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