Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Rembering Laurie ~ Your Spirit Walks With Me

spirit sisters sunset

Three Sisters in Spirit

I imagined us three, “Spirit Sisters,” as we had once and forever declared ourselves, and our beloved young Rhia too, gathering together on top of Ash’s blue mountain and also, in Georgetown, drinking decadent hot beverages by the river.

I thought about our time together and what we would do.  I wasn’t sure.  We can never be sure of much when fibromyalgia is part of the equation.

A new pair of shoes seemed right for such a special occasion.  I was going to meet Ash and Laurie!

I thought perhaps Ash might not be well enough for traveling away from home, which influenced the shoes I bought.

I chose the shoes with both my spirit sisters in mind.

Strong and sturdy, with a hint of flair.

“I’m a city girl,” Laurie had written to us about where we should have our gathering.

Thinking of our city-loving sister in the midst of wooded and wild nature made me smile.  I suspected the same was true for our mountain-dwelling sister, Ash.

The shoes stayed in the box for at least a year.

Every time I wore the shoes, I thought of the day I would get to meet Ash and Laurie.  I took good care of my new shoes.

I can barely stand the truth, which is that our slumber party will never happen.

Laurie will never visit my blog again, although, there will always be a place here where her spirit lives.  She will never call me again, tenderly reaching out to me.

“Michelle,” she said, in the softest voice.

“This is your sister, Laurie.  I’m here for you sweetie.”

The sound of her voice now whispers in my mind.

A few months back, I started thinking more often of calling Laurie.  I was planning to tell her how much she meant to me, but I was too late.  Laurie became ill and didn’t recover.

Interacting with Nature, in my shiny black shoes!

Slumber Party Shoes 

 

Laurie was dear to me, and she loved me.  I loved her too.

I didn’t get to say goodbye.  I wanted to call her when she was in the hospital, but I couldn’t because she was sedated.  I wanted so much to communicate with her.

I admired Laurie.  She was smart, a good mother and a great writer.  I was proud to have her visit my blog and give me compliments.

Laurie wrote beautifully at Hibernationnow’s Blog.

Her last post was a Haiku titled, “Play.”  Below is taken from that post.

“Play life’s chances, free
ask questions, be bold, stunning
Roar, grin, like tiger.”

Laurie left us too soon.

Sweet Laurie ~ May You Rest in Peace

Essence of a Holiday

Less than two days after my most recent post, I got a Christmas wish!cropped-santa-up-close.jpg

My son and I had a great day together!

We had a late start, but when we did make it out, the traffic was gone for the evening and we made it to the electronics store where we purchased him his first Tablet.  He’s so excited!

We stopped for lunch at one of my favorite local restaurants in the center of Chapel Hill.

Strangely, when we approached the street-corner, a hawk that looked the same as the Red-shouldered one that lives in my little corner of the world, flew through the intersection in the sidewalk’s path!

I couldn’t believe my eyes!  That hawk was flying about five or six feet above the ground in plain sight.  People were walking by, but nobody seemed to notice the hawk but me, which I thought was odd.

There is no way I can prove things that feel more than random or meaningful in a mystical way, but I admit to thinking that perhaps the hawk is helping me.

Life has been mostly difficult for me over the past couple of years.  A good day with my son came as a true blessing and desperately, what I needed.

I feel like my body is falling apart and perhaps, the way I had my life organized already has, but my spirit is strong and awareness is intact.

Nature helps me survive the hardest of times.

I’ve watched the Red-shouldered hawk since early Autumn.  The majestic bird perches close to my door on nearby electric lines.  I can get closer than I ever imagined I would to a hawk!  Honestly, I feel that if I got closer, I would disturb the animal’s hunting endeavors, but wow!  What a great bird to hang out with!

Since I haven’t been able to blog regularly or read other blogs, then sharing with you the beauty and interesting parts of my natural world is a way I can communicate.

Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you have a peaceful holiday.

Winter Birds ~ Residents in Flight

Observing a Rhythm in Nature

Rufous-sided Towhee

I love it when the simple things in life bring me joy and our new bird feeder is doing just that!

My adult son is responsible for keeping the feeders clean and full.  The look on his face when he watches the many colorful birds eating the seeds is most delightful.

I think we both benefit from the birds and our cool squirrel-busting feeder in several ways.  Being still and observing the natural world has an immediate calming effect on my mind and body.

I’ve become familiar with the feathered Winter regulars in our wooded yard.  We have a full-time resident Robin and a gorgeous Red-bellied Woodpecker, both of which have terrific personalities and are challenging to photograph.

Interacting with nature is a fine way to pass time.

Sometimes, I am sure that without a spirit-renewing connection in nature, my personal survival would be threatened.  I wouldn’t be able to take all the pain or sadness. 

Like the resident Robin and the bright-eyed pretty little Towhees, a heavy heart has been a regular Winter visitor of mine.  Spring will bring different birds and hopefully, my heart will be a little lighter.

Life is challenging.  I need ways to get away from sadness and grief.  I need to feel other emotions and think about things like what the Robin is doing or ‘who’ is nesting on the ground under a very neat and Hobbit-like house made from leaves, sticks and twigs.

Nature is amazing.  An early morning sunlight shines brightly on the bark of the bare trees.  I am aware that each one will soon grow green leaves again.  Morning songbirds eat Sunflower seeds and the Crows come calling like they own the place. 

There’s a rhythm to it all.  It makes sense. 

Winter ~ Random Observations

Winter Berry

Winter in North Carolina has been strange this year.  The days have been mostly warm.  A few recent cold snaps are a reminder of the season and we even had a bit of snow.  I like snow. 

People in the south say it’s bad for your health when weather is funny like it is; one day like springtime and the next biting cold.  I didn’t believe this as a child or even in early adulthood, but the older I get, the more truth and wisdom I find in the things my parents and grandparents said.

Graveside Memorial

In Memory of Tiny

Our first snow of the season came only a day after our beloved dog, our friend and companion, passed on. 

I was glad when the snow started to fall.  I wanted the ground where the grave-site is to harden.  I wanted it safe from predators. 

I had also been wishing for snow, as I do every Winter. 

I called it Tiny’s snow.  I immediately felt a connection to his spirit.

Perhaps it was the closeness I felt that prompted me to take part in the bread-buying ritual that happens in the south when we get, “weather.”  I’m not much on shopping, but I found myself enjoying the anticipation and excitement going on at the local grocery store. 

For some reason, I wanted and even felt that I needed, an onion.  I didn’t have plans as to how I would use it, but I sure wanted one.  Plus, bread is never on the top of my list of things I need in snow.  Wood for a fire is usually a first thought.

Onions are normally abundant at the grocery store, but strangely, there were only a few onions in the bin and they were larger than the size I wanted.  I walked to the other bins.  A woman was rapidly filling her bag with the smaller ones.  I felt sure she intended on taking every single onion.

“Pardon me,” I said politely as I approached the bin.  The woman was friendly.

“What is it with onions?” she remarked with curiosity.  “There’s only a few left.  Everyone is buying onions.”

Her remark made me sure that I needed an onion.

“Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate, from the world, and have a harmony of aspiration.”
Charles Dudley Warner, ‘My Summer in a Garden’ (1871)

“Well, more weather is on the way,” my mother called to report several days after the first snow.  She’s my personal Weatherwoman.

“Sometimes,” she continued, “They (weather reporters) know about as much as we do.  I remember when they said we might get five or six inches and we got (she always emphasizes the  inches), twenty-four!”

 

I knew what she was going to say next, which comforted me in a way.

She started talking about the time she and my late grandmother, along with my aunt and uncle, huddled together for more than a week without power. 

Twenty-four inches really is a lot of snow for the southeastern United States. 

Mother tells about the soup they warmed over a burning candle and how they all went to bed, “with the chickens,” since they didn’t have lights to turn on.

 

There’s something about the way it feels when she recalls the little things that happened that week, and she remembers them in great detail.  I feel a bond of belonging and togetherness in her story.  They needed each other and I think, they must have surely experienced their likenesses above and beyond any differences.

There was something about having one of the wanted onions that sparked in me a sense of belonging.  I wondered what other people might be cooking with their onion.

The next day my son sautéed the onion to go with eggs.  Our home was warmed by the sweet smell.

Later that evening, I heard the roar of Thunder Beings.  How odd, I thought, to hear thunder just before snow.  I called my Weatherwoman. 

“They say it’s Thundersnow,” she reported.  “It’s very rare.”

The Monarch Image by Michelle aka 'dogkisses'

“Some how, monarchs are able, with much smaller brains than ours, to feel their own bodies, to read the weather and to instinctively feel where they are and where they are headed and how they should respond to the earth itself.”

Excerpt from the post: Butterfly Effect

(See link above to the blog, “what a shrink thinks”).

Thanks for visiting!

Terms of Use: Creative Commons License

what a shrink thinks

We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

Every late August /early September it comes, whether I like it or not.

As soon as the wind shifts, without any invitation at all.

In fact, when I resist or forget that it is arriving, it bursts in a rage, like some slighted and pissed of fairy-witch that spits curses, wreaks havoc, and grinds the whole works to a stop.

When I just remember to behave with grace when it knocks it becomes a respectful, polite, if somewhat impinging guest who is aware that their presence is inconvenient, and unavoidably disruptive, and their scheduled stay just a little too long.

When I am attuned, prepared and accepting, it brings with it quiet pleasures and relief.

As the earth under my feet cools, and draws the heat out…

View original post 2,017 more words

Words and Perception

A moving video about how words change our perception. 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.  Feel free to leave your thoughts.  Have a blessed day and pass it on…

Homeless with Dog

People and Pets

Her name was Free.

“A day-tripper,” I had jokingly called myself before that day, which was the day I became homeless.  It was also 9/11/01.

My headlights on my otherwise wonderful little Subaru didn’t work.

“You can go to Walmart parking lot to sleep,” a teenage friend of my son’s suggested.

My son said I could sleep on his sofa, but I gratefully declined.

I had just moved out of a house where the well water was seriously contaminated.  Eventually, sewage backed up into the bathtub.  My landlord was twiddling her thumbs across the street, where the water was good.  I’d had no choice but to leave.

My furniture was in storage and I’d made a good plan, but like all plans, you need a backup.  I failed to make one.

I had obtained a house sitting position from a friend who was leaving for one month.

She was flying to Connecticut on September, 12th, 2001.  Her house was in town and convenient for me to go look at rental places.   She said my dog was welcome.  Like I said, it was a good plan.

I moved out of the sewage filled house a few days before my friend’s scheduled flight.   After bringing in drinking and cooking water for an entire year, living beside people who put rebel flags in their yard and a few times called me in the middle of the night to tell me that I was, “going to hell in a hand-basket,” things were looking up for me.

I used the first few days of my transition freely.  My dog and I went to my favorite camping spot on Mt. Pisgah.  I would meet my friend and get her house key the night before her flight.

That morning I packed my things.  It was foggy and quiet on top of the mountain.  I was the only camper, which is how I liked it up there.  I had my coffee and took a slow walk around the campground with Free.

That afternoon I drove down the mountain into town and decided to visit my son and use his phone to call my friend.  I walked inside his apartment and as usual the television was on.  I sensed something was wrong.  My son and several friends were sitting there with stunned looks on their faces.

“Do you know what happened Mom?” my son asked.

“No.”

“We’ve been attacked by terrorists,” he said.  I thought for a second that it was another conspiracy idea one of his friend’s had.

I didn’t have my glasses on and couldn’t see the details of the television footage.  “What is that?” I asked.

“Dude!” one of the visitors said.   “It’s the Twin Towers burning.”

I watched the billowing smoke on the small television screen for a few moments.  I was confused.  I didn’t know what to think or feel or do.

Terrorists I thought.  What the hell does that mean exactly?  I wasn’t used to hearing we’ve been attacked.

I walked outside and called my friend about meeting her for the house key.  Being a day-tripper meant I needed to work my plan before dark.  Shelter was on my mind and time was getting away from me.

The basic necessities in life call you to action no matter what else is happening.

“Everything is cancelled until further notice.  I don’t think I’ll be flying anywhere for a while,” my friend said.  “I’m sorry,” she added.  “I know you were depending on staying here while you looked for a place, but I’ll be working since I can’t leave.”

My friend worked at home as an acupuncturist.  The environment was not right for my dog and I to stay there with people coming for quiet healing sessions.

I didn’t know where to go or what to do.

The thought of sleeping in my son’s apartment was intolerable to me for several reasons, one of which was the condition of his girlfriend’s cat’s litter box and another was the hippies who drifted in and out from all parts of the world.

My son moved out when he was sixteen to travel across the country with his girlfriend.  They returned after a couple of months, got jobs and rented an apartment together.

I never imagined that my son would leave home that early, nor had I imagined I would ever be on his or anyone’s doorstep wondering where to sleep.

I’ve learned in my life that anything can happen.  Things we imagine could never happen to us, can and do.

I knew many people.  I had many friends.  I’d be fine, I thought.

I assured my son I was safe for the night, but when I told him I was going to the nearby Blueridge Parkway to sleep in my car at one of the look out points, he became worried.  “I wish you would stay here, but Walmart would be safer than the parkway Mom,” he said.

I wasn’t going to Walmart to sleep.  I knew that much.

Free was with me and I felt that she would keep me safe.  I figured the parkway would be quiet at night.  I soon discovered that my son knew more about that than I had.

I left my son’s apartment and went to a place where I could think, The Waffle House.   Free slept in the car.

It was late Autumn and the weather was nice, but that would soon be over.  Winter was on the way, which I suddenly became acutely aware of.

“James!” I said.  “What a surprise seeing you here.”

He pointed to his table.  A woman smiled and waved.  I assumed he was on a date.

James was an eccentric, but level-headed man in his late fifties.  I knew him from downtown Asheville.  We often found ourselves in the same groups; gathering around coffee, artists and good conversation.

I told James of my unexpected plight.  I tried to keep myself together, but James was an odd character.  Being around him made people want to tell the truth.  His eyes filled with compassion and understanding.

“Here, take this,” and he put a fifty dollar bill on my table. “Go across the street and get you and your dog a room tonight.  I know the owner.  I’ll call him and tell him your dog won’t hurt anything and he’ll let you stay.  The price is forty-five even.  That’s all I have now or I’d give you more.”

James always did show up at the strangest times.  People often talked about him downtown.  The hippies thought maybe he was an informant.  They were a little paranoid.  Others thought he was with the CIA and some spoke of him being an angel.  They said he would show up right when somebody needed saving from a situation.  I’d seen it happen a few times myself.

“Thank you James.  I really appreciate this.”  I remember him holding my hand for a minute before returning to his table.

I don’t remember anymore the order in which the events occurred over the following weeks after 9/11.

I remember feeling numb about being homeless.  I listened to the radio stations reporting on the tragedy every day.  I felt like I didn’t have the right to feel bad over my situation.  My family and I were alive and this became the most important thing in my mind and heart.

My family lived four hours away.  I wanted to stay in the mountains to be near my son.  He may have moved out, but he still needed a parent.  I just had to go about it in a different way than most parents of teenagers do.

The friends I had either couldn’t or in a few cases, simply wouldn’t let me stay with them because I had a dog.

The way people treated me when I didn’t have a place to live surprised me.  Perhaps the tragedy of 9/11 had an effect on their perception of my situation as it did mine.  I’m not sure, but the people whom I had considered close friends sure changed when they feared I might ask something of them.  I don’t know what they thought I would ask for, other than a place to sleep for a few nights and a phone during the day, which I quickly learned was too much to ask.

I think people are scared that if they help someone a little, then the person will take advantage of them and never stop needing the help.

Other people quickly assume that no matter what the situation, like a bathtub full of sewage and contaminated drinking water, that if you’re homeless, then you got yourself there.

Three nights of sleeping in my car on the Blueridge Parkway was enough.  My son was right.  Walmart parking lot would have been safer.

My next plan was to rest for a couple of days at my mother’s home, which was about four hours away.  I needed to recover from shingles.  I needed a bed.  I needed to know that somebody cared if I lived or died.

My only and older brother called while I was there.

“Hello,” I answered.

“Michelle!” my brother said surprised.  “What are you doing home?”

My brother and I had always had a knack for using humor to talk about hard times or difficult emotions.

“Well,” I responded. “I’m homeless.”  It was the first time I had used the word and I used it casually hoping, I guess, that we would laugh about the situation.

“You’re what!” he screamed.

“Homeless,” I said, truly clueless about what was coming next.

Fortunately, the time I was homeless lasted less than three months.

Telling how it all came to be, what it was like being homeless and all that happened as a result is a lot of telling.

The family ordeal over the harsh words my brother said to me over the phone that day had a strong and long-lasting impact on me and my heart.  My relationship with my brother has never been the same.

I could tell about the amazing cell phone my mother helped me buy.  Amazing not in features, but in power.  I haven’t charged it in years and it still works! 

The phone was my connection to my son and Mother.  I’d never before felt such a strong need to be in contact with the both of them every day, as I did during the weeks following 9/11.  I wanted to know where they were and that they were both safe.  I wanted them to know I loved them.  I was scared.

I could tell about the beautiful camping area Free and I stayed for a few weeks and what happened there, but that story stands alone.

I could tell about the mysterious way I met the housing inspector who knew about the bad water where I had lived and who offered me a garage apartment without charge, which is where I stayed for one month.

The photo above is my beloved Free lying beside the bed in that apartment.  It was a brand new bed with the plastic still on it.  The place had hot water and power.  I was very blessed.

Mostly, I remember the radio.  All day, every day and at night, I would lie there on that bed beside Free with a camp light on and listen.  

I remember having to take medication for anxiety.  It was a very hard time. 

I called hundred of landlords, but nobody would allow a dog.

Finally, I received a call from a woman whom I had never heard of.  “I’m calling you about the rondette,” she said.  I had never heard of those either.

“I’m not sure you have the right person,” I said to her.  I assumed the place she was describing would be way out of my price range.

“Oh yes,” she said in her self-assured way I would learn to like.  I wrote your name and number down to call you back about it.”

“Okay,” I said.  “How much is the rent?”  A rondette on the side of a mountain sounded pretty cool.

I gasped when she told me it was only $350.00 per month.  “Do you allow dogs?”  I asked her right away.

“I’m actually leery of people who don’t have dogs,” she said laughing.  “Tell me about your baby.”

I was there shaking hands with her within an hour.

It was a magical beautiful place.  There were old time flowers growing in the garden by the bedroom window.  They smelled like my grandmother’s face and hand creams.  Windows surrounded the little space.  From the small, but very green and cozy backyard was a view of the city below.

“I don’t know if this place is big enough for you and your dog,” she said.

I liked her.  We had on nearly the same outfit and literally, the same brand of shirt, same color and same size.  A purple soft cotton LL Bean button down.  

She turned out to be the best landlord I’ve ever had.  She was trusting, helpful, kept her properties in great condition and rented below the fair market price.

“If you don’t rent the place to me now,” I told her, “tonight we’ll have to sleep there,” I added, pointing at my little Subaru.

Her eyes widened, but I had told the truth.  The garage apartment had been rented to a family and I had to move out.

“Call it home then you two!”  She smiled, handed me a key and went on her unusually merry way to a funeral.

It was home and it was sweet.

Free learned to walk backwards in the small rondette

Free in her chair in our little rondette.

Free bit his nose to remind him it was her home and he was a guest.

Tiny visits and curls up in my new bedroom.

From this room I could literally watch the old time flower garden grow.