The house has been smudged, the prayers have been said and as I walk through my little home, blessing and cleansing with grateful heart for the sanctuary I create, my thoughts turn to the passing year. It seems for the last twenty years I have been saying “whew that was a tough one”. Maybe they will all be tough. Today, I felt I was finally dealing with the things that began almost two years ago. The trailer for this review is filled with horror, fears, tears, smiles, heart wrenched acceptance, and joy like I have never known with the birth of my Grandson, unexplored pain with the passing of two of my best friends, codependency and living with addiction, the endless worry about the people I love and getting up every day to go to work where I feel I am standing in a field, in the center of the flames. My cup was empty. I had nothing left, but one foot still had to go in front of the other , right? The only way to get through something is to keep walking to the other side, or at least that is truth for me.I search for patterns and overall themes and the underlying theme is the ANGER . I woke up mad, walked through the day mad, left my job with anger sometimes brewing as I drove the ten minutes to my home. I have spent a lot of time angry in my car. I had no where to hide, no cave to run into to lick my wounds and still the background theme is the anger. I have always said I really grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, because it is where I learned to be self sufficient. Texas has been the tempering fire to further shape my life and person.
I am no longer the naïve, idealistic child of the sixties that made the decisions, that led to the life that I now live. That part of me survived, but I am more careful , even guarded, and the light in my eyes does not always twinkle. I am worn with all I have seen, heard and witnessed. The pain of recent events like an albatross on my soul dragging and luring me to come to bed and sleep…don’t think….rest before you begin the work ahead. Yet, thrown in to season everything are little pieces of pure joy! A friend finds a song I wrote when I was 26- 27 years old and I am rummaging through memories that have given me not only a vehicle for self awareness but happiness through the mental flashes of the past. If things would not have been so difficult at home, I would not have gone on walk about. I would not have discovered the pool, the river, the parks and most of all I would not have had all the glorious walks … me…I’m with God…and I am with the mother….and for a little while, I am FREE. There is no question that is therapy for me. When I am in the woods and looking for beauty. I find it. It does not disappoint. Returning to this part of myself has revealed more roads I can travel and I am so thankful.
In many ways it feels as if I am rowing through the mist and the fog and can’t clearly see where I will go, only knowing deep in my soul I must move forward…I must set goals and be ready to fulfill them ….something is calling….calling me onward and away from here. I am driven to get rid of excess, to move lightly, but to keep firm upon the path and keep moving until I know my destination.
I caught myself getting angry that no one ever warned me how hard life could be or how impossibly heartbreaking , or incredibly inspiring a journey lay ahead. I had to let go of the anger…no one knew… how could they…it was my future…not theirs..and who listens when they are twenty years old and you think you know everything and you will surpass those around you because you know better. Would I have heard the truth in the words if they had been spoken? Would I have recognized the lessons that led to the knowledge that supported and nurtured that knowledge? I doubt it…I wish I had not known it all back then. I wish I would have known how to listen. It seems many years I have been learning to Listen.
Mike was cremated yesterday. Four words… not even very big words ..but they are so heavy. They are present in my mind and I hear them and it is as if I am talking about someone else. I talked to him Saturday while I drove to Bandera River park. I sent him a picture of the Medina River as we continued to talk and I walked …by the river…into the woods…across the country road . Then when the beauty I walked through would no longer allow me to multitask and admire, we hung up, and I got lost in the land. I had learned to get lost in nature with unbounded freedom because of Mike. Living on the farm there were weeks I would not see another living soul. I wrote, I researched, I took classes and worked towards certifications in things that were spiritually important to me. I was allowed to have this beautiful break way out in the country with no one around …and it was … and it remains, so very special to me. I am not a Texan by birth, but unlike the clanish Blue Ridge and Appalachia’s where I spent so many years, you are not continuously met with the look and the phrase ” you ain’t from around here are you?” If you want to be a Texan … Move there. I learned that from living here and I learned it because of Mike Ragsdale.
I remember the day this picture was taken so clearly. I had been living in Texas a little over a year and I was getting ready to move to Sipe Springs , or as it is lovingly known to me now, “the Farm”. It was almost Spring and as I stood with my daughter, Amanda, and I looked out over that landscape that looked so harsh and brittle, I wondered if I would ever learn to love Texas. I moved, went to work for Hospice and had some of the most profound experiences of my life but I grew weary of the wide open spaces. I was lost without boundaries and felt the call to return to the hills. When I had moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had discovered a comfort from being surrounded by mountains. I felt protected. So many days as I walked to class or to the hospital from my car or just around the neighborhood, I would look at those mountains and my heart would burst with gratitude to bear witness to such beauty. Texas had no boundaries, the room for growth was astounding and intimidating. After almost two years on the farm, I returned to Virginia, even deeper into the hills, in Bath County. I loved being closer to my children and seeing old friends but I soon realized I no longer felt I belonged there. I was not making decisions from a stable place when I left Virginia before moving to Texas via Louisiana. I wanted to make sure I made good decisions that were not fear based or the result of deep feelings of helpless/hopelessness. I took the time to be introspective and see what I could do to be of the most use to my family and myself.
I returned to the farm and ended up living there mostly alone for a year. I had started another journey in Virginia when I became a Reiki Master. It changed the way I thought about things. So , when I returned to the farm, I did a lot of writing and spiritual work. I learned to track animals and become even more aligned with and appreciative of my environment. I wandered over 100+ acres daily, watching the seasons, hanging out with my wolf hybrid, Sam, and staying busy with work that I loved.
Years have passed since I lived in Commanche County but I often catch myself with tear filled eyes as I look at the river, check out a new park, work in my garden or become entranced by the sound of the wind as it blows through the tall grasses. It is during these times that I ask myself , “damn Leese, when did you fall in love with Texas? The answer is always the same, “at the farm”.
An abundance of snails are filling my space. I see them wherever I look around my home. They fall from the doors when they are opened, I see them overhead on porch ceilings at night and I peel them off of my plants. Solitary creatures of recluse, they carry their shells with them, so they can always protect their tender inner selves. When snail presents, you may need to examine the walls you have built and ask for Spirit protection. Things from the past may resurface and snail encourages you to enter a place of healing to continue with spiritual growth. We are reminded of the importance of protection and trust. Know when to trust and when to retreat and remain silent. A slow steady path of patience and perseverance may be required. You are being asked to be present and manifest graceful balance.
I ran out of time for me.
But healing continued to call,
From a distant path, through the mist, up the mountain.
I heard her calling daily.
And I cried because I could not go.
Christmas season over, New Year heralded in and all rushed in and by, without really feeling it was there at all. The best part of Christmas was being around Kesey. He was 9 months old and the wonder is not quite at the fever pitch it will be in the years to come, but there is joy in the knowledge that it is his first Christmas. He is just fascinated by lights and color so my focus was on hanging little lights everywhere. His face was lit with wonder and twinkling strands that surrounded him. The Christmas day pics quickly earned title as my favorites – but most new pics of him do at some point.
New Years day I worked and honored it barely in passing as I got ready to leave the house that morning. I did not feel the pull to consider or write resolutions …but there were numerous times I thought of the future and what I wanted that to look like.
Finally today, on Epiphany, I feel the holiday season and I read that astrologers are saying the best day for New Year resolutions this year is Saturday 1/9/2016.