The Barefoot Heart

life in the third half of life

hush: the delicate tremble

work on in our own language 4 has begun. nancy’s drawings become more intense in this set, the stitching takes longer, there are more lines and sometimes more chaos. i occasionally feel the need to set them aside and turn my own hands loose . . .

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the moon drapes itself over trees and mountains, and i am once again inside a childhood tent of blankets over chairs, in a world where anything is possible – anything, i tell you – and where time stretches out before me with no end in sight. life is simple there, nothing is silly or stupid or un-doable. everything i’m interested in, everything that calls to me, everything i want to do is worthwhile.

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in my moon tent, i am spacious. thoughts and feelings commingle freely and naturally and without argument or vying for position. polarities exist amicably, naturally. attitudes that regard differences as automatic oppositions meet with head scratches and laughter.

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in my moon tent, i am protected. nothing has to be justified or explained or defended. concerns about returns on investment need not apply because when the moon drapes its beams over trees and mountains, i am protected from all that would judge or scoff or balk or argue.

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questioning is the native language of residents in my moon tent where doubt is valued and sentences that start with “what if” are treasured. most prized of all are the questions that can be answered only with more questions.

i love being a moontent dweller.
where
i’m safe and possible and free.
(and y’all to know what i love best of all about life inside the moontent?
i can hang the No Morons Allowed sign out
and enforce it.)

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The Delicate Tremble
15″ x 33.25″
commercial fabric, embroidery floss
indigo moon and other pieces dyed by Glennis Dolce

How I Think About Things Is Changing

Bedsheets

Every night he kicks, yanks, and tugs the sheet out on his corner, and every morning I tuck it back in. When I find myself getting grumpy about having to lift that heavy mattress with one hand while tucking the sheet back in with the other, I remind myself that One Day this could be one of the things I miss the most.

If I knew which one of us is going to die first, it would change everything.

But I don’t know . . . and that changes everything, too.

Even When Nancy Doesn’t Draw, I Stitch

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Then one day instead of drawing, Nancy reaches in her art box, pulls out all the contents, and arranges them on her blank page. For months I wonder how on earth to turn this into a part of the In Our Own Language series. I fiddle and ponder, wonder and sketch . . . then one afternoon the light bulb (finally) goes off.

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I work a lot slower than Nancy.
Probably because I’m encumbered with words and caring what others think
and such.

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Nancy arranges.

Iool12complete1 copy

I stitch.

In Our Own Language 12
18.5″ x 33″
machine and hand stitched
thread, embroidery floss, and bits of fabric from my scrap bowl

Photos of Nancy taken by Mona Diethrick

vessels

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i am ready to have more space than stuff
so . . .
i dedicated this week to using what i have on hand
to create something new.
my plan may not to The Engineers of the world,
but to me, it is a delightfully sensible solution.
(but let’s don’t take into account that i
have to store the new things i made, ok?)

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today i made vessels
from yarn
using the sewing machine
and, since most of my work is hand-stitched,
i am downright giddy
with the speed of completion.

i’m also more convinced than ever
that my grandmother
spent lots of time at her
sewing machine
letting the constant whir
build walls around her.

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wind

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. . . a language delicate and quiet,
that maybe will take root
and maybe not.

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words unspun
11″ x 15″
hand stitched
embroidery floss, commercial fabrics from my scrap bin

words from the poem “Terms” by Anne Coray

ancient skins

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she fed us from her vast garden,
neatly-plowed rows that stretched on and on
as far as my short eyes could see.
we drank from assorted jelly glasses
ate from mismatched plates
most of them chipped or cracked,
bruised by life.
she didn’t draw attention to the
imperfections by way of
apology or neon sign,
but she didn’t hide them in the 
back of the cabinet, either,
any more than she hid the bruises
just underneath her parchment skin,
oceans of color splashing forth
at the mere thought of
getting too close to a hard surface.

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Ancient Skins
12.5″ x 11″
commercial cotton cloth and embroidery floss from my scrap bowl
hand stitched

of then, of now, of forever

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it seems there’s so little time left
which means i must be selective
not must
but want
i want to be selective about how i spend the time i have left.

i want to do big little things that 
will change not the world
but my world.

near the top of The List:
to spend some time reconciling with
prayer
and poetry.

Stjohnsshadows1

it seems to me that prayer is usually a petition
made on behalf of self or someone else.
it’s a turning over (something i’m not very good at).

poetry is more of a turning out.
turning inside out.

maybe prayer is a turning inside out when there’s nowhere else to turn.

i’ve been mad at both for too long
poetry because of
that english teacher who
focused too much on the rules
(which sounded a lot like history class
with its unending string of dates)
and was too generous with her red ink.
with prayer
because i was taught
that not everybody could do it.
everybody should do it
everybody must do it
but not everybody could do it.
only men
were to speak to god.
my contribution was to be part of the
every-head-bowed-every-eye-closed gang.
i was first puzzled then angry
that i couldn’t pray by my own self.
not in front of anybody anyway.
it was okay if i prayed without moving my lips.

but now i pray throughout the day.
i pray to trees, asking for strength and wisdom.
and to the falls asking for relief and clearing.
i pray to the sky asking for a bigger vision
and to the clouds for nap time.
to the blooms i pray delight and gratitude
and to the boulders, i pray a sigh.
to the afternoon i pray a dance.
sometimes i lay out my ponderments and uncertainties
and ask for clarity and maybe a sign.
i pray to daddy asking for help with this or that.
i pray in a host of ways to a host of recipients
and i still don’t move my lips all that much.

one thing prayer and poetry have in common:
no words are necessarily required.
walking can be a prayer or a poem.
same goes for
singing 
laughing 
crying 
cooking 
and even cleaning.

with the right attitude and choices,
days can be prayers and poems.
entire lives can be prayers and poems.

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the engineer planted flowers yesterday.
my son called.
my daughter smiled.
the sky thundered.
the trees danced.
the cats napped.
i stitched.

i rest my case.

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

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For years, I’ve longed to close out each week by creating a collage on Sunday night. I can site a list of reasons that make this A Good Use of Time and A Worthwhile Endeavor . . . but I didn’t have magazines. Or I had magazines, but not enough to carry me through 52 collages. Or I didn’t have a book to do the collages in. Or I didn’t have time I thought I could spare for such frivolity.

I didn’t have.
I didn’t have.
I didn’t have.

Today, on Easter Sunday, I pick up a single magazine, a blank journal, and a glue stick and begin ripping words and images that whisper “choose me, choose me” then quick as a bunny commit them to the waiting page before I can tell myself all the reasons I shouldn’t actually do this.

It’s time to stop waiting for The Perfect Scenario so I can have The Perfect Life. My life is here. My life is now. My life is perfect in all its imperfections.

Tires on Feet are Not the Same as Tires on Cars. I Know That Now.

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I said good by to a pair of old friends this week.
They have been my constant companions since August 2013,
logging in 6,638,362 steps
5,629 floors
2,833.82 miles.

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We went to all the familiar places
one last time.
There were daffodils

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and moss

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big rocks, waterfalls

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and mud puddles.

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all followed by a short visit to the massage chair.

I kept my eye on the treads
when apparently I should’ve been watching the inside.
The treads still look good.
The insides are demolished, though,
all padding and support long gone.
I went shopping when I read that
you need to replace shoes after
300-500 miles of walking.
If you’re a glass-half-empty person,
I guess I waited a little too long.
A glass-half-full person would say
I got my money’s worth.

Spring Dance

image

My favorite tree in the whole wide world got all dressed up for me.

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She dances divinely.

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She even self-corsages.

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I just can’t take my eyes off her.

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She’s worth every sneeze

the sringimg eyes

The runny nose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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