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.
Trillium (the white flowers in the back ground and the provincial flower of Ontario) are in bloom.
Trillium are very brief spring visitors.
Not as common as the white trillium but found in our very own woods. Unlike the white trillium (which has no other interesting names) the red ones are also called: American True-Love, Birthroot, Bumblebee Root, Ill-scented Wake-robin, Indian Shamrock, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin, Stinking Willie, Threeleaf Nightshade, and Wake-robin. How could I not feel lucky to have these on our property?
Since we got the bees, I have a whole new love for dandelions.
The only thing missing here is the music. That grand cacophony of song the birds do to say the whole world is rejoicing that it’s spring.
I got a picture of this one, turned around and . . .
there was this guy, just landing on the pond.
The pond in it’s overflowing spring glory of three time the usual size. Note tiny rock a third of the way in just in front of the fence.
The mad happiness of spring on same tiny rock
This is the turtle’s favorite part of the pond and therefore mine. I cannot get past my love affair with turtles. Do you know what turtles do? Absolutely nothing spectacular. They are slow (except in the water), shy, and unimpressed by humans. Despite a rather staggering record of survival success (they are some of the oldest reptiles – 220 million years and counting by some estimates) they are unphased by their accomplishments. One would be hard pressed to describe turtles as self confident. Were we to find a way to communicate it is almost certain we would find them somewhat withdrawn and anxiety ridden. And yet oddly confident too. Who else walks across the fields past cows, dogs and sheep whenever they feel like it with their only defense strategy being to curl up and wait it out if the dog is curious? We’ve got metaphors for quiet people involving turtle body parts, yet to my knowledge not a single turtle has ever sought therapy in search of tools to help them leave their shell. They keep it handy and use as they see fit . . . dog boredom device, solar panel, party dress.
I’ve said this before. When my grandchildren are born I’ll still be saying it. When my great grandchildren come visit me and sit arguing in front of me about what it is I’m actually trying to say and if it proves my attachment or disassociation with reality, I’ll be on the patio pointing at a turtle.
They always get to where their going. It’s just not fast, I’ll say.
Does Grandma think it’s time to go?
Did she say fast? What if she’s going on a hunger strike or something?
That’s not what she said, another will say.
But that’s what she meant. I’m calling mom.
At this point I will take my cane and strike his/her mobile device to the ground, whereupon I will totter over to it. Unable to crush it with my bedroom slipper, I will content myself to sit down on it and refuse to move.
The more high strung among them will go to fetch a nurse and possibly a tranquilizer.
To any who remain, I’ll point again at the turtle, who by this time will be four feet away and almost to the top of a rock.
They always get where they’re going, I’ll say. It’s just not fast. One step at a time.
If anyone gets it, I’ll get up off the cell phone and totter into my room. I’ll get some of my wooden turtles off the shelf and give one to whoever’s there with instructions to put it out where they can see it.
One step at a time, I’ll say. They get to where they’re going.
Before Christmas, there was this. Then came the rain that washed all the snow away. (There followed wet and brown.)
At last a bit of snow and ice, but some really cold temperatures to go with it. The mother hen in my head began to afflict me so I go out and check on the animals. Twice (it was in the -30’s with windchill) I went to put them inside but they were fine. Even with the animals inside for the night, I lost some sleep when the actual temperature was -33. The barn is far from air tight with four by six feet chunks of open mitigated by hanging feedbags only. I was too afraid to check the windchill while my mother hen head kept me up fretting .
The girls like to have their picture taken (as do the eunuch sheep, but we call them girls too). The husband sheep is in there somewhere right now. He arrived December 13th. With about ten others, he will leave for sunnier pastures sometime in the next few weeks . . . at which point we will not eat chicken for two or three weeks out of gratitude for the fullness of our freezers.
Buster is a rather sulky lad. He is especially irritated by all attempts to have his picture taken. This was his best attempt at a smile. Most attempts end in pictures of his backside.
I have limited patience for this and my fingers outside the glove were beginning to harden.
Misty will look at me for an apple, otherwise, not so much. At least the kids like her. If we lived in France, I’d vote for her making the final journey with the sheep in a few weeks. Alas.
Hope everyone is staying warm. The snap has lifted a bit and the house is toasty again. This weekend we hope to clear the pond and at long last inaugurate the skating season.