The Girl Who Sat in Trees

Before there were synced calendars and day planners and even before there were trapper keepers, there was a little girl who sat in trees. She sat in the trees for what felt like hours, though it might have been mere minutes. She dreamed, journal-ed and sketched. She transported to a place of joy and bliss, cradled in the crooks of maples and oaks, conversing with imaginary beings.

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Creative Commons license “CentreOfAttention” .

Eventually the little girl grew up and as happens, she stopped sitting in trees. She loved her art and writing and singing, but she was so very good at accomplishing what was asked of her –grades, scores certificates and awards–that little by little the doing and achieving overtook the being and dreaming. Sure, there were times she held on tightly; she traded calculus for art class, she filled nearly three dozen personal journals, and she took an art class here or there even as an adult. But no doubt, over time she shifted. She was a girl with goals and one day even the art was remembered as the silly musings of a child; the dreaming became purely the intellectual kind.

Nobody told her to put down the paint brush. They didn’t need to. She was a good rule-follower and she understood the unspoken rules of a world that stood in direct opposition to the place in the trees.

And so it was that decades later she found herself at the finish line all burned out and dried up. Even then she didn’t understand why. She was doing her very best to practice self-care and find balance within the system. She followed her heart within this system. She defied norms within this very system! So why wasn’t it working? What she didn’t know then is that no system–even this artificial world dominated by deadlines, goals and outputs, where rest was seen as a means to at some point get more done–did not exist outside the laws of nature. As far removed as she was from those trees of her childhood, the moon still waxed and waned above her. The seasons turned. The oak rested in winter and sprouted leaves in spring. Try as she might to will herself to make it work–to power through as she had always done–simply no longer worked because the answers would never be found in the wasteland.

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The Heroine’s Journey

The Wasteland burns us up and burns us out. Instead of following your own instincts, instead of discovering what it is that gives us joy, what makes our heart sing, we spend most of our lives trying to make other people happy…living from our head rather than our instinct for what is good and healthy.

[…]

The Heroine’s Journey for these times is a journey out of the Wasteland. Each of us has our own unique set of stories to tell: the story of the years we spent in the Wasteland, the story of our awakening, and the story of the path we took out of it.

~Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted

No words, just art

Two days in a row now I’ve sat down in the morning with my coffee and an intention to write…and two days in a row I have decided to draw and paint instead. Either way, a very good way to start the day, and I am grateful for that! I am sure the words will return soon.

I created this little Florida scene and thought I would share with you all. It features (one) of my favorite little birds, the Ibis.  These cool little birds are common place where I live. Isn’t that just amazing? Not exactly a bird I saw growing up in the Midwest, I will tell you that! Anyway, ibises are a hoot to watch. They typically travel in groups and peck at the ground looking for bugs. It isn’t uncommon to see a group of ten or twelve of them crossing the yard en masse. They make themselves quite at home, too. They don’t seem to mind sharing the space with the odd squirrel or a few mourning doves.

Well, with one exception. Beagles. They are spooked by two old, loud, barking beagles running toward them, and I certainly can’t blame them for that.

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artwork my own. Copyright Sarah Osmer Dimattina

 

Update: after posting I went outside and what did I see but a small flock of ibises! Well played, universe.

Take time to remember

End of the Beginning by James Northrup

Someone said we begin to die
the minute we’re born.
Death is a part of life.
Who knows why the Creator
thins the herd.
Another old saying says
we must all be prepared
to give up those we love
or die first.
Take time to mourn.
Take time to remember.
Everything happens in cycles.
The pain you feel was once
balanced by someone’s joy
when that baby was born.
The loss you feel today
will be replaced by good
long-lasting memories.
Is there a message here? Yea,
treat others like this
is your last day above ground.

James Northrup 1943-2016

(artwork my own- full image can be viewed here and was inspired by this post.)

And Then…Growth.

A few months ago my friend gave me a plumeria cutting. Even if you have never heard of Plumeria I guarantee you have seen their blossoms: they produce the beautiful flowers that are used in making Hawaiian leis.

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Source wikipedia.

When my friend offered me a Plumeria tree cutting I jumped at the chance to grow one. Until I saw what I had to work with:

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image source

That photo isn’t of my actual stick but I can promise you it looked just like that photo. I didn’t think to take a picture of it, likely because I did not think it would grow. I mean it is a stick. A stick that is supposed to grow into an exotic tropical flower plant.  I have never grown a plant from cutting, let alone a fancy pants tropical tree.

Well, I love a good challenge. I decided what the heck, I would try to grow it. I bought root hormone (who knew such a thing existed), followed some youtube videos on the topic, placed it in a semi-sunny and not too wet region of my lanai, and I left it alone. This is very important according to the horticulturist from Hawaii who is on YouTube. He grows hundreds of these sticks cuttings.  Leave it alone! he told me. Do not pull or tug or mess with it! (How did he know that is exactly what I would have done??) The fragile roots need lots of time to grow and grow and grow.

I left it alone. It was so hard but I did not poke or tug or anything.

About a month or two later a leaf appeared. I went bananas bonkers. Oh my goodness it was growing!!

Again, I didn’t take any photos because I think I was still in disbelief, but it looked basically just like this:

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Photo source.. Not my stick with a tiny leaf but it looked just like this.

Now, several months after that first sign of growth, I am very excited to share a photo of what it looks like today:

Wow right? Look at all those huge tropically leaves! It is amazing. 

Keep the faith. So often when we feed a garden, whether inner or outer, it can feel like nothing is happening. And then, boom, growth

I hope that the next post I show are of blossoms.  (Inner and outer both.)

(And just as beautiful: my husband can no longer joke about my black thumb. Yeah that’s right hubs, you are looking at a wife who grew a plant from a literal stick placed into soil*. Bow down sir. Bow down.)

*I just accidentally typed “placed into soul” instead of “soul” – revealing no?

From independence to interdependence

Independence is I’ve got this. Interdependence is we need each other.

Independence is nobody understands. Interdependence is we feel your pain and lift you up.

Independence is I can’t trust anyone. Interdependence is we have your back.

Independence is each for themselves. Interdependence is we are stronger together.

Independence is I need more stuff. Interdependence is you are enough.

Independence is my country first. Interdependence is Earth Mother first.

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Image source

we are stronger together! (on social media) ;)  Facebook | Twitter | InstagramGoogle+

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. 

Signs of Spring

It is spring in Southern Florida. You have to look closely (it is easy to miss the subtle signs among the constant sunshine and blue skies) but it is here.

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Magical little dragonfly. Kind of weird and cool at the same time. Image source.

 

On a walk yesterday I noticed what appeared to be baby dragon flies. Have you ever seen such a thing? At first I didn’t even know what I was looking at. Were they flies? Were they butterflies? They seemed like something out of a fairy tale. One little booger landed on my hand! She had bright red wings. Magical.

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Flowering bougainvillea. image source.

As I walked further I suddenly noticed tons of
flowering bougainvillea that
seemed to appear out of nowhere. Overnight entire branches were now full of the bright pink blossoms.

And the baby anoles! They are the lizards you see everywhere in Florida. I noticed they were absent from our yard for a bit. Weird. And then in the last week or two tons of the little guys started to appear once again, darting around, climbing the lanai screen and scurrying under foliage.

I am heartily embracing these signs of spring. It may not be daffodils and forsythia (gosh I miss forsythia) but I’ll take it.

If you have read any of my recent posts you might have caught on to the fact that things have been a wee bit heavy in my life as of late. (Understatement?) I recently wrote about how it felt like I’ve been stuck in the winter season.

Since writing that post, a heaviness has lifted. I am pretty sure the writing itself had something to do with it. It never ceases to astound me how the simple (and yet so difficult) act of witnessing and acknowledging our pain is enough to make it go POUF. Even when it is heavy and dense and feels like it stretches back a thousand lifetimes. Doesn’t matter. Poof.

Crazy isn’t it?

I am fairly new to Florida and I’m still trying to figure out what the seasons exactly are (other than rainy…and non-rainy) but I will tell you: It feels like spring.