Monday, October 31, 2011

The Veil Draws Thin... and Where Have I Been?

They say the veil between the worlds draws thin at this time of year. "They" being mostly a mix of all manner of Pagans and Christians who believe in the reality of the spirit world. Ghosts, haints, unsettled spirits, they try to reach us this time of year.
You know me, skeptic extraordinaire, fascinated nonetheless by any and all things spiritual and mysterious... and I think there must be a reason, so old it has been forgotten, behind the connection of ghosts and spirits with Halloween. All Hallow's Eve, All Saints' Day, all these things must surely have been recognized at this time of year for a reason. I imagine there are plenty of theories about this, so I'll just tell you about my quick Halloween afternoon ramble on the backroads.

It's a beautiful autumn day, sunny and crisp. I don't have a lot of time between work and time for the kids to be home from school, but there's some time. Today, I felt drawn to an old cemetery I'd seen on one of the backroads in our area. When I first drove by this old graveyard, it was a little scruffy looking. It has no gates, no drive, no signs (nor any "no trespassing" signs). It probably wasn't meant to be right off the side of a county road, but how could people in the mid to late 1800's predict where horseless carriage paths would emerge? The reason I point out the lack of a "no trespassing" sign is that I'm trying to justify intruding upon it without asking anyone whether it is public or private. It now appears that someone, whether an owner of the land or an employee of the county, has begun tending and cleaning it. I've wanted to stop and walk up into it many times. Every time I've driven slowly alongside it but not stopped.

Today, I picked the last of the marigolds growing in my hapless garden of weeds and tied them with a tiny slip of leather. I grabbed a pretty gourd from the basket my mom sent home with me, and I grabbed my keys... and took off straight toward that graveyard with the feeling that today was the day to step into it.

I've been thinking a bit about Halloween celebrations, trick-or-treating, fanciful witches and monsters and bats, and the secularization of Christmas. Wait, did I mean to type "Christmas"? Yes, I did, because I wonder why it is that no one laments the trivialization of Halloween the way we do the commercialization of Christmas. I will tell you that I am not a Christian, that I celebrate Christmas anyway because I love the family togetherness and traditions, and that (strange as it seems coming from me) I prefer Christmas hymns to Rudolph and Frosty. I'm starting to have the same type of feelings about Halloween. I don't think it's merely a candy-buying, fake-witch-t-shirt-wearing, monster-mashing kind of holiday. It's okay by me to have trick-0r-treating and fun and parties, but I feel the growing need to recognize more than the commercial part of the event, ya know? I'm not sure yet what that means, except that I'm thinking more today about the veil and whether or not this is the only time of year it can be lifted. I'm thinking about showing thanks and reverence to those who came before us, and not only at Thanksgiving or Memorial Day. I'm thinking about the goodness and kindness in the soul of the person who started what looks to be a reclamation of the place. I'm thinking about the four gravestones I saw lined up next to each other, each bearing the same name at the bottom of the writing (maybe a parent?). I didn't read the last one, but the first three were children. One was a baby, one a toddler, and one an eleven year old who died ten years after the baby and toddler. What was childhood like for that eleven year old? Did he or she expect to die young? Did he or she feel the presence of those siblings when this time of year came? Was anyone left in the family to pass along these stories? I wish I knew.

I left the marigolds and gourd with them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sasquatch Call

Yep, that would be the self-proclaimed "Sasquatch Siblings" demonstrating their sasquatch call while on the trampoline. But, of course, I'm sure you all gathered all that information from the picture itself, right? Ha ha ha ha, it has been entertaining around here today!

After finishing their homework, the boy and girl decided to share the upstairs television while I was taking a nap, um, I mean, reading a book. I woke to strange shouts and serious discussion about what was happening on the show "Finding Bigfoot." Well, after listening long enough to discern that no one was getting scared, I strolled into the living room for a closer look. I promptly became hooked, just like them, even though my days of badly wanting to believe in Bigfoot are long gone.
Oh, you know I wanted to believe, way back when I was in fifth or sixth grade. James is in fifth grade, and Kate in fourth, so I guess their fascination is right on schedule. I also wanted to believe aliens and the Loch Ness monster were real. Wanted to believe, sure did. Really believed, not quite ever.
Still, despite the skeptic in me, I have to admit that I don't really know the truth about sasquatches, aliens, mysterious monsters, and other creatures who make the grade in Scooby Doo's world. Actually, maybe all the Scooby cartoons ending with the revelation that the bad guys were dressing up as the mythical monsters helped reinforce my budding skepticism when I was a kid. There's also the fact that if I'd really believed, then I would never have been able to sleep at night since I was already the biggest 'fraidy cat in the world!
So, which strange, mythical, outlandish creatures make the grade in your world? Which ones have you, or someone you know, seen? Which ones do you wish were real? Which ones are you convinced will be proven to be real? Which ones make you laugh and snort coffee out your nose when someone speaks seriously of them?
Me, I believe lots of people truly believe they've seen alien space craft, sasquatches, Loch Ness monsters, and such. I believe plenty of people truly believe in faeries and sprites and other friends of Tinkerbell. I believe I want to believe in some of them myself... and probably will continue to enjoy imagining their lives and their stories, even when half of my brain is insisting they cannot possibly exist in the real world. So, there. How's that for a definitive answer? I'd write some more, but everyone else is back upstairs watching the "Finding Bigfoot" marathon, and I'm afraid I'll miss something interesting if I don't join them for a while :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Catch a Little Bit of Sunshine

Catch a little bit of sunshine. Reach out, and grab it with your eyes. Fold it up, and stuff it into your pocket. Pull it out, and look at it whenever your day needs brightened.




Monday, October 24, 2011

Imagine This...

It's one of those autumn nights when the air feels soft and wisps of clouds can be seen trailing the horizon. Bright stars lay strewn across the uppermost velvet reaches of the sky. The cats saunter towards you and settle on the ground at your feet.You take a deep breath, wrap your sweatshirt tighter around your body, and sink cross-legged into the grass. Someone walks quietly toward you and joins you. Whether or not you know this person in real life, you sense that your kindness and support are needed. You put your hand gently on the person's shoulder as you both take another deep breath and lean back to look at the sky. Contentment grows and dissolves some of the person's worries. You think you might try counting stars until you fall asleep, cradled by the soft grass, listening to the cricket chorus sing a slow lullaby.

You're almost asleep when you hear it.

It's the sound of raindrops on drying leaves, and you stretch out your open palm to catch a few. What lands in your hand is a tiny white feather. The person with you reaches out her hand and shimmering flakes of gold swirl and land on it. In the dim light, you can see falling purplish petals from the season's late blooming flowers. The feathery, sweet scented, magical downpour continues at a slow and steady pace. Somewhere from the heavens, you hear echoes of giggles and peals of laughter. You stretch your arms high into the air, catching more blessings, letting the ones that fall soak into the edges of your lives.

In the midst of the shower of good wishes and loving kindness, the other person rises, smiles, and turns to walk back to her path. You see her skipping happily as she reaches the edge of the yard, and you hear the mellow tinkling of bells in the distance.

Magical, magical... and somehow, you know the person's spirit has been lifted and she will feel your energy surrounding her as the earth keeps spinning toward a new day.


*****************************


I do this for a friend, for someone who simply asked for positive vibes to be sent into their world. Maybe you will join me, and I will extend my thoughts in your directions... and together, we will gather the starlight and distill it into kindness.



Friday, October 21, 2011

And She Said...

And she said, "Hello, country bumpkin! How's the frost out on the pumpkin? I've seen some sights, and man, you're something. Where'd you come from, country bumpkin?"

Thank you, Cal Smith, for a song that pops into my head every fall with the first frost. (Oh, yeah, you really need to click on that link if you've ever liked country music!)


This morning's driving to work adventure involved a hunt for a patch of frost. It did have a few requirements, bright fall colors not being one. The most important requirement was that the patch of frost had to be somewhere near the little drive I trespass upon when I

want to stop and take a picture without feeling guilty about stopping on the side of a fairly narrow road. Shhhhhhhh, you don't have to tell everything you know, so please, feel free to ignore that word "trespass." At least it isn't someone's driveway :)


Frost, frost, frost! Too soon, too soon, too soon! Last time Mother Nature asked me my preferences, I made it quite clear that 50 to 65 degree weather, twenty-four hours per day, would be perfect. I don't know where She came up with the idea to spring winter upon us when it should still be fall. Hee hee, wonder how I could re-write that sentence so that it also included the word "summer"? Serious business, M.N., what are you planning? I've been doing my darndest to appreciate each day, each season, each peak, and each transition, but you are making my head spin! Not to mention, my fingers and toes are having a tough time adjusting to this chilly blast. There. I'm done complaining. You know what you're doing, and I'm sure you'll give me plenty of opportunity to observe and learn.


Oooooooooookay, allllriiiiiiighty, then. Guess it's time for Angie to rummage through the closet and find her gloves and a snug hat. The coat is already in the car, so hey, I'm getting prepared... bring it on, 'cause I love your seasons!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Clearly...

Thursday morning sky, blurry picture, and clear thoughts about how life is a lot like the sky:









  • Every day is unique. The sun rises in a slightly different position, at a slightly different time. Clouds, temperatures, moisture, winds, and all combine to create different scenes in the sky. It's the same for each of us, too. We rise, knowing each day is a little bit different from the very beginning. Our thoughts, feelings, family and friends, pets, and all combine to create different situations in our world.



  • Each of us has our very own unique perspective. What you see as clouds to the north, I see as a storm brewing in the south. What you see as a passing event that doesn't affect you, I see as a big problem heading my way. Other days, you see rain, and I see the rainbows.



  • Dark clouds may obscure the view, but the stars and planets are always in the great sky. Daily details and small problems may blind us temporarily to possibilities and the grandness of life, but those miraculous things are always out there, waiting for us to enjoy.



  • Ah, but I know someone will think of this, so let's not forget that the star light we see from any given star may be tricking our brain. The light takes so long to travel to us that the star may actually have died before we ever see its light. Easy, peasy... the kindnesses you show to another person may have happened long, long ago, but the effects continue to shine in their life long afterward... or, the people we have loved in the past might have left our lives, but the love we felt still fills a space in our heart for as long as we live... or, you may have a dream that was very real but didn't seem to be coming true, until years later when the hard work you put into it finally produces results.



Obvious, I know, but I tend to forget. Trying to capture these thoughts and write them helps me remind myself, ya know? Sky therapy, yeah, that's what I'll call it. This morning when I stepped out the front door in search of a good picture to start the day, all I saw was those dark clouds on the horizon... until I remembered those 360 degrees and looked all around me. The faint light of the coming sunrise shone above those clouds. The half moon hung right over my head. Stars were still blinking in the western sky. It's all there. We just have to remind ourselves.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Feel Winter Walking Slowly to Our Door

In the quiet of a foggy Fall morning, I hear Winter's shuffling footsteps coming along the path to our door. Later in the afternoon, with the wind whipping out of the north and scattering clouds across the sky, I feel a tiny shiver and remember Winter's touch.


Yes, I know Autumn is still the biggest player in the room, but Winter is tiptoeing up to the corner and humming a soft and cozy song so we won't be completely startled when she does walk into the room.


I'm not sure why the exploding milkweed pod in the photo made me think of winter this morning, but it did. The sky was blanketed behind me, and the sun in front of me was shining on patches of fog. The car windows were down, letting the day ride with me to work. The greens of summer were still out in plenty of places, and the oranges and golds of fall were splashed all around me... and yet, I felt Winter.


I felt the call of that silly fluff of milkweed, too. This morning, I didn't stop to photograph it, thinking I'd surely see another on the rest of the drive. Nope, not a one caught my eye. So, on the way home from work, I backtracked and stopped to take the picture. Isn't that milkweed pod beautiful in a very primevel sort of way? The pod's rough texture seems such an incredible contrast to the angel hair fluff of seeds and fibers within it. In fact, I'm wondering how durable those fibers might be, as well as whether or not they'll still be attached to the pod when I drive by it tomorrow morning. Wouldn't those fibers make gorgeous hair for a paper clay face of Winter? Of course, that's most likely simply another idea that will never come to fruition, but hey, thinking up the ideas is the fun part!


On that note, I do believe I should head outside for a few minutes to commune with Autumn and her sounds and smells. Lately, it seems homework duty and other such everyday stuff leaves little time for sitting on the front step and noticing Nature's transitions... gotta change that a wee bit and not lose touch with the sensations of the outdoors, ya know? Have yourself a terrific rest of the evening (or beginning of Tuesday)! Ang

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

They Ate It...

Isn't this too cute? The three little pigs in the pen at Rhodes Family Farm have a house of sticks, a house of bricks, and no wolf in sight. They are missing one thing, though. They don't have a house of straw. Seems they kept eating it!



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nature's Kiss


Grass clinging to bare feet,

Dew outlining an intricate web,

Sunrise peering over the roof of the old barn...

Kisses from Nature, every one.


Nature, Nature,

Bless me again in some little way,

each and every day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blessings, I Have Them...

Blessings, I have them... and they are called:




Ricky, James, and Katie




Mother, Pop, Soupie, and Bubby




Cousins




Classmates and childhood friends




Family friends and neighbors in Kentucky



Illinois friends


Garrens, Grays, and other family in far flung places :)




Words




Torch, glass, creativity, and fellow artists




Eyes, cameras, memories






I am grateful to the powers of the universe for allowing me the pleasure of experiencing all of the above, as well as the few hundred other things I'm sure I've forgotten to include!


I do hope you have a long list yourself, and I hope you continue to be blessed.


Have yourself a wonderful weekend!


Ang




















Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Matagot

Matagot.

"Magician Cat."


If well fed, treated to the first mouthful of food and drink at each meal, the black cat matagot brings wealth to the home. Who wouldn't like to have one of these living with their family?



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cats and Their Crones: Liam and Lucy

Lucy.

She's my human.

I've loved her since the first full moon I can remember.

She walked down the middle of the moonlit country road in that cloak of hers.

I followed her.

Somehow, I knew she was the one who would keep me, cherish me, honor me.

Somehow, she knew I was the one who would become the living hem to her flowing cloak, the cuff to her ankle boots, the mantle to her heart.


Lucy didn't need to tell me her life story.

I knew it, surely as I knew she'd place a saucer of cream on her porch every evening.

To some, she seems an old woman.

To some, she seems little more than a slow gaited waft of fabric moving along the outer pathways of the village.

To me, she is the grandest personification of compassion and wisdom ever put on this earth by the gods.


Lucy wears that cloak from long habit.

Once, when she was young and not so fair as the other girls, she hid behind it.

Habit became her habit, for she is a nun married to solitude.

The years brought her self-acceptance and clearer vision when she looked in mirrors, but the cloak remained.

Only I know the depth of the nap of that velvety fabric.

Only I can see the creases of time and translate them into the paragraphs of knowledge gained.

I am Liam, and Lucy is my crone.



















Must Have Been Looking for His Uptown Girl

Here's yet another reason I like to take the backroads on my way to work in the mornings. Of course, the first reason has to be that I'm a Kentucky girl at heart and will always choose the backroads if given the chance. The next reason is that I can almost always score a cool picture along the way, even though I take the same roads Monday through Friday, August to May. I've seen an eagle standing in the shade of a tree alongside the road. His talons were practically on the chip-and-seal surface. Turkey vultures, Canada geese, herons, and blackbirds frequent the skies and fields along this route. Prairie grasses, weeds, and wildflowers fill the fencerows. It's a short drive, but it resets my mood to "happy to be alive."


This morning, I thought I'd stop and take a picture of some goldenrod. I did. Those pictures were better than this one, BUT this one is more interesting. See the fellow standing by the side of the road? That's not a dog, nor is it a stray cow or llama. It's a deer. I know they've gone from "plentiful" to "virtually a nuisance" in the past decades, but I still don't see them up close for more than a few seconds when they appear. Deer usually like to stand still and hope you ignore them. If that doesn't work, they bound away quickly and hide. This guy didn't seem to know the drill. I saw him running perpendicular to the road, passing between a fence and the outer row of a corn field. I could see his antlers very well from that vantage point, even in the flash of an eye. Still wishing I had been able to take a picture of him, I pulled over on the side of the road and took a few pictures of goldenrod. In a hurry to get to work early, I jumped back in the van, turned on the radio, and start to pull back onto the road... and plain as day in the filthy sideview mirror, there stood the buck some 30 or 40 yards behind me. He must be a Billy Joel fan, that's all I can figure. Instead of running back into the field, he trotted up the middle of the road as "Uptown Girl" played on my radio. I thought he was going to finally leap the fence, but he sauntered closer and stood quietly. Obviously, the buck likes KLOU 103.3 and Billy Joel. He didn't run until I looked at my watch and decided I had better get the van in gear and head to work. What an interesting start to the morning!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Obviously...



Obviously, it's coffee time. That's "coffee time" as in Angie obviously needs some coffee or a Ski or something because she's having trouble thinking of ideas to write in that blog.


The kids will be stepping off the school bus in about fifteen minutes. I've had lunch, torched one sculpture that we hope turns out okay, fed the cats, and roamed the backyard for a short while.


I could start a project that's been incubating in my brain since yesterday afternoon, OR I could go to the kitchen and clean and fill the Bialetti and set it on the stovetop to brew me a cup of coffee.


Heh, heh. Wanna take votes on which I'll do?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Don't Even Know Why...

Well, I do know why I like this photograph I took at Six Flags yesterday, but I don't even know why it seems a little cheesy or "off" or something to use it as the focus of my blog entry. Maybe, it feels funny because the whole setting around the Batman ride is meant to create a replica of the imaginary city of Gotham... too much fantastic fakeness brought to real life but in a trick-the-mind kind of way?
Eh, so what.
What I really like about this picture is the dappled sunlight on the druid's face. Um, if that is supposed to be a druid, I should say. I confess to having loved a few Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer portrayals of Batman, but I'm not very well versed in the details of the storylines as they appear in the comic books and become translated into movies. I just happened to think this guy and his twin who stood on the other side of the archway looked the way I imagine Druids would look if I designed the set of their world: serene, powerful, in possession of some sort of magical sword or weapon but not brandishing it, infused with the light of Nature.
I do love the way the simple but bold lines of this sculpture can evoke so much thought from me. I think that says a good deal about the people who have the fun of designing those scenery setups for the amusement park. Gorgeous work, Six Flags peeps!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Second Thought

I absolutely love country music, at least the older stuff and some of the newer stuff. I grew up listening to Johnny, Johnny, and Johnny (Cash, Paycheck, Rodriguez). I had George and Tammy in my veins, and Loretta sat on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. If you ask me, George Strait is certainly an acceptable bridge between older and newer music.


HOWEVER, in the interest of women everywhere, let me write a little note about George's song "Write This Down."


Dear George (or the songwriter or the character singing),

If you had just told her those things, then it would have been good. If you couldn't remember to do that until it was almost too late, then it would have been good to simply say "I'm sorry." Instead, dude, you did what to many men seem to find acceptable. You told her that she should write it down, make herself a note, do it herself if you forgot. Really, man? You can't be bothered to take the time to remember to appreciate her on a regular basis, so now you are putting on her shoulders the responsibility to remind herself that you love her?

Dude, now that I've reconsidered this song, I'm in the mood to write one myself, and it probably won't be any Lady Antebellum kinda sweet longing stuff... naw, I'm thinking more along the lines of something that would make Tammy, Loretta, and Jeannie C proud.

Sincerely,

Me (or any other woman who is having a little trouble translating Martian to Venusian lately)

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