Friday, October 27, 2017

Ode to a little white cottage...

The little white cottage is cramped with boxes everywhere.  Boxes topping one another, boxes filling up hallways and rooms.  Some of the draperies have been taken down already, and every cupboard in the kitchen has been emptied out.  The house feels different.  Quiet, or quieter than usual, and it’s sending out messages to me.  When you walk through it, you can hear the little echoes of your footsteps going before and about you, and what’s left behind you is this peculiar feeling of emptiness, and melancholy cramming every dear space.  As if the very bones of the house were crying out to me. Is that what ghosts feel? 


But maybe… maybe is not the house sending out all those messages, but instead it is my soul already feeling the separation? Parting from this house, and having to give it away to strangers its painting the landscape of my heart in dark blues and shadowy colors.  Whatever it is, it is sad.  It is sad to say goodbye to this dear little place that has seen me blossomed through my days, as I myself has seen it coming to its full beauty through my love and labor since the day I arrived.  A place where I’ve lived many a happy day. 

 But the worse of all… it has to be the garden...  

I have been taking down every little thing, every ornament I had ever made, or found, and brought to the garden... all the little stories that go with them too, with every stone brought in, every pebble, every seed, and the walls look bared without them, and cold, and there’s a most noticeable loneliness, and disarray all around.  The air carry in its wings the sound of my name…

It is all part of the typical despondency of autumn, and autumnal days, I’m sure.  But this time it is more than that.  I am leaving behind some of the best years of my life.  The years I’d lived here, the people I have loved here, the memories I have made here, with love and tenderness and hope.  

A single, solitary butterfly followed me around today as I cleaned fountains and birdbath... 

I felt the strangest of kinship with her… as if she was a person I connected with… or someone I knew, or had known somewhere.  I guess this is what happens went you have to live alone for weeks and have enough time on your hands to really be aware of life… for that, I am thankful, and blessed.

My handyman Oscar came by last evening and fixed all things that needed be fixed… old drawers from old dressers that needed mending, loose nuts and bolts on chairs and tables and such.  Then he left and didn’t charge me a penny.   I insisted on paying him, but he wouldn’t take my money.  It was his way of repaying grace, and a gentle silent ‘thank you’ for our trust and generosity all these years.  I am going to miss my neighbors and those who have always said yes whenever I’d needed them.  I will have to find a new handyman at the house in the roses to help me around with all the things I need to do there, but I’m afraid it won’t be easy.

I am leaving all my pretty chandeliers to the new owner of our little white cottage, including the aqua ones I made… I remember the day I came home with the first one, the painting job, the baking of the delicate vases, then came the other one and dear old Manuel installing them.  How very happy I felt back then—joy running through my veins as evening came and lovely lights were turned on…

I remember painting the inside of the cabinets in the kitchen, and how I loved that color, and I remember, too, the day when the hardwood floors were installed in the dining room, and the day when the Home Depot guys came with the beautiful white granite and the countertops were finally installed, and I remember that night when, by 8:30pm my handyman was still working on the backsplash, so that I could be able to wake up the following day to a new, beautiful kitchen.  Little stories.  Little moments.  Little joys.  And can you believe this lady who’s buying our house is still insisting on keeping my curtains too?

The garden is going to miss me. This I know. Weeds are growing rampant, vines are dying away.  There will be so much to do come next spring!  Would it be taken care of, or would it fade away and become part of the woods, just as it was before I came?  Even the fishes… I will have to leave them behind.  Would the new owner’s dogs go splash in the pond, and scare them away, and would they trudge through flowerbeds and stomp on precious flowers?  Why do I care, or should I care?  I am going back to my garden.  My first love.  I shall bring it back to its full glory, and I shall plant another lilac tree, and my friends the mourning doves would come to say hi and welcome me home.

I can hardly wait.  The painters will start working on the house on November first, then will be the hardwood floors on our master bedroom… I have so much to do, so much to look forward to! So much to share with you!  But that’s for another post.  For now, I’ll be content with what I have and what I’ve been blessed with and all I have to do… one day at a time.

Love you all!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mom's bougainvillea

The bougainvillea at the entrance of mom’s little walled garden has started to bloom again.  And how my heart has danced inside my soul upon seeing it!  You see, this bougainvillea is a sacred kind of a thing to me… For years, whenever we used to go visit my parents down in South Florida, I would take my mother’s hand and run down to the garden with her... to the bougainvillea at the entrance of her garden for a special moment.  Under the tree's beautiful, copious canopy we would stand together, arm in arm, laughing, hugging... until we took possession of the moment.  Through the lenses of my camera I kept those moments alive, and intact.  I have dozens of these photographs of mom and I posing under her bougainvillea that I had taken throughout the years since I left home.   

This bougainvillea represented so much to me.  Continuity, the force of life, a perpetual, recurrent miracle of life, and an enduring living thing that, in the most secreted part of my soul, it also represented her... my precious mother.  It meant true love, and it meant comfort and childhood memories and home, and I silently worshiped it, always wishing to see it standing till the end of days, just like I expected her to be.  

A week after Florida Hurricane Irma, I went to check on my parents.  With mom now living at her assisted living facility, their little house is a house of ghosts.  Shadows dwell there perennially.   My father is a lost soul without her.  My heart is lost.  When I went to find refuge under our precious bougainvillea, I wept.  The hurricane had destroyed it almost to the ground.  Shrubs were stripped of leaves, and the large broken branches looked like sharp knives against the open sky. 

I felt a prang of sadness when I saw it.  This beautiful flowering tree, now battered and destroyed by harsh weather and strong winds, just as what Alzheimer has done in the body and mind of my precious mother.  How I'd wanted it then to be able to bring it back to life and beauty, to preserve it, to preserve our mother intact, her body and mind alive, keep our love forever alive; to keep her forever with me, in me, close to that secret, sacred place of the soul where nothing can touch us there.    

It was the most glorious thing seeing that same bougainvillea coming back to life again this time.  The tree sending out new epicormic shoots and sprouts along the top and at the tips of branches.  I think I even detected the first clump of flowers in it.  A miracle of Nature indeed!  Oh, if only I could see the same happening in my mother's life...  

And thus, I am home again…  home at the little white cottage in the woods and this marvelous, chilly weather and a place of orange leaves.  The land has dressed in reds, and yellows and auburns outfits… its skirts swaying in the half-light of autumn.  I am at peace.  My heart is a tornado.  I want to sing and I weep.  Trying times.  Times to cry and be remembered and treasured in our memories, times to forget the bad and never bring it about.  That’s how my little heart is feeling like these days.  A mixture of sorrow and a mixture of joy.  Autumn comes to me with a softer, darker song on its lips.  I am that bird who, upon hearing it, remembers he too must learn to sing it, before he can be free. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The day I finally met the witch who lives in my woods

I went on a hunt for sightings and discoveries right in the heart of my woods this afternoon.  The mellow light of October was streaming down through tired canopies and lower branches where, leaves swirling down from higher up get caught, and form their very own canopies.

Birds were nowhere to be seen, and I’m conjecturing that racoons and squirrels, too, have already packed away their summer things in cute little flowery luggage, and travelled far.  Until the new spring returns to the land. 

Upon arriving to that part of the woods where a clearing opens up and light fully illuminates the grounds, I found the most strangest of things… 

A chair!  
Weather-battered and old and pink, 
and just lovely to me....

...and right by it... oh, I found the strangest of all things... a freshly cut hydrangea bloom and a cup of coffee.  Still hot.  Steam was coming up from it in little swirls that went up and up, and up until it formed a mini cloud almost above my head.  Then, puff!  The cloud instantly condensed against the chilly air.  

Oh, I felt terrible for having disturbed what was about to be a wonderful time for someone, just right here.  Imagine, being immersed in nature with a cup of coffee; feeling the ground underneath your feet as you focus on being present and enjoy your environment and the scenery… I couldn't imagine interrupting such lovely thoughts! 

But then, that’s when I heard it… a rustle among the leaves, a soft fluttering or crackling sounds…  leaves rustled in the breeze and, down the edge of the woods towards the gardens, that’s where I found her…

A woman all dressed in black sitting on a stump. Her eyes closed. Her mind far far away... so it seemed.  Who was she?  I had to wonder.  The witch who lives in my woods, perhaps?  She seemed to be channeling some higher Spirit in nature or something like that.  But then, something startled her… she stood up, and proceeded to survey the area around her, as if looking for something... or someone? 

Oh dear me, was I in trouble?  I figured that maybe she instinctively knew someone was spying on her?  I know I do that all the time.  But what was I to do now?  I hold my breath in as best I could, and tried to become very small... a teeny tiny of a thing part of the woods of sorts.  Just to escape from her.  

The woods looked so lovely at that time of the day.  Each moment opened up a new door, a new poem, it bestowed new graces, new dreams to dreams and hold onto, new songs to be sung with the heart of the soul.  It is no wonder the witch didn’t seem to be disturbed by my presence at all.  

She didn’t look being frightened by anything either.  In fact, she was getting ready for a foot bath bliss time!  Yes yes… a foot bath from heel to toes in her one of a kind deluxe foot spa!  A birdbath of all things!!  That is, a birdbath bursting with rotten leaves and debris and soil and yikes!!  Now, don’t ask me why would anyone do something like that.  All I can say is, “a witch is a witch".  And, "who can understand a witch!” 

But let's not be too harsh on her, shall we… maybe she was just taking a little detox clay foot bath her own way?  They are one of the most effective and beneficial detoxification methods ever, you know.  I once read that doing clay foot baths can draw a lot of toxicity directly out of the body.  Although, I wouldn’t think using a birdbath for that matter… at least, order some high-quality clay!  Like bentonite. OK. ;)

I’m just glad I’d finally got to meet this witch who lives in my woods… even if it is just when I’m leaving.  Perhaps, she would move with me to the house in the roses and make for herself a little house among the petals, so that I can see her wandering around from time to time?  Or would you think she’d much rather prefer living on this picturesque area, filled with magic and history?  A land where, long ago, lived a group of people who were forced out of their land forever.  I’m referring to the Cherokee Native American tribe.  They were forced out and many perished on the infamous "Trail of Tears" on their trek to Oklahoma.  

We happened to live just a few feet down the road where the trail of tears begins…  This town is home to the Cherokees.  So much history contained here, so much enchantment and mystery grounded on this land.  Just only yesterday on my way home from Walmart, I happened to see a man walking down the road, a direct descendant of those Cherokees, and I could not but wondered how many of them are still here, how many more buried here, how many of them lived right here, in these very same woods skirting our little white cottage? 

If I’d be that witch who lives in my woods I would not want to move to the city any more than the Cherokee people wanted out of their own land.  So, I suppose she stays here… or at least, part of her forever will.  And that, I know.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Returning to the little white cottage

The little white cottage looked phantasmagoric, and wonderfully magical under the dark veil of shadows, the night we got back home two days ago, last Thursday. 

Coming up that dark hill, there she was!  What peaceful, wonderful feelings the sight of this little white cottage of us it was!  And how it brought to my tired eyes and soul feelings of wellness, and belonging, and security and the marvelous peacefulness I was so craving.  Is this home?  Is this still our home?  Can I call it that?  My dear little white cottage and magical place to be!  I'm already missing you!  I will never have anything like you ever again, and how I will miss you!  Your darkness.  Your peacefulness.  Your charm and magic.  Your woods.  Your cats.  Your roses in December.

The Fisherman has already started his new job, but have travelled south with me to our little white cottage to help me pack things up and get the last things ready.  Soon, we’ll be signing up papers to finalize the sale of our little white cottage, but in the meantime, I’ll remain in this sort of a limbo-estate where I am here, but not here, and I am there, but still not there kind of a thing.  Not a home here not a home there.  It is an uncertain time indeed when you don’t know where you belong.  

In between packing and boxing things up, I’m also creating and coming up with new inventions in my mind as far as decorating goes.  I know exactly how I want to style our house in the roses, and while I get rid of many of the things I’m not taking with me and give others away, I am rethinking and redoing things up.  Like with these set of large pictures here.

When we lived at the house in the roses these two ladies embellished our master room for years.  I loved them, but my taste and decorating style have changed a lot since then.  I had never used them here in our little white cottage and I know I won't use them there either. So on talking to our neighbor Don Manuel yesterday, I offered him the 'ladies'.  Both of them!  You go ol’ dear friend! Haha...

Don Manuel, however, took with him a lot of the other stuff I had in the garage that he found more to his liking and decided to have his wife Graciela come by at a later time to see if she wanted the pictures.  She never did come by, so this morning I decided to be creative and try something different with the pictures before I gave them away...  

And I like how they turned out!  Sorry Graciela!

I simply glued and painted the piece that had broken off the corner of one of the frames, and replaced the ladies with something more to my liking and style these days.  I could have used fabric for this project, and maybe I will at a later time, but for now I used what I had on hand.  I simply wrapped some leftover adhesive drawer paper to the backing of the frames and now I have some beautiful large abstract painting in my favorite black and white, ready to hang with all the hardware pre-attached! 

I did something similar with my Mona Lisa poster a few weeks ago.  She was a simple, old poster I found at a thrift store.  I loved her since the minute I discovered her, but not exactly the poster frame she came with. 

A few days later I returned to the thrift store on a specific hunt for a proper frame.  I was extra lucky to find an extra cheap, extra-large painting with a beautiful frame.  I didn’t really cared for the painting that came with it, but love, love the extra pretty, extra-large frame.    

I removed and threw away the old poster frame that came with the Mona Lisa poster, and then bought and cut to size an inexpensive Walmart heavy duty mat art board in black.  I didn’t want to use a regular photo mat for my Mona Lisa, because I wanted the poster to blend to the background so as to give the impression of continuity and the idea of a larger painting.  The mat art board was perfect for this project. I just taped the poster to it.

The large gold frame, perfection!   
Can't wait to put her somewhere in our old new home!

I am confident I will bring our house in the roses to a glorious ‘after’, and can hardly wait to start decorating it and working on all the things I want to do there.  It’s been quite the week last week when I entered that house and saw the disaster the renters have there.  And how can I say “THANK YOU” enough or proper enough to all of you, my dear readers and bloggy friends who have taken time of your precious time to come here and show your love and support to me through your words and comments and emails!  I am in awe and in debt to you.  You would never know how much you have helped me and guided me and supported me through these past few days.  I truly appreciate you so much!  You’re my angels and the friends who truly understand the real me.  Bless you all!

Thank you and much love to you all! 

Monday, October 9, 2017

The house in the roses: 

Amazing blue and orange sunsets have been seeing us to sleep each night lately, and the biggest, clear skies have welcomed us home with opened arms.  If I stand in any of the open fields round here and look ahead toward the horizon, I can see that our earth is not flat, but rather it is convex everywhere…  I love driving on these completely clear plateaus with no obstacles between me and the horizon and consider the perfect roundness of our world.  These country roads of the NW tend to do that and always bring in me that sensation.  The openness of miles and miles of yellow fields, and the fact that we don’t have the abundance of trees we have in the south obstructing our vision on the ground, give us a clear view all-around for miles and miles of our wonderfully made round world. 

I should be joyful and eager to start this new life ahead of us, but it is a stressful time and on many a day I cannot feel or see the goodness that is in me anymore.  As if my soul is being shadowed by an edgy film… tense, and having or showing a harsh or unkind quality.  And I don’t like those feelings.  They are not me.  And they are.  And I don’t care anymore if I don’t feel sympathetic toward these people who while we were away from our dear house in the roses, had rented it and destroyed it. 

The garden is gone.  The house is a disaster.  It must be painted in its totality, soiled carpets need be removed, scratched and water damaged hardwood floors refinished and all the stainless-steel appliances replaced—abused and badly scratched as they have left them.  I’m not nice.  I don’t want to be nice.  I want to ask these people to get out and pay for all the damage they have done.  But I can’t.  We hadn’t even asked them for a deposit to start with.  We have learned our lesson.  Neither I want to know or think about the $12,000 the painting companies are asking us to have the job done.  And this is not counting the floorings or the new appliances.  At this point, I haven’t found a painter that would agree to my budget yet, and must probably I will have to do it all myself.   I am stressed, disappointed and disheartened, and I must return to the South on Thursday and deal with the move and the added stress related to the sale of our little white cottage.    

The day after tomorrow is my birthday.  I wish upon a star on dreams untold, and I wish that upon our definite return to the house in the roses all those dreams will be fulfilled.  I need to stumble upon my old, peaceful self again, embrace a life of solitude and prayer and relearn how to fly high, in hope and faith and abundant gratitude.  I feel ugly inside, and I must embark myself in a quest for the beauty of the spirit, for I have left all these graces somewhere along the road of temporality, and need them back in my life. 

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