Tag Archives: the laugh you know

When you say Yes

To put it mildly, the world has been a bit out of sorts. People are being protective of themselves and their families and for good reason. But people are also often acting out in negative or destructive ways because they are fearful.

When you see a situation, it is easy to bring up past memories of an experience or even a story heard that triggers a fear reaction.  Or, you project what could happen also based upon a fear of possibilities.

This week, a few of my coworkers and I  faced one of these situations.

I showed up to work early along with one of my newer team members.  I unlocked the door, put away my things and sat down to start the day when I noticed a young man walking down the sidewalk in front of our building.  In a flash, I had the premonition that he was coming into the building – we don’t have an OPEN sign, nor do we project an open to the public feel. It was still dark and was raining (it had been snowing at my house when I left, but that is a few thousand feet higher, so it hadn’t started snowing in Denver just yet).  I normally keep the doors locked when I arrive early, but this morning,  I had unlocked it and left it unlocked for the other gal figuring we were fine with two of us in the building.  I saw the gentleman disappear from my view as he went around the corner to the front of the building.  We are on a corner with windows on all sides, so I waited to see if I would see him walk past the other wall of windows as his path took him on his way.  Instead, I could hear the faint movement of the outer door and then there he was as he opened the inner door to our office space.  I looked up and asked if there was something we could do for him.  Thinking about it,  that’s just a polite way of saying “what are you doing here man?”

He stood there in a tshirt and baggy pants dripping wet, eyes down like a beat puppy and asked if he could just sit in one of our chairs for a bit and warm up. As a rule, we have a strict policy of no solicitation and in that spirit, no strays, wanderers or any random bloke who might just be walking by.

Per our policy, I had started to say that we couldn’t really let him just hang out, but he really did have a desperate look about him, so instead of the no that my rational mode was projecting, I said that yes, he could have a seat.

He sat down and bent over. Possibly to keep as much of the dripping off of the seat and as to physically curl into a tighter position to garner some body heat.

We asked where it was headed and he said he was needing to walk to downtown Denver and he had forgotten his coat and hadn’t realized it was so cold. (It had been beautiful warm and in the 60’s the past few days, so maybe he didn’t realize the weather was changing and it was to snow today)

It’s interesting how your mind processes scenarios so quickly.  Mine went from “you can’t let a strange man stay in here possibly putting myself and my team member at risk”, to “what do I have to help this person in need who is right in front of me?”

I remembered I had a fleece jacket in the car that I had been using out on my lunch walks when it was chilly. I got up and said I had to go to my car for a moment and fetched it. I hurriedly went through the pockets to make sure I didn’t have anything like old Kleenex or something and walked back in and presented it to him. I explained it was for him to have and while it wouldn’t keep him dry, it would provide another layer. He gratefully put it on right away, zipping it up and curling once more to ball up some more heat.

A minute or two later, two of our sales guys walked in, clocked in and gave me the ‘what the heck’ look all the while saying good morning and asking what was going on?  I was a little fretful of their reactions as these two have been hyper vigilant about the social distancing and keeping spaces sanitary with the covid 19 outbreak threat.

From their positions at their desks right behind me, they kinda went through the same question and answer with the dude as we had. Then, one of the guys walked over and handed him his big thick flannel shirt/jacket that he had just worn on his way into work.

Our now defrosting visitor, took his coat and put it next to him seemingly not sure what he was going to do with it. It was at this time that my team member excused herself to go out to her van and after retrieving a few dollars, gave them to him and told him to go take the light rail as Denver was far too far to be attempting to walk in the freezing rain.

I looked at the clock just then and realized that I should make an announcement of sorts. I said that while we were all ok offering shelter for him, the owner would show up in 5-10 minutes, and he would not be ok with the situation and I just didn’t want to see him faced with negativity along with the perils of his morning thus far.

He said he understood and picked up the flannel and put it on over the fleece jacket and said thanks to everyone. He then stopped as he was exiting through our inner doors and asked in a somewhat timid voice: “do you know who I am?”

It was as if we all took a second to scan our memory banks for recognition from experience or media as all of us wondered for a moment if we had someone famous among us and we all said “no” in unison. To which I added, “should we?”

I couldn’t fully see him at this point, but it seemed like he shrugged and left.

The feeling I think that  we all got, was that he thought someone must know him for nearly all of us to give something of ourselves without prompt or asking.  And who knows, maybe he had said a prayer before stepping in that we would allow a few minutes of shelter. and that prayer allowed each of us to identify with that need to just feel secure for a few minutes -remembering when we’ve misjudged what we had stepped into on any given day. In hindsight, I think we could have responded with , “we don’t know you, but we do recognize the needs we all have”

In a time when we are honestly wary about which coworkers to even let into the building for fear of what germs they have picked up upon, it was a good feeling to not let that cloud our helping out a stranger in need.

May we all grasp the thread of humanity and hold onto it pulling the good and heartfelt moments out of the chaos.

And as so many of the emails I get from customer, vendors and friends now say:

Take Care, Be Well and wash your hands.

Love

Sally

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday. Gather up family and food and gratitude and spend the day together. What could be better?

Here is a non-inclusive list of what I am grateful for today.

I’m grateful for the snow that is falling, draping beautiful carpets of white across the ground.

I’m grateful that my boys will be here and maybe we can play some games.

I’m grateful for my job and the people I work with who make me smile and laugh every day.

I’m grateful that I am healthy and able to do what I enjoy in activities.


I’m grateful for Ted and his hard work and creativity and support.

I’m grateful for my friends near and far. I’m grateful for their sharing spirits, understanding hearts, willingness to listen and ability to call out my shit. – And huge ability to make me laugh as they do so.

I’m grateful for my home, my plants, my gardens, my neighbors.

I am grateful for my family of all generations and connectivity. For the love given and shown throughout my life.

I’m grateful for travel and all that I learn and see when I visit new places and meet new people.

I’m grateful for ceremony, for prayer, for the moments I feel limitless love.

I’m grateful for things, people, books and podcasts that come along and find their way to me that expands my mind and heart.

I’m grateful for those who struggle and allow me to see it so that I might not go through the same struggle.

I’m grateful that on most days, I do notice the part of any situation where gratitude can be found.

And if you are reading this. I am grateful.

With love,

Sally

Cloudy Heart Day

I woke up in the predawn hours and checked the weather app for the conditions at the farm today . Cold and cloudy was the prediction my phone had. I guess in my head I had wished for a spring sunny day with balmy temps and daffodils popping up in the yard for the day of Adam’s Funeral. Instead, the weather will give cover for those who will clutch themselves tightly as to brace from the cold, when it is the emotions of saying goodbye to Adam that they will likely be bracing against.

I use to wonder what good purpose was it to have calling hours and a funeral. (Side story, my co workers have never heard the term calling hours. So now I’m unsure if that is a regional or family term that I grew up with to signify the visitation time before a funeral)

Before I was forced to be in a receiving line at a funeral, I imagined it to be about the worst place one could be. Being on the receiving side of everyone else’s emotions on a day you never wanted to have happen in the first place.

What I learned though was that in the days between the death and the funeral, you pick through photos and stories with those closest in your circle basically having days of living memorial services with each conversation around the kitchen table , yard or impromptu gathering spot. By the time there is a line in front of you, you are ready to see a “few” people come through the line.

It didn’t take long for me to realize   what the  value is standing in that line though. I was amazed at the small but touching stories that the person shaking my hand (often with their hand shaking from emotion) would relay. Sometimes people could only manage a hug, lacking the words to match their emotions. Somehow, those hugs told even deeper stories. In those hours of standing and greeting, I got it. The method, the reason. Why it is an important part of dealing and healing from the gaping wound of losing someone so near. That in the mass of people and stories, hugs and handshakes, your vision begins to change. The broken bits get picked up and arranged into a viewer so that the slightest bit of light now shows a beautiful kaleidoscope. With every new person comes a turn of the lenses and another beautiful view of how your loved one touched their life. Sometimes, it wasn’t even directly. I was thankful for even those who came because my loved one touched the life of their loved one and they just wanted to pay respects for that.

I’m sorry I will not be at the funeral today to share in the stories and hugs.
I can envision a 21 tractor salute for Adam. The taking of his casket to to cemetery on a 1910 steel wheel wagon pulled by a two cylinder antique John Deere tractor. Not really practical, as those old tractors would make for a really slow procession, but the imagery will by my personal service paid to Adam in my mind.

Love to all today who share in the memory of Adam Henry Michael. If someone gives you an extra long hug, know that part of it was from me, for I will be with you all in spirit.

Sally

Sad days

It’s such a sad time. My dear cousin’s son has died. He was 21 and we all thought his road would be a long one with lots of pit stops and amazing highlights. Instead his truck hit a guard rail, flipped into the creek below and he was killed.

I won’t claim to have known Adam well as I haven’t been back to Ohio all that often, but each time I was back at the farm, my cousin was there and so was Adam. The last time was for my nephew Ian and Kattie’s wedding. Adam was going nonstop getting orders barked at him from all directions and never ever dropping his head wishing for the orders to stop. He just jumped up and did the task. Frankly, I was amazed for I would have railed against such constant demands when I was that age. Adam gave me the impression that he knew that by just being around the projects and duties of the farm, he was learning skills and got to share in ideas that others go away to learn. He observed his dad and my brother work side by side for years each knowing the next step of the other without words being passed. He mimicked their arguments in a way that he got the love that underlies it all.  To hear is sisters side, he learned how to then bark orders quite well himself once he was back home where he often took command.

That pic for me is was how Adam was for me, funny, goofy, in the middle of it all.

To me, Adam had a smile with eyes that sparkled when he did. Sometimes, I would catch him hanging around and he would have this grin, like he knew the joke before the rest of us even spoke.

The saying goes that we “lost” someone dear. But what I know to be true, is that in taking away his physical body, the rest of us will find where Adam remains. You see, energy cannot be destroyed, and Adam worked on so many projects, tractors, helped out in so many ways, put energy into so many things, that those who spent any time with him will likely now find him everywhere.

I know you will be missed Adam, but it is memories and the energies of what we did that get left behind, so thank you for leaving so much at the farm and pond and home for everyone to have forever.

To all the Michael and Tomlinson families, you are in my heart, prayers and tears.

love you all,

Sally

Storybook Lunch

On my lunch hour recently, I took a book I have borrowed to the creek side area near my office in hopes of reading more than two pages before I had to put it down. I have mostly listened to books in the past year as I spend enough time in my car that I can whip through those fairly quickly. Sitting down to read is much more challenging.

I found a secluded spot in the grass next to the very full creek engorged still with spring rains and runoff of winter snows from the mountains.
As I sat reading my book, a brilliant blue dragonfly landed on my left forearm. It’s wings folded back over it’s tiny body as it just sat there. I wanted to grab my phone and snatch a photo, but I knew that even the most gentle release from holding the book would cause my muscles to move and my little friend would be gone. So I just sat there and studied the small body, the large eyes, and those wings stacked next to each other. The lace-like beauty of the wings with an intricate pattern that reminded me of a geisha girl with an intricate fan that she could just flick open and show her admirers.
It showed no signs of taking off, So I decided I would try for my phone to snap a pic. I didn’t even fully let go of the book with my opposite hand before my previous instinct was proven correct and it flew away.


I went back to reading and before long, the blue beauty returned and landed on my other forearm. This time I just smiled and admired it until it again decided to move on once more.
I was reading The Lost City of Z about the expeditions into the Amazon jungle and felt thankful that I was being visited by this little creature and not the blood thirsty invasive insects that I was reading about.
I soon was thinking about my little space with the tall grasses and rushing creek and how serene non threatening it was.
As I sat the book down to just enjoy the time left in my lunch hour, I noticed a momma duck headed upstream with her crew of little ones behind her.

They was nearly directly in front of me before she seems to spot me and move slightly further away deeper into the current as they passed on by. It was much swifter even the foot or so further out that they ventured and the last little duckling was praddling furiously to keep up and I just had to imagine his little mind groaning “was this really necessary?”

As they moved past me upstream, the Momma stopped and the babies kept going a few more feet past her and settled into a submerged grassy patch that would normally have been part of the dry bank had the stream not been so full.  The Mom did not look at me, but was treading water as she was hovering half way between where I sat and her babies played in the shallows. She would look at the ducklings and then look upstream ignoring me and look again back at the babes. I grew curious as to what she was up to when I finally saw two more tiny fluffy ducklings scurrying upstream to catch up with the rest of the family.

I felt like I had just read a really cute children’s book.

 

What a Summer

summer-is-over-snoopyAs most of you know, I somewhat finagled to have the summer off.  You could be wondering why there were no stories when I was not working as one would think I was flush with time.

I think that I was so grateful for the time, travel, talks, friends, family and fun, that part of me was hesitant to stop and share as the stopping might halt the flow.  Not rational I know, but when your is such an amazing flow, it’s hard to contemplate the stop of any of it.

When my fairly extensive travels concluded, work called and asked that I end my mini-retirement.

summer-is-over

So, before I went back to work, I made a list of what I was going to miss from my summer.

Here it is- in no particular order of importance:

Being in my Pajamas till afternoon sometimes

Mornings on the deck

Long conversations with friends

Leisurely cooking

Mid day walks with Woody

Road Trips, Road Trips, Road Trips

Cousins, Family, Friends

Lack of plans and schedules except for planning the next adventure

Just being

Spending more time outdoors than inside

she-began-to-breathe

Yes there are stories to be shared and I’m hoping I can start to share with a bit more regularity.  So, check back from time to time and you might find one with a chuckle or two.

Love,

Sally

Adjusting our Filters

06/04/15

Burgess falls

When Jasmine and I were at the bottom of the large portion of Burgess Falls on Monday, I was looking for a rock or two to bring home to add to our waterfalls feature in our yard.

It is something we do when we visit somewhere that has some interesting rocks.  A simple way to bring a memory back from elsewhere and add it to a spot we look at and admire.

While at the edge of the water looking through the vast rocks along the shore, Jas took a photo of a large rock.  I joked that I should bring it home, but truth was, it was a nice rock, but not extremely showy or incredible to look at.  I was wrong.

filters

Jasmine went home and adjusted the filters with her photo program to show the beauty she had seen there at the edge of the water.

seeing beauty

What a gift to have.  And when I saw the rock after knowing what I saw for myself in person, it made me realize that she also makes me feel like that rock:  Bits recognized that might be hidden to some.

burgess falls rock

It also caused me to think of those that I am seeing in bad light in my life and how I need to change the filter so that I can see the hidden areas that create a positive emotion instead of a negative one.

What a simple lesson from a rock and a friend.

Love Sally

 

Finally get to a waterfalls

Yesterday we had a nice brunch before heading out to hike to one of the dramatic water falls in the state.


I had thought there would be time to visit many, but time flew as fast as our conversations.
We headed off under soggy skies toward Burgess falls but as the rain increases and the weather app said we might have better luck later, we swung around back to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.


It is a massive hotel complex with separate wings and in between are large atriums filled with plants and water features – a boat ride can even be taken.



Once we had toured all of the areas, we once again pointed the car east toward Burgess state park. The rain continued and even got worse and with four traffic accidents passed – two on each direction of the highway, I began to wonder if maybe it just wasn’t meant for us to go.
Soon our chatter had outlasted the patter of the rain and we started to see some clearing and by he time we reached the parking lot, the sun was working to peek through.
Burgess has a small upper falls,


Followed by a larger middle falls,
Burgess Middle Falls
And then the spectacular lower falls.


I am so glad we had continued on through our doubtful moments to see them.

Left today to make it back to work by mid-day.  A harsher reality to be sure.

Love Sally

 

We go a Visiting

Saturday, Jas and I went down to Chattanooga to visit the folks we would have seen had we been going to support my cousin in his quest.

I had wanted to see a couple that I had liked so well from my first Sun Dance experience that we did not get to see at this past year’s.  It is the son of the Medicine man and his wife that had spent many hours with me during that first Sun Dance and they live in the same area we were going to.

We also wanted to visit and were expecting to stay with the folks who were to have hosted the prayerful time for my cousin.

Sometimes thing then happen to change your plans.  In Native American speak, I mooned out. (Got my menstrual cycle.)  There was another person that had scheduled to come in for his prayers when my cousin cancelled, so I could no longer stay at the house of the destination.  Mooning women cannot be around as they carry their own power during that cycle and it can interfere.

This would also mean that I would not get to sweat in the sweat lodge at either place – both sets of folks we wanted to visit have their own lodges.

So not being sure if we would get to see the folks at the original destination at all, we phoned the others and were graciously invited over there to stay.

It was great.  We sat around and just shared stories, had a wonderful meal, she played her guitar and sang wonderfully for us and we laughed and laughed.


Being with them was so welcoming that it was like being enveloped in a hug the entire time we were there.  Pretty awesome.

The area in Chattanooga is just full of hundreds of different types of deciduous trees that just create this gorgeous canopy of jungle type atmosphere.  I got up in the morning and tried to find any of the seemingly hundreds of birds that were welcoming the day as I awoke and due to the height, breadth and density of the foliage, I could not see any of them.

After sharing another meal, we headed off to see the other group as it was relayed that if I kept to the house, we could come and visit.  Again, we were welcomed with much love and were able to spend a few hours catching up on everyone’s lives before heading back to Nashville.

It was a great weekend for me and of course it also included the “road trip” talk-a-thon that seems to prevail.


Heading out for some more sites today weather pending.

Love Sally