Wines have been described as having hints of herbs, undertones of black current, or a smoky finish. It sounds like there’s more than just grapes in there, and there is! Grapes absorb what’s around them; from earth, sky, and air. Grapes grown by the sea take in the salty air, while others, minerals from the ground or the taste of the wooden barrels they age in. If the grapes fail to become great wine, their environment can explain why, but instead of using it as an excuse, ask how can it be changed to produce amazing grapes. I believe people become infused with their surroundings too, by other people, places, and experiences. At first it was my parents, siblings, and where I grew up. Then it was my spouse, children, college, country living, working hard, friends, and more recently, my husband’s death. All these things impacted the person I’ve become by teaching me how to love, be wise, nurture, find solutions, and be strong. Whenever I uncover bad grapes inside, I don’t excuse them by saying oh well, it’s just the consequence of my environment. Instead I ask myself, what can be changed to turn those grapes into amazing wine!
I had a rare dream of my husband last night. I knew it was him because of his hair, for I have yet to see his face in my dreams. Sometimes I think, if only I could have him back, everything would be perfect, but I know that’s not the case. I think if he had survived we would have had a very different view of life because death would have become very real, very possible, and very unavoidable. We would have tried to have more patience with each other, tried to show our love more, tried to show our appreciation, and tried to spend as much time as possible with our kids. I say tried because that’s all we can do. Why didn’t we try to do these things anyway? Did we just become so accustom to each other’s presence that we could no longer see what had once been treasured? In our retirement, we said we’d spend lots of time with our kids, so we didn’t need to make that a priority while we waited to get there. How we chose to spend our life was decided without regard of death; a mistake I won’t make again.
I was pretty lazy last winter. I rode my bike inside, but that was so boring. I prefer outside activities rather than exercise, but there was no snow. Well I paid for it this spring. Only last week did I finally feel like I could exert myself and not feel totally exhausted. I was hoping it was the normal, it takes a little while to pick up the pace spring thing, but it was taking too long, and so I cursed my age and thought I might need to see a doctor. It’s great that my energy’s back but realize I can’t spend any more winters the same as the last. I’ve got the time, but even more excuses, and there’s always something more interesting I’d rather be doing. I’ve never been a great winter exerciser, but, as my son-in-law reminded me, I’m not a spring chicken (he means well). I can’t be lackadaisical anymore. I shouldn’t have to recover each spring. Life is a gift, but it’s also a responsibility. No one is going to take care of mine except me. Growing old is automatic; staying strong takes effort. I know the consequences; no more excuses.
I don’t know where tears come from. I know there’s not a deep pool of salty water inside, patiently waiting. I do know that tears need to come out in order to raise my heart out of a deep pool of sadness. I never intentionally plunge my heart into that pool, but it ends up there at times, and if I don’t stop its descent, the sadness will force itself up on its own when it reaches rock bottom. I remember being asked to hold in my tears at a funeral, but that’s not right. The sadness has to come out. It can come out as anger or depression, which just disperses the pain throughout the body and spills it out onto others. Some people throw alcohol or drugs at it like a life preserver that keeps the heart afloat but never gets it out of the pool. I’ve shed quiet tears, quick tears, recurring tears, sobbing tears, silent tears, spontaneous tears, and tears that go on and on and on. Whether it’s possible to let the sadness out all at once or over time, my tears are the means to drain the pool and save my heart from drowning.
Every time I’ve met someone new, they judge me as quiet, reserved, and shy. They’ve told me after they got to know me, that only the shy was correct. In fact, my daughter and I laugh about how meeting new people makes me physically sick and what I would say to them if I was honest about how I felt – you make me sick, and so do you, and you too! Once I get to know someone they find I really do enjoy talking and kidding around. The meek exterior others see is not the real me; the caring, intelligent, strong, talented woman waiting to be revealed.
- Snow / Uncovered
- The snow is deep, making the landscape smooth and clean.
- Our snowshoes sink in but not reaching earth.
- We step on ferns and bulbs sleeping ‘til spring,
- Over logs and rocks as if they’re not there.
- We step on moose poop and owl scat without knowing,
- Cross places unpassable last spring.
- What’s underneath all this white covering?
- Some things pretty, some things plain, and a few things downright ugly.
- This covering won’t last forever.
- Revealing the true landscape of earth and water, of greens and browns.
I never had the opportunity to be my own boss. The boss is responsible for a successful business and puts rules and boundaries in place for employees so the business runs smoothly. Decisions are always based on what’s best for the business. The only time I got to be the boss was when I was a parent. My husband and I were in charge; we made the rules and set the boundaries. Our kids had a consistent bed time and ate what we made when we made it. Unacceptable behavior in public resulted in leaving immediately, leaving the grocery cart behind or watching one parent finish a restaurant meal alone; it never happened again. We let our kids be kids within the boundaries we set, and instead of a house filled with disorder, rebellion, and uncertainty, our home was, for the most part, filled with contentment, respect, and stability. In any group of people, there’s at least one boss; the top dog, someone in control. We decided before we had kids we would fill that role since we were the ones most capable of reasonably deciding what was best for all four of us; not just the kids.
I stared in the mirror this morning willing my hair to do what I wanted. This is a common occurrence, going on for years and years. Some days a miracle happens and it looks nice, but more often than not, I call my fine, straight hair, lots of terrible names. My book of negatives and positives says at least I have hair and for that I am truly grateful. There’s lots of gray, but at least it wasn’t all gray at the age of 40, like my mom. Getting angry accomplishes nothing because my hair doesn’t fear my anger and therefore does whatever it wants. I’ve paid good money to get haircuts I hate a few days later, so I started cutting my own hair. It isn’t the greatest style, but it’s free. Why do I care about how my hair looks? Who knows, something totally unexpected could happen and I could meet a guy who just might like me. But my conclusion this morning was it doesn’t matter if my hair looks amazing, because if it matters to the guy I meet, he’s not the guy for me. Now I just have to make myself believe it!