Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Feb 27, 2007

Catching up

Times have been tough - the situation with my mom in the nursing home has been unstable, with demands on my time, my energy, my nerves. It has left me little time to be present and attentive to my self and I was plunged into a very deep sense of despair and loss and longing, overwhelmed at times. The last couple of days have been calm in regard to Mom, and I took this time to try to regroup, to confront my grief anew, to again set myself to figuring out how to live in the world that my child no longer inhabits....

The good news is that I have some sense of peace today, and I haven't that in quite awhile. I am grateful to feel it again.

I'm sure the recent weather contributed to my dark feelings. The winter storm of two weeks ago began with about 14 hours of rain and sleet and 5" of snow on top of that. I took this picture in the middle of the snowfall.

Little did I know that the rain and sleet would create A Situation with my car -- it was parked on the street, the water deep at the curb. Essentially, it was as though my car had been frozen in a giant ice cube. Days of chipping away at the ice freed the tires finally, but the walls of ice still around gave no traction....salt, more chipping, kitty litter, muscle.....nothing worked, even when the temps climbed to 40 during the day. On Day 7, I tried AAA, but the line was busy, busy, busy. On Day 8, I got through and within an hour, The Robin was free!

All those days, I canceled everything, stayed home, dealt with the nursing home via phone and I made another Round Trip Jacket!

What's that, you say? You haven't even seen my first Round Trip? The one it took me three months to finish? The one I modeled at the Round Trip Jacket Party, with one sleeve on stitch holders, the other still on the needles and a ball of yarn in my hand? Well, here it is, finished at last:
(Molly made me pose like that!)

Details: Yarn is Noro Iro #61, size 11 needles

I think that Iro works spectacularly with this fun pattern -- I made the second one in Iro as well. I should have pictures for my next entry. Just about everyone who made this chose to lengthen the sleeves and I did, too.

I'll try not to stay away for so long. I love doing this blog and sharing my work and my life. It's important to me and my connections with those of you who read my blog are important, too. I appreciate so much the kind words and thoughts that come my way.

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Feb 4, 2007

Poem dedicated to Brigid

A little late, since this was to take place on Brigid's day, February 2nd. But I didn't find out about the Second Annual Brigid In Cyberspace Silent Poetry Reading until just now. (Note to self: Read Yarn Harlot regularly! )

I've been thinking of this poem a lot lately-in fact, I actually re-read it on the 2nd!
It's one of my favorite poems by my favorite poet, Pablo Neruda.

I dedicate this reading to Brigid (to whom I have always dedicated my art and this blog and I don't think she gives a fig it's 2 calendar days late....)


We have to discard the past
and, as one builds
floor by floor, window by window,
and the building rises,
so do we go on throwing down
first, broken tiles,
then pompous doors,
until out of the past
dust rises
as if to crash
against the floor,
smoke rises
as if to catch fire,
and each new day
it gleams
like an empty
There is nothing, there is always nothing.
It has to be filled
with a new, fruitful
then downward
tumbles yesterday
as in a well
falls yesterday's water,
into the cistern
of all still without voice or fire.
It is difficult to teach bones
to disappear,
to teach eyes
to close
we do it
It was all alive,
alive, alive, alive
like a scarlet fish
but time
passed over its dark cloth
and the flash of the fish
drowned and disappeared.
Water water water
the past goes on falling
still a tangle
of bones
and of roots;
it has been, it has been, and now
memories mean nothing.
Now the heavy eyelid
covers the light of the eye
and what was once living
now no longer lives;
what we were, we are not.
And with words, although the letters
still have transparency and sound,
they change, and the mouth changes;
the same mouth is now another mouth;
they change, lips, skin, circulation;
another being has occupied our skeleton;
what once was in us now is not.
It has gone, but if they call, we reply;
"I am here," knowing we are not,
that what once was, was and is lost,
is lost in the past, and now will not return.
---Pablo Neruda


Grief, Loss - The Journey Continues

I've been in a kind of cyber-seclusion of late. Except for posting the memorial we put in the paper for Patrick's birthday, I haven't written here about my grief in quite awhile. I feel as though I have this ongoing tension between my desire to maintain this blog with my original vision ( art and whimsy and joyful creativity) and the fact that my life has a great deal of loss and pain spiraling through it. If I don't write about the latter every so often, I wind up being unable to write here at all.

I think about Patrick in some way every hour of every day. A thought of him is one of the first thoughts in my mind when I awake and a thought of him is one of the last thoughts in my mind before I sleep. I cry at least a little bit at some point in every day.

The holidays were peaceful and sweet and sad. But in the middle, just before New Year's, we lost another young adult child in our small UU church congregation. Lydia was just 22, and her death was also an accidental overdose. She and Patrick were in the same dedication ceremony in 1992, a UU ritual of the adults in the congregation dedicating themselves to the children. I wanted to be there for her parents, just as so many were there for us.

It was hard. It was hard to be in the same sanctuary saying goodbye to Lydia just as we said goodbye to Patrick barely nine months before. And it was hard, oh so hard, to see the faces of her parents, and know too well the true intensity of the emotions they were experiencing. And I was brought back again to that intensity and bottomless depth of pain of my own. I didn't want anything to be about me, it was about Lydia and her family. But I couldn't not go and be there for them. It was made bearable by knowing my presence was meaningful and by the compassion extended to me by others at church quietly letting me know they knew how difficult it must have been for me to be there.

And so. As we come upon Patrick's birthday and soon the first anniversary of his deathday, I find myself having waves of grief and loss that echo in intensity and awfulness the way I felt when we first learned of his death. Back then, though, it wasn't waves. There was no surcease, just unremitting and constant soul-pain. I reach back and do those things that helped me through that time: being present, allowing the pain to flow through me, chanting the Heart Mantra, telling Patrick I love, love, love him... mother's dementia progresses and I am struggling to find a way to be there for her in more than the power-of-attorney-handling-the-paperwork way. Nothing is predictible with dementia. The way things are one day is not the way things are the next. And nothing can be fixed, we are just patching things up. Every week, it seems like something new must be dealt with.

I am carrying on, though, and there is laughter and sweetness and hope in my life, too. I still find my greatest peace and comfort in art, in creating. I want more than anything to be putting love and compassion and beauty out into the world.

And I keep looking for an old unadulterated joy I always used to feel, the joy Louise Bogan spoke of when she wrote, "I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!"

What keeps me going is pure faith that that is indeed so.

I shall end with a picture of a scrumble I made for an exchange within a yahoo group I'm in. At the end of the year, we should have a dozen scrumbles made by others and we will each create a large piece from them. This is the January scrumble I made:
Yarns are Manos de Uruguay (variegated) and a couple of sock yarns used double, Trekking XXL (red) and Brown Sheep Wildefoote (purple). Stitches are a slip stitch cord, some bullions and mostly single crochet. Also did a lot of French knots here and there with the ends.

Oh, and I finished my Round Trip Jacket! Pictures soon!


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