Saturday, December 31, 2016

Facing the horizon




I am trying to unlearn being superstitious. As if the Powers that Be would really want to punish you for being so foolhardy as to walk underneath a ladder or so unlucky that a black cat would cross your path. I don't think so, no, that the world could turn like that. But when I looked back at my post from January 1st last year, I had chills run up through my hands. For I had asked the winds of change to blow over me and how they did. Or as a friend aptly put it, a tornado came through and wiped my life as I had known it to the ground.

This has been a year of letting go. Mainly of a fifteen year relationship with a man that I loved dearly and who I thought that I would spend the rest of my life with; so secure in what we had built together as to block my ears to the whispers that maybe the structure was echoing towards empty. Or at least not supported by the fullness of what love can be. While I did not choose this ending, I see now that it is for the best for both of us and I wish my former partner nothing but pure happiness as he starts his life again and for all that lies ahead. I am very grateful to be able to genuinely feel that too.

But I have been letting go - or trying to - of much else as well; such as those pesky monsters sleeping inside - thoughts burned into seeming truths, tricked up beliefs about my self that date back as far as I can remember and veils that cloud my vision that is still so hungry to see. I question, I poke holes, and I beg, sometimes nicely, sometimes ferociously, for answers that either do or do not appear.

For my life should not have drifted into smoke at the loss of a love, save that I had given myself over entirely to it. I know that there is a term for that now, it is called codependency, as blunt as it is to type it. But I can learn and live for me, once again. There are solutions, resources and different modes of being. That feels wonderful, if frightening at times. A foal on shaky legs, I wobble and totter towards my future, away from the comfort of the mother mare.

For now it is time to build. And I have everything to construct, or nearly.

But I feel fortified. For, just when I had felt burned back to bones and getting tired, I was given a true gift, of the once in a lifetime kind. Friends, real friends, decided to take me under their rather gilded but grounded wings for Christmas and then let me fly on their backs to remember what it could feel like. No expenses were spared and no opportunity to make me laugh left unexplored. We roamed through Menton, Monaco and into Italy. How I can't wait to share my adventures with you here. Not only did I remember little things, such as that I really do like to dress up every once in a while, but felt wide-eyed present and most importantly, felt open to a bigger breath of possibilities than I had in many a moon past.

There are no words for the gratitude that I feel towards this beautiful couple...nor, looking back over these past twelve months...towards the sense of community that linked my arms when I wanted to believe the lies of aloneness (that would be you)...let alone towards my family, who held me up so tirelessly and with such grace, when I had forgotten what love - for myself and others - felt like, when I was not capable of standing on my own.

This morning, I took the last walk of 2016, a motion that, even when forced, has continually brought sparks into what at times was enduring twilight, the steps feeling forward for me. And as always, natural beauty, which has been my most constant companion of this year, buoyed me up and out. With my steps, I eventually heard my voice and realized that I was not only speaking out loud but apparently praying, to who was listening, the Powers that Be. Earlier, I had wrapped my scarf around my head to protect my ears from the cold and I could feel that the material was wet with tears. And yet I felt lighter. Still letting go, then, and still asking for guidance. It seems smart to do so. One step. The next step. The next.

As I have written, I understand now that there are no clear lines in the sand, just millions of grains appearing to form them...and similarly, that, even when one takes a sabbatical from the practicalities of daily life for a year as I have, one is not given golden rules of wisdom that are fixed in slanted calligraphy either, no matter how much time one has dedicated to seeking them. We gain and we lose within each moment, with each breath, and what beauty that brings to our existence if we let it.

I will be alone tonight for New Year's Eve and that feels appropriate. So maybe I will get really quiet, or maybe I will sing loudly, or maybe a bit of both. With the turn of the clock, I will face the horizon. Actually, I am already. Amazingly, I feel ready to date again once my life is more in place, I am looking forward to what new friends I will meet. I need a job. Badly, so that is first up. All in all, it is time to pop out of the self-blown bubble that this year has been. I am here. What will the future hold?

As I turned back on the path today, I was startled by the waving white transparent wings of my favorite heron taking flight, so impressive in his size that I call him Mister Heron. I have not seen him in so long but there he was. And although I am trying to unlearn superstition, I have always taken his presence as a good omen in the past. That beautiful flutter of hope, rising again and again and again. With a hand over my eyes to shield the sun, I followed his course and I chose to believe it.




With all of my heart, I wish each of you the Happiest of New Years. 
May 2017 be filled with discovery, fine health, splashes of joy and a return to the celebrating your unique self. 
With much Love and Gratitude, always,
Heather

****

With much thanks to the very talented Jennifer Barnaby for my portrait. To discover her work, you can find her on Instagram at @gustiafood

Monday, December 19, 2016

The year without a Santa Claus?



"What a difference a day makes...24 little hours..."

There was a sheen on the rooftops as I opened the shutters. A finger-snap click of cold on my cheeks from the air. Something had shifted towards Christmas, or as close as a Christmas postcard as we tend to find in Provence.

Out with the dogs, Kipling turned and dashed through the grasses, frozen overnight, with manic energy. The shadows tinged blue, broken underfoot. My laughter burst into wispy trails. I felt my lungs expand, bright, as the sun cut through the fog draped on the tops of the mountain on the other side of the Rhône, where I knew that it would be dipping down into the prehistoric graves dug deep into the rock of St. Roman. Old and new, light and darkness blending then, as it does, until the frost began to melt. So I doubled back to get my camera, as I do, exchanging the lenses to my 55 macro so that I could lean in closer.

Looking, I forget where I am. I know that doesn't really make literal sense and that is why I find it intoxicating. Just a little bit overwhelmed by beauty, that kindred swoon. What a gift it is when our heart beats so hard that the pulse dances in our wrists. For whatever reason.

This is my beribboned box, quite possibly the only that I will open.

It appears that this will be my Year Without a Santa Claus, a holiday as in discordance with the past as all of the 2016 that has come before it.

I know that I am not alone in bubbling up questions of why and how this season. What constitutes full and meaning. Maybe not the only one who is not listening to carols as they are a bit too memory laden this go 'round. Because it has been a confusing time for so many as the moon will tell you if you listen.


Pourtant, I am certain that we are all still somehow searching with childlike impatience, as there are so many presents to enjoy. It may not be typical. And there might not be a tree. But they are most certainly there.

I leaned in. The crystal shards and liquid diamonds reflected hope, dotted and strewn. I balance in the midst of them with crackling knees that are wet in the dew, in good health; being creative, the breath that continues to breathe me. More than a bit lost still, yes, admittedly, but determined. I will find my way. Purpose will come but how lucky that I love and am loved. And that is as good as any traditional mistletoe kiss. This is me, condensed.


Lifting my head, I had to squint from the switch of focus, a line extending from the dance of the minuscule outwards to the far distance. Two forms are engulfed in the last of the golden mist. They are so far on the horizon as to already be in 2017. The corner of my lips lifted slightly as I looked forward to the unknown, in and beyond what the next 24 hours might hold.










Merry Christmas to those that are celebrating and Happy Holidays to all.
With much Love and Gratitude to you for your kindness and continued support throughout 2016.

You are still here. Merci avec tout coeur,

H.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Familiar and yet Unknown




Do you often revisit the same dream landscapes? To a point that you feel that they have become a real neighborhood in your life, not just one in your mind? I do. 

There are train stations, vaguely New Yorkish, where I have memorized that I need to go up a certain staircase if I hope to make my connection on time (make of that what you will) and mysterious houses, vaguely Victorian, that recall my childhood homes more than the actual structures ever could.

All this to say that I am not someone who is, at any given moment, one hundred percent certain if I am dreaming or awake. It isn't practical, but it is a part of who I am, certainly in the present circumstances.

For they are hazy and there is a lot that I can't quite share with you in order to respect the privacy of this particular transition. Parsimony is required. So I am not lying nor hiding, just doing what I can, when I can. It has been nearly an entire year of unfolding, waiting and seeing while clasping the reins of action nonetheless. 

I know where I am without knowing at all. The surroundings that I recognize so well and yet that are not mine for the taking confirm that, mirror a bit mocking if I take it so. At best, I observe and enjoy. And I am aiming for the best, no matter where that path will take me.

In an hour, I will leave for a real not dreamed train station for a trip of short distance. There will be a 45 minute wait in which I will watch the passerby and wonder if they ever feel the same about their lives or if they are tucked up tight in the swathes of certainty. 

The sun is bright. I feel it on the tops of my hands as I type in a way that reminds me that I am wide awake. Right in this very particular moment, I don't need to look to the past or ahead. Can I just hold it like an inbreath, this croisement between dreaming and reality? This sweet gift of now?








 Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
Thank you so much for reading along with me during what is admittedly a quiet time.
But there is still much beauty to be found...and revisited.
I am grateful for that, always.