enough

Before kids, and later before they outnumbered us, we lived at the foot of a mountain in a small farmhouse beside a brook which each June gave rise to black flies of biblical proportions.

I learned then that if I woke at dawn, I could get out in the garden ahead of them which must be why the garden looked so hopeful this morning when I appeared on the front porch much earlier than I had in some time.

And I did pause there and smile at it, fondly, like one might nod toward a babe in arms, someone else’s arms, and then I got in my car and drove away—east toward new beginnings–to the rising sun suspended over the valley, cupping the fog; more present, but less productive than I once was, finally understanding or at least practicing that just this—this world waking—this light, this birdsong, this body, this breath—was enough.

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a solstice blessing on families reunited

The bare spot where the kits once played. June 2018.

Late this spring when the skies grew dark and the cloud cover heavy and children were ripped from their parents arms, I took a dramatic fall an came down with a chest cold, and something else–in the middle of the darkest night–the mother fox (or was it the father?) barked incessantly outside our bedroom balcony doors; This after I spent a worrisome string of days looking & listening & hoping & calling & finally crooning the lullaby that I’d sung that morning when I saw the first of their four pups (and it fell to sleep to the sound of my voice), and still, the space where the babes frolicked and rested remained… empty.

Could it be that this barking was a keening call, like my Twitter feed, swelled by a chorus of voices, each one sounding the same sour note, until that horrific practice was brought to an end…

And although we don’t know how these broken families will be restored, or how great the toll on their lives, or how deep the shame on our generation (poisoning babies in Flint, paying unlivable wages, watching television while the earth changes)… The Longest Day has arrived.

I wake to the sounds of squealing, and while their kitten-like bodies are thinner than they were before, and they won’t let me close like they did when I first photographed them, they are here, curled up beside one another in the sun on the rock outcropping outside my writing door.

May we each make good medicine of whatever strength, power and will we possess.

the invitation to remember

Gray’s Beach. Cape Cod. Waiting on the full moon. May 2018

The month of May brought a new meditation to my days. to my first waking thoughts. to each challenge that presents itself along the way

As soon as i think: PROBLEM (which is evidently quite often)
i pivot.
and say instead:

What is the invitation?

What is the invitation right here?

But now it’s a week into june, and I realize that I’ve already forgotten.

Mothers Day Nightmares

On Mothers Day night, with both sons at home, I wake to the sound of my youngest vomiting in the toilet, and I realize that I have had a nightmare. “A dream about the Patriarchy,” my husband offers in the dark.

In the dream, it is daylight, and there is this charismatic man who I find attractive and then threatening as I watch Him weave his way through homes & classrooms & workplaces, alternatingly charming then murderous. Slitting throats, dividing families, orphaning children.

Each time I get wise to Him, I sense the great vulnerability of going against such cunning, and something else–I see how willing others are to oblige this power and destruction in blindness; and so I become absorbed with protecting myself whenever He appears, until I see Him follow a family into the loft over the Great Room, and doesn’t He kill the young father and then the mother, as their child toddles unprotected toward the open railing.

Terrified, I dash past a bureau and a hutch and sweep the child up into my arms, where she becomes an infant, and with little time to spare, I dangle her through the bars of the railing thinking I could drop her to safety if only someone would appear in the Great Room below.

And then I see him! My father! But although he hears my calls, he cannot see the child, even though I direct his attention toward her again and again.

I consider dropping the infant to the floor, but just then my youngest son enters the room, and seeing the dangling child, puts out his arms to catch Her.

And with that, the Patriarchy disappears.

I was there when my mother took her last breaths…

Kelly Salasin, 2016

Last Summer, just ahead of the Assumption of Mary, I joined the Sun at the Water’s Edge atop the staircase to the sea.

Me and thethe lapping of  the waves. the diving loon. the rising peach orb

To this my soul responded, rather surprisingly:

“I was there when my mother took her last breaths.”

I was, I thought.
How infinitely large,
Like the sun rising over the sea
Revealing
Through the morning fog
An island–

Anita Shreve’s yellow house aglow.

“Come Here,” I heard whispered, and I looked to my left and to my right and behind me, but there was no one.

Only me, and the sea, and the island and Anita Shreve’s house greeting the morning.

I remembered an affair I had several years earlier.
How I rose in the dark of winter and ran toward the first tinges of light over the ocean into His embrace.

“Come Here.”

Yesterday, in the soft rain, my husband and I walked down the beach and out the narrow strip of land that connects the island at low tide.

As the rain began to fall harder, I opened the small umbrella, but only one of us could stay dry in its confines, so Casey continued on in the rain, but only halfheartedly, and so I admonished him:

“Receive HER!”

“I am,” he replied, “Because of what you said to me the other day. I want to feel into the messy, wet, fullness of her embrace.”

To which I felt a tinge, no, a fire, of jealousy, rise up and chastise me:

Why had I introduced them? Why had I pushed him toward such a Lover as one to which I can never compare?

And then I remembered: “Come Here,”
As He rose higher and higher,
And the seagulls took flight, responding to the Call.

And we are all, Here.
In the marriage of Sky and Earth.
Conceived in the first kiss of the day.
Light awakening into the One.

 

My mother’s lipstick

Several months ago, Casey repainted our bedroom–the last of the rooms to receive a fresh coat since he built this house more than a dozen year ago.

We agreed/he surrendered to a faded, earthy shade of rose.

And it’s been my pleasure–a daily dawn & dusk meditation–to notice to subtleties that arise in the changing light–from morning to night–autumn to winter–and now into spring.

Sometimes it’s too peachy or too pink, other times it’s more a creamy-rosy-mocha, like the lipstick my dark-eyed, dark-haired mother used to wear (before she went blonde), or the shade of a top that lent itself beautifully to her equally dark complexion.

Over the year, I’ve lightened the curtains from fawn to sea glass to alabaster in an attempt to better commune with the walls.

It may all be too soft come summer.
Or just right.

The light will tell.

Love, Part III. Cancer of the Heart

Because I left so little space within my travel days, my heart came to me, after midnight, in a hotel room, just off the highway, through my dreams.

A beautiful half-moon curve–freshly carved, into my left breast—tender, swollen, reddened—but more than likely healing.

So many times I’ve been told that I didn’t love “right.”

(Haven’t we all!)

And yet, my heart hollers back:

ALL evidence to the contrary…!

Haven’t you loved the same man for 32 years.

Haven’t you raised 2 amazing sons with whom you share the same abiding love, mutual respect & fierce boundaries.

And what of the friendships that still flower to this day, those begun 40 (forty!) years ago, and what about those emerging & unfolding even now.

And what of the generations of students & companions—in the classroom, on the mat, on the page.

And what of your youth—POURED into the parenting gap left by trauma, narcissism & addiction–into the lives half-dozen+ younger siblings until, one by one, they too came of age.

YOU, Kelly KNOW how to LOVE!

“That’s right!” I respond, “I do!”

And love is not only proximity, my heart replies.

Sometimes love is leaving space.
Sometimes love is letting go.
Sometimes love is feeling YES and stamping NO.

‘Yes, I love you,’ and ‘No, you may not traipse across the terrain of my tender heart just because you are lost.’

Yes, ‘Your happiness is my happiness,’ and Yes, ‘Your heartache is my heartache,’ but ‘No, my heart cannot serve as the safe house for the projection of your unmet needs, your scarcities, fears, and grief.

Which is to say that I find myself in unfamiliar territory, no doubt in large part due to the passage from Mother to Menopause which arrives on the precipice of an Empty Nest, and returns my heart to its original and departing purpose— loving—me.

“But aren’t you afraid of going to hell?” I was once asked.

“How can I be afraid of something in which I do not believe?” I replied.

Which is to say that there is a mythology of love and abandonment to which I no longer wish to subscribe.

Love is never absent.

Love ABIDES.