Aging into Spring

Aging into Spring

I’ve always been annoyed with those who wear winter gear in late spring or worse yet– light their woodstove!

It is particularly important in Vermont that we hold the season accountable.

For me this has always meant, a light spring-like wardrobe, including opened toed shoes, as well as open windows. If it’s really cold, put on a heavy sweatshirt but by no means where a winter hat or coat. Use a space heater. No smoke!

Was it especially cold this year or have I suddenly joined the ranks of the aged?

I suspect the latter but hope for the former.

A post from May 10th:

The windows are up. The heater is on. I’m wearing a hat & a fleece vest. My fingers are cold. And so, when I pass a flowering tree, it’s more like ooooh, aaaaah, Christmas-light happy, instead of that rapturous, unleashing into the sweet caress of SpRing.

And also this confession:

The weekend before last, I went to the movies in my winter jacket wearing wool socks and closed toe shoes, and I wouldn’t let my husband break down the woodstove.

Winter wins.

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Maiden, Mother, Biker

Maiden, Mother, Biker

It’s still chilly in the mountains, but spring has tiptoed into our hearts at this most feminine time of year… the delicate unfolding of leaf, the first flowering, the bird song. The Maiden.

Meanwhile, on this Mothers Day weekend, I find myself fuming about how much space men take up. The motorcycles without mufflers. The gunshot. The music blaring from the truck. Toplessness! Callous conversation!

How much space do men need?
Does it not occur to them to share?

“I’ve downloaded the Mueller Report,” one announces from the table next to mine. I look up from my book. He and his friends are dressed in leather, sipping coffees.

“He’s a grown child,” the man continues, referencing #45. “He’s never had to work with anyone. It’s always been his way.”

“And he’s used to getting it any way he can,” I might have added, but they weren’t talking to me.

The topic shifted to the Vermont countryside and the route they might or might not take next. “100 or 8,” one suggested.

“It’s a pretty area,” the woman agreed, “but I get to do more sightseeing then you two do.”

“Relaxed attention,” the other man said.

“It’s true,” said the one with the Mueller Report. “I can’t look around much during the week either when I’m driving the truck.”

“It’s the same for me and the bus,” said the other man. “All those little kids on it.”

The Last Snow(s)

The Last Snow(s)

MARCH

I had to give it to it. It sure was pretty.

And still, I would have left town if I wasn’t leading a retreat that night–guiding women (and let’s face it–myself) from the turning point of Autumn, sparse & bare, the darkness unending, to the certainty of Spring, not on the calendar but on the land–and upon waking somewhere south of these mountains, I would have missed the beauty, the soft, soothing motion, the outline of branch and stone and fencepost.

I want to reach back in time and offer this to Virginia Woolf, who filled her pockets with stones and headed toward the river.

No decision should be finalized in March.

~

APRIL

An April snow. Mild to moderate despair. And one more day for the more introverted among us to retreat before the joy & productivity of SpRinG forces us, like a bulb, to open into the world, giddy, with delight.

~

APRIL, again

Turkeys kept being on sale after the holidays, and so each month I was forced to buy another to offset the cost of that original local, organic splurge which I justified on account of my mother’s Christmas birthday.

In the New Year, we roasted a second turkey and ate it every day for an entire week. Turkey stew. Turkey curry. Turkey pot pie. Turkey soup with rice. Turkey sandwiches and salad. In February, another for my sister and her family when they were visiting from the shore. In March, one last twenty-five pounder with my son and his girlfriend. Twice, this winter we sent them back to Burlington with leftovers.

And still, the freezer grew crowded with tubs of broth and bags of meat, until we said, despite the sale continuing into April: No more!

But today, while looking out at another April snow, I defrosted ingredients for soup, and once the pot was warming over the stove, the aroma overtook me, like a time machine, standing beside my mother as she dropped egg noodles into the broth.

Maybe I’ll set out an extra bowl.

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.

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.