Late afternoon

Late afternoon on a deep winter’s day,
tree shadows stretch
long and far.

Melinda Schwakhofer, 2019

Advertisements

Hope awakening

The 39th anniversary of my Mother’s death has recently passed.
This year, for the first time, I am living beyond the age that she was when she died.

Tonight, I was surprised, side swiped and bowled over by a deep upwelling of grief. Feeling absolutely bereft, not only with the grief which can still be so raw after so many years, but at an absolute loss over how to grow into my life. Since the age of 16, I have lived inside of, and pushed against and grown beyond the shape of my Mother’s life. But always with an awareness of where the boundaries and edges are. Now, in living beyond her years, the edges are gone.

Tonight I felt as though I don’t possibly have what it takes to go forward into the unknown. This beautiful snowdrop shows me, with grace, how to emerge from the dark of Winter and that perhaps I have already been through the most difficult part of the journey.

The small and fragile snowdrop flower is a symbol of rebirth, positivity and a bright future.  The tiny flower of snowdrop announces the forthcoming of spring. This beautiful sign of awakening nature is considered to be the emblem of Hope.

Surprise!!!

My word for 2019 is ‘surprise’.

surprise (n.)
from Old French surprise “a taking unawares” (13c.), from noun use of past participle of Old French sorprendre “to overtake, seize, invade” (12c.)

I often like to plan things out and can be a bit of a control freak. This comes from a childhood need to try and create a sense of safety in a dysfunctional, often chaotic household.

But this year I am willing to let <some> things go where they may and to make the space for the unknown to emerge.

emptiful

emptiful on this day of Epiphany

Christmas is packed away, house guests have gone, Steve is away for a week.

Grey skies, bare branches and quiet; so still and quiet.

There was a time when I may have rushed away from this void or sought to fill it with anything to distract me.

Today, I shall wrap the stillness about me like a cloak and swirl into this deep and silent lake.

Thanksgiving alchemy

On Saturday we had our Annual alterNative Thanksgiving Feast.  I always take some time to inform our guests about the true history of relations between the colonizers and the Indigenous people of North America.  Then we sit down together for a marvelous evening of delicious food and very fine company.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love the food and it is one of the few holidays that I have  some happy childhood family memories of.   My Dad and I had a very difficult relationship.  We all grew up and lived under the crushing weight of inherited trauma and unresolved grief that he brought into our family from his Muscogee (Creek) heritage.  Relatives outside of our family and friends saw the charismatic and charming side of my Dad, where we rarely saw that person.  But Thanksgiving was a good day, with lots of food shopping and preparation leading up to it.  When I make Thanksgiving dinner, I connect with those good feelings of anticipation and sitting down to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

One dish that I always make is Frank’s Pea and Cheese Salad.  Legend has it that when we were visiting relatives Back East, we were invited to stay for supper, but the cupboards were nearly bare.  My Dad went into the kitchen and made this salad from a couple of cans of Petit Pois, mayonnaise, cheese and an onion.  As the cousin who related this story said ‘Your Dad was a great cook and could make something out of nothing’.   The alchemy practiced by a cook can be magical.

This year as I cubed cheese and minced a shallot, I wept, and not because of Propanethiol S-oxide.  I wept because I never knew that charming and charismatic man.  I wept because I grew up afraid of him and spent too much of my adult life hating him.  I wept for the fury and rage that he had carried into our family and the brokenness passed on to him from his ancestors and the injustice from a white society that shamed him for his Native heritage.  I wept that I only came to understand and feel compassion for him many years after his death.

As I worked Frank’s magic of transforming base ingredients into a wonderful salad, the alchemy of pain and grief being transformed into peace and love happened too.

I served the salad in a dish with a rabbit running around the outside.  Cufv the Rabbit is the trickster in Mvskoke lore.  The shape-shifter.  The shifter of shapes and the shaper of shifts.  When we can reach for and embrace our deepest and darkest places, this is when true healing happens.  And the light shines where it never has before.

I hope that all who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful, meaningful and delicious time.

Peace and love to you all.