Saturday, August 30, 2008

What is your perfect day?
What makes you happy to think you will be doing it?
What makes you smile to remember how it was before?
Why don't we have more of these days?

Today was a very good, almost perfect day, when it should not have been.

My family is two hours away and mourning the death of a friend. I should be with them, however, I have the remnants of an infection and my mother asked me not to come. I got it from my husband who has a full blown staph infection and is so sick he can barely argue with me about the construction plans for the garage that is being built (more on that later). It would be dangerous for me to be around some of my family members who have delicate health. I understood and maybe I am even relieved.

Grief is so painful. Seeing my Mother's grief is agony. I grieve our friend's death, and grieve for his family who lost a loving father and husband; I also feel the responsibility of the eldest child to be there for my family, to help, to pick up, and clean up, and just be there.
I am also glad that I am not. Kind of mixed up in the feeling department.

I slept late this morning; not because I was sick or depressed, but because my body wanted to. I made coffee I sat out on the screened porch and read. I turned on the fan when it started getting too warm and I enjoyed the breeze. Sometimes it stuns me that I live in such a beautiful place.

I told Hubby my plans were to do nothing in particular this weekend. I wanted to putter around the house, read, putter, nap, and putter some more. I did not want to go anywhere except across the street to the camp site where some friends are spending the weekend on the shore of Lake Ontario. They invited me for S'mores.

At some point I decided it was a perfect day to shave my legs - don't know why I decided to do this, but it was PERFECT. I sat outside in the sun, on a plastic chair, behind a pile of construction materials so I couldn't be seen from the road, and I brought my razor and my soap and the hose over and I shaved my legs in the sunshine. It was delightful! The water was so crisp and cold and the sun was so warm and bright. It was also a treat to have such good light while I shaved, and to be sitting down! Girls - you KNOW what I am talking about!

I went inside and changed into my shorts, now that my legs were shaved! And I sat on the porch and read again (Twilight by Stephanie Meyer - Young Adult Fiction - Vampire Love Story - I read book #2 first and now I have to read book One - Great popcorn book - light delicious and easy)
At some point I decided to get up and go outside and get some of my plants in the ground...an on going chore that seems like such a small thing, but has taken the entire summer....I bought some of these plants at a school fund raiser at Memorial Day! The are still in good shape because I was vigilant about watering them every day I came home from work. I have gotten a few in already and one by one I will get them all in before the frost.
Part of the problem is that I have to clean out the old garden as I go....whacking away at the evil Lily of the Valley that have overgrown the entire front strip of raised garden. They have created a web of steel with their roots. I have to take a maddock - which is like a giant hatchet and sledge hammer combined - and whack at the soil to break up the roots so I can dig out the lily and dig up a hole.
Today I used the pile of dirt my Mother gave me! To some of you a pile of dirt might seem like an ODD gift to give your daughter - but not when your daughter lives in a giant pile of sand and wants to grow a wild North Country flower garden and Mom has a friend with a dump truck who can bring a pile of rich dark soil from a friendly farmer's land. And not when Mom has a pile of this rich dark soil that the daughter looks at enviously from time to time. This was a wonderful gift and I finally got to use some of it.
I shoveled it into the wheelbarrow and I hacked at the roots and dug up a couple holes, making them so deep that I could fill them in part way with good dirt and plant the Russian Sage and Hollyhock on top of the good dirt. The Hollyhock had some seed pods so I sprinkled those into the good dirt and said some encouraging words so they will grow next year into some tall gorgeous Hollyhocks. They are one of my all time favorite plants.
Of course I had to weed and get rid of root clumps and chop back some of the fern and yank out some of the old and no longer blooming iris. All in the bright, brilliant sun of August with sweat dripping into my eyes.
One of the things I love up here is the lack of pretense about "how you look".

It seems people are very relaxed about how they look...not that they don't care, but they don't seem to let physical perfection, or imperfection, define them.
I was out in my front yard in stretch capri jeans that only really reached my knees and a tank top, and I was sweating and covered in smears of dirt and I was not concerned about anyone seeing me. I was working. I was sweating. I was making things grow and EVERYONE knows that takes work and sweat and sometimes you have to expose your upper arms when you work and sweat and no one here would think that you were too fat or too ugly to wear a tank top while you working and sweating and making things grow! Isn't that sort of sane and logical?

Meanwhile, back in NYC, people don't sweat.
It could be 110 degrees outside with 99% humidity and I could be stuck on a subway platform where it is 40 degrees hotter with no air circulating, but I would be the only one sweating. I would have a head full of wet hair and my clothes would be sticking to every part of my body and the girl next to me in the cashmere sweater (it IS AUGUST) would not have a curl out of place, and certainly would not have a drop of sweat on her delicate, perfectly glossed, lip.

I hated Carrie in Sex in the City. She and I have nothing in common.

So today I spent my day the way I wanted to. I let my whims carry me and it was divine.
If grief or anger arises,Let there be grief or anger.This is the Buddha in all forms,
Sun Buddha, Moon Buddha, Happy Buddha, Sad Buddha.
It is the universe offering all thingsto awaken and open our heart.
~Jack Kornfield

I have been in grief for a long time now. So many losses this year and I thought I was "good" at dealing with it.

I am trying to allow myself to walk my path and to allow others to walk their path without my interference. To a co-dependent person that feels like I am abandoning them, and to my savior complex, it feels like I am abandoning them, but really I am saving myself.

If I take care of myself I will have the love and the energy to take care of others.

If I operate on an empty tank I do damage to myself and I am useless to others.

My family is celebrating Chuck's life right now. They are having the memorial service down at the barn and yesterday they spent the day getting things ready, filling up bucket after bucket with beautiful wild flowers and images of life on the lake that he loved.
He was such a kind man. He and his wife were part of the Christmas dinner I had in Lowville this year and I am so glad I got to have that time with them, like a grown up, but still the little girl that grew up loving them. It is hard to be sad on a day like today...full sun, blue sky and leaves dancing in the breeze. I will concentrate on being grateful.