Monday’s Meander: In Anticipation…and Travel by Mind

I ran out of time today to complete a post based on outings over the week-end. Between visiting my sister most of the day and then my son and daughter-in-law, the hours flew by. I am also in anticipation of a few events, including spring’s unfolding (see above), as well as our daughter’s arrival from Virginia on Fri. This coincides with several birthdays this month and in April, as well as remembrance of family death dates. I also just learned a sister-in-law is going on hospice care. Grief can seep into beauty, so spring can seem a mixed arena within which to live. I am beyond grateful for each bud, leaflet and startling bloom; the richer sunshine with longer days; fragrant breezes, chorusing birds and a kaleidoscope of colors that overlay the waning greys of winter and brighten the rains of spring. I’ve been walking more vigorously since a cortisone shot to knee and physical therapy. And I do look forward to farther-flung travels as spring and summer come into their glory–and the Covid infection rates dive.

Yet right now the jumble of upcoming birthday celebrations of loved ones coupled with losses can yank me into waves of sadness and tire me out. It’s the contrast of it, the jubilant yes rubbing against the droning no…I have to practice internal balance, and I want to support others, too. I need to strengthen and gird my heart, even as it softens and unfurls like a magnolia bud. I do have God’s presence to keep me steady.

One thing that helps is to travel virtually. Via photography books/blogs, computer or television options, sure, but I really mean mentally. It’s easy and free, after all.

Especially when I have trouble sleeping or keeping my mind on hopeful musings (as has happened lately), I take myself to places I have loved by visualizing them. I think we all do this, and perhaps should more often, as it helps supplant a challnegingt state of being with a nourishing one. For me, one such place is Interlochen, Michigan, where I attended Interlochen Summer Arts Camp (there were others, but Interlochen was the finest)) when growing up. When we visited a few years back, I looked out over Duck Lake and Green lake and thought: making music, writing, acting and dancing in this place infused me with lifesaving hope, enabling me to further pursue passions. The experiences brought revelatory moments with people, places, moments which gave mind and spirit a radiant new sheen, offering freedom to help build a better self, as well as work on skills and talents. I was, then, right at home in that world.

So– that is why I shared, below, the shot of me at Interlochen from that trip, enlivened by great memories, sitting beside a favorite lake in the sweet-summered open air. The scope of life enhancements was such that I could enumerate many blessings as a youth– when much of my world seemed frayed. I can close my eyes and be there…I tell myself: this is true life as much as the hurt of leavetaking; this is faith moving right in the center of troubles. Happiness can be kept holy in divergent ways, and may it be so as needed. This world is so traumatized. I humbly embrace any small gift, and pray for those who are aching and wanting.

I will likely write this “Wednesday’s Words” post, but not a “Friday’s Poem”, and may find it difficult to contribute posts next week due to family activities and several obligations. I will be back. Meantime, I hope you awaken moments of grace in your lives…and keep sharing good love every day. We all need both.

Monday’s Meander: Halloween at Cannon Beach

It was Halloween and I was restless. Since it was an under-two hour drive to the beach over the Coast Mountain Range, we took off around 12:30 pm. It wasn’t nearly as long a visit as desired, yet worth it on such a spectacular afternoon. Upon arrival at cannon Beach it was gratifying to discover most of the good weather crowd had stayed home. This is a well known tourist spot, a big attraction being Haystack Rock. (We noted costumed families and teens roaming the pleasing downtown, bags filling up with goodies handed out at shops.) We walked a few miles on pale, smooth sand and luxuriated in warmer temperatures, brilliant sky, and constant lull of the waves. The Pacific was gentler this time, but its power is never mistaken nor disregarded.

Here’s a small sample downloaded from my new iPhone 12–I had left my camera battery charging in the house…I think most of the larger batch turned out pretty well, but I’m not putting aside my companionable Cannon EOS Rebel T6.

Parting shot of a unicorn…and note tsunami sign at corner.

PS Re: the booster. It did lay me flat for a day, then I was fatigued. Worth it to me as I am more high risk of serious complications of, actually, any strong virus including the flu…plus I am now over 70. But by the week-end, it was back to normal with walks, my son’s birthday and a visit with daughter and her twins.

Monday’s Meander on Tuesday: Bridal Veil Falls

The heart knows precisely what it knows.

It keeps account of every known and unknown,

hard and tender bits of the puzzling whole.

It fuels and honors the momentary life,

its voice a harbinger of all that is to come.

This heart gives up stories and when it

whispers our autumn trek, I listen.

Each year brings a pressing down, plowing up,

turning ’round the pungent, rocky trail, a critical affair.

Switchback to a bridge over chasm, steps,

coming to the second bridge under which

outpourings of water are freed

from voluptuous earth: a torrent of beauty.

A gathering of benevolence and majesty.

The journey is late this year, yet is done

before winter stalls me further.

And so, Cynthia with heart: to a commemoration.

Twenty years since my intimate friend

crowded against every rib,

throttled my strong knees,

yanked me to gravity’s dominion.

The ruby blood circled throne of heart,

stuttering, pressuring, then decreed

Enough, now.

Twenty years since I braced myself, crawled,

begged for release, half-stood, limped back up

a path of terror, leaned against Marc,

every breath a damnation, each step a warning.

Rescue came late, so much later,

and yet this heart and I carried each other

that far, then farther, farther yet.

I would not have it; this heart would take me back.

Or it would not know defeat; this heart wanted me back.

Today, like most years, the path is gentle

beneath my feet, and the small pumping muscle

and I sail up, around and over it.

To the bridge where water’s jazz erupts,

to the steps that nearly killed me, all the way up

and face to face with sweet Bridal Veil.

I tremble; heart flings open its gates.

O mighty waters above, below,

O Lord of heavens and earth,

I come to this wild altar of wonder,

my heart beaming, my life made right

with this water, these trees

At 51, I had a heart attack when hiking. How despondent it made me, but I worked to regain health. Last Thursday, I had a small heart event that kept me quiet for a day or so. But Saturday I hiked the path as I do every year near the date when I was felled. And I felt stronger; it always makes me stronger. Never take for granted the work of your gifted heart–how it keeps us wedded to this life, how it cares for us without ceasing–until we are done.

Monday’s Meander: Memorial Day Break

This is a shot from our vacation In San Diego in 2018, but it seems appropriate for Memorial Day, when we honor our veterans and those slain in far too many wars… Naval Base San Diego is the Pacific Fleet homeport base, comprised of 1600 acres of land and 326 acres of water. It is a massive presence that protects this part of our country and is certainly felt as one gazes at the huge ships and visits a naval cemetery. It makes one long for peace in our conflicted world that much more, even as reality of need of military presence remains.

The city itself is beautiful and we had a wonderful time, photos and descriptions of which I have posted a couple of times.

We are off to our first BBQ with our family in Portland area this afternoon. It is a bit strange and truly wonderful that we can finally share food and talk so much more safely–if still carefully. My grandson is now recovering (in another city) but slowly from Covid-19–it is real, folks, he has been very ill and is grateful to be healing day by day.

See you Wednesday! Be safe out there.

Monday’s Meanders: Monterey and Beyond: Paradise Revisited

I’ve been thinking of California as it battles COVID-19, especially L.A., and hoping that conditions improve soon. Those thoughts led to photos taken near and on Monterey Peninsula in March 2016 when life felt carefree in most ways. We visited a daughter, then working at Sunset Center, a beautiful venue for performing arts in Carmel, and her spouse. I’m not sure when we might return. I wanted to step into those lovely areas today; perhaps you will enjoy them, also. I have so many more! I felt that the gleaming light there is one of a kind, and could not drink it in enough.

I had a marvelous time again. Maybe next year…