reverse threading

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in KC’s family. [two artists tuesday]

just past the eyelash phase, in a tightly woven and protected calyx of green sepals (leaves), the gardenia bonsai flower waits. a little research reveals that it will take about two months of growing to reach the point of a cracked bud, hopefully flowering after. KC is reportedly “one of the most loved and challenging plants in the bonsai world” and i hope that i am up to the task. these beautiful and somewhat-difficult-to-grow plants offer “a unique opportunity for anyone who wishes to take the time to attend to their needs.” they are particular about sunlight, particular about direction of window exposure, particular about temperature, particular about humidity, particular about watering, particular about feeding with fertilizer, particular about shape and pruning, particular about training, particular about insects and mold, particular about repotting, particular about touch. they do well without any negative stressful environmental factors. it occurs to me that perhaps i am in the bonsai gardenia family.

KC sits together with some other lower-maintenance plants (read: succulents you can’t really mess up) and is clearly different than them. its leaves are rich in color, two whorls protecting promising buds, and its presence demands to be noticed. i talk to it every day, encouraging it, paying attention, hoping i am tending to it properly. i truly cherish this little bonsai; my beloved daughter and her boyfriend sent it to me for my birthday and it was a joyous and glittering moment to receive such a beautiful gift. i want to do my best helping this little gardenia along. and, in light of the last year, the last couple years, i can understand and relate to its eccentricities. mmm, can’t we all?

in the evening KC is bathed in the sparkle of the sunroom’s happy lights. proudly in the spot it has claimed on the table, it sits, basking. it is one of the sparkles of the year. there have been many, despite the difficulties, within the difficulties, despite the challenges, within the challenges, despite these times, within these times. if it were possible, i would set each around us in the sunroom, also bathed in happy lights, like laundry clothespinned to a clothesline, reminding us of the best times, the memorable times, the happiest snapshots, the most poignant moments, the yin-yang of relationships, reassuring love in trying-to-stay-centered, the times we balanced stress and the times we succumbed to it, successful and unsuccessful zen, and exhausted times of rest.

i would place the clothesline in the middle of the room so that you could not help but see each item, each old wooden clothespin, memory-laundry crowded onto a timeline, reminding us that the minute does not stay. that whether the minute is feverish or beauty-laden, it moves on.

we are all particular; we are all particularly needy. our lists and our baggage surpass that of the little bonsai gardenia. we are all up to the task. we do our best in each moment, whether it is dark or sparkling. and we remember we can try again. we can help each other; we are “most loved and challenging”. KC already knows that.

i am excited to see KC bloom. i wait patiently for this amazing flower to arrive. in the meantime, i light the white gardenia candle, talk to my plant and drink in the glow of the happy lights, trying. each day. living just past the eyelash phase.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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forget about time. [chicken marsala monday]

forgetabouttime WITH EYES jpeg copy 2just one question.  what do you do that makes you forget about time?  do THAT.

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rest and good things will come [chicken marsala Monday]

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it was the first. the very first butterfly of this season. we both stopped to watch it as it freely flitted around the path in front of us. it felt like another harbinger of spring; maybe it’s really here. a few minutes later we stopped and sat for a few minutes. we didn’t talk; we just listened to the woods. the rest was soft and rejuvenating. the quiet was punctuated by birds and chipmunks. even a raccoon came out to wander. we got back up, ready for more hiking.

i distinctly remember a day i sat in the front yard. it was summer and, just like chicken marsala in this chicken nugget, there was a butterfly that came to light on my hand. it circled around and came back, landing on my knee, my foot. it felt like a message to me, a reinforcement to quietly sit in the sun.

this world is full of chaos and confusion, deadlines and worries. looking at the furrows lining people’s brows, it is obvious that we don’t take enough time to just rest, just sit, just soak in new energy, just let butterflies lead the way. good things will come.

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dr thursday

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LAYERED MEDITATION

president jimmy carter was being interviewed by stephen colbert on the late showstephen asked him (words to the effect) how he could love all people.  president carter, absolutely sweet at “almost-94”, responded he “let go of the animosities he had cherished.”  wow.  although there were many moments in the interview that reinforced the respect i have for this man as a positive force in the world, this one really struck me.  -let go of the animosities you cherish-

for who among us can not relate to that?  how tightly do we hold to those things?  and how do they prevent us from living right now?  life is layered and our history and everything, from small slights to life-changing wrongs that others have done to us or our loved ones to -worse yet- all of our own wrongdoing, piles up like dark layers of sedimentary rock.  weathering, weathering, weathering.  how can we possibly be zen in all that?

president carter also said that he “forgets about them”…the people who have caused him undue pain or stress, who have been perhaps, i think, a dark layer of sedimentation in his life.  now, at almost-94, my own sweet momma would have agreed with him.  he reminded me of her.  two peas in a pod.  leading with kindness and generosity.  forgetting about the rest in all the ways that forgetting is a good thing.  who really has room in their life to hang onto all that and still make headway toward goodness?

from david’s painting MEDITATION, this morsel of painting – called LAYERED MEDITATION – makes me think of these layers of sediment, layers of life.  the darkness on the bottom -not necessarily because it is buried but because it is overruled by other layers- the fire of passion and earth-life in the middle and the effervescence of light on the top.  sedimentary layers of life.  a picture of letting go, of transforming dark into light.  a layered meditation.

 

 

 

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two artists tuesday

just shrug copy 2two people get credit for this “just shrug”:  20 (aka john) and justine.  it was in the “old days” when i was at the graphic design studio what felt like all the time when i learned this mantra.

20 designed the first ten or so of my album jackets (and traycards, if you want to get specific.)  i would spend time with him and justine (the person who made things happen at the office) idea-brainstorming or watching layout.  i can’t tell you how many times deadlines would rapidly approach or the print shop would goof on a run or the computer would glitch or….  i would inwardly be freaking out (and maybe outwardly), but 20 and just would be even and relaxed (at least on the outside.)   one or the other would look at me and say, “just shrug.”  after about a zillion times, it stuck.

shrugging off the stuff that stresses us out is not a science.  it’s most definitely an art form – approached and accomplished differently by each person who attempts it.  everyone chooses different crayons out of the box, everyone paints with different size brushes, everyone chooses a different key on the piano, everyone sings a different song, everyone relaxes a different way, everyone re-centers differently.   but people are able -and if they weren’t, we would all be a paralyzed-with-stress community of people- to slough it off, to let it roll off their shoulders, to move on, to shrug.

i once heard an interview with a woman who was about 95.  she was happy, happy, happy and spoke of her life.  the interviewer asked her, “to what do you attribute your happiness, your ease in the world?”  she answered, “i don’t take anything personally.”

ahhh. she just shrugged.

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