Where the Wildflowers Grow.

Mia had a cross country race on Saturday. Before every race, we walk the course. I walked alongside her and the other parents with their children in her age group.

There was a part of the track that was covered with shade from the hillside and trees, bushes and plants. It felt like a tunnel through the wild. But at one point, in the dark, the sun found a way in. Mia pointed to its rays of light like lazer beams through the holes in the leaves. She stopped to comment on beauty of it. And I shared in her sentiments.

This is how I feel right now. I feel like I’m trekking through the wilderness covered in shade. The terrain is rough, rocky and “unpredictable” (the word Mia used to describe the race that day). But here I am, walking along with one of the loves of my life, on a beautiful path;  and although it’s dark, the light never fails to show up and be known.

I acknowledge this part of the journey. I no longer wish to fight it or swat it away like the annoying fly that likes me. I will walk through it knowing I am loved, I am not alone, and the light will always find a way in. I walk forward knowing I will walk out into an open field under the sun where the dragonflies swarm and the wildflowers grow.

 

“You belong among the wildflowers. You belong somewhere you feel free.”  

~ Tom Petty ~

 

Painting with Punctuation.

I am a creature who thrives on creation. I need to change my setting, create new art and grow things. I have a craving for white walls, green plants, semi-colons and music: a few things I realized I needed in order to grow and feel alive.

The walls in my living room are an extremely light blue-gray. But they are not light enough. I want blinding-bright-light. The whitest-white that screams – clean! The perfect backdrop for a vibrant green. Green plants which provide clean air and bloom with life. I want my home to feel awake and alive. But clean. I need cleanliness and order. Life can be so messy, especially with three children. However, more plants means more dirt. I want more cleanliness and more dirt? What a contradiction!

It was just last night, I vacuumed a pile of dirt in the hallway. I carried the succulent in my hands and I bumped into Mia, or she bumped into me, either way – the plant toppled over and dropped to the floor.

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Recently, I took the children to the nursery and bought succulents (four small and one medium sized), an Aloe plant (which I guess is a succulent too), and a plant with blue flowers that supposedly attracts butterflies. We welcomed these plants into our home along with the herbs growing in mason jars on windowsills. There are a few spots in our home blessed with direct sunlight: the windowsills in the living room and the small balcony hidden behind lengthy blinds and a rusty colored couch. Yesterday, I put our plants with flowers on the balcony – which is more like a ledge – to bask in the sun. I think about putting more plants on the ledge, but worry the squirrels will knock them over. The squirrels are everywhere: along the walls, on the patios and in the trees. They have us surrounded. There are limits to what I can achieve with plants. Maybe what I’m really after is a blank canvas and something to paint with.
I guess I could paint with punctuation, instead of plants. And the squirrels wouldn’t eat my words. My words struggle to capture another tail: the elusive semi-colon. The act of dotting a comma is foreign to me. It seems sinful, yet sophisticated. Semi-colons have an arrogance about them. They’ve taunted me with their knowledge; the many things I do not know or have forgotten; I’ve been afraid to misuse them; I don’t want to abuse them. And I don’t want to appear as though I know what I’m doing; I don’t. But, I long for the confidence and the day I’ll use all of the available tools to get there.

Music is another tool I need to create but often forget about. I’ve been thinking up a plan to get music streaming through every room of our two-bedroom condo. But I have yet to follow through.

Last Sunday morning, I longed for a peaceful beginning: music, coffee and quiet children. I walked over to the Block Rocker, a large speaker near the fireplace, and sat on top of a stack of boxes beside it. The box I sat on, a black round hat box with a white floral pattern, was full of cords used to connect, energize and amplify sounds and images. Abe stood nearby, at the coffee table, very close to the speaker. I switched the block on and connected my phone via bluetooth. I pushed play and “Love Me Do” burst through with voracious volume. Abe jumped in fright and screamed with fear. His little arms reached out for me. I turned the volume down, grabbed Abe and put him in my lap. Our weight broke through the hat box. I laughed, stood up and held Abe in my arms. The music played at a comforting volume as I soothed Abe with a waltz around the living room. I heard a violin playing in the background. The instrument came to life as Alana wove the bow along the strings in her bedroom.

Two rooms filled with music. It was not a peaceful beginning, or day for that matter, but music played and my craving settled for just a moment. I’m working to satisfy the rest. The walls are not white – not yet – but they will be. But I hear music playing, I see greens growing and I am painting with punctuation.

The Swell.

A swell of self-pity swallowed me whole as my husband shut the door behind them. He took our girls shopping and left me alone in a silent home with our baby clung to my chest. 

Helpless, I lied still like a mattress staring out the window. The pressure from the swell burst through the damn behind my eyes. And I spiraled down 32 years to the root of my needs. I need. And I need. And I need. I knew, I always would. 

I cried and I wondered, who will come hold me? I cried and I thought, I can’t do this. I need more arms to hold us, to hold me, to help lift this weight off my chest. 

Before the panic could fully set in, I shook my head in refusal. I knew what to do. I remembered I knew how to breathe and give thanks. I recited, I’m thankful for…

I’m thankful for my baby, my family, our health and home, helpful hands and sunny days. Time. Life. Love. Smiles.

It could be worse. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard it. I’ve read it. It could be worse. I could be worse. I reminded myself. And I picked up a book and dove into someone else’s story. 

Minutes later, there was a knock on the door. A key turned the lock and it opened. A mother appeared. She took the baby into her arms, oohing and awwing over him. 

I was relieved. And so, I went to bathe in warmth and let my insecurities dissipate into steam. It felt easier to breathe. 

Again, I was thankful. I had what I needed. And I didn’t have to do it alone.