The time flew, the time crawled

“What you preserve is the cheeriest memento mori. It is a way to say and mean: of everything that passes, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there for the tasting, of where and when and how you have lived.”

Suzanne’s been gone a month today. She was my daughter’s boyfriend’s mom. A person who loved well and who was well loved. I think of her daily. I think of her boys daily, my girl and all the people heartbroken by her loss. When she was on the last leg of her dying journey I would turn for solace to one of my favorite bloggers, Hannah, from Inherit the Spoon. In between writing about food, her boys, and home, she writes of memories…in the making, and those made, of her mom, who died a few years ago, a lady who sounds like she was also about 59, same as Suzanne.

Recently, Hannah posted the above quote from a book I enjoyed reading a while back, An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler. It made me think of Danny, Brian’s older brother, Suzanne’s firstborn. Both boys left work last March to come home to care for their mom. Danny left San Francisco, where he was a chef at Outerlands, Brian took a leave of absence from his job in Boston. Time seemed to crawl for me as I held my breath, hoping, praying for miracles.

And when the miracle didn’t happen, the time that was left for them seems like it flew. A whole lifetime. Not nearly enough for any of us, glib as we may want to be with our easy platitudes about grief and loss. I just try to remember the Dr. Seuss quote Suzanne included in her obituary, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” So like her to want to comfort from beyond. Suzanne, wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying an everlasting meal. We miss you.

Just a Hello and thinking of you

Hello Suzanne,

Perhaps you’ll have a chance to read this, no reply necessary. Just know that you are in my constant thoughts and however things turn out, I think of your kindness, Grace, love, dignity, courage and spirit…this is what I endeavor to share of the people who have been a part of my life, perhaps what most of us remember — the little things, the little glimpses and stories of a day in the life. Should we have grandchildren together, wherever you are I will make sure to include you so that they know their other grandmama well. We will set a place for you at our table always.

Much love for you .

P.S. You have raised some remarkable boys, and your tribe will gather to embrace and support them however we can.

New Cape/Old Cape

This is and isn’t the cape I left back in the 70’s. The pace is much faster, while the characters and drama in local politics remain static. Kind of like a remake of an old Hollywood movie, not necessarily any better than the original. Same roles, different names and faces.

It’s interesting how the vision and culture seem to mirror the topography. Thankfully we are surrounded by ocean, sky, and horizon…the broad expanse helps balance the narrow land. Nature imposes a balance on our culture and community one way or another.

The dominant culture here changed dramatically while I was in Vermont. Or perhaps, I had changed? most likely, a little of both. The cape felt more conservative and stifled to me. Gone were the hippies and bohemians of the past, replaced with retirees and nouveau riche. Or so it appeared to me on the surface. According to Ana, I needed to create what I most needed to find here, and she was right. Something I’d done unconsciously in Vermont for years and had to learn to do here. And in discovering that I could do it here, remembering that I’d actually been doing this all my life. I was a military kid used to bases and the unique bonds forged with other military families. We were gypsies, vagabonds and I learned early what Darshan was about even though I didn’t have a name for it then.

I rarely drink coffee, I like my tea just so, and you’d better be an exceptional baker if you’re selling because if I can do it better at home…then I will. I am not your typical consumer. It’s an experience I’m seeking, more than a commodity. And imperfection? I love to tolerate it if you have the Darshan I seek.

The cafe, the garden, the work of art, the library, the bike path, the market or shop? That’s just the vehicle to get me to the experience. It’s the people or the trees, the color, or the thrill of the discovery I encounter when I arrive that matters to me.
It’s what Rumer Godden in “A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep” says is a Hindu belief that people will travel miles to see, touch, taste, sense, smell the presence or essence of a person, place or thing, with the belief that they will catch some of its spirit or soul to carry with them – this is what I seek in my journey. Darshan. Connection. The need to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

When I walk to the Caribbean Market in my downtown neighborhood, I am not just going to buy the ginger tea that reminds me of a place in Amherst from my daughter’s college days. I am also going to hear the musical singsong of Patois speakers, to smell the sharp spices of Jamaican cooking, to pretend I’m in the South Carolina of my birth, to remember my own immigrant grandparents and how hard people work to make a new life for themselves, to create a new home. So, all this being said, I will share with you some of my favorite places on Cape Cod where I experience Darshan. This may include places that aren’t perfect but they always have good people, vision, and the feeling that that place is loved.

This is and isn’t about a place called Cape Cod, how it’s changing, how I’m changing…it’s about home…the home we make for ourselves wherever we are, because it’s about us and the people. It’s my guide to recognizing that home is right where I am.

The Cottage on the Beach

“D” for Dinky. We landed in East Sandwich off Ploughed Neck Road in a wee cottage with a big “D” on it for identification. “D” for dinky we said. How were we, a family of six to fit into such a tiny shack at the edge of the ocean? For a whole week!
Well, we did and we ate taffy, ran in and out of ice cold ocean water (it was June), and we bought sweatshirts at King’s Department Store in Hyannis to combat the gray chill damp drizzle that foreshadowed the weather to come that entire summer and fall.

We went into Hyannis to “People Watch,” a favorite past time, checking out the hippies and the obvious tourists (it’s always the men and their socks that makes them easy to spot).
We went to the Doll and Glass museums in Sandwich Village.

Next thing I knew, my parents had bought a house in Hyannis from Joe Coughlin, and we weren’t going “home” to Virginia.

Sandwich, as in a Place, Not on a Plate

Sandwich was where my Cape Cod life began. Easter 1967, my dad took me for a walk and told me he would be going to Vietnam. He explained Vietnam to me; I asked him why the people who make the wars don’t fight them (some things don’t change). It was his job he said. Pretty much the end of the discussion, other than my fear “will you be killed?” He would be leaving in July. In the meantime, he would have some time with the family. Later that spring he told me we were going on vacation. He was very excited and told me to guess where as he gave me a hint, “Cape…” “Canaveral!” I cried. No, not quite. Cape Cod. Never heard of it. “Where the heck is that?” I asked. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. We took plenty of trips to Massachusetts to visit my Irish family, so Massachusetts wasn’t such a big whoop for a vacation to me, even if it wasn’t at my gran’s.

The Rest of the Story

Playing with digital photos, it’s occurred to me how much fun it is to find a focus and crop out the rest of the picture — or, as with our lives, the rest of the story. Although I have to admit, good and bad, I want all of the story much as parts of it may pain me. It keeps me whole. Of course, I can blithely write this on a day when all is right with my world.

I have a bunch of old and new friends coming over for our inaugural group adventure — creating a women’s circle, something I’ve envisioned for at least two years, perhaps longer. And now it’s finally here, after many fits and starts. Can’t wait — it is so difficult to come by community in the real world these days, let alone a virtual one. So today, I leave you with the rest of the Abbey picture. There will be other days for contemplation again but today is not one of them for me.

Rabbit Redux

Ground Hog Day. Imbolc. Candlemas. An appropriate day to peek out from my slumber here. Not sure if I’ll resurrect this blog or not — I’ve been writing  at our other blog, but I do miss having a place that’s just for me. Toying with the idea of creating a new one. But for now, this is it.

Strained my shoulder at work a couple of weeks ago, and after the initial grumpiness have settled in to enjoying my time creatively — lots of dabbling — in the kitchen, my studio, outdoors, in books. Kinda trying to get a rhythm going, something akin to the seasons and the natural world. I have an old book I picked up who knows where by Jean Hersey called The Shape of a Year, and I am following along with that each month. Also, checked out Edith Holden’s The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, 1906: a facsimile reproduction of a naturalist’s diary to peruse.

I tend to love out-of-print books — was reading Rumer Godden’s memoirs and such a couple of winters ago. Trying to limit my computer use again because it does end up sucking up time and then I berate myself for not being more productive (e.g., creative).

So, this time of year I’m allowing myself to go within, contemplate, consider, shed some stuff and reclaim some of my dormant goddess energy. Books and the kitchen really seem to be my thing lately. And spirituality, in particular my native or Celtic spirituality which parallels so many others — in symbols, herbs, animism, drumming and so on. Kind of cool when I make all the connections. Connecting. that’s what it’s all about for me.

** tree from one of my Glandore wanders — a sacred symbol in Celtic traditions

as i read up on imbolc in my druid’s herbal before moving on to barbara walker’s encyclopedia of women’s myths and secrets…i am enjoying revisiting the goddess and my celtic spirituality recently — i’ve been ignoring it for quite a few years…trying to pay attention to the rhythm of the seasons and the natural world…i love how my native celtic religion shares so much of the native religions of others…if religion is the word…got the candles lit and hoping to put together a bouquet of tansy, iris, violets, bay laurel, heather and basil (if i can find any — otherwise just some heather and basil will have to do)…if i were in ireland i would be picking rushes to make a st brigid’s cross — figuring out what i can use here…

Bird Tweets

“Comments on blogs are the life-blood of the medium. They tell the blogger you are looking, liking, wishing for more. They encourage and give the pat on the back that can come from a relative, but is so much more honest from someone who didn’t wipe your tears away when you fell and skinned your knee. Comments are like little presents to receive and open….after posting I can’t wait to see if someone will respond; I’ve made myself visible to you, I’ve invited you in. What do you think? Comments are the barometer of what we are sharing, and often–if not always–with art, that means our hearts.” ~ Karen Otto, February 2008 ~

Cougar Crone-icles

…is what I wrote in a letter to myself this morning…craving a certain community of women, some peers…for this tween stage of my life…past the “mommy club” days but nowhere near “done” yet…don’t get me wrong, I miss those years and through my younger friends can enjoy them vicariously…but I know it’s time for me to move on, not hyper-focus on my kids as I once did (and like my mother still does)…and once again, the gift of a younger community that is shutter sisters has given me another gift today…Vision and Verb…I cannot wait to explore it further…Yes!