Real love

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This picture came up as a memory today. Elizabeth has been at the forefront of my mind lately. She raised me from infancy until 6 years of age. We had the days to ourselves in the midst of a chaotic, dysfunctional family. I was the youngest of 4 and there were 7 years difference between me and the next sibling.
Once everyone was off to school and work, she put me on the kitchen counter, served me toast with honey and coffee with cream and sugar. (I’m drinking my coffee with cream and sugar as I write this) I was content as she went about cleaning the kitchen. I was her side kick all day. Life was peaceful and full of love during our hours together.
A friend of mine is doing ancestry.com. I asked her to look Elizabeth up. After no avail, I am going to start my own research on her background. She is who I am interested in. The woman who loved me, sacrificed time with her own daughter and gracefully put on a white uniform, got on the bus and arrived at our house to help make it appear beautiful on the inside and out.
I already know my grandfathers on both sides were corrupt. My maternal grandfather was director of war bonds under President Taft. My paternal grandfather became sheriff in the south during prohibition. He had a check on his desk the day he went into office from the bootleggers.  No pride in that.
I’ll let you know what I find out.

Keep on loving

Feeling good again after not feeling good for a few weeks. I was tired and sleeping a lot, got an upset stomach for a few days, headache, coughing. Doctor ordered a Covid test last Saturday. The results came back Tuesday as negative. A relief, but not convinced. After feeling good for a couple of days now, I know I had something. Could have been any virus really. Could have been a  False negative.

I suppose mainly, I would want to know in order to protect those around me, the cashier at the grocery, the gas attendant, the  friend I had a six feet apart lunch with outside in the yard. Meantime, keep washing your hands, keep your physical distance, but stay close in other ways.

Keep on loving.

Why I am writing this blog

This blog started as a way to stay connected on my solo journey to Baja from Montana a few years ago. I pretty much left it alone after that. Here we are on our solo journeys. We can’t meet for coffee. The title of this blog came from a friend, Marc Moss, as we sat over coffee. My daughter had cut off all communication with me. I was grieving, still am just differently. Choosing joy in spite of grief. My nephew had invited me to come stay at his place in El Pescadero. Fuck it, why not. So I write to not feel totally alone.

I think maybe I’ll post a picture each day with a piece of writing to go along, or I’ll just write as a journal or share a contemplative collage from my daily ritual to stay sane. Or I’ll share a recommendation of what I’m watching on Netflix or the like. Who knows, none of us know much right now. But we still got love.

Best diversion yesterday: Lola called to share that as she was looking out her window she spotted, Sam Elliott walking down her street. There’s that!

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Are we listening?

Are we listening? Some are out of fear, some have welcomed the quiet, some are rebelling, keeping their doors open. Of course we are scared, have needed the quiet and want to argue that this isn’t happening, no not to me.

Those who want to believe they are in control are rattled, holding onto their believe system even harder than before. Some of us just want all to be forgiven and love even harder.

Excerpt from The Final Frontier

This morning, I read from One Long River of Song, Notes on Wonder. It is a wonder to read exactly what one needs to hear at just the right time. It is a wonder that some , namely Brian Doyle, here, are able to put in words what is called for. I share with you in the event you may need to read this as well.

Excerpt from The Final Frontier by Brian Doyle

Of course you do your absolute best to find and hone and wield your divine gifts against the dark. You do your best to reach out tenderly to touch and elevate as many people as you can reach. You bring your naked love and defiant courage and salty grace to bear as much as you can, with all the attentiveness and humor you can muster. This life after all a miracle and we ought to pay fierce attention every moment, as much as possible.

But you can not control anything. You cannot order or command everything. You cannot fix and repair everything. You cannot protect your children from pain and loss and tragedy and illness. You cannot be sure you will always be married, let alone happily married. You cannot be sure you will always be employed, or healthy, or relatively sane.

All you can do is face the world with quiet grace and hope you make a sliver of difference. Humility does not mean self-abnegation, lassitude, detachment; it’s more calm recognition that you must trust in that which does not make sense, that which is unreasonable, illogical, silly, ridiculous, crazy by the measure of most of our culture. You must trust the you being the best possible you matters somehow. That trying to be an honest and tender parent will echo for centuries through your tribe. That doing your chosen work with creativity and diligence will shiver people far beyond your ken. That being an attentive and generous friend and citizen will prevent a thread or two of the social fabric from unraveling. And you must do all of this with the certain knowledge that you will never get proper credit for it, and in fact the vast majority of things you do right will go utterly unremarked. Humility, the final frontier, as my brother Kevin used to say. When we are young we build a self, a persona, a story in which to reside, or several selves in succession, or several at once, sometimes; when we are older we take on other roles and personas, other masks and duties; and you and I both know men and women who become trapped in the selves they worked so hard to build, so desperately imprisoned that sometimes they smash their lives simply to escape who they no longer wish to be; but finally, I think, if we are lucky, if we read the book of pain and loss with humility, we realize that we are all broken and small and brief, that none amongst us is ultimately more vulnerable or rich or famous or beautiful that another; and then, perhaps, we begin to understand something deep and true about humility.

That is what I know: that the small is huge, that the tiny is vast, that pain is part and parcel of the gift of joy, and that this is love, and then there is everything else. You either walk toward love or away from it with every breath you draw. Humility is the road to love. Humility, maybe, is love. That could be. I wouldn’t know; I’m a muddle and a conundrum shuffling slowly along the road, gaping in wonder, trying to see and say what is, trying to leave shreds and shards of ego along the road like wisps of litter and chaff.