Creative Arts and Healing

Here it is April already – the brutal winter (yes, even Tallahassee occasionally has our version of that), is over, taking with it alas, my seven year old avocado tree grown from a seed, despite my attempts to cover and save it. Luckily I had a four year version of a different avocado plant, also grown from a seed, and the birds seem just as happy to perch in its less lavish branches before they hop up to the bird feeder which is right outside my study window. I realize that stories of endless snow, endless ice scraping, endless waiting for a hint of a crocus, of my northern neighbors, trump my sad story, but still, and still...

As I type here, a gentle rain is falling, watering my fast growing summer crop of vegetables (with a few cool weather crops still holding their own, i.e. broccoli and my husband Tom’s bumper kale crop), for within a month, we will be embarking on summer weather, reminding me of a day almost 24 years ago (May 15) when we first drove up the driveway to our new home, with Alana in her car seat and our cat Koko springing to attention with her feet on the dashboard, meowing delicately as if to say, FINALLY, after the very long drive from Oklahoma. It was so dang hot those first months, and I had so many packing boxes to unload, while Tom started his dream job, that often I sat and cried, with Alana gently patting me and saying “okay mommy, okay.” I’ve gotten used to the summer heat, if one can get used to almost 100 percent humidity and scorching days in the mid to high nineties for months on end, because I have found that the human body (unlike my poor avocado tree) is adaptable, as is the interior psyche who says, oh well, soon it will be fall, and oh all will be well!!!

The late news, since my last post, is that I have celebrated mightily the big milestone
event of turning seventy (January 23), and feel none the worse for it. I do not intend to brag, as one must be superstitious about invoking the wrath of some unseen deity, however let me just say that seventy suits me. I even find, with a few exceptions here and there, to find it a rather soothing age/state, one in which I can without bravado declare that I have nothing left to prove... nothing more I have to accomplish in order to be touted as a successful human being who “left her mark” on the world. Will I ever publish another book? Find an archive for my literary works? How many more Haiku workshops will I teach? Will I ever travel to some exotic place again? Will I ever have a grandchild? If none of the above, I can still rejoice in and savor all that I have done, been, and still am.

Let me hasten to add that I will always be a writer (and a gardener, and a reader, and a cook, and a dancer, as long as my health permits), regardless of whether I am 20, 40, 60, 80 or the fabled 99, which I think is a dandy age to say goodbye, penning a last verse before my breath gives out. In other words, dear friends, I am still me, and I hope always to be me, in all her myriad constellations, while reaching out to say hi, hello, how are you, to my fellow beings (and the animals and trees and the moon and sky.)

The rain has stopped, the flower and veggie beds are satiated with drinking water, artichokes are steaming in the kitchen to take to Alana’s where we will be having dinner... that little toddler in the car seat, the one who comforted me when my new life in such a hot place overwhelmed me, is now 26 years old with a graduate degree in architecture, working at a local firm, dwelling in her own apartment, with her own beloved cat (tawny prince Kahlo), exploring the many constellations of her self.

The world goes on with its earthquakes, floods, droughts, wars, inequities, and unrelenting beauty, too -- the whole A to Z of humanity and nature and whatever ties it all together. I surrender to knowing I can’t single handedly heal the sick, and bring peace to the land, yet day by day I can choose to find grace in the moment to moment rhythms of life with all its seasons.

At seventy I can say I have lived, yet I live on... as perhaps these very words will live on... these thoughts that tumble in the crucible of my consciousness, out, out into the
rain swept atmosphere where flowers, so fully bathed, bow their heads....

April 9, 2014

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