The To and Fro, Then and Now

Some time around the middle of the day, I was exhausted for any number of reasons I could choose from, so I stretched out for a few minutes with Miss Sophie supervising.  She’s really good at that.  The Fella was home, and the littles were working on their lessons, so I had a few minutes to close my eyes.

It was one of those weird, not quite deep, slumbers where I’m aware but also resting.  Hard to explain.  I was dreaming of sorts, I think, when I felt myself being pulled back up to the surface.

In that moment, this thought crossed my mind as the image of our backyard swing came into focus in my head.

It hardly makes sense, does it, as to why change is so hard for one who loved the back and forth and up and down of sitting in a swing?  How is it that so much is terrifying and worrisome when going higher than ever before used to bring such thrills?  Why is a leap into the unknown so frightful at times, when leaping from a moving swing filled all around with laughter and cries for “Again! Again!”?

Turns out my life is so much like being on a swing.  So what is the difference from then when I loved it so much to now?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that on that swing I was controlling the “how high” and most of the time I could stop the swing when I wanted to and come back to stillness–to the balance found exactly in the middle of front and back, to and fro, forwards and backwards.

Balance.

If y’all need me, I’ll be in the backyard.  Looking for some of that.

Love to all.

Tire_swing

By Luke [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Just Some Guy at the Pool

This morning we went with my sister Mess Cat, her husband Leroy, and their little guy Shaker for an early celebration at the pool where they swim.  It was wonderful.  Not another soul there, beautiful weather, clear water, children laughing, folks visiting.

Awesome.

Then Leroy decided to shake things up.  He thought Mess Cat was a little too comfortable, so he jumped in right behind her when her back was turned–SPLASH!   In her good-natured way, she shrugged it off, laughing.  Everyone wanted in on the fun.  The littles came up wanting to be played with.  Leroy obliged them by doing that for a few minutes.

“More, more!” they called after him.  “Uncle Leroy!”  “Daddy!”

“No.  No.  From now on, I’m not Daddy or Uncle Leroy.   I’m just some guy at the pool.”

We all laughed.

“Besides,” he continued.  “Today’s Sunday.  It’s my Sabbath.  No more working for me.”

More laughter.

Except for Cooter, my seven-year old.

“Yeah, back in the olden days, you couldn’t work at all on the Sabbath.  If you did, you could get arrested.”

Leroy nodded.  “Is that right?”

Actually it is.  I am so pleased with my little guy.  He was paying attention when we studied the Revolutionary War this past year.  At one point, we watched the movie “Johnny Tremain,” an old one done by Disney.  There was a scene where the silversmith and Johnny were working on the Sabbath, trying to make ends meet.  The constable (I think it was) was coming, so they quickly tried to hide everything.  In the rush, hot silver was poured on Johnny’s hand.  An important part of the storyline.  I remember us having a conversation about that at the time.  Isn’t it funny what sticks in their little minds?

So it was an interesting coincidence that we talked about the Sabbath tonight at Evening Prayer.  The literal Sabbath, as in a time to rest.

Ahem.

A couple of years ago, I read the book “Mudhouse Sabbath” by Lauren F. Winner.  She described their Friday preparations for the Jewish Sabbath the following day.  She and her husband hurried home from work, prepared meals, ironed clothes, took showers, and  did everything else that needed doing for the next day.  When the sun went down, they were done.  Or had to be.  It wasn’t that they just dropped everything either.  They had worked ahead so they wouldn’t have to.   The Sabbath began and no work was allowed.

At all.

May I tell you how much I love that?

So many present tonight seemed to feel the same way–that we would love to honor the Sabbath, to take time to rest, for meditation and to have a time to just “be” instead of “do.”  We would love to, but we don’t give ourselves permission to take that time.

For some reason I don’t need to hear it’s okay–I need to hear it’s required.  As in if I don’t take a day to rest, to rejuvenate, to “be,” then the constable is coming after me.

Isn’t it sad when we can’t do this for ourselves?

It would be easy to blame the companies that choose to be open on Sunday.  It’s all their fault.  If they weren’t open, I wouldn’t need to go.  I’d have to make do.

Ummm, no.

Or on our busy lives.  We have so much going on each day, and there’s business to handle, to take care of.  It’s more than we can do in six days.  There are dishes and laundry and a house to clean.  We’re at work five days and Saturdays we’re at the ball field or the pool or traveling to see friends.  Sunday’s the only day to get these things done.

Okay.  Or not.

The truth is, it’s a lifestyle.  It’s what we’ve chosen.  We’ve chosen to fill our days and sometimes nights too with activities and meetings and programs.  We’ve made the choice to have all these things that have to be taken care of.  We are the ones who won’t draw the line and reserve an hour, an afternoon, a day each week to sit and be.

It doesn’t even have to be on Sunday in my book.  When we were going to the Sunday suppers each week, and our Sundays were busy with preparations, I guarded my Mondays carefully.  When that ended, I guess I lost my rhythm, and that time fell to the wayside.

I think it’s time I start carving out some “be” time again.  Not “me” but “be.”  Time to be with my family, unencumbered by outside distractions.  Time to sit and think and rest.  Uninterrupted by distractions.

So, in a nutshell, it’s not the distractions that will change.  It’s my attitude.  My setting boundaries.  Making different choices.  My making time for rest. Making it a priority and working ahead so it can happen.  My soul is crying out for it, I can tell you that.

And if the world starts calling out with distractions, I’ll just be some guy at the pool.

Wishing you time to unplug this week.  Love to all.

 

Mimosa Memories

pic of mimosa tree

We had three mimosa trees in our front yard at Mama and Daddy’s.  The two on either end were somewhat smaller than the middle tree, and for whatever reason, the middle one is the only one we would climb.  I LOVED that tree.  It was my escape, my hideaway, my “house.”  There were two limbs that were sturdy and ran parallel all the way up as high as our roof.  I would use them as stairs and hand rail and climb up to the spot where the top branch formed a cradle with three branches–perfect for laying in and reading or dreaming or cloud watching.  It was this “room” that was the room of Scarlet Royal Winters, my alter ego, I guess, and the room was “decorated” in red, gold, and white (get it?).  I devoured many books up in that tree.

Mimosas are such interesting trees–they have these beautiful pink blossoms that look like they belong on dancers in movies from the 40’s and 50’s.  (I’m reminded in this moment of the costumes from the shows in “White Christmas.”  Ahhh…..beautiful.)  The blossoms hang on until they turn a brownish color (or are picked and put in one’s hair), and then they drop.  These trees also drop seed pods.  Sometimes the seeds take and little ones grow.  I can remember mowing over more than one seedling in my days pushing the mower.

We each of us three girls had her own spot in the tree, but mine was the best I was sure.  My brother, nine years my junior, was too young to climb, but he had his own interaction with the tree.  He had been playing outside, and somehow Mama figured out he had eaten some of the seed pods.  (Or maybe just the seeds?)  She did her research, which in the days before Google and the internet, was probably calling her doctor or poison control.  Yep, her source told her they were toxic and she should administer ipecac syrup as soon as she could.  Which she did.  Only this special medicine, designed to make the recipient throw up whatever they had ingested, did not work.  Mama was concerned.  As she tried to figure out what to do next, my little brother, a toddler at the time, climbed on his Sit and Spin–does anyone else remember these?–and went to town on it.  As he turned the steering wheel and spun around and around, he got very dizzy, and well, the Sit and Spin did what the ipecac had not.  No more seed pods (or anything else) left in him.  From then on, we were all in charge of watching him and making sure he didn’t so much as look at the mimosa tree seeds.

There’s another thing about mimosas.  Probably my favorite thing. (I’m whispering this to you.)  They go to sleep at night.  It’s almost magical.  Isn’t that amazing?  No kidding, when the tree’s “brain” detects that the sun is going down, the leaves fold into themselves, showing the underside which appears rather silvery or gray.  And then, when the sun begins to rise, they open their faces to the new day once again.  Absolutely fascinating.

I’ve thought a lot about those trees today.  The two side ones got a tree disease and had to be taken down and eventually my old Friend did as well.  Today some silver maples are in their places.  It’s just not the same, although the mistletoe hanging from one is really cool looking.  (Yes, I know it’s bad for the tree.  Yes, I will do something about it.  But still, it’s cool.)  I miss those days huddled in my coat on the leafless branches and the days where I’d watch the patterns on my legs of the sun shining through the leaves.  One of the most exhilarating memories I have from my childhood is sitting up in my “cradle” as a storm approached and the wind picked up.  All of my senses were heightened, and I held on and “rode” the storm.  (No, my Mama didn’t know, and I did come down when the rain started falling.)

Tonight I am thankful for my little brother and all family lore, but especially the story of The Mimosa Seeds and The Sit and Spin.  I can’t wait to share it with his three little guys.

I was thinking about my old Friend, when I remembered this post by the Dream Center, a non-profit organization in LA that seeks to help individuals and families by fighting trafficking, hunger, homelessness, in addition to promoting adult education and helping families stay together.  A great group of folks, and what an amazing thought:

pic of fb message

I am thankful for whoever planted the mimosas there, because I was the one who got to enjoy them.  Thank you.  Makes me think an awful lot about what seeds I have planted today.

And tonight, in the midst of having a tired body and a weary spirit, I am thankful for the lesson that we are given in nature.  When the sun goes down, wrap yourself up and rest.  The time to rise will come again in morning.  And when we are rested, we can plant seeds that will bring joy to someone else tomorrow or the next day or next year…..and in the present, the gift of a rested spirit is we can smile and share light with those around us.  And so the seeds scatter…..and on and on.