In the meadow, the daisies have been blooming.

As for composting, I’m thinking that what I’d like to throw on the compost heap are my youth, my ideas of youth, the ideas of a culture that worships youth, and whatever attitudes I have been conditioned to have regarding aging and what an aging face and body should look like.  It’s possible I need to spend a little time grieving the passing of my youth.  It’s possible I should have done so a while back, when my initiation into cronehood became official.  No matter.  I can do it now.

A common theme that has come up in my writing is the phrase (and yes, the Beatles’ song) Let it be.  Have patience, be content to wait, and most of all, hold it all — everything — with the lightest touch, a touch of barely there.  There is no reason to grasp, to clutch, to hold tightly.  Everything changes.  Everything.  Let it, and let it be (whatever it is to be).

The calla lilies are blooming and glowing.  This is the first year we’ve had more than one bloom.

I’ve been writing about my fears.  One in particular keeps coming back around.  What if, I ask myself, what if this voice I think of as my new voice is really the old voice disguised in new jargon?  The answer that came back was let it be.  I’ve played with that and yes, it is a very good answer.  Let it be.  Stop fussing.  And… it helps to step back a little, to look at the big picture or the arc of my lifetime because the changes are evident.

Words and words and words have poured out.  Sometimes they serve me well.  A little piece about an imaginary meadow was filled with insights about my beliefs, about goddesses, about daisies and lupines and crown vetch.  There were words about comfort, grief, joy, and the way that rage can be both a cold, deep abyss of darkness and the blinding brilliance of 10,000 suns.

Two.

I could ramble on for ages, and it’s probably best that I don’t.  Who knows where that might lead?  Not to my soapbox, not today.  There are many things I could comment on, express an opinion about.  I’ll save them for another day.  In the meantime, thank you so much for visiting with me.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  It will be hot, possibly buggy.  I haven’t checked to see which way the wind is blowing.  If it’s a good stiff breeze off the water, we’ll be safe from the hoards of biting flies and mosquitoes.  If not, we’d better spray up.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:28 PM.

Please be safe, be well, and speak the good words when you can.

Vespers.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  2,031)  Hoards of bunnies playing on the lawn in the morning.  They are so much fun to watch, especially the babies.  2,032)  Lilies in bloom.  2,033)  Days of rest and relaxation.  2,034)  Library books and movies.  2,035)  A quick glimpse of one of the newest residents.  A fawn and her/his mother came running by the other day.  I do hope the mamas bring the babies out soon so we can see them.

By the greenhouse. The pond is to the left, the flower garden to the right. Be careful sitting on that bench. There is a black rat snake that likes to sit on the top/back of the seat and she sort of blends in up there.  (She was not there when I took this photo.)

Author:

Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

23 thoughts on “Oh, the joy

  1. I grew up in central OH and we never had whole house AC. Summers were cooler back then and fans were more popular. Profound thought about wondering if the new voice is the old one re-worked and here to fool you. No answer but something upon which to muse. I was just thinking about Caroline Myss today. How interesting you’d mention her here. Again, something to muse upon… the connection… the meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our first house in NE Ohio had an attic/whole house fan. We used that most of the time, but did eventually put in a window a/c unit. When we sold that house and bought the fixer-upper, we had central air conditioning installed since the ducts were in place. By that time (and it was only a few years later), summers were already beginning to heat up.
      I think we can be really good at fooling ourselves so I do like to check once in a while, but I also tend to doubt myself so I’m going to take my own advice and let it be. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful words and images. Yes to all you wrote. The day I stopped dying my hair was the day I accepted my age. Now, what I want is to stay as strong as I can for as long as I can. No small thing when you have arthritis. The exercise bike helps a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laurie. 🙂 I hear you on the arthritis. I have it, too. I’m told that the trick is to keep moving but some days, that’s hard to do. It’s interesting that you mentioned dying your hair. I stopped dying mine after the pandemic hit. Twice I’ve bought some product to color it, and twice I’ve wasted my money because I decided not to do it because I’m liking my hair the way it is. Lots of white with some silver and gray.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robin, like you I keep going back to the body, to the be-here-now, to relaxing into what is here. These realizations will hopefully feed and nurture us as we continue to age. Glad to hear you are writing and learning to Let it Be. I like that mantra. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always good to see you, Kathy. 🙂 The only problem with Let it Be as a mantra is that the song is almost continuously playing in my head. lol! Ah well. At least I won’t need to be reminded.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful post, Robin.
    I think we have to block out the voices, in print and voice that keep putting down ageing. It’s part of the circle of life. Why should we be made to feel miserable about it rather than rejoice in it? I, too, used the pandammit to stop dying my hair. What a sense of freedom this little act of acceptance has evoked!
    Gorgeous photos and words, Robin.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Much to think about here, Robin. I also stopped dying my hair during the pandemic because I couldn’t/wouldn’t go to the salon, and I like the way mine looks now, too.
    The climate–it’s not just heat, but all the tornados. I don’t ever remember them being so common before. That said, it’s beautiful here today–actually chilly in the shade, which is a nice change.
    This seems like a rabbit year. I’ve been seeing lots of them, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s definitely a rabbit year, Merril. They’re all over the place. I imagine the hawks that visit this winter will be feasting. It’s funny you mentioned tornadoes. When we moved here, the weather people were always saying that tornadoes are rare here. They haven’t been rare at all the past couple of years. We’ve been lucky when it comes to the hurricanes. Unfortunately, hurricanes also produce tornadoes and that’s been the cause of most tornadoes that we’ve had in the past year or two.

      It was beautiful here, too. It’s warming up today, but still nice. Not too hot yet, with a lovely breeze. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think trying to be the age we are takes practice. After all, we’ve grown up with the concept that younger is better. Plus I don’t really know what 66 is. I still feel like maybe I’m thirty something.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m with Dawn here. I don’t think our generation really knows what aging is supposed to look like. We’ve spent decades distrusting “the man” and anyone over 30. Now, we’re ALL over 30, but we don’t see ourselves as untrustworthy. Besides, our parents’ generation seemed OLD all the time. Hair is just hair. Coloring it (or not) doesn’t make one young. I have back issues and I’ve got to say it’s pain that makes you feel old! That’s why I exercise as much as I can, trying to stave off that creaky feeling. Love your calla lilies and the Bambi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Debbie. 🙂 I agree with Dawn, too. It’s hard to know. When I was young, I thought 30 was OLD (and doubted I’d live to be that old…lol!). It’s amazing how our perspective changes with time.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the stunning picture of the deer! What a beautiful face she has and the way her ears are outlined in darker fur… I’ve been struggling with grief for not just the passing of my youth, but for the loss of my health and learning to live with a chronic illness. I appreciate your thoughts on letting it be.

    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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