Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘Family’

Buddha Babies

The granddaughters have arrived. The “baby” (age 2) went to bed, but her big sister (age 5) was too excited to sleep. She and I put together some puzzles (remember those Laurie puzzles? made of bright-colored crepe rubber?), then she had a snack. During her snack she told me that she had a Buddha at home. I asked if she knew who the Buddha was, and when she said “no,” I launched into the tale of the prince who left his riches, discovered human suffering, and sat under a tree until he “awakened,” and taught others the eightfold path. Only afterward did I stop and think, Wow, I just had a conversation with a five-year old about suffering and awakening.

It’s going to be an interesting visit with these amazing little girls.  (OK, so I sound like a doting grandma…..)

Stepping Out ~ Gingerly

Because I was suffering from a serious case of cabin fever, this afternoon Ankle and I bravely (and gingerly) stepped out to attend brother-in-law Cliff’s retirement party. It was exactly what I needed to regain my perspective, bask in the love and companionship of family, and savor my watermelon dipped in my cup of wine. Yum.

Being with fun, kind, musical, playful, laughing, thoughtful and intelligent adults and children reminded me of the goodness in the world. What a blessing!

Now I’m rejuvenated, ready for the week ahead.

A breath of fresh air!

What a beautiful day today! It feels like the beginning of a different life. Over this very busy weekend I’ve entered a new phase:

My mother came home from the nursing home this weekend. Now we are adjusting and seeing how she does at home. After spending so much time in an institutional setting with her, it is a huge relief to me that she can be at home again with her beloved cat.

Photo of Mini by Sharon Lips.

And work continues on the barn. It is finally coming together! Now that my mother is home I hope the unpacking will move faster.

The garden is bursting with green on this beautiful, breezy day. Here is Lady’s Mantle from my herb garden.

Lady's Mantle, May 2010

And wood is drying for the Sanctuary Without Walls fire circle.

Next gathering is on June 20th. Save the date!

Firewood

Navigating New Territory

For the past two weeks I’ve been experiencing a crash course in navigating the hospital and a nursing home, as my mother, 93 this month, underwent some medical difficulties. Today my sister is visiting, offering sibling support, which is fabulous. And tomorrow I plan to be in the pulpit, sharing a Psalm and a passage from John.

In the past few days I have found  a couple of hours of respite in my garden, preparing space for new herbs and flowers, smelling the rich earth: humus, humility, humanity – literally grounding myself as I kneel in the dirt, sensing the budding life force all around me. May my mother feel this greening, growing, healing power, too, as she grows stronger day by day: the miracle of simply being alive.

Earth Day, 1970 & 2010

Key West Community Garden

It’s Earth Day, so I found myself thinking about the first official Earth Day in 1970 (I still have my decal…somewhere). I went to an Earth Day program on campus, my baby daughter in a carrier on my front, and all I could think about was how different the future would be for her. Much has changed since 1970. Now that baby girl is over 40 years old and has two daughters of her own. People are finally taking climate science seriously.

Key West Community Garden

It seems to me that the earth is a much more troubled place now, politically, climate- and ecology-wise, and economically, but my daughter and her family are rising to the occasion. It gives me hope.  She and her husband started Key West’s first community garden, which was such a success that they are in the process of starting another garden there.

She and her husband grow bananas, papayas, and pineapples in their yard, which is across the street from the first community garden, where they grow veggies and flowers. Life in paradise! Here in the Northeast, we have our own local food movement, for which I am grateful. But alas, no locally grown bananas!

Banana Tree, Front Yard

Bananas Ripening Indoors

A Seder? Today??

Today we will be attending a family Passover Seder, even though it’s not quite Passover. This family gathering is a large one, about fifty people, so scheduling can be tricky. At the home of a cousin, all ages will gather, from infants to great-grandparents, for a beautiful and joyous ritual meal remembering the Exodus; the themes of deliverance, humility, gratitude, liberation, and freedom; always a political dimension, usually expounded upon by one of the uncles; delicious food; much love. And a place for Elijah.

The children play a major part, reading from the Haggadah, and singing songs.  Children are very important on this holiday: “l’dor va-dor,” “from generation to generation.”

All the items on the ritual dinner plate have meanings associated with the holiday. The one most people are familiar with is the matzah, the unleavened bread. And there is much lifting of the cup of wine. The home becomes a sanctuary, a place for expressing gratitude, love, and celebration.

Passover blessings!

Life is Tough

As we move along in the barn renovation project, the electrician is ready to do the trenching for burying the power lines. A couple of days ago, I spoke with him about this part of the process. So where does that trench have to go? Directly through my herb garden. Ouch!

This is a garden I’ve slowly been developing – starting plants from seeds, rejoicing when after two years flowers appear, adding a few new varieties each year, looking forward to working there again in the spring. I  was surprised at how bereft I felt at the thought of the trencher going through that garden. I asked the electrician if I could tie ribbons on plants to be avoided, which at this time of year are nothing but bare twigs sticking out of the snow. And naturally, most of the plants are not visible at all in January. He said, “of course!” Then I began wondering if I could dig up some of the plants with no obvious growth showing, but all the life is currently in their roots. Would they survive the digging process?

Before I could make any decisions, some other events distracted me. My mother who lives with me, age 92, wasn’t feeling well. For her to even mention such a thing is a big deal; she’s always afraid she’s going to be a bother to me. Mothers! I’m just relieved she’s right here so that I can take care of her as needs arise, instead of driving hundreds of miles, as some of my friends must, to take care of their aging parents! So I made a doctor appointment for her, but just before we were to leave for that appointment today, she fell down the stairs. Oh, my.

As it turned out, she was justified in not feeling well; she has an infection. And because she had her puffy winter coat in her arms when she fell on the stairs, the tumble just resulted in bruises – we hope! We are waiting for the phone call with x-ray results.

After getting her settled back at home with her prescriptions, I took a little stroll out back. There was the snowy herb garden, waiting for me to tie ribbons on the bare sticks. Somehow it didn’t seem so urgent. I found myself thinking, “Well, with that plant gone, I could move this plant over here, and put a new one there….” I also remembered that plants are tough; their life force can be very strong. I’m not as concerned about my garden now (but I may yet use a couple of strategically placed ribbons).

My mother has a wonderful attitude. She’s a tough old lady, who always makes them laugh at the doctor’s office. I hope that when I’m 92 I will bear my ills with as much grace as she does! She teaches me about resilience, about keeping a sense of humor, about taking in stride all that comes with old age (which isn’t for sissies). She especially teaches me about life’s strength and tenaciousness. Life is tough. And I love it.