How it Goes

Step-by-step progress.
No single step gets you there.
Each one has its place.

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Growing Something Good

For much of my adult life I’ve worked, with varying degrees of success, at growing what some call a ‘Nurturing Parent’ as a substantial part of me. Lately, I’ve had some progress on that front. And all year I’ve greatly enjoyed glimpsing Lucy Barton’s somewhat similar journey in Elizabeth Strout’s Amgash series.

Anyway, here’s what came to me as I walked in the woods this morning:

My good Mommie holds
Me now, snug as a bug in
A rug. Strong, warm arms.

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According to an Op-Ed in the NY Times

Americans should
Be having more sex. So are
You doing your part?

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Little sparkles come
What may. Look to see them each
Day. They’re always there.

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Greetings in the Woods

In the twilight sun
Tree after tree leans down and
Says hello to me.

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Acceptance makes hard
Things smaller and lets life be-
Come my own again.

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Doing It for Me

I always thought that
I needed to endure but
Acceptance frees me.

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Cool Beans

Bracing myself as
I walk home — an old habit
I no longer need.

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Walking the Snowy Woods in February

We got what some might call a ‘pantload’ of snow in late January and it’s stuck around, which is awesome.

Snow makes walking in the woods a different kind of adventure. When it arrives, you set out, snowshoes strapped on. The woods are whitely mysterious and quiet. The new snow, so soft and smooth offers its first challenge: finding the trails. And then the second challenge is the workout — plowing through all that new snow and pounding down the path.

After many trips around, the walking gets easier. The trail edges are shadowed blue now and the the new snow’s smooth and tight-packed where we’ve walked. Deer love the work we’ve done, as evidenced by their hoof-prints chewing up the pristine trails. The dogs are happy not to have to clamber everywhere, too.

If it stays cold, you can eventually walk without snowshoes. When it gets icy, cleats help. Otherwise plain old boots are fine on the hard pack. And if it gets warm and melty, the snowshoes come out to pack things tight again, as they did today.

I often, right around now, start feeling relaxed, and maybe even a little cocky about walking this path. It’s so well-founded and secure. And I’ve walked it so many times. What could go wrong?

But here’s the thing, relearned today: If you step off the packed-down part of the path, you’re immediately into the deep snow. Your ankles may bend weirdly and your footing is suddenly tricky and unstable. So much for relaxed cockiness. If you thought you were making secure progress, well, it’s suddenly back to square one. A good reminder to look where you’re going and let hubris take a back seat to good old-fashioned humility.

So, concentrate and
Stick to your path, the straight and
Narrow brings you home.

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You Can Go Home Again, Joyfully!

A small argument with Flannery O’Conner and Thomas Wolfe**

Before I made my
self Hulga and frowned all day
long, my name was Joy.

** In Good Country People Hulga, daughter or Mrs. Hopewell, had been named Joy at birth but, “as soon as she was twenty-one and away from home, she had had it legally changed. Mrs. Hopewell was certain that she had thought and thought until she had hit upon the ugliest name in any language. Then, she had gone and had the beautiful name, Joy, changed without telling her mother until after she had done it. Her legal name was Hulga.”

**Echoing this rather negative sentiment about life in Look Homeward Angel, Thomas Wolfe wrote: “Finally, only thirty or forty million years before, our earliest ancestors had crawled out of the primeval slime; and then, no doubt, finding the change unpleasant, crawled back in again.”

**HOWEVER, I take heart at the image of my joyful beginning and the knowledge that I hold it, along with everything else, right here inside of me!

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