How to survive a hurricane 

I want to keep my hands busy and create something, anything. I want them to work like a spider creates a web and cast a net of protection across everyone I love. 

I’m safe and yet I can’t help but think of my neighbors, my friends, and even the strangers who sought water along with me at the Winn Dixie. I think of the habitats: my own–yes–but also the egrets’ and the spoonbills’. I think of the cardinals that visit my feeders. The turtles who laid eggs on the nearest beach.

I sit in my car 773 miles from home and I watch a Georgia peach sunset. So warm and giving and yet the same air that breathes a hurricane. 

All I can do is knit: Prayers, wishes, surrender. 

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Sixteen robins.

That’s what I saw outside my bedroom window this morning. I think there were probably more, but the flock flew away before I could finish counting! 

I then crawled back into bed to hopefully sleep off the bug that is making the rounds. I’m up finally, feeling much better, and my Fitbit says I slept sixteen hours!

Today is brought to you by the number sixteen.

I’ll let you numerology people unravel that one. 

Now for some watercolor sketches of robins. Spring is upon us, friends. 

The Pine Tree (But it’s Not About the Tree)

The neighbor’s pine tree was removed today. It stood several inches away from our property line. But it felt like my tree.

The large crew of workers cheered when the tree came crashing down but I stood and cried. Oh I had plans, all internal mind you, to talk to our neighbors about my their tree. They told my husband they were planning to remove it because it was too messy. I was going to tell them about the woodpecker that lived in the tree. I tried to imagine their faces when I told them to save the tree for the birds, and well, I kept avoiding the conversation. And now my tree was gone, rolled away in an orderly pile of mulch.

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The pine tree that is no more. It is the tree pictured behind the bird feeder. Sniff.

Why am I fretting so much about the tree? It’s not the tree. I know this even though all I want to do is rant about the tree. No, I am crying for all the damn pine trees that have fallen in my life without my permission, disrupting the peace of my birds, leaving me helpless to fix. As if there was ever any fixing to be done in the first place!

Instead I will go for a run. I will drink a cup of hot tea even though I want coffee, because goodness knows more coffee will only make my heart quicken and I don’t need that.

I will fold laundry. I will pick up messes. I will write–first a dark poem about my tree on my private blog nobody knows exists (I will spare you the poem) and then this post. I will yell at the beagles when they find half a churro in my purse, and this sentence alone will make me laugh out loud for the first time since the tree was felled. Then I will chuck the churro away in the trash when I discover it is covered in ants (alas, I do live in Florida after all). Finally, one problem I can fix.

I will put away some dishes. I will drink more tea and keep avoiding coffee. I will let myself cry at the bright sun pouring down on grass where a tree once stood even though I know it’s not about the tree.

Be like the Painted Bunting

When a male painted bunting feels threatened it sings out a loud, clear, beautiful song from its perch, all the while dazzling in a bold palette of red, blue, green and yellow.

You can do this too. When facing darkness and fear, dare to show your bold colors and sing your beautiful song. Sing it into the void. Pierce the darkness. Display your beauty in an act of radical love and joy.

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Male painted bunting. https://flic.kr/p/jdsVky “Painted Bunting” by Andy Morrfew is licensed under CC BY 2.0

*A female and male bunting have been visiting my feeder this week. Highly unusual for my location in Florida. They aren’t even scared away by my loud three year old or my barking beagles. Can you believe it? It all defies logic and makes my heart sing. These birds fill me with such joy and hope!

Things are brewing (but not coffee)

I have drafts in my head that I want to put on page but instead I’m painting so the words will have to wait just a bit longer.

Things are brewing. Not coffee of course. Welp. I made it three hours into the morning and legitimately thought about throwing in the towel. That is how much I was missing my coffee. But instead I brewed lots and lots of hot water with lemon. Then I stared at piles of vegetables and decided to figure out a Plan for them later.

Until my next post–some bird friends I dreamed up and painted yesterday. Birds don’t do cleanses. Smart birds. (Of course they don’t drink coffee either so nevermind.)
 

Bird Songs

This was a morning I did not want to get out of bed. Not even to write. Not even to stick my nose in the can of Cafe Bustelo! (That is highly, highly unusual.)

I eventually got out of bed. I had to—the little girl needed to get dressed and fed and cajoled into getting her mop of curls combed.

I have reason for not wanting to face the day. My sister has a hard day ahead with a medical procedure. A lot of unknowns. Unknowns are the worst, the worst! I’m anxious and worried and fretting and pretty pissed off that there is nothing I can do to make it all go away.  As much as I wanted to remained curled in a ball, hiding under the blankets, I faced the day. I got up, dressed and readied the child for daycare, made the coffee, and sat down to say a prayer for my sister.

I felt a little better.

Then I sat down and did a bit of work. (I work from home. The commute is from the coffee pot to the office desk.) Well, I realized I could not continue on with this hard day without writing for at least a bit. So, off the clock I am, writing.  My heart is in ‘Cago (what my kiddo calls “chicago. She’s cute, huh?)

 

morning in South Florida

So here I am. As soon as I sat in front of my computer a bird began a beautiful song. It lured me onto the back lanai, and I hoped I could get a look at creature. Well, it stopped.  Bashful, I guess.

I don’t know what bird sings this song. My bird identification app was no help. (Yes I have a bird identification app. No I am not secretly an aged retiree living in Florida.)

None of my usual feathered friends have a song quite like this one. It was really quite lovely. It lifted my heart and for that I am glad. It made me step outside and breathe in the fresh, damp Florida air. My sliding door to the outside is now ajar, and the noises of animals and creatures puttering about is filling my space.

I will face the day, outside of the bed. Heart in ‘Cago. Keeping an eye and ear out for that bird.

UPDATE: everything went really well for my sister. Phew. Very much relieved. 

Hello From the Other Side

I have a confession: I didn’t fully believe my mourning birds.

I’m talking about the birds behind this blog. The birds that came to me and were like, hey, Poppins! HELLO.

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And I was like, Hi?

And they were like, We are your blog’s omen. (Who knew blogs had omens.)

So, I looked it up. Mourning doves represent: MOTHERHOOD, LOVE, AND HOPE AFTER LOSS.

Lovely, right? This is the catch. I DIDN’T FULLY BELIEVE THIS OMEN. I was grieving. I was like, hi, you and your “hope and change” makes for a nice slogan my feathered friends. But I am not with you. Not yet.

I was like, They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I aint’ done much healing…

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Ok I promise, no more Adele lyrics.

Back to those birds: hope, love, blah blah blah. It still felt so far away.

That is, until recently. I’ve had nothing short of a huge shift. A release of grief. A changing of the season of my heart.

I realized yesterday that I have only been writing this blog since November.  I’ve only been writing for four months but it seems like it must be longer because so much has shifted in that time.

I know that the writing played a role in that shift. It helped me to transmute this pain, to take the heavy stuff and perform creative alchemy.

I had a hunch about something and I checked: it turns out that there are more blog posts tagged with love and hope than are tagged with grief. Even in the midst of that pain I was feeling the love.

There is so much I want to share with the dozen of you lovely humans who read my blog. I’ve started drafting some posts about the healing process. Some of it is pretty intense and to be honest, downright spiritual. I will share soon.

But in the meantime, it feels really good to say…

….HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE!

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(I know, I promised…I just couldn’t resist. What can I san, it’s quite possible that Adele is also my spirit animal.)

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Why I Started this Blog

I thought I’d take a moment to welcome you and to share a little bit about why I started Mourning Dove Motherhood.

The real reason sounds slightly crazy, but it is the truth, and I’m a truth-teller. So here it is.

The seeds of this blog came about on the first anniversary of losing my mom (aka “Deathversary”). In typical fashion, I overthought the day and ended up having a slightly hilarious time attempting to mourn my mother on the stinking beaches of sanibel island.

I wanted to make grand sense of it all. Why this suffering. Why this loss? It sure sucked and I was tired of it, damnit!

Well, the universe/aka my dead mother/aka the oneness of the allness responded to me (I warned you it gets weird) and basically was all, “Yes this all sucks and you can be sad but get it TOGETHER WOMAN. You need to write. Write like your life depends on it. Sit. Down. And. Write.”

So I sat down and wrote. (I mean, after all my begging for answers, I wasn’t about to ignore the all-powerful-universe’s advice.)

I drafted dozens of posts on an unpublished blog with no name. I wanted to see exactly what I was going to write about before I put it out into the world.

Well, it turns out I have a lot to say about motherhood and a lot to say about the loss of my mom. A lot of it is funny. Some of it is sad. All of it heals me.

As far as the name of the blog is concerned,  it is a result of my close encounters with a mourning dove, which then led me to read about the symbolism of mourning doves, which made me realize that mourning doves perfectly encapsulate what this blog is about: motherhood and hope after loss.

Hope after loss. Oh yes, and we can’t forget the toddler who pees in the dog bowl. She shows up a lot. She is a feisty, hilarious, loving child and she is constant fodder for my writing.

Welcome and I look forward to sharing with you. (You and the universe, that is.)

P.s. I’m glad you are here. If you are anything like me and spend more time on Facebook than anywhere else, feel free to like the Facebook page to see all the upcoming posts!