a meditation on spring

a meditation on spring

The Universe has conspired to reveal signs of spring–even to me–who remains indoors, to spite herself, in a boycott of all unseasonable weather.

For days now, I’ve watched, as the single green seat cushion–the one that we bought on clearance, and placed outside–prematurely–atop one of the four metal seats, that came with the round patio table, that we brought home from the Marlboro Community Sale, on free day–takes a tour around my yard, compliments of a wintry wind.

At first it blew to the South, near the Birch that I loved when we first cleared this land for our home, but which over the years has become a stump of itself.

I worried that we’d loose the cushion, the only one we had, but I didn’t retrieve it.

The next day, I noticed that it had blown into the West, just past the raised beds.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…
Every year we added another,
and stopped at 7.

It was closer now, so I could easily grab it, but I left it there, out in the cold, while I remained inside.

I’m not sure what the cushion did during the nights, whether it headed North or over the house, but the next morning, I looked out from my bedroom to spy it near the outdoor shower, in the East, at the edge of the woods.

I left it there, until I came home that afternoon, and saw that it had moved closer, beside something of… color.

COLOR?
COLOR!

I dashed from the driveway, past the woodshed, and the tool shed, over the place where the remnants of the last snow pile left its debris, and up the stone path to the wannabee garden of perennials competing with weeds where we dug in a handful of bulbs despite our need for desire for immediate gratification.

There beside the fair cushion was the COLOR PURPLE!
The first color of spring!

I ran inside for the camera, and took a tour around the land–to each of the places where the cushion led,
and then brought it inside,
for safekeeping.

Sighs of spring…

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the fading of the kindergarten wall

the fading of the kindergarten wall

Kelly Salasin:

Vermont education.
One of kind school.
Locally shaped.
Globally conscious.
Community supported.

Originally posted on The Empty Nest Diary:

DSCN2882 Aidan at the bus stop, with his luggage.

3:36 pm. The school bus stops at our driveway, across from the pond, but no one gets off.

Our youngest, 14, has just, this very moment, touched down in Liberia, Costa Rica with his Junior High classmates.

When his older brother made the same trip a handful of years ago, I was a wreck; but he was only 12.

Still, I’ve splintered this entire day checking the status updates of Jet Blue and the posts in our parent Facebook group.

We brought our kids to school last night at 2:30 in the morning, and gathered in the parking lot in front of the bus until everyone arrived, and we chatted like it was normal to be there, in the dark, in the middle of the night, hanging out. Someone joked about getting breakfast afterward, and we all felt the longing for connection…

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Sunrise, Easter Morning

Sunrise, Easter Morning

Sto. Cristo Chapel Bgy. Sto. Cristo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, Phil.
Sto. Cristo Chapel
Bgy. Sto. Cristo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, Phil.

My husband and I lounge under the covers as a jeweled sun sparkles through the trees on its way to our sky.

When the wind blows, the forest sways, dispatching flashes of gold onto our bodies, offering a perfect sermon for a Sunday morning.

Easter 2015, A.D.

The baskets are waiting. The eggs dyed. The reservations for brunch confirmed.

Last night we watched Chocolat with Lake Champlain 5 Star Chocolate Bars, and then listened to bits and pieces of the soundtrack from Godspell, centering on the score for the Crucifixion scene.

Most memorable, however, was the moment I pulled out 4 plates (of my Nana’s china) instead of 3, because our oldest was home.

Last Supper.

He had surprised us, downtown, the night before, when we were doing what I love best–floating from place to place, bumping into something sweet–which is particularly potent on a spring evening at Gallery Walk in Brattleboro.

Good Friday.

My youngest and I had just finished our monthly stroll through the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center–one of our favorite stops through the years–where we always take time to visit the kids room to make some art of our own.

It was inside the River Garden, however, where the family first came together, as a whole, attracted by the sounds of horns, played by the stunning Brattleboro High School Jazz Band.

During a particularly poignant interlude–when my husband’s hand clasped mine, and geese flew over the river, and spring stirred inside me–I felt something I’d never felt before:

Resentment.
Toward new life.

In that moment,  I knew the seasons were indifferent.
That spring would come, whether I welcomed it, or celebrated it, or–worse yet–
whether I was here for it.

Perhaps it was my age, 51, ripening past peak, or the long white winter spilling into April, or that a loved one’s life was on the line; but suddenly—the young girls in bloom, the birds return, and the color green–represented something beyond–me.

Just like winter, I would pass, and the giddy world would go on resurrecting… without me.

country mouse, part V, communion

country mouse, part V, communion

59th Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day Parade, Beijing +20, photo: Kelly Salasin

I arrived in the city engulfed by the enormity of the population here, feeling both crowded and alone, intruded upon and abandoned; but over the course of 7 days, I began to notice patterns beneath the surface of chaos…

In the way one woman’s thigh comfortably flanked mine in the subway car.

How we could each let our guard when other women were beside us.

The framed Maya Angelo poem on the wall of the subway car.  The Courtesy Guidelines chiding “man sprawl.” The Sexual and Inappropriate Touch warnings.

The kind voice of the driver over the loud speaker, welcoming visitors, students, residents and indicating which stop we were approaching and which one was to come.

The sense of collective relief when a handful of passengers made it through the doors just before the train departed again.

How we all ignored the man with the atrocious cough, and the other one who attempted to speak to each of us as he stumbled through the car.

The pause of the elderly woman to thank me when I put out an arm to help her to her feet.

The circle of officers chatting on the platform.

The laughter and awe of a crowd circling a performance of dance at the station.

How quickly the Shuttle, the Downtown, the Uptown, the 6, the 1, became familiars.

The constant deluge of billboards on walls, and stairs, and subway cars advertising the latest play or upcoming television series that I desperately wanted to see simply to resolve the pressure.

How I rushed like the rest of them, even though I was in no hurry.

How I wished I was a smoker, not for nicotine, but for the reminder to breathe in and breathe out, breathe in and breathe out.

Stopping to help a foreigner purchase a subway ticket.

The searching smiles of other passerbys. The ecstatic traveler.

All those unplugged, and all those talking to themselves, with and without, wires.

Pointing the direction to Central Park.

The new baby at the cafe. The new baby on the subway car. The new baby in her father’s arms.

Lovers. School groups. Tour guides. Families.

Two different women who told me not to park there because if I didn’t get a ticket for the fire hydrant, I’d get a ticket for being on the wrong side.

The man on the stoop who told me that the sign about “No Standing” confused him too.

In this clashing culture of crowds and singularity, there was so much separation, yet there was also communion, and it was abiding and filled with the absence and presence of love.

(This is the last in a series of posts from a week in the city: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.)

country mouse, part IV, gratitude

country mouse, part IV, gratitude

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It’s awkward to admit, but despite being a yoga instructor, I’ve never been particularly absorbed by the mechanics of the body, until this past week in New York.

The city is infinite in its pleasures, and I don’t need to count the ways, but the ability to drink without driving is high on my list of appreciation, along with the MET and outdoor cafés and gorgeous men in suits.

Still, my deepest gratitude goes to my feet. These 51 year old friends walked mile upon mile, day after day, on hard concrete, at a pace set by a city that never sleeps, without complaint, or at least not a complaint that could be heard over the outlandish display of outrage offered by my right hip on days 2 and 3, or the moans of my left knee on days 3 and 4, or the whining of my inner thigh on days 4 and 5.

In fact, I didn’t hear from my feet until the last two days, and even then, it was barely a peep.

Ironically, in the weeks preceding this trip, I expressed a desire to deepen my relationship with my first chakra, and that I did, carefully noting the relationship of the muscles in my hips and thighs, knees and feet, calves and arches; creatively exploring stretches to support and counter each strain and pain and resistance.

While others stared impassively or curiously, I played with the mechanics of my body at every red light, in each subway car and in a handful of  conference rooms at the United Nations.

My body, in all its wisdom, had designed a personalized anatomy course just for me.

(click here for previous country mouse editions: Part I, Part II, Part III.)

 

country mouse, part III, street parking success!

country mouse, part III, street parking success!

(Part III of a week in the “city” for CSW59)
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One last day of street parking–without a ticket or a tow (albeit tons of tension)–and we made it!

Not only that, but for a moment, we were in the tribe…

On our last opposite-side parking adventure, we found a spot almost too good to be true; but then we spotted it… another fire hydrant. (You don’t realize how many hydrants there are until you try to street park.)

We pulled in anyway, thinking/hoping we were far enough away; which was impossible to ascertain given that the markings on the curb were buried in ice and snow. But then another car pulled in front of us, and another car in front of him, and we figured we had to be safe.

When we first considered opposite side parking, my naiveté led me to miscalculate just how many times we’d have to relocate the car. Twice a week, I thought, that’s not too bad. But what I hadn’t figured was the exponential effect of both sides having the twice a week bans.

It wasn’t until the last morning that we noticed how the city folks strategized this equation when we realized that each parked car had a driver in it.

People apparently doubled parked until the street sweeper passed and then pulled back into their spots and waited inside their cars until the 90 minute parking ban was complete.

(Worth noting: the “street sweeper” this time of year is a guy with a shovel or jack hammer or miniature front loader, and plenty of potential parking spots require 4 wheel drive to climb atop the frozen mounds of snow.)

A moment later, a man dressed in a chef’s apron got out of the car closest to the hydrant and proceeded to knock on each of our windows, asking if we’d move back a bit. We all happily complied, even the woman behind us, who had been napping beside her small white dog.

It’s these tiny moments of tenderness that astound me in a city that appears tough and insular. The man in the apron smiled his appreciation and got back into his car as we all waited out the minutes, together.

At the stroke of 10:00 am, a string of car doors opened.

There were no greetings, or smiles, but there was a palpable sense of communion in our footsteps.

(click here for: country mouse, part I AND country mouse, part II.)

country mouse, part II

country mouse, part II

(Part II of personal perspective of life in the city while participating in CSW59–United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, NYC. Click here for Part I. )

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7 Things I Take for Granted Living on 7 Acres in the Country

1. Nudity
Without spectators out every window.

2. Quiet
No voices from the other side of the wall.

3. Hot water
Shared with my family, not an entire building.

4. Autonomy
No board of directors caring about my day to day.

5. Parking
Wherever I want. For as along as I want. Even on Mondays & Thursdays. And Tuesdays & Fridays.

6. Snow
Without an exponential impact on #5.

7. Pace
Moving as slow as I want without incurring honks or shoves.