Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘The Barn’

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

Let There Be Light!

At last, we have electrical power in the barn.

The barn at night

The door and stairs:

And the interior.

Barn interior - with light!

This space will be used for my studio, and also for SWW and other gatherings. We’ve come a long way in the past year!

Equinox Musings

This was the weekend of the Spring Equinox, a time when light and darkness are balanced, with light on the increase. In ages past, the Spring Equinox was the start of the New Year. The birthdays of many great mother goddesses were celebrated at this time. March 25 is dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Christianity, perhaps related to the powerful birthing feminine energy of this time of year.

Beginnings. Initiation. This is a time for reinvention of ourselves, which may be reflected in our outer lives as we begin afresh. At this place on the Wheel of the Year, I am seeking balance in my life as I move deeper into my work with Sanctuary Without Walls. Part of this process has been passing some of my responsibilities over to others, letting go.

In the Céile Dé tradition, this is the Feast of the New Spears, a time to rededicate ourselves to our callings, the ways we serve and bring the best of ourselves to others. We can renew commitment, or perhaps dedicate ourselves to a new project. (I also tend to think of asparagus when I think of the Feast of New Spears!)

Part of my dedication this Spring, in addition to planning SWW gatherings, has involved the work on the barn, which will provide a meeting place for those times when SWW or other groups cannot meet outdoors. It also will provide a new space for my studio. The interior is almost complete, but we are still waiting for electricity, and we need to sand and paint the floors and stairs.

Moving in? Maybe in April. We’ll see.

A Springtime invocation, part of a call to the directions offered at a ceremony at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield, MA years ago:

Come Spirit of the East,

Spirit of Rebirth,

New Visions,

New Beginnings.

Help us to know

that we need not will our fresh starts,

Help us to know

that they will come effortlessly,

with the turning of the Wheel,

as day follows night,

inevitably,

as the sap begins to run each spring.

~ Barbara Haugen

Snow Day, Flowing Sap and Animism

We canceled our trip to Vermont; now we’re digging out from a deep, heavy, wet snowfall – and it’s still coming down. It is absolutely gorgeous outside because the snow is sticking to the tree branches, creating a visual fairyland. The power is still on right here, but down the road the power is out. As the wind picks up, more tree branches may come down. It’s beautiful, and it’s destructive – nature’s pruning processes.

Snow, Maple, and Barn, February 24, 2010

A few days ago, before this snowstorm, we trimmed a low-hanging branch on a young maple near the barn, thinking it would be best to do this while the sap is still in the roots. Well, we were too late – the sap slowly dripped from the cut, and I had an urge to fetch a bandage for the wound. Who knew that in February the sap has already begun to rise? I didn’t.The sap froze into skinny, sweet icicles, and now the tree’s branches are piled with snow.

I’ve begun reading a book on “new animism,” by Graham Harvey (Animism: Respecting the Living World). First he gives a survey of the historical, problematic uses of the word “animism,” then explores case studies and the new life that the concept of “animism” has taken on in the lives of people today. I’m not very far into the book, but so far it is intriguing reading. It also has made me feel especially disrespectful toward the tree for trimming his/her limb at a time when the sap is rising. The book helps me better understand why I felt like bandaging the wound, murmuring apologies to Maple, and listening for what Maple might be “telling” me.

Communing with Oak, Ireland 2004

Having been raised by botanists, I have a strong leaning toward science and rational explanations, but the world is a very complex and dimly understood place. Short shrift is given to “other ways of knowing” in our Western culture. A few years ago, I found myself researching ‘highly sensitive people’ to find stories of others who share my intense sensual involvement with the world in which we’re all embedded. Discovering and creating my place, my earthly tribe, my cosmic clan, in a way that goes beyond including just human persons, has been a life-long process begun in childhood. The circle has been ever-expanding: hence, sanctuary without walls.

Now I’ll wade through knee-deep Sister Snow to take a photo of this lovely day.

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.

The Year of the Barn

In seeking an indoor space for meetings, as well as a space to do my textile artwork, we have been working on the upper story of the old carriage barn. After replacing the roof, the first task was to clear out decades of accumulated stuff.

Next, we found that the sill had rotted, though the foundation was fine. So the sill and some of the siding were replaced, at the back of the barn:

And at both sides:

Windows were replaced in the lowest level of the back (the horse stalls), and added to the front and back of the barn on the top level.

Two windows, one at each end, will be added to the side walls on the top floor. The interior staircase is in place, and now insulation, electrical and interior walls are in process. When the indoor work is done, and the weather is warm enough, we’ll scrape, paint, and beautify.

Meanwhile, going through a lifetime of /stuff/ has been intense.  It has called for a life retrospective, which is appropriate, difficult, and liberating. “Let It Go” has been my mantra.

This is The Year of the Barn.