Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

Tag: relationship

Things I’ve Learned. Happy New Year!

StubbornIt is almost New Year’s Eve and winter has somewhat caught up with us bringing frozen sunny mornings to our doorstep.

It is eerily humbling to be waiting for winter the way it once was in a place that is never going to be the way it once was… People and places change in the bitter sweet dance of time, and no matter how stubborn, we are all twirling like snowflakes in a snow storm, landing where we least expected and poised (if we make it so) to make the best of it.

The year comes to an end. It’s always with a bit of regret that I look back, choosing to see mostly the things I’ll leave behind forever. This time though I want to hum the better song as I walk along. The things I’ve learned, the ones I take with, the ones that make me better, or so I feel.

Lost and foundIt’s a matter of making peace with yourself and life. Not crying over what cannot be changed. The prayer comes to mind, the one I so often saw as difficult to accomplish when changes made me bend under their implacable weight and what was left of me was no more than a twig seemingly breakable by the first gust of wind. It’s never like that though…

Now I know…


That the worst of days has, like the happiest, has only 24 hours that it can howl at me. That is, at best, a ladder with 24 rungs that I leave behind one after another as I climb towards a better day.

That if I need someone to tell me I can do it or hold my hand (or heart) as I do it, all I have to do is ask. That might be one of the hardest things to do, which is why it is one of the biggest gift someone can give. It’s the give-get thing. An unsinkable truth of life indeed.

That we are solely able to steer off courses that take us to where we do not want to go. All we have to do is stop, breathe, and have the courage to look around, asking loud enough ‘Is this where I want to be?’ If not, why dawdle? Of all the 24 rungs we climb, if there is at least one left, we can make it a day.

That when I smile, everything gets better. That someone will smile back. It’s never to be taken for granted. Or forgotten. The world is a smile better when we make it so. It’s a matter of will. And courage to be vulnerable enough to let yourself be seen. Smiling. Crying. It’s the same face that does it, the same heart that powers both.

That there is a gift of calmness in a crumpled leaf that I will never find anywhere else. When you step outside and pick one up, it will tell you stories of life and death, of the inexorable nature of seasons, of being just a wee song in the large orchestra that would sound different, even in an imperceptible way, if you were not there.

That I can get lost in a sea of others, but I am still my own. When you are, you are your own colour to a world that you joined as unique once upon a time. Add your own, believe that you can.

SeeThat I am able to see. With me eyes, with my heart, with my hands in the dark. As long as the mind is open to it.

That clouds are lessons, so big that only a sky could hold them all. Like you or I, they speak time, except that they seem to explain it better. Things come and go, nothing stays forever. Of course I know that. And just like that, of course I pretend to forget. Because it is both soothing and scary, a flavour that we have to learn to use as we go so that each bite becomes a gift. If each bite is to become a gift.

That when I open my arms for a hug, someone will fall in there, soft-hearted and eager, and will emerge feeling worthy. Because of that hug. Which I could give because I know the taste of it. Because someone, somewhere, had gifted me the same.

That seeing the sunrise is as precious as being born. Every day, another chance to make it better. There are 365 sunrises a year. Every year.

BeautyThat having my children call the most urgent ‘Mom, come see the sky!’ means that sunsets are reminders of shared life, love and the wonder of a world we get to see once more through the eyes of those who never hold back unless we make them think they should. Which is a sin.



to beThat precious is not a word for diamonds, or things made to be expensive. It is what defines morning walks with my sons, their arms wrapped around my neck at night, or the four of us waking up by a lake, soft whispers infusing the emerald air and having us know that as long as we can see that together we are on the side of life where we should be.

That speaking of life not just as you see it but as you feel it is a must. Vulnerability makes us stronger.

That’s how much I’ve learned this year, that’s what I’m taking with me to the next. To build on. To learn of so much more.

LightsHappy New Year!

Tying Wind and River Together… The Dance Continues

yellowThis is the place I discovered last year in May when the cacti were in bloom. And it was our first time seeing a cactus flower. It gives you the tingles. No pun, it does. You want to become a bee for the privilege of loading your insect pants with cactus flower pollen. A green bee. They exist.

Today is cloudy and the wind wraps us up in occasional shivers. It dies down just a bit as we follow the path. Dry dirt, past tracks of people and bikes and dogs, and the smell of sage, strong as we brush against the bushes still drowsy, awakened too son from winter, grumpy with sunshine that is too intrusive, too betraying of a spring that’s not here to dance with yet.

gazeWe have a companion, my dog friend, the dog of my friend. He runs ahead, waits, sniffs, runs again, returns, a furry pioneer smelling the wind and letting it ruffle its long smooth hair. It’s easy to become dependent on that gaze he throws back… Are you coming? Yes, do, the wind will ruffle your hair toosmell the world we’re in, it’s intoxicating. He knows. A dance forgotten. You have to smile back and catch the wind in your hair or else.

The trail snakes up, so steep you almost fall backwards, so you lean forward and see the dust up-close. You’re a higher expression of it. Dust is all. Walking, dancing. Dust…

Remember the boys on the day of the cactus flowers… They were running and dust was swirling behind them and back then both had long hair and the sky was blue. A swallowtail butterfly was resting on a purple flower that looked like a goblin’s head full of purple hair…

small Remember that boys grow; they turn back to smile every now and then, and you should do too. Never mistake their wind and dust-grimaced faces for grumpiness. You will though, it’s how you’re taught of opening the door that lets your heart dance outside, naked of pretense and belief that you know it all. You never will. Humbleness to go… to grow.

SidesWe walk, Max and I, and the city gurgles on one side and the silent hills grow on the other. We’re in between. Dog, me, him. Up and down, dance, know that life is happening now, learn to see life and the moments that happen as you blink. Breathe. Chests inflate with wings that stir the dust as you make our way to secret, quiet places.

ShyWait… A yellow thimble. The first yellow spring bells. So shy. It’s like seeing a friend, fragile and quiet. By the side of the trail, by the prickles of the cactus… awake, unspoiled by dust. Hello.

I kneel by it, I see more. There are Ponderosa pines dripping with sounds of birds singing of wind and worry, and all is as it should be. We walk far enough to find a spot with dried grasses, among fragrant sage. We sit down. Quiet. The mountains to the east have freckles of snow. They ache for more. There should be more. We sit, aware of so much, graceful to let the silence be. Dog, me, him. Sit, eyes on skies that move, thoughts that want to fly but stop right there. Just for a bit. Take it all in, leave everything aside and know that this moment will never come again.

Dog whines… he wants to move. We smile. Yes, let’s. The wind picks up and we walk. Hold on. We will come back. You’re tied to a place that echoes your heartbeat.

We drop off dog friend, then we sit, and eat and talk. Sip tea, talk softly. What if… Dreams and rewinding life. Be kind, rewind… We learn by rewinding, we step with truth and when the path is too steep we lean forward; for balance. There is a path to follow.

BoysThere is much to learn as we step alongside each other, boys in tow. It is portal to a magic land. Watching kids grow. You forget that they can be pirates and roaring dinosaurs and their growing pains are real. But their hugs are sweet and their eyes remind you of stories once told, of snuggles where seeds of patience and unconditional love were planted long ago. You tell the stories again, you have to… The language is kindness. You teach it to them, they speak it.

We walk along the river, stop to sit on rocks near the old metal bridge. Cold and quiet, the river laps in waves small and relentless. Let’s measure time by the lapping sounds. Me, him, a river so wide and deep. We’re here. Again.

TurnsAgainTwo ducks skid on the water surface. Him, her, water so green. They take turns putting their heads in. Head in, head out… Repeat. How human of them. They stare, I say hello. I have to. I love to, I always do. It reminds me of connections we so easily forget. In the middle of the river, a sand bank speckled with birds. Loud and pretty. We smile. Hands are warm and together.

Time to pick up little boy. Little boy and his friend. They have the same name and they delight in tiny things whispered in the back seat as we drive home. Sharks and giggles, and all that becomes when children are free to play.

‘Mom, was Ringo in here today?’

‘Yes love, we took him for a walk… ‘

Remember last summer when dog and boys piled up in the back and we drove to a lake that had clear water but also mucky shores and leeches?… ‘Yuck’ said the boys, fascinated and disgusted at once. Wet dog, wet boys on the drive back, moments that will always be.

Home… Boys keep on playing, running, chasing each other, laughing out loud, chewing on crunchy apples and popcorn made in the big pot… no kernels burnt today. Silliness. Hide and seek. Whirlwinds of now.

I make coffee, we sit and sip. Max, me, swirls of coffee smells, a day of time and stillness, coffee to slow down time that picks up again like the wind of the hill we roamed on today, following the path where memories of summers and flowers live, where we plant dreams of what’s to come and dogs run wild, tussled hair over brown eyes that know you know… Time, preciousness of bits we make ours every now and then, skies that bloom into storms, and then storms pass and new skies return.

roses are...The living room hides a bouquet of roses and the air is inundated by Brahms’s Hungarian Dances. Among the loud sounds of boys, whispers of days past and promises of kind presence, life happens here, true. Every day.

‘Mom, can we snuggle and read about sharks tonight?’

‘Yes we can.’

‘And the tickling that you do?’

‘That too…’

We call it as it is. Good night.


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