Giving Wings

flying monkeyAbout fifteen years ago, I found a little wooden monkey that was in an odd assumed position — flat out like Superman. But he had no wings. I had to buy/rescue the poor little (Un)Flying Monkey. A year later I bought a winged angel figure made of reeds — but her wings were wooden and a perfect fit for the poor monkey!  That angel wasn’t flying anyhow!

2016-03-24_16483 1Last month, I took to carving wood myself to recreate a pair of wings for the head of a Crow Mother kachina doll.  I corrected the paint color on her “ruff” too – though it took me two tries to get it the shade of a fox skin and as aged looking as the rest.  She was another “rescued orphan” purchase of mine.

I don’t like things broken and abandoned — whether small kitschy objects of art, or beautiful symbols of community life!  Nor do I like pop culture when it is unsure of it’s finished project.  Like the Disney movie “Maleficent”, for instance, the latest version seeking to “rehabilitate” that “wicked” “13th fairy not invited to the feast for lack of enough dinnerware (in original story).

I for one did not think she needed rehabilitation; she was the offended party first.  She was my favorite “villainess” for years.  So I did like the new movie.  But when toys and all came out, oddly all the figures were of Maleficent without her wings, in her crippled and embittered form.  Nonetheless, I bought one to adorn the dashboard of the Minotaur’s new “retirement” car that he purchased six months before leaving work for the last time.  Winged AnewThis is because we named the car after Maleficent, he saw one like it in the parking lot as we went to see the movie you see?  And after the movie drove to the nearest dealership to claim one of his own!  So of course, She was the emblem and had to rule the car.

But she had no wings.  Damn it.  So I fixed that, today.  I saw a toy dragon on sale half off; I know a dragon or two who could use a bit of humbling and “grounding”, hehehey!? So off they came!  Thus Maleficent has her wings back.  I feel quite uplifted myself by this bit of ‘rehabilitation’.  It does not hurt that it happened the afternoon after the precinct caucuses for Washington State, when I stood up to speak publicly for Bernie Sanders.  Of our precinct’s five delegates to go to the next level, Sanders got three.  In fact, he is taking the STATE!  So don’t you let anyone tell you something just can’t fly until you’ve done your damnedest to give it wings!

A Lull, A Lag, A Darkness, A Lingering

FullSizeRenderI’m not blogging much. I find my exercise program lagging. My current goal of yoga three times a week with days of aerobic something in between for a total of six days of work outs a week is difficult to keep. Aerobics, either on my new and still despised Nordic Track Elliptical or my old Health Rider is SO boring only something exciting on my iPad can make me stay there sufficiently to get a work out.  But cabin fever after a long winter makes me want to walk out of doors; that was the plan for yesterday.  But then as I finished a counseling appointment and coffee with one-time co-workers?  The sky opened with rain and hail.  My will failed me.

My garden awaits tilling; the Minotaur has not yet got the tiller running.  We broke the bank with our runaway to Oregon earlier and are so broke presently that I can’t do anything until payday.  The last bit in the bankbook will go this afternoon to buying a load of good soil so we can transplant an ill-thought out tree to a better location.  Everything is alright, nothing is really wrong.  We lack for nothing needful.  But nothing feels really right, either.

FullSizeRender 2I linger in bed longer every morning, sipping coffee and wishing I was still asleep.  I wake in the wee morning hours from dreams of ferrets – over a year from burying my last ferret (Helen), the grief still reduces me to weeping disconsolately in the darkness.  I dream of finding a boxful of ferret kits, for pity’s sake!  There is simply no wisdom in this; ferrets are costly pets and on retirement income, I simply cannot have them anymore.  For twenty years, though, I did and rescued them wherever they were found.  They were the pets of my heart, my “woozles” to the “heffalump” of several dogs we had in that long interim.  The woozles were my anti-depressants.  They kept me alive when my teenaged youngest son ran away.  They got me out of bed when he did tours in Afghanistan as an adult.  They sustained me and gave me reason to live when my marriage took the nuclear detonation of my husband’s long-deferred PTSD crisis in 2011.

I tell myself that soon yard and garden work will make me move and shake myself out of the curious inertia that grips me.  I remind myself there is more sunlight each day, but a darkness follows me – my personal storm cloud.  Depression has been life-long thing, low level for the most part.  I have always fought it with work, exercise and good habits of eating carefully.  But as periodically happens, it is insufficient to move me just now.

I linger, listlessly reading news and wondering what on earth is the matter with people.  The hatred it must take to be a politician telling towns they will be defunded if they legislate paid sick time, for instance.  The open bigotry of making it legal to discriminate against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people.  I emphasize “people” because — yes, these are PEOPLE being treated worse than animals.  The misogyny of several states where unborn (and even damaged and unviable) fetal tissue is held more valuable than the living pregnant woman trying to keep her life (and possibly her entire family’s lives) from being derailed by an undesired and unsustainable pregnancy.  The racism so blatant in the reaction to “Black Lives Matter” protesters and to Muslims make me fearful for my nation.  I have coffee once a week with five German women; they are horrified to see America reminding them of the Germany that led to World War II.  Donald Trump horrifies them.  It all is shockingly awful.

I make sure a set of lights is on a timer to light up daily — bright red heart shapes.  Seeing them insists I must not shut down and quit; that I must keep my bitter, battered heart in play or I cannot win through to some better other side.  But I often feel like those hearts are just a tease and that my own heart’s Will is failing.

In my youth, all my best friends were very aged women for whom I shopped, cleaned, and cooked as they needed.  I often wondered at their seeming calm that seemed to mingle with a subdued sorrow as they watched the then news.  Now, I completely understand the sense that there are so many good things happening that it makes the horrible things happening feel like a bad dream you cannot awaken from at all.

Saturday we go to caucus for Bernie Sanders.  My heart not only will go on, but will go on fighting.  I simply haven’t the energy to talk, write, argue about how, where, and why any more.  But my semi-silence is certainly not consent!

Rites of Spring

quince sipperThe fire is merry in the propane fireplace that heats my house. The feather-filled duvet on my bed is cozy and warm, too.  Outdoors, the grape hyacinths, windflowers, and flowering quince bring color to the garden while all else languishes in sullen chill nights.  Hawthorn buds swell, but show no white.  A fat package full of seed packages sits in the cool laundry room, waiting – oh so waiting.

Tomorrow spring is on the calendar for springing.  A Disney “Bambi” soundtrack plays in my head.  Even with climate change making our winters less snowy these days, we know better than to rush outdoors with tender green dreams!  But I know spring is here anyway.  My body clock chimes with loud insistence  as the sun prepares to wow us tomorrow with 12 hours of equal light and dark.

I know it is spring when:

rackedI want to get rid of half my furniture and every knick knack in sight.  Yes, spring makes me minimalist.  My husband protects us all from my emptying the household.  I satisfy the urge by re-arranging instead.  This year I uncrowded the den/meadery by moving the racked bottles to the family room where we sit at table daily.  This left space in the den for the humongo exercise machine.  Besides, who shouldn’t have dozens of bottles of mead at hand without rising from table, eh?  (Yes, that white ovaloid at the end is now our main fermenter!  Start and finish on one wall!)

spring porchI look at my houseplants like some sort of exotic captives, they need to breathe free and wild OUTside!  Or so I feel in spite of still occasional freezing nights.  Since my dear sons enclosed my front porch a year ago, I can now satisfy the need to move almost all my houseplants from the necessarily* electrically-lit “jungle” by putting them on the protected porch.  Natural light through old nigh-antique glass.  Yes, a new rite of spring here!

* Our 2008 installation of new windows in the house, with ‘heat shielding’ meant that the full light spectrum plants need is no longer available.  Thus, electric supplementation.

My minimalist spring self wants to prune bookshelves.  This begins with cookbooks being gutted by scissors, snipped bits scanned and emailed to my electronic cookbook on an ancient iPad, the rest shredded into recycling.  Who knows where it ends….

I want French Toast.  And no ordinary version, either.  I want it made of spiraled slices of cinnamon rolls!  Even with my clean-eating regimen well into its second year, this craving has me contemplating making the necessary cinnamon rolls to use for tomorrows breakfast after inundating them in vanilla-infused egg and milk.

I will “feed” the stones.  Ah, there it is – for the category “pagan life” – yes, something nice and non-logical?  A ring of stones, some too heavy to move without aid from strapping young muscle men, surrounds my home.  Placement was one of my first acts as a finally un-closeted pagan back in the mid-90’s.  My children each selected deities of storied pantheons that they admired and might wish to worship or emulate as their upbringing as humanist Catholic-rited folk inspired them.  Taking mead, beer, or watered wine to each stone, and perhaps bread or incense is my only pagan rite tomorrow.  It is a nod to those bits of myself that desire no logic, that feed on dreams and nightmares.  It is a meditation of the ages the named stones stretch over – a remembering of where we have been and where we yet may need to go.

spring treeThe Ostara Tree will be taken down and put away.  Ever since my children were small, we followed a German tradition of bringing in budded branches in mid-March and decorating it for spring.  Blown and decorated eggshells, glass ornaments, wooden birds, bunnies, garden implements.  The blossoms blooming before the Vernal Equinox was a sign of luck, we said.  Well, they have blossomed and dried!  So back in the box with fragile eggshells, and the branches go into the yard recycling bin!

Thus into tomorrow I march!  The small tiller gets fresh gas and a new spark plug.  The Labyrinth will be raked, for soon I must walk it again for a fallen Marine.  Ah, Spring — when men’s thoughts turn to love making war.  Sadly, historically true.  Not the “rite of spring” I had in mind, but there is reality biting again.

May you find what takes you forward into the greening season!