The Situation Was Dire

No, I had enough half-and-half for my coffee, and the Häagen-Dazs sure as hell ain’t melted. I came home around 9 pm after a lovely, if a bit surreal (we were the only four folks at the restaurant) dinner with Førge and friends. The source of direity was: it’s cold. 27° was the low.

My oil lamps were frozen again, and my 1 lb propane canisters were empty. The plan was to refill them from the big tank I’d purchased earlier in the day. This refilling relies on the smaller tank being colder than the larger talk, so when they are hooked together, the liquid propane transfers to the cooler tank. It’s worked several times before, but last night the tanks were not cooperating. No propane transfered, and I couldn’t warm up the room before bed.

I could have gone to Førge’s. I could have gone to my landmate’s place where I saw evidence of a toasty fire. But some kind of—this will put hair on my chest, I’m a survivor, don’t be a wimp—mentality kicked in. Instead, I layered the bed, and I layered myself, then I nestled under the covers with Fred. (Gracie’s is in hospital at Førge’s while I work today.) Eventually, warm and cozy, I started drifting off to sleep until I thought, Don’t people say they start feeling warm and sleepy BEFORE THEY FREEZE TO DEATH?

No, it really wasn’t that. I truly was warm and cozy. The most dire thing that I experienced during THE COLD NIGHT WHEN MY PROPANE CANISTERS WOULDN’T REFILL AND I ALMOST DIED was, when I started typing up this account of it, my fingers were too cold to make the keypad on the phone work correctly.

I’m ok. May love and warmth find those for whom the cold is no joke and really is life threatening.

Water

The water continues its relentless flow until… Is there an until? Isn’t water always moving, if not to the sea, then back to the sky? Don’t the hydrogen and oxygen molecules vibrate with movement together?

Relentless movement gives water the power to tear down and build up, to drown in death and nourish in life. But water doesn’t move on its own. Gravity constantly pulls down while wind and sun lift up.

Is water happiest when it’s settled or when it’s roaring? Would water rather be a still pond or a rolling wave? Frozen cold, shimmering liquid, or scalding steam?

Most likely, water just is and cares not at all.

Build Up

I visit the build in the evening and wonder how something can simultaneously happen quickly and slowly. There are mind-blowing changes every day. And yet—as I tick through what’s left to do and imagine being all warm and cozy inside—the finish seems something far away.

Patience, young grasshopper.

Meanwhile, my excitement builds and builds, and I continue to be grateful.

The Ten of Swords

And do you feel scared, I do
But I won’t stop and falter
And if we threw it all away
Things can only get better
Woah woah woah woah, woah woah.

“Things Can Only Get Better,” by Howard Jones

Things can only get better, especially when things are at their worst. That’s the meaning of the Ten of Swords. I drew the card this morning.

On Saturday, I felt like the person depicted in the card—wounded, defeated, and fallen. In that place, you can either give up or use the time to breathe, reset, get up, and move on.

This morning, I’m choosing to move on, and things can only get better.

How It Happens


when I drive away from an unscheduled overnight with my boyfriend

when a heavy wind in the night blows leaves off of trees, baring witness to the change of season

when the creek that ran dry for so long rushes with water from a steady rain

when I pass and wave at the mail carrier for whom I will be substituting

when Fred sees me and cries his meow saying, “just where have you been? I’m hungry!” then, sated, curls beside me on the bed

when Gracie returns from her walkabout, satisfied that all is well with the land

when a stocking hat, two oil lamps, and a lit candle are enough to keep me warm in my tiny bedroom

when I hear the sound of rain on the roof, but I am dry

then I wonder: how did this happen? how is it that I am here? from where did the strength come to change almost everything in my life so that I can now see the likes of falling leaves and rushing creeks that make me cry?

how wonderful and marvelous it is to love and appreciate one’s life

Working the Graveyard Shift

I was a zombie in a graveyard last night, so I literally worked the graveyard shift (rim shot).

Each year, Short Mountain Distillery Haunted Woods benefits the Short Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary and The Cannon County Rescue Squad.

In the graveyard, the headstones glowed with floresant paint lit with black lights and so did the skeleton bones that were scattered around. I held two skeleton hands in my coat sleaves and made shuffing zombie gestures and groans as the quests approached. When everyone was looking, I dropped a hand and looked at it sadly, which always brought a laugh. But it was a distraction. While their attention was on my lost hand, Zombie Kenny jumped out from behind the groups. After the screams, I’d point and zombie laugh at the group with my other hand.

It never got old.

The Haunted Woods are next weekend too. Come on out if you want a good scare and a fun time for a good cause.

Friday October 25th
Restaurant 11am-9pm
Distillery Tours 5pm
Haunted Woods 7-12midnight
Live Music 6-8pm

Saturday October 26th
Restaurant 11am-9pm
Distillery Tours 5pm
Haunted Woods 7-12midnight
Live Music 6-8:30pm

What Do You Believe Happens after Death?

Acorn

“What do you believe happens after death?” I asked Førge.

We were driving to the house where we’d been caring for a man named Be, both of us members of a community hospice care team that had provided Be with round-the-clock care for three weeks. Be had died the night before.

“Energy doesn’t just go away. I believe our energy becomes a part of something larger,” Førge said.

Be had always been something larger. I’d known them for less than a year, but each encounter left me feeling joyous. Their smile was delightful, and seeing it made me smile too. At community events, Be naturally held court. They often spoke of chosen family. Be once went on a cruise, sailing on the Queen Mary II. They wore a fabulous blue gown to the captain’s dinner and won the prize for best dressed. Be lived life large.

“What do you believe happens after death?” Førge asked me.

“I don’t know what it will look like or where it will be.” (I stopped to keep from crying.) “But I believe it will be just fine, whatever it is.”

“I believe in Love,” I continued. “Love will continue. Each of us will go on in Love after we die.”

Be loved to Love. I saw this most profoundly through their expressions of gratitude. In the last weeks of Be’s life, they were dependent on others for everything. “Thank you,” they’d whisper as they hugged me to get in and out of the wheelchair to the bathroom. “Thank you. I love you,” they’d say when someone said goodbye after a visit. I can only assume that this life of gratitude was the way they lived throughout their 90 years.

Love past. Love present. Why would we think there would be anything other than Love future after death?

I was driving when Førge texted me that Be’s pain medication was being increased. I pulled over and wrote the following, and I was fortunate enough to share it with Be and with others. I don’t know if Be heard it, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they know they were/are Loved, that they Loved/Love, and that Love will go on. I believe, this Be knew/knows. (Verb tenses get clunky when you’re writing about eternity.)

Release the pain and suffering you have experienced these recent weeks. For any harm you have caused in the 90 years of your life, you are forgiven, just as you forgive any harm you have known from others.
Embrace the love you have given and received not only during weeks of illness but also for the entirety of your life. Let go to go on in our memories, and let go to go on to the mystery that awaits us all.
Be blessed, Be.
Blessed Be.

Be