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I set myself free on Friday at noon.
Got my swing off the hazelnut tree.
The clouds had picked west, so we went to the east
to the beach with the tree with that branch.

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Folded rope, chain and thoughts filled my arms,
filled my heart.
How tight we hold what needs to go.

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The moment I slung rope-swing over the tree
The afternoon started to breathe.

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Sit down, the seat said,
Say a prayer, said the sea.
You can loosen your grip, said the chain.

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Now tune your ear to the tide,
My prayer whispered back.

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Do you feel your breath slowing too?

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The tide coming in had secrets to tell.
It didn’t take long til I listened.

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~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 If you’re viewing this online, not as email, you can see the minute-long video: 

have a good weekend! 🙂

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Today was the day. It was time to let my seashell friends and stones go back home. They’ve been gracing my windowsills nearly a year, coming to stay a few at a time over time. The spiders and dust motes made them sneeze. So in the spirit of Solstice next Tuesday, it seemed the right day to let High Tide give them a go.

So off to Point Robinson, north of the lighthouse.

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Out of the basket, landing in the sand with happy chirps.

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Ah, what a beautiful crew. I’m going to miss them.

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They jumped onto the just-right-size driftwood to take in the view, get their bearings.

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Then we sang songs. I wish you could have heard them harmonizing.

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When it was time for me to say farewell, one little green stone asked to go back in my pocket. I said yes, of course, yes.

I must admit, the basket wasn’t empty when I left the beach. New stones had invited themselves for summer vacation. But that’s another story.

     Enjoy the whole movie story with music:  

Saturday is a day to unwind

Saturday is a day for unwinding,
Whether or not the sun in shining,
Whether or not the birds are singing
(which they are, by the way).

All your stress spins off into the grass

Let your stress spin off on the grass,
Fertilizing green sprouts while weeding your mind.

Notice that moment when time slows enough
for your soul to catch up
and sing in slow motion.

Took my inner artist to the beach today on this rare dry Seattle Saturday. The sun was already behind clouds, but I didn’t care. I met two most wonderful seashells, rare to find whole, hard to find small, fun to zoom in on in wonder. Enjoy meeting them, too.

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Before I could welcome the New Year
I had goodbyes to say
and thank yous to pray,
and rare sunshine showed up to take notice.

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Goodbye was due to my old friend Doug Fir,
whose last wish was I dance on his growth rings.
His rings tallied up drought and the raining disasters
that helped him grow tall and yet taller.

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Before my goodbyes my knees buckled and bent.
Long skinny shadows suggested forgiveness I seek
for too many days through too many years
tucked under a desk, life ignoring.

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As penance and promise when I welcome the New Year,
I will measure the width of your growth rings, Doug Fir.
I will witness your years with the breadth of a hug
that tugs my heart wide, wide, wide open.

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Take a deep breath now, I said to myself,
and I shifted my sorrow to solace.
Will you dance with me now, Mr. New Year? I asked.
Will you honor my friend
who is gone?

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Yes I will.
Who will lead?

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We’ll take turns.
You go first.
Spring leads.
Summer follows.

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But it’s winter.

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As I welcome the New Year
I will dance in the darkness
deep down in my heart
I will welcome the shade
and the cold.

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Then let’s dance in the sunlight
that shines on us now
even though the air
is still frosty.

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Bring me lightDSC_0901

Bring me joy
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Bring friendship
DSC_0899Bring blue sky

Help me ring in the New Year with gladness.

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Make me silly
Make me strong
Make me giddy

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Make me wrong
to sit too long at my desk without playing.

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Help me laugh

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Help me sing
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Help me flap my strong wingsDSC_0979

Help me land on my feet DSC_0950

Please stand with me each day,
Mr. New Year.

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May I count my own growth rings
this year as I change.

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May I remember to bow
and say thank you.

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May I take time to dance
and play with my friends.

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And sing wondrous songs with my soul.*

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Thanks for dancing with me, Mr. New Year!
~ You’re welcome! ~

*Big thanks to my friend Alan Claassen for permission to put his wondrous song in this video:

Eleven Brave Pinecones

00 -finding pinecones-

Two Sunday mornings ago when the rain finally stopped, I ventured outside. Fallen branches greeted me, a bit embarrassed to be on the grass.

That’s because three Tuesdays ago a fierce Westerly Wind roared over the water, ripped past our town, raged up the hill, right through and around MacMurtree the tree. Try as Mac might to be flexible, the Wind won the wrestle, ripping off branches that crashed to the ground.

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And nearby those branches, all over the yard, I found pinecones. Knocked loose from their limbs, still tightly coiled and sealed in sweet sap.

I felt sorrow to see them sprawled on the lawn because I remember last summer, how I sat on my picnic blanket, witnessing dainty gold-dusted fairy seeds fluttering free.

I herded the pinecones into a pile. They didn’t know what to do next, stunned anxious at their unexpected separation.

“How are we supposed to seed forests?” they cried, rolling around on the ground in dismay. “We’re supposed to stay on our limbs and open up slowly. We’re not ready for this!!”

“I don’t know,” I replied, feeling their angst.“Come up on the porch. Come sit with me and we’ll figure it out.”

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While they gathered themselves and their thoughts, I ran inside and brought back a book. I thought they could use some encouraging words.

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“I know you’re not where you thought you should be. That means your Plans must become entirely new. You’re gonna need Courage for that!”

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The pinecones lined up to listen, and we all wondered what words might spill forth from the pages to bolster their spirits.

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I fluttered pages at random to see what the old book hoped these friends might find out. A bird pulled up a fencepost to listen.

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“Give us, O give us, the person who sings at her work. I found words by Thomas Carlyle. One is scarcely sensible of fatigue whilst marching to music.”

The bird whistled Yes!

“What song might you hear in your heart?” I asked the pinecones.

“Lollipop, lollipop!” one pinecone piped up after the briefest of pause.

“We are the Champions my friends” sang another with lyrics.

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After the singing slowed down I read further down on the page.

“No pinecone is born into this world, whose work is not born with her.

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“Like the tree seeds within me!” said this pinecone who then sat up straighter.

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I sat up straighter, too, realizing that Book’s favorite words in her pages weren’t all that these pinecones needed to know.

“Do any of you remember the wonder of where you come from?” I asked the dear lovely tree seeds.

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“We come from our mother, MacMurtree, a Deodar Cedar. She’s at least a century old, probably more,” said the eldest pinecone.

“We each belong to the Deodar family. In Sanskrit that’s devadāru, which means wood of the Gods.”

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“Why that means me! Daughter of the tree gods. Oh my! I better get up!” this one said out loud to herself.

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“Imagine the many trees waiting inside us!” said that one out loud.“There must be a way to get our Possibilities into the world.”

“I have an idea,” I said.“I have friends all over the planet. What if I put you each in a box and ask the Mail to take you someplace new? That will be like the Wind carrying your seeds, except this time you get to go along and see where they land. You’ll meet the most amazing people!”

“You can ask them to bring me inside where it’s warm,” said one pinecone.

“And put me on a table by a window so I can see where I am,” said another.

“I would enjoy spending the holidays with a family,” added that one.

“And,” I said,“as their fireplaces heat up their homes, your wings will unwind. And your fairy seeds will unfold from inside. Just like they would have next summer if you had stayed here.”

Their excitement was mounting as plans started to form.

“And perhaps, just perhaps,” I suggested, “they will know a good place with soil and sunshine and some magic. And on some sunny day, when a soft breeze is blowing, they’ll toss your seeds into the air and away they will float, just as they should. Just as they would have, but somewhere exotic and fun. It’s a bit avante garde, I suppose.

“How about it?”

Well, it took us a week to figure it out. We gathered up boxes. I found my address book. And seven brave pinecones volunteered for adventure.

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Into boxes they jumped. Tucked in with some branches. And a note with instructions.  P.S. Watch out for the sap, we said.

Not everyone wanted to travel. And that is just fine. One for sure is staying with me. Another one asked to be strapped by the birdhouse so she can try spreading her wings in the spring.

And this group, well they’re having fun talking. So they’re hanging out on the porch for a little while longer. They don’t mind the rain.

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Check your mailbox!!

Here’s the wordless musical version:

Mixing Things Up

Time to mix things up

Some days do you get the feeling that it’s time to mix things up? Make a new cake? Challenge the status quo?

Today was one of those days.

I took my sturdiest, shiniest tool to the shore.

My sturdiest tool

I started at the south cove where the wind wasn’t so strong, thinking I’d have the best chance to stir something up without tipping over.

Tried the south cove

I gave it a go. I watched the fisherman casting his line, as if that might inform the sweep of my arm.

Watched the fisherman

It didn’t have quite the right energy. I wanted more of a ripple.

I sat down, perplexed, and pulled some seaweed out of the blades.

Perplexed

This was going to take more courage, and the right kind of wind.

So I tromped ‘round the bend and a gust of promise said Yes!

The wind said YES!

I dug in my heels and set the wheel to be ready.

Set for the ready.

And I waited for just the right moment.

It’s hard to stir up an ocean

It’s hard to stir up an ocean, but if you start at just the right moment, you have a good chance. It’s that pause between breaths . . . as if high tide needs to sneeze.

A bird friend give me a nod, without making me feel he was watching or judging.

A bird friend gave me a nod

He just showed me how he likes to fly, using the wind as a tool.

he showed me howhe likes to flyhow he likes to fly

Encouraged, I mixed.

I mixed and I mixed.

And I mixed. And I mixed.

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I don’t know if the ocean noticed my efforts. But something shifted inside me.

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Energized.
Effervescent.

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Yet peaceful. Satisfaction.

Satisfaction.

Because I took action.

See the video version below: