Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dream of Night, and the Lemon Light of Fall

A day of memorializing the dead is problematic for me. I do that all the time. So I spent yesterday, either in the garden, or with friends in the program to keep my head on straight. And a nap. You know I had a nap.

The unicorn meat eating cats are quiet this morning, although the house is not. So I will lean on them for my serenity. Plus I get to call my sponsor in a bit. Georgia, yes, Miss Congeniality herself, has been playing with Pancake this morning. This is a miracle in two ways. Georgia hisses and growls at all other beings, except for humans, who she adores. Georgia seems to loathe the kitten. Georgia was caught in play with said kitten, and emitted hisses and growls the entire time.

I know what you're thinking: 'perhaps it wasn't play, you dunce head.' But no, when a full grown cat lies on her back and graciously extends her paws for a game of gentle patty cake, there is no doubt. Despite the hisses and spits that still issued from her mouth, Georgia then played with Pancake's tail. Gently. You learn something new everyday, don't you?

 Georgia, in the upper right, biding her time to 'make nice.' 

I have nothing more profound today than that the lavender is doing very well. Some ancestral memory told me to buy dahlias this year. They are a deep orange and yellow, with oblong petals, very symmetrical. They remind me of the summer version of chrysanthemums. 

I planted them with the yellow daisies. And, while I have potted the marigolds, I may yet un-pot them to plant around the tomatoes, that went in, yesterday. Max sleeps deeply, and growls in his sleep, so I wake him a bit, just to get him to stop. Pancake also sleeps profoundly now. She has played from 2 o'clock on, so she is due some sleep now that I am awake. Again. 

I have turned on NPR (National Public Radio) to drown the irritating noise coming unexpectedly from the upstairs apartment. I also have to keep re-typing what I have written, as small feet scamper across the keyboard, and distort what I think. 

I have forgotten what one group of my twelve step program taught me that HP means healing power, and it is deliberately not capitalized. Something about this group, and the literature that they use, is especially soothing to me. It is more of a woman's way to the twelve step program. It emphasizes acceptance of alternative views, understanding and tolerance, as no other group I have found.  I feel particularly forgiven and accepted in this group. My fears are understood, and transmuted into a creative force. 

But now, my thoughts turn toward the day, and away from the night. I dreamed of my father last night, dying as he did not, in the hospital. I was drinking in this dream. Despite my depression at drinking, I was happy to 'see' my father so real, and so clearly. It was an enlightening dream, and revealed a resentment I have kept on the back burner for a while. Not against my father. I think I have made my peace with him. I must let this resentment go. 

Almost time to call my sponsor...

I am grateful today that I do not have to wake and wonder where the first beer will come from. I will not have to shower, in the hope that it will dampen the smell of alcohol coming from my pores, but because I will feel clean afterward. I do not have to put on a bright, and perky face, complete with eye drops, to face a store clerk, where I buy case after case of beer. I do not have to try to stop the smell coming from my stomach, that makes the liquor store clerks look at me suspiciously. What a horrible look. What a terrible feeling! What a persistent and tragic scent to carry! 

What a terrible feeling! To feel the stomach tighten and sink, as I used to set out, with the knowledge that I had failed even before I woke! To know that the dawn, was a signal to turn the apartment, and my mind, black! But it is not inescapable. I know I don't have to feel that way, or smell that way. I don't have to feel my skin crawl, or break out into a cold sweat, in the middle of the heat.

There. That's enough of the night for me. I do miss, in this late spring, the frosty grass, and the sharp, iron-bar reflection cast by the trees and the sun. I do not miss the monotony of this winter, but a certain day in fall, when the sun's light turns to lemon, pale and complete.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memory: Of Sour Cherries and Figs

My prayers and yours are answered! Shrek and Minkins II were adopted together, yesterday! Only a day in the shelter, and they are together!

My heart is very full, mon coeur est gros. Meanwhile, back in the unicorn meat eating cats' territory: Pancake has a field day, although she needs someone to play with. So she will go to her new Mommy's house a week earlier than planned; she will go next week. It's a good thing, all around. I have come to miss the blissful pace of older cats, although Georgia is only 4 years old. And too, I want Pancake to start bonding with her new Mom, as soon as possible, instead of the dog. 

She won't have any use for the dog-bonding skills where she is going...

Her new Mom came over yesterday to watch movies, and formulated a plan. Whenever she visits, she will bring Pancake with her to visit, too. I think this is a marvelous idea.

I hope that the unicorn meat eating tribe will forgive me soon, for my act of altruism in raising this litter. Minkins is the one most well adjusted to the litter. I hand-raised him as an orphan from birth. I don't know if that makes him more flexible or no, but something does.

Georgia and Ratty are very discombobulated, at this point. Georgia, because she is the lap cat, and the kittens were in her way, and Ratty, just because. Because he is growing into the role of The Dude, and has to keep up appearances.

The Dude, by the way, was a solid black cat, who passed a week after my mother did, at the age of 24. He had attitude, with a bit of the otherworld about him, and a lot of savoir faire. The Dude was master of all he surveyed, and regularly would curl on Mom's pillow. One day, a week after she passed, he curled there and never looked back. We wanted to give him a pagan funeral. He was definitely a pagan. I think of him now as a forest god, stalking the woods he loved, at the Old House.

He had the real swagger. Ratty is growing into The Dude, but he misses a bit with that French touch that Dude had. The Dude was so cosmopolitan, and Ratty is straight out of America's heartland, a farm boy.

Anyway, the kittens made Ratty insecure about his territory, and there was nothing insecure about The Dude. It just takes time.

Today, I am grateful to know how much my cats need my love and care. They didn't need a litter of kittens to feel young again, and spring-like. They just need me.

So, just for today, I will take my meds for them, and a shower. I will not cut or drink or overeat. I will finish cleaning my kitchen. I will work on the garden, the Pond, and go to an AA meeting. I will do everything I can to finish cleaning the apartment, so that all is sparkling, and clean, and gleams in the sunlight. I trust the power in the forest and I ask it to relieve me today of all my burdens, so that I may live what is best for me and the other travelers on this planet.

Will my life magically become what it was? Will I regain the Old Life I had living in the Old House? No. That Alice is gone. That time is gone. But some core remains: my need for serenity, my love for cats, and the dog, and what else? That is what I look for.

I am surrounded by the Old House this morning, I don't know why. Although I am, in a way, always encircled by the Old House. My heart lived there before we got there, and some part of me lives on that plot of land, still. I love the way the light shafts down through the trees. I know when each tree blooms, and each flower. I still sit on the deck in the morning sunlight, like no other light there is.

It was the country: the air is fresh, and I was encompassed by green, as far as I could see. I wander in the small orchard my father planted, and taste the sour cherry and fig.

What is left of the Old House are memories of sun and rain, of leafless tree, and blooming tree and flowers. As Maureen O'Hara's character proclaimed in the movie, "The Quiet Man", I have my things about me. The rocking chair that I came home to at birth sits by my bed. The picture of my mother at 16, still shines like an emerald in it's mahogany frame. My dressers were given to me by my grandparents in Raleigh, long ago. You understand. I have loved, and will love being surrounded by dark, rich woods, just as I am encircled inside by the forest.

Eddie and The Dude, live in the forest now, and tiny Echo, who passed two years ago. All the cats I have known and adored are there, waiting. Outside the lavender I used to plant for my mother, blooms.  Her geraniums live in the pots I inherited, simple and clay. New and old treasures also surround me. A pillow, faced by needlepoint that my mother did long ago, is captured and finished by my sister-in-law and her mother.

It was the anniversary of Mother's Day, three years ago. I was in jail at the time, over that weekend. For the first time in my life. Our disorders lead to some horrid places sometimes. It was the year my Mother died, and The Dude, and my service dog, Eddie, later on that summer. It is not a year I hold in fond remembrance.

It is the weekend of remembrance, for us in America, Memorial Day. Perhaps that's it.

Perhaps the going on of the New Adventurers, to other places and times, simply reminds me of the passing of my life, as well. And while I will not be the stereotypical 'older' person, nor am I young anymore. I crave solitude and quiet, that only older cats can give. I have my collection, as I hope you do, of the tokens of affection from loved ones, and friends. The small cat statues, the clock on the dresser, the pictures and jewel box, from those who think well of me. Even the bed I sleep in holds me as my Mom and Dad did.

But that's enough of nostalgia. It is part of this holiday, as it is of no other. 'What could have been' is everywhere.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dahlias and Daisies

It's cold, not cool, in this small corner of the world. Pancake keeps me from crying, by her very presence.

Minkins and Pancake

The unicorn meat eating cats are not relieved, as of yet, by the lack of kittens in the household. It will take them a while, I think. I hope the New Adventurers slept as well as we did, last night. 

I also hope my flowers aren't frosted this morning. I didn't see a frost warning, but the weather has been quirky. 

I have an uncle, who was in Viet Nam, and my grandfather was in WW II. One of his uncles was in WW I. So now I think of all of them on this holiday weekend. Of course, our women served, as well. How many grandmothers or great-grandmothers served in the factories during WW II? And, grew their own vegetables in small Victory gardens? Or made and wrapped bandages? Or served at the front as nurses or Red Cross workers? 
I will include the service dogs, in this category. I, who was saved by one. 
But today, I am just quietly trying to pick my routine back up. 
Not enough coffee, yet. Hang on.

Ahh. That's better, isn't it? Max, the dog, rushes heedlessly to his kitten's rescue. When he hears a hiss in the next room, off he goes. I loved the sky, yesterday. Big, white, fluffy clouds with lots of wind. It's just the temperature was a bit off par. It seems we are still really in Spring. The azaleas bloom, and the iris, my father loved his iris. He had beds of it, of all colors, and tended them religiously, and jealously.

Today, I wait for the daisies to bloom. And I really hope the begonias and impatiens and dahlias I planted yesterday, just don't wither up and die in this cold, in revenge for me waiting so long to put them in the ground. And the choices? Which pot for which flowers? I have four pots I traditionally plant geraniums in, for my mother. I do as she did. And I have a pink geranium, her favorite, that still waits to be planted. We had a large shaded deck, at the Old House, and there were always geraniums, and begonias, and asparagus fern.

I have the daisies from the front of the house. But, that is in the past. Today I practice core mindfulness; I pay attention to each moment in time, as it comes. Right now, with my animals around me, and a roof over my head, quite a cute apartment, really, I am grateful. I have had breakfast, the coffee sits better that way. I have my meds poured and waiting.

I am grateful to be in recovery, with the love of my friends supporting me. I let them down last week, but I got back up. Pancake now tries to figure out how to lay on me, or the laptop, or both. I am determined it will be me. I am still sad and regretful, for various reasons, but I cast them off, today. Outside, it is amazingly cool for this time of year, but the dawn comes anyway. Ratty is disappointed that I do not open his window, so he can go out.

The dahlias I planted are orange, with the yellow daisies. The begonia and impatiens are together, varying shades of pink, with pink or green leaves. The snails are already making inroads. The strawberry, which blossoms now, will be planted today. I will have to wear a sweatshirt...

Friday, May 24, 2013

New Dawns for Old

"Let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing." Kahlil Gibran,

Today is a new adventure, for the New Adventurers. For two of them, Pancake and Winston, a new parent waits in the wings. For Shrek and Minkins II, life is a mystery for now. I let them go with so much hope in my heart that they will be adopted by loving parents and enjoy life, as every cat deserves. Please, let it be so!

I woke up at 3 a.m. to let them roam free. They won't have much chance at Angels for that, although they will be well taken care of, and fussed over. I have to remember that.

I want their parents to know that no love has been spared in their upbringing, and I expect no less from them.

Fearful storms rush over, but the dawn is quiet so far. I saw the most enormous black cloud come out of Botetourt County last night, and I looked for the funnel. More rain, and more rain. As someone addicted to water, I am happy.  Not about horrible storms, but about the rain.

Water streams from the walls and gathers at the base of the violets. But I visited parts of the small town I live in yesterday, and saw where the rain has washed the sides of the road out.

Winston has turned the most lovely shade of grey, and Shrek's face looks almost Siamese...

I am med compliant this morning, calmer and resigned to their fate. As long as it is a good one...there's the rub. But I have lived without hope, once for a time of several years, and I will tell you that I have a firm grasp on it now, wispy, delicate creature as it is.

Yesterday was therapy day, and it was very good. Then, I had to tell my AA home group about my relapse. Which is difficult, my friends, very hard. But I cannot change the path, and so I set my sails to the wind, and sail on.

There is no light outside today, and I am not one to watch the weather channel on TV. I don't know if storms will happen all weekend, or not. I have never shrunk from gardening in the rain, and will not start now.

On the up side, the unicorn meat eating cats will reign supreme again. These little upstarts have had their day in this household, is what is going on this morning. Access to the unicorn meat will not now be limited due to the rug rats. I will be able to leave a room unattended, as I go about my daily chores. When I return to it, it will be almost the same as I left it. No popcorn carrying kittens will have shattered the cleanliness and order of my home. How empty it will seem!

But we won't part this morning on a note of sadness. I look back on no regrets of 'could I have done better? Could I have given more?' They are a healthy, happy, well socialized litter. Shrek has just leaped off of the dog onto his brother. I drink deeply from the cup I have poured myself this morning, as they settle in for a nap. I remember the Cat Stephens song, "Oh, very young/how will you leave us this time?"

Ratty has gone out into the dawn, he waits as a patient hunter. Pancake looks at me with small, slitty eyes. She alone, will be left in my care today, and I am sure she will sleep with me tonight. The leaves of the maple out back are forever shiny now that they have been washed. One large frog sends his night songs out from the Pond, soon to be a pool, once again. I love grasshopper songs, as well, and know the cicada song will rule the night this summer.

Some time today, the birds will sing, and the flowers will blossom in all their finery and glory. The lawn has been cut as everyone else has cut theirs...part way. I have been promising the flowers that I will plant them for a fragment of time. The dog will wander, searching tonight, for his small salvations. Flowers will bloom in the plots outside, as my lavender grows and blooms. Tomatoes will drink from the ground tonight, and the yellow wildflower may add yet another blossom today.

I surrender today, to a power greater than myself. I stand on the edge of the field, at the forest's beginning. The scent of moss draws me in. I hear the stream rushing in the distance, and I know that the trees wait patiently for me, beside the water. For a moment, I look back across the fields, where the kittens play, and then face the trees, where my service dog, Eddie, waits. A stray breeze shifts the leaves, and they sprinkle the soft, moist earth. Lady Slippers, with their pale, pink perfection, gleam in the dawn. Pine needles present their scent underfoot, and muffle my footsteps. A cool day is dawning, and the horses and Eddie love the cool. The kittens play in the sunlight, behind me. Their purrs reach a crescendo, and drown out the crickets.

This morning, I acknowledge the un-manageability of my life. I ask the power that is, to lend me some grace, to rise above it, today.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The New Adventurers

Winston Churchill: adopted

Pancake, formerly Autumn: adopted

Shrek: the adventurer's adventurer

Minkins II: Very, very attached to his humans. Lap kitten.

Something New

I will post from this blog tomorrow, 24 May, 2013.