It only took eight years.
You know those things in life that we know we need to do something about, and because the painful emotional energy surrounding them, we find all kinds of ways to avoid them, an emotional putting-your-fingers-in-your-ears, closing your eyes, and saying, “La la la la la la la,” over and over again very loudly, as if somehow and some way whatever it is will magically go away? And yet it lurks there, seeping into our knowing, making us feel heavy, unable to move on, guilty.
I don’t know anything about that…
Oh, yes I do, and I’ve had a huge one these past eight years. And in an emotional double-whammy, it involved my much-loved home, the Prairie Parlour, on the ranch. The Parlour was my place of refuge during a time of deep transition. As with with so many transitions, there was a lot of pain with this one. As the years progressed, much of that pain remained held within the walls of the Parlour – it was in the physical mementos of reminders of pain, crippling grief, and of lost dreams. This transition ushered in a time of my needing to work as much as possible, which meant I was unable to come to the ranch and the Parlour as often as I once had. The result of this combination was the contents of the interior of the Parlour stood still in time, locked in that period of transition. The years passed. I couldn’t come nearly as much as I wanted, the energy of the place became clogged, remnants of pain everywhere, a visual reminder of so many lost dreams. If anybody has ever lived in or been responsible for trailers, you know how labor and time intensive their upkeep, which fell to Mom and Dad. More years passed. The moments of light and depth of my writing Meadowlark at my writing desk there entangled with all else. And, I love the Parlour. You can see the problem.
And you know that moment when you decide, It Is Time. That moment hit on our last day on the ranch. It was preceded by Noé’s accidentally breaking the shelf in our closet in the bedroom and building another shelf. Something about this event shifted the plates and in that moment, getting into the Parlour and really moving that energy, doing what I needed to do, became possible. Out onto the lawn went anything that brought up unhappy memories or reminders of lost dreams. It was a memory and emotion avalanche. I lit a candle scented of lavender—and every time I walked by, I leaned down into it to breathe it’s scent. The blister on my nose will heal and my eyelashes will eventually grow back… It worked! Dad and Noé carried back and forth, the bags of things to donate and the bags on their way to the trash.
Out onto the lawn went many of the kids’ toys of childhood, which felt as if they had stopped the hands of time within our space. Not the treasures, of course! Those multiple piles of plastic toys, books already read and needing to be read by other children, art supplies, long-ago dried in their tubes, a travel crib, for heaven’s sakes! On to new homes, new children who will play and enjoy these, new places to be used and create new good memories.
We rearranged the furniture in the living room, hung a few new treasures and photos. We needed to move the old to create room for the new. And did we ever move the old! In my zeal, I accidentally threw away a bag full of clean and folded clothes and my cowboy boots. I was on a roll! I discovered this at 4:00 am the next morning as we prepared to leave the ranch, and Mom came out to find me digging through the trash barrels in front of the ranch house with my flashlight. So many moments in life to keep us humble, aren’t there?
At the end of the day, I stood in the Parlour and felt the shifted energy, the clean lines, the potential and opening for created a fresh palette for new memories, new experiences, and new life, including these:
Wyatt jumps on the trampoline in the wind as a storm approaches.
I drink in the morning air with my journal and rich coffee in a cup Mom brought home from Mallorca.
Dad’s worn belt and buckle hanging in the entryway.
We left the next morning (after I’d dug my clothes and boots out of the trash barrel) and headed back to Santa Fe. On our way to the ranch the week before, we had stopped by Linda Hasselstrom’s ranch and writing retreat, Windbreak House. As you know, Linda’s work has had a profound influence on my own work, as well as my spirit. This was a dream come true for me. Linda and her husband, Jerry, welcomed us to an hour of iced tea and lemonade, wonderful conversation, and friendship. A time to be treasured. In what can only have been a synchronistic gift of the universe, one of my flip flops fell out of our car and Linda found it the next morning. After Luke’s initial introduction by tossing his own flip flops out of the car door when we arrived at Linda and Jerry’s (so much easier to put on that way, apparently), I told Linda that we may now forever be known as the Flip Flop Family.
Linda wrote me that she would tie the flip flop to the fence post at the top of the lane leading to their ranch and we could pick it up, as we drove back to Santa Fe. I discovered not only the flip flop, but a CD of her poetry, as well as her poem, “When a Poet Dies.”
We left a bouquet of prairie wildflowers as a thank you.
The essence of prairie mail.
I know it is not a coincidence that these gifts of friendship, of spirit, come after creating space for them. Now room and space and energy for new memories, new love, new life. This strengthened me to then dive into updating another clogged area of energy, my website, and update at last: http://www.dawnwink.com
And back to the color palettes of our home in New Mexico.
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