Rock Bank

It’s hard to believe one third of the year has gone by already.  An hour is always 60 minutes but when I’m trying to get out the door in that hour, it feels like 40.  When I’m waiting, time seems to just about stand still.  The process of building my rock bank took more time than I thought and because I needed to balance the rocks just so, I had to use the same method for each section – mostly large rocks on the bottom followed by a mixture of different sizes.  I found no shortcuts.  I’m not sure if I had a say in choosing my process of grieving, but I do know, unlike the rock bank, there are many ways to do it; probably as many as there are people in the world.  Like the rock bank, there are no shortcuts, and I spent time working through and balancing grief’s big rocks mixed with rocks of various sizes so I wouldn’t topple over.  The time needed will be as much as it takes to bring me safely, but not necessarily quickly, through to a place which might be the end or close enough to call it so.


My Heart

I think a human heart is made up of more than just chambers and valves. I think it’s made to hold love and joy, and pain and sorrow.  It seems to me that the amount of love and joy it can hold is limitless while the amount of pain and sorrow it can hold is not.  Love and joy can flow in and my heart will never say that’s enough.  I know from experience that how much pain and sorrow a heart can hold is limited, and it’s different for everyone.  I don’t remember many things about the first few days after my husband’s unexpected death.  I believe my heart held those things it could and shut out what it could not in order to keep me from completely shutting down.  With no time to prepare itself, my heart was full very quickly.  With no time to process each bombardment, certain moments took up way too much room and my heart had to start determining what could and couldn’t come in with the room that was left.  It didn’t ask my opinion or my permission.  When I was unable, my heart knew what was best for me to survive.


My husband and I spent many hours on Grafton Pond and McDaniel’s Marsh.  We caught lots of pickerel from our kayaks, which are delicious if you know how to fillet and cook them.  We covered every inch over the years, seeing moose and deer, getting surprised by the slap of a beaver’s tail, hearing the loons, and running into an occasional rock.  Both places had an abundance of rocks, which made the fishing amazingly good and the kayaking a little tricky.  Some rocks had flowers growing on them and some even had trees, stunted but surviving none the less.  Geese would nest on the rocks and stone walls lay submerged after a farm was flooded to become a pond.  Beautiful places, especially in the fog and at sunset.  Beautiful memories.Fall Sky McDaniels Marsh

  • Life on a Rock / My Space
  • How much life can be found on top of a rock?
  • And yet the tree grows; slowly.
  • Waiting for the wind to bring more dirt
  • so the root can grow longer and the tree taller.
  • Not enough room for even one more tree
  • so wind don’t blow another seed to me.
  • It would take up my precious space
  • And turn me into we.


I’m waiting patiently for it to warm up enough to go kayaking and try a little fishing along the way.  If I was asked, what would I like to be when I grow up, I’d say a kayaking fishing pro.  I bought a new kayak and set of hydraulic lifts after my husband passed away because I couldn’t get my old kayak on the roof of my car.  I spent a lot a money, but I realized I wouldn’t be going at all if I didn’t go lighter.  I now have to clean and fillet my own fish, but it’s worth it for the surprise and excitement of catching them.  I’ll confess, I use a glove to hold onto them; just can’t get past the slime and scales!  I catch a few fish with various spinners, top water lures, and worms, usually guessing at what might work and hoping I recognize what I catch – my fishing quandary.  I love kayaking until I think about going by myself, which makes me sad, and then I go and see the beauty, which makes me happy, but there’s no one to share it with, which makes me sad; my kayaking paradox.


The hardest days to start are the ones I have off.  I used to look forward to those days when I worked full time.  No long commute, no brain drain, just stay home – yeah!  I have lots of things I love to do, maybe too many, but that still doesn’t make a difference when I first get up and think about how many hours I need to fill.  I’ve always managed to fill up my day with things I need to get done and with my hobbies, but now each day off starts with the same question; do I have enough to do to fill up today?  The toaster startled me this morning as I stared out my kitchen window, surrounded by silence, and thought ready, set, go.  Pay some bills, get a few groceries, make a grain salad, and then?  It’s not really about having too much time to do what I want.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want as much time off from work and responsibility as they can get, including me.  It’s about having too much time alone to do what I want.  Add the word alone after the word time and it changes everything.


Sometimes things enter my life to test my fortitude.  Synonyms for the word fortitude include: resilience (flexibility), grit, determination, and endurance.  Just the words to describe what I need to out maneuver the thing that came into my life this week – a 140 pound Rottweiler Mastiff mix named Phoenix.  I’ll have him for the week while his family is away and it didn’t take him long to test his fortitude.  His bed is in the basement entry room along with a futon I covered with stuff to keep him from sleeping on it; yeah, right. The stuff spent the night on his bed while he was comfy cozy on the futon. The puppy dog eyes he gave me when he was found out were pathetic but not enough to keep me from piling bigger, heavier stuff on the futon. My son-in-law says he acts up because my cats sit on the steps and hurl insults at him while I’m away – enough to drive any dog to the edge of insanity.  At least he’s been eating – not pulling a Gandhi this time! I love the big brute and his owners; what some people will do for love!


I’ve got a great biscuit recipe that I don’t use just for biscuits.  I also make shortcake and cinnamon rolls and I’ve added a variety of ingredients, like left over mashed potatoes, cheese, plain yogurt, and cream cheese for variety.  My husband followed a recipe exactly, while I tend to change them all.  A recipe is basically a list of ingredients that are put together and baked in a certain way.  Stick to the recipe and you’ll get the intended results.  Switch it up and you might get something interesting.  My life is like my biscuits; start with the basic recipe then add woodworking, gardening, playing the guitar, or sewing.  Not exactly the same ingredients each day; always thinking of new variations to keep my life and biscuits interesting.  Simple, easily constructed, not boring, never the same, and plain or flavorful describes my life and my biscuits.  Unlike biscuits that I can but won’t eat every day, so I don’t end up looking like a biscuit, I can and will include one of the many things I enjoy doing every day so I don’t get stuck in the same daily routine. You can find the recipe on my recipe page.