Saturday, January 19, 2019

Winnowing


Winnowing

Ian,

January is a quiet, cold business. there's a pair of Common Golden Eyes that have taken up home in our river. Just two-a mating pair- very shy, they fly down or upstream the moment we go outside. I am so grateful that our place is their place, too. It makes me feel a bit of life is back.

Almost every day the dogs and I walk downstream to the dam, through the overgrown briers and tufted tall grass. It is unexpectedly lovely. You and I probably walked this way some, but mainly I remember, we took the dry road of the river bed. Past boulders and along rock shelves, within the lap of the river's absent course. 



I remember your feet dangling as you sat on the shelf, dirty Velcro-closing shoes swinging back and forth as you examined some treasure found. We would walk along the bank and peak into big and small holes searching for the toad or such that lived there.  We would go as far as the secret hole in the dam and look in, or we would rescue minnows from the puddles before making our way back home. Always there were the treasures bunched in sweaty little hands. The dry river was a blessing, a womb of life for you and I.













The river is full now, so Phoebe and Henry and I walk above in the tall grass. It has become my meditation place. Water has returned. 


I read the word "winnowing" this morning....its all about getting rid of what you do not need. Throwing seeds in the air to let the wind take what I cannot use, or what sticks in my throat. Paring things down to the most essential, the most true. Yes, I am winnowing as I walk the grassy path, thinking of the things in my life that are of no use; not authentic, not real enough. It is a sort of fasting-not letting so much as one inauthentic word take root in me....I walk and pray for only the real and true in this life to find me. I bat the lies and untrue ways of this broken world aside as I go. Get simpler, get away from anything and anyone who adds weight that I cannot carry.

This means that people are few in my life now. I find that I avoid them more, except when desperate grief consumes me and I just have to talk. So much that comes out of everyone's mouth no longer fits....seems almost as if they are speaking a foreign tongue. 



Words of chaff.





Solitude seems to be a strange and necessary condition for my winnowing. The only time I feel more lonely than in my solitude is when I am with others. It is an odd business, grief.  I find that the different language my heart is speaking makes me more alone. Almost no one is able to translate my desperate grief into words they can take in and hold. 

Summarizing and translating my pain to people is exhausting. They ask how I am doing or make small talk, but I find I struggle to try to capture the authentic way this feels. So I push away, or I pretend, or I step into the vault.



It's a problem, Ian. I don't know how to tackle it, but my walks through the fields and woods brings me closer to Source and closer to you. It comforts me.



 I wonder
 where
 all this solitude
 leads,
 Biggun?


I am not really lonely for more people, I am lonely for someone human to love; someone to give love to. My deep need to love has been slammed to the ground. Fate has his boot on my throat and will not let me up again to love someone. I am like a Border Collie, bred to herd, bred to work, to be busy moving sheep from here to there. Then put in a yard alone and I feel I am going crazy....digging up shrubs and chewing at the fence, running in circles and generally going crazy at the maddening denial of instinct. 


I met your friend Izzy. She was crying as she served me a Dr. Pepper at the drive through at Dairy Queen. She said she remembered me reading to your 7th grade class, and remembered how much you loved me doing that. 


Like that dog sentenced to a caged life, 
I will never get to be that Mom again. 

The grassy fields where I walk and winnow 
help ease the pain of this damned feeling.

And at least,
 the fence is gone
 for a bit.

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                         Love,
                                                                                                         Your Mom







Monday, December 24, 2018


Next Time




     Ian,

We're almost passed this horrible year, aren't we?
 After writing some this morning I felt more light; 
I felt lifted again, felt you softly lifting me again.
 I felt God and I felt lifted. 
That is something, all things considered.

Thank you darling boy,
You are such a good son.


When we walked in the woods together just now, along the river, I jabbered on about all the things you used to do....the things we used to do together, and you walked along with me there, you most certainly did.

My weak and unfocused mind can barely keep a thought, but nonetheless your presence was strong and so warming. I smiled. I told you about my problems with Irene, my sadness and deep disappointment. I told you that Chris and Kenzie love you so much in their own throbbing painful ways; and all the other stuff I am mad about or hurt about or confused about. I told all and you listened and I felt your head nod in agreement and fealty. You are on my side as I have always been on yours. It is our special secret, this unity of purpose and blind loyalty to one another. You know my heart's odd ebbing and flowing, and you accept my imperfect soul.

I also said you and I were never going to lose each other and as I whispered it, I felt the certainty that transforms a wish into reality. I felt the melted wax seal of it on our love letter to each other. I said to you, "You are the strongest and most loyal person I have ever known, and once I love, I never let go." That combination will keep us tight through many incarnations, I believe.  Who knows what is next for us?



We might be strangers that meet one day in another life and suddenly know we've met before and form a smashing friendship. We might be born together off an island near Africa, a part of some crazy tribe that occasionally spears annoying Christians. We might be a in a pod of massive whales, plumbing the indigo waters where humans cannot go. I can hear the whale song as we would speak it. It is that real, that possible.





We may possibly be two small and exquisitely painted spiders on tiny dew-drenched webs, or two lacewings buzzing about in the night together around random porch lights to the rhythm of cicadas, then sleeping away the daylight in the cracks of an ancient oak.















We might be brother and sister, maybe twins, or Mother and son again. We might be 2 soldiers sharing nasty jokes and smoking weed, or we might be astronauts. We could be cliff swallows with fantastic mud mansions living in the constant reflection of Lake Amistad.




Wherever we end up next, I think we will be closer, closer than ever, for the pains and tears that have marked this particular life.

I know this, Ian. Not too many souls figure out how to keep hands clasped on different plains, not many still can speak so clearly or hear so well as you and I. This is at least something, right?



If I ever shake this shroud away, perhaps there are angles to our love yet to be seen.

Love,

Momma





Thursday, December 20, 2018


 Sorrow's Companion

Ian, 

Sorrow is a dance, they all say;
A back-and-forth sway
A circling of better and worse and better again.
And in the end we must find our own way,
And in the end maybe there is Wisdom to find.....
Gathering it up like acorns in the dark woods of sorrow. 
No one can help.
It is a solitary business.




But is grief my ally? Such an odd thought to imagine that my only steady partner through this year has been grief. Of course I have my family, friends...I have God....He is always with me, but as I have lamented so many times, God does not assume the form of the tangible. I must love and accept Him in abstraction. 

That's a part of the deal with God. 
You have to use your own imagination and and faith
 And senses.
His clear and elusive vapors....
sniff them and dig them out...
More truffles than acorns
 Is our Creator's elusive love.



But grief, now GRIEF is a solid companion I can feel with certitude. Evident, persistent, real. She is the wailing Mother, confused child, the terrified soldier looking down at the bloody place where his leg used to be...No imagination or faith is required, just desperate sorrow.


For me, grief arrived the day you left me, Ian. As I sat numb and transfixed on the thought of you gone, she slipped her shivering hand into mine and we began our walk. She is here with me every second of every day of this walk and she never tries to lie to me or cheer me up, whether I am out in the world of the living or silent and still in my soft bed.


She is truthful and she leans in.

I find that after a year of this shit show, her embrace is still the most authentic and honest moment of every day. I think she is my friend now. Without her terrible and tender presence I cannot seem to move. Henry Thoreau said, "To regret deeply is to live afresh." The deeper my sorrow and regret, the stronger I feel her arms tethered around me in agreement.






I do this funny thing in at night sometimes. On the cusp of sleep in the soft bed (on your mattress pad) I often wrap my arms around myself very tightly. Too tight. It's not even comfortable and it makes my shoulders ache. I give substance to my broken heart. It is how the feelings become flesh. Then I gradually relax of course, my strength wanes and I finally fall asleep....my body in agreement with my sorrow. She stays beside me even here, just on the edge of my sleep and waits like a small ember, ready for me to warm against in the morning. Then we start it all over again with the rising of the sun.

Then there is this surprising thing that happens sometimes. She gives me a blessing in all this I think. She is a physical reminder that (for now) this sorrow is stronger than me and I cannot escape it, so I might as well relax against her and let go. Like skydiving, the jump is terrifying. The long fall is not a natural thing for humans because we are fixed on fear of hitting the ground.

With my hand in hers, I forget the fear and can drift on the warm air a little while without gravity. It is nice. Then unexpectedly, relaxed and ready, she places both our hands on something pouring in from the Other side, from you my baby,  or from God. She draws my eyes or ears toward the miracle; a butterfly, a cloud formation, the wind chimes toning, or a blanket of fog. She makes me look and smell and hear it.....linger in it for a moment drinking it in. 

Together we know the Holiness of it.

Then we move on to the next wave of pain.




And I miss you
And I miss you
And I miss you....

And She nods and knows.

                                                                                                 Love,
                                                                                                 Momma




Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 2nd Dream





    



      I woke up at 6am with Kim here, then went back to sleep and dreamed I am in San Angelo, College Hills to be precise, within view of Ram Stadium. In a car with several people I know, we are going to see a couple that Dorothy Duncan knows.
      I am not sure if she is with us but I feel this is a mission or expedition that she sent me on.
     The house is an old 1950's style, with a sliding side door and a low concrete entrance on the side. Old fashioned brick I think. We drive right up to the entrance.
     Although the flowers aren't visible, it is evident that the couple have a butterfly-friendly habitat, because as I get out of the car, I am immediately surrounded by hundreds of butterflies.



 All sizes, colors, and shapes....tiny and huge....translucent ones of pale green, tiny metallic, drab grey, light and dark. They are so thick that I feel them touching my body, my cheeks, my eyes. So thick I can feel their wings move the air and hear the fluttering. Exotic, from all over the world...delicate, intricate and beautiful. I am careful to not let them fly into my mouth or step on them. They surround me on all sides. Butterflies and moths blanket me and I am astonished and amazed. I feel them touch me, light on me and the breeze of their wings is light and so clear. I can hear fluttering in both my ears.
    




      It was a transcendent moment and even in my sleep I think I knew it was a moment you gave me, Ian. I am so careful not to breath one into my mouth.....



     I go into the house and begin to talk to the couple. They are artists, researchers, or something. There are drafting tables with lights, art supplies and stools around as the man carefully scrapes the magnificent and luminous flakes of color from the wings of a giant butterfly. It is as big as a dinner plate and multicolored.  At first I am worried about the insect, but the man explains that after harvesting the color, the wings can regenerate. He carefully puts the butterfly back into a compartment so it can heal. The pigment will be used to make paint, magnificent paint.....
     We talk for a while about the people we all knew in San Angelo and I think we talk about Dorothy. I am aware that I have had two lives in San Angelo....the one from my college years and the one I have now with Kenzie and Hudson. I tell the people Dorothy's story about Allen Savory and his method of preserving the land through the innovations he observed in Africa when he watched animals migrating across the savanna. The Savory Method, which has always amazed me, even all those years ago when she told me 
about him.....  and I wake up happy............. 
Image result for allan savory method of grazing








Love, Momma

Thursday, November 29, 2018


The Spirit

Ian,

Its an odd morning; odd because it is bitterly cold. The kind of cold that keeps me on the cusp of sleep and hesitant to move from the sunken, memory foam womb of my bed. Odd because I am up at 5am on my longest work day, when I go in early to see my indigo-girl, lost and lovely druidish veterinarian dreamer....delightful Ms. C. Odd because I usually don't feel good getting up on these days but today I do.

It's an odd morning because I feel hope. So long gone that the remembrance of it is startling for a moment, like tasting food after a long hunger. My stomach doesn't quite know what to do. I registered you in that hope, lifting and helping me get excited enough about this neat client to want to get up. Excited. I am finally learning that you really are helping me.

It started last week, on the heals of a hard and eerie Thanksgiving. I just endured it but then the next day I spent with my two sisters going to Austin. Phyllis, our ambassador of  being in the moment, and sweet and joyful Tansy. We were a ship of fools, but lovely, happy ones for a day. They replaced a 20 watt bulb in my darkened heart, at least for the day and you were there.....I felt it. Then yesterday I found myself excited at finding some cool presents online for Christmas for our family, for Chris, Sarah, Kenzie, Hudson and Chase. Online is a new thing for me. It was fun and easy and different. I felt you nudging me, like saying...."Do it Mom....it's OK to do it differently".

Perhaps different is what I need? Perhaps Kenzie is right after all and this year it just needs to be different because what I wanted (all of us together in our living room) will never come again. Perhaps we all have to have the courage to pick ourselves up in this forced march and dare to believe there might be a new future waiting. Like the Jews who always wear their hats, just in case they have to leave at a moment's notice?

I resist  when people tell me "Ian is an Angel now, he's looking out for you." In fact, I hissed and spit venom at the very idea (until today). I say....how fucking shallow to reduce this to a Hallmark moment? today I didn't resist the thought. Today I acquiesced and agreed that perhaps you are my guardian...of sorts.

As I blew dry my hair and got ready to leave so early,  I started to remember that you WERE Christmas Spirit to me. When no one else could get me there, you could. You have always been my carbonation, my electric charge....my fuel. Are you all schooled up with Angel know-how and wrapping your long and lovely arms around this family as we pack up our familiar lives and walk out our doors  and toward a new life with you?

Ian, you are the most powerful soul I ever knew. You ARE the wind and the sun.....the healing warmth, the storm....the weather....unpredictable, consuming, refreshing, terrible and beautiful. Maybe you have harnessed the power now and you are back to lift us all up and bind our wounds.

Are you all trained up and fully armed? Are you unleashing your love on us.....Arch Angels carry swords, but you were always more carbonation, microscopes, and lasers.....220 volts in a 110 world.

Or maybe you have learned to split (or fuse) the ephemeral atom? 

At any rate, you armed with love is a formidable thought, Biggun. I can envision you with your arms around all of us nudging us into a new life.... fist to the sky as you announce:

"Mom, love Hudson and go see new things......create..."

"Kenzie...build and grow a fantastic, fun family...."

"Chris...invent, create...think....wonder....the answers are coming"

" Dad, heal your hate and sadness and find yourself again"

" And I will fuel you all....I will bring the Christmas spirit."

What a lovely present, baby boy. Good work Biggun. I want you to know I know....

Momma





Saturday, November 10, 2018



Dreaming

     Last night I dreamed of you.
You came to me full grown, strong, complete.
Exactly like you should have been
Exactly like I expected once
Exactly the man I saw glimmers of LAST November.

     Still  my Ian, with a deep yet boyish voice,
Curious, bursting with energy and love. 
Long, strong arms and legs, squeezed into my car
That familiar blue Polo shirt, turquoise really.
You smelled so good and clean, like clothes off the line.

   Like a dream I had of Jesus 20 years ago
When He came to me, smelling close-line clean 
and I received the Holy Spirit. 
You smelled just like that.

     You showed up so quiet and real 
That is was as if you were home for a visit 
You, home from school or work.
You as the man I knew was inside.
You  as you almost were.

     We hugged and hugged and hugged
You wouldn't let go, just like always.
So close behind me that I could not tell
Where I ended and you began.

     Driving around some strange town
Talking about memories and things we saw
Talking about where to go to lunch
Talking about a Mulberry tree and grape vines.

     Then Phoebe barked and woke me up
Reality came flooding in as I lay still as death,
And reminded me of this horrible year
And you became thin, clear, and disappeared
And I was alone again.

I didn't cry, I wished I could.
Momma








      

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mad Manifesto


Mad Manifesto

Ian,     
I found this when I was reading Luke this morning. It's about my walk with God; no, I guess more like my fragile, sore, wounded, feeble limping with God. I haven't been walking so well lately. Like Miss Phoebe I have been struck by truck again.

The brutal rage of grief is so hard to carry, baby. It's a life saving instinct, but it can only carry me so far before it's burning leaves me alone on charred ground. 
Truth is, my scorched earth anger is just the back side of desperate sadness and longing for you. I long for you baby boy, and I long for God to gather me up and make me safe; and love me. 

I need the food of His love, and my anger is the hunger pains of starvation.

Did Jesus know our rage? Does Jesus know my rage now? Is it time to write a new manifesto for my spirit?  Luke showed me a slightly different angle, a new direction, buried in the 6 stories of Christ I love the most....a woman anointing his feet with tears and oil, the four seeds, the calming of the sea,  the demons in the pigs, sending forth the 12, and feeding the 5000. Mysteries, stories. I've read them so many times, but this morning my spirit heard this. 
Maybe my inner manifesto to God comes to this...
One: Listen......listen hard when I am angry, listen when I am scared, listen when God whispers....and whisper He so often does, as soft as the fart of a mouse. In as many moments as I can manage, listen....
Two: Love......Sunflower up. Turn my face toward this almost inaudible love. Reach my neck north toward Love. Reach my cheeks, eyes, nose, chin, mouth, and forehead toward the love and listen. Feel what this does to my heart, inhale it in. Exhale and learn. Love...
Three: Believe......Look beyond the barking of my rage and fight to hold onto the simple and maybe ridiculous notion that my heart knows. "If I am going to trust You with anything, I will trust You with everything." (Kathy Drago)
My outer expression of my manifesto to God comes to this...

One: Speak......deliver my gratitude to someone or something whenever I dig myself out of pain enough to do it. Smile, praise, appreciate You where ever I might see You. Give You some fucking credit for not turning away from my wild rantings with a Godly eye-roll and abandoning me to the gloom. If I can't feel grateful for anything else, appreciate at least THAT. Sit in the nest of knowing and give gratitude with my rest. As I think about it, gratitude these days, is something else besides a holy "thank you" bubbling from my lips. 
Gratitude can be sigh of surrender on the cusp of sleep. By God, I can do that. I can exhale and save the battle for another day. The softening around the lacy edges of my brittle nerves when I know You haven't left me.
Two: Release....all my human partners, friends, family...release them from the grip of my interminable disappointment in them.  Give them a Presidential Pardon....or 50 acres and a mule....unshackle them from my anger at not loving me enough to fix my shit show. I know they can't.
Extend, as much as I am able every day, unconditional forgiveness to them that is guilty, them that ain't, and them in the dangerous middle.Love them when they don't know how to love me, because as the Tai Chi practice I learned at 25 years says....
I love you
I bless you
I forgive you
I release you
after all, Anne Lamotte advises....
"If you are going to learn to practice forgiveness, you might want to start with something smaller than Hitler".
Three: Feed.....someone or something. Just meet some need, do the next thing and tie another knot in the broken chord of this net of life. If love is the pulsing force that binds and knits us all together...animal, plant, spirit, human, then perhaps a small, secret act of tribal defense is to feed some small part of some small thing, human or otherwise. Just do it when I can.  It's ok if it's just a bit of bacon or a tender thought. 
So I hand my manifesto back to you, Ian. Your homecoming 10 days ago, icy norther as a marching band, playing you in, didn't change what came next. You didn't stop Phoebe from biting at the wheels of a trailer, or my other injuries that came pouring in that week....More damn pain...but it was instead, a soft lift from behind, beside, beneath, and above me. I was suddenly carried and didn't even know I was going to need that. Not so much a gurney  as a thousand young hands reaching up as I fell backwards into a mosh pit.

Like the silly, absurdly and completely understood and real appearance of a butterfly on a sick dog's head, saying....
"It's gonna be ok, Momma."

                                                                                             Momma loves you too, Ian



"See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he likes to fly
Dog and butterfly
Below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground, laughing
She don't know why, she don't know why
Dog and butterfly
Well I stumbled upon your secret place
Safe in the trees you had tears on your face
Wrestling with your desires frozen strangers
Stealing your fires, the message hit my mind
Only words that I could find"
Heart