Monday, March 28, 2011

"When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest."

~Ernest Hemingway

My nights have been more active than usual. It bagan with last week's very large, full moon and has continued, despite the moon's waning. I've finally adjusted to this new lack - my dreams are once again deep and full, though certainly condensed. The lack of sleep doesn't seem to have damaged my days - I wonder if I might have been sleeping too much before and have only now corrected the excess? This weekend especially was so full and joyful it seemed to stretch into a season of it's own.

My primary project this spring involves a purging and re-examination of many of the the extra things that crowd our life here. Particuarly in the kitchen, our lack of refridgeration and lack of oven have given me a chance to enjoy an attitude of quick carelessness which has now passed from enjoyment into a renewed rejection. Looking forward now to the new kitchen I am refocusing my attitude toward cooking so that, when the time comes, I can fling myself once again into the joy of creating artistic foods.

But things collect in other areas as well. We now have many bags lined up to be donated or dumped, and I have a stack of papers that are only waiting to be put in order and stored in a way that will not prevent us from finding them again. I love putting things in order, straightening, purging, scrubbing - it's living in the order that is difficult, I have trouble in the space between creative and destructive, and this space is where I am trying to spend my springtime.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Let us remember that the life in which we ought to be interested is 'daily life.' We can, each of us, only call the present time our own."
~Gregory of Nyssa

I've spent much of the past week spring cleaning. Because I'm impatient for the snow to be gone, I'm purging our house of anything that seems excessive and unloved in the hope that when the things have gone away, the snow will follow. The sun has been out often and each day the temperatures creep up above the freezing point, melting away a little at a time of the snow that still covers our property. I'm begining to rediscover long-buried tools in the yard as the sun and rain uncover them. Watching the snow melt away fills me with the joy and hope of springtime, and on bright afternoons, when I can open the windows and hang my rugs out in the sunlight, the joy of spring cleaning is overwhelming.

Cleaning is an act of hope, an opportunity to immerse myself in the beauty of the moment and to create a space of loveliness that can never last. It is a chance to cherish the repetition of meaningful tasks - meaningful not only because the result is beauty, but because the task itself is a time of artistic play. Even those of us who see ourselves as lacking completely any artistic sense can enjoy moments of artistic play by immersing ourselves in the act of cleaning - really seeing the beauty we make with the simple wipe of a rag. Dusting is my favorite, I am tempted by any very dusty shelf to run a damp rag over it and enjoy the contrast of bright, new wood against the remaining dust. I like to write words in the dust and erase them in one large sweep of the cloth. I love the scent of the soap I use, and the final product - bright with new life against the remaining mess of the room.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"That is when I want you-
you knower of my emptiness,
you unspeaking partner to my sorrow-
that is when I need you, God, like food."

Last weekend my husband was asked to speak at a Lenten retreat on the topic: Silence and the Wilderness. He was chosen primarily because we live in a yurt out of the city, and it can easily be assumed that in our little wilderness there is the silence that invites God to speak. Unfortunately for my husband, that silence is often filled by my voice instead of God's - I haven't quite mastered Silence.

He decided not to speak on our life, and to focus instead on St. Mary of Egypt - a desert mother of the 4th century who began her adult life as a prostitute. She loved her work so much that she rarely charged and made most of her living begging, but when she encountered Christ, she fell so completely in love with Him that she abandoned not only prostitution, but society in general, and embraced the silence of the desert where she could be "alone enough/ to make each hour holy" (Rilke). Our little wilderness is nothing compared to this complete solitude, but it does help to bring God closer. I need him here in the silence to share the beauty of the snow, to point out the ever-changing sky, and to allow me to lose myself in the richness of the world.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some photos:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"One can live magnificently in this world, if one knows how to work and how to love, to work for the person one loves and to love one's work."
My father's birthday was Tuesday. I have been so wrapped up in snow and winter storms tha I find it hard to believe March has come already. It's hard to imagine spring can come to melt away the deep snows all around us. Because of the snow, and my overwhelming fear of being trapped again in a snow-bank on my own road, I've only just ventured out to mail his card. I think he's used to my tardy ways though.
A retreat I attended recently discussed how father's form our image of God, I can't help but agree. I've always seen my father as an icon of God's limitless generosity - a boundless giving of goodness and love. I'm grateful for my chance to learn realiance on goodness early on, and I hope, my father, like God is aware of my gratitude and love, even when it's buried in the woods, trapped by huge amounts of fresh snow and slick roads.