A Full Moon, Terra Firma, and a Full Life

Harvest MoonWe’ve had a full moon in the air this week, ripe with possibility, the unexpected and new, the birth of things that have been incubating for some time. The stale heavy air has been blown dry with fresh breezes, a bright sun and a bright moon. Days are still warm; nights have become cooler. I notice these things—the sun and the moon and the earth—because they ground me.

My psyche too has been incubating a few things, and, by way of the periodic dialysis I go for with the intuitive, kind, solid-as-a-rock and generous-beyond-words woman I turn to for this purpose, I think I may now once again be clear enough to turn from languid mid-summer days to welcome the changes in the air.

Earlier this summer, savouring the season’s sweetness—once over the most delectable backyard barbequed steak on a Cobb salad followed by the best homemade apple pie, and more recently with other friends over an equally delectable cedar plank salmon and paella followed by fresh U-pick raspberries on cheesecake—I’d sensed the first hints of fall. Not in the air yet on those evenings, but perhaps rather in the faces of our friends.

Change is usually bittersweet, but with the bitter aspect comes crisp, and bright, and a new kind of sweetness.  Yesterday, I saw so clearly days from 20 and 30 years ago, the days I first greeted the unspeakably sweet faces of my babies, the sunny magical days of promise, days overflowing with love, literally. These were days when my children’s kisses and laughter and fears and tears filled my days with purpose and joy, days when our little family was on the cusp of so much.

Today I see clearly again how deeply the earth sustains us through so many seasons and storms. She watches, listens, breathes, shelters. She is susceptible to erosion by wind and water and fire, but she absorbs, regenerates, heals, nourishes. She is solid, and provides beds of soil for growth, and beds for hydrating, cleansing streams of water. She is loyal and patient and forgiving. She whispers the truth: we are all made of star stuff, we are all connected—connected to her, to the universe, to each other, those who have come before us, and those will follow us.

What has been incubating for me in recent weeks is this message for my offspring: live fully, now, in the summer of your lives. Remember that the ordinary—everything from stepping out onto wet grass in bare feet to scrubbing the mineral deposits from your shower—can be grounding and nourishing, and remember that being well-nourished is what protects us from the ennui that can come along to haunt us at times.

So work hard, but take time to play too, and to rest, and to cry when it is the only thing to do, and take time to breathe and give your deepest self a hug. Remember that it is in inhaling and exhaling deeply that we are renewed, that this is how we slow down enough to take in all of reality, both bitter and sweet, which is what we need to do in order to digest it and allow it to dissipate, and keep it from weighing us down too much, and yes, nourish us and foster growth.

Remember these things, because along with the intellect and talent and energy and humour you have inherited from your parents and grandparents, you have also inherited their burdens, though it is your job to shed these, not bear them. It is your job to fly high, higher than we have, and leave something better than you were given. It is your job to chase your bliss, and to someday pass on to your own children their own bliss. So grab the ticket that is your birthright and go, chase your dreams with all your might. Don’t look back our way. We have all we need to find our own way through our own continually emptying and refilling seasons; you have all you need to find yours.

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Blueberry Hazelnut Chocolate Afternoons

It’s a blueberry hazelnut chocolate afternoon. Work will have to wait a moment.

I know. I’ve had a number of (fairly brief) purist stages in my life, but as they have never really yielded the desired results I no longer have them, and anyhow, chocolate and weather go together.

The rain outside the open window is drenching and gorgeous, the open windows in my mind stimulating, energizing. The memory of last night’s deeply restorative sleep is equally as gorgeous as the rain, as is the memory of the day we spent together yesterday, you and I, talking and reading and lunching in the warm, moist, soft summer air.

We’re bigger inside than we thought, wiser, stronger. We only sometimes, as when we have temporarily lost our grip on the things that have anchored us in the past, need to be reminded of this by another. And thank goodness for those who do remind us, and who can help us create new anchors for ourselves in our new realities. Thank goodness for the power of validation, for the medical doctor and the mental health professional who simply say, Yes, what has happened to you is familiar to me, and it is utterly debilitating; you are not crazy or weak, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve that have helped many others in your shoes.

Nothing is lost forever, just altered, and change is always pregnant with potential.

It’s still raining hard, gorgeously. There is nothing like drenching rain to bring to mind images of the seashore, images of ropes and anchors. I think I’ll go buy myself a new piece of jewelry.

Change

I wanted this, so why am I awake at 5 a.m., weeping? I’ve felt more and more for several years now that we’ve outgrown this home, that it’s too big for us now, too expensive and time-consuming to maintain. Still endings are sad, and this move will mark the end of an era.

I expected a degree of sorrow, and anxiety is normal with a big change. The guilt has been a bit of a surprise though. It feels like a large black muddy weight, the scale of which I’ve only ever felt once before, when I had no choice but to admit to a failed marriage. It’s guilt that we will no longer be providing the soft cushion our many-roomed home has been for the family, guilt that what I want to buy now is beautiful and new. And perhaps guilt that goes back to a lifetime of falling short, I don’t know; my personality does that sometimes, unravel the whole ball of wool.

We have three weeks. Three weeks to sort through a lifetime of things. Anxiety about that is predictable. (And were we insane to agree to that kind of short possession date?) But it goes much beyond this. I’m anxious that the kids will be disappointed, (even though they’re all adults and well on their way), anxious that I won’t be able to manage all the changes ahead. Anxious that the choice we’ve made isn’t financially conservative enough. Worried that my health will fail, and that the new place won’t feel homey. Anxious about the silliest things, too: that I’ll be the oldest person in a building of strong, young and accomplished men and women, the only one hiding gray hair. Hoping we made the right decision. It’s all happened so quickly.

Anxious and sad and trapped is what I feel this morning—this place too big and unwieldy now that most of the rooms are empty, too loaded with a role that no longer fits; the new beautiful but small, and foreign, and in an unfamiliar part of town.

It will become home, I tell myself. I still have a balcony, and will still be able to step out to smell the rain and watch the storm clouds roll in, or have a cup of tea in the fall sunshine. Without these I would be utterly heart-broken. I’ll be able to walk to the river, or the coffee shop, even the grocery store. There will be many lovely things, less of the quiet isolation I feel in this suburban neighbourhood, more time for new pursuits. It will be an adventure.

Still, it will involve saying good-bye to so many boxes of memories. So I sit here and weep while I wait for the mercy of daybreak. …which has now, a cup of tea and piece of toast later, arrived. A wet, windy, cold October morning, the yellow on the trees out back announcing a new season.