Garden Oasis

Here’s a peek at some of the goings on at our home.

This year will be a partial food harvest, partial seed harvest in the garden. Stocking up seed for next year, experimenting with new planting zones, trying new foods and expanding growth zones – all while my better half works away on the other side of the yard to build a storage and patio area.

The Storm

Coming out of the storm was nearly as harsh as when it began, and it was an intense storm that gave so little warning.

An ER procedure and then just over 24 hours later, the near death unresponsive low oxygen state, and calling in estranged family – only for the reaction to be tornadic, and not the type you get warning of.  Instant and violent – he vented his hate, his fury, his rage on my husband.

Left broken, ice packs, EMS assess and urgings for treatment, my man – the man of the house – sat quietly with his pain.

The storm raged on in the minds and emotions, and then – he’s awake!  Low oxygen and 24 hours taking toll, this person is a shell of dad, not the same and great loss of functions suddenly.  Distrustful and displeased and confused.  The need for aid assist, the need for the estranged to access the life before it is gone, the need for safety for the whole family  is now swirling for purchase.

Nursing home – I had told him he could die here.  I never ever intended for him to go to a home.  Necessity ruled.  So the move was set in motion.  And the danger assessed, and mental pictures examined and felt.

We left our home and my dad in care of other family.  We were too tramatized to remain while the gears of paper spun.  Runaways, feeling like strangers exiled.   Silence was demanded so that family on hubby’s side was not alerted – no need to retaliate.  And this is where I finally hit my knees and cried out to YHVH, this is when I recognized that I owed confession.  I hoped for safety.

When access was finally made by the estranged – in the nursing home – we returned to reclaim our safe space.

Immediate needs were to remove dad’s presence, his belongings, his care needs, his treasures from our home.  Remove triggers.

Then set in place the handoff – all property now ensconced in one metal clad box, and his instructions stilll loud and clear ‘those things are mine until I am dead’ – we made terms clear on expidited ownership change for the metal box.

Then try to live – the eye of the storm is not calm, it’s subdued.  You know the pressure, the lingering eery feel of what’s likely is felt by all.  Daily.  But not for long.

Then the final.  And the estranged and his sister held dad as he died.

Then waiting.  Will this trigger?  How about that?  Which event is likely?  Then he is missing… not checked in at home… then he is reported found by an old friend, and close by.  Then waiting.  And planning a funeral by phone, trying to stay out of sight, and signing and paying and … then remaining home while my dad was recognized and lowered into the ground,  video taped for later viewing because view I must – I will need the closure.

stretched

Family dysfunction is everywhere.  We’re all touched by it in some manner.  Sometimes it takes everything you have, your money, your family, your heart, your life… and sometimes it comes out in the open and someone sees through the storm and into the brokenness, sees that a change is required.  Change is the only choice you get or it continues.

So we took down the noise makers stationed around the property hastily.  We removed the rakes from their bed on  the ground, put back the blocks and bricks and pails stationed as trip hazards.  We decided to take back sanity, to let go of fear – to tell terror that its time was had.

And we enjoyed a restful shabbat.

We’ll move forward, without relationships past – with better or new or fewer.  Those are determined by the participants.

Be the change.

Remembering…

Fear and terror are things not oft encountered in my life.

Crazy patterns of potential fear, yes. Not true fear and terror mixed and felt.

My father died and in the dying, we family fell into our affected parts, with expected and unexpected changes to each day… each moment.

Dysfunction, once an outlier, permeates every life. We all get what we get – damn! I cannot remember what dad told me that his dad said… something like ‘troubles, there’s enough to go around’.

True. Yes.

This was the first true terror and absolutely knowing that I could not help my most prized friend, my husband, my other half… and the sound of the crunch to his facial bones will not easily fade from my unwanted recall.

You see, there is an anger – a rage – a total fucking hatred… and it visited my safe domain last month. It attacked my husband because he stood up to block access… to.me.

Sometimes we can prepare and other times we can only say, oh god, oh fuck, oh my….

FORGIVE ME YHVH, FOR MY FATHERS AND THEIR FATHERS HAVE SINNED AND DONE EVIL AGAINST YOU…

and I accept my punishment. And then hope,

We all owe death. Come as it may.

I hope for less fear and terror.

Understanding

The pressure to be accepting, accepted, get an approval stamp… I have a hard time giving nod to anything and everything. Some things confound me, and I believe it’s okay for me to be confounded. That leaves some things not accepted, not things that I can absolutely say are okay. I don’t truly know – I only know what I believe. That’s how we’re wired, ya know. We each know what we believe.

But I can understand. I can say ‘yes, you are able to hold your own beliefs – and make choices accordingly’. I understand that.

I think it’s as simple as right and wrong. Whose, who’s right and whose, who’s wrong? I only know what I believe.  What do you think?

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Being

As you may have seen, there was yet another post from me that was rife with sadness and depression – surprised?

My fifties have been rough. Life is just hard. I don’t hold down the corner on hard life – I know this – that’s just forgotten in the worst of the feels.

What I wanted to accomplish going into this blog was to show ‘real’. Not some trumped up or over-edited version of fantastic. Real life – real life as an outsider who lives by deeply held beliefs. I do forget to show the joys and triumphs and outright fabulous pieces though – I keep those held closely to me. I’m selfish about so many things.

Normally I have an optimistic outlook. Yes. Really. I can typically see the best of a situation and frequently point out those upsides out here in the reality of it all. The view is on slower reaction time when the situation is directly involving me, but still the upsides are easy to find.

Update – I didn’t report the lightbulb situation. I recall a time when I heard tales from a youth about a job being intentionally done poorly so that the youth could be fired from the job. I issued corrective advice at that time, of course. But I feel certain that this situation is the same – not an intentional action toward me but rather a reaction to a detested job. This will out itself. And – I installed one of the bulbs and it is lighting my space as it should. Not so bad, eh?

This leads to where I want to go today. Being. Being the change we want to see. Changing the world one kindness, one stance, one crazy notion at a time.

We can you know. I can. You can. We can change the world.

Be the change.

I choose this life of holding Torah as my personal guide, the lens through which I view life. This lens has to be inspected to make certain I haven’t tried to force others to see through it, or judge by it. It’s my lens, my direction, my intention, my purpose. We each have our own.

If we were to acknowledge that we are all given the choice to have our own lens and not apply our lenses to others, that just might be a good change, eh?

Be the change.

Setbacks

Once several personal items stack themselves upon each other, one little inconsequential thing will create in me a monumental setback.

Lightbulbs. This time it was lightbulbs.

Still not back in the swing of brick and mortar shopping, I place orders online and go to pick them up. Sometimes items are deemed unavailable for pickup and move to the shipping status.

Thus the lightbulbs arrived via delivery to the house. Plainly marked on the box – pictures of lightbulbs across the front and back – it was obvious what was being delivered.

My dad reported that he had arrived at the door to meet the delivery person, as he has the prime perch to see what happens out the front of our home. Just as he opened the door he witnessed that the driver stood 10′ from the porch and launched the box, delivering it by air mail to the porch.

What the absolute fuck?!?!

Why.

My genuine optimism, my faith in the combined struggles and overall goodness of people was blasted by this one asshole who made an intentional act of destruction at my front door.

Now, every inconvenience, insult and putdown that I’ve stuffed and dealt with has been pulled out for inspection, infusing me with smallness and weakness and… depression.

I’ll suck it up and get back to doing the most awesome best I can with the hand that’s been dealt…

First step should obviously be to contact the delivery service and complain, then return the box… but I’m paralyzed by the feelings, the reluctance to make confrontation when I feel this overwhelming underwhelm. So the unopened box sits at the receiving table near the front door to accuse me of my inabilities to deal with life.

Setback, the box of setback.

Cultural

In the US, at least in the midwest portion, the standard is to inquire about what one did for the latest religious holiday just past.

My standard is to reply “I don’t observe”.

It’s a very quick end to the conversation and if I were skilled at conversing I would be able to redirect so that it didn’t feel so awkwardly halted.

It seems that many people in my area are completely unaware of the religious traditions outside of christianity. Those dates may or may not appear on a printed calendar or in a specialty shop, but for the most part those other dates important to their keepers are brushed aside or unknown by many people. There is likely the unstated opinion that those dates are less important, or not relevant since a majority prefers the well-known dates. It’s stifling sometimes.

I did a quick search on the standards, to find at what point dates became stated as US owned or observed days. It seems that most of what is determined to be Federal Holidays were established in the late 1800s and edited in the early 1900s. The dates were primarily set to determine time off and pay standards for federal workers, not meant as a US standard for all citizens.

I also took a peek at an ancestor’s writings, and find that the early days of the US held much more closely to the biblical calendar than I ever realized. Check out the Diary of Thomas Miner (or Minor). He wrote during the last third of his life. He immigrated from England, and settled in the Mystic/Stonington area of Connecticut. It’s not an easy read, old English simply isn’t. Of great interest to me: his year began in spring, around March/April, with the new growth signalling a new year. As is biblically written; as matches an agrarian cycle! In the US, mind you. Originally. In the 1600s.

We accustom ourselves to our surroundings and take on the notion that this is how it is supposed to be – what we learned was the rule, what we were taught from our cultural inheritance. To what harm, I ask?

Who determined that January 1 should be a new year, and what was the reasoning? Was this a change to something that was long-standing? What benefit – or who benefits from this change?

That seriousness aside, the true reason I’m writing is to express the joy of spring as this first month of my year rolls past.

Yesterday, on Shabbat, I traveled to a wildlife refuge.

The trip was sublime, as an eclectic mix of music accompanied my drive.

Scenes of green and brown, blue and white;

the rolling and winding roadways along the way;

a crispness to the air which felt perfectly warm in pockets of wind break.

I arrived at the refuge and began scanning the rolling hills to each side; crossing the cattle guard into the open range as I expectantly looked – maybe after the next rise?

And then as I crested the hill, noting the traffic ahead – they were there! A herd of buffalo to my right, still distant – and a few tucked into a descending tree spotted ravine, closer to me.

I slowed and looked to my left and realized that the stars of the view were present there!

The elk herd!

The male standing prone on the top of the hill, head turned toward me; his females and youngsters mostly laying on the hill around him. I pulled to the side and stopped.

I was the main concern for the male and he kept his head turned straight at me for a while… then a sound from the traffic up ahead.

He began the slow pan of the horizon, looking back to me… and then, satisfied, he lowered his head some. Still watchful, but accepting.

Camera! Where’s my phone? Ugh!

Yes, a trip without the phone – not something I would normally do. So the pictures were only what I watched. Both sides. Capturing memories.

Bladder pressing, I moved on to meet my needs and then turned back to return home.

Buffalo not in the same place, I kept heading forward and then I realized what happened.

The buffalo herd had followed the leaders in the ravine and crossed the road. Most were grazing greedily at the ground salad near the road, while a few had moved on up the hill and were halfway to the still lounging herd of elk.

Again, I stopped. The buffalo were so close now, it was a treat – a safely distanced treat – to watch them tear the greens from their anchors. Pawing and head shaking to angle for a better munch, as they side eyed me a time or two.

I looked to the few on the hill and then realized that they were nearly to the elk –

and the large female elk had risen and moved toward the male.

The two came to some agreement between them…

and then the buffalo slowly moved in. Right amongst the elk herd.

Sweet memories that.

To home I returned, settling nicely into the back yard to watch the first dragonfly of the year and the first eastern tiger swallowtail – both testing the winds and the scents.

And then, to my surprise, the first honeybee was seen sampling my fine garden of dandelions!

A Shabbat to remember for me.

An end to the month of special Shabbats – Passover, the First and Seventh days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first day of the new year, the abib stage of the barley.

Customs.

Extremely important culture to me.

Runaway – (was: Perhaps We Should All Be Grounded)

I wanted to run away.

Still do, but the voices are receding.  Still there, whispering… but easier to ignore.

This is away, I say to self.  Tucked inside, shelter at home.  This is away…

Then the space – the distance my eyes can stretch – closes in on me.  My eyes need to ssttrrrrrrrrre……tttccchhhhhh.

I can say it differently, but not well.

I get the desire, an ache and longing for my eyes to see across distance.  The reach of view is something base and needy in me.

Not claustrophobia.  No.  That’s not it.  It’s a visual space sighting that takes the mind and soul along, freeing anxieties, calming tension and overriding thought patterns – sending the everyday adrift on a sea of calm.

And so, I’ve redirected.  Frantically perusing the real estate posts, I had obsessed on the away of the running.  I wanted a space, a place, a seat at a location that would allow my eyes their desire – an owned space, one that I could count on to go for retreat.  A place where I could gaze out over a horizon, or toward water, or along a long stretch of trees…  It was such a delicious dream.  I could nearly catch hold of it, clench my knobby fingers around it.

Dream bubble burst when hubby reminded me “I know you.  I know you.  You’ll be ‘over it’ in two weeks.”

What?  What?  Two weeks?  Huh??

No.  No way.

But I mulled.  I stepped back and realized that I was planning in my head and pressing my plans on him.  I didn’t notice.  My eyes hadn’t been able to stretch outside my needy little vision field.

So I told him the next time it came up, when he said finally that he really just wanted to focus on home, here, now, this space… that’s when the words that had been percolating spilled out.  “Yes.  We will wait, I agree with you.”  And that’s when I stopped the perusal.  Cold turkey.  I had to – it was addictive.

Now I’m still working on what to do with that time.  Past the first stage – no longer top of mind, that search.  That’s where the night skies salvaged my angst for escape.  The long view.  That’s what I needed… and hubby reminded me of that once I listened.

I found that I can get the long view with night skies.

Why not overhead day skies?  Likely because the mind cannot fathom past the blue, grey, white…?  Who knows.

I think I simply find the view straight up into the night sky more immense, implying great space and vastness and beauty beyond the traverses of my vision.

The pull of the internet is overreaching.  Search for answers, quest for options, finger clicks for food and need and want orders, looking perhaps for community or commonality or simply agreement.  It’s alluring.  And dangerous.

We’ve become a nation, a world of wants.  We want much – respect, youth, admiration, plush, adventure, fun, to LIVE.  Oh my.  We’re such easy targets when driven by the fear we’re fed.  The fear of death, of others, of disrespect, of lack, of displeasure, of appearance, of loss, of despair, of settling… The system is powerful, and dependent on us.

It’s hard to be an observer.  It’s hard to get caught up in the tide, the sweeping and overarching wave of discord, of division, of want and need and desire and … fear.  Who wouldn’t want to run away?  Right?

Grounded.

That’s how I felt looking up and to the vastness surrounding the lights and stars and moon.

Okay – confession.  Pissy in between.  Mad at the inability to discern which lights are natural and which are not.  But I digress.

Grounded.  I can do similarly when laying under the tree in the warm seasons.

How do a people ground themselves?  Unlock the chains of persuasion and simply find that internal calm.  Calm that gives assuage to the nagging, gnarling thoughts bred by the divisive words we’ve been fed.

Grounded.  Then the need to run will dissipate and we’ll figure out where we are.  Right?

I confess.  I creep around social media, reacting in my head, sometimes enraged, mostly feeling ever so more disconnected from people I have known over decades… sometimes feeling the need to avoid family.  Emotional and passionate claims from all avenues.  Staunch defenses of opinions and line in the sand drawn disclaimers for those who do not agree.

Reacting automatically, my fingers are nearly drawn to the keys.  No, stop, don’t… this is not the mountain I want to die on, ya know?  So I harbor little nigglings of resentment – or simply avoid those with statements that deny others similar rights.

What lies underneath this, the discord, is the run away obsession.  We all want to run away from reality – we want to create different realities, we have different needs, wants, feelings – but we’re all in run away mode, addictively pounding those social media keys, those remote control keys, those smartphone keys, looking for more, for inclusion, for agreement, or for a fight.

We need to be grounded.  Allow the voices to subside.  Reach deeply for calm.

Shabbat shalom all.  I hope you find your calm.

Stripping Away Cultural Inheritance

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