The start of our winter was mild with temps in the upper 50s and sunny skies. The bulbs were fooled into poking their heads up a month early. I worried about another summer of unseasonably warm temperatures and drought. The snowpack was low. Now our familiar Western Oregon weather has returned. Rain and even a little snow dusts the yard. There was even enough powder snow where friends and I drove up to Mount Hood last week for a day of cross-country skiing. I haven’t been able to do that in years.
I celebrate winter. This is my creative time. It is a time to come inside, literally and figuratively. Nature needs rest and renewal and so do we.
THE RAINS CAME
And the humans complained
But not the Earth who soaked the sky water deep into all its pores
Nor the trees who quenched their thirst in grateful gulps from deep roots
Nor the bulbs gathering strength for their dazzling spring displays
Nor the deer hungry for tender green grass
Nor the salmon longing to swim upstream
Nor the bees dreaming of anthers heavy with gold pollen and pistels leading to chambers of sweet nectar
Nor the seeds shivering with anticipation of their impending emergence
Nor the bears conjuring images of plump berries in their sleep
Every Friday I head over to the Newberg Animal Shelter for my standing date with cats from 4-6PM. This is not glamorous work by any means. Basically, I do the afternoon feeding and cleaning of all the kitties in the shelter except the ones in the quarantine room. I volunteered as I wanted to do something for the community and all things furry and four-legged who do not have a voice.
In the cacophony of barking, I say hello to the other shelter volunteers, then I greet the dogs in their kennels to see new arrivals and who has gotten adopted. In the storeroom, I don a grey Newberg Animal Shelter T-shirt and then proceed to the lobby and cat areas to get a count so I know how much food is needed. I grab a rolling cart and am off to the kitchen to prepare the cat food, get a pitcher of water and pick up cleaning supplies.
Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?
One of the most famous sketches in the hit show “Portlandia” is the “Put a Bird on It” sketch” where Frank and Carrie, the actors mock the epidemic use of birds on crafty, artsy items that abound on Etsy, other internet commerce sites and of course, Portland hipster stores. (I live an hour from Portland). Not too soon after, T-shirts, cups, and posters started appearing with the meme, “Put a bird on it.”
Beyond being a birder at an early age and loving the uniqueness of birds. I have several feeders about my house and so love watching the chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and juncos as they feed. They are my neighbors. They fascinate me as they have with humanity for centuries.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
Learning can be a clunky experience. It can be humbling and gratifying at the same time. But…A little bit every day amounts to a lot every week. If you have the habit of listening to a little voice in your head that says “You’ll never be good enough,” kindly ask that voice that you are not interested in their opinion and to go find somebody else’s head to occupy. Then keep on keeping on.
I have realized rather late in life that I have the power to kick out the demons out of my head that have come calling to sabotage my self-esteem. I show them the door. Then I invite the angels that flit about my head to come in for more pleasant conversation. “Way to go! Good work! Such improvement! Encouragement is far more powerful than self-criticism. Honestly, we creative types would never talk to others like we can talk to our own sweet selves
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Set the timer and show up for 20 minutes at a pop.
Guitar- yes I can finally play that F chord on my tenor guitar as with many others and even sing some songs. I thought I’d never get there.
Yes, there are paintings in my class that are better than mine but I am on my way.
Writing. After 20 minutes here and there over months, my memoir piece is finally almost done.
I am learning that there is no such thing as there. You are never there because there is a moving target. There is where you are right now on a journey celebrating milestones along the way.
Enjoy the ride. Really, that’s what it’s all about.