Northern California during autumn,
golden valley, harvested fields, open spaces, geese in flight.
Country roads leading near and far.
Clouds adding texture between the valley and the foothills.
A single tree sets the stage.
A barn in the middle of a harvested rice field.
I grew up in this valley,
under these clouds,
surrounded by rice fields,
in wide spaces,
with long grey paved roads,
and barns in the middle of nowhere, but at the center of our lives.
The foothills north of San Francisco are rolling gold,
The fence post holding nothing in,
is the first sign that my childhood home is near.
My heart opens,
I feel the rolling gold, rolling gold, rolling gold.....
Pouring into the Sacramento valley.
Sacha often asks, "Why did you leave?"
And my heart stings.
Following your heart is not always easy.
Especially when it divides you in two.
Oh distant geese that fly overhead where are you going?
Rolling gold along the long grey paved road?
I left because I fell in love.
I come back because I am in love.
That is the gift of an abundant harvest.
But toil you must.
At the end of the valley Mount Shasta rises.
What do I see the valley or the mountain, the peak or the valley?
Oh both depending on the day.
A blend makes it interesting, helps to keep one focused.
Blue sky with clouds overhead.
A journey far and wide.
Is not a straight shot.
Blurred are the borders, vast is the horizon,
This was Marie Antoinette as a kid.
The French Mystery Women
has yet to be revealed.
Tomorrow I will let you know.
I LOVE the hilarious guesses!
We know, sure we do, what love and friendship can do when it comes to bridges, walls, mountains, differences... distances.
With it we are closer than we can touch or hold, we are one and the same, love becomes our rod & staff.
Prayer is a beautiful hand.
In a sermon I heard over thirty years ago, a priest said:
"We are the stained glass and (God's) love is the light that shines through."
different colors and form
love, prayer, belief in one another is a light we also create
and if we give it....
beauty spills wide.
Love is an open hand.
Look how they are taken life in as the antique dealers and treasure hunters walk by.
Today was the first day that autumn seem to give way to winter.
The Brocante Buddies huddled closer.
I would have froze if I had been doing anything other than brocanting (Brocanting a Franglais word of my own. Brocante means an upscale flea market. Brocanting is when someone goes antiquing.)
French Husband did not dig the brocante at first, not in the least... but after tagging along with me these last three years, he is my Brocante Buddy.
One thing he has discovered is that he gets a kick out of loved old worn stuffed animals. Whenever we see one we have to take its photo, then coo at it, "Oh aren't you soooo cute?"
We haven't bought many of them, maybe two or three, though I have a feeling that could change. 'Cause when I come home and look at the photos I feel I have left a little friend behind.
Most of them are stuffed with straw. Their fur has worn velvet smooth. Usually a limb, or an eye or both are missing. Though as the Velveteen Rabbit told us:
A heart is made whole by the act of loving and being loved.
Brocante Buddy you have my heart.
When I was a child during lent my family would gather at my Grandparent's house. My many Aunts, Uncles and forty some grandchildren combined.
We would kneel down together in my Grandparent's living room and pray the rosary. My Grandfather would lead it saying, "Hail Mary..." in Portuguese, we would follow in English.
The memory of us praying together was like a wave rushing overhead. As if our prayer was something I could touch, hold on to, grab and put in my pocket. Over the years I have retreated to that living room of my childhood, that womb of protection, to hear those voices I loved-- in difficult time that wave of prayer has brought me comfort, given me courage, peace... the force to carry on.
Prayer has been part of my life since I was a mere egg and sperm. My grand-parents prayed together everyday, as did my parents... I can see their rosary beads still, between their thumb and pointer finger, swaying underhand.
The dance of the rosary bead.
Many of you have asked me to pray for you over the years, prayers help. They might not give us the answer we want, though they do bring grace, courage and comfort. I believe every prayer said or acted is a healing balm to the collective.
Prayer is a voice, a mantra, a plea, a thanksgiving, a call, an echo, a song, a cry... prayer is a voice to the universe, to God, to me, to you, to each other, in the name of love, for courage.
It is a silent inner song... that connects us to the inner thread of life.
Miracles do happen.
Prayers are answered.
Love does find a way.
And we are all in this together.
Life continues to continue.
When my Father was in the hospital he prayed and at the end of his prayers he would add, "And when the time comes may you find a place for me in your heart dear Lord Jesus." I remember asking my Father why he said that, because it seemed to me that God certainly had a place for us all of us, sinner and saint, in his heart." My Father would just smile and nod his head.
In those last hours before he died, my family sat around his bedside, we prayed, we watched, we honored those last hours. It was then in those hours that I realized why my Father added to the end of his prayers, "And when the time comes may you find a place for me in your heart dear Lord Jesus." My Father was asking for God's will to bring him home in his time and in peace.
My Father suffered for months, though in the end he died in grace, in love, with his family around him, he was able to say goodbye to us, he was aware that he was going home to the heart of God. At his funeral I said in that honor, "My Dad's death was beautiful."
Death is sad, it hurts those left behind, it is a shock, it is a raw reality yet it can be beautiful for those who are ready to go home.
from the heart-
One word after another leading to a path of peace.
The day of the horrific attacks in Paris, Ruth, a good friend of ours Claire, and I were out and about in the very neighborhood where the terrible acts of violence took place.
We had such an incredible time looking in at artists' studios, visiting new and old places, meeting with designers, florists, caters and having taste breaks. We were putting together a package for the French Muse Experience.
The sign on the door read:
"And yes I will have my life sunny side up, thank you."
Yet hours later the sun set, a darkness would take over.
Ruth and I later would have dinner not far from the terror that rang around the world. Chelsea and her boyfriend live in the neighborhood, they frequent the places that were attacked.
The gut wrenching feeling that such hatred stole the softness of that tender Autumn night... the laughter, the chatter, the simple act of being happy sharing an evening with family and friends.
In my mind's eye I see the neighborhood that we spent the entire day wandering about... where are those people now?
The day full of such graceful autumn light, the hours before where flowers graced un-shuttered windows,
and our conversations overflowing with creativity and artful expression, where cafes filled with joyous ease... and the Saint Martin Canal lapping the banks while autumn leaves took their first and last swim.
A shop window in the neighborhood.
In the same shop a big bold luscious chandler sparkled overhead.
The tenth gleams with shops/cafes/restaurants with handmade goods, off the beaten track, no big brand names, the owners proudly shared how they work with artists in the area and around.
Just an ordinary day that happened to be on Friday the 13th...
The 10th is unique, diverse, cozy...hip, happening... youthful expression.
Not in my wildest dreams did I think anything bad could happen there, that day. But I suppose that was my innocence, my belief that most things could be healed with love and kindness, forgiveness and gratitude.
I do not want to be guided by fear, no matter how hard it knocks.
Six minutes on foot from the Petit Cambodge...
a flower shop, like many in Paris, singing hymns throughout the seasons with their variety of flowers and greenery.
When you walkabout Paris it freely offers at every angle, corner, up, down or sideways interest, intrigue... such undeniable pleasure.
The day was rich in such discovery, and yet later that would be overshadowed by a sadness the touched the core of many, and I fear opened us to a very different tomorrow.
Where questions of humanity and caring, suffering and refugees take front stage on a battle field that only seeks peace and understanding, yet are covered in such dark complexity and vastly different opinions.
But where do we begin? And how will this play out?
What role will each of us take?
A bridge over reflection.