Big storm, sturdy camper

One of the facts of life living next to any huge body of water is that you’re going to have squalls, thunderstorms, downpours, and monsoons. Big winds certainly. Maybe not monsoons but it seems like it when the flood warnings come and the water rises in the riverbeds. I had shared previously that I have a leaky window on one end of the camper. So I went to my storage and got an old tarp and some bungee cords, and because it was going to rain two days ago, I rigged up the tarp on the leaky end and secured it with the brightly colored rainbow bungee cords. A big Band Aid in other words. It rained gently two days ago, no water leaked outside so I was satisfied. That was when Mother Nature shook her head and said

“Hold my beer.”

Last night the warnings started. Torrential rain. Hail. They said 70 mph winds were coming. Then an hour later they ramped it up to 90 mph winds. Heck. NOAA said they couldn’t rule out tornados. We don’t get tornadoes up here because the lake provides a shield. So that’s when I got nervous. I checked the tarp. I had visions of the 70 to 90 mph wind picking up my camper and slinging me to South Dakota. Or Oz. (See image for what I visualized. In color). Image credit

Shaking all such nonsense out of my head I added two more bungee cords to secure the tarp to the camper. Once the tarp was secure, the wind had picked up and the heat lightning was increasing and it was getting on towards evening and black clouds were rolling in deepening the effect of ominous darkness. It was silent too. No evening birds. I felt as early humans must have felt in a time of no TV or radio and no weather forecasting, when they felt intuitively they should seek shelter and soon. I felt an urgency to getting inside but I love watching a storm come in. I was amazed how fast the clouds were moving.

I got inside. I got out the emergency candles just in case the electric went out.

Right then, the wind smacked into the camper and the camper shook with the force of it. Big drops of rain hit the aluminum roof like thunder and it deluged! All I could do was lie on the bed and watch out the side window. I saw some awesome lightning strikes. Thankfully the dire warnings didn’t come to pass. No 90 mph winds. Maybe 40. No hail. No tornadoes.

The electric stayed on and the camper was sturdy.

Today, I stapled up the ceiling where it was bowing at the seam, and finished framing the bed on the end. The project I’ve been talking about for weeks. I finally got a drill and a big staple gun, just enough tools and just enough knowledge to be dangerous. I kept thinking about Theodore Roethke’s poem The Storm …and here it is for you. Nature is bigger than us and awesome in its power but somehow we are sturdy enough and adaptive enough to continue on. I hope the awe and respect for nature’s power never leaves us.

The Storm

Theodore Roethke, 1908 – 1963

1

Against the stone breakwater,

Only an ominous lapping,

While the wind whines overhead,

Coming down from the mountain,

Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;

A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,

And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against

the lamp pole.

Where have the people gone?

There is one light on the mountain.

2

Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell,

The waves not yet high, but even,

Coming closer and closer upon each other;

A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea,

Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot,

The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending,

Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.

A time to go home!—

And a child’s dirty shift billows upward out of an alley,

A cat runs from the wind as we do,

Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia,

Where the heavy door unlocks,

And our breath comes more easy,—

Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over

The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating

The walls, the slatted windows, driving

The last watcher indoors, moving the cardplayers closer

To their cards, their anisette.

3

We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.

We wait; we listen.

The storm lulls off, then redoubles,

Bending the trees half-way down to the ground,

Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard,

Flattening the limber carnations.

A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb,

Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.

The bulb goes on and off, weakly.

Water roars into the cistern.

We lie closer on the gritty pillow,

Breathing heavily, hoping—

For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater,

The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell,

The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses,

And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

Advertisements

2 days before camper: Gratitude

(If you are new to this series start here).

1 August.

Bank account: 230.00. All of it must go in addition to my check on Friday, to camper and lot rent.

Savings versus renting: 700.00. Camper has paid for itself already. No security deposit needed. I saved the cost of my camper.

I am laying in my car about to sleep. I am excited. In two days I will have my camper. I think about how I will decorate it.

I have figured out a way to sleep in my car that doesn’t have me sore in the mornings. I lay down the back seat and cover the flat space with a thick blanket. I lay with my legs through the hole into the trunk. It is the first time I have lain normally in a week. I had been sleeping in the drivers seat. I am listening to the rain on the roof and I think of homeless people who don’t have a car and I pray for them that they are somewhere dry. A shelter maybe. I feel gratitude for my paid off car.

I feel gratitude for my sons who I love and who love me.

I am grateful for foodshelves. I have two boxes of food that will last me till midmonth when I get paid again.

I feel gratitude for my mother who is also having to move house and is looking for a new home.

I feel gratitude for the bald eagle who kept flying overhead closely to me that I saw today when I was standing in the Lake being buffeted by the waves.

I feel gratitude strangely, for having lost so much. If I had not lost so much the last couple of years I would not feel gratitude for what I have left. I am warm and dry and safe.

I am grateful for the love of friends.

I am grateful for the job I have. It pays what I need it to pay and I save carefully for what I need. Like my camper. It is better than no job at all and I like driving.

I am grateful for my health.

I am grateful I can donate plasma and help others while being able to also help myself. The extra cash helps.

To the world I have nothing. To see me you would feel sorry for me or even feel funny or horrified. Please don’t. I am reduced in my circumstances, but I have love and health and my spirituality and hope. I have an education. I will be a teacher again. I dont know how. I applied for subbing till I can get licensed for this state. It is a start. I have a beginning.

I won’t quit. All I lost can be replaced. I’m just not sure I need to replace any of it.

I have a lot more empathy for poor people. Poor people aren’t lazy. Most work like me at jobs that don’t pay enough for the cost of living. Some of us can’t get jobs for some reason. Maybe its health or age. I don’t know why I have not gotten a decent job in my field. I applied for government jobs and got turned down for all of them. I was qualified for all of them. I don’t know why I can’t seem to get hired. I have done and redone my resume more times than I can count. I have left off my Masters degree. I have put it back on. I have tailored my resume for each position. They don’t tell me why they don’t hire me. I never heard from any of them at all. I kept telling myself as I do now that if I don’t get this job it means that Spirit has something better. Inside on my bad days I wonder if I am a failure for not getting a single one of the 200 plus jobs I have applied for. I catch myself poor shaming myself. We have gotten very good as a nation at shaming poor people. We aren’t poor because we want to be. Sometimes things are out of our control. I try very hard to keep trying. To not give up. I am frustrated at being so skilled and not getting any opportunities. I keep applying. I keep working the job I have.

I am grateful for the waiting. It teaches me patience and gratitude.

I am grateful to be home. My lake. Any amount of difficulty is worth it to be home.

I have faith. Faith is built daily right now. It doesnt matter I don’t see anything happening. Just because I don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

I have nothing but I have everything. (See list above). I have the truly important things. I am grateful.

The Girl with Special Knowledge of God and other tales

Today I wasn’t feeling so hot. I somehow got a sinus infection so I went to get my medicine and decided to stop off at Target for some organic snack stuff because I didn’t feel like cooking.

I should tell you that I love pens. I’m an office supply freak. I couldn’t just walk by the stationery aisle without looking at the pens and Sharpie markers and other colorful delights. Like neon colored Post-It notes. That aisle of temptation is where I met my stalker walking opposite towards me.

She was merely a girl. A young girl. I should have known better than to make eye contact. I did. I thought she wanted to get by me.

Nope. She glowed with the aura of a True Believer. She smiled at me. I couldn’t stop my face from smiling back. There was nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. That is when she pounced.

I should preface this by saying my longtime readers will understand I have my own faith that I am quite secure in. I also have two degrees in English Literature and Theology, with a concentration in Religious Studies. While education may not be the sum of faith it sure helps to know your Bible. Which came in handy because this girl was about to drop some Secret, Special Knowledge on me.

“Do you know about the Bible as the Word of God?” she asked beaming with a positively beatific expression on her face.

“Why yes. I am quite familiar with the Bible,” I responded. It was like pouring gasoline onto a fire.

“Oh…well…I’m sure you don’t know about the hidden Word of God in the creation of Man,” she replied smugly.

Hidden word of God? I thought. Now I was intrigued. Let’s see where this goes.

Noting my interested expression she proceeded to enlighten me that theology schools didn’t have the Secret Special Knowledge (herein known as SSK). Neither did any church. “Except mine,” she finished triumphantly.

Uh oh. Now I knew we were in for it. Only her church has this SSK. Hm. Cult? Red flag No 1.

“God gave our pastor and only our pastor this SSK. Would you like to see it?

Oh boy would I! She opened her Bible app to Genesis 1:26:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

With a conspiratorial look she got very close to me and she whispered “Let US. US. God wasn’t alone in creating man! Nobody knows this! Nobody teaches this! Who is us?

I suggested “Angels?” She scoffed. “Do you really think God let angels help Him create man?”

I didn’t see why not and this is something scholars debate but as I had tossed that out there for fun, I thought it wise to not respond. I took another stab at it.

“Us is God and the Trinity? At this she started.

“How did you know that?”

“I learned that in theology school,” I said gently.

“No! Impossible! ” She started grilling me on Bible Knowledge and trying to correct me by saying I was not as familiar with the Bible as I thought because God frowns on education and only teaches through the Holy Spirit. And only her church had this Secret Special Knowledge, remember. Suddenly she said I didn’t know the Bible in the same way she did. The girl was trying to spiritually gaslight me to make me doubt myself and my faith.

Nope.

By this time I’d had enough and politely excused myself.

It is to me rude to try to convert somebody when they are minding their own business but I get that these types are trying to follow the Great Commission so I can forgive that. But nobody and nobody has Secret Special Knowledge and shouldn’t claim to in order to take advantage of someone else’s ignorance of Scripture and theology.

I spent the rest of the time in the store dodging the Girl with the Special Knowledge and her friend who tried very hard to corral others to share this Secret Special Knowledge and no doubt try to strongarm somebody to come to church.

I don’t think I’m the only one who gets annoyed with this and annoyed with the idea that someone else couldn’t possibly be happy with their faith and they must be converted to yours. God likes us to be an example to others to show Him to others. He doesn’t expect us to weasel or wrassle people to the ground and smack them with the Bible over and over as if you are a child who knows nothing. Scripturally He most certainly does not want people to offend others to the point they want nothing to do with Him or Christians.

Be ever mindful of how you approach people, how you bring the Word to others. Please.

The world is a big place. There are other faiths. Let’s respect one another and love one another.

Love

It was a bridge across the forevers of time and whatever space we souls live in when we are not

here.

we recognize one another even when we are strangers.

You know the feeling, don’t you when you feel like you’ve known someone forever when you’ve only just met and most often we

were two ships passing in the night

we touched briefly and knew what forever was encased in long looks and conversations where each word we chewed and tasted and savored time

flew like sparrows dispersing upwards life the hourglass running out without

our knowledge until one day you were not

I just wander really. I’ve been lost since the ether swallowed you and wings drooping I’ve forgotten what flying was compass broken brokenness defined me

I spent years mending the tear in my soul until one day

I saw

love is the bridge connecting souls yours to mine never alone the deer show me you walk this earth still

love the

silver cord you on one side I on the other touching invisibly feeling the wind and the waves of that dreamscape where you

live now

death a middle passage from life to life

the birds know this as do the deer

severed

There will be no new memories. That is how it is when a life ends the seasons push inexorably on train tracks stretching to the horizon

somehow we go on despite the emptiness that defines our new condition

the hole never fills

There is this place you crossed over that looks like home only moreso and there I saw you looking like yourself only happier

through a glass darkly images

brighten then

fade

somehow we wake up in this

world and the next

half in half out

half here

half gone

half darkness

half

light

Forgiveness

I have many people to forgive and I suppose

there are many more who must forgive me. I do not know if

they have for

forgiveness is a one way street in which one walks blindly

as a theologian

i must know everything about

forgiveness

must know how to do it

such as surely I know

I must forgive seventy times seven and before I pray I

must forgive them so that God may forgive me and if I confess

my sins

God will forgive them and if

I do not forgive

then God wont forgive

me.

I am unproficient.

what does forgiveness feel like?

is it to be found in the forgetting of hurts or

when you can talk about betrayal without emotion

in a conversational tone

over coffee or

cake perhaps or

is forgiveness in the remembering of only good

about the person who insulted you betrayed you or neglected you or who

used you or

forgot you existed at all

you may never know if they forgive

you for whatever you may have

done that you do not know

anything about or did

in ignorance

forgiveness may be in the going forward

or the moving on from

it is the flower found in

pardon and

absolution exoneration

dispensation

indulgence

clemency mercy

amnesty.

is forgiveness a warm feeling does

it bring a smile or

does it happen without you

trying or

thinking it into being

are there boundaries in

forgiving when somebody does

the same hurt over

and over

and over

again is it in the walkingaway forever the

letting go

or

perhaps it is in the deer

i see in the backlit morning mist

by the side of the road

gazing wide eyed wonderingly at

my

heart

dove

(photo from Experience Life)

Easter

The sun shining

this

morning while I drove down 90 West to Erie, Pennsylvania.

The greyness of the past two weeks suddenly forgotten as a red tailed hawk flew out of the clear blue sky in front of the car landing gracefully on a signpost at the side of the road gaze triumphant

hope rose in me as I remembered you and how you died the same day Christ rose from the tomb so that you, we, could have

life eternal

Like spring, cyclical . green grass sprouts overtaking the dead brown of winter with aggressive life insistent life will

Out

Death where

is your sting

Reimagining my life

At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

  • I will go back home to my lake.
  • I will not dwell on the failures of the past.
  • I forgive all those who hurt me and I pray I am forgiven by those I hurt.
  • I will earn an apartment. With wood floors and a lake view and bookshelves built into the walls. A nice old house.
  • I will play classical music in the evenings and have a nice wine rack with a good selection of wines.
  • I will hang art I love
  • I will have oriental rugs for the floors.
  • I will not allow the failed loves of the past to dictate failure in love in the future. I will love another and be loved truly by someone before I die.
  • I will have a good job and earn plenty of money.
  • I will collect used books for my used bookstore that I will have lakeside.
  • I will keep running and walking and do it beside the lake daily and live in hope, not despair or disappointment.

Love does not conquer all

This has been a season of all too brief hellos and all too soon goodbyes of friends who were friends for years and years. One I was reunited with. The reuniting was wonderful and a love long dormant in Me was expressed but to the tune of the wrong place and still the wrong time.

I was not the choice. As painful as that is sometimes you just have to accept it and move on. While the reason was all too clear in my situation, sometimes goodbyes are based on situations that are inexplicable and you don’t ever get to know why.

The door, after a goodbye or many opens. Sometimes we trap ourselves in situations because we feel it’s what we deserve and most of the time this choice is unconscious based on what has happened to us in life and what kind of protections we have developed. Even when we don’t need them anymore those same protection mechanisms can become a prison keeping us from growth and new experiences.

For me the goodbye was hard and unwanted but necessary so I didn’t live a lie and also to remain honest, even to a person who didn’t know I was around, who I personally can’t stand but who still as a person deserved my honesty. I was angry at the injustice of things and how the time is never right and I took my anger and frustration out on the one I said goodbye to a little bit. I am not proud of this and I tried to make amends but I leave with silence for an answer and a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Maybe one day in time, we can come around again in the right time and the right place, with understanding and love.

I am weary of goodbye. I am sad and drained and aged. I am now leaving my whole past behind while returning to the place my past occurred. The place has changed, as have the people who populated it…some have moved away, some have died and most have simply grown older. Enough has changed I think that restoration and a new life may take root and I can make my home my own and lay down deep roots, forge new friendships and find a love of my own unfettered by emotional baggage and closed doors and dead ends. Love does not conquer all: it often means, if we are honest, if we are true, that if we really love somebody we have to honor their choices enough to walk away and allow them the freedom to live their choices while sacrificing our own desires. I really loved him in the right way and when I am sad, as I am now, I am comforted by knowing I’ve grown enough to learn that letting go is an act of faith in doors that will open, other opportunities that will come, new people, new possibilities and new growth opportunities.

So I sit in the coffee shop and think of the movie Begin Again: