Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Way the Universe is Made

Those Eternally Linked Lives 30 September 24, 2017

I’m the vessel, the way our story
will be told, is already being told.
Two books in print and more coming.
You can’t help except maybe by
your voice planted deep in my
memory. “We were fools, Judy,
and miracle-workers.” Now my
country makes out your country
as an enemy. Yuri was worried:
what if Americans used nuclear
weapons against Russia? I write
to save one human experience
that will make war-mongering
irrelevant. The human race has
brought on itself huge and 
devastating storms; floods,
drought. Yet we two believed
God helped us. Not a personal
god, but the way the universe
is made. Evil exists, but it wins
only if we let it. The universe’s
binding of our two souls taught
us where the real power lies. We
are helpless only if we say we
are. We get reminders of our
frailty and then of our strength.
The zinnias I planted barely 
survived, but the lantana and
the small sunflowers took over,
and the forgotten naked ladies.
Pink morning glories ran over
the back porch railing. Cosmos 
leaped into the air from the 
unweeded garden. I set my
worries aside. Rejoiced when
editors I’ve never met want to 
read about my love for a Russian
man that leapt over all the 
boundaries of time and distance,
language, lifestyle. Metaphors
carried us past all the gate-keepers.
We had our wings–in-spirit--and
our souls fused. If the spirit is happy 
in its dwelling place, the body will 
keep up as best it can. After all, what 
is eternity but that which flies beyond 
all the human definitions of stopping 
places. Let me die only when my 
story–our story–is alive for the whole 
human race to treasure and save.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

You Know How To Go It Alone

My bumper crop of zinnias back in October 2009.

Those Eternally Linked Lives 29  September 17, 2017

When you have an inner guide, be
thankful. You know how to go it
alone. You listen to those who
care and worry about you, but
ultimately it’s up to you as you
enter that stage of your life when
more losses will come your way.
For eighty you’re not doing too
badly. As it gets harder, you find
the grit you need to hold your own.
“A day at a time” is always a good
approach. Keep listening to your
deep wisdom. It has never let you
down. Your own individual path
is well-marked now, but such paths
always throw up something new.
Not everyone is up for the wholly
new, but you are. Keep yourself
fit and happy. Enjoy the orange 
zinnia that survived the dog’s vole
digging and being bent down by
the wind only to rise and flourish

anyway. Take a leaf out of that book.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Every Reason to be Happy and Brave

Those Eternally Linked Lives 28  September 10, 2017

The answer is 
simple and obvious: in our deep
souls we know we can’t be seriously
harmed if we refuse despair. Insights
will arrive. Courage will appear
against the odds. The grain of the
universe doesn’t go away. Furthermore
other people gather around us, one 
at a time. If we ask, we receive, and
not infrequently, we receive the help
we need before we ask.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 19

Slowly I clear weeds, pick grapes,
cook out the juice and make Muscadine
jelly. The hens get the grapes. They
lay better. The zinnias rise again
and bloom. The spider lilies make their
annual surprise and throw up exultant
pink petals and whiskers. The next door
cats make friends with Wag. Are they 
keeping warm together at night?
Arching over the garden weeds are
sunny yellow flowers. I forget their
name, and the rainbow lantana. The
high grasses aren’t dwarfed but have
competition. Reckless blue and purple
morning glories cover the porch
railing, determined to cheer me up.
My heart is pronounced normal.
I heal and resume more work as
the air cools. I tackle the high
grass a little at a time. My students
bring laughter and comfort. Observation
wins over theory. I have every reason
on earth to be happy and brave.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

You Know How to Weather Storms

Indoor zinnias from 2011. Not to plentiful in 2017, but here.

Those Eternally Linked Lives 27 September 3, 2017

When I can’t see
very far ahead, I hold on. I’ve been in 
so many dark places before. Light 
always finds me sooner or later if 
I keep myself from despair.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 16

This life is not for
the faint of heart. We let go only what
we must; hang on for a rough ride, remount
our courage and listen to our hearts. It’s 
the only way to stay whole and keep our 
true Selves in tact until we die and see 
that Death is still some distance off.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 17

Sun is back after our storms
that flung down dead branches
but watered the grapes, zinnias, and okra.
I revel in three zinnias, their petals
fanned out to imitate suns, and I eat
five okra, some so tough only the seeds
are edible. I make tea from my huge
crop of lemon balm, and the dog and I
resume our normal walk. We both
sleep hard these days and have less
patience. I can tell I’m healing. I’m
not ready to be put on a shelf. It’s
up to me to keep up the yard,
check on the hens, keep my active
healthy lifestyle. Aging takes courage
in a new way. Other people worry
and need reassurance. When she took 
my heart’s pictures, I could hear
its steady beat. I’ve had doctors
try to slow me down before, but
the wise ones listen to me. Trust
myself. I feel good, normal. Worry
wears down the soul. Let it go.
Move the dead branches. Watch
for the zinnias to rise again. Check
the grapes and okra. You know how
to weather the storms, in the sky,
and in your soul.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Courage Found and Rewarded

Those Eternally Linked Lives 26 August 27, 2017

Everything I do counts
in the long tabulation of the 
centuries. “Be of good cheer,”
sounds in my ears. Sun reigns.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 14

I heal. Again. Courage found and
rewarded. I rise to my problems.
One at a time I’ll overcome
both my new and my old fears.
We have cooler days and nights.
I can work outside more often.
Sun is less of a threat. My son
calls to say he may be able to 
move here sooner rather than
later. I rejoice. I am confident
we can work out and through
the minor problems, if he finds
his way to returning home. I
Already have good help, but the
thought of his near presence
comforts me in a new way. He
has respect for my independence,
but he wants to help. I stayed
unbiased while he wrestled with
it, but finally said, “If you can
work it out, I’ll be glad.” The
mysterious partner inside me
is grateful. This counts, too, and
helps me finish my work on earth.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Some Things the Memory Won't Let Go Of

Those Eternally Linked Lives 25 August 20, 2017

Finally, a letter from Yuri–three
typed pages, but my Russian is
half-forgotten. I get out my big 
dictionary. When I wrote to him
in late June, I’d been reading my
diary pages from when I’d stayed
with him and Vera twenty-two years
ago. He congratulates me on my 
Jubilee–eighty years–most of them 
writing. How they nurtured me back 
then, and they’re still alive. We both 
lost Mikhail, whom he calls Misha, 
and sends me a note he wrote Misha 
a month before he died. They both 
longed for their childhood villages–
gone now but never forgotten. Yuri 
remembers the yellow flowers under 
the cottage’s window. Mikhail remembers
being put upon a horse and seeing a 
pink sky, then falling off the horse. 
A recurring theme everywhere I went: 
the lost village, the rodina, birth village, 
lost and never forgotten. A holy grail 
to those who remember. He kept taking
me to see the village houses. Once I 
stayed in one. He took me into the taiga,
the wild forest, where his village had 
been until lost because of the push for
communal farms, and then the war
when twenty-seven million died
in battle or in prison camps. Some
things the memory won’t let go of,
as long as we breathe. We still love
those who loved us, and to whom
we opened our souls. It’s called:

reaching the heart.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Things Change All the Time

Judy with reluctant hen, early spring 2010, during chicken workshop

Those Eternally Linked Lives 24 August 13, 2017

We forget: things change all the time.
People change their minds. Our
weather changes. Chickens like their
routines, but they change where they
roost, sometimes hide their nests.
On an old farm, despite neglect,
things grow. A Rose of Sharon leans
through the fence to say hello. Little
blue flowers appear on the Wandering 
Jew. Figs ripen and some spoil from
all the rain. After a slew of problems,
a respite: a gift I’d given up on,
forgotten. I got hurt, but I’ve been
healing. I spoke some hard truth,
and was invited to speak again. I’ll
have students in September. My soul
settled in for my older age. I have
to consider my heart, my balance, and
how easily I forget. The weeds feel
impossible, but I know how to summon
helping hands. Wag and I do our daily 
walk steadily. I work on manuscripts
I’m determined to publish; plant a few 
more beans, find enough figs to sell.
My life resumes its normal rhythms.
Rain replaces the heat wave. 

My soul is peaceful once again.