Everything

I have felt all of this formed darkness about me— soft breath on hair, on an inhale, that feels far and familiar

I have heard that deep inhale, the one that has purpose & has silence & has no exhale, it holds everything in, but of course, it’s just air

But it is more. It is fragrance & life, it circulated in the blood & it swirls deeply within our innermost in—surely it can touch the soul, this strange exquisite inhale

It was the undertone. Or perhaps, undertow. Spring sat there inside the snow, waiting to melt, there, was the spring flood, the torrent, the smell of flowers, the surge of what was to come, the fullness of life—

It was an inhale, but it was everything.

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As of Sunday—43 Years

So. Since I had solo selfie time this morning, I’m getting this out of the way. I’ve tried to take a selfie around my birthday since I turned forty. I’ve switched phones & lost pictures along the way, but this is my year of selfies in review, which suddenly popped up as an option to make and so I did. It’s kinda cheesy & I can’t seem to edit it properly. I’m technically challenged it seems.

So now I have slightly chopped hair and I actually don’t miss my long hair. I have started to work out for the first time ever, which feels great. I am noticing more wrinkles these days but still no grey that I’ve seen. And frankly, if I can get my body to a strong & healthy place, I couldn’t care less about wrinkles or grey.

I can’t believe I’ve been on this planet 43 years. Sometimes it feels like it should be more, sometimes I forget I’m that old now. Aging will always be a strange thing. Suddenly time has become a mystery of sorts. When I was young, ‘thirty years ago,’ seemed forever ago. Like say, in 1975 when I was born, the Second World War had ended, ‘thirty years ago.’ That was before my parents had even been born! Now, thirty years ago seems like the recent past in moments of nostalgia. 1988, well heck, I remember song lyrics somewhat easily from then. Twenty five years ago is very close feeling in my memory. And yet, forever ago. Time has become a very peculiar thing indeed, where at moments I can’t believe my oldest will be TWENTY this year! TWENTY!

Oh my. My youngest will be seven! This fills me with a rather soupy combination of anxiety & relief. Anxious that life has been stripped out of my bones as I formed these other beings and they too are aging. Relief, that they need me less and less, just as I begin to know, I will need them more and more—back to anxiousness. Life is full of quizzical ironies & fascinating conundrums.

Aging is more than the physical being.

I was assigned a talk last night, the Bible Study part, an invite to the meeting was to be included, and I was working on use visual aids. It went fine, but the school instructor, after commending me, proceeded to say, “as a kid you didn’t colour in the lines did you,” more as statement than question.

Nope. I didn’t. Actually. I did try to colour in the lines. But I don’t care too much for coloring books at all. I prefer blank paper. But, this reference to me as a child self—hahahaha. I forget most days I ever was one. I don’t think much on childhood anymore. I don’t miss it anymore. I don’t crave youth anymore. I am completely fine with middle age. Not the aching body part of it, but certainly the other parts are reasonably good.

I’m tired of being forced to feel I must be what I am not. I’m tired of failure. I’m happy to learn anything and everything I can. I fixate almost never on things said to me, about me, or what I’ve said to others. I mean, I try to be nice. I try to apologize when I should. But man, I’m tired of the gritty stuff. The stuff that I can’t fix or change or make better—nope, don’t care anymore. I love people. I give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, but I also am razor sharp at cutting them out of my life when & where I must for my own preservation. I’m becoming a swifter judge of character. I trust less. I have learned to trust my gut above anyone’s opinion. That’s hard. But, I’ve discovered, I’m so rarely wrong that it’s best I listen to my instincts & apologize later if I’m wrong.

I’ve stopped drinking morning coffee in favour of green tea. I’ve learned, I will never be good enough at guitar to worry about it, but to just play when I feel I want to. I’ve learned I can learn most anything reasonably well enough if I had all the time in the world, but, I don’t, so I need to focus on a few favourites and thoroughly enjoy them.

I like being a little ‘out there.’ I do not fit in and I’m so happy for this. I like just being that quirky woman that only a few know well. I like singing & dancing & exercise. I like painting & writing & I don’t read nearly as much as I should and I don’t care. I like cats better than dogs but in certain moments I love my dogs more than I ever loved a cat. I love my kids. Holy moly I love my kids. I don’t just love them, I like them. They are my favourite people to spend time with even tho I often need a break from them too. I love my husband, not unselfishly, he puts up with me & takes care of me & he makes me feel needed and secure, and I need him. We are reciprocal in each our own way. I love my mom & my stepdad like crazy, and they are crazy. I don’t need my dad. I never did. He was a biological truth. That, is not my fault. My brothers and their wives and kids are literally my own. I love them unconditionally. My in-laws on my husband’s side are mine too. They are coo-coo crazy coco puffs & this is what makes life full of fun & love & amazing. You get to explore a completely different way of everything via other people’s minds and moods. I actually miss all these people when we’ve been out of touch for a while, but make no mistake, distance will always make the heart fonder.

I have learned, I love the snow, but the cold I love a little less, and the dark, is not my friend. I love the sun, and summer—but heat, a little less. I love the ocean & the mountains & lakes & trees, sunset, but sunrise I love a little less. Everything is gradient & spirals & spherical in the most beautiful of ways. Pain is always pain. Love is always love. These things don’t fade they just age. Time is so strange to me these days. It truly is.

February 1st: Winter’s Madness

winter has a certain taste, that tongues don’t sense

it feels around for the soppiness of your soul, long fingers of blackened nails scratching to the bottom of whichever cesspool you’ve become

but it’s lovely.

it’s dark & bright & blinding & every time you catch yourself but manage not to fall you tense, then loosen, then tense again—anticipation

I’ve grown adrenaline vines that ribbon my sinew & smirk at me, hurling venom at my weakness

I’m a small shadow on the floor, a shadow cast in snow cloud light so bright & my eyes are aching from the white

I’ll pool here, right here in this lacking light, vitamin depleted & soaked in small beauties such as, a loose stand of hair gallivanting wildly in the wind, a small whisper of pale skin chilled to cherry, a slight sparkle in a dreary eye, a hum just ever so slightly under the smoke of my winter breath

it’s precious to have small beauties in an aging relic of a body

hints of last summer’s sun sweetens the apple

spring faded & autumn rotted, but summer, summer found a way to survive, and how sweet it tastes, there inside the soul, even if it is savoured by winter’s madness

Two Minutes to Midnight

how Midnight presses down on my chest

like a heartache or a lifeless warmth

I could pretend I fear this eventuality but

Cold War kids are immune to Midnight

we sing songs to this strange hour—Geiger metronome ticking, counting subatomic beats & breaths

a little sprinkle of radiation on every cupcake & care

the plastic islands will keep us afloat in this murky algae sea, the stench is feeding me

What fear is there in the power of sudden death?

Sit on the beach & watch the wave roll in, rolling fast, blowing us to papery ash—bone & breath & life & memory & skin.

My Secret Pain Pills & Other Cheap Medicine for Winter

Tho we have had beautiful temps & little snow, there is still snow on the ground, precious little it is. But somehow Florida has had more snow than us in December & January, Here’s the article. Apparently we should get snow again soon, and frankly I hope so, brown winters are bleak.

I’ve managed to finish Sarah’s blanket, that was a long time coming.

It’s great when a project comes off the needles.

I discovered Thrum Mittens. They are adorable & Northern wearer approved. Each little heart (or polka dot if that’s preferred) is made with a twist of roving. This makes them thick and actually warm. I’ve never really wanted to knit mittens because frankly homemade knit mittens are pretty useless here, too thin to keep out the cold. But these are so squishy and the hand dyed Nova Scotia yarn & roving in Frozen Ocean is so so lovely. What is it about the peace, tranquility & satisfaction of creating, and with such lovely textures & colours, its such medicine for the soul. This pair is already picked by middlest child, but I’ve bought enough roving to make all us girls a pair. Second one is about a third done, so hopefully I’ll find time to finish it up tomorrow or Friday.

I’ve decided to take up, true exercise. Yep. Me. Lady who ‘hates’ the gym. I’ve pretty much been abandoning my lake walks because my hip was handling the cold so poorly but then, after consulting a chiropractor, I have been ‘prescribed’ exercise to pinpoint the root cause of the issue. Walking is all fine and well, but it wasn’t really fun when it was hurting so badly. So, Barre is what I’ve started. For anyone who doesn’t know, Barre is a good butt kicker for women—I’m sure men could do it, but the toe pointing & calf work may make some men uncomfortable, tho somewhat more Gene Kelly-esque. The Barre I’m in is a Fusion class. So it’s with weights (for the upper body, shoulders & arms) & using the bar basically as a stabilizer while you use your own body weight & gravity to work hip to arches. Ive never stood on the balls of my toes for so long since I was horsing about as a young girl. I’ve never shook so badly while working out. Quads. Hello! There you are! It felt great! But, after discovering I apparently love the feeling of my muscles being maxed out, I’ve decided to take one more as well and try actual weights, Barre has taught me my left side is so pathetic—really. I think motherhood has turned my body to a sad little ball of goo. So, “Iron Reps”—no idea really what this means. Me at the gym & in a fitness class is kind of like being dropped in Korea with no English-Korean dictionary. A good friend teaches both so that makes it easy. She is a mom of four so hey, if she can do it, so can I. I’ve been indoor walking/jogging which is much easier on the IT Band issue I was having, keeps it warmer and the track is more forgiving than concrete. I am tired of feeling old & tired. So. If this is what it takes, so be it. I want to be able to still sit & knit & read, but I want to sit without the break down and aging of it, so, exercise is a must I guess. Who knew I’d like it tho. Didn’t see that one coming.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to not feeling weak anymore. I’m looking forward to feeling like sitting straight isn’t a chore. That my legs are strong again. I hate feeling age kicking my butt. Hate. It. I knew I needed to, but the hip pain was making it so impossible seeming. I didn’t realize I wasn’t helping it by simply walking and that I actually needed to build my glutes & quads again. So squats are my new secret pain pill. Every time my hip starts flaring up, ten more squats. It helps instantly. That’s just crazy. Good chiropractors—can’t compare to a doctor on so many things.

Thin Veils of Seclusion

one moment has gently folded itself

tight against the next

thin veils of seclusion where

winter has flexed it’s ribs against mine

frozen ocean, frozen sky—they’re heaving, cracking, buckling

my skin has become a sequence of wrinkles & rhymes

naturally tumbling, falling, stumbling

towards the close night, fumbling

the cold becomes

a thin veil of seclusion, where all confessions come gasping forth