Thursday, May 20, 2021.
(From May 2021)
With lazy eyes, I searched the woods to the east. My awakening legs wobbled after nine hours of the deadest of sleeping. I sleep more now and better than I ever have in my whole life. And when I have multiple days off work, the first day is always sleep catch up. Nearing noon hour, I poured myself strong coffee, enfused it with light milk ( a bit too much ), a dash of noncaloric sweetner ( okay, more than a dash, but definitely not a dumpage! ) and enough cinnamon to puddle the coffee ( again, way too much spice ). Stumbling to the front door, I snuggled myself into a coccoon of blankets with my mugful of brew.
I filled my lungs with spring’s air cocktail of green grass and sunshine. Sunshine and coffee. With the laziest of eyes, I searched those woods. I smiled. With the fading of frosty mornings, the apple trees blossom. From the craggiest looking branches, their leaves stretch outward but the blossoms open skyward. I breathe deeply, hoping to smell their flowers, but of course, there is no definitive, flowery scent. The blossoms lighten the air as if freshly scrubbed clean from ones shower, with cheerful, unfolding touches to the sun.
I was surprised earlier in the week to discover that, by a weird coincidence, I had three days off coming in a row and those three days were a Friday through a Sunday. “A weird coincidence” is always some sort of karmic code for ‘trouble’, but no, not this time. My standard rotating schedule became altered when I was scheduled for a week of training. Preceding that week, it is company practice to have the weekend off.
Through the preceding week, I waited for anticipated revisions. But those revisions never surfaced. I did indeed have a long weekend ahead of me. I did not look back as I left. Three days home. Three days. “Threeeeeee dayyyyyysssss,” my head continued to play with such a concept.
Normally, I might have seriously questioned such a “weird coincidence”. This time I decided to look skyward, thanking the good Lord for “weird coincidences” which also might be known as “Blessings”.
On the day before my mini-vacation, I worked at the store into the wee hours of the morning. Finally I was satisfied. Unfortunately (and fortunately, some would say) I am never truly done with my work, but I was satisfied. With a tired but lightened heart, I bought my beef jerky, watermelon chunks and a diet coffeed coca-cola beverage for my nightly drive home.
A forty-six minute commute was an amazing amount of time. I transitioned as the worlds changed; between home and work, then work and home, my mind traced events until they disappear. My mind hummed with lists – those “to-dos” and “why-fors” – until I settled upon trees, photography and life. Then those lists disappeared into the night drive. I began to write in my head. The words wound through me, catching me, as did the sights of now familiar lakes and turns in the highway.
There is a gloriousness to torn jeans and a simple, buttoned cardigan. Whenever I try to change my ‘at home’ attire to anything more complicated, I feel like knots. Yet, if I choose sweats for daytime dressing, I am always disappointed in myself. Why are torn jeans any different?
I do not know, but we each have our definition of heaven on earth. Sometimes it is a perfect dress and other times there is nothing quite like torn jeans and sweaters.
A bit of serious budgeting and bill-paying began the day. But the woods called to explore them, if even for a small slice of time. The trees, mmm, they look good. They show minimal wind or snow load damage. There are clearings from last year’s cuttings. The remnants of deer trails wind through the underbrush. And the trees stretch into the open spaces.
For the first time this season, I napped outside. I fashion myself a bit like a snoopy-type dog atop his doghouse. No, I do not climb on the roof, but I do arrange a nap spot atop a cushion storage chest. I lay out the patio set cushions, two of my favorite Chief Joseph woolen blankets, an old afghan, and a lovely floral pillow. To me, it is an eclectic, cozy nirvana which could never be an interior design feature. Still, each piece has its story for me to snuggle into. And I fall asleep to the sound of pines swaying in the wind. It is me, the trees and Wally, who is a most loyal of guardians until a busy chipmunk happens to cross his path.
The Heavy Woman.
Months ago, I heard myself walking in the presence of a male person from my former life. Hmm. Upon further reflection, I realize that only an old lady could write such a sentence. But true enough, I heard myself walking. I felt my steps. I almost tiptoed around him. I was shocked.
I have never had a daughter and perhaps those lessons are still taught, but I had been taught to walk like a lady and a lady does not flop around or trudge heavily when she walks. I guess I did tiptoe around my mother, both physically and psychologically. But I never associated the quality of my steps with male persons.
I was tiptoeing. I did not wish to appear “too heavy”. My steps were careful as to not make sound nor to ‘interrupt’ the atmosphere. If a person steps without sound, then that person must be ‘light’ of soul and figure, right? Or, that person might just be a ninja. Seriously though, I will never forget the moment when I ‘caught myself’. I was walking down steps, happily bouncing, with feet and legs which worked. I stopped mid-flight. I had forgotten to be carefully light. I looked at him. I was expected to tiptoe. I slowed to my usual soundlessness, but my head was reeling. This realization jarred me into a perplexing few days of thought.
To interject – surely I could better spend my times of thought upon learning those languages I had promised myself? Oh, Stephanie… Is it any wonder that my life lessons come at a snail’s pace? Surely these lessons of mine could spare others a colossal waste of time?
But I am a heavy woman, I thought to myself. I am heavy. I am a heavy woman. My essence is heavy. I still do not fully understand why that seemingly radical statement makes me so happy. The realization lightens my soul. Perhaps I might have some G~dgiven time yet in my life to explore my essence. Do I not owe myself that time?
I remember avoiding the word ‘heavy’ at all costs. A woman does not want to be heavy hearted or too serious or think too much or especially heavy physically. True enough, I could stand to lose a few pounds. I probably will fight to stay in shape for as long as I am granted life. Plus, heaviness of essence would only worsen the heaviness of ones physical being.
“How unattractive!” How unacceptable would all that be? A heavy woman? What about the health of ones true essence? What about ones truth?
Some people say that I talk too little. Others say that I write too much. What funny creatures we are, we humans. So I do not say too much. For my taste, I should say even less, really. I look upon all of it as a chance for me to develop. And that in itself is a revolutionary thought. I have always been in this mode, but I have not ever wished to be. I wanted to reach that goal of becoming ‘that woman’. And that meant to me that I was finished growing. Done. Finito.
What delightful, heavy thoughts!
Spring has progressed. My sentinel trees, those towering pines to the east, have so grown that I need to lean toward the window to see their tops. My gaze follows their trunks. They are strong and tall enough to dance in the highest of winds. For years I had searched for a spot to write. And here I am, at home, staring out to the east, to the trees which stood watching as I ran and danced in the snow.
Perhaps they grow now with the spirit of the wise logger who helped care for these woods years ago. With a planned course, he fell the most mature and those that had been damaged. My forest grows now. (May that wise logger rest in peace).
As I finish writing, it is midnight in the woods. Starlight twinkles above but the forest is draped in black darkness. There are no shades to the woods at midnight. The ponds echo in sounds of chirping amphibians. June bugs already buzz upon the screen door. Poesie jumps at them until they too start to rest in the darkest part of the night.
Midnight only lasts for one minute. Then it is officially morning.
Giggling, I run barefoot outside. “I am a heavy woman,” I whisper to the sleeping trees.
I breathe the warm spring air deep into my lungs. Smiling to a skyful of stars, I turn back to the house, feeling the wonderful heavy earth beneath my feet…
With my love, a smile and a kiss to boot,
the brick dandelion.