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unravelled

last day

It’s still a shock that my brother isn’t alive anymore. I speak about him with the present verb tense even as I talk about his death. We had made a reservation for him and his girlfriend to stay here at the co-housing community guest room this past weekend… when one of our neighbors asked if our guests had arrived, I had to really think about who we’d saved the room for… and then of course there it was…. it was for my brother, who is gone.

Two nights ago, his girlfriend posted this photo, taken on their last day out in the big world together. It came up in my news feed on facebook, and the natural color, his uncensored smile, the beauty of it was just so there, so alive, that it took my breath away. I had a moment of simple reaction, of thinking it was him, alive, real. Then the tears, the heavy reality.

Since coming home from Seattle where he died, I have consumed myself with knitting. The simple repetition, the feel of the yarn and needles, the attention to tension in my hands as they pass the yarn, these all combine to numb my thoughts. I’ve finished three hats in two weeks, and last night started a sweet little button-down vest for Shoghi.

The last time I knit so much was in 2007, during the end of my marriage to D. The day after we separated, I went with my best friend and bought some beautiful yarn — consolation yarn, I think we called it — and casted on for a sweater for myself, which actually I never finished. It’s kind of a double-edged sword, making things when you’re processing such sadness. But now that I’m in it again, I can see it for what it is for me: a buffer, a means for containing my emotions while they sort themselves out from within.

Maybe when I’m done this vest, I’ll actually finish up that sweater I started in ’07. It doesn’t really matter, I guess. I’m just keeping my hands busy while my mind reforms itself around this new and very sad part of my own life – without my little brother.

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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in family, loss

 

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old silver enso

old silver beach

 

We’ve been on the East Coast since early August, enjoying and enduring in equal measure lots of unstructured time. The past year has been like that for me – being happy, content, and engaged in the present moment has been deeply challenging. Is it ADD? Perpetual exhaustion? Personal failure? It seems like it’s just this unending struggle I’ve entrenched myself into. I cut out more and more – trying to do less multi-tasking has been the main thing I’ve focused on, which is one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging, and have spent much less time staring at facebook to name just a couple of things. It’s been freeing, but it has cost me a lot of communication with friends and family. In this world of increased demand on packing every minute with multiple actions and priorities, my decision (which wasn’t even really a conscious one) to just do one thing at a time has been quite impactful in both positive and negative ways. It’s also been harder than I imagined before becoming a parent to be consistently and joyfully and imaginatively engaged with my young children.

Anyway, the enjoyment of our vacation here on Cape Cod has been abundant. My boys – just newly three years old – are so full of vitality, curiosity, questions, repetition, imagination, driven exploration… it’s so much fun to get out of the daily grind at home and spend hours and hours outside.

In general, we try to keep things simple and cheap. We stick to the little woodsy lake beach a mile from my childhood home rather than pay $20 a day (which for us ends up being more like 2 hours) for ocean beach parking. This one day, however, we decided to spring for the parking, and let me say it was well worth it. Old Silver Beach in North Falmouth is a delight with small children, particularly at low tide. The shallow water was peaceful and lots of fun, and sand structures left over from other beach-goers provided so much fun to the boys – what looked like a giant hole surrounded by castles became a nest for my two nature lovers. Tidal pools filled with rocks didn’t attract the attention of other kids, so it gave my two firecrackers a place to throw rocks to their hearts content.

After tracing an enso in the sand at Old Silver, I thought I’d use this time without inks, desk space, or special papers to simply observe and create enso in my environment.

 

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in artistic expression, balance, daily enso, parenting

 

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daily enso: three

blue enso circle

permeated

 

playing with color in creating enso. blue and green on the table, painting with maxy: a lovely way to combine some creative time with mama time. i made a lovely, big enso that got left on the table, and the word i’d had in mind was permeable, as that day i was feeling emotionally out-of-sorts, unbalanced, troubled. the boundary around my being felt shaky. truth be told, i’ve been in a rather shaky state for a number of months. more on that later.

i left the wet enso on the table, and shoghi came over to check out our work. in the process, the watercolor paint on all of them was smeared, and really, i felt that this only added to the depiction. i have always enjoyed the impact of externals on the creative process, and i enjoy how sharing my designated meditative space with my world changes the outcome.  i don’t particularly seek to create anything flawless, in life or art.

interestingly, intent is a key element of creating a circle. did you know that? children actually pass through a developmental stage where they acquire enough muscle control and cognitive intention to draw (or paint, as the case may be) a circle. you can see that altough max and i both use our right hands and both of us begin these at the bottom, my enso is painted clockwise, while his is counter-clockwise.  significant? doesn’t really matter – it’s just part of the reflection.

green enso circle painted by toddler

toddler's enso

 

The Circle Game (excerpt) BY MARGARET ATWOOD

The children on the lawn
joined hand to hand
go round and round
each arm going into
the next arm, around
full circle
until it comes
back into each of the single
bodies again
They are singing, but
not to each other:
their feet move
almost in time to the singing
We can see
the concentration on
their faces, their eyes
fixed on the empty
moving spaces just in
front of them.
We might mistake this
tranced moving for joy
but there is no joy in it
We can see (arm in arm)
as we watch them go
round and round
intent, almost
studious (the grass
underfoot ignored, the trees
circling the lawn
ignored, the lake ignored)
that the whole point
for them
of going round and round
is (faster
       slower)
going round and round

 

 

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daily enso: two

black enso circle

protection

Day two. Learning the brush, feeling the beginning of the stroke the lower right, the lift of the brush to completion. I love this!

These days, one of my protections is my love, Ted, who steps into his recognition of himself as the bringer of love to the world hour after hour of the day. His presence helps me feel my borders more keenly, and recognize the stillness within. For him, then, this enso, and this poem.

 

It is love that brings happiness to people.
It is love that gives joy to happiness.
My mother didn’t give birth to me, that love did.
A hundred blessings and praises to that love.

~Rumi

 

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