Monday, May 17, 2010

float

When I was a little girl, I was afraid of deep water.  This may be a fairly common fear, but my Dad was akin to the old man in the sea on a surf board.  I grew up on the waves.  I grew up in the ocean.  My brothers and my Dad would swim out past the kelp beds, eager and enthusiastic, then regal me with tales of open water. While I stayed in the tip-toe range, catching waves and body surfing to shore.  My fear of deep water only became more pronounced when I was given a snorkel and fins with the assurance, "These will make you swim even faster!".  I would quietly panic encumbered by these swimming accouterments, unable to find balance with the aided help. Generally speaking this sentiment usually resulted in my losing them as soon as possible.

One beautiful, blue sky, summer day, I swam out past the kelp beds with my Dad.  Just the two of us.  This was a rarity in itself because I can probably count the moments of alone-time with him on my ten fingers.  I was trying to appear confident and inside I felt scared, quietly, breathlessly, scared.  He saw me then.  He saw my fear under the veneer of bravery that he'd never looked past.  He lay on his back.  My dad could lay on his back in the relaxed posture of a sunbather reclining on a lawn chair, with virtually no apparent effort besides a gentle flutter of the hands.  He said, "Look kid, when you are on the water and you feel scared, turn over.  The sea will hold you.  Just relax and trust the water".
Relax and trust the water.
I approach life with the same timidity of my early forays into deep water.  Afraid of open sea, of the tide, of the expanse of it all.  Inside I sometimes hear my dad reminding me to lay back and trust the water.  Perhaps it IS as easy as that.  Who knows where the tide will take us but the perpetual struggle to stay afloat is counter productive, terrifying and I simply don't have the fortitude to keep paddling.
So perhaps it is a good time to relax and trust the water.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm not ordinarily a huge Mother's Day promoter, choosing to see it as more Hallmark ready made than cherished tradition, but this year I seem to have a lot to say.  I received this from a friend and it resonated, at least in idyllic tones, with the quiet reverberations of my heart. So I will share it from the only platform I may get:

Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870
by Julia Ward Howe

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

honoring Topaz Nejaya

In honor of a ray of sunshine that came and left long before our arms were ready for release, his mama shared this poem by Hafiz and I offer it to you:

Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly
let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
as few human
or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight,
has made my eyes so soft,
my voice
so tender,
My need of God
Absolutely Clear.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

mama's day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mama's out there...
Here's how mine began, a dislocated shoulder and food poisoning.  The shoulder was the result of too much tree digging, pruning, weeding and stubborn "I can do it myself" working.  As for the food poison, in the middle of the night the whole family, minus Bodhi, awoke wretching and I spent the evening cleaning up after or personally participating in the debacle.
Bodhi awoke at 6 AM feeling refreshed and in a hurry to deliver the special Mama's day card that he and Papa had made.  He read it to me, "Dear Mommy, I love you soooooo much.  I really love you.  I love you. Love Bodhi".  Of course, I cried- what cockles are immune to such adoration.
I hope yours is off to a good start too!
Here are a few mama pictures to share:
My Grande Cia
My mama
Birth
A reason to celebrate

Saturday, May 8, 2010

what a mother will do for lunch

What's for lunch?  Bodhi picked out this recipe from Spatulatta.com and we just had to make it for bro-bro, who was laying sick in bed.
 (Trust me, it is not healthy but if my fellow vegetarians want to make it then I would suggest veggie not-dogs instead of the turkey dogs. Vegans, don't do it.)  
After a jog to the grocery store and a return jog pushing Bodhi, a whole watermelon and two full bags of groceries, we made the recipe... actually I made it, while Bodhi jumped around yelling "I'm a chef" and Owen moaned in the background.  In the end neither boys liked the croissant roll surrounding the dogs but they gave it four stars for presentation.  I however, adored my lunch consisting of steamed greens, black beans, avocado, black olives and tomato salsa....mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

tree digging

Yes, I know it doesn't look like much.  It was only about 5 inches in diameter and 8 feet tall.  The root ball was no more than 3 feet deep.  But it was a sweet red-bud tree that we planted the year Bodhi was born, his placenta was buried in it's roots and like many of the trees in our neighborhood, it died (see this post to understand why).
I can't say that I mourned its death in a tangible way, rather it produced in me a sort of unnameable melancholy.  I am a woman who loves the spring.  I nearly live for it.  When the first signs of life emerge like a haze of hope, I drink in green with the passion of a desert crawling woman sipping at an oasis.  I gorge.  This year has been hard.  Our neighborhood isn't leafing out in native splendor, instead the tired trees seem to begrudge the effort, only offering a tender shoot or bud occasionally.  The north side of many trees appear to have given up all together, too tired after a long winter on little reserve.  I thoroughly relate.  As I look out my kitchen window each day at the red-bud that did not bloom, I do so with a nostalgia for the many unborn hopes and winter exposures of my heart that simply will not bear fruit.  Then, while weeding yesterday evening, clad in ballet flats, black leggings, an empire waisted dress and a fine gauge sweater, I decided to do something.
I picked up my shovel and began to dig and dig and dig.  When digging wasn't enough, I brought out the pick ax and set to work.  I can't even remember the last time I swung a pick ax, but it felt good.  Indescribably good.  Minutes passed.  Hours passed.  It became my raison d'etre.  I didn't hack at it.  My sons' placenta had merged with that soil and this dead tree.  If a pick ax can be wielded in reverence then that is how I wielded it (albeit a sloppy, somewhat deadly reverence).  I felt that I needed to get to the bottom of that tree.  I felt that if I could uproot it, somehow I could start afresh, allow the dead to be dead and choose the living.  In the end, three sweaty, grueling hours later, as the sun was setting, Shane stepped out and finished the last torque that uprooted the tree.  He only tilted the ax once and it was free.  I felt like crying then.  Crying for losses, inadequacies, imperfections and pain. An ocean of tears wanted escape.  I didn't.  I stared at the tree.  I stared at the hole.  I stared at the man whose help I had needed but didn't want.  I stared.  Then I put up my tools and went inside.
Someday there will be an apple, or a cherry, or a peach tree outside my kitchen window.  For now, there is a hole.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Camp Half-Blood, aka Owen turns TEN


Someone has taken Zeus' mighty lightening bolt and anyone who has a mythology loving, Percy Jackson reading, ten-year-old worth his salt knows what that means!  Someone has to get it back!
Step one: Make shields.
Step 2 Read all your clues! 
 This was the fun part for mama.  I wrote several disasterously rhyming clues peppered with greek mythology and each requiring wit and teamwork to solve, then rolled them into scrolls and hid them strategically throughout the oddysey, with each clue leading to the next challenge.
Including riddles to decipher, archery and scavenger hunts:

In the end they discovered a cache of swords,
Which was a good thing, because they had to defeat the terrifying cyclops at the creeks edge.
Once that was complete and Zeus's thunderbold recovered...
A friendly battle ensued,
Followed by supper back at the camp.
Overall, it was a wonderful birthday party and a happy tenth birthday!
PS: Check out those cool T-shirts Shane made for the special day.