Decision Made

Monday we were excited about the possibility, but then overnight doubts set in for me. He talked me through it, assuaged my fears. The house around the corner with the beautiful views also needs work.

We called the owner for another viewing. Ric was right. My concerns were not founded. I was in. But then Ric had a change of mind. We talked it out.

Disability limits my financial input. The burden is on Ric. I don’t want him to stress over a move. I tell him so.

“But the house would be so much better for you,” he says.

“I’m fine,” I tell him. “The most important thing is that we are happy, and we are, right where we are.”

“I’ll give it one shot,” he decides. The owner is asking an exorbitant price. We both agree not to stretch beyond what is practical.

Ric goes to meet with the owner. The dogs and I wait. I anticipate our bid will fail.

Backyard through screened door off kitchen.

The owner accepted our offer. The house is ours. Now we just have to get this one ready for sale.

Send energy. I’ll need it.

Sculpting

The best openings are the one’s we carve for ourselves.

We spent New Year’s Eve reminiscing about eighteen years of togetherness. Stayed up past midnight, and talked about our future. Hope coloured our words.

Sculpting has been on my mind – not literally, but in the sense of chipping away at the outer facade to invite emergence.

Ric has shed fifty pounds of excess weight, and I am now joining him in that quest. We are entering this new decade with renewed vigour. There is much we still yearn to sample.

I’m lining up my tools, examining the material before me: changes lie ahead. Bit by bit, I will ply my craft, shed the excess, intuit the contours of this life I’m co-creating.

Emergence takes time, commitment, and a willingness to be open.

(Image taken from The Grand Trunk trestle. This town we have settled in stirs my impulse towards the creative. So grateful to be here. Hope it inspires you as much as it did me. I will be back Monday with a new weekly challenge.)

Wintry Rebellion

Tracks on ice remind me that even in the depth of winter there is movement. I am conflicted by the onset of cold: resigned to spending more time indoors, and already feeling the restlessness set in.

Art projects line up, encouraged by the many related gifts I received for Christmas. Writing calls to me too – so many unfinished works vying for space.

Perhaps it is the confinement itself that I fear, having known what it is to be truly homebound, and never wishing to relive the experience. I have come to love the outdoors; have embraced nature as my sanctuary. Can I tolerate the separation?

Ice crusts, encloses,
yet passion flows – fire carves
path – driven to thrive.

( Happy New Year all! Image from personal collection.)

Grateful for Openings

“I bought a turkey roll and frozen stuffing,” Ric announced after a recent grocery shop.

I might have raised an eyebrow.

“Thought we could have it on Christmas day.”

“We’re going to visit Mom on Christmas day,” I reminded him. “At the nursing home.”

As a blended family, Ric and I surrendered Christmas day a long time ago. As long as Ric’s Mom was alive, we’d pick her up and spend the day at a casino, usually ending up with a tuna sandwich in the restaurant. After she passed, Ric and I went alone. Then we started going south, avoiding the day altogether. But when Ric gets something in his head….

So turkey went into the oven as we headed out the door for the forty-minute drive.

What are you doing for dinner? A text from my younger sister.

Ric’s cooking here if you want to come.

They never come. My family of origin doesn’t do holidays anymore. It’s just the way it is.

We’d love to come if it’s not too much work.

We visited Mom, and our eldest daughter showed up with two of our granddaughters. We exchanged gifts and ate goodies, and then moved on to visit my older sister – also in the nursing home. More gifts passed hands.

I texted D as we headed home. Fog had set in. She was worried about it.

Back at home, Ric busied himself with prepping the rest of the meal, and I rested. At five, the doorbell rang. There was my younger sister and her husband bearing gifts.

I can’t remember a Christmas dinner tasting so good. Maybe it was the conversation, or just the sheer joy of sharing it with family.

It’s never too late, I realize, to start new traditions.

Tonight my heart is filled with gratitude, and I am hopeful.

(Thursdays are currently dedicated to gratitude. Image from personal collection.)

Driving My Perspective

“Grab your camera; let’s go for a drive!”

Ric knows how to pull me out of my doldrums. Despite the cold wind, the day is not without merit. We drive to another small town, just thirty minutes away. Here, wetlands and a wooded trail attract a multitude of birds.

I snap a few pics of the small wading birds near the shore, but my heart is not in it. The sky is catching my attention today.

Heavy Autumn clouds hover, mirroring my sense of doom at Winter’s arrival. I know I have to fight this darkness. I wander down the trail, lost in my inner battle. A woodpecker drums nearby, but I haven’t the energy to look for him. I gaze upwards, a silent prayer for strength.

Despite the heavy cloud cover, the sun breaks through casting a shimmer across the water. I raise my lens capturing the moment. Even in its moodiness, Autumn has a special allure. I need to stay focused in the now – finding something to be grateful for each day.

Clouds reflected remind me that how we experience life is guided by how we set our lens.

I must remember, each day, to set my lens on miracles, no matter how small.

(Photos taken in Mitchell, Ontario, at the West Perth Wetlands.)

Every Step a Miracle

Angel of Death. The name had started to stick. As a volunteer, working with the dying, my job was to help patients relax, ease some of their stress.

“She needs you more than me,” on old Irish doctor said as we both arrived at a patient’s home simultaneously. “I can give her medication for the pain, but dying takes strength and a surrender I can’t prescribe.”

I learned about dying from my sister’s bedside.

“Have you ever witnessed death?” her attending nurse asked, and when I shook my head, she cautioned: “You might want to leave now.”

I didn’t leave. I’d promised my sister that she wouldn’t die alone. I stayed till the end.

I would do the same for many more. It was why I studied Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, and other forms of relaxation. Bringing comfort to the ailing gave me a purpose.

My grandmother had been a midwife. She practiced in a rural area, at a time when phones were not available.

“How did you know when to go?” I asked her once. “Births are unpredictable.”

“There is a subtle knowing that comes with the position,” she said considering her answer. “Sometimes I would have a dream alerting me to the time, other times it was just an impulse.”

Attending to deaths was much the same. Unpredictable, and yet with subtle cues. Grandma ushered life in, I helped the crossing over.

The circle of life.

(Note: it’s been years now since I have been able to assist the dying. The experiences I had were a gift and an honour. I was prompted to write about this experience by Reena’s Exploration challenge, and also by my weekly focus which is subtle. Life is precious and each stage a miracle. I am grateful to be reminded of this today.)

Image from personal collection. You can find this image and other works at any of my shops: KnutsonKreations (Society6), KnutsonKr8tions (Redbubble), or KnutsonKreations (Zazzle)

Fences In Black & White (with poem)

Look at us building fences
pretending we have differences

do we not hunger the same
hunt in the same places

do we not strive with equal intent
build our nests with the same ferocity

forgo passion to survive?
Let us stop pretending

let down these wall
admit to our vulnerabilities

align our purposes
fight a more fearsome foe.

(Cee’s black and white photo challenge is fences. I have felt compelled to write something in response to the Christchurch tragedy. I wrote Fences a year ago, and it seemed fitting to include it here. Peace people.)

A Fresh Approach

It started with a tree. Something about the texture of the bark appealed to me, so I took a picture.

Then I examined the image on my computer, and pondered what the image was saying to me. Did it need altering? Was it worth keeping?

Every time I looked at it, I was drawn to a small, cartoonish face just off center. I decided to sketch that face, and work outwards from there.

The image moved left and right of the face, but I felt compelled to set the two halves of the photo on top of one another, so the sketch no longer resembled the original.

Then, using a fine brush, I traced all of my pencil marks with dark paint. Noting that the bark was not one colour, I then added a second shade. When all of that dried, I wet the paper and blotted in two more colours, let the water work its will.

I repeated the steps again for more vibrancy.

The Storyteller, by V.J. Knutson

What emerged was this old tree, with the profile of an ancient, and so I’ve titled the piece “Storyteller”.

This is a new approach to art for me, but I am so excited about the process that I’m working on a similar one based on a rock formation.

What do you see in the old tree trunk?