Monday, May 25, 2009

For the Duration

I will be away from any computer until at least July 15, 2009. Expect the posts to resume after that. In the meantime, be safe and have a fun Summer!

Gypsy out....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's a Fine Line

There's a fine line between speaking truth and having boundary issues, between being openly honest and revealing too much. You've heard it before. You've been there. Perhaps it was when you were in line at the grocery check out and the cashier, in the three minutes it took to ring your purchases, told you all about her mother's hysterectomy and her daughter's drug addiction and predilection for bad boys. Or maybe it was the friendly acquaintance who was suddenly telling you the sordid details of his divorce. Then again... it just might have been some fool of a blogging chick who bombarded you with every thought and every bit of emotional bullshit and every philosophical cramp that she came up against over the course of two plus years. Yeah. That.

It's a very, very fine line... that tiny, almost invisible hair between, "I'll be who I am and say what I want to say" and "tell me I didn't just say that... the fuck was I thinking?!"
Funny thing is, I'm an intensely private person. I don't like people prying. Yet, here I am most days, spilling all there is to spill and not giving a rat's patootey who reads it or what they think of it. I'm not asking for validation here, I'm just sayin'. Y'know? It's an odd dichotomy is all. Especially since I'm one of those people who, when asked, "what's on your mind?" I have a hard time coming up with an answer that doesn't sound trite or self-pitying, or just ... dumb. Or even worse, having to mutter something like "Uh. I dunno. I'm okay."
Do I share too much? Do I share nothing? Do I share some profound blather that kept me up to the wee hours? The Gypsy says, "Ante up. Don't be shy." It's about then that I find I've not only stumbled over the line, I've fairly well danced across it and I'm about 11 miles out of town. "What line? Fuck the line." Brave, bold and courageous. Right. More like I've got the magic slippers strapped to my feet and I can't stop the freekin' dance even when I want to.
Rest assured, more's coming. I'm dancing as fast as I can. No one reads these things anyway, right?

A couple of new scribbles:
What Makes It
Point of Freedom

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Flavor of a Day

It’s sunny and 70 degrees outside. Have a seat on my porch, lean back and close your eyes as the ice in your cold whatever slowly melts and clinks in the glass sitting on the little table next to you.

Feel the warm sun seep into your pores as the first thing you notice is the sound of the dogs snuffling in the dirt and underbrush beneath the pines next to the porch. You can hear the whisper of the river caressing the boulders as it makes its way down to the valley. From the bottom of the slope comes the sound of blue jays raucously calling to each other as a chorus of sparrows and chickadees sings nearby, all measured by the steady shush of trees swaying and rustling in the breeze.

As you relax into the moment, your olfactory sense takes over. The scent of pine envelopes you much like the scent of a lover’s perfumed caress. You notice the verdant undertones of new grass and brush, and always, always the musky, sexy smell of the river. You can all but taste the earthy dark whiff of dirt and river silt.

It’s intoxicating, this moment. With eyes still closed you feel you’ve mated with something deep and ancient, and it’s a bond that will never leave you. It’s reality imbued with the quality of a dream, but… it’s as real as real can get. This is a moment that will carry you in heavy times. This is a moment that reminds you what life is worth.

This is my day. Life is beautiful. Wish you were here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Freedom's Just Another Word

I was chastised yesterday for taking so long to post something new. I believe the exact words were, "I check your blog every day and it's been freekin' Mother's Day for a week now!" What can I say? I've been busy... doing... something. Fact is, I lost a day this week somehow. I'm usually pretty good at tracking my days and what fills them, but somewhere along the way this week one of them flat disappeared. I wish I could say it went the way of a drunken stupor, but there isn't even that to fall back on. C'est la vie.

Well, alright already.

Whether I've been writing or not, I've been contemplating much. One of the top ponders on my list is freedom. Freedom and the illusion of freedom. They are very nearly one and the same, with one very significant difference.

The illusion of freedom is the thing we all take for granted - the idea that we are free to do as we want (within reason and without harm to others), to come and go as we please, to break borders and live without bonds. But, all those things can be taken away without a moment's notice.

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."
~Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobby McGee

True freedom is within. No, this isn't some existential new age bullshit Babbling Barb-ism theory. It's fact. Throughout history those who are truly free, even as captives, are those who are firmly themselves. True freedom lies in the hearts of those who cannot and will not be broken - those who can staunchly declare: I am my self, and that self is worthy.

True freedom is an unfettered mind. True freedom can be found in the music stored in our heads, in each of our respective laughin' places, in the memories that make us smile in the bleakest of times, and in the pulse that thrums just behind our eardrums - that marching beat that says, "I am alive."

Sure, sometimes we feel shackled in this life. Sometimes we feel restrained by events or by others. Often we have to remind ourselves, "I am alive. I am my self. I am worthy." We struggle against perceived confinement to find our laughin' places. We cock our heads in the cacophonous din in an attempt to hear our secret music. But it's there. You and I both know it is. With a little effort, we find it.

What we're made of rarely, if ever, fails us. Therein is true freedom.

"It's not flying. It's controlled falling."
~Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Honoring the Day

Wishing a very

Happy Mother's Day

to all you moms out there!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mom's the Word

My Mom, for all she drives me nuts, is one of the best in the world (she sent me the above card last week). I love her dearly. The fact that we don't see eye to eye on many things is probably a compliment to her raising us to be independent thinkers. Even so, she is unfailingly supportive of all five of her children and always has been. And, although the youngest of us is now 45, she still worries about us, about our health and safety, and (*rolls eyes*) our religious convictions.

Lately, in all the tough stuff I've been dealing with, my Mom has solidly been there for me as much as an 82 year old woman can be from 2800 miles away. I don't know what I would have done without her loving ear and help the past few months. In my daily bean drinking river contemplation ritual this morning I thought... how fortunate I am that she's still here and that we have a good relationship. There are so many people I know who lack one or the other element with their mothers.

So, two days early... here's to you Mom. Thank you for giving me some good cornerstones to build upon, thank you for allowing me the freedom to be my own architect, thank you for giving me a name I can be proud to bear, and thank you for being the moat of love that surrounds the structure in my life. You've made all the difference. I love you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Positively There

Two years ago today my life was very different than today. Two years ago today I lived in the suburbs outside of Seattle and had no pets (except for a few recalcitrant fish). Two years ago, I watched one of the brightest lights in this universe fade and quietly extinguish. Two years ago today, I was possibly the unhappiest girl in the world... an unhappy girl burdened with a deep, heavy love and promises that I had no idea how to fulfil. Breathing in and out took all my concentration.

That was two years ago. This is now.

Today I live in an idyllic woodland setting, a place that feels more like home to me than anywhere else I've lived (except maybe a small Hungarian village). Today I have two amazingly loving dogs, Nino and Smoke, and a sweet cat, Midnight (yes, she's back - more on that later), and a guy who brings a different, though brilliant light to my life. Today breathing feels natural. Today, despite tribulation, I'm happy.

There is still this horrible ache, an ache of absolute longing, and there are still promises to keep (and miles to go before I sleep). The biggest difference is that I can appreciate the journey, if not fully understand it.

I couldn't have made it through without a great deal of love and support from all camps, with out my very own brand of somewhat passively gritty determination, and and especially not without the words of the man who taught me to not only be myself, but love myself. "Be a woman of honor," he said. "Become the woman I've seen and loved best all along." They are words that gave birth in the midst of death.

Here's to you, John. You may not be here to hold my hand, but you will always hold my heart. I love you always in all ways.

Here's to The Journey. Wherever we go, there we are... together.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

They Paved Paradise

I've mentioned before that my road dead ends at the river... well at the slope above the river. Actually, there used to be a bridge across it that continued the road, but it was washed out decades ago. Now the county, in all their spend spend spend wisdom, has decided to reconstruct the bridge. There's nothing on the other side but a shabby road and some empty property, but... evidently there's extra money to spend and they chose my slice of the wilderness to spend it on. It took three people to come out and spray paint florescent orange X's on the trees they want to take down - a necessary expenditure, I'm sure. Don't get me started!

I don't mind the idea of a bridge being there really, and it will give us something to fish off of and a neato place to take the dogs walking. What I do mind is the construction noise and the gods-awful mess right outside my house! We're only a few days into it and I'm already so tired of hearing that annoying beepbeepbeep sound as the big rigs back up that I'm starting to feel the madness that Poe depicts at the end of The Bells... yeesh. Further, I didn't move out here so I could see bulldozers outside my kitchen window!

*deep cleansing breath*

I'm looking out my back window, my picture window. All I can see is river. We've had pouring rain for the past two days and the river is huge and raging (perhaps in protest to the nearby disruption!). I am awed by its power and wrath, and oddly soothed by it's thunderous tumble. Roll on, baby... roll on!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Do Be Do Be Do

Two years ago today I held the hand of a dying man and confirmed for him that he was, in fact, dying. If he could be brave enough to ask, I had to find the courage to answer truthfully. It's an understatement to say that it was a defining moment. It was, far and away, the very worst moment of my life. Anything that came before and since pales in the face of that particular moment.

In truth, we are all dying every minute of every day. We were born to die. That's the gloriously vicious cycle of life. Some of us die young, some die at a ripe old age. But just like being born, dying is an experience that none of us gets to defy. At some point, something is going to take all of us out. It's the quality of the experience between being born and dying that matters - not the quantity. I once spoke with a rather feisty gal who was battling stage four metastatic breast cancer who said, "Fuck cancer. I'm dying to live!"

It's difficult to realize the impetus to live well if you haven't been through the experience of watching someone die. Still, I would encourage everyone not just to live, but live well. We can survive or we can thrive. We may not be able to make the moments last, but we can make the moments count. Even the most mundane task can have a simple beauty to it. My neighbor likes to say, "All my days are good days... even the lousy ones."

and in the morning, when I rise
one question, that feels like the sun in my eyes
am I making the most of this life?

~Brett Dennen, Make the Most

blessed is this life
and I'm gonna celebrate being alive

~Brett Dennen, Blessed

Do. Celebrate. Sing. Dance. Cry. Laugh. Whisper. Rant. Hug. Smile. Wonder. Grieve. Watch. Listen. Love. Explore. Dream. Do. Be. Be kind, be gentle, be willing, be fierce, be tenacious, be real, be joyful, be friendly, be loving, be curious, be conscious. Be.

Do. Be. Do. Be. Do. How hard is that to remember?

Make the most of it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gone, Baby, Gone

Well, this is a week of things getting gone.

I gave my little furry pal, Midnight to some friends yesterday. I was sad to see her go, but she'll have a much better home - free of Stinking Dogbreath Infidels, at the very least. She's been a good companion to me, so I know she'll make these folks happy.

Harder still to let go of is my truck... my faithful Birddog. Sad, but true, I'm selling it at the end of this week. The good thing is that it's staying in the family, as John's nephew is buying it. It will also give me a much needed financial break for a couple of months at least. We've had a lot of good gypsy adventures, the ol' dawg n' me, plus all my memories of sitting in the passenger seat next to John. It's almost as difficult to imagine the truck being gone as it is John being gone. But, it had to be done, and I know it'll have a good home and better care than I've been able to afford.

Beyond that, my thoughts have been filled with memories of everything I was dealing with two years ago... of watching a good man being taken apart piece by piece and dying. It's been my lot in life to care for people who die too young, and while I'm grateful for the strength I have to be able to do that, I also loathe it. I mostly loathe it because these people were taken much too soon and I was helpless to do anything but lend some feeble comfort, care and a warm hand to hold. I'm now in a relationship with a guy who is the same age (54) as my Dad was when he died - a weird thought that seems bent on rolling around in my head. I've outlived three of my closest friends by 3-5 years, and I'm only 47. John was 46.

If it's all given me anything, it's that I don't fear death. I don't even fear the pain of being the one left behind to grieve. My only fear is that those I love might suffer, or that they might be taken before they're allowed to realize the full potential of their lives (or even what they perceive as their full potential).

So, I watch the Spring leaves unfurl in their rebirth, and think of death. It's not morbid thinking of death, more of a curiosity. More of a contemplation of the impact that other's deaths have had in my life and how that has formed who I am. Sure, I have some abandonment issues, but I've been proud and honored to be any part of their journeys. I've held the hands of some great people as they've left this earth. I've watched their agony turn to peace. I've felt the comfort of their phantom kisses upon my temple long after they're gone.

Saying goodbye to anything or anyone is never easy, but just as we can't linger in the cool shade of the forest, or spend long basking in a sunny meadow along our journey, neither can we afford to linger long over loss. There is living to be done. It's what we do to immortalize what is no more. We continue, and we must be intrepid.

"Don't just go on living. Live well. Promise me. Promise me that. You have to promise me that much. Promise me."