Gifts in Disguise

I made the mistake of looking at my email last night, when Sunday is already quite a pressured experience anyway, preparing for the week. Glancing through, I found that I’d been fired by a client.

The pain of it inhabited the space before I went to bed, as well as my dreams and in between as I lie awake. The pain being multifold, inflicted partly by my internal critic quickly identifying my errors with this client, partly worry about harm I might have caused, and partly due to my own personal traumatic material.

My more recent work has enabled me to turn toward grief and difficult feelings. The resulting introspection and discovery leads me to wanting to share here.

The essential “error” was too many misattunements in too short a period of time. My dear colleague Twig Wheeler talks of this in relation to SE, saying that as a practitioner, you get 2, possibly 3 strikes, and then you’re outta there.

I can see how due to some stress in my personal life, I had instances of being less than perfectly attuned. As I replay things, I can identify moments where I might have been able to seize upon the moment and name what was happening in those moments. This may or may not have made a difference.

The thing I would have named is the pattern of conflating disagreement with threat and otherness.

This experience was necessary because I am human and need reminders. And because I am still growing and will continue to grow. And because I am human. Because I do the same thing, we ALL do the same thing that this person was doing. I needed to see my own pull to identify fault or cause and otherize my client in response to being otherized.

As I allow my grief, it is impossible to not be aware of the ways in which I have “othered”, continue to “other”, on a daily basis. I am usually aware of it, and interested in and capable of inquiry about it. In this way, there’s possiblity, room for change and expansion of my perspective. I’m also acutely aware of my own trauma patterns that have made me, and still drive me, from time to time, to move away from another person because their disagreement feels threatening to me.

This is a cause for further grieving, because I can see this everywhere, in a new way, due to the gift from my client. I wish there had been an opportunity to have a conversation, to repair, but alas, I don’t get to choose, nor to know whether it would have made a difference, or whether the best thing for both of us has already occurred in this case. I grieve not getting the chance for a closing (a hazard of this job no one ever talks about in the training period).

I’m sharing so you can think about the distortions we are seeing in society at large, where we have a really low tolerance for discomfort, which makes it even harder to examine the othering that happens as a result of being driven by our trauma states and baser drives for safety and tribalism. It feels incredibly sad and isolating. I see it in my family, and the families of others, at the grocery store, on the road, on the bike path.

We all have the right to distance ourselves from whatever feels threatening to us. If our insides are creating the thing that feels threatening, rather than the outside (I am not talking about -isms and true environmental threats), then we may be continually actually be trying to move away from ourselves. The more we try to move away from ourselves, the more conflicted we become. I think you can see the dilemma.

I do the work I do, no matter how painful it may be at times, as an expression of trying to take responsibility for my othering, and help others be able to do the same.

I want to express my deep gratitude to all of you for your assistance in my becoming more and more awake, adult, and compassionate in this life I’m gifted with.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back to basics

I’ve been away. I’m sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been thinking about you, though, be assured.

This will be short. Perfection abandoned in favor of breaking new ground to feel the initiation of something a long time coming. Hope you can forgive it.

A lot has transpired. A new home, a compromise, a bit more quiet, a bit more dirt to steward, a boatload of trauma work. A mountain of labor ahead. Learning about grief and aging. Continuing to discover the vastness and depth of the conditioning I’ve experienced, and that most of us have been subject to. Wondering if there’s any real such thing as hope, and doubting its usefulness more and more.

I’ve been reluctant to say many of the things I’ve been thinking, and starting to realize thanks to others out there with the courage to speak plainly (thank you, Stephen), that you probably aren’t served by my keeping quiet.

I’ve thought, and said in safe places, the thing that I’ve finally heard someone (Stephen Jenkinson) say publicly, that we’ve missed a huge opportunity for stopping, in the form of the pandemic. The hoot and holler for things to get back to normal, a normal that we all know cannot be sustained, has filled the opening we might have used to make meaningful change.

I’m working on the daunting task of permaculture design, and dedicating time and energy to being closer to the earth, closer to food production and preservation, to watershed management, and all that it entails, not least of which is the disinterest of others.

I credit the ongoing work on my own trauma patterns with making it feel safer to share, to speak plainly, to risk pissing some of you off, confusing others, or sounding like a downer. I credit my work with making it more and more possible to inhabit the space of living in gratitude, while hope for the future of the planet withers.

I promise to use care as I share from a place of great love.

Just wanting you to know I’m still on this train with you, and will be writing more regularly. Because I must.

Looking forward to next time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Lightness of Grace

Thinking today about what more I can do to to be a redemptive force in the world, and reduce my ecological impact, it occurred to me that while I can and could do many more things, the balance sheet at the end of the day is still tilted in my favor. All I can really do is accept the fact that I live in a constant state of grace.

The gift of life, of friends, family, nature, music; the magic of discovery and learning; of every single thing that I get to have, do, or experience; can never be repaid. From the miracle of the light I turn on, or the unbelievably fine thread that makes my clothes, to the many elements that come together to make my car run and food show up on a grocery store shelf, I cannot really balance the scales in concrete terms. No matter how organic, or plastic-free, or socially justly I try to live, I can never balance the scales. I cannot live and have no impact. This dilemma has plagued me from the beginning of memory.

That leaves only this: I am the constant recipient of gifts that I can never repay. Knowing this, I can live as lightly as possible, strive to discover how little I really do need, and learn how to receive graciously. I realize that my previous perspective – trying to balance the scales and have zero impact – is a perspective conditioned by trauma and enculturation of toxic individualism.

I’ve noticed the difficulty that I and others seem to have in receiving without guilt, fear or anxiety, perceiving it as a vulnerability. I wonder about giving up that position as flawed and hopeless, and starting to receive with joy? What if we all held the awareness of the imbalance, our impact on the earth and others as a fact of life, as a truth of being, as a precious gift that can never be repaid, that it is our birthright to be the recipients of those gifts. This way we could proceed in our ongoing inquiry and efforts to live lightly from a place of joy and gratitude, rather than from fear and despair. Just a thought.

What a surprising place to find such an neverending source of lightness of being!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’m Here

My first post since the extraordinary time that is Covid first hit awareness here for most of us.

I am still not ready to write, but I also feel the need to begin, so hopefully I can continue writing beyond today.

I sit outside, welcoming the burning of the sun at it’s early fall angle, feeling I could sit here for years, welcoming the elements to batter me, without moving a muscle. I keep returning to the the vague knowing, the vague awareness, years ago, that this part, my heart, might feel this way if or when it finally opened. I resisted the urge to force it open, as learned there are ways to do such a thing, and I’m so glad I waited.

It’s a bit perilous, writing about what’s happening at the same time as I’m being a therapist and a support to others. And, I think it’s helpful for others, as well as my clients, to know that I am human, so they will know they also have permission to be. So they will know I am not afraid of their pain.

Soon, today, I will shift gears and start my day of Zoom meetings. I am grateful for the responsibilities which pull me out of the well of grief so that I can be with others. It’s constantly surprising me how possible this is, and how much softer and more open it’s made it possible for me to be with myself and with others.

This morning I had the luxury of time to be with grief, or whatever this mix of heaviness and intensity might be called, in a new way, for a little while. Sitting outside, staring into the yard, and making a space in my body for the wave to move through. Noticing the old familiar contractions in my head, shoulders, and torso, and allowing them to release so I could more fully feel the heaviness and sadness in my whole body. I want to know this part of myself. It’s waited a long time for my body to be able to hold it, and for me to be able to welcome it without judgement.

Two waves, three waves, four waves, then I decide to stop and eat breakfast.

More and more, I’m able to make space for it, as I shift away from fear that it will never end, or all the other things that might come as a result of feeling in a culture that cannot, will not, allow sadness. Bit by bit there’s more ease, as I release the need to explain it, rationalize it, analyze it.

I feel the anger and sadness about all the past attempts to pathologize me, judge me, diagnose me, by people who did not know they were frozen and unable to feel, unaided by the understanding of traumatic stress. I feel the regret for times I’m sure others may have felt I did the same to them.

I’ll run now, even though it feels like the heaviness of my body won’t allow it, and I’ll find, as before, that my body remembers how to run. Running as a way to care for myself, not as a way to get rid of what I feel.

I don’t know what’s ahead on this new journey of a heart broken wide open, but I can refuse to pathologize myself or go into worry that something’s “wrong” with me.

And you can, too.

Sending love for your day,




Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Valentine’s Gratitudes

I’m tired today, but not particularly sleepy, even though I’m not sure whether I slept at all.  I really HATE not sleeping well. I know full well that potatoes (I think it’s the lectins in them) mess with me, and I heard the whisper in my brain about the sleepless night I would induce, but I succumbed for convenience last night. I’m also stressed about this presentation on the 21st, which, since I began preparing for it, has me sleeping only about every third or fourth night from exhaustion.

The journey since accepting the invitation has been a pretty interesting roller coaster. Lying in bed this morning still wired and wrestling with the anxiety in my chest while my mind concocted the most brilliant TED talks all night long, it occurred to me to put my focus lower on my body, below my diaphragm, and viola!, something felt a little better. After a bit of hanging out with my focus, and then my hand, on my belly, it then spontaneously occurred to me that I was in a nice warm house in a nice warm bed. As I started to feel the shift that was happening in my body, my mind took off noticing other things I was grateful for despite the lack of sleep and the body panic, which led to wondering about extending and intentionally engaging in the gratitude list construction this morning as a way of supporting myself to feel better, which led to me wanting to share it, and this, with you…

That I don’t have it all mastered. That I, this morning, sheepishly realized it had taken me all night, maybe even a month, to really remember, or be able to access this in the moment I really needed it. This thing that I help my clients do to embody things that feel too big to handle: make a bigger body container, grounded in resource. I just keep trying to go forward, taking the risk of being real, and holding on to the knowledge of how good, how free, how more and more real and connected I feel, as a result.

Amazingly, I’m able to tap into the feeling of support in a way I never would have before. Actually being able to access safety through connection – even just thinking about connection with my imagined audience next Friday, all the friends who will be there, and all the people and supports who are making the opportunity possible, is a whole new experience for me. It’s almost unbelievable.

And now, I want to share my gratitude list with you.

Warm layers, inside, on a crisp, cold morning


Treating myself to a homemade cup of clean, dairy free, decaf mocha that’s usually reserved for Saturday

That we can afford the clean local beans from the Worthington Farmer’s Market for said treat

Farmer’s market friends

Great article share from farmer’s market friend last night

The beautiful Valentine’s message this morning from my Huckleberry of almost 20 years

Access to the feeling of ground

The email today from an African American male expressing interest in the CRM teacher training

Snow, and the hope of more

Bluebirds zipping around outside

Earth that is the source of groundedness and food, and its magnetism combined with light, that produces every single thing supporting all the life forms on it

Support of my Huckleberry, and many great friends and family

The terrifying experiences on this life journey that keep leading me into deeper healing, meaning, and connection

Sun, and light, and especially sunlight

Did I mention great friends

The feeling that I’m getting closer and closer to my authenticity and my ability to be grounded in it, and express from it

The big sycamore at Masefield park and all the trees at this end of the trail, especially the big, wise ones


Help and love from others as I work out what I really want to say next Friday

Opportunities and support that life/universe keep extending to me at crucial moments

The amazingness of this journey of starting to be able to feel connection more spontaneously, (or at all, really!) at deep levels of my being, and in my body

My courageous clients I learn so much from

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! I’m thinking of this as Love day, as Gratitude day, Care More day, rather than the commercialized candy, flowers and hearts day it has become.

Love to all of you, my Friends. Thanks for tuning in.

Back to work on my presentation.





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Birthday Reflections

It’s a pretty different day that the one last year. I feel grateful, hopeful, at ease.

I share the experience of my journey hoping that others might find something helpful for their own journeys.

I am struck by the way what I need keeps appearing to help me on to the next part of the process. The latest example is accidentally discovering Thomas Hubl after being invited by a friend to participate in a web training of his. The idea of listening to yet another spiritual teacher made me want to puke. Simultaneously, the group participation and collective trauma exploration aspects of it terrified me. Something in me continues to be able to sense when I should move toward or away, and a force other than logic drew me in.

What I’ve discovered is an adjunctive process/framework to support what I’ve already been working on. Plagued by energy management issues, I’ve found an explanation that makes sense and a way to work with it, in addition to what I’ve already been doing.

The so-called “problems” I’ve been struggling with turn out to be, surprisingly, the same work I’ve been doing all along. The simplicity of it is astounding. Feeling my feelings – all of them – helps build a stronger human container to hold the charge of life so it can move through and express.

I’ve noticed for a long time how I squander a good bit of my energy through lack of discipline in sleep routines and diet, and dumb down my energy with sugar or tv when it feels big. I’m starting to be able to stay, and let the energy fill my body, and let it enliven me and watch how it wants to move.

I get why group settings have been difficult now…more people = more energy, even harder to contain. It’s starting to be easier to talk in front of groups and stay connected to myself.

It’s been quite an amazing and unpredictable journey to find my body feeling a bit more open with each bit of work I do, and to notice the pattern that habitually braces my body against big feelings, good or bad, because of it having been too much for so long. Now I can notice and either choose to stay open and feel the flow from head to toe and back, or I can brace or resist feeling, and stay open to that feeling if that’s all I can do. Either way, it’s an amazing feeling to have experience come in and fill my body and be able to stay with the wave!

Here ‘s the thing: there’s no way my mind could have told me it would be like this. People who already have it, have no idea what it’s like to not have it. And those who don’t have it, can’t imagine it.

All I could do is keep going. No matter what, all I could do is keep being honest with myself about where I was, even when my mind was saying, what the heck is going on? What about all that enlightenment crap? Now it all makes sense. Waking up only takes you so far. Then you have to live. That’s the real work. Cleaning the gunk out of the pipes by going through it all consciously, bit by bit.

Then you start to feel the flow, the movement out, toward life. Off the cushion. Life flowing through you, wanting to express. The movement that cannot be faked or forced. Happy Birthday to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Simple Gifts

Dear readers, many many changes continue to arrive for me in this transformation process. I don’t know how many times I will need to experience the expansions that follow every contracted dark period to truly trust it always goes that way, but it’s starting to seem like a pattern, for sure!

It’s been a rough transition to winter. Darkness. Heaviness. I feel it, and others are saying they feel it too. Not feeling festive. It feels like a time of intense transitions, peppered with fear, hopelessness, and sorrow about the conditions of the world. Some point to planetary events. It’s all shifting continuously, though. Things look different today than they did yesterday. I’ve started lately to question actual darkness out there in the world, and wonder whether it’s more a thing calling my attention to my own unexplored and disowned dark places.

That said, inspiration and support seem to come from the most unusual places! I thought I’d share with you some of those practices and ideas in case you might also benefit from that support.

The first is from William Samuel. I caught a reference to him on FB in some thread, and without knowing why, purchased the book The Child Within Lives. It’s a strange book, and I struggle to keep reading at times, but there have been two incredibly powerful concepts I’ve been practicing. One is recording “Glimpses”. This means journaling about beauty, insights, shifts. I write about nature sightings, like the amazing gray and crimson sky last night, or the gratitude I feel for friends or family interactions, or a new breakthrough in awareness. It seems to open a doorway for more of that to keep entering my life. Continuing the writing keeps the flow going.

The other concept is about giving. Giving in two ways: material and metaphysical. The first is simple – giving to those in material need without any expectation. I really finally got this with Samuel’s explanations of “giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s”. This opens up the flow of abundance at the material level. The other is giving or sharing insight with others. We might share or write of our insights and learnings, without trying to change or convince anyone of anything, or even assuming we know anything. This opens the flow of abundance for the spiritual or metaphysical level of being.

Opening these flows can significantly change the experience of living. It becomes possible to experience gratitude in a way that is unforced, and spontaneously, continuously arising. It may a little some time to establish the habit, and one should be aware one’s internal blocks to receiving may get in the way of moving toward such abundance. The flow seems to open up as little or as much as you do the practices.

Which brings me to the next practice gift I discovered: working to expand space and sensing of the body. There are many ways to approach this, and often people will do one of these, but not the other. Suzanne Durana-Scurlock, for example has resources that support this practice of opening and sensing the body. Any body practice can help with increasing self awareness, if curiosity about sensation and the felt experience is a part of it. Body based meditations by Reggie Ray in books and also video, are another way of building such skills. The reason for doing this is to make more space for experiences. Life wants to flow through us, unresolved feelings want to be finally felt so they can move on and out, and we need enough body container space to hold and tolerate what we experience. Allowing leads to transformation and freedom. The mind cannot conceive of how this is so, but it is what happens, nonetheless. (Sometimes we can need support to shift the patterns of constriction that block this openness. A skilled somatic practitioner can often help.)

Lastly, there is the expansion of attention to the fact of humans being not only a physical body, but also an energy body. Attending to this energy aspect of the body can be done in many ways, from Reiki, to qi qong, polarity practices, and a multitude of other practices. I’ve been trying out this Donna Eden practice.

These practices are opening up for me a different kind of connection to myself, to the season, to generosity and gratitude. It’s a wider space, a neutral orientation, an appreciation for the beauty that is all around. It comes and goes and hits me when I least expect it. To quote my favorite corny holiday movie, I’m finding it’s true that “Love actually IS, all around,” and then the real trick is just to let it in!

I want to express my deep gratitude to all those who have provided support to me last month, and ongoing. xo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Staying in the Goo

I wrote this a week ago and couldn’t finish:

“Here it is again. Or rather, here’s another one. It’s not the same as before. It’s another place that feels stuck, that has an intensity of wanting to pop or move or unstick. It feels awful, and I can’t even figure out how to be with it. I know I might need support to shift it.

I know it’s important because I can’t seem to go into it, and I’m so exhausted from trying to manage the resistance that I can barely stand to do it anymore. There’s no technique or anything I can do and I just don’t even want to. I sense that if I could give up resistance to it, it probably would shift.

Just hearing Adya a second ago talking about devotion. Devotion to practice, to silence, to the timeless. Reminding me to come back to right now.

I’m excited because it feels like something important is about to happen again. And it’s amazingly painful because I can’t go back or forward. I think I understand why people go and do things like Ayahuasca or other mind altering journeys when they have a lot of trauma history.”

I’m still stepping forward through the discomfort, wondering what it’s all about…any of it. The heaviness of dark mornings, and colder weather coming, and the layers of body memory of it all: being so cold it hurt, morning dread of school torture, the lack of joy and meaning, and lack of safety and support for a person so young dealing with such difficulty.

I know that gratitude and connection are part of the way out, and yet sometimes it’s so hard to access them. The more contracted I feel, the more difficult it is to access those things.

Here I am sharing with you my purposeful effort to connect to those things right now.

I’m appreciating the wide space that felt opened up after having just a single cancellation today. I decided to receive it and turn away from wondering whether it was a true emergency and I was owed anything for the time.

I’m reflecting on impromptu, good conversation yesterday with a good friend, about the importance of slowing down, the possibility of relating to myself in the mornings in a different way, and the support for clarifying purpose and intention in personal and professional work.

I’m appreciating the sun, and the ability to be indoors out of the wind and chill, the hot cup of spicy ginger tea with raw honey, and knowing I have warm layers I could put on if I want to go outside for a bit.

I felt the pull to listen to some of the recordings on the Gina Sager web conference on the roots of modern dis-ease even though I had low expectations, and found a bit of clarity and inspiration, and a resource for a client, that I was not expecting to find in the day 4 interviews. I don’t know how the things I need seem to find me at just the right time. Such a delight.

The title of this post comes from the reminder about the butterfly…when it goes into the cocoon, and who knows how it knows to do that???, it doesn’t just grow wings. It becomes a liquid goo, that somehow is miraculously transformed into a butterfly.

We are so aversive of messes. They freak us out, disorient us, and we do anything we can to get rid of them. We don’t often consider them a source of transformation or truth. We don’t think of our breaking down as becoming the goo, like the caterpillar, that will transform into something else, possibly something beautiful with wings.

It’s making it a little easier for me to be in the mess, hold a curiosity about all the invitations being offered me by life right now, and notice the reflexive stress reaction to the  goo. I wonder what all of it will look like later, with my new wings.




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


The past two or three weeks…hellish fear alternating with ordinary existence. Up and down, okay and then very not okay, but still okay, somehow. Waking up fully, recently to the apparently dire circumstances of the earth and few interested in taking appropriate action, systems that impose unsustainable ways of living, people everywhere disconnected, leaders and others at the top of the food chain unwilling to relinquish the status quo, the threat of 5G and the globe surrounded by satellites altering the environment we’ve adapted to in ways that are already harming all living things, a blue lit world that interferes with our built in biological master controls. Drugs and unlimited onscreen substitute for real life experiences, automatons instead of critical thinking humans. Inhumane treatment of others everywhere. I can’t believe that this is the shit I’ve awakened to. I wrestle with grief, fear, sadness, anger, disbelief. I keep noticing that there’s been a shift to a way less personal orientation to all of it. It’s less about me, or “happiness” or a career, or my stuff.

There’s my crying over my lost innocence, my thinking that it would all be fine one day after I healed the trauma wounds and figured out my place in the big picture. Then none of it makes sense when there’s no “me” to take seriously. And yet it all makes sense now. All the pieces fit. My lifelong discontent, sadness for the world, why I couldn’t drink the Koolaid in all my Econ classes…externalities waved away, like so much chalk dust on a blackboard. The missing depth when I tried to connect with others, the things I couldn’t tell anyone about because they could not see the same things I saw. Thinking something was wrong with me, but knowing I saw what I saw, all this time, unable to reconcile it and fit somewhere in the world.

Today didn’t turn out like I planned. Maybe I should start letting go of the criticism around that. Maybe I could accept I am not a well-planned kind of human and dump that extra stress, dump all the ideas I ever had about what I am supposed to be. I felt not terrible, despite the poor sleep.

Spent most of the morning til 12:30 outside, grateful. Walking him to the bus stop, gawking at at a neighbor’s beautiful garden on the way back, reading, eating, weeding, watching the mosquitos, and the bumblebees coming back to work, meeting with a friend online for unexpected discussions. Afterward seeing a doe and spotted fawn next door, eyeballing me and the organic buffet of my yard. Trying to talk myself out of my yard and into the gym.

Then I realized I had an appointment earlier than I remembered, and the whole day shifted. I ate lunch and showered and went, and had very good sessions (I still keep being surprised – it feels outside of my control, somehow, larger than me), discovered the third client had canceled but I had missed the info.

So there was no painting trim, no meditating, no exercise. There was the cup of tea I hadn’t planned. Catching beetles, watering some wilted garden friends. Choosing to run the grocery errand, clean the kitchen and make dinner, instead of computer work.

I heard myself say while talking to the friend this morning, there is no strategy that works anymore for the fear. “Even trying to get ground makes no sense”, I say, “because… well, I AM the ground.” It’s indescribable. I connect with my body, my center, my me-ness, and then it suddenly shifts and it feels like it’s EVERYTHING. It’s not mine. It’s the earth and the sky and the void and me and it’s shifting, alive, breathing. It’s all happening inside the space of that. And it isn’t anything inside of anything. It’s all one thing. I cannot place the hierarchy I used to use. It doesn’t fit. Everything just IS. It doesn’t need my help.

As we talk, the friend and I, I realize there is no point in trying to find a safe place to be with all that’s happening. I try to convey this and succeed a little. I tell her I’m content to leave it an open question right now…how to be with what’s happening to the earth, to people, and the traumatic disconnection that supports all that appears to be so destructive. I’m not sure I made any sense.

I’m embarrassed about not holding the meeting last night that I was so interested in having when I announced at meditation it a week ago, to try to read Joanna Macy or David Loy together, to DO something. I know I may still have to come and go from the terror of what might happen to me or those I love because of the environment’s effects, and I will try my best to view this as  the doorway to freedom and not turn away from the opportunity.

As the day goes on, I realize, every story has a bias, and I cannot find one that is more true than another. This is so disorienting. Nowhere to rest my head. At least it’s shifting fast enough to save me the embarrassment of starting some campaign or another only to have the understanding and the energy pulled out from underneath it all like a rug. I have experiences of others working very hard to avoid this place, or tocompletely numb to it, or substituting comfortable perspectives in order to cope – just to survive. I understand and feel no judgement in this moment.

I wonder at how and why I keep going in this journey. It truly feels like every teacher’s description: a combination of Grace and integrity – following the trail that leads to the truth of being, no matter where it goes. I’m starting to feel less pull to keep “working on my trauma”. Every time I get on a table, or sit in the client chair, or even meditate, the wave of unfolding starts and goes until the last minute of the hour. It’s predictable now, and feels ordinary, and as it should be. The unwinding is just happening, no trying or efforting. Less fear today, in this moment, about where it’s all going. Something seems fundamentally different today, and I am grateful. Sweet relief.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things I Can Do Now

It’s 9:40. He’s turned down the travel options I offer several times. I linger only a moment in disappointment. It’s hot and humid though the sun is long down since it was 91 degrees, and I’m hoping they’re still there. I slip on my shoes and a red Buckeyes cap and say bye, and hop on my bike with anticipation. I skip the helmet, expecting a smooth ride on dark, quiet neighborhood roads. I realize I don’t have my bike lit for night riding and promise myself to be careful. It’s my secret mini-rebellion. It’s the 3rd time on my bike today, and I feel grateful. I briefly think of the previous owner – my late father in law – and how he loved to ride. It’s a beautiful machine.

I ride smoothly through the still air, all downhill, passing a deer at the end of the street, I slowly turn left past it and stare as it watches me pass, my basket rattling as I travel over bumps, the thick breeze barely cool on my skin but keeps the mosquitos at bay, random bugs tapping me in the face along the way. No walkers out. The late dusk ride feels like flying. Only two cars on the way. I keep my visor down to avoid the blinding headlights of anxious drivers using their highbeams on quiet neighborhood streets, but checking for parked cars ahead to avoid calamity. Intending to return to the same park where I saw them before, I accidentally overshoot the mark…too far south. I take the path in and survey my options. I wonder if there’s a penalty for being there after dark.

The trail is dark, and I feel a spike of nerves as I press onward. It quickly turns to excitement and tell myself it’ll be ok. I watch for animals and other late night trail inhabitants, but there are none. I banish the thought of branches or other unseen obstacles. I have to look just a few feet ahead, in order to see; looking out further produces blindness. I pass two parks as I head north, trying to remember in the dark if it’s the next one or not, and suddenly, I recall the daytime image of where I am, and see the trail downhill ahead is under water. I briefly contemplate trying to ride through, but can’t tell how deep it is, and instead take an alternate route, through woods, a mulch trail, and hope my skinny road bike tires won’t be pierced by a splinter. The path curves through a little dark grove of trees and opens into the park I seek – I recognize the outline of the giant sycamore against the sky, with the picnic table beneath, just beyond the unmowed stretches of meadow on either side of the path before they become lawn.

I ride toward the path exit and turn around so I can approach and see the meadow backed by forest, like a stage, for the thousand fireflies blinking like fairy lights. I’m excited, grateful, and relieved it’s still going on. The show is accompanied by crickets, the highway sounds, and the faint popping of premature fireworks from the neighborhoods north. The Big Dipper overhead, I watch with wonder, riding back and forth between the park entrance and the riverside trail, lucky to have a loop made by two trail exits that join and head to the sycamore. I stop on my bike more than once to stare, stock still in awe, not that concerned about the mosquitoes that are biting.

Round and round I ride, careful each time I enter the riverside trail, wondering if there are skunks, and mystified by the lack of others wanting to see the spectacle. Riding through the trees on the trail I look up for as long as I dare, balancing carefully in the dark, to see pink clouds between the black treetop silhouettes against a baby blue sky. It is a marvelous combination of light and dark, with the highway lights reflecting off of the high river water of recent rains on my right. I keep going around counter clockwise, carefully following the shadows of the trail, almost falling off around one of the sharp turns while looking at the sky.

Opposite the flashing river, I see the faint lights of kitchen windows and family room that back up to the park. I wonder if they can see the firefly show. I wonder how no one can be here to appreciate this except me. I keep riding, listening to crickets and fireworks, staring up at the show that extends high into the trees. I think how the blinking is like fireworks. I think about catching fireflies in a jar as a kid and how much I loved those times outside at night in the summer, playing tag or chasing the lightning bugs. As I ride, “one more time”, and “one more time” again, through the trail circle, from river to road, and back, riding in and out of the fairy show, darkness thickens. The show becomes more spectacular. I think, “take a mental picture you might need when you’re 80 and can’t get here”. Then I think, “I’m coming back tomorrow” and “I’ll do this even when I’m 80,” trying not to think whether there will be fireflies, or trees, or an earth, or an 80 year old me, in 30 years.

I keep riding in the night air, thinking lightly of the time, not wanting to worry him by being gone too long. One last time I leave, looking back, trying not to fall off my bike, and not returning. I put my cap back on and head into the tree lined streets with randomly lit lampposts. Uphill now, I downshift. Not as fast, but still a thrill in the dark summer air. I try to feel it…summer…a week past solstice. Almost July. It feels like a dream. I appreciate the safe little neighborhood, and my little secret adventure. I feel free, fearless, grateful, unworried. It doesn’t quite feel like I decided to do it, rather, more like something led me there tonight.

I couldn’t have done it before. Not like this – unafraid and free. An imprint of pure summer  on my brain and body. Not needing permission, not needing company, not grasping for more. Perfection. I’m alive.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment