"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn

"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn
it's a jungle out there

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

COUNT. WITNESS. BREATHE. or at least give it your best shot

I've been writing for days and the words just aren't coming out right.

I'm in that place of heaviness again. It's not so bad. But I'm there. And I could blame it on this or that or the other but the bottom line is it's just those pesky brain chemicals.


I'm in that place where it takes extra energy to smile. Extra energy to breathe. That place where it's easiest to be at the bottom of an exhale. And just stay there.


oh well

Last week Sister Halona reminded me of the importance of gratitude. Especially when you're not feeling it so much. Those are the times we you really need to count our blessings.
Now is one of those times. I'm not pookie or angry or anything. Just feeling kind of sad...

So Sunday that's what I did. I looked at the backyard and thought
this is as good a place as any to find some miracles and blessings...

my own jungle
my own heart of darkness
what a mess

So I pushed the lawn mower back and forth. breathe. In and out. breathe. One foot in front of the other. breathe. Count the blessings. breathe. Witness the miracles. breathe.

the roses are blooming, Angie


I think of Ms. Moon and Allegra Smith who count their blessings and bear witness to the miracles in their own backyards every day. And I think about the beauty and comfort and peace I get from their words. I think about Allegra's natural habitat. I would love to do something like that. It would be really cool. I just need a water feature i've said that before. The backyard chaos attracted hummingbirds and butterflies last year with barely any effort at all. Think of what a little planning could accomplish. And then maybe I wouldn't resent the goddamnfucking groundhog so much cause he would be part of the habitat

I can smell these roses as I type

I need to paint the garage

blue false indigo

the previously fungi infested peach tree
which rose from the dead
and now is bearing peaches

I've been watching the birds. They start singing before 5 a.m. and just go all day long. Countless sparrows and chickadees. There has been a pair of cardinals swooping through the backyard for a few weeks now. One day I caught a glimpse of an impossibly blue bird flying low into the lilacs. Last week I noticed a nest being knit together by a pair of robins in the branches of the small japanese maple.

But the red headed couple who nested in the hanging fern last spring had yet to be seen. It seemed to be a weird freaky fluke last year. Why would birds nest so close to a houseful of loud crazy humans anyway? And besides, I had never seen that species around before. My SIL said they were ruby throated or purple headed something or others but I don't remember now.

do you see the mama robin's eye?
she's sitting in her nest
right in the middle
looking straight at you
click on the picture

I decided to take down my big blue balls and move my indoor plants to their summer home on the porch. It's a lovely spot

Up and down the ladder. In and out the front door. Count the blessings. breathe. Witness the miracles. breathe. Hang the ferns...

I hear the easytalk between Bruce and Mia as they make dinner together.
tilapia. we'll make a lemon butter sauce for it
what's this, daddy?
caponata. eggplant and other stuff and some very special olives from Italy. i brought home extra for you honey cause i know you love black olives.
these are the best olives i've ever had daddy.
They're Cherignola olives. they only grow in one small town called Lanciano. In the province of Cerratina. In Italy
daddy, can i help you grate the lemon and garlic?

And this blessing that I count and this miracle that I witness is the one that allows me to feel the gratitude. And we eat a yummy dinner and I think it's true what they say about baking and breaking bread together. And even though I don't feel like I can eat at all, I take a bite of the local rainbow swiss chard and the onlyfromatinytowninItaly caponata and I break off a hunk of farmer's market bread and I breathe.

And I count the blessings and witness the miracles and I feel the gratitude.

no more big blue balls
the boys are ecstatic

And after dinner, as Bruce cleans up oh yes he did I go back to check out the porch. And I see something flitting around the big japanese maple. And it flies over and perches on the hanging fern that has only been there an hour. A small brown bird with a reddish head. And his mate. Scoping out real estate

they're back

And I count the blessing and witness the miracle and I feel the gratitude

And I breathe


  1. So much of life invovles simply breathing and bearing witness, I think, and this post is amazingly beautiful. Keep breathing today, Michelle.

  2. This gets me right where I live. Quite literally. You took care of yourself by taking care of your world. Could that be a painted bunting? It's crazy how much pleasure my ferns and birds and trees and begonias bring me. Even when I can't quite feel the pleasure, I know it's there, waiting, and then I go water my porch plants and something thirsty inside of me is satisfied too.
    I love you, Michelle.

  3. Gorgeous post. Sneaking reading at work. Thanks and will be back later.

  4. Breathing in and out is my favorite.

    I spotted the robin spotting me right away.

    I wish I were sitting on your purple porch with you witnessing and counting and being grateful.

  5. I love this. We are all better because you share what you witness.

  6. Put a smile on my face... Will read this to my friend... Thank you.

  7. I need me to feel some gratitude. Your post is a reminder to get up off my pity porch and do it. My backyard is a controlled mess, I suppose, and the weather here in Los Angeles is so damn perfect all the time that I have a hard time feeling thankful every single day for it! I love, love, love the photo of the bird in the maple -- that was wacky and weird, actually.

    I hope you feel better soon -- your yard and garden and house are awesome --

  8. I am grateful for you and your presence in my life every day, as well as Adrienne and Elizabeth and the rest of my tribe, my community, my people.
    Go out and check your plants, prune and sit and watch for the hummingbirds I am sending your way. There is music in the garden, and you are always the music maker. Love to you.

  9. Oh what a wonderful post, you are so strong for marching forward, dreaming of gardens and watching for birds and hanging ferns that become instant habitat. When I feel my worst, I go outside, even if it's with a raincoat and galoshes, and I'm always amazed at what I see if I look, what I can accomplish if I just do, and what love I feel around me if I can pry open my heart. thanks for the lovely photos, for breathing and witnessing for all of us.

  10. This is why the internet is so helpful to my mental health.
    Keep breathing. xoxo

  11. Beautiful words, darling. I'm so very happy for healing between Mia & Bruce.

    P.S. I think it's a finch. I could totally be wrong, but I see that beak and my gut just says "finch."

  12. Keep breathing, beautiful!

    That serotonin is a fickle bitch.

  13. I think the garage needs a dash of pink or purple, maybe the garden needs 4 chickens, I know of some that need a home .... I trust the weather today made you take off the final winter layer and that the sun will burn off all the weightiness ... and since we're being thankful, I'm thanking Ganesh that we have groundhogs and not star nosed moles in our yards.

  14. I think your mat misses you mama-
    Believe me- when my serotonin is giving me the double middle finger, the mat is better than any prozac out there. We'll work on hips...:)
    all my love love love!!!!!!!

  15. Counting this post as a blessing. Beautiful writing.

  16. Michelle, your roses are STUNNING! They make me feel like spring is extending out, being sustained for much longer than usual, delaying a little the heat of summer. And I am so flattered you included a link to my blog - thank you so much!
    More importantly, thank you for this beautiful piece of writing, of gardening, of welcoming your blessings and walking through the dull, slow feeling I think we all recognize.
    I love you, and definitely count you as a Blessing from the Blog: unexpected and welcome as freshening rain.

  17. Oh yes. The serotonin. The crappy crap crap not of your own doing but there anyway. Bastard crap. I hope the bits of nature help and the family and the birds. It will pass but oh it is crap while it's there. x

  18. Beautiful post... I hate those chemicals, but your reminder of gratitude is wonderful.

  19. Your roses are gorgeous! And so is your gratitude.

    My Papa was a huge believer in Dirt Therapy. He was 90 when passed away. Keep digging. It's fantastic for the soul.

    (I did hear an infomercial yesterday touting the benefits of Vitamin D therapy. I'm going to give it a whirl, since it's now 100 in Texas and my garden is about to go up in flames. Damn it.)


so... wadaya think?

Your fairy is called Columbine Icedancer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.