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.

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Saturday, in which I do absolutely nothing

Saturday is always been a fun day to me, and so I hope you enjoy your Saturday and the rest of your weekend, I remember to stop and take a look at the little things once in awhile. The little things are important, and often the most beautiful.

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.

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

15 Unusual Quotes that Helped me see Things Differently

Excellent article that I recommend. From the blog: “Did you ever had something that you never wanted to let go? Do you have a place that you constantly want to return to or do you have something in your mind that you can’t shut off?

Excellent article. What quotes have affected or touched you? Go over to her blog and comment!

https://wp.me/p9HmHx-3L

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:

How life happens in a coffee shop

For this post I can only speak for my life so I will. I am in transition and trying to figure out how to settle my life so that I am not wandering all of the time, as I have been the last 25 years. Sometimes you just get tired of life and being kicked around and dealing with losses of friends and maybe even the loss of home over time. For as Thomas Wolfe says you can’t go home again…but I am looking homeward now and I can remake home for me. I catch myself gazing over Lake Erie to the horizon where Lake Superior and Lake Michigan lies, and I am transported back to my youth when I stood at the lighthouse on Canal Park and imagined what lay over the blue eastern horizon. I know now, and I am world weary and ready to follow the geese back home.

The coffee shop has been my headquarters where I have arranged a job over the phone while drinking my large dark roast and sad folk songs play on the stereo overhead. The worn wood shelf at the window is my desk where I have written family and friends letting them know I am going home. I have gazed out the window at the busyness of Hertel Avenue in Buffalo and while it has been my home where I have picked up the pieces when my life fell apart (twice in ten years I healed in Buffalo), there is something about knowing when its time to go that is at once nostalgic and bittersweet. I have good memories here and good friends. Buffalo will always have a place in my heart.

I gaze at the people sitting here and they are all a life encased in themselves; many lives working and unfolding in the hours they pass here. Some meet friends for conversation about what’s happening in their lives. Some, like the guy in the corner ave found this the perfect place to crochet a green sweater, some are studying schoolwork as Buffalo has many good colleges. Some are lovers and some, like me, are alone and okay with their solitude, their coffee, and their bagel or muffin or biscotti.

You live your life everywhere but there is something special and intimate about the time I spend in the independent coffee shop. It is a restful space, a peaceful space where humanity is content to coexist for the time we spend in here as our lives unfold, as plans are made whether small plans or life changing ones like mine.

I end with a quote about moving on:

Nothing belongs to itself anymore.
These trees are yours because you once looked at them.
These streets are yours because you once traversed them.
These coffee shops and bookshops, these cafés and bars, their sole owner is you.
They gave themselves so willingly, surrendering to your perfume.
You sang with the birds and they stopped to listen to you.
You smiled at the sheepish stars and they fell into your hair.
The sun and moon, the sea and mountain, they have all left from heartbreak.
Nothing belongs to itself anymore.
You once spoke to Him, and then God became yours.
He sits with us in darkness now
to plot how to make you ours.”

Blue skies

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

IMG_2621

(photo by the Gypsy Girl (that would be me!)

Today I spent outside. It is an unseasonably warm 60 degrees in November in one of the snowiest places on earth.  You bet I was outside walking the trail and thinking about all the things to be thankful for.   This won’t be a long blog post.  What I have to say is really very simple:  Being grateful for what you have will change your life.  Practice gratitude.

Perhaps it is too easy in a world that seems to be progressively meaner that we become caught up in gossip, bitterness and what we do not have.  There is good to be found in every situation, no matter how bad it is.   Sometimes people have to lose everything to be able to see what really matters–to be alive, to experience blue skies;  soft breezes and sunshine, to be able to walk, or  talk.  To have a job at all.  To have a heart that gives to others and has empathy for others.   For our children, our parents, our siblings, our grandparents, our pets.  For our friends.   You don’t need a lot of friends.  You only need one good one who likes and loves you just as you are.

We know these things cerebrally.   We need to know them in our heart.   Practice giving, no matter how small.  A smile will do.  A smile is love extended to a stranger.   Find a charity and give anonymously.

A small act of kindness has a way of travelling on to others and making this cold, cruel, self-involved world a better place.

I love you dear reader.  Whatever your problems, there is always a silver lining.  Look for it.  I promise you it is there.

She-wolf

I have run wild across the land and

hunkered down in snow I have hunted for the food that nourishes and found only bones

I have borne pups and raised them until they forayed into the wider world and

now I roam again beside

great inner oceans

I sing over bones and they stir faintly

they speak to me in whispers I cannot yet make out

my ears dart forward and I nose the bones

Willing them to live

they are me long dead perhaps and perhaps they are glad I have found them

I will lie here until the breath of life fills them

the crossroads (2002)

carousel

at the end, the precipice.
no signs forward
no signs back
no bridge over
no wings to fly
only wide open black space descending
down away from the sky

Then a movement in the wind catches my eye
in this world of black and white
there at the crossroads the devil waits
under the black yew tree in the early night
waiting there for me under the rough yew tree
his black hat doffed, courting me once more
a secret love, it never dies
that long ago was born
And once again I see
Him calling softly for me under that dark yew tree
it is him there seducing
and pointing toward the precipice

behind this demon love
there a carousel appears
singing tinny melodies from forgotten Depression years

round and round she goes
where the children are nobody knows
there are only empty painted horses
and music no one hears

and I on knife’s edge teetering
as the carousel horses leer
they know you were gone forever
and also know you returned.
As you beckon smiling,
(a great black bird sweeps by)
in the bird I see your beauty in the greyness of its eyes
I contract, I fly… seeking you in flight
on we soar once again through the joyful black night

Morning comes, wind-music singing in my ears
I have not yet noticed that you disappeared
Gliding still there in the sky with you I am a bird
and then I notice
no more carousel and
No more grey eyed man of flight.

spinning
arcing
wheeling
falling out of control
I stare alone down the windshear precipice once more
and hear the sudden clicking slide of pebbles
falling down this deep dark hole

where do you go
when love is flown and taken truth and
souls?

hitting bottom, I shatter.