Courage, Scent, Sea Fog, Spring, Ukraine, writing

Sea Fog

I have been uncharacteristically speechless since my last post. What could possibly matter in my fine and privileged life while so many humans fight for freedom, drinking water, abortion rights and safety from guns? Words seem like throwing sand into the wind.

Dial down, I remind myself, focus on the small steps, what is in front of me. Listen. Breathe.

I changed coasts a few weeks ago, left the beautiful cold spring of the Pacific Northwest where blossoms and scents slowly unfurled for weeks and weeks despite the rain. Unlike what just happened here in one random 80 degree day last week in the Northeast — everything burst, a cacophony of instant springtime — lilac, roses, lily of the valley, plum, clematis, narcissus all busted out their perfume and pollen and color and threw it into the bluebird skyline. Whew.

Gardeners like me, holding back because of well — snow — must rush outside, snap on year-old crusty gloves, pull out shovels, pruners, compost and throw out backs, knees, elbows; burn the backs of our necks, destroy our shoes in the flurry of catching up to the marvelous mother nature. Yes, me.

This morning I stepped out, a bit limpy, with tea in hand. The air was wet with sea fog. I stood still.

There is so much to be done. As the robins chortled, the dog chased squirrels, the road began to steam I took stock: I need to do it well, and with intention. Small things, like peg the peonies bending from last night’s storm. Big things, like celebrate the engagement of my son. Who and what needs me the most, what should be done on the list first, what has been put off too long?

First, breathe that air, coasting off the water, carried by the morning breezes.

What do we really want to do with our lives — we have survived so much, now what?

I would like to bake a cake. I would like to write something someone will remember. I would like to walk a little further than before. I will take care of the body that was given to me then send it forth, shouting. I will let go what I cannot change, I will fiercely embrace what I can accomplish.

I am good enough today, speechless or shouting. And that will have to do.

Be well.

Talisman, Spring 2022
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Small but Mighty, Sunflower, Ukraine

Small But Mighty

Yesterday, I wore a big sunflower pin, lovingly crafted by my cousin and worn in solidarity with Ukraine.

On the ferry into Seattle an employee rushing by me stopped dead in her tracks, put a hand on her heart and said in what I can only believe was a Ukrainian accent, “Thank you.” I put my hand on my heart and said “I can do so little.” She showed me her Ukranian flag pin under her uniform. We silently stared at each other and tears ran down our cheeks.

An hour later at The Rack, a small woman bustled over to unlock a dressing room for me. As she was turning away she saw the sunflower on my jacket and stood stock still. Silently lifting her hands she showed me her arms. They were covered in goosebumps. Another accent, another thank you, we bent towards each other to air hug, our arms full of clothes, my face wet.

And then, another woman, stopping me and asking where she could get on of these pins. I said, “from me, give me your phone number and name.” She explained her friend and neighbor had just flown to Ukraine to try to get her parents out. I placed my hand on my heart. For the third time in as many hours that day I wept.

I cry for my helplessness, unable to begin to imagine what it must be like: to be here — watching what is happening — or there, running for your life. I weep for the venomous destruction of life. I wear this pin with anger, too.

My cousin is buying all the yellow and blue felt she can find today. We are rolling up our sleeves this weekend.

I have more work to do; a phone number to find out if the family made it out, for starters. I secured the attendant’s name at the cash register and plan to drop a pin off at the manager’s office for that little woman with the big heart. I will fill my pockets with pins and look for the employee on my next crossing so I can hand her a sunflower, and anyone else who asks.

Three woman I would never have known if not for three pieces of felt, needled together and pinned over my heart, to voice solidarity and recognition.

Never underestimate the small but mighty gesture.

A quiet tea amongst the disquiet.
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