…a mud lucious day

a stream runs through it
a stream runs through it

Its mud season here in upstate New York.  Some days are cold and clammy like today when the wind whipped through us on our walk.  Other days, the sun shines and a warm breeze pushes through the cold. It’s the time of year when you know its coming, the nice weather, and you hope it comes soon because you just can’t take another load of wood being dragged into the kitchen in the blue sled.  People are all a twitter, they come out like the bees when the sun comes out and complain when its cold.  We complain that this is the coldest spring we have ever had, but we know it’s not.  We complain that this is a real sign that global warming is happening, after all, last year at this time, the lilacs were almost in bloom.

There are nice things about this time of year.  The anticipation of all that may be as hope springs anew, the flowers that bloom every week from now until September that keep us looking around.  And of course there is the mud.  The mud that gets on the dogs paws and the bottom of your pants when you go for a walk, the mud that looks like it would make such a pretty castle or paddy, if only I was 8 again.  Someone once said on a day like today, “oh, we will get all muddy out there.”  “Great” I said, “it’s mud season, we are supposed to get muddy.”

©claireaperez

inspiration for this:  e.e. cummings:  “In just spring when the world is mud-luscious the little lame baloonman” and Garrison Keiller

muddy trail
muddy trail

Bring on the next disaster, hogggggggs

the Hedgehog, from outdoor magazine site

and as you can see it does not look pretty.  They could be coming to the back 40 near you ( your back yard)  if you are in upstate NY, anytime now.  It is interesting how many forces work against us to keep what we have:  the deer who suffered a hard winter and nestled with their little family near our house, devoured many of the beautiful evergreens my husband planted.  The roses which did beautifully last year were girdled by the voles but they may come back.  These are just the critters in the neighborhood, many other factors can make your head spin if you let there, there is the increasing property tax rate; the cold temperatures that may knock buds off the plants; and the water that seeps into our basement when we get storm water rains.  Each little thing adds up to a lot of money and time to keep up what exists.  To cope, I think you have to hold on loosely, very loosely, thinking of it as a maṇḍala painting in the sand that one day, year, or several decades emerges and disappears.  Why?  so that your possessions under your stewardship do not possess you.

This website is the source of the story:http://blog.syracuse.com/farms/2011/04/invasive_non-native_wild_hogs.html

This website is the source of this picture:  http://www.outdoorcentral.com/2008/12/08/hunters-permitted-to-take-feral-hogs-during-new-jersey-deer-season-in-zone-25/.

©claireaperez

recommended: traceyclark – i am enough

Good enough

I came across this blog in Artful Blogging and wanted to share it.  Maybe because we have resources to “be all that we can be” and because, sadly, the US seems to equate success with physical ownership or occupational status (and spreading that globally),  I believe a theme among many, especially women, is striving for perfection.

My favorite example  is a commercial.  There she is, our heroine, resembling no one I know, snug between some grapefruit bins and lettuce bins in the grocery story, looking fabulous.  Not a  hair out-of-place, perfect, she has stilettos on, a brief case over her shoulder and a wiggly baby in her arms… I can not remember what she is advertising.  Tiring, the perfect set up in front of us 24/7…bombarded with images we can not compete with, no wonder we are always on a quest for perfection.

And that is why I like this website, it is all about being enough, now, right here.   http://www.traceyclark.com/iamenough/2010/3/9/i-am-enough-and-so-it-begins.html?lastPage=true#comment12585646

Even if my hair is tied back and frizzy, I ate the big pastry with the jam in the middle, I spent $12 on copies at Kinko’s because I couldn’t get my work done in time for the cheaper plan, and I didn’t play Frisbee with Phoebe, our dog, yesterday.  Hey I made it to work, I didn’t intentionally try to hurt anyone’s feelings, I showered, and I tried really hard not to step on any of the worms crawling around on the walks in the rain.  Good enough.  Good enough for today.

50 posts in 3 months may

Tazz & Honey Bunny
Tazz & Honey Bunny, circa 06 and both still here today

just be a bit beyond my reach.  I find myself feeling that invisible belt around my chest cavity when I think of the pressure I  put on myself to do this many posts.  If this is all I did all day, sure, 50 posts would be fine.  But it is not…this weekend I worked on taxes, our rental property, and work.  I did go out to dinner and for a walk, but it was not like I did much else.  The dishes are in the sink  undone, my dog keeps looking at me with those eyes that seem to say, “It was one thing when we had a foot of snow outside, but what the heck, can’t you go out and throw that Frisbee for me a few times?” and as I write this my little cat Honey Bunny meandered over and is now meowwwwwwing for food.   So, will I reach 50 posts, maybe, maybe not?  But since this is for fun and a hobby, I am going to turn the volume down on my goal.

It also occurs to me, as I write this, that we humans construct in our heads all kinds of definitions of success.  Definitions that may or may not have anything to do with reality.  After all, what changes if I do not meet the 50 blogs, am I therefore, not a success?  And who actually is the arbiter of this success, who writes the definition for me?  I  keep going back to all my Buddhist  reading and the truth of reality I find in them.  My summation is that we create names and labels for things in our attempt to understand them.  Then we try to etch those names and labels into some kind of permanence, I am a successful blogger if I have 50 posts up in 3 months, I am a successful person if I have a a Master’s degree along with the reverse for all of it:  Unsuccessful = 48 blogs.

What I really need to do, is to look at what I work at and decide if it really fits what I want to be doing with my time.  What is my success and how will I know I have reached it or perhaps sailed right through it, never taking a moment to breathe it in and express gratitude. Well, the cat’s calling, she needs her dinner.

©claireaperez

In celebration of people and words…

ee cummings quote

Rebranding at will

Imagine you are walking down the streets of New York City and you have not been branded yet. There is no story tagged to you, like a piece of tobacco rolled up in thin white paper without a name, you no longer have a label or a story. Gone is your award for class clown, bully, or friend, along with your tag lines: the family hero, writer, artist, black sheep, and on and on.

You, like the pieces of tobacco rolled in thin white paper have no brand. You are free to create your own brand. You can shake off what defined you and write your own story. Like the Virginia Slim, you can ‘go a long way baby.’ The projections of you can be wiped out like your fb account. This is what happened when I rebranded my dog Mu.

Mu was our first puppy. I fell in love with her from the beginning; failing to tell my husband she was not a pure bred til we were half way home. Five months into our relationship, things went bad. Mu grew powerful and started yanking at my shirt sleeve at the end of our walk. The louder I yelled, the more she tugged.

We went for walks or rather she did, with me almost achieving lift off as she dragged me down the path. What to do with this mutt, we should have bought a pure bred?

I told so many stories about my bad, bad dog, that people who knew me then, often ask now, “what ever happened with your crazy dog?”

Then one day, I picked Mu up from an overnight at the vet. I could hardly believe my eyes; there she stood, straight and still with the vet. I asked how she behaved: “Great, she is a sweetheart.”

On my way home I realized Mu was not crazy after all. I needed owner training. With the help of a kind friend, Cathy, I took control of the leash.

I then changed the story. Mu truly was a sweet dog and I started telling people that. In a few short conversations, my little Mu, became branded as the best little boxer this side of the Atlantic.

Now, back in New York City, as you walk through those streets smelling the car fumes and seeing the lights of possibility, you can take that energy and mold yourself into the creature you want to be ~ the one that lives on your own terms and sits like The Thinker, real or metaphorical, its own divine creation, living just once in a burst of beautiful light.

Like Don Draper of Mad Men, you can write your soul, for better or for worse. And as Don did, and I did for Mu you can take a story that condemns you, rewrite it, start spreading it, and change it.

©claireaperez