Comfort from Nature’s Rhythms

I didn’t have an easy morning this morning, even though there sure was a cool sunrise. I wish I could have gone out and gotten a better photo, but here it is through the upstairs window.

There was a thick cloud that didn’t totally block the sun.

It’s a time of year that is hard for many of us, with tomorrow’s anniversary of the terrorist attacks, and that isn’t helping much either. But, when you’re feeling your trauma ramping up, feel trapped, are weary of being second guessed, or have to deal with the consequences of other people’s actions, you do have options. One of them is to leave.

Familiar signs of approaching autumn: snow on the prairie, wild morning glories, and balloon vines (all hiding behind that dang Johnson grass)

So, this morning, after I did all I could do to be useful, I took a nice walk. Looking around at the ranch and its life made it so much easier to put things into the perspective of life going on as best as it can, year by year.

This is the dry season, so Walker’s Creek is no longer flowing. It’s a series of puddles.

The cows next door are starting to calve, as they do every year around this time. It’s reassuring to see the same cows in the field, still providing new babies for their ranchers.

Mature mamas getting ready to do their job: make more beef.

Even while I was feeling reassured by the repeated patterns and rhythms of the year, I was finding new things. For example, I don’t think I realized before that the giant cane (Arundo donax) smelled good when it was blooming. I guess it has something going for it, after all!

Still, it’s one annoying nonnative and invasive plant!

It was cooler this morning, too, which really makes me hopeful for the return of more bearable horse-riding weather. And as always, I found beauty in the little things, once I slowed down to look. Check out the patterns the large puddles make when they dry up!

There are cracks in the dirt everywhere, actually.

More little things included the small flowers in the snow on the prairie plants, and the dozens of dusky skipper butterflies making the most out of the morning glories. They were everywhere!

After enjoying the life around me, and reminding myself that whatever is happening now is temporary, I felt a lot better and was able to come back and get work and meetings done. Thanks again to the healing properties of the Hermits’ Rest. The land and its residents are always here for me. And I didn’t have to get in the car and go for a long drive!

Hay ready to harvest. Time’s marching on, and every day brings new things to see, even in old familiar places.

Sometimes Bland Knitting is a Friend

Most of my life, I’ve done a lot of fancy knitting. But, lately, with all the other things weighing on my mind, simple stuff has been better. The past few things I’ve made would show that (I’ll share at the bottom of this post). I have found that simple, comfort knitting is a great thing to add to my coping with crisis mode toolbox.

(What else is in the toolbox you ask? Well, if you look in the comments of yesterday’s post, you’ll find some great suggestions by a fellow blogger, Julia, that include what I do: healthy snacks, exercise, get out in the light, enjoy cute animals, good music, etc.)

So, since I inadvertently left my current project AND the shawl I was going to finish off at the ranch, I started the little blue shawl I mentioned on Tuesday. Only, it’s not so little anymore. Apparently, my fingers have needed to knit, and my mind has needed to concentrate just a little on something pleasant to give itself a rest.

It has grown so much that I need to get longer needles when I get back to the ranch. This makes it look like a mushroom or a hat.

I’ve knitted up a storm each evening, while watching bland television shows, mostly about cute little animals on Animal Planet Wild. To take your mind off current events, a little Dr. Pol works wonders.

You can see the start of the lace pattern, which gets bigger and bigger as the shawl grows.

I felt confident enough to add some spice to the shawl, so have have thrown in some lattice lace. Yes, it’s making holes, but no, I don’t have to look at a pattern to do it. I just add one yarn over and decrease to each side, which is easy to spot the right place to do. I’m experienced enough to do a left-leaning decrease on the right side of the shawl, and vice versa.

For the tree readers who understood the previous paragraph, here are some ugly decreases.

The decreases aren’t all that attractive, but this thing is mostly wool and will block out. Since I’m not using lace-weight or floofy mohair yarn, it’s not exactly a traditional shawl anyway. It’s gonna be warm for whoever ends up wearing it.

Anita dared me to put a picture of my evening ensemble, in which I actually went out to walk the dog, and ran into a bunch of neighbors. I was obviously feeling like I looked.

If I didn’t have to lead a meeting at the happy hour of 8 am, I’d still be asleep now, because that felt good last night. I’m feeling well enough to send out some strength to my lovely family, my dear friends, and all of you who are facing challenges and keeping going!

Oh yeah, here are the two bland projects I made the last couple of years. One is a rectangle. Zzz.

Seeking Comfort and Seeing Red

This morning I’ve been thinking so hard about what the families of my friends and acquaintances are going through, losing loved ones and dealing with the COVID-19 thing in their families. You can’t rally around people as easily as you normally would in situations like this. And you know these people could use some comfort, along with the wider circle of loved ones. Lighting my candle and sending loving-kindness out counts for something, I guess.

A candle for loving-kindness.

But what’s good is that today we do have ways to reach out and comfort people. Kind words in chat, video calls, and social media posts can reach hurting people immediately (while sending a card is also good, just takes longer). I’m seeing this unfold as groups rally around to support each other. One group has scrapped an organizational meeting, just to be there for someone who lost their best friend. Another group is right there in their Facebook group when someone gets a new wave of grief. It’s so comforting to see this love manifest.

We may feel confined and alone, but our support network is out there. If you don’t have one, I’m here!
Three of my friends, experiencing joy at our class reunion a few years ago.

Yesterday, when I asked that people reach out to those they care about, my little group of friends I’ve had since my early teens jumped right in to remind each other how much we care, even if many of us are far apart. I can always count on these women if anything happens to me. And one of my favorite bloggers even checked up on me. The world is our community! Thank you ALL.

That, along with some kind check-ins from my local friends and family who noticed I was down, really helped me remember that death is a part of life and we all have connections that will go beyond artificial boundaries like life, death, space, and time (or at least I can hope that!).

(Note that me being down is small change compared to what the close friends and family of my friends who passed on are dealing with; it’s certainly NOT all about me, but it is my dream that similar outpourings are happening for them.)

The Comfort of Red

Today, though, I decided to comfort my own self. I did this by surrounding myself with what has become my favorite color in my later years, red. I even dragged out my old red glasses (I can see okay in them still).

And I even smiled. Had to look perky for work meetings, ya know.
Sooo much red.

I looked around my office (you know, the red, pink, and orange explosion of colors and objects), and all the red things comforted me. My red lamps, my little leather notebook, ah. Redness.

Then the mail arrived. It reminded me that red’s been on my mind since that Master Naturalist talk on cochineal! Two books on the color red showed up (plus two other colors, and a book for work book club). I’m definitely needing some red in my life.

So, yeah, I’m really grateful for so many supporting people in my life who are holding me up yet not telling me not to be sad. I passionately believe it’s important to tell them how grateful I am, often and sincerely. I’m feeling surrounded by invisible arms right now, with a red glow. What brings YOU comfort when there is much to be sad about?

No Place Like Home, Really

This weekend I spent a lot of time indoors at the ranch house, because the weather was not very good. As a consequence, I spent more time than usual in the seating area part of our great room (it serves as kitchen, dining room, living room, and Lee’s office).

Even after rearranging our furniture, the room holds plenty of dogs and guests.

As I relaxed and enjoyed our candles and various dogs, it occurred to me that maybe Feng Shue has something going for it. Just making a few changes in how out furniture is arranged has increased my well being.

Lee and a dog in the “old man chair” that makes him happy and somehow makes the bedroom feel less vast and cold. Yes, I do make the bed. We just woke up.

I admit that I really never felt comfortable in many parts of the house until recently. The bedroom seemed cold and vast until Lee brought in a love seat and Big Old Man recliner. We both have nice places to sit now, and there’s plenty of dog space, too. The new window coverings also bring in needed warmth and intimacy to the space.

Continue reading “No Place Like Home, Really”