Dear Readers (1)

photo of two wild white irises from the yard and two purple flower volunteers and two red succulent blossoms
Beltane flowers from my mother’s yard

Dear Readers,

Well, I’d hoped (planned?) to have posted my first post while being 64 about three weeks before today. And, of course, to have already posted at least three posts by now, to become marvelously consistent throughout this coming year of mine. (Sigh. Grin.) I told myself, per the About page here, that I would not “hold myself” to needing each post to be a postcard, but I love this idea so much, and I think I stalled myself because of this, because I didn’t want to let go of my first post being a postcard.

So today I decided I needed to say hello to you even though I don’t have my first postcard ready to go yet. And yes, I know, it would have been fairly easy to use one of the postcards I’ve bought in the past. I have a nice one from San Francisco and a couple from my desert home. But I began a sketch for a postcard I plan to send to my (dear) friends Marylou and Richard. I used the new watercolor pencils my (dear) friend Moses gave me for Christmas. I have started on a roadrunner, though he is a bit goofy and his tail is too short. (I looked up the maximum size for a postcard online, then cut a sheet of the watercolor paper Moses gave me, too. But then it was hard to fit him properly and proportionately onto the little rectangle. I may have to rethink my methods!)

Still, even just beginning to draw the bird was a big delight. It was one of the first clear impulses I’ve had toward hands-on art in ages, and a good sign, I think, that my “plan” of not making myself do anything I don’t have to do may be beginning to bear fruit. I hope so. I want to tell you, too, that in recent weeks I have not been stuck in anger for days at a time. I’ve noticed this with gratitude and relief and a little bit of gentle pride in the last couple of days, so of course this morning I found myself stuck in self-hatred and anger, and was afraid I had jinxed it, this long-running streak. But somehow I have found my way back to softness again, so maybe not stuck. (Oh please oh please.) I have been truly kind at least three times since my second tantrum this morning. Toco madera.

I hope whatever you are being challenged by softens for you, too, even as you read this. (If you are like me, it is the turning toward myself with a more tender heart that can do the trick. May you each have an ease in this turning toward that I am not always able to find!) Thank you for reading my blog and for waiting for me. I believe I still owe you a song, too. :)

Wishing you all good things, my dear readers. Happy Beltane. Happy May Day. Happy turning of our world.

My Turning World (63)

Tonight my eyes are getting heavy and my heart lighter. It’s the first day of my month, the eve of my birthday, the ending of my year of blogging and this last week or so of crazed posting before I turn sixty-four. Like other important eves of the year, this one has me looking back. My last birthday was hard. It was harder to be connected to myself than it is now. And I was completely cut off from my own home, but now I am tethered to it again, and the song of my white-crowned sparrows and the young mama hummingbird taking a bath and the new generation of lizards there in my courtyard are all part of the fabric of me again even though I am still living away from them. Now I get to visit. I get to know they don’t all think I’ve abandoned them anymore. And now I have lizard friends here, too, and my red-tailed hawk family, my two ravens and the Cooper’s hawk. I even have my mother’s white-crowned sparrows here, though they never serenade in the same way. Tonight I feel a little silly for not being able to let go of it but so glad, too, that I did not abandon my blog after all. And I feel hopeful for the year to come. And grateful, always, for each of you, coming by to read my work—and caring.

Not Beating Myself Up (58)

Oh, how funny. I was checking to confirm my latest post had indeed posted and happened to notice I had 21 posts last March (and “only” 19 this year in March). I must have been just as unable in 2021 to let go of meeting my posting commitment for the year (and just as swept away by the big changes and new demands in my life). I have to grin. Here I am feeling all funny about inundating my subscribers, and it’s not even the first time I have done this. I have zero memory of last year’s efforts. And, of course, I’m hopeful I can post my 64 posts while I’m 64 throughout the year, all nice and leisurely. But I bet I said that last year, too. Ha!

Thank you, as always, dear readers, for making room for me and all my foibles.

Just Being (54)

The heater cycles off, and in the welcome quiet I hear the crunch of my mother’s crackers and a house finch singing in Aida’s back yard. I savor the sounds and the absence of sounds and the bit of cool, fresh air from the sliding glass door I have not yet closed all the way. I hear the sound of my pen scratching across the page in my notebook. For this one suspended moment, all is right with my world, and I feel like a writer.

Missing Out (33)

I am out in the far corner of my mother’s back yard under the lime green umbrella doing feedback on Zoom with my new writing group when I see her go by. The mama red-tailed hawk glides just below the ridge line, then lands on the dead yucca stem on the eastern arm of the ridge, the one her offspring was sitting on when I understood he was in despair, afraid she might die. I greet her with my leaping heart and see her land, but I don’t feel like I can disappear from my meeting. Without making a clear choice I am whooshed back into the interaction with these wonderful women. (Four of them met for the first time last month, and today there are six of us, the complete set.) I feel lucky to be a part of things. I was funny about joining late, though I may have been the catalyst for the group’s beginning, when (as usual) I didn’t want our writing class to end. I was so taken by that particular collection of people. Later, I remember my hawk, and I ache for my lost chance. It is an “if only” longing, and I know it’s silly. But having her come to sit is so rare. It would have been lovely to have that time to commune with her. I worry, too, that she doesn’t understand why I wasn’t there for her. That she might feel slighted or hurt or even just disappointed like I am breaks my heart. So I will have to believe she trusts in my love for her, knows how much she matters to me. And I will have to believe we’ll have another chance soon.

Dear Readers (24)

Dear Readers,

Those of you who have been with me here for a long time will know I often fall behind and catch up at the end of my year in order to meet my goal of writing one blog post for each year I’ve been alive.

This year has held extraordinary circumstances for us all, and I am indeed extraordinarily behind. I am trying to be kind to myself, to reach for ways to let life be a tiny bit easier. I don’t know if I can let myself “fail” in this. But I think I need to be open to the possibility since I would have to post 4 times each week in order to catch up.

So. I think I am writing to apologize to you for whichever way this falls out. I apologize in advance if I am not able to meet my goal and for going “missing” for much of ths year. (I had no idea I’d posted so few times!) And I apologize in advance in case I do make efforts to catch up, for the crazed flurry of posts I might inundate you with in the coming weeks.

I want to thank you, too, as always, for being my dear readers. However the rest of my sixty-third year unfolds, thank you. May life be as gentle with you as possible. And here’s to being together when I’m sixty-four. (Yes, there is a song in that!)

Love,
Riba