Tag Archiv: dreams

Shovelling

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I would explain what is happening with the blog (that I posted on like clockwork for two years and then disappeared into silence for the last months) except I’m not entirely sure. My life does not always feel like my own. I lack a fair bit of control over my time, not to mention the needs of others that I appear tasked to meet. The juxtaposition to that reality is that there is some kind of volcano of desire at work in me these days, daring me to live in ways I long to but have not dared hope for, except in whispers. Little personal time plus risky soul searching has left me without a lot of words.

This weekend I found myself on our pond shovelling. Despite the lack of decent snowfall, it needed quite a bit. Boy two and the girls had done some. Sunday was supposed to be a group effort plus me, but the excitement of my presence lulled them into happy skating while I put myself through my shovelling paces mostly alone.

It hit me as I worked that pond clearing was a pretty good metaphor for the state of my interior life right now – which has similarly required a lot of shovelling. To carve a path where there wasn’t one before. To clear the ice and reaffirm for another season that there is magic worth working for. That underneath the snow, there are possibilities hidden, waiting to be uncovered, discovered, and skated upon with abandon and laughter.

My last post mentioned my shopping intentions. With not a little bit of trauma and drama, I followed through on it. I’ve been told in moments I lack the strength to argue that I’m not finished yet. No comment about that. But buying clothes that fit, feel good, and look nice, has been part of my shovelling. . .  I thought I was going to say a bit more about this, but I’m finding I can’t. Thinking about how I look, as opposed to what I think or believe, is for the time being just a little too threatening to write about. Saying that much is the end of my brave acts on discussing the subject. :)

The pond is easier to talk about. It looks very big when you arrive. But regardless of size, clearing begins with a single shovel full. I start out to clear a section. Then I get bored and start paths here and there down through the middle of the snow. After that I start other sections, which sometimes merge with previous sections and sometimes don’t.

This is my explanation for why the muscles in my soul feel like they’re getting a good workout. Because if the clothes were a section of my pond, the shovelling has certainly branched out. I finished my work on the children’s novel with a good sense of accomplishment. Then realized that although I would love to see it published, I’m just not ready to hang my daily energies on its success or failure. I’ll work at queries here and there, but I’m not willing to die for it.  I haven’t stopped loving words, dreaming of books, or writing in my head while I drive down the road, but I don’t want my success or failure as a person hanging on the validation of a publishing contract. Can one still be a writer and say that?

Crazy thinking had other branches. In December, I wondered what would happen if I went back to school for one of those things I would have given my right arm to do twenty years ago, but I can’t now because it’s too late. The thought was so shocking I almost fell down thinking it. I’m a mother of four. In her forties. My life path is already decided. I knew going to school was unrealistic . . . until I didn’t know that anymore. Until I started wondering if my tiny shovel and a little grace might be able to carve out a path big enough to skate on.

When not despairing at the obstacles, I whisper to myself that there might still be time – that dreams long buried really can come true. Nothing is decided. Nothing is assured. But a few times, when no one was watching I have leapt into the air and laughed on the chance it is possible.

Goodwin Cederic

 

Misty with Goodwin's wives

Misty with Goodwin’s wives

 

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Dreams

 

Sheep husbands are bought once a year and stay for a month. We buy them young so they look exactly like the ewes (I guess unless we cared to view them lying on the ground). Next year’s flock father didn’t look too impressive jumping off the pick-up truck he came in. I reminded myself that with three kids in the family on the smaller end of things, it would be best to keep quiet about the notion that a small ram was somehow less than. Silently, I grumbled that there’s a difference between what you look for in a person and a sheep.

I went outside last week to take some pictures of the winter. Misty looked good with the wind blowing her hair so I snapped that. The sheep always look good to me, but I stopped myself from twenty pictures that all look the same. After fences and clouds my battery died. Although I wasn’t searching for one, it was then that I found my mascot, Goodwin Cedric. (Having previously lived as a number, he deserved a good name.)

Goodwin Cedric (aka Sheep Husband 2015) was facing off with Buster, the steer. As usual, Buster looked bored. All sheep, but male sheep most especially, love butting heads. A good head butt alternately says, “hey,” “want to play?” and “die moron, I hate your guts.”

After Buster, Goodwin Cederic went at Anabelle. Misty is a crankier creature, but for sheer size and strength, cow, Anabelle is the Queen Mama.  Three or four times he came at her to smash her head. The approximate translation was along the lines of, “Hey, I might not hate you, but what if I did? Would you want to play?” Large cow largely ignored the little ram bouncing off her nose. Goodwin Cedric then started at Misty. That would have been extremely interesting to watch but at the last second he seemed to realize that taking on an emotionally unstable, easily threatened older woman with big hooves and no sense of humor might not be such a good idea. Goodwin Cedric was heading back to talk to Buster about the theory of head butting when I went in for some tea, happy and with new notions about facing obstacles.

The stuff of my dreams eludes my grasp. Stone-hearted giants hold the keys to unlock the doors, and the fight to hold high the standard and carry on can be hard. I think of giving up. Little voices in the dark spring up here and there like tiny lights along the path and so I don’t. It isn’t much, but it’s enough. Friday it was Goodwin Cedric. Goodwin, meaning God’s friend. Cedric, meaning valiant warrior. The picture’s in my head and not my camera, him determined, oblivious to his size, butting heads with creatures at least ten times his weight. I see him pawing the ground with his hoof, backing up to take another run at it. My spirit’s lifted, I prepare to go and do likewise.

Finding fence holes

"A Herdsmen With Cattle On A Countryroad, Drenthe," by Julius Jacobus Van De Sande Bakhuyzen

“A Herdsmen With Cattle On A Countryroad, Drenthe,” by Julius Jacobus Van De Sande Bakhuyzen

Chasing cows is similar to chasing dreams. I learned this on Monday. My husband had noticed the cows missing. After a bit of searching, we found our two bovines settled in on a neighbor’s property (newly set up for skeet shooting). Finding them was the easy part. Despite the black, “no trespassing,” signs, we got a good sense of the neighbor’s property (who knew he had such nice interconnected paths mowed through his brush and trees?).  But through all that brush and trees we weren’t quite sure precisely which way to head the animals because we didn’t know where they’d broken through the fence.  My idea that we’d just get them moving and they would lead us to the spot of their escape was, as my kids would say, an epic failure.

Anabelle and son Buster were content to wander up and down the fence line crashing through as many trees and bushes as we pleased and not the least bit interested in showing us where a break in the fence might be. So it took an, “us,” (my husband and I) for an hour chasing cows. Of course chasing cows makes it seem like they were running, which they never did for more than thirty feet, and only when they saw a chance to move in the wrong direction. The rest of the time it was pushing cows, prodding cows, and cajoling cows. The dog was of no use.  She would get them moving but then make them crazy going too close. Buster, especially, doesn’t take to having her at his heels.

We finally got them through by guessing that they leapt the fence (due to the slope of the land it’s easier to do going off the property than back on) so we lowered a section and lured them back. Then I went inside and my husband fixed the fence.

I had been annoyed, it is true, to find my afternoon interrupted by lost cows and by forcible teamwork with a man who failed to properly appreciate the magnitude of grievance the interruption caused me, not to mention the good sense in my ideas. Yet somehow I went back to the house encouraged. About writing of all things.

Hopes, dreams, editors, kids and cows . . . it’s all about the same thing. A little confusing, a lot of work, but you figure it out the best you can, consulting the guy beside you as you go. . . and eventually, you find the low spot in the fence.

Pianos and me

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have in mind to write about pianos but sitting down to do it, I feel myself pulling back. I feel about pianos the way some people feel about God. The thing that’s between us is so personal it hurts. It runs deeper than the realm of something as limited as language.

Listening to me play, you wouldn’t know about us. You’d be sitting there thinking about what my fingers did with the notes. Fine for country churches, fine for a group, not even in the ballpark for a professional musician. But playing for other people was never the point. What connects us isn’t about what I do with a piano, it’s about what the piano has done for me. My throat fills up trying to say it.

I heard my mother practicing a Bach Invention when I was younger. I fell in love. I didn’t care about the piano. I took lessons because I wanted to play that Invention. My beloved, eighty year old Mrs. Murdoch took me there and beyond. A wonderful high school music teacher, Ms. Liszka, let me learn to accompany, giving me a lifetime of ways to be part of music. These two who helped me, without whom I could not have known the piano in the same way, will get their own piece someday. This imperfect piece with the wordless tears is for the piano.

For a lot of high school, I was afraid. There were lots of things to be afraid of.

Play me, it said. And I would open the hymn book and touch those promises until I believed them.

I wanted to dream. About all kinds of things – acting, writing, boys, running a home for kids nobody believed in, happy endings.

Play me, it said. And I would take out sheet music from our choir and play my heart out with, “Somewhere Out There,” and other such.

I was sad. Life was sad. I was young and I didn’t want it that way.

Play me, it said. Weep into me for as long as it takes. So I did.

I was so mad I wanted to smash things. If cars ran on rage, I could have driven to Pluto and back. Ten times.

Oh for heaven’s sake, it said. Do you honestly think there’s not something your fingers can do here that will fit the occasion? When in doubt, play louder, dear. Play softer, and you’ll figure out how much you need to cry.

To worlds gone mad, it gave me chromatic scales played contrary at lightning speed, rhythm perfectly precise.

For my sorrows, my hopes, and my happiness, it spoke to me in the places without words and gently filled them with music.

I don’t know that I ever sit down and play without remembering. When we are alone together, I am home.  A thousand thanks, beloved friend of my heart.