Near Midsummer

Hot crabs, cold beer, & Old Bay – that’s what Maryland summers are made of.

“Crabs are done!”

Hot spice scent fills my house, steam rises from red cooked crabs,
cats and dog circle round trying to figure out how to penetrate
armoured hard shells protecting succulent white flesh.

Sweat drenches, it’s hot, hot work steaming a bushel of crabs-
a gift from a friend “just because.”
Kindness is currency and will cycle back round to him
and back again to me. It’s just how we do things on the Bay.

“Aren’t you having any, Mom?”

Oh, yes, baby. Just not yet.
It’s hot, hot business doing crabs right – but it’s in my bones,
I learned it right growing up on this water.

1/2 a quart taken in and another 1/2 quart of water to take in,
replacing water steam has called out of my skin. Don’t replenish water lost with beer – not yet. Save it, save it for after-

“I’m going to take the dog out first.”

Into the night, teased by clouds, but still cool and the breeze
tickle-kisses the rest of the sweat from my skin. More water drunk as the pup mozies along, taking in all the day’s gossip peed out by others.

He adds his own replies several times,
and I hope he doesn’t advertise our windfall of crustaceans.

“Want a beer, Mom?”

I sure do. I’m ready now, body cooled, soul soothed, appetite roused.
Sure smells good in here, and feels better, too. The fans all put in valiant effort to suck out the kitchen heat and suck in the cool night air

Natty-Bo cold in my hand, crab still warm and
smothered with Old Bay before me,
life is good in the summer.

The alchemy of lemonade~

So that was a thing.

Yesterday, my undesirable habit of putting things aside for ’tomorrow’ came back to bite me in the bum. (I’m working on it, really I am, and now have a bit more fuel for that habit forging fire.) I had gotten my electric bill and, yes, set it aside to focus on the end-of-school-year merry-go-round. I have been busy planning (and daydreaming) everything that I am going to do when my time is my own again. That alone was occupying my mental energy and time: focusing on the future and counting down the days in my head, and I completely forgot the ‘now’.

All right, I’ve been thinking, when life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade! Make life take the lemons back! Get Mad! I don’t want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man whose gonna burn your house down – with the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that’ll burn your house down!
~Cave Johnson

My power was cut off. My children kindly informed me of this via text message and I (very red faced) called my power company, apologized profusely, and paid my bill. I was humbled. I was embarrassed, and I was bordering on getting angry when my children texted me again an hour later wondering why the power was still out. Power companies, like the gods, work on their own schedule.

I admit, on my drive home, I felt tempted to go to the central office and pull a Cave Johnson on them, but after starting to giggle from reciting the ‘Lemon Rant’ I was feeling calmer. After all, it was my fault we were in this predicament. The power company really was not to blame, and they had someone scheduled to come out that afternoon. Instead, I stopped at our local beer shop, got a nice six-pack of Dogfish Head’s Romantic Chemistry and a bag of ice. Once home, I pulled out the beach cooler, iced the beer, and sat outside enjoying the sun and socializing with my children.

Let’s make small talk~

What do you do when life gives you lemons? Do you go the lemonade route? Combustible lemons? Or do you find a third citrusy option?

In the time that it took me to take my daughter to her place of work and return home, the power had been restored. And… denying the impulse to rush back inside to fire up the electronic toys, I continued to sit outside in the sun and enjoy the spicy, fruit yumminess of my beer. I also penciled in the next due date for my power bill two days earlier than I need to pay it.

No more combustible lemons for me.

Good Friday with the Saints of Heresy & the Sages of Blasphemy

I have an interesting relationship with Christianity~ and to be fair, it started before I was born. My mother was born into a mixed marriage. Her father was (Irish) Catholic and her mother was (Hungarian) Methodist. My father’s family was the opposite: (Irish) Catholic mother and (Hungarian) Methodist father. Needless to say, family get-togethers were entertaining.

For myself, from a young age, I noticed that the parishioners (of either religious flavour) were as sweet as could be to your face on Sunday, but wouldn’t piss up your arse on Monday if your kidneys were on fire. This always struck me as wrong — and I came to the conclusion that I was probably the only person in the congregation(s) actually listening to the words in red when they were read to the people.

I also was always drawn to the inherent esoteric mysticism within Gnostic Christianity — which was/is a big ‘no-no’ in the dogmatic structure of the church(es). Needless to say, I gave absolutely no fucks and continued my own spiritual explorations without the added benefit of the benedictions of either sect.

So here I am, sat at my table, eating baked haddock (seasoned with lemon grass, garlic, and a hint of red pepper) thinking about my mom and watching the sun set over a verdant line of trees that have ‘miraculously’ regreened after winter’s embrace.

I am not, as my children reminded me when we went shopping for fish, a good Christian, but I am a decent mystic. May the Mysteries reveal themselves to you this weekend, and may the blessings of Spring find you in good health.

Into the Long Dark~

My mother is dying.

In this season of plastic trees and LED lights artificially keeping the darkness at bay, I am turning more to the long dark that precedes the winter Solstice. I’ve known that my mother, like the sun, is journeying into this darkness since Thanksgiving. I also know, that unlike the sun, she will not pause before turning back to make the long walk into summer. Weekly, she is fading before my eyes, and in the dark small hours of the night, I silently pray to whatever powers of mercy and compassion that there may be, that she just closes her eyes soon to this cold world and slips peacefully away into the West.

But, I am still her child. Both my heart and head periodically go into dread denial of this fading, and the soft greys of winter become bleak. In those times, I look more often at photographs of Newgrange and Dowth on the winter Solstice. The people who built those passage tombs are my Ancestors. Their wisdom is in my blood, and when I see these photographs, I can hear inside myself their silent and ancient messages of hope. The spirit is eternal. The sun returns even when our loved ones do not. The sun carries them to the lands of the Blessed, and tells us that one day, she will carry our spirits too.

My mother is journeying into the long dark, but she will not reside there long… she, too, will pass beyond it and dwell on silver shores with her mother and father, and their mothers and fathers before them.

For the time that I remain behind, at the winter Solstice, I will sit in darkness illuminated by white lights on my tree and tell her stories as each ornament catches my eye.

Today…

the sun rose, though it was veiled by rain clouds and falling autumn leaves.

I went to work. I read (with pride) my daughter’s Facebook post schooling those who dared to blame yesterday’s results on people who ‘threw away their vote on a third party candidate’. (I’ve been a card carrying Green longer than her friends have been alive.)

I listened to people gloat and to those who were depressed. To both, I wanted to whisper, “Wake up and smell the Pleroma.” It is all just an illusion…

Today, I determined that I will live as I lived on Monday. I will speak my mind; support those who have fallen; say ‘no’ when it is needed and to whom needs to hear it; I will dance under sun and moonlight, whispering heresies to the trees; and I will continue to work toward humanity waking up to its birthright — no matter how much they may not deserve it. (Shades of A. Hamilton…)

Tomorrow, the sun will shine. My dog will greet me with a smile, and my cats will cozy up to me, and I will go to work and hope for more small behavioural breakthroughs with my students. And I will resist creatively… and fiercely.

I will be the witch in service to the land — though it poison some as it heals others.