“So open wide your wounded heart
Feel yourself be blown apart
Open wide your wounded heart
It’s a funny place to start
But in the light of the sun
We are found we are undone
In the light of the sun
We are all one
All the seeds beneath the snow
Start to grow start to grow
All the seeds beneath the snow
- Wailin’ Jennys
I had all sorts of ideas for this post and now I can’t remember any of them.
First, thank you for the love and support and concern following Delilah’s passing. I know not everyone feels as strongly about animals and their pets, but I spent 16 years with her (my entire “grown up” life) and learning how to live *without* her constant presence will be a process for me. And it’s going to take time.
I’m okay with that, actually. I’m in a bit of a fog, and I’m (mostly) okay with that, too. A lot of things have shifted. Right after it all happened, I felt like everything that didn’t really matter fell away and what did matter (family, love, being in the moment) was all I wanted to deal with. I’m still feeling like that- I just want to do simple daily routine stuff (gardening, swimming, a bit of writing, household stuff, watching movies, crocheting, etc.). I don’t want to make any big decisions. I re-organized my art studio but I’m not all that interested in agonizing over creativity at the moment. I’m wanting to be quiet and keep to myself (and immediate family).
In gardening, if you have really struggling plant, sometimes the best thing to do is cut it right down to its stem. Just leave a little tiny bit of the original stem above the soil, and let it be. If there’s green inside the stem, it’s a sign that the plant is still very much alive and will grow back. It just takes time- the stem will sit there, sticking up in the dirt for days or even weeks with nothing at all going on, looking completely dead, and then one day you’ll go out to the garden and there’s a tiny shoot of green on that stem, so tiny you wouldn’t even notice it if you hadn’t been scanning the stem every day for a sign of *anything*. And every day after, there will be a little bit more green until there are leaves, and then branches, and then blossoms.
Often the plant grows back better than it was before it was cut.
I’m sure there’s a technical term for cutting a plant back for regrowth, but I kind of think of it as the plant taking the time to “catch its breath”. That’s what I call it, anyway. Whenever I do that with a plant, I put it in a sunny spot and give it lots of water and just give it the time and space to do its thing and hope for the very best.
I kind of feel like that’s what I’m doing- catching my breath. And every day I’ll see or experience something beautiful and magical and awe-inspiring- a deep blue sky, a red cardinal outside the window, the perfect sound of chimes blowing in the breeze, Gracie smiling, Tom laughing at something I have said, a tiny kitten named Milo (more on that below…) running across the floor with a giant ball of paper in his mouth, that blissful feeling before I fall asleep- and I’ll think “it’s going to be okay.”
Those little moments are kind of like the tiny shoots of green on a plant that is in the process of regrowing.
I think I just need more time to catch my breath. I’m just really struggling with allowing myself the time and space to do it. I feel like I should sort of “buck up” and get over this already, but all in all it’s been a challenging few months (everything from health stuff to Delilah’s passing) and maybe I do need some time to just let myself recover.
I just don’t exactly know what to *do* with myself. I feel aimless and ungrounded but there’s very little that draws me in. I’ve done a few little bits of art, but anything that requires any sort of decision making (which is sort of what being creative is, in a way…) repels me and I turn away. So I’m just playing with color and pattern. I made a simple journal to mess around in. I’m exploring the idea of going back to school for my MFA, which would allow me to be creative but also give me some focus and direction. I’m thinking about writing fiction again, just for the fun of it.
As far as blogging, I’m writing at Bliss Habits and Sprout and that seems like plenty. I do miss writing here, especially Common Miracles (the gratitude practice DEFINITELY has become a life-saver these past few weeks), but I don’t miss the “scheduled creative posts” I have been doing the last few months (prints and paintings on Tuesdays, one little word on Wednesdays, art journal pages on Fridays, crochet on the weekends, etc.) and I don’t think that I will continue them.
I think I’ll just post when I feel like I have something to share, whether it’s thoughts or art or both. I’m just going to trust that people who care about me will still care about me even if there’s not an image attached to everything I post here. I’ll probably return to a more “traditional” style of online journaling, because I really do miss that. I feel like the last few years I have been trying to please an audience, in a way, and not “scare anyone off” with long posts because it’s not cool anymore.
The truth is, the longer posts about life in general is more who I really am. I may be quiet in real life, but I spend a lot of time thinking about a lot of different things. I’d like the space to share that. It may not be as fun as pictures of artwork, but I’m exhausted by the effort to fit in with the “good blogger society”. I just want to go back to being myself here on this site and not worry too much about what will attract the most people to stop by and take an interest.
And one last thing to share: the day after Delilah passed, we went to the cat shelter. We’ve been volunteering there for a long time (maybe nine or ten years, now?) and it’s a good place to go when you need a little comfort because the cats there are so happy to see you (especially the resident cats) and there’s a lot of love.
Anyway, I walked into one of the little kitten areas and this tiny kitten just dashed across the room (so fast and hard that his little name collar fell right off) and climbed right up my leg and into my lap, stared deep into my eyes, and then put his paws on my face like he was trying to hug me. he curled into my lap and purred and sat with me for about an hour.
And the next time I went, a few days later, he did it again. And then the next day. And the day after. Every time I showed up, he would stop what he was doing and just come right to me. It’s like he knew I needed a friend, and he was so happy to volunteer himself for the job.
About a week ago, we decided that the little kitten needed to be an official member of our family, so we adopted him and brought him home. His name is Milo. He’s incredibly cheerful and active. I have to admit that I am more of an adult cat kinda person (they are less likely to be adopted, and there’s just something about older cats that tugs at my heartstrings) but Milo sort of picked me out (and he liked Tom and Gracie equally as much), so who am I to say no to that face?
The best part? How the other cats have reacted to Milo. We have two other cats- Chester and Ginger. Chester was in a bad place after Delilah passed. The two of them were best friends and have been together for nine years, so he was pretty miserable when she never came back home. He started hiding and not eating and even getting sick. Chester was really abused before we adopted him, so it’s taken a long time for him to come out of his shell, and he started going right back into it.
I didn’t know what Chester might do with a kitten (he’s not always been nice to Ginger) so we were a little concerned. But Milo marched right up to Chester and within a few hours, they were playing like old friends. It’s only been a little over a week, and already they are sleeping together and seeking each other out all the time so that was a happy surprise.
Ginger is not 100% sure of Milo yet, but she’s cooled off with the hissing. She just doesn’t like it when Milo tries to get under her to see if there is any chance she’ll nurse him. Before we adopted her from the shelter, she was actually the shelter mama, nursing quite a few groups of mom-less kittens that came through, so I guess she’s pretty much done with that. She’s happy to just do her own thing.
We’re all settling in. I forgot what life is like with a tiny kitten underfoot. Lots of pouncing in the middle of the night and bits of toys on the floor (Milo LOVES rolled up bits of paper and will go into the recycling bin to fish them out) and finding ways INSIDE the armchair and paws stuck in drinking glasses, etc. But it’s life, and we needed some of that.
Thank you, as always, for reading. Hope you are doing okay.
Oh, and here’s the Wailin’ Jennys song (All The Stars) that inspired the art above and where the quote from this post came from- it’s a beautiful song and it definitely has resonated with me tremendously these past few weeks:leave a comment...