21 March 2008

The River & the Guitar

Ah, and still things are a bit chaotic. I spend my lunch (sometimes it's dinner) break by the river, a real mountain stream, frothing with snow melt and mountain mud, burbling over rocks, and swollen at it's banks. Here I contemplate the things I have experienced recently and then I let it go, let it swirl away down river and watch with joy the jump of a juvenile rainbow trout, nosing it's way towards the elusive spring insect, or listen to the mating trill of the water ouzel (who has sadly been renamed the practical but unromantic, unpoetic name the American Dipper) or watch the blue winged flight of the Kingfisher. My new co-workers are sure I'm mad because I go out whether new snow lies in thick inches on the ground, if it's raining, or the winds bringing the ever changing spring weather are keeping everyone else indoors. I figure that's what coats & hats were designed for and no weather can keep me from this place that centers me as I sit in a maelstrom of family illnesses and career anxieties. I love the way the light plays over it, the way it sounds, the way I can be there for 10 minutes and feel like I've been there forever.

The Disreputables are all recovered, as is the Parental Dog. The Parental Cat, Mr Nibbs, needs a lot of care and will continue to until his death. My mother made it safely to Ontario where she is now with her mother and her mother's husband and managed to make Tante Laura's funeral. Her mother, my Oma, is very ill, but the extent of the illness is unclear at the moment. I worry about my mother as her relationship with her's has always been very fraught, and it feels as if any minute my father or I will be flying out to join her. Meanwhile, she misses spring in her most spectacular of gardens and in her garden house where it seems I am endlessly watering and bringing in a string of just bursting to bloom amaryllis and other spring bulbs (and I am trying to photo document them for her - two examples here). My father keenly misses my mother but he doesn't want to make her more anxious by expressing it so I find myself passing along the messages.

Can I say, how wonderful it was to get all your messages even though I had been gone? Even though I have been a bad visitor myself lately? It was a balm, to see them. And yes, I have taken up the guitar, the classical guitar. I'm actually learning on a Russian 7 string guitar that was my Oma's but at the moment I've only got it strung for 6 because I can't find a instructor who knows about 7 strings. I've always wanted to learn and I figured, prior to all the family excitement, that this would be a good time. The instructor asked why I wanted to learn and I told him "so I can play around the campfire" which is really what it's all about for me, since I usually spend about half the year around a campfire. And my dad is learning, at age 65, to play the piano, so maybe we'll learn to play something together one of these days. Oh - and we had some good family news - a new baby on my father's side of the family!


  1. i am catching up, and sorry to hear of all your loss, but glad that you have a river... for i know that the sound of water is so, so healing for me, and I could wish for you no better solace for your soul

  2. Water ouzel is a beautiful word. That photograph of the flower has a wonderfully painterly air to it.
    I wish you all the best in this difficult time.

  3. The flowers are absolutely beautiful, as was this post. I'm not surprised that you found a place that centers and soothes you, nor that you can describe it with such detail and flow. It was lovely.

    I am very sorry about your aunt and grandmother and hope your mom is faring well. I'll keep thinking of you and your family.

  4. so sorry for your difficult times, negative stuff seem to pile up doesn't it? I hope things will change for you very soon.

    the amaryllis is just stunning, I love them.

  5. My condolences and congrats...Strange. Your photos are wonderful and even though I have never been to your lovely stream, I know of what you speak.

  6. Just beautiful. All of it, the stream the flowers.

    I am standing here cheering you on.

  7. Such beautiful spring flowers, and I'm glad also to hear you have a river nearby. Your writing, about everything, even the hard times, is beautiful, and I love reading.

  8. Your river sounds like a lovely, calming place. I agree that your writing is beautiful and I feel like I have been there after reading what you've read. Congrats on the new life in your family! And I'll continue keeping your family in my thoughts.

  9. i am thinking of you and the healing powers of flowing water.

  10. Thank you for sharing a bit of your life. It sounds like you arrived home at a time when you were needed. Your images and poetry are enlivening and perfectly describe spring.

  11. Your words, and the flowers, are beautiful. So glad to hear that you have a river nearby to bring you comfort. Congrats on the new life in your family, and I hope more good news follows soon!

  12. I, like everyone else, am sorry to hear of your losses. Sometimes it seems as if Spring isn't only about bursting forth but about passing on as well.

  13. I'm just catching up and sorry to hear about your losses. I'm glad you have a river - they are deeply soothing to me as well.

  14. Glad the disreputables are better.... Glad you have the river....

    And those photos of Amaryllis (the ORANGE especially) are Gorgeous.

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop....

  15. You certainly have a lot going on, friend.

    I am glad you have a place where you can find peace and perspective. It sounds like just the ticket.

    And the photos are gorgeous.

  16. maypole, thank you. Yes, the river makes a difference doesn't it.

    parlance, thank you. I will probbaly call them water ouzels as long as I live.

    post-doc, thank you.

    hypolglycemiagirl, indeed, it does in life, things seem to come in groups, the good, and the bad, the easy, and the hard.

    ladyintheredwoods, thank you so much.

    hel, thanks! I can hear you when I tilt my head just right.

    silver fox, I'm glad that you find it so. I find that beauty is what gets me through the rough times for it is always present.

    amanda, thank you!

    jen, and it all flows away, the river is never the same. Thank you.

    doris rose, yes, indeed, it is a good time to be home.

    bean-mom, indeed, it would be welcome.

    sally forth, it all cycles and we cannot have that rebirth without the passing on but that doesn't always make it easier.

    orangeblossoms, you're welcome, thank you for reading, as always.

    qt, it's been a bit crazy but as you say, luckily I have a space to regain, even if momentarily, my peace.


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