Today began rather early – 3:30am to be exact; one of those nights where sleep is restless as I process the tasks completed yesterday as well as those left undone. I dozed from 6-7:30 and then it was time to be an adult. ‘Please don’t make me adult today’, I said to The Professor. His baby-blues simply twinkle back at me and he doesn’t say a word . . . because he knows that even if I wanted to, I cannot stay in bed.
Is everyone ‘over the hills and through the woods’ on their way to Grandma’s yet? At the moment, The Professor and I are in the air on our way to Arizona to visit family for the holidays; I’m rocking out to Michael McDonald bringing it home with ‘Children Go Where I Send Thee’ and there are two puppies under each of our seats traveling with their owners seated behind us. It’s a full plane with other grandparents, tired moms and dads, even more tired littles – but everyone traveling anticipates the arrival of Santa and of being with people they love for the holidays.
The day began with sourdough pancakes, warm, aubergine cardamom plums and hot, caramel-colored coffee in a fancy new black and white cup; the last of the Sugar Maple leaves had fallen – thousands scattered across the lawn in varying stages of decay. Today was the last day to rake, bag and mulch before the weather turned and the rain rolled in. It was a pretty day with sunshine and blue skies, yet chilly enough to wrap myself in a hoodie before saddling up the orange horse with four rubber wheels and circling the lawn one last time this season.
Blood Moon the night before, ruffly clouds appear to be blown across the crystal blue skies this morning; hundreds of starlings cover graveyard tombstones as they gather to migrate towards warmer climates. Cold weather is coming – that is a given in this part of the country – but today the humidity is high and my clothes stick to my body as I push my feet onward around the perimeter of the cemetery, rock crunching under the rubbery tread of my shoes. Hundreds of acres of amber-colored soy beans surround the neighborhood; harvest begins soon and large clouds of dust and dirt will dance about like a dervish as the tractor makes its way up and down each row – a routine I’ve witnessed now for nearly 20 autumns. In the next couple of months the fields and tombstones will be covered in snow making it impossible for me to walk my loop – so today I’m embracing the heat and humidity as I know Mother Nature is attempting to fake me out – because I know she is really in the process of putting this summer to bed.
6:30am. We slept with the windows open last night and wrinkled white cotton sheets cover our bodies. I hear the birds first; their songs float like notes of wind chimes in the air. The weather has been spectacular this week with blindingly-bright sun and pale blue skies.
Doughnuts. The mere mention of doughnuts and my knees grow weak; glazed, frittered, cream-filled, jelly-filled, cinnamon dusted, powder sugar dusted, nut-topped, plain, fried or baked, I’ll admit to being an equal opportunity eater of all things doughnuts.
It’s a gray day here in the Midwest and I find myself pulling inward, desiring to get quiet and create – to write, to try a new recipe, to paint a wall. It’s hard work as I’m a perfectionist, always picking apart my work, always comparing, always believing someone else can do it better – and as my Life Coach tells me, ‘They can – but the others you’re referring to cannot create, cannot do what you do, Debra. You are the only one who can create what you see.’
Some Sunday mornings The Professor and I attend a country church just across the street from our house; some Sunday mornings we sleep late, wake slowly, have random conversations while still in bed. And because it’s winter here in the Midwest, I usually start the conversation something like this:
‘Did you sleep well?’
‘Yes; how about you?’
‘I slept well too – all through the night as a matter of fact.’
‘What’s the temperature supposed to be today?’
‘Well, the weather-guessers say one degree.’ ‘
For a high??’
(pause) ‘Do you want to go to church today?’
‘Maybe. But staying here snuggled in this comfy bed, having you next to me and wrapped in blankets is pretty nice too.’
‘It is quite lovely, yes. (pause) So one degree outside, really?’
‘I guess getting outside for a hike is outta the question then?’
(pause) ‘Thank goodness . . . dodged that bullet!’
It snowed last night – the first real snow of the winter with six or seven inches of the frozen white stuff on the ground; I laughed out loud when local friends posted photos on Facebook showing completely bare shelves where bread was once stacked – ditto for milk. Newsflash people: we live in the Midwest – it snows here – and six inches of snow is not the apocalypse. Lordy.
‘. . . run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.’ ~Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
I could be cleaning my house, running the sweeper, mopping the floors, dusting the furniture or balancing my checkbook; I could be in my kitchen putting pie crusts together, baking muffins, biscotti, scones and quiche. I could be doing my morning yoga practice, taking a walk outside in the crisp fall air following a night where a glorious moon beamed its beautiful light. Instead, I’m staring at my computer screen, heart racing, breath shallow, mind jumbled with flashbacks as I read through my Facebook feed; ‘Ray Rice’, ‘Domestic Violence’, Ignorant’, ‘Dumb’, ‘Effing Stupid’, ‘Married for the $40 million’, ‘She hit him first so it’s not abuse’ and the list goes on. And the truth is this: a small part of the reason women stay in bad relationships is because of these very words – used by both abusers and the observers standing along the sidelines – flinging these words with great intensity, but who have never walked this path. Part of the reason battered women stay is because of the shame.
The month of May is National Celiac Awareness month.
And while I could rattle off the numbers of people who have Celiac or some form of wheat intolerance or allergy, I’m going to share some of our family’s story instead. Why? For me, it’s personal; it hits deeply and closely to home. I have celiac, and so does my sister, so it doesn’t get more personal than this.