Blizzard Truth

valentine cat
our valentine cat

In my journal last week, I copied down a sentence from Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly.  I’d read the book before, and I had picked it back up to read the chapter on leadership.  Leadership led to parenting and then this:

“Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.”

Brené Brown’s book is about vulnerability—how essential it is for a full life—and how being perfect is not the goal.  So, no pressure, mamas and papas!  But, is it my imagination, or has Amabel become even more keenly aware of who I am and how I engage with the world since she started school?  Or maybe since she turned nine?  Whatever the reason, I’m sure she is taking in the essence of her mother to a greater degree that ever before.  No pressure, mama.

On Tuesday I had a difficult conversation at work.  Amabel wasn’t there—she was three blocks away, probably taking a math test—but as I looked out into the swirling snow and confronted whether or not to stand up and speak my truth, I thought about my daughter.

The blizzard had subsided by the time I left the office to pick up the girls from school.  The sky was clear.  Distracted by my thoughts, I did not stop to notice the fresh comforter of snow, but I remember the drive home and the chattering voices—so confident, so sure.  Yes, I spoke my truth.  It may have fallen on deaf ears in the moment, but it was not lost on oblivious children.

 

Seeds

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On Saturday we sorted through piles of seed packets from last year, taking stock of what we have left, trying to remember what grew well.  Which variety of tomato was our favorite?  Why didn’t we get many cucumbers?  Did they get munched by insects or were the plants just too crowded by neighboring flowers, melons, and beans?  I have a tendency to sow seeds a little too close together — squeezing in as much as possible.  Sometimes I overdo it.

Jeffrey and I sat at the table together for nearly four hours: pouring over seed catalogs, making lists, dreaming.   This year, like every year, I resolved to take better garden notes.  Last spring I was diligent about writing down planting details.  Then summer came, the vegetables grew wild, and I stopped taking notes.  We do have photos, fortunately.  And when I look back over photos from last summer, I see clear evidence of my favorite plants: those wily volunteers that sprout after an entire winter (or two) under the snow.  The calendulas, the borage, the sunflowers, the odd pepper plant, sturdy kale, and scallions . . . I cherish these determined souls.

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I love ordering seeds in winter.  I love the promise of another season and the allure of a catalogue filled with potential for color, texture, and flavor.  But I’m particularly intrigued by the mysterious seeds that sit outside my window right now, dormant under a frozen white blanket.  What will come up, unbidden, in the spring?

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Photos from October 2014

When we drop into stillness with reverence and curiosity, we may be surprised at what we find.  Yes, there may be wells of grief and tears that need to be shed.  There may be loneliness and uncertainty, vulnerability and the fear of the unknown.  But there’s also something glimmering underneath the winter snows, a seed of creativity, a moment of possibility that, when given attention, can be nurtured into something new: a poem, a story, a project, a recipe, a dance, a song, a painting.  It’s not ready to blossom into the fullness of its manifestation, but the tiny beginning is here, and you can only hear it if you slow down enough to listen.  — February: Listen for the Seed