1. Tomato season! There really is nothing like a fresh tomato right from the garden. This time of year, we eat lots of tomato gratin (garlic, onion, basil, olive oil and topped with garlic croutons, inspired by Jacques Pepin and Julia Child), which goes really well with toast smeared with fresh pesto made with basil from our garden. I also accepted a substitution for my order of Gardenburgers from the grocery store this week and tried some Boca Burgers, that were even better with tomatoes from the garden. I liked them for a quick lunch, but as an actual meat substitute, I still prefer Beyond Burger, which makes sense because I don’t really even consider Gardenburgers a meat burger substitute, as they seem to be in a category all on their own. We are also getting lots of cucumbers and kale from the garden.
And speaking of the garden…
2. There were BIRDS in the birdbath this morning!!! For the past two and a half months, we’ve seen nothing but yellow jackets drinking from it. This morning, I was meditating with the window that faces the front garden open. Normally if that window is open in the morning, the whole house fan is running, but there’s a wildfire burning up the Poudre Canyon so the fan pulls too much smoke into the house. That meant it was quieter than usual and I could hear the birds rustling around and singing. Then I heard a bit of commotion, and after Eric told me yesterday he’d seen a mouse in the garden when he was watering, I wanted to see what was up, so I went and got my glasses and looked out the window. A tiny flock of finches were flying around, diving into the fountain, getting drinks and bathing. A few meadowlarks got in on the pool party too. There was one finch that sat right on the solar powered fountain, used it like a pool floaty. I quietly went and got Eric and we watched for about five minutes. It seriously made me SO happy. (I couldn’t get a picture because they are so skittish).
3. Morning walks. This week we were back to me walking sometimes by myself with Ringo, since Eric is officially back on contract next week (not that he really ever stopped working this summer). The mosquito population never really grew this summer, so we can still sneak by the river for a bit. We saw a heron that Ringo really really really wanted to get (not sure why they make him so mad). We also saw a hummingbird dive bombing some flowers.
4. Good friends and family. With Angela’s passing, so many good people circled around us, bringing over flowers and food, sending cards, texting to check in and send love. It’s been a week and it’s only just now starting to sink in that she’s really gone for good. I’m still so sad about it, sad that she was unhappy and suffered for so long, that she didn’t let anyone help her in the ways that would have truly helped her, that she’ll never have the chance now to get better. Even when you know you did everything you could to help (short of the things that would have only enabled the suffering, short of trying to save a drowning person only to lose yourself in the process), even when there was really nothing you could do to change things, it’s hard to accept that it’s over. Addiction is a brutal, terrible thing. May those still struggling with it feel some ease around that attachment, find the courage and clarity to get help, the strength to stay with it, to not give up or give in.
5. Practice. I’m so glad, so lucky to have something(s) to do that sustains me, allows me to practice being open to what is and strong enough to stay with whatever arises. It’s as clear as it’s ever been that impermanence and change don’t wait for us to be ready, for it to be convenient or comfortable to step into the chaos of life. The opportunity to practice is always there, if you are willing. “A shadow grows when we try to use spirituality to protect us from the difficulties and conflicts of life. Spiritual practice will not save us from suffering and confusion, it only allows us to understand that avoidance of pain does not help. Only by honoring our true situation can our practice show us a way through.” ~Jack Kornfield
6. My tiny family. Eric is going in to his office twice a week now, and you’d think that would be a relief after five months of being together ALL THE TIME, but I miss him when he’s gone! It does mean more kitchen counter love notes though. Ringo is still feeling better (yay!). He goes in to get his teeth cleaned on Monday, and hopefully that goes easy and he won’t need to see his vet again for a long long time, (although that would make her sad because she really loves him).
Bonus joy: going to the infrared sauna with Eric, yard time, watching murder shows with Eric, good food (roasted sweet potatoes and black walnut ice cream and fresh peaches in particular), getting all the laundry done and put away, some new masks, an insulated water bottle that keeps the contents cold even when it’s 150 degrees (in the sauna), hanging out and writing with Mikalina, having a very serious discussion about cereal with Chloe’, walking laps in the pool with Janice, texting with my mom and brother, “singing” with Ringo, having a lie down in a dark room, black eyed susans, only having one car payment instead of two, how our compost pile doubles as a squirrel all-you-can-eat buffet (because nothing is funnier than seeing a squirrel walking along the top of your fence with a giant corncob in its mouth), blooper reels, cute dog videos, DYANR podcast, good books (I’m reading 1Q84, a dystopian novel written by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, and it’s really good — I’m super into TV shows about murder and science fiction/fantasy, dystopian fiction right now), good TV, good music, taking a shower and then a nap with the little fan running, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.
I do not know you or Eric personally, but as a long-time reader I did not want to let another day pass without sharing my condolences with you regarding Eric’s sister passing away. It sounds like Angela might have been the gateway to your relationship with Eric, and that is priceless. You shared beautiful images of her and also shared of her struggle. Peace to Eric, to you, and to Angela’s memory. Carla
Carla, thank you so much for taking the time to post this. Grief is a terrible thing, but during COVID-19, it’s so much harder. We can’t circle up with our people, cry and hug and laugh and share and remember what we’ve lost, together safely like we normally would, so it means that much more when people take the time to reach out. You may not know us personally, but you most likely know grief, know that hurt that we all will feel at some point, and in that way, our hearts are friends, and I’m grateful for that. ❤