Mountaintop Seduction

Mountaintop Seduction

Spring comes slowly to the mountains, and sometimes, seemingly, not at all.
all those many weeks with a stick-filled horizon against muted skies.
patches of snow holding claim to the ground.

But there is a gift in all this waiting–
the fine-tuning of attention
Where magic resides…

That first stencil of leaf
In golden hues
“Nature’s first green.”

And it is the poet,
inside each us, who is awakened
by these subtle shades of hope.

Little by little, and sometimes, seemingly,
“in great leaps,”
the land awakens in a chorus of color.

Which is almost true in the valley, with
its daffodils & dandelions, but not yet
on the mountaintop.

Here the seduction is slower,
sweeter…

Maple buds up the driveway
Spreads of greening across the lawn
The first violets
The return of the chives
and
The lady’s mantle whose leaves have opened
just enough
to hold
the morning dew.

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NYC

NYC

New Yorkers are brusque, broody, as if they all have agreed that no one will be happy
And this gives a certain tilt to the island, all the while New Yorkers are oddly compliant, say about moving through a subway station, and also helpful if you ask, and often earnest.

I almost lived among them once when I was just out of college
until I learned that my friend’s apartment was on the 37th floor
and that’s too far away from the earth for me,
and so head hung low,
I returned to the shore,
and promptly had my heart skewered
which primed it for falling in love with Casey,
and losing a baby
and moving to Vermont…

But I would’ve liked to have gotten to know New Yorkers more.

Maybe someday I’ll learn to live apart from the ground.

On Returning…

On Returning…


Though our dream to move to the mountains took shape 25 years ago this spring (after we lost the baby), we continue to return to the sea at least once a year, and back in those early years, we returned every season.

And although these Green Mountains are where we belong, the return is always a homecoming, not only to the place where our love took root more than 3 decades ago, but to his people, and especially my people, because there are so many of us, and because we go back so many generations, and to the sea and the sand and the land itself.

With so many touchstones, each visit is like a putting together a thousand-piece puzzle, and over time, I’ve begun to play with it ahead of the return so that I might be more present once there, particularly as our time there continues to shrink while our family there continues to expand.

And so it is that this week brings the maddening/thrilling algebraic acrobatics of making connections and plans with 6 different siblings & their kids (some grown and on their own) and with what remains of 3 sets of parents, and also a stepgrandmother & her fiance, a great aunt & her son, dozens of cousins, aunts & uncles, a friend or two, and once in blue moon if we’re especially lucky–a beloved colleague.

Sometimes I forget an entire branch of our lives.

Sometimes I get so aborbed by balancing the equation that I miss the sweetness of the faces and the sea and the memory space of home.

Increasingly so, I take time apart from it all, simply to steep in place, alone, and instead of telling myself that I am not enough, that the time we spend is not enough, that the visit is too cumbersome, too far, too much, I let another voice in… the one that says that the Return is sacred, and as such things will fall into place (like running into a cousin’s family at the ice cream parlor, or old friends at a distant relative’s funeral), while simultaneously letting so. much. go. like we once did, 25 years ago, heartbroken, leaving the sea to make a new home of our own.

a mid-spring evening for women

a mid-spring evening for women

with the Pink Full Moon

In Southern, Vermont

Monday, April 30th
6:00 to 8:00 pm
Marlboro, Vermont
(in between Brattleboro & Bennington)

Join a mid-spring evening with women to…

Elevate the human condition.
Retrieve lost aspects of self.
Steep in the poetry of your life.

Experience the chakras with music, movement & meditation.
Enjoy a stunningly disguised workout.
Rest, stretch & dance in a safe & welcoming circle of women.
Participate in simple, co-created ritual.
Discover the elegance of spontaneity & surrender.

Be yourself.
HAVE FUN!

Sink into 111 minutes of gently-guided flow from the earth to sky led by lifelong educator, yoga & yogadance instructor Kelly Salasin. Experience & skill irrelevant. If you can take a brisk walk and get up from and down to the floor, you’ve got this. Women of all ages welcome. (Youth of a certain age with advance permission.)

Experience the body’s energy centers—from grounding to flowing—from boundaries to open-heartedness—from playful expression and voiced truth to clear seeing—to silent knowing—shaped by an intuitively-crafted soundtrack, certain to move you–inside & out.

Come as you are. Tired. Weary. Anxious. Energized. Grieving. Inspired. Ready. Reluctant. Fit. Out of shape. Introverted. Extroverted. Hesistant.

Allow the energy of the gathering to rise up inside you as we organically weave an evening of re-lease, reintegration, and regeneration with music, movement & meditation.

Bring a small journal or notebook, a water bottle, and some kind of mat (or blanket), dress comfortably to move (layers work great), move barefoot (or with clean non-marking soles.) Optional: bring a something to symbolize new growth for the altar.

HOLD YOUR SPACE with the link below. (Add your name & email address to the payment along with one word or a short phrase about what brings you to the dance.)

Let Your Yoga Dance (LYYD) Instructor KELLY SALASIN has been leading dancing journeys (classes & retreats) through the chakras with women in Southern Vermont for over a decade. She is a yoga teacher, a regular assistant to leading presenters at Kripalu Yoga & Health Center, and the creator of Writing through the Chakras, an online journey for women around the world. She is also someone who still has trouble touching her toes and has spent most of the winter holed up in her home in the woods of Marlboro and so really welcomes this opportunity to gather and move among women.

The Outback at Marlboro Elementary (aka. the school gym) on Route 9 lends itself to the kind of playful expansion that is welcome in the 5th chakra, while the intimacy of the women’s candlelit circle creates a powerful container for warming, connecting & integrating. We benefit from the energetic imprint of children in the space and we leave the energy of women dancing behind to bless their space, particularly at May Day.

(Update: 3 spaces remain~ https://www.paypal.me/KellySalasin/33.33

 

Aging in place

Aging in place

In the middle of winter & now into spring–on snow-covered roads and icy ones and mud-ridden too–I find myself traveling to the bedsides of those who are aging in place in my part of the state; and I am astounded by their spirits and by the devotion of their caregivers, and also by the plight of adult children caring for parents, or one spouse caring for another or siblings doing the same.

I am struck when I hear that opting for Nursing Home care comes with fewer strings, financially & practically; and this reminds me of my early years at home with my babies, if only I’d chosen a daycare to raise my little ones, it could have been subsidized, but if I gave up my career to be with my children so that they too could “age in place,” I would lose my foothold in the work world and exponentially lag behind in my capacity to earn and thus become increasingly disheartened in that regard, not to mention less and less represented in the wider world.

(Think Congress.)

Unlike some of our counterparts in the developed world, we do not prioritize those who need care and those who give care–to the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the refugee, the lonely, the downtrodden, the minority, the mother, the child–namely–women–who as a result of unpaid/underpaid caregiving are among the most impoverished around the world no matter their race, educational background and marital status; and increasingly so as they age, with a wider income gap between women and men in the United States than anywhere in the Western world.

~

When my children were young, I tended to them in much the same way as I would have wanted to be tended, and I imagine the same is true for adult children caring for parents.

“We’re next, Kelly,” said one such caregiver, as she looked me in the eyes, and this is quite a sobering thought, particularly as I see parents become children, and then infants, in their offspring’s hearts.

Dear Bernie,

Dear Bernie,

I moved to Vermont in 1993, the year before I turned thirty, two years before my husband & I became parents.
 
It was in Vermont that something else was conceived inside–a growing awareness & engagement in politics; Because it was in Vermont that I first discovered politics beyond the pocketbook.
 
Bernie, it was in our early years in Vermont that my young family sat beside you at the Chicken Supper when you were our Congressman, and where we later watched with pride as our son joined you in the Strolling of the Heifers parade down Main Street during your campaign for Senate; and when time sped forward and that same son went off to school at the University of Vermont, my youngest son and I were with you on the waterfront as you announced your campaign for President; which is to say that Bernie Sanders & Vermont are inextricably linked in my understanding of both the rights & responsibilities of citizenship.
 
But it’s not that for which I’d like to thank you now, Bernie. It’s something larger than one family. It’s the way your presidential campaign gave young people, not just in Vermont, but around this nation, hope. It’s the way you tethered their hearts and minds to a purpose larger than themselves, and to the possibility of something more than the cultural shadow assigned them–ignorance, irrelevance, consumerism & self-absorption.
 
Bernie, your campaign, your voice, your tenacious heart woke the heart of a nation and seeded a sense of possibility that is taking root in the consciousness & action of our youngest citizens in this most troubling time for our democracy.
 
Bernie, you have shown them how to fight the good fight.
 
You have proven to them that they are not alone.
 
This has inspired them to lead with love.
 
This has inspired them to vote with passion & purpose.
 
This has made the privilege of citizenship–whole.
 
~Kelly Salasin, age 54

Mother of Lloyd, 22, and Aidan, 17, ready to vote in the next election.
 
 
Winter notes, released…

Winter notes, released…

december:

i love how the winter sun persists, even through a snowcloud sky. and how the whetstone brook looks like it’s filled with floating marshmallows. and how the world has become a snow globe that some kid keeps shaking.

~

forecast:

zero & sunny

 

january:

our outdoor solar lights (so tenacious in summer) barely last through dinnertime, but the moonlight follows, brightening everything white, like a spotlight on the theater of winter

~

stark, sober clarity.

this is what i love/hate about the ending of the holiday season, and about winter itself, and about aging.

my menopausal bones ache with this cold, and now that the house is emptied of the evergreen and its friendly accompaniments, family included, i fear myself sharp-edged, like the hard world outside, absent of color and fecundity

but there is an invitation extended in this stark sobriety, necessitating love and consciousness, warm woolen blankets and poetry, thick stews and storytelling…

i listen to my bones, to the bones of an aching world, the bones of the earth itself, and i understand suffering

in this spaciousness, i find myself silently spinning a cocoon, breath and light-filled, enveloping me, even as i resist the vulnerability of becoming nothing but air

~

From -21 to 56 in a week.

Water is running down the slope of the hill toward the house, serpentine-like, under the snow, appearing like the silvery stretchmarks across the flesh of a pregnant mother.

“Flood warnings,” we’re told, and sometimes delivery leads to a flood, as my cousin’s did, and she almost died, right there in the hospital, because the bleeding was on the inside, and they already had the baby.

How so are we, like #45, grabbing what we want while disregarding the essential sovereignty of the life-giver… water, soil, air, woman, yoni, breast.

~

On Sunday afternoon, we took a family walk up our wooded road, and our way, we had to step aside to let a truck pass.

I watched as a load of cordwood passed me by and wondered if he ever lost any, and wouldn’t it be nice if he did so while passing my driveway.

It’s been a cold, cold winter, and we’ve burned through more wood than we typically do, which must why someone is ordering a cord this late in the season; and also explains my excessive cord envy, further expressed as I coveted another neighbor’s neatly stacked piles as we walk by their home.

The truck passed us again on our way back down MacArthur Road, and I looked, but there wasn’t a single log remaining in the bed.

Casey has long cut down our wood himself, and its grueling work without a horse or a tractor, and I feel a growing affection for his labor and the way it warms us through winter, and also, I think about how much simpler it would be to turn a dial, and a lot less sweeping too, and less angst about whether it’s dry enough or will last or will burn our house down.

“Why don’t you just turn on the lights,” my son says when he arrives home from school to a dark, candlelit house; and I guess it’s the same with trading in the woodstove for a dial, it would rob me of the intimacy of warming not just my toes but my soul.

~

What if I, like the metal roof on our timber frame–exposed to a season with more than a dozen hours of frozen darkness–also opened to the morning light, letting it warm me through, until in one big gush, I released the weight I’d carried through the cold…

february:

I wake, in the dark, and reach my foot across the flannel to see if it’s morning. The warmth of his thigh is my reply. “Go back to sleep,” I say, but I’m 54. I no longer listen. (Did I ever?) I lay there in the dark, wondering why. Have I had enough sleep already? Do I need to pee? What day is it? Is it the weekend? I lift my head to make out the numbers on his clock. It’s not even 5. Just then, Jimmy Cloud arrives, and I remember that yesterday was Wednesday, a snow day. Must be a lot; it sounds like the front loader. He lights up the woods out my window, and I wonder what the foxes make of it all. Beep. beep. beep. Are they asleep in their den or out hunting? I haven’t seen them since the babies grew up. Jimmy plows for a good long while, and when I feel Casey begin to stir, I get up to pee. He gets up then too.”I might as well stay up,” he says. I listen as the stairs creak as he heads down to start the fire. Later, he brings me rose tea, and I invite him back to bed to cuddle.

~

And also, yesterday, while putting on my rose shirt, in preparation for a weekend of writing & meditation, a paper wasp stung me on the heart, through the flesh of my breast…

~

Must be windy. Or a UPS drop off. Or is it a bear? I’ve been seeing posts about bears. I’m trying to meet this deadline. It sounds like its trying to get in. Maybe it’s just the shovels on the porch falling over.

Oh my gosh, I hear it walking around the house. Maybe it’s a robber.

I close my computer. Grab the phone to look like I’m calling the police.

(Oh, right… it’s just the sound of snow pounding off the roof.)

~

 march

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