Holy

Holy

I am ten in a white dress, confirmed in the Anglican church. I hold a white leather bible my mother has given me. It has a zipper like a tiny suitcase. I unzip it and see gold. The gold is cool, slippery and keeps the pages from opening. I split the gold with my thumb and the words appear on the finest paper I have seen. In between these pages are startling pictures.

Betty Ann is my friend. She is Catholic. I have gone to her church and kissed the Bishops ring. I want to be Catholic.

I will show Betty Ann my bible. I knock at her door and she comes outside. ‘Look what my Mom gave me’, I hold it out to her. She turns her back and says. ‘I can’t look, it’s not our bible, it’s a sin.’

Then she says, ‘Your dog won’t go to heaven.’

I don’t know if she is telling the truth.

I say my prayers at night afraid I will leave someone out of my blessing and accidentally kill them.

I grew up. My dogs are heaven.

I tried divinity in a building when I lost my inner compass but Church was like pouring myself into a cocktail dress after eating a bowl of pasta, like trying to drink the ocean with a fork.

Flowers, cats, and butterflies attend no church, have no illusions of history and destiny.’

I walk the fields, climb rocky paths, reflect by the river and lean into soft animal bodies.

I had a father. Divinity has no persona. It is the ecstatic, unknowable mystery.

 

The god of dirt

came to me many times and said

so many wise and delectable things, I lay

on the grass listening

to his dog voice,

crow voice,

frog voice; now,

he said, and now,

and never once mentioned forever…….

                                                                                  Mary Oliver

Holy 2

 The white book lies in a dark drawer while I swoon with delight under the skies, in the cedars, by the river, so much fecund song, feathered movement I lose myself in the Holy.

xo LA

Blanche

Blanche

Life is an illusion, particles moving so fast I can feel her bones and fur. Seventeen years she has purred for us, walked to the river, touch, touch, touch, G’s arm while he sits beside her. I’m here she says.

A spiral down. Old cat all of a sudden. I give her my chair and pad it with sheepskin, lift her to the litter, she pees. Bring food, water and Blanche such a good cat, laps so I feel okay.

No vet to tell me your kidneys are shutting down I see your mukluk legs, so fluffy and sweet. No prodding and needling for you my sweet girl. You will fade in my arms on your chair while I purr you with love.

This is breaking my heart into shards of grief I am tripping over the broken bits and nothing gets done. Still you walk to the river to have wine with us. I carry you up, talk softly into your neck , you sweet bony old cat.

G tells me her life, so long and good, does not make him sad, with watering eyes. We have buried many; torn with grief, our eulogy. We laugh and cry carrying her everywhere with us.

Seventeen years ago, sitting cross legged on the floor Harriet climbed into the hammock of my skirt  and birthed four kittens. Blanche second with her startling colours. A little puzzle kitty. I held her up and said, ‘You are mine, I am yours.’ We had just moved to the Riverhouse.

Here is the warm grassy weather and the river you love. There is nothing else but sweetness. Take your time Blanche, we are with you.

xoLA

Hettie Hettie Hettie

You must not leave the story of yourself, this tiny book I love to open. I walk in your garden, sneak out the gate and smell the milky cows. I see your  lovely cat on the garden fence, or where you work on a pile of material , snuggling in yarn, rubbing against your sewing machine. I can’t walk to your cottage, the ocean stops me but I might.

I drive off the road looking into the glow of windows. Little details; she carries something behind a lace curtain, I see the television, someone gets up. I do this with books, walk carefully through rooms, take my shoes off before stepping on carpets, tuck my legs up on the sofa and sip tea.

This life of mine. This tiny orbit. Then a glimpse like home. My soul ruffles with knowing. Someone slips in and the orbit shivers. Kinship. Oh my.

Sweet levity I say to each post. I will go into the closet to savor you. She creates to melt my heart.

When the fireflies come, a blessed surprise. This is how I love life.

Stay.

xo LA

In ‘Tent’ ional

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote,

‘You never can tell what a thought will do

In bringing you hate or love-

For thoughts are things, and their airy wings

Are swifter than carried doves.

They follow the law of the universe-

Each thing creates its kind,

And they speed O’er the track to bring you back

Whatever went out from your mind.’

It was focus, a small thread of thought stitched tight and held in the dark. I knew it needed light so I pulled down the blinds. I went about my day watering the flowers, making egg salad, staring out the kitchen window.

I lose whole days staring out the kitchen window.

Then the blinds snapped open. I was folding a little pile of linens, sticking my nose in to smell the clean soapy sunshine when the tight stitched thought warmed up. I felt prickly and single minded. All day I stared at my folded laundry. A small space was opening up and I knew my thought had a shape.

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Looking out the kitchen window I could see lace and fabric hanging in the trees. In my dreams there was a vivid image. In the morning I felt those airy wings and started to sew. I forgot to eat or walk the dog, I kept sewing. My thought got bigger. I was sewing a small house. It was very intense.

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Her name is ‘Castle Luna’, you can see her in my Shop.       xo LA

Bird

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Bird Food

It was all green then snow fell confusing the birds. I put my boots on, go out in pajamas to fill the feeders. I stand at the window and watch birds fill the air, drop, spiral, land, lift off, flutter mid flight. Squirrels come; all of them eating. Not enough so I pull on my boots, throw seed like I’m feeding chickens; in the cedars birds screech, ‘get in the house.’  A swarm of Junco’s descend, the snow a calligraphy of black until the Cardinals bloody the snow.

I eat my cereal at the window. More come, then Crows drop like stones, peck seeds from the table of snow. Finches cover the feeders like farmed mussels. Seed disappears. Outside I toss the last of the seed, birds fly around me, land at my feet, sit on close branches. The Crows pump up and down like thugs, Jays scream ‘not enough.’

I close the door. In the kitchen I pull open cupboards, root out oatmeal, nuts, sesame seeds, cashews. I see the cereal in my bowl, take the screen off the window, crank it wide, then drag a chair to the sink and climb up, kneel on the counter, fling my cereal out the window to an explosion of wings.

I scrabble to get more food, spilling cashews over the counter. A crow on top of the window, plops down, picks up a nut. I freeze. Another through the window, flaps down in the sink then back up, stares at me. A third one lands. I hold this picture like it’s God.

I inch out of the room, sit out of sight and breathe. There is a rustling, clicking, flapping. A smile I can’t stop spreads across my face. I peek around the wall and catch shadows and oily black wings, great hopping bird movement. G will be home soon.

I slide open the door to the deck and close it. When G parks I wave and hold my finger to my lips, shushing him, motioning him to me. He walks over and I tell him to be quiet and follow. Shush I say. I slide the door and we move slowly in. I tip toe toward the kitchen, G behind.

On the floor a mess of Crows have torn open bread, they stab and rip it from each other, rattle, squawk, too many to count, Juncos hop, peck nuts on the counter, a Jay flies out the window with a cashew, a Cardinal is perched on the tap.

I say, ‘See.’

G can’t find words.crow

I know I say laughing, ‘ It’s amazing isn’t it.’

xo LA

 

 

 

 

Too Much

You had to go. I remember the time your tent twisted up in a wind storm late at night and I screamed, ‘She is going to be destroyed’. G backed you out under the stars, I walked around with a flashlight looking for scars praying. You seduced me with your white leather seats, mood lights; the way people spoke to me so they could be close to you. Your music was so intoxicating I would head out for milk and drive to Florida.’ Where are you’, yelled G over my synced blue tooth phone that cut through Beck and drove me onto the shoulder. ‘Somewhere’,  was all I could say.

I couldn’t let you play with my life any longer.

I need to drive but not with this narcissistic embrace, the careful route, steady planting of wheels either side of potholes, like a woman wading through mud in heels. Forgive me darling car but you were too much. I became vivid and too fast for my own good, you were like driving naked gulping champagne.

She loves you now, saw you and was smitten. I watched her bag up all her money to have you.

Just like I did.

 

Minni

xo LA

Quotes

I love quotes. Here’s one by Flaubert, ‘Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.’ This sits on my desk held by a cross-eyed cat. When I think my life is dull I replace the word dull with orderly so I can let my imagination loose with out reining it in. I let it tear the place apart.

This one, by anonymous, ‘In our twenties and thirties we try hard to be perfect, because we are so worried what people will think of us. In our forties and fifties, we start to be free because we don’t give a damn what people think of us. But in your sixties and seventies you finally realize this liberating truth……….nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.’  What a shock. What license.

My quote, ‘Inertia is the enemy of life.’  I tell myself, do something, write something, make something, nobodies looking. It’s the antidote if I can just make myself move.

I follow two women. We form a wonky triangle in the world. I peak into the glow of hearts they have cracked open. Both are brave and have put their words, photos and creations out in the open where life can take shots. Sophie is relentlessly creative and Susan has relentless courage. I look for them, I miss them, I applaud them. I open my door, my heart in the warmth of this stream of inspiration and unspoken conversation.

Dylan Thomas said, ‘Don’t open a book, open a window.’ 

xo LA

 

 

Enough

A wizened old woman holding a cardboard sign, ‘104 years old trying to get a million likes’; a bombed out city I can’t pronounce, body pieces, need your help; a disfigured child, share and pray for me. I’m derailed.

I had this job one summer.

 

Please take this butter to my sister they don’t keep cows. The crock of butter sits on the floor of the van. In an hour I will hand it to Ruth and say this if from Sarah.

I pick up baked goods, meat, eggs, vegetables from the Mennonites for Harry. Harry drives to Toronto and sells everything off the truck in a couple of hours.

Sarah has a gaggle of children, her clothesline is full and flapping. A sewing machine sits in the south window of the kitchen. She swats flies off her baking, wraps it in plastic and I pack it in a box. The children have dirty strong feet, even Sarah is bare foot. Chickens scatter when I walk to the van. Sarah’s garden is the size of a city lot. Straight rows of vegetables beside riots of zinnias, dahlias, sunflowers, delicate mauve and pink larkspur. A hundred acres in a river valley is Sarah’s world. She hasn’t seen Ruth in two years. Sarah gives me a recipe with the butter. She smiles, tells me Ruth hates to bake, hands me Larkspur tied with string. I see Sarah squint into the sun waving me off, her little flock milling around.

 

I shut down Facebook, clear my files. No more assaulting images, lost time ‘liking’ people and things I shouldn’t know.

I go outside with bare feet and pin my laundry in the wind. The flowers I’ve nurtured blooming around me. This intimacy enough. My world needs sheltering.

 

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xo LA

Rush

Little silver needles, a French pattern, fingering merino/possum yarn. Two millimeter needles are bird bones. Eighty one stitches make me blind. I braille knit to keep the stitches from sliding into oblivion. This new language of wool. A faerie dress.

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Who sits with a possum, combing fur to spin, playing dead. I see it in my mind; it would suit everyone. The possum would feel saved, the wool gatherer relieved.

I drop a stitch. It is like hiking with Rose on the coyote ridge. She careens through the brush on a scent. I lose her. I am rigid still. If I move she will lose the place of me. I stop breathing and will the stitch to stop it’s fall into nothingness. I set my needles down like they are mine fields. I hold my ground and whistle again and again for my little dog. Come back to me. I lever the smallest crochet hook under the perception of a stitch. I have it. Rose clambers toward me.

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I walk and knit for the adrenaline.

xo LA