I have to pee at 5:30 in the morning. When I come back to bed, I reach for my big chunks of citrine and chrysocolla. I lie there, rocks held in my fists, body sprawled and comfortable, soft from sleep. I feel excited and happy. Even work thoughts don’t change that. I hear a raven calling nearby and the sound of morning traffic. I hear the pwitter of dove wings in the courtyard. The doves are polishing off what is left of yesterdays seeds. I feel reassured by dreams I don’t remember, my body fed by sleep, fortified, my heart soothed without knowing why. I prop myself up in bed to write and end up staring out the window. There is a small bird bouncing on the tip of a Palo Verde branch, a goldfinch maybe, or a verdin, lost amid the yellow blossoms. I am not yet wearing my glasses. Between that and the lingering softness of sleep, the world has no hard edges. I continue to drift on fuzzy thoughts, content. Later, fully immersed in the busyness of the day, I am stopped by the moon over my shoulder when I am coming in the gate. I pause, reminded, and pull that early morning softness to me, a shawl across my shoulders.
When I lie on my side on the yoga mat after Shavasana sometimes it’s so easy. There is a sense of rightness. I am full of trust. Other times I feel aching and vulnerable. Maybe I forget for a moment I am not alone. Or maybe it is an only child thing, or some more basic human ache, one puny human in this big big world? It doesn’t feel bad or wrong, not something needing to be fixed. I tend to close my eyes when I lie on my back in Shavasana, corpse pose. I drift off or sink in, depending on the day. Sometimes I am already moving on to the next thing I need to do. Today I surface on my mat with open eyes, the Palo Verde branches framed against the sky, tears rolling down the sides of my face.
Sunday afternoon the sun comes out in the middle of a hard rain. I look for a rainbow. I think of my father. “Oh,” I tell the cats. “A new moose is born.” I am excited. My father taught me this when I was three or four, an old Native American legend. The rain falls even harder. I hear it on my neighbor’s awning, watch the slanting fall of it through the sliding glass door. The sun gets brighter. “Oh,” I say, enchanted. “Maybe it’s more than one moose.” Then I grin. “Or maybe it’s a really big moose.”
I wake up at 4:30 in the morning because Sofia is having trouble. I get up to give her more for her pain. On my way back to bed I see the almost full March moon hovering above our mountains on its way to the other side of the world. I stand by the sliding glass door and watch it, grateful to be awake to see it. After, I lie in bed awake, wrestling with my ongoing trouble with a colleague. These thoughts morph into worries about my job. What will happen if our nonprofit falters? Then I remember I don’t need to be afraid. I can trust the universe. Everything will be okay. I am curled up on my right side, Sable’s warm weight a comfort against my back. For a moment, I know I am held. Safe. Loved. It is like rolling onto my side on the yoga mat after Shavasana. I always lie there for a while, letting things sift through me, before I sit up and bow. “Namaste,” I whisper. The sky is beginning to lighten when I drift back to sleep.
I am inclined to ask for your forgiveness in advance for this flurry of posts as I work toward 56 posts while I’m still 56. I have a handful of days left, and two handfuls of posts remaining. But even as I want to apologize for flooding your email with new posts, a different voice tells me its okay. I think maybe even if you don’t have time to read them, you won’t mind seeing them in your inbox. Does that mean I don’t need to assure you that once I’m 57 things will slow down again? But I do want to keep them coming, one each week, five weeks with two posts. Every year I wonder how long I might keep this up. If I am still doing this when I’m 88, then 36 weeks of the year will need to have two posts. When I started I was 52, so it was the perfect fit. I don’t aspire to being 104 and still blogging, but you never know. I let go of this blog so completely last summer, I wasn’t sure I’d ever reach 56 posts. But I didn’t like giving up on it, so here I am. Tonight I am sick but still typing. I am debating what to name next year’s blog. I’m pretty sure the 57 will rhyme with heaven. What photo will I choose? A shot of clouds on our mountains might work, but I don’t have a good one. I have to make that always wrenching decision, too, about whether or not to pick a theme this year or leave things open again. But tonight I just need to finish this one post and trust the rest will unfold as it may. And tonight, too, I feel glad for you, my readers, and for knowing you will not only forgive me for this flurry of posts—you may even embrace them. So, thank you for that. I can’t tell you how good it feels to think that may be true.
Last December I met three women in my quest for healing. I knew I wasn’t completely well, wasn’t thriving. I’d found Adrienne, but she only came to Palm Springs once a month. I had insurance now that paid for acupuncture, so I looked through the provider list and found Beatrice (Beatrice Moncrief, Garden of Wellness). She is warm and generous, and German. This was unexpected, but because that is the bulk of my own ancestry, it made sense. (When I was five I decided I was three-quarters German.) The first time I met her, she suggested I may want to give up eating grains. I was already gluten free and mostly vegan, so I balked. I was defensive and cranky at the thought of giving up anything else, but she was kind and patient. Now when I lie facedown during the restorative part of my treatment, I go somewhere deep and watery and return restored. She tells me I’m always happier when I leave, and I know it must be true. One day I want to be able to be less depleted when I get there. And Beatrice led me to Michale (Michale K. Cashe, Herbal Wellness Center). Like me, she is the daughter of a German immigrant. She is warm and assertive. She reminded me of Auntie Gardi’s daughter Luisa who is another strong German-American woman with a wonderful big laugh. Michale smiles like Luisa, too, so I liked her straight off. She does this very cool biofeedback test and a voice analysis that I was especially fond of. She is the reason I am doing the toning to heal my thyroid and my kidneys. And in December when Adrienne didn’t show up, I had a healing and laying on of stones with Gitte (Europa Gitte). She told me I have something in me that resists my efforts to change. I remember standing in the back of the store after the healing and asking about her accent. When she told me she was German, the pattern was hard to miss. “I seem to have a theme of German healers in my life right now,” I said. And I am grateful for each of them, and to the universe for bringing me this triptych of German women helping me along the way. So thank you, Beatrice, Michale and Gitte. Here’s to you. And here’s to thriving.
Summer in Palm Springs requires a kind of stamina, I think. You discover ways to cope with the searing heat. Again and again you count the months remaining until it will be over. We are not quite there yet, and I haven’t given up hope for a stretch of cooler days still between us, but temperatures here are set to keep hugging 100 degrees for at least a few more days. Last summer we had thunderstorms, and I got excited at the thought that global warming might bring a monsoon season to our valley here. When I left town for my annual work retreat in June, I dragged all of my potted plants and trees into a clump and set an automatic sprinkler on them. When I got back, I left the odd little jungle in the corner of our courtyard garden. I liked looking at all that green in one place. Then one day when I was sitting on the patio something went awry with the water pressure, and instead of my 4-foot tall circle of water the sprinkler shot up twice that high. I closed my eyes, and the water hitting the umbrella sounded just like pouring rain. I could hear it pounding on the roof, hear it running off my neighbor’s trailer. When it was done, the wooden fence was soaked, and if I looked at only that one corner, that almost quarter of my courtyard, it was exactly as though the world had been drenched, made new by rainstorm. It felt incredible. In spite of the drought, I couldn’t resist letting it run another time or two before I reeled myself back in. I wanted that feeling again, had no idea we could manufacture it. It made me want to fill the courtyard with plants and drench them like that every day. It made me wish I could just keep letting the sprinkler run amock. And remembering this unintended luxury, I will tuck it away for a possible repeat this summer, one desperate day in July or August. Maybe just knowing it’s an option will ease that sense of desperation in the endless brutal heat.