The Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:

I have come after them and made repair

Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,

No one has seen them made or heard them made,

But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.

We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

We have to use a spell to make them balance:

‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

Oh, just another kind of out-door game,

One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it

Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,

But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather

He said it for himself. I see him there

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father’s saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

~ Robert Frost

*Among the reams of poetry my mother had memorized, this was one of her all time favorites, and as I contemplate the many broken fences currently existing in my life, and boundaries in general, I come back to this classic poem time and again. Happy Sunday. 

Burning Women

“The Dalai Lama say that the world will be saved by Western woman. Not any women, perhaps not all women, but Burning Women. Women who have stepped out of silence and into the fullness of their power. Angry women who love the world and her creatures too much to let it be destroyed so thoughtlessly for a moment longer.

Burning woman is the heart and soul of revolution – inner and outer. She burns for change, she dances in the fire of the old, all while visioning and weaving the new.” ~ Lucy H. Pearce 

*the future is female, as is more of the past than I was aware – by which I mean I have been following several spaces that celebrate women in the arts, science, culture and elsewhere, and I am overwhelmed by just how many women historically occupied those spaces yet were never taught, never celebrated, never brought into the light as artists, as composers, as writers, journalists, chemists, engineers.. the list goes on and on…and, I am burning. 

Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass

*Every once and a while I go back to Leaves of Grass, re-reading it for the umpteenth time, because it is beautiful, and powerful, and profound. It is a song, and a poem, an anthema celebration of life. Here is the first stanza…and if you’ve never read it, or any Whitman, I urge you to do so. 

I celebrate myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease . . . . observing a spear of summer grass.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes . . . . the shelves are crowded with perfumes,

I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it,

The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume . . . . it has no taste of the distillation . . . . it is 

It is for my mouth forever . . . . I am in love with it,

I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,

I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

The smoke of my own breath,

Echos, ripples, and buzzed whispers . . . . loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine,

My respiration and inspiration . . . . the beating of my heart . . . . the passing of blood 
and air through my lungs,

The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and darkcolored sea-
rocks, and of hay in the barn,

The sound of the belched words of my voice . . . . words loosed to the eddies of 
the wind,

A few light kisses . . . . a few embraces . . . . a reaching around of arms,

The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,

The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hillsides,

The feeling of health . . . . the full-noon trill . . . . the song of me rising from bed 
and meeting the sun.

Grudges vs. Affirmations

*I have never killed anyone, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.Clarence Darrow

The rematch begins again: grudges versus affirmations. This week for the ??th time in my life I have determined that holding anger and resentment toward other people is not good for my health, mental or physical, and that renting so much space out, for free, in my head to shitty humans is not worth it. This is not a revolutionary thought: I’ve known it for ages. Years. Decades. And, once again, I’ve been doing a few letting go exercises and affirmations to fina-fucking-ly let go, or, to be more accurate, at least improve the rent situation, lighten TF up, and start or continue the healing process. This takes the grudges down a notch or two, eliminating a few (knock wood), for the immediate moment, until the next time I initiate another conscious consciousness upgrade/rematch. Conscious as in it takes deliberate thought to alter my consciousness; it takes practice and hard work to get the grim nasties under control and out of my system.  

It makes me giggle – shamefacedly!! – to admit that I hold grudges against a couple of people who are, ahem, no longer with us (and may they rest in peace), but in fact it also makes me giggle (truly, my bad) to admit how many grudges I hold. That list is loooooong, people. Why is that? Well, because I was in local politics, which is a teeming sewer, also, I’m a human-fucking-being, and lastly, humans are complicated hot messes, at best. I am also, no doubt about it, a stubborn, headstrong human bean, as well as being a challenge to the more conventional, an independent female with my own money, lots of opinions, and no discernible ‘job’ or ‘career’ or ‘sugar daddy/ husband/ breadwinner’. I have pressed buttons for a long ass time, as in most people have relatively strong reactions to and even stronger assumptions regarding Miss Thing over here, whether or not they’ve ever actually spoken to me. And, being unconventional in a conventional world, there are those who feel free to speak and/or act on their idiotic ‘disapproval’. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, ‘For non-conformity the world whips you with its displeasure’. Yeah. In rural America, that maxim is magnified by the short list of options available for those who never left or thought of leaving. 

All that said, what I have been doing (again) is, while walking my dog in the mornings or swimming laps in the afternoons, dwelling on the people on my fuck you list, and consciously sending blessings their way. This is my standard blessing, which you are free to use, as I got it from – Eckhart Tolle? Liz Gilbert? Anne Lamott? The internet? – who knows, but it works for me. I even use it for myself, blessing myself, when I need to, when I am anxiety-ridden, not as often as in years past but, on occasion. Here it is: ‘may (so-and-so sonofadick) be happy, may they be heathy, may they ride the waves of their life, and may they find peace no matter what’. Sometimes I add ‘as far away from me as possible’ to the finding peace piece, because that’s a more honest affirmation, and isn’t honesty the best policy? Yes, yes, it is. 

I find it calms me and makes my heart feel lighter. I guess? Usually, yeah, it does. Anyway, it definitely helps get me away from the well-trodden ruts of anger and resentment, ruts that lead nowhere, that are circular, that become over time ditches, potential sinkholes from which there might be no escape. And, this week, one of the people on that very active blessings list contacted me for the first time in two plus years to – okay, it was to ask for help – but, given she was one of my oldest friends, hey, give her the info she’s looking for, including my asked for opinion re: same, and keep moving, lightly, lightly. Happy to help, hope you’re well, buh-bye. I set the boundary, originally (she is tied at the hip to my gossipy, unfriendly AF sister-in-law), because enough already with the triangulation, JHFC, puh-leeze. I will, in turn, respect it, that boundary, because I set it (respect for self) for good reason, and having spent the last two plus years without that tied-at-the-hip incestuous nonsense in my life, oh, oh, oh, what a relief! 

Pictured above: Clarence Darrow, Counsel for John T. Scopes, who comes up for Trial in Dayton, TN for teaching evolution in alleged violation of the law. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive) He was also attorney for Leopold and Loeb, another of his famous cases, and ‘trials of the century’. Great face, eh? 

Because the universe has a devilish sense of humor, this morning I was given an opportunity to put the exercise of blessing a prick in immediate action, to not be a prick in return, to rise above it! Thank you for the opportunity, universe (insert eye-roll here____). I was walking the dog and thinking on my used to be grudge-y list, now the moveTFon list, and doing my blessings for each individual piece of shite human. My furry bundle of joy canine proceeded to poop on the verge of a town road about three miles from my house, one I have been using to change things up, largely because there are only four houses on it, and hardly ever any traffic to excite the chase in my 90-pounds of love, otherwise known as Diego the dog. So, he did the deed, and as one of the joys of rural life being not having to pick up poop on isolated public by-ways, I let it lie. Now, it was dumped in the grass by Diego about twenty feet from a parking spot belonging to a lady I know, slightly. She would not have reason to walk there, nor was the deposit close to her vehicle, her entryway or her bridge (you can only access her property across a lengthy footbridge). When I returned to my car, parked three-quarters of a mile from her house, about fifty minutes later at the end of our route, I found dog poop for the second day in a row on the ground next to where I would potentially step to get in my car. Oh. Yesterday’s ‘that’s another big dog who came through here not long after I parked’ naivete became ‘Oh, shit, Shirley carried the dog shit from up past her parking spot all this way yesterday and today to, to – to make a point?!’ 

The choice before me was stark: should I call her and give her hell, telling her what a petty cow she was, alternately pasting a note on the windshield of her truck – ‘get a life, bitch’, or, worse, toss poop onto her bridge when she’s not home – or… should I simply type up or write a note apologizing for my dogs indiscretions in the general region of her home (about 100 yards away, across the bridge and stream), including my cell number for future reference, adding that I hope, if she has a problem with my dog pooping on public by-ways ever again, she would call me to discuss it, or even stop by my house. I mean, after all, bitch, we have been acquainted for fifty-plus years. Oops. The funny thing is, yesterday I thought I was being paranoid, nah, nobody would put a big poop right by my car door on purpose!! And today, well, today I know better; today, shit still happens, and it’s up to me to decide how best to handle it. Jury’s still out because – I know I’m not the only one who walks my dog along that stretch – and, human that I am, it makes me laugh, thinking of the effort she has to go to, to do what she’s been doing – drive or walk a quick mile plus back and forth from her house – picking up dog shit out of the grassy verge to prove her point, which is in fact not an unreasonable one: clean up after your dog. We’ll see. Just because she’s petty cow doesn’t mean I have to be. May Shirley be happy, may she be healthy, may she ride the waves of her life, and may she find peace, no matter what. 

Is it weird that I’m wondering what could possibly motivate someone to pick up poop – I mean I love my dog and all, but I don’t touch it unless I have to – and move it from one part of the road to another – besides petty spitefulness? Just let the rain take it, or push it over into the taller grass if the sight of it offends you, right? Oh well, back to work on the clash of values, the letting go, the championship bout between who I am and who I seek to be. 

I imagine by the time I’m seventy, or eighty, all this stuff, any and all of my grudges, will seem like petty nonsense, right? Fingers crossed. 

Diego, Diego, Diego

*Dogs never bite me – just humans. ~ Marilyn Monroe

He needs a haircut, don’t you agree? He’s not easy to catch in a still or semi-still moment for photos, believe me, and cutting his hair is a two-person job. 

Diego, it turns out, is a Spanish form of the English name James and has the same meaning, which is “supplanter”. It is also associated with the Spanish word for “Saint”, which is “Santo” – all of which is hilarious for a number of reasons, one of which is that he ain’t no saint, but he sure is a supplanter, having replaced and upended my perviously peaceful life with a heckin’ load of work, chaos, outdoor time, and fun. 

This next photo is Diego in his favorite awake spot inside the house, by the French doors where he can supervise the movement of various birds, the woodchuck that lives in the stone wall, and my neighbors. This photo also almost, almost captures the length of his lil leggums, which ain’t lil, a’tall. Sigh. 90 pounds of pure furry love!