Spirit Wilting

While I still hold onto my own little piece of the planet and the goodness we grow here, both in the gardens and in our hearts, I find each and every day a part of my spirit wilts knowing what an abysmal man we have at the helm of our mother ship, America.

And just this morning, while I read aghast once more, the expeditious and evil things he is implementing just days after taking office, I realized that my disgust for him as a person might even exceed my distaste for his ill-guided and insidious policies.

Trump is a buffoon. But, he is also a vile man, whose continued lack of respect for women is nothing short of shocking. Selfish and seriously disturbed, the very sight of him makes me cringe.

There, I have said it. And now I can get back to the work of doing whatever I can, in my own small way, to counter the repugnant actions this repulsive man is enacting.

Darkest Day or Return of the Light?

Today’s winter solstice — darkest day or return of the light? I truly feel that right now we so strongly need the metaphor of the return of the light. If we dwell, emotionally and spiritually, in the dark, we can become both bitter and hopeless. Acknowledging that the light exists in each of us may just assist us in bringing that forward. I cannot tell what that might mean to you, but I do know that just simple kindness can be potent. Opening up our hearts when shutting down is a normal response to the state of both our country and the world can be a powerful antidote to this darkness. Let that little light of yours shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

winter-sunrise

Mindfulness and a Big Ouch!

I fell today. Without attempting to explain the physics of the event, suffice it to say it involved a wet tile floor, soap, scrubbing and me. I came down hard and fast onto my hip. Hard enough to see stars and utter several unladylike profanities. As I lay there for a bit gathering myself and assessing to see if any real damage had been done, I contemplated that falls like that are dangerous at any age, but no joke at 67.

I don’t know where my mind was when this occurred, but I do know it wasn’t on the task at hand. After recovering I got to thinking that I was obviously not totally present when it happened. It was a shocking and painful reminder to move more slowly and consciously. To be walking down the stairs when I am walking down the stairs, not thinking where I’m off to at the bottom. To be aware that I am getting up on a slippery tile floor when doing so, not thinking about what I have to clean next. To be lifting that hot boiling pot of pasta to the sink when I’m lifting that pot, not pondering the sauce that will be going onto the pasta once drained.

Cultivating mindfulness has so many facets and so many benefits. It can improve our lives in a myriad of ways. And in this case, could have saved me the giant lump on my hip which shall be turning so many neon colors soon enough.

Be here now.

Hope When It Feels Hopeless

I have waited a bit for the utter shock of this election to settle in my gut before writing. And, here I am five days later still trying to integrate this rather bizarre reality. I am, by nature, a hopeful woman. Perhaps even a bit of a Pollyanna. But, this has tested me to the limits of my trust in the “rightness” of things. 

What I get easily is the discontent many people feel in their lives. Their frustration. Their feelings of helplessness. I am a fortunate woman, not as deeply ensconced in these feelings, perhaps even elite in the scheme of things. There is only one area in which I have felt totally abandoned by my current president—that of his catering to the industrial food farms and corporations. Other than that monster of an issue, I remain happy with what Obama has both accomplished and attempted to accomplish while in office. 

Still, I voted for a change — Bernie Sanders. Another man with both vision and little to no baggage. This dream did not materialize. So, attempting to not waste my energy in the blame game, I looked to the next best in a candidate. I compared Bernie and Hillary’s voting records while in the Senate and they were mostly in line. I listened when he asked us to support her as a candidate. And I watched the process unfold where a dubious business man and reality television star became the other party’s candidate. His undignified and downright weird demeanor throughout the campaign simply baffled and even disgusted me. I just could not imagine him running the country I am so fortunate to call home. 

Yet, here we are. With Donald Trump as our President elect. With both Trump and I shocked. No amount of wishful thinking will change this sobering fact . Not even the plethora of petitions running amok on the internet to challenge the electoral college in December. (That crazy system is a whole other issue, way over due for some tweaking!)

So, while Trump tries to figure out to actually be president, my basic hopeful nature has surfaced once more. It was just this morning, over a hot delicious cup of coffee watching the sun rise over the farm, that I pondered my personal choices. I can remain both depressed and sad about this turn of events, or I can find a state of acceptance and, yes, even hope. 

But, mostly the reality is that I can just continue to do what I do, in my own small way. I can continue, with my family, to grow fine organic food. I can continue to host visitors to Kauai and model a life of clean sustainability. I can continue to treat people with open hearted kindness. I can continue to communicate clearly to the best of my ability. I can continue to make ethical consumer choices. I can continue to protect our precious environment in a myriad of small ways. I can continue to practice yoga to keep myself strong and flexible in mind, body and spirit. And I can love. I believe this is the best personal protest and political progress I can make. Oh, yes, and I can hope. Hope that my choices ripple out in some small way to counter the hate, fear and uncertainty currently so stirred up. 

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Still Single?

Still single? No man in your life yet? Don’t you miss having a partner?

These are a sampling of the questions I continue to get weekly for the past 15 years.

The answers are in order: Yes. No. Sometimes.

The fact is that my life is full and fine. I am surrounded by an inclusive and interesting community. My friends are solid and super. Those friends are just a text or call away for quick bite out, a movie or just a cup of tea or glass of wine and talk time. My sons live on the farm with their partners, giving me the unique and fabulous opportunity to live in my home alone and yet have their company and help daily. My daughter has a wonderful husband and life on the mainland and we talk constantly and visit often.  I have work that both inspires and tires me. For years that work has provided ample abundance. My reading tastes are vast and varied, making the possibility of ever being bored a non-issue. Beaches for meandering are plentiful, as are the yoga classes at my favorite studio in town.

Post-divorce my sole intent was to stabilize myself and my children, both emotionally and practically. That was a worthy task which took both gumption and grace, as well as a great deal of time. As things smoothed out for us all, time ticked away, as it has a way of doing.

So, here we are. Fifteen years later. Do I miss having a partner? Sure. Sometimes. But in all honesty, not for the most part. I’m a bit set in my ways, perhaps even feisty. A man would have to be utterly and completely compelling to even consider integrating him into the scene I have created here. If you know someone up to the task, give him my number and fair warning! Otherwise, just know I remain still single and satisfied.

dolphin

Time. So Elusive

I have an electric toothbrush. I bought it for just the reason that it has prompted this blog post —- it makes me brush my teeth for two minutes. And last night those two minutes seemed like two hours. So did the tea kettle’s time spent coming to a boil this morning so I could do my pour-over coffee before heading out in the just-dawn light to harvest our produce. And, the dryer I set for 45 minutes on that rainy afternoon this week, instead of the usual clothesline, seemingly took twice that long, as I counted the dollars it was adding to my gas bill. What about the damn red light at the Safeway parking lot in Kapaa, huh? That thing is hours and hours long, or at least feels like it. And yet, wasn’t it just a bit ago that I was nursing a baby to sleep? And just a year or two that I kissed a wee one good-bye as they headed to kindergarten? Oh, and the time I walked to mass with my father just to make him happy—wasn’t that just recently? And shared a cocktail and a giggle with my mom?—that could not have been more than 20 years ago!!!

 The moments can stretch out interminably. The days can be long. The weeks just whiz by and surely the years are short. And getting shorter every year. Time. So elusive.

 

clock

 

 

Solace and Surprises in Writing

For as long as I can remember, I have found solace and even some surprises  in writing. As a teenager, I thought I just might be the next e.e.cummings.  In a move many years ago, my mother inadvertently threw away a box of all my teenage journals. I’m not sure if I wanted to thank her or thwack her. Maybe they would be abysmally crafted and embarrassingly trite, but I’d surely be curious about that teenage girl and her thoughts, dreams and nightmares.

 In my first year of college with an eye towards a major in creative writing and a career in magazine writing/editing or something of the sort, I had Mary Cheever, an author in her own right, as well as the wife of the more celebrated author, John Cheever, as a professor. She managed to squelch any imaginings I might have had about my talents as a composer of prose. She ridiculed my writing and raged on about just how corny and calculated my poetry and short stories were. Hurt and disheartened, it was years before I put pen to paper again.

 Looking back on that now, I feel while her criticism may have been warranted I only wish it had been delivered to my young blossoming self in a more kind and open-hearted way. Perhaps I could have actually heard and integrated it then and used it to create finer work, to actually improve my skills and techniques, instead of shutting down. And while I did move to New York City, I never did pursue working at a magazine.

 The next time I really have any record of writing again is a journal I started when I found out I was pregnant with my firstborn son, Sky. He has that now–I gifted it to him on his 18th birthday. When I reread it, I was enthralled by the ecstasy I was feeling and the energy I put into growing and birthing that baby boy and in birthing myself as a mother. The journal ends shortly after he was born, surely a result of the sheer overwhelming and joyful task of having a newborn.

 From that point onward, right up until today, my writing has been sporadic. I did newsletters from 1993-2009 for our weekly produce customers with thoughts on sustainability and organics, recipes for our vegetables and fruits and the like. My mental meanderings have another peak after my divorce, when it seemed a perfect place to purge the full range of emotions I was working through. I sent home long descriptive emails to loved ones when I traveled. Then in 2010, I launched this blog http://www.northcountryfarms.wordpress.com. Here I saunter through a range of topics that I find therapeutic to me to get into writing and hopefully interesting to others who might read them. But, mostly I write for me. Just to say what I need to say. Just to put into words what my often scattered thoughts and fragmented feelings present to me.

 Recently, I reconnected with a person I have had no contact with in about 50 years. Yes, 50 years. For reasons I cannot fathom, he saved letters I had written to him while he was in the Navy in the late 60s. When he found them, he dove down the internet rabbit hole and found me and my blog. In subsequent emails, phone calls and texts, he reminded me that we both had spoken all those years ago about our passion for writing. It sparked me into realizing that expressing ourselves in words and sharing them can be powerful. For ourselves or for others. And it reminded me to just keep at it. I think it’s good for my soul.

pencil