Monday, March 28, 2016

Peace, Joy, Courage

We joined Alex and Bambi at the dog park, where we met new friends... four legged, tongue wagging, fun loving friends. The corgis chose me, and my heart is still all aflutter from the experience. How did they know? How could they guess that I wanted to pet them, to meet them up close and be friends? It was a wish come true, when they ran to me, rolled, and obliged, and then ran some more. A running corgi is a thing to behold. I couldn't ask for a happier sight.

Fitting, too, seeing corgis, because they always remind me of Tasha Tudor, and Tasha Tudor reminds me to take joy! (Words she lived by, from a longer quote by Fra Giovanni.) And I think this is good to remember... to take joy, to see beauty, to make peace, to brush goats, hold hens, bake bread, see what's blooming, play music, visit dogs, walk in parks, enjoy naps, wait for fruit to ripen.

Last week I was reminded that roses can smell beautiful. What a thing to forget! The roses here at our Bird House were planted by previous owners, and because I have an instilled respect and admiration for roses, I keep them, but I have been struggling to care for them. I do so more out of duty and obligation, than actual affection for them. They've been a labor that affords me mostly guilt and frustration because I recognize that I don't love them. When I saw some roses at a park, and was drawn to see if they were fragrant; they were, beautifully fragrant! I went from blossom to blossom, from shrub to shrub, with eager anticipation. They were heavenly! I'd forgotten how enticing, how seductive a rose can be. Our roses have little or no fragrance at all, lots of thorns, and heavy, old branches. (Never mind... I feel as though I am collecting a list of grievances to justify my indifference to them, and really I would rather just enjoy a clean slate and fresh start.) I think there is something in this for me to learn, or open up to... something about where I put my effort, my thoughts, my energy. I think if I am going to have roses, they should be ones that give me joy, that inspire me. And more... maybe there is something in this for many aspects of living... in what I buy and collect, and nurture, where I let my thoughts go, what I believe, and foster... all of it, as much as possible, should give joy, should be pretty, and smell lovely, and make life meaningful, with peace, courage.

Sorry. Those were some muddled thoughts, and I am still sorting them out, like finding good thread, but it's tangled, yet. I'll be pulling at them a bit more.

It's something to do with the state of the world, and hearing too much sad and tragic news. It's something to do with feeling far away from family, from old, familiar things and loved ones, that I miss. So much is changing, going away, already lost. And change, being that inevitable thing we all face, is looming, still. It's how I see myself, with a self-critical voice, draining, harsh. It's not easy to cope. I feel overtaken by a lack of courage, hope, peace. It's hard to breath. I don't like to say so. I'm not looking for condolences, but commiseration is alright. Do you ever feel this way? Unbalanced. Too much news. Too many thorns, rust, yellow leaves, hard soil? What do you do?

What should I do? I am going to walk. And quiet my thoughts. And share bread. I am going to play music when I fall asleep, and read aloud more. I am going to look for the rose I found and planted when we lived at El Rancho... they smelled like a bowl full of Fruit Loops cereal and made me feel like a giddy child sharing a ridiculous breakfast treat with my brothers, and I loved taking care of those roses, because just breathing them in gave me joyful thoughts! And Cecile Brunner roses... which are my favorite rose in the world, so I really believe those should be growing here at the Bird House. I am going to visit the dog park, find a rabbit to pet, learn once and for all how to connect all of the granny squares I am amassing, and I am going remind myself to take joy... there is so much of it at hand.

Letter to a Friend
I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got. But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . . And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

by Fra Giovanni, 1513


Anonymous said...

Oh - so much to think about and share. My best friend had a corgi, Tess - they always remind me of Wales, my home and theirs. There are 2 different breeds - the Cardiganshire corgi is dark coloured and the one you saw is a Pembrokeshire corgi - beautifully chestnut red and white. I recoil from the headline news and agree there is so much sadness and grief in the world. Since I lost the love of my life, my husband, I don't watch the news much (but I do hear it on the radio where it's less intrusive in my world without images). I have the radio playing all day ClassicFM and I drift through days, very happily with an occasional waltz around the kitchen! Usually avoiding the collies underfoot, though not always! Life is good and I'm totally in love with roses. We bought my husband Dublin Bay one year for Father's Day because he loved Dublin. It's a wonderful reminder when it blooms of our happy days. Albertine is one of my favourite climbers and I planted one last year along. Do you have rose gardens open to the public over with you? We have Mottisfont where there are the most magnificent rose gardens and in June they stay open late for visitors to enjoy the evening scent - it's intoxicating. Find a beauty with a wonderful scent and there's no flower like it - yours seem to be growing very happily and look beautiful. I can't wait for our gardens to spring into bloom - today is a wonderful day with sunshine and lines full of washing now that the children have returned to work. I'm having a peaceful day with the washing machine!!!! Ax

Tracy Batchelder said...

I wouldn't hesitate to replace those roses with something you love...then go hug a chicken...oh, the joy!

Jennifer said...

I keep a kind of measured distance from the news, knowing that it is responsible to know some, but feeling too crushed by the weight of it to take it all in. And look for ways to deeply and meaningfully engage, while knowing that the ability to do that requires deciding what stays out, where my limits are. Leave them to their own devices, those roses, and see where that leads. Meanwhile, treat yourself to some of the plants that will indeed bring joy.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

And some have tails, right? We saw four this day, and only one was the Cardiganshire.

The news... it's too much. I feel, like Jennifer, that staying informed matters, but taking too much in is crushing. Radio helps, and now we don't have cable I am spared televised news, which can be a horrible rabbit hole.

I would like to offer you a supportive hug of empathy. And wishes for many blooms from Dublin Bay.

Today Maria and I are going out in search of a Cecile Brunner... I think it's about time we plant the one rose that never fails to delight me. I cannot wait to share it's pleasures with her.

Happy April, friend~

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Ah, yes! Chicken joys! I got a fabulous bunch of hugs and affection from them yesterday, and remembered your prescription. Their attention did me a world of good.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

And this election year is NO help at all! Not that I've ever been thrilled about election time, but this one is just absurd. Ok. never mind all that.

Maria and I are heading out on a rose quest. Max has a half day, then his spring break!

Happy April... no fooling! Let's find the good, be the good, share the good, and feel good!