|The Sister Trees|
When we moved into the house where we live, there were twenty pines across the back yard. I loved them fiercely for their beauty, their wonderful fragrance, and the sound of the wind whistling and racing through their branches throughout all the seasons. (The city came by and chopped them away from the wires, which is another post altogether, so we're down to 11 pines now.) They're also home to a number of little creatures that I love to watch. Squirrels, crows, hawks, blackbirds, and songbirds love to play in their branches. I love to sit below them on the soft red layer of pine needles, soaking up the dappled sunshine.
|They called to me|
|The deepest cold of winter coat|
|The world where we belong|
|The calming effect of Nature|
I had brought some tobacco, because I do respect and carry out some Native American ceremonies, so I turned to the North, the place of Wisdom and Gratitude and sprinkled some on the ground to say thank you, and to the East, the place of Illumination and Clarity, and sprinkled some in gratitude, and I turned to the South, the place of Balance, Beauty, and Trust (absence of fear), and sprinkled some in gratitude, and I turned to the West, the place of Introspection and Goals, and sprinkled some more in gratitude. I thanked the spirits that light my way from above, and from within, and from below. And my energy was restored. I would need it.
|Jessica being Jessica|
|Jess being Jess|
|We like high places|
|We are cracking up|
|Sharing a salamander|
|Jess with Sleeping Grandfather Earth Spirit|
|Choosing rocks for our cairn|
So when I went to my daughter's home to pack up and bring her home to heal from the serious sickness that had come to her I had my strength, built from the moments in my Power Place, and I needed every bit of it. I found that the Universe sent us moments of beauty through the anguish and the shock, like the time in my Power Place, that sustained us.
The first was quite unexpected and most welcome. Ah, blessings a thousandfold to the gorgeous black beauty who had a real heart and shared it with me.
I went outside to have a much welcomed cigarette break after the hours of flight, and chanced upon a couple of revelers who had just returned from Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I was carrying a million things, since one of the things I learned about escorting my loved one in a wheelchair was that I became the "extra thing carrier," so my hands and purse and arms were full of extras.
As I tried to light my cigarette in the fierce freezing but welcome and bracing winter winds outside (20 steps away from where my daughter and husband waited), I noticed this woman who had a necklace of boobs resting on her chest. I thought, oh here's someone with a sense of humor ; ) I was also struggling to swallow, to breathe, to stand upright (was very very tired) and to compose myself. "Do you have a light?" this lovely woman asked me, and I blurted out "no." I was feeling kind of just NO. Then I dug around in my purse, pushing aside all the extra things I was carrying to find her a light, but in the meantime a gentleman standing next to her lit her cigarette.
I felt so bad and was still trying not to cry, because there's a time for crying, and there's a time for acting, and we were definitely smack in the middle of the time for acting. I said to her "I'm sorry, I do have a light but had some trouble digging it up." And she said, which was the most welcome, friendly blessing I needed at that time, "It's all right." Then we started talking and I explained that I was a little sideways about my daughter and asked her about her boob necklace - she told me stories of her Mardi Gras experience and it was like a little interlude from the pain and the fear and the darkness and I listened with all of myself for the time she talked.
She has no idea of how that interlude brought light into the darkness. We didn't know what we were facing. And she was a blessing because she forgave me for saying NO. She extended kindness. Thank you. Thank you.
|Warmth to cold bones|
|We are only human|
At two in the morning she wanted to have a cigarette to relax from her pain, but the room was totally decked out with all kinds of buzzing smoke alarming wall thingies, so there was no chance she could light up in the room (what IS this penchant for hotels to make room boxes that have no fresh air and no balconies, no windows that open, no access to outside from our sleeping places?! Crapola, I'll take a Best Western over a five-star hotel any day for the freedoms it supports.). My husband is a light sleeper, and was very much "on guard" during this time, and he heard us talking when I said I'd take her outside. He is ever, ever the gentleman, and wouldn't let us go outside at that hour by ourselves - I was all for letting my daughter have what pleasures she could since most of her freedoms were taken away at this time. He awoke and declared that he'd take us out, so we all bundled up, she in layers and layers except for the flip flops on her feet.
We rolled her wheelchair through the quiet corridors and the lobby and outside the revolving door at 2 a.m. and settled just outside, in a sheltered area just beyond the hotel interior. The snow sparkled under the soft lights surrounding the circular drive, and the lights of the city twinkled through the last of the snowfall that kept us from home. We stood, breathing in the welcome fresh air, and another hotel visitor came out to smoke as well. We had a lovely conversation with her and I noticed and appreciated the way she included Jess, not ignoring her, not asking questions, not pitying, just being wonderful. As we stood, relaxing in the wee hours of the night, a pizza delivery person pulled up, bringing dinner to others whose flights were also cancelled. We wished him well and told him we hoped they were tipping generously - laughter in the night. This interlude was a gift, from my husband, who had compassion for the pain my daughter was in and the comforts that allowed her to settle down to sleep. We are human, so imperfect, so strong, so vulnerable, so special. Blessings to the wonderful woman attending a conference at which she was presenting, who treated us all as equals. Gratitude for the peace that allowed my daughter to sleep.
Tobacco, in its pure form is very relaxing, a gift of Nature. It is a shame what the big tobacco companies have done to it adding their chemicals to make it "firesafe" which actually just makes the heads fall off a bunch of times and make you suck it down just to keep it lit - oh back in the old days a cigarette was a very wonderful social, relaxing, enjoyable thing, like a good brandy - a shame the legislation around tobacco, and the taxes too (why not tax synthetic clothing in light of the environmental weight it carries?). I am wary of anyone or anything that restricts my freedoms as I think it's pretty useless to come to life as a saint every time. Where's the color and learning in that?
And, while we're confessing about our humanness, I'll include the interlude at the airport between Washington and home. We were so tired, having stayed up all hours cleaning and packing and visiting work and arranging everything for the trip home. After the first flight we had a long layover and it's my husband's preference to find the gate where we need to be and just get there. But my daughter's situation presented some challenges with the pain she was in, so when we got to one of our stops we had a layover of about 2 and a half hours and he took us to our gate, this time with a woman pushing the wheelchair. Oh women are marvelous. Marvelous! She went gently and slowly over bumps, waited for an elevator that wasn't full of foot crunching people, was so very thoughtful of her passenger. We ended up having to wait quite a while, so said goodbye to the lovely woman wheelchair pusher and settled ourselves at a little airport restaurant, the chair pushed up to an outside table right next to the smoking lounge. There we sat for a while, drinking refreshments, eating some food, popping next door for a ciggie, talking to army officers on their way home, and building up our energies for the rest of the trip home.
|We are the drop at the tip, sometimes....|
Just love, no matter what.