Sunday, December 17, 2017

sunday grace: solstice

december morning sun in the kitchen on gypsy hill

the winter solstice arrives this week on december 21st (for those of us in the northern hemisphere).  it is one of my favorite times of year, this point in time when we teeter on the edge of darkness and light.  from the latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), solstice is a moment to become still and reflect on the past, release that which no longer serves, and prepare for what is to come.  we see and hear the wisdom of nature:  darkness relieves us of our capacity for busyness, animals rest, snowfall brings its exquisite hush.

there are so many ways to recognize this tender transition.  here are a few of my favorites:

  • create a tiny solstice altar with candles (symbolizing light), photos of ancestors (symbolizing the past), and bits of spruce, pine, or juniper (evergreens symbolize life during winter).
  • reflect in your journal:  what were your accomplishments, lessons, and losses during the past year?  what are your best hopes for the year to come?
  • burn a solstice fire.  on a piece of paper, write down something you would like to let go.  put it in the fire and see it dissolve in spark and smoke.
  • join a community celebration.  we will be gathering with our local waldorf cooperative at a community potluck, solstice spiral, and bonfire where the children will be reading their poetry.
  • no matter the weather, place your bare feet on the ground outside at night.  simultaneously sense the solid support of the earth and vast unseen possibility of the dark sky.

happy solstice friends.  i wish you just enough darkness to see the stars and perfect light to illuminate your beautiful life.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

six senses saturday

welcome to christmas at gypsy hill

  • lady bird
  • a lifetime of christmases as i open each box of the vintage ornaments.
  • swooshing through piles of raked leaves.
  • the tiny bells on the handmade wreath when the front door opens.
  • thank you, turkey, for thanksgiving dinner, leftovers for days, and four quarts of medicinal bone broth.
  • i ate a mashed potato sandwich on friday (leftover potatoes on a squishy roll).  and it was amazing.
  • putting things away.
  • giving things away.
  • throwing things away.
  • december on my skin, as the boughs of pine and spruce and juniper are cut and tied together.
  • gratitude runs deeper than a list when you value the dark, the light, the mistakes, the triumphs, the loss, and the love.
  • translating the qualities of presence for an upcoming class i'm teaching, noticing the nuances of what it means to be attuned to now.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

six senses saturday

  • this amazing green velvet.  we recovered the mid-century dining room chairs.
  • i turned down a public event with ken this weekend, saying, "i'm kind of done with people."  he laughed and said that sounded like the antidote to "up with people".  since then we've been rewriting with "up with people" songs with a soft, cozy, quiet, introvert's perspective. 
  • i realize that i need to taste something new and amazing each week if i'm going to be keeping up with this series.  honestly, there is nothing more sad than a week with no memorable tastes.
  • burning leaves.
  • peeled grapefruit.
  • my old dog luca is stuck to me like glue lately.  he always wants to be touching me.  i don't want to think about what this means, but i'm happy to place my hand on his curly mess of dog body any old time.
  • this morning's new moon in scorpio has me all kinds of mystic.  i can't help but see synchronicity and connection in the tiniest of things.
  • i had an epic dream earlier this week that was poetic and scary and beautiful and wonky and telling.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

six senses saturday


  • a wee brown bat has roosted in the tiny space between the storm glass and the screen of our bedroom window.  
  • on my friday morning commute a giant amber moon set in the direction of my destination while a fluorescent pink sun rose over my home behind me.
  • autumn leaves.  evidence that this earth, this life, always offers exquisite respites from suffering.
  • having a cars moment, candy-o on repeat over here.
  • roasted brussels spouts
  • honeycrisp apples
  • whisky
  • backyard fire
  • smoke of just-extinguished candles
  • that heater-just-came-on-for-the-first-time smell
  • cushy new sweater
  • the prick of the needles during topiary shaping
  • the bat is a visitor (not sure who)
  • deep sense of settling down, time to rest, inward-bound

six senses saturday is a revival of five senses friday, a regular way to note how my senses were delighted and challenged during the week with the addition of intuition.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

sunday grace: a blessing for the feast of st. therese of lisieux

blessed be the wildflowers who stand magnificent but unnoticed in a world of glittered supermarket chrysanthemums.
blessed be the sensitive souls, the tender hearts, the triggered.
blessed be the empaths, the listeners, the reciters of plath and cobain.
blessed be the little girls who bring home strays and hide them away in the garage, sneaking them scraps of dinner and carefully making a nest of old beach towels on the concrete floor.
blessed be the boys of poetry and music and dance and kindness.  (good god, protect them in this place of narrowly and brutally defined "man".)
blessed be the ones who choose depth over breadth.
blessed be the loners, the hopeful, those who see beyond this moment, this day, this world.
blessed be the truth-tellers, the secret-keepers.
blessed be the those whose skin registers the subtle sea change of a room when sadness enters.
blessed be the misfits.
blessed be the solitary tidepool explorers, foreign film seers, 2 a.m. taco truck diners.
blessed be the forgivers.
blessed be those whose hearts break open at the suffering of others.
blessed be those whose second language is sky, or preschooler, or unspoken emotion.
blessed be the unloved, the forgotten.
blessed be the childless who mother and father beasts and ideas and gardens and communities instead.
blessed be the true.
blessed be the wildflowers.

· · · · ·

the feast of st. therese of lisieux (the little flower) is october 2.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

tiny ghost stories

over here i am deep in the stories of my ancestors.

this personal history work feels urgent right now, so i am meeting that urgency and exploring my lineage.

i had no idea how a sense of curiosity, good research skills, a subscription to an online geneology service, and a dna test would bring together these pieces of me.  i've been consumed with uncovering the lives of those who came before me.  each new find opens a new (old) chapter and another piece that feels familiar and known and lived is clicked into place.

there are mysteries to be sure, and stories yet to unearth, but these are undeniably my people.  they are scots and quakers and apaches; immigrants and pioneers and mothers. they are warriors and english ladies, farmers and teachers; seekers of gold, seekers of survival.  there is love and adventure and murder and mad life skills. their trauma and their resilience live in my dna. i was shaped by each of them, biologically and spiritually.
i hope my life honors theirs.

here are a few tiny stories, in no particular order:

elizabeth, b.1731:  not to be out-badassed by her little brother (wilderness hero daniel boone) elizabeth was a courageous human in her own right.  her family lived within a fort deep in indian territory. they learned of an impending raid and wanted to give the natives the impression that they were unsuspecting, so daily fort life had to appear normal.  protected only by her wits and nerves of steel, elizabeth led a small group of brave girls from the safety of the fort to fetch water at a distant river, like they did every single day, with the knowledge that the indians were lying in wait, watching them.  this show of faux obliviousness boosted the confidence of the marauders and they attacked that night, and were met with a well-prepared and ultimately successful defense.

william, b.1725:  raised in the scottish highlands, william was a jacobite rebel, fought in and survived the battle of culloden.  he came to north america shortly after.

alzira, b.1830:  graced with dark exotic beauty and a foreign name, alzira made the covered wagon journey to san francisco during the gold rush with a months-old infant.  failing to strike gold, her young family settled on one thousand acres in sonoma county to work the golden land instead.  her husband died in california and she returned east to be with her family.  she had four husbands in her lifetime.

uncle cy, b.1903:  the "turkey king of oklahoma".  enough said.

wyatt, b.1856:  wyatt was a cattle rancher in indian territory.  he was killed in a saloon shootout and his case was the first murder trial held in indian territory.

mollie, b.1860:  mollie was accidentally shot by wyatt and carried a bullet in her shoulder the rest of her long life.

john, b.1578:  schooled at oxford and cambridge, john had a "reputation for learning" and spent some time in "the clink" in london for pesky "independent thought".  he migrated to north america in 1634 aboard the griffin, his only recorded luggage:  "his books".

sarah, b.1646:  lived to age eighty, which was an accomplishment in the 18th century, and was noted in historical publications as "never had an aching bone or decayed tooth."

sea deliverance, b.1744:  she only lived one year, but pretty much has the best name ever.


also:  where i'm from