A Seed

Bonne Soiree Travellers,

Last weekend I had the oddest feeling inside my body and in the air outdoors…it felt like summer had already been here and gone, when in fact it really hasn’t even arrived yet. I had that feeling of disappointment one has when summer is on it’s way out…Isn’t that peculiar?

I’m going to blame the numerous days of cloudy hungover skies for that sensation. It feels like the weather has created a blank canvas of sorts, or maybe it’s a too much gray canvas.

I feel like many of the dynamic moments of Spring have be drowned out or muted in a way I can’t fully describe….

But on Tuesday night, as I was walking across the terrace, I spied this luscious little fellow…

The first strawberry.

Summer is indeed still coming…

Lemme tell you, in case you don’t know, strawberries that are grown on their own taste so much more wonderful than their store bought counter parts. I think it’s because when you grow them on your own, they get to take their time.

There’s something to be said for letting things grow in their own time.

Especially people.

Don’t you agree?

I think one of the most difficult aspects of being human is the way we struggle with our own pacing. It’s something that defies explanation really as to how we arrive, where we arrive, when we arrive there.

If you are someone who has battled any kind of mental health struggle or familial trauma or addiction or divorce or survived an extraordinary ordeal of any kind, there’s this moment when you think this thought. I arrived at it and I’ve heard many many others express the same sentiment:

Why couldn’t I have figured this out sooner?

I have an idea, would you like to hear it? Here we go…

Do you know who William Shakespeare is? Let’s go with yes for arguments sake… Will once said “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances…” ok, actually Jaques, a character in “As You Like It” recites this whole spiel, but for our purposes, we just need that one little bit to build on…

If you know anything about plays and theatre, let’s say yes again, for arguments sake…then you know that there is a rhyme and reason to scenes and staging and lighting and most importantly, TIMING. The actors don’t just run out on stage all hands in the air like they don’t care, squealing their lines at random intervals. And that is because…

No one gets to say their lines before it’s time.

Read that again.

I’m pretty sure you can’t arrive to your greatest moments of growth any sooner. No one can.

Isn’t that bittersweet?

There are so many moving parts inside us and those who surround us that have to fall into place, just like timing on a stage.

But the questions remain, how does that kind of time work? How does time become right for each of us? Why can’t we force that time forward, faster? Why can’t we arrive at being the person we want to be faster? Why can’t we learn and grow and heal faster?

I know when it’s a strawberry, those that are rushed into fruition are never as delicious…yea, I know, I just punned, sorry not sorry…

And I can’t help but think about how it all begins…A seed.

Ok, in our case, it’s an egg and a squiggly little sperm, but we are going to call it a seed, just for arguments sake.

Because we were a seed. In our parent’s minds, before we were a literal seed in a womb. We were an idea they thought was worth growing. Ideas are a most powerful kind of seed, are they not?

Consider the human existence we currently enjoy…architecture, transportation, medicine, science, fashion, agriculture, and even theatrical plays, these were all ideas that one or more humans felt needed to be planted and nourished.

We are all seeds that grow at different cadences, in different ways and into different humans. But we each need an unspecified amount of time to accomplish this. And we each deserve the opportunity to do that.

I’ve been trying to think about language for teaching this summer and on Instagram. In movement, if you are a consciousness human, and for arguments sake, let’s say you are, you want to use language that embraces everyone. That means every size, age, shape, color, stage of learning, flexibility and strength. The last thing I ever want to do is intimidate someone or make anyone ever feel less than.

Because I believe that the greatest strength of movement is that it has the power to make you feel more than. And it has the power to help you grow.

SO I’ve been thinking about using the analogy of a seed. And the way we all grow differently yet equally beautiful. I can break down any movement to it’s simplest pieces and then grow it from there. I like the idea of growing at your own pace in movement, because we all do. And I like that this idea feels harmonious with the yogic limbs as well.

In summary, strawberries, Shakespeare, theatrical timing, growth, ideas, you and me. All start from a seed.

So, What are you growing?

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Squirrel!!

Happy what’s-left-of-Friday Travellers,

How about a little humorous anecdote from my current life…

For the past couple of weeks, I have been engaged in a sort of battle of wills between myself and the squirrel(s). Each morning or afternoon, I go out to my garden only to find that the squirrel has been here doing very bad squirrel things….

Specifically digging, destroying and chewing. Almost like a tiny little dog.

Only not.

It’s almost like nature is offending me. It is discouraging me. The universe is discouraging me. On a very personal level.

And if I’m honest, somehow my feelings are hurt.

Do you know what I mean? Of course you do. All humans think these silly things from time to time. Everyone thinks the universe is somehow targeting them for good or bad reasons.

Allow me to assure us, it is not.

The universe does not have time to single us out one by one.

For the record, my neighborhood is full of giant oak trees. I have four them around my home. It’s one of things I truly love about living here. And I mean LOVE. I remember as a kid always feeling like neighborhoods with lots of trees were somewhere where normal families lived. They represented a life I didn’t have, which admittedly is a strange correlation to make, but that’s what kids do.

And now I live there. In the place with all the giant trees. And with these trees comes squirrels. To me they are my tiny little neighbors that race through the canopies with a sort of finesse and speed that I envy as an athlete. They talk to each other, sometimes quarrel and build huge nests. The trees are their homes and I’ve always found their company sort of delightful in a weird way.

UNTIL NOW…

Let it be said, I’ve not experienced the darker side of squirrels. My fellow home owning friends tend to not like them because they can be destructive. That’s what they have said.

I think it’s been about five years that I’ve been growing a garden and maybe there have been some isolated incidents that I foolishly blamed on birds, but now there is a little fucker in my midst…and I want to kill it.

Okay, see that right there, I’m not a killer and in truth, that is not what I want. That is not who I am as a human.

I mean IT IS, but it’s also not…do you know what I mean??

I wouldn’t in truth want to kill some other squirrel’s parent/spouse/child. The image of a sad squirrel just makes me sad. VERY SAD.

Here’s the real problem, the total honesty of it. My little garden is my joy. I cannot express to you how grounding it is to work in it each day. And joy-filled. I don’t know if all humans feel this way, but I do. I very much do, which is why I write about it with some frequency.

Also, this little patch of green makes me feel like I’m a nurturing person. Which in lieu of the events of the past two years of my life is reassuring. Since I always blame myself for things going wrong, whether it’s my fault or not, I also have learned it’s good to find things to blame yourself for that are positive.

Blame yourself for the positive things in your life. There’s a skill to learn.

This stupid little squirrel is literally chewing and digging up my joy. He is destroying my strawberries that are trying so hard to grow and eating their flowers which means NO BERRIES. And don’t even get me started on what happened to my young spinach. TWICE! Somehow THIS was the morning where I yelled out to the backyard, I HAVE HAD IT!!

(Because I know the squirrels are listening..)

(And I want the rain to stop!)

(Did I mention the never ending rain? The flooding? The rain that has caused my blueberry bush to look fully intoxicated. Like it had a really rough night out.)

I know the digging is their attempt at excavating nuts, which are not actually there. The only good thing about the rain is that it has slowed down their search and rescue efforts. As smart as squirrels are, you would think they would have a map. Or whatever the equivalent is to a squirrel. Or an engineer amongst their colony that sorts out that kind of thing.

I once watched a squirrel bury a nut near these flowers we had elsewhere in the backyard. And then he took a step back, sat up on his hind quarters and arranged the fauna like he was a florist or something. He moved his little hands with such precision and delicacy you would have thought someone was getting married back there.

WHERE IS THAT SQUIRREL? Because he wouldn’t be doing this…

Why is the universe doing this to me??? That was my actual thought. I thought that thought as I stood there in front of my massacred garden. I thought that thought last night as my basement began to flood.

And let’s be clear, I’m very well aware that parts of America are flooding right now, so I’m extremely fortunate. I am, so allow me to acknowledge that before I continue this rant.

Why must things like this happen? I know it’s really miniscule, but for me, it represents my greater struggle. The struggle to find my life in the rubble of my divorce, Dave’s suicide, my arm that’s moving at the speed of maple syrup to fully heal and all my fears about attempting to try to build a business for myself.

It is the struggle to grow something new, to care for it, to cultivate joy and resilience. The garden, my home, my life. And to protect it.

The squirrel is just doing what squirrels do being a little destructive menace. Ok, not all squirrels obviously, just this one or two, I haven’t figured out if it’s a tag team or one little fucker doing this on it’s own. I assume he/she is new to my neighborhood. I know it’s not personal because it rarely is. What happens to us in life is RARELY PERSONAL. And I also acknowledge the squirrel is not a messenger from the greater universe saying, “Just give up Amy” but damn it sometimes feels that way.

In truth, I like to think the universe is rooting for all of us, against all odds. I like to think humans are the greatest wager eve made in all of creation.

But there are still squirrels.

(These are LAST summer’s berries…)

Through the cracks

Buenas Dias Travellers,

Apparently, I’m going to pen another gardening related post here today…because it’s good for you or me, or both..

To say life has been abit bumpy lately would be an understatement. To say the suicide of your former partner is life altering would be criminally inadequate. To say that grief just abruptly ends and life is as it once was would be a lie. But I’ll talk about the depths of that grief and all the things that people feel you shouldn’t say, or are too uncomfortable to say very soon.

Today I want about the other side and how it seems to seep into our world. I’m not talking about angels or heaven or demons and hell, I’m not talking about ghosts, or even reincarnation, but the rather subtle signs that appear before us to remind us of those who are longer on this plane. A simple thing that may mean they are still here. Saying hello. Because everyone that you have loved and lost is still with you. I feel very strongly that the energy of their love and their life remains anchored in this world, in us, until we die. I don’t think we are really each other.

Let me set the scene: I’m outdoors gardening the weekend before last and I’m feeling pretty good. It’s good work if you can find it. And you most certainly should try it. And yea, I’m gonna keep telling you that, so just give in and go start a garden…

Over the past few weeks the weight of Dave’s suicide has been squarely on top of me. As I’m sure it’s weighing on all those in his family and friends. I’m certain to not be the only survivor who is treading in that particular ocean. Looking for the black box from his crash. Knowing that none of us will ever find it.

I have been rummaging around in my mind trying to get my thoughts together about so many things that until this last week, I have felt like I’m not really here. Or if I even want to be here, but I decided to plant the garden because it’s what I do this time every year. Because it gives me hope, a real solid kind of hope. And there is nothing more reassuring than watching life grow right in front of you, and under your care.

So I’m doing the gardening, planting the plants, digging in the dirt, hauling around the rocks and mulling around in my mind, and for some reason I just glanced up and saw this…

I bought pansies last year, which I have never planted before, because they reminded me of my Grandma Biv, whose name is Vivian but I had a problem saying “V”s as a kid and for some reason I continued to call her that all my life. A term of endearment. She passed away a few years ago and last year, I felt moved to plant these little guys. Because she would have liked them. And because it made me feel like she was there in my garden.

Pansies are not for my patio, too much sun, not enough shade. They had a marvelously abundant and yet short life last year. But when I saw this little one, randomly growing in between the cement slabs, I just had the strongest feeling that is was her saying you’re not alone, you’ll be alright. AND if a pansy can grow in this crack where it never grew before, then you can grow into new ways that you’ve never grown before.

Just think how hard that little guy had to work to grow there!!

Mostly, it was just the feeling of being not alone. She was here with me. Watching me. Rooting for me.

And I realized in that moment, she is who I learned to love gardening from. Her backyard was my favorite as a kid. She didn’t grow veggies, but she had pots of pansies and peonies and other flowers. And bunnies and birds. And bird feeders. And wonderful lush green grass. And she was always delighted by all of their splendor. It was her unbridled joy about it all that I remember the most.

And just like that, my hope came back.

I should mention it’s growing right next to my little random determined strawberry plant, that also lives in this particular crack in the patio…and it appears another pansy is growing there as well…

And I could not be happier to see life so determined to find a way. Just look at it seeping through the cracks of this world.

Thanks for showing up again, same time tomorrow??

Have you ever felt like someone you lost has visited you here on Earth? Have you continued to find hope in this rather difficult period of human life? I hope so…

Most important, when are you planting your own garden, hmmm??

The Miseducation of Strawberries

Happy Monday Travellers,

It’s been a minute, how are we doing on this fine Monday?

I’ve decided to do a whole 30 days writing every single day journey again. Because I’m trying to reassemble my life in a way that makes me feel good about myself. I decided it’s time to give all the effort that I have inside me. This is the first morning I got out of bed at 5am, walked the ladies with the sunrise and now I’m here. This is me resetting my life. A life that I wholly want for myself.

I cleared and planted my garden a week ago. And once again, it’s a never ending source of just feeling goodness and joy in a way that only a garden can. I kid you not, I smile just typing those words. It warms my soul to say those words and to stand in their presence.

There is something about us, as in humans, that I genuinely 1000% believe needs to have that kind of connection to the Earth. Putting your hands and feet in dirt is the best. And I think if we all grew our own food it would change the way we eat. Nothing ever tastes as good as something you have grown for yourself. And I think widespread communal gardens could change the world. I know that’s a bold statement, but I’m dead serious. Everyone working together side by side with the common goal of nourishing ourselves and our families. Just think about it.

I believe there is a whole world living with us that we have forgotten. And in forgetting that we are neglecting something inside of us…

Lemme show you a little something I learned recently…

Look at that lifeless, dehydrated, sad, once was a lively green plant. It looks dead right? Down for the count. This is one of my two containers that had strawberries last year. I didn’t have the idea for this post until I came to second container and in order for you to appreciate the next photo you had to see this one first…

How does seeing that make you feel?

Take a moment, I’ll wait…

Now look at this…

This is not a new plant.

This is what grows underneath.

LIFE.

Life tenaciously continues beneath the surface of death.

This is the other container, which was even more of dead mess than the photo above, but look at those little guys.

Just look at ’em. Never have I been so happy to see life.

Those dried up layers formed a crunchy blanket for the vines to bundle up inside of as the winter raged on. And we had a two week spell here in Kansas with nights of 20 degrees below zero. There should be no survivors. But there are.

The first few years I grew my garden I cleared all the containers because I didn’t know better. And in truth, I don’t like seeing the little carcasses of my once glorious greeneries. It makes sad to look our my kitchen window and see all the dull brown where there was once vibrant chlorophylled community. And in truth, it makes me uncomfortable to see my little garden all decrepit and broken.

What’s more interesting is last year, one or two little berries offshoots appeared in that second container. Somehow they made their way through that winter and the berries that they grew were the sweeter and more luscious than any first generation berries. I daresay they earned it.

Now take everything I’ve just said and shown you and apply it to life. Your life. I’m not gonna tell you how, because that would rob you of the sweetness.

Let’s cue up one of the greatest albums of my lifetime, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” because when the sun comes out and the weather slides into warmth, it’s what I’m feeling right now…

Thanks for sharing your time with me. Please let me know your thoughts. Do you indulge your inner gardener? Are you believer in the come back? Do you see the relationship between death and life as the dance we are all dancing and yet we continue to fight the rhythm?

And are you ready for all this summer yumminess?

Augury

Happy morning Travellers,

Today is Thursday for those of you keeping score at home…

Yesterday evening, I planted what I am referring as Phase 2 of my garden. I did my initial early planting, then last night filled it in with more veggies and flowers and lastly will plant some succulents. That is Phase 3. Those are not in stock yet at my local nursery.

And I’m sure by now you are thinking, “yea, yea, garden, blah blah blah, fabulous blah blah blah, happy happy joy joy stupid f*cking bunnies,” BUT really it IS that awesome. Gardening is just SO GOOD. As I was standing in front of my rather humble garden last night, I said out loud to my dog Lou, “THIS is the most wonderful time of the year!!” Not Christmas. Not for me. Right now.

Continue reading “Augury”

A time to sow

Buona Serata Travellers,

(That’s good evening in Italian…in honor of Italy and Little Italy in NYC.)

This one is  gonna be a little experimental tonight, because why not?

 

I discovered something wonderful today that just made me so… so something I cannot describe with one word….

It’s the feeling that comes with the discovery of new life, it’s hope, optimism, joy, and belief that life always find a way. It all begins again.

It’s a sort of hello that you feel as the corners of your mouth draw back into the most earnest of grins. The toothy kind that comes with a giggle.

It’s the acknowledgment that we are not alone here, not just human here, this is a shared space with other life. We are the caretakers of this place, many lives depend on us.

It’s the warmth of the responsibility to nurture new life in the face of adversity. Because there will be much adversity. There will always be adversity. So we must guard tenderness.

It’s knowing the attempt is worth it. The fruit of your labors may be small, but that size will not matter. Doing and trying something new is a form of magic unlike any other.

It’s the knowing that everything has a beginning, isn’t that the best part, the beginning. It’s the part of our movie reel that we play over and over in our minds when the end has arrived.

It’s sweetness seeping into in every corner of your saddened, tired, hardened soul.

I can feel it’s time now for things to grow again. The best part of the year is now. No viral apocalypse can stop the seasons, the sun will not be denied it’s due seasonal  shift in the skies. Call it a solar reckoning.

What must is be like to begin as a seed? To be buried in the dark, an eventual surrender that cracks you wide open as you reach towards the light of an uncertain world through the smallest crevice…

 

 

Here is what I saw or rather what I am sowing:

 

 

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Look at that little guy…

Now look at this little congregation…

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No matter how many gardens I have planted, this part never gets old. And these are my first seeds, it’s been maybe a week.

We will be okay, do you hear me, my grandma was always right, everything works out in the end. Every time. Right now, we are just in the dark, but look closely, because the light will find a way in, and we will reach…

 

Return to Eden

Buenos Noches Travellers,

It’s early evening here and I’ve had a rather lazy uneventful kind of Sunday, how about you? Outside of chores around the house and a kettle bell work out, the only other great adventure to report is spending time lying on my back patio in the sun after tending to my little sprouting garden. It’s been a beautiful day outside, the birds are singing, the grass is growing and things are budding…You’d never know from the looks of the weather that humanity was in a global free fall.

Continue reading “Return to Eden”

Damn, it’s blooming…

Buenas Tardes Travellers,

Last Friday afternoon at work, I noticed something most delightfully unexpected…Wait, let’s back that up…If you will recall, I had a glorious outdoor table garden this summer. Veggies, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers, cacti and one little survivor of a blueberry bush. That little guy was an act of serious faith when I repotted him in April. He appeared to be near dead, all brown sticks, no signs of returning life, but I thought why not try…and he grew so big. SO BIG, like five pant sizes.

Continue reading “Damn, it’s blooming…”

EDEN

Good morning Travellers,

Not as early as I had hoped to be honest. I have a list of things I’m working on changing and getting up at 5am is one of those things. So far, no dice, I mean I got up in the 5 o’clock hour but not quite on the bullseye yet…trying again tomorrow…

Let’s talk about growth, because there is change and then there is growing…one of the small joys of my life is my garden. And when I’m out in my little patio garden THIS is the song I think of..it’s a joy song..

Continue reading “EDEN”