Daughter of the Mother

Mom and Me
Mom and Me

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2006. She made her final transition last week, after years of inhabiting both this world and the world beyond. This poem is for you Mom:

Daughter of the Mother
 

I am the daughter of the mother who sees beneath

Raven’s eye shows me the way through

To the other side where down is up

And time can stand still

Until the time is right.

 

I am the daughter of the mother who sings in my bones

Drum song carries me out of now

To a place where fiery dragons roam,

Mother Moon dances with her Sun

And Spirit Bear guides me home.

~Nancy Lankston

☾ ☽

Day of the Dead

 

Fairy Frost whispers, "winter is coming"
Fairy Frost whispers, “winter is coming”

Winter is rapidly approaching here in the Rockies. And it is no accident the el Dia de los Muertos is traditionally celebrated today;  winter is the season of death. This Day of the Dead is a time to connect with, honor and celebrate everything you received and learned from your dead loved ones.

Take a few moments today to pause and honor everyone and everything you have loved that is no longer with you. Light a candle, say a prayer of thanks, offer blessings.

Celtic Blessings to You and Yours

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours

 

Lessons of the Flood

Flooded Highway 36 in Lyons, CO
Flooded Highway 36 in Lyons, CO
September 12, 2013

I was one of the lucky ones; our house was on high ground and didn’t get damaged by the flooding in Lyons, Colorado.  But my family still had to evacuate and spend a month moving between various hotels in Longmont, CO. The entire town of Lyons lost sewer, water and gas service. And it still hasn’t been restored.

A few lessons I learned from the flood:

1. Mother Nature is in charge. We humans can fool ourselves for awhile, but when push comes to shove, nature rules.

2. People are amazingly kind-hearted. I saw so much compassion and caring in Lyons in the days and weeks after the flood. My heart continues to overflow with gratitude and joy for all the acts of kindness, both big and small that I witnessed.

3. Not having a place to go home to sucks.  Just this tiny taste of homelessness gave me huge compassion for people who spend months or years living in their cars or on the streets. Not having a home is truly nerve wracking.

4. I love Lyons, Colorado!  The town is still a complete mess, but I want to be part of this community.

5. Stress can literally kill you. Our 3 1/2 year old male cat Raja didn’t make it through a month of being away from home. Even though he was staying with an amazing friend, Raja got so stressed that he stopped eating.  Good bye, buddy! I hope you’re now hunting and sunning in cat heaven.

6. Flowing water can transform the landscape in a matter of minutes. The St Vrain river valley that I have loved and walked and photographed is now a different place.

After the Flood
After the Flood

Water does NOT submit to human control. We can dam it up, and try to stop it, but we should NEVER forget that water is born to flow. And it will continue to flow whether we humans like it or not!  Water will NOT be controlled.

7. Flow never stops; Each drop of water on planet earth is on a flowing journey that never ends. This visual of the ocean’s currents, gives us a hint of just how amazing water’s flowing journey truly is:

And my own journey continues; My husband and I spent days searching for a new place to roost without any results. Then, due to the kindness of my favorite realtor, Mark Webber, we rented a great house on the edge of Lyons. This one has a septic system and well (!)  AND a kick ass view:

Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain

Was this experience good? or bad?  Like the old Buddhist story goes, it’s still too soon to tell…

Dancing with Dad

My Dad in his 20's
My Dad in his 20’s

My dad passed away a month ago. He had struggled to hang on and stay here long past the point of misery, so his passing was a relief in many ways. But there are still days when I have images of him in my head all day, and I miss him a lot. And other days I don’t think of him at all. Grief is a strange beast.

This morning I remembered a time many years ago when my dad tried to teach me how to jitterbug. Tried is the operative word here – I never could hold my torso still and get my feet to do what his were doing so perfectly. In my defense, I am not known for my coordination. Besides, I had a glass of wine before the dance instruction began!

Dad loved to tell people the tale of how his Navy buddy taught him to jitterbug. I always loved that story;  Dad had joined the Navy at 18 and shipped out to California for basic training just as WWII ended.  He went from a tiny town in southern Illinois to suddenly being in the Navy on a ship with hundreds of other guys. I imagine that it was all quite a shock for a young geeky country boy. One of his older shipmates took my dad under his wing. He helped my dad settle in to life in the Navy. And he also taught Dad how to jitterbug so he could impress the ladies.

I love the image of my skinny 18 year old Dad with his baby face, dressed in baggy jeans and a work shirt, dancing the jitterbug with some big beefy guy in the tightly cramped quarters of a battleship! LOL  Life truly is stranger than fiction. The dance lessons definitely paid off  because  40 years later my dad was still an amazing jitterbugger.   🙂

I miss Dad. I wish I had danced with him more. This morning, as I flashed on images of the handful of times that we danced together,   I heard Dad’s voice in my ear. He said, “We’ll dance again.” And I suddenly saw an image of two energies dancing and flowing together and then apart, together and then apart. And as the energies danced, they morphed and changed shape, but I could tell that it was still the energy of Dad and I dancing together.

I think that image of my energy dance with Dad is actually a great lesson about the rhythm of life and death. We are energies that come together to dance on Earth, then part in death. Then we will come together again in a new place and dance a new dance. Over and over, we dance together in one form or another.

Later in the morning, I hike up one of my favorite trails, still thinking about my dad and missing him. I stop on a mesa to rest awhile. As I sit under the pines writing,  I am startled by a hawk’s cry above me. I look up and see two hawks soaring and spiraling just above my rocky perch. The hawks appear to be dancing together on the wind. It’s a beautiful dance,.

Another memory surfaces as I watch the hawks;  I flash on the image of my dad dancing with my mom.  In my memory, they are both in their late sixties and have been together for over 40 years. When they danced together, they were so closely in synch that it was like watching a single body move and flow to the music.

The hawks are gone when I next look up from my writing. But a pair of young deer soon stumble upon me. They freeze for a moment. But when they realize that I wont harm them, they relax and forage for food a few feet behind me.  Life dances on all around me.

I love you Dad. And I miss you. I miss your wide open country boy smile. I miss your stories. I just plain miss you!  But I know in my heart it was time for you to move on.  And I am ok –  I know that you and I will dance together again soon.