Spring is arriving slowly in the Berkshires.
Tapped maples have been offering their juice to the fires burning in sugar shacks.
The lakes are still covered in ice.
Some years, when the end of March arrives, I stand at the edge of Lake Mansfield and felt the cold updraft of newly thawed water, listening to the Spring Peepers off in the cove that warms with first morning light.
Are you watching green return to your landscape?
Or are you ankle deep in mud as we are here in the Berkshires?
This week, Julie Bond Genovese offers a guest blog post for the Out of the Mouths of Babes blog series. Julie is a friend I have made in the cyber-Village, having not yet had the pleasure of a face-to-face meeting; we have come to know each others work. Her book, Nothing Short of Joy is a triumphant memoir, funny and revealing in the best of ways. Her father recently died and I felt, having read her memoir, that I knew something of him, of his place in Julie’s life.
Before you dive in to Julie’s post, I just want to tell you about some events in the Berkshires. This is the final weekend of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, which has roused the sap of hundreds of people all during the month of March. Three events are happening this weekend by women in my Village.
The first, Can You Hear Me Baby? directed by Jayne Atkinson.
This is a special event for the Festival, a collaboration of some amazing theatre artists all about sex, love and OMG Birth! Jayne asked me to tell you that when you go to the box office for tickets, let them know you are with the Festival and they will honor your purchase of a $35 ticket. Just go see the show. I am so sorry I am away and missing it. You can read more about it here.
Then, on Sunday, well all day Sunday for the Festival is wonderful. A conversation between Mary Pope Osborne of the Magic Tree House series and her beloved friend and Out of the Mouths of Babes writer, Jenny Laird, followed by the Book Expo and more stuff. Here is more about the Festival and a call for submissions coming up.
Then, on Monday evening, join two wise wonderwomen, Sarah Nicholson and Cindy Parrish for an evening exploring menopause. This intimate event at the Stanmeyer Gallery and Shaker Mill Coffeehouse in West Stockbridge is sure to be deep and lush.
I offer you Julie’s post today. Leave her comments. Julie is a blogger like me and loves to interact with readers.
Wherever you are, I hope these posts by and about The Village: Who Else is Here While You Mother? let you see where you ache for community, where you have it in abundance and just how you can connect to create a meaningful life.
I am off to see my girl today in Leadville, Colorado.
Round about 7 PM Mountain Time, expect to see a meteor shower of love streaming across the sky.
As Anne Lamott says and Julie affirms:
“Looking up is the only way out.”
Here is to you, my dear Village, S
Mother Nature’s Soul-care – Releasing Busyness & Embracing Stillness
By Julie Bond Genovese
Three gentle giants wait for me in the backyard. Eighty feet tall, our magical maples watch over our home, guard our dreams. They stand in a curved row, committed back-up singers, ready to harmonize with those who’ll listen.
Daily, I feel them calling me away from the computer, the rush, the worries. They’re humming, encouraging, being. They know when I’ve forgotten to breathe again. Meditation and quiet have fallen away this week. Ease and gratitude were kicked to the curb. I’ll relax later when everything is done. But it never is.
I push to do more – more posts, promotions, social media megaphones. I paint and write toward a goal, without any open-ended wholeheartistry. I’m caught in the story of not-enoughness – not enough time for family, for business and, especially, for the colors of me.
I search for what’s missing in my post-its, emails and chopped up chores. The kids interrupt, the laundry moans, and the phone rattles the air. I plug my ears. I can’t hear myself over all the questions. So I answer the maples.
I step out the backdoor and we sigh in unison. They are the quietest of teachers and it’s their stillness I seek. “There you are,” they whisper sweetly. “Come sit down in the dandelions.” The lawn chair scoops me up and I rest in her arms. I stare at the maples who breathe me like a prayer.
In the front yard, I hear crying. Drat. I get up, unlatch the gate and walk away from my sanctuary, knowing I may never return today. Or tomorrow.
Down our drive, I spot the two five-year-old friends sitting on the sidewalk, scooters flung to the side. I check my son Kyler’s face, but the hurt isn’t his. I switch to our neighbor, Jeremia. His mouth is wide and wailing. My heart, my pace, quickens.
Just as I’m about to call out, I see Kyler raise his finger and gently, quickly, touch Jeremia’s nose. I catch my breath. A tiny giggle spurts out of Jeremia, defying his tears. Ky blesses his friend’s nose again, loving and light as tinker bell. They both giggle more.
I back away, not wanting to disturb the vision, the sweetest sharing, of love being passed on. I’m soothed by Ky’s tenderness. His presence. I walk back to my spot in the sun with a heart open wider.
As I sit back beneath the maples, I remember an important email I must return. My reverie hits the dirt. My brain backs up into busy, formulating my response, when I hear a firm and penetrating, shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
My body freezes. My mind dumps it’s contents. What was that? But nothing is there.
Whoa, there it is again. Oh my goddess, it’s the maples. They are addressing me! They’re swaying inside the message, perfect in it’s tone and lullaby. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh they coo, as their leaves wave and laugh. The air is rocked clean in their soft mama spell. My smile sails down the long green lawn, sweeping up into a vast and hopeful sky.
I’m startled, each time, by the truth – I’m a part of this glory. Although I feel small at the feet of mother nature, I’m larger, too, the moment I touch Her expanse.
Grace patiently waits within and around me, and when I’m open to its Presence, a greater heartbeat syncs with mine. Like pixie-dust, it lifts me back home.
I may forget tomorrow. But no worries, amnesia is a piece of the poetry. Remembering is a natural wonder, too, and remedies are everywhere.
I hear the clank of the gate unlatching and I sigh. I turn to ask the intruder if I can take more time alone, but before my words escape, Ky asks brightly, “Mommy, wanna piece a gum?” My smile surprises me. “Sure,” I answer. “Jeremia had to go,” he reports, as he hands me a piece. We unwrap the pink puff and chew together, in silent sweetness. Kyler rests naturally, cross-legged in his chair. His breathing is free and whole. His spirit, unencumbered.
Just ‘being’ is the most productive and loving choice I’ve made today.
The maple chorus rises up with one more shimmering shhhhhhhhhhh and I remember what I’ve forgotten. Tears close my eyes. The magic sits before me, within me, like a wide-eyed child. My boy, and the mama maples, have settled the breezes inside me, again.
Please download Julie’s free 60 pg. ebook, “Release the Blocks So Creativity Rocks!” at her website www.nothingshortofjoy.com. Jul
ie Bond Genovese is an inspirational speaker, creative living coach, blogger, artist, mom and best-selling author of her award-winning memoir, Nothing Short of Joy, endorsed by Wayne Dyer, Dr. Christiane Northrup & Dr. Bernie Siegel. Julie has been featured on TV & radio including Anderson Cooper Live, NBC LX & Oprah.com. Being born a dwarf, with degenerative arthritis, was not the poison Julie originally believed – it became the cure. As she began to view her challenges as sacred choices made by the soul, everything shifted. Julie mentors spirit-led creatives on how to use self-expression to transform life’s grief and energize ginormous joy.