Deep Bows to the Earth

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Our difficult and very urgent task is to accept the truth that nature is not primarily a property to be possessed, but a gift to be received with admiration and gratitude. Only when we make a deep bow to the rivers, oceans, hills, and mountains that offer us a home, only then can they become transparent and reveal to us their real meaning.  ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, Clowning in Rome

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March ended with a glorious full moon. I remember it, because that was the day our dear friend was admitted to the hospital. For a week or more, she had been suffering from violent bursts of headache, much worse than her usual migraine. We’d accompanied her to the ER one long night, when the pain was excruciating and, when it happened again, another friend got her to the doctor who (finally) admitted her. Over the course of the next two weeks, a nimbus of neurologists poked, sliced, scraped and analyzed her brain before concluding with a diagnosis that left her ravaged spirit and body heavily drugged and cautiously hopeful. The headaches continued, but gradually abated to an endurable level.

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As with any hospitalization of a loved one, our days slid into overtime. We drove back and forth to the hospital to visit and support our friend and her son, and twice a day, drove to her home, to care for her sweet, old, almost-blind, mostly-deaf pup, Jax. He seemed more at peace in his own familiar spaces, but clearly missed his “mom,” despite our attempts to comfort him. He always perked up for treats, we noticed.

Her son flew home from Brazil and helped mightily for a time, until his mother was discharged, but then, after she’d been home for a few days, he had to return to work, so she and Jax came to us for a week of rest and recovery. Their presence and spirits blessed us.

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Malarky, Jax, and I went for a few walks every day, while our friend rested. Malarky was a good host, leading Jax to all of our “treat spots” and waiting for him to catch up.

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Winter seemed to be tilting tentatively into spring. One day, we’d hike through a glorious snowfall, and the next, a sunny trail beckoned with robin song and wildflowers. All of it seemed to intrigue Jax, and his spirit and energy thrived.

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My friend fatigued easily and felt apprehensive about the thunderclap headaches returning, but, as the week went on and spring began to settle in, I noticed her spirit lifting and confidence returning. Every day, she set new tasks to complete that would support her return to independence after almost a month of being bedridden. She made a meal, did her laundry, came on a short walk. She weaned herself off the pain meds. (I can’t imagine the courage that took, after what she’d endured and feared encountering again.) The syndrome she suffered from is known to debilitate and devour energy, and it can require up to six months before the patient feels like her old self, or—more accurately—her new self, since these experiences always transform us.

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My friend deeply honors and tends her spirituality, and we had interesting conversations about the ways she felt herself transformed; the gifts she perceived had come to her through the ordeal; the struggles she anticipated in returning to work; and her hopes for healing.

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My heart filled with gratitude to see her strength returning, even in tiny amounts, and I loved how spring’s brighter days contributed to this. My friend blooms in warmer weather, and the sunshine and flowers, open windows, and sweet breezes contributed far more to her recovery than my vegetables and broths. I think I saw her blossom on one of our walks. It seemed like her spirit came back into focus.

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She returned home the night of April’s Full Pink moon. My tulips were just opening to the sun that day. We stayed in close touch, and I took her to a few appointments the next week, but her recovery since then has been glorious and all due to her own body and soul-tending.

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I missed her presence after she’d returned home. It was fun to have human conversations throughout the day. The 4-leggeds and I had to adjust to the unfilled hours and reserves of energy we now had to fill and spend. Malarky and I took long walks through county parks and marveled at a Great Blue Heron rookery. To see these huge nests tended by their prehistoric profiles, even at the distance we kept, took us deep into silence.

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We gardened and watched the spring birds gather at the feeders.       

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We watched this fellow court various ladies, it seemed with little luck, over the past few weeks.

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But we discovered that we still longed for another presence…and settled on Mickey.

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Two weeks later, we’re all adjusting to our new companion. We’re grateful for the hard, often heart-breaking work at the Houston rescue that saved Mickey, and for its local satellite that brought him to us. He’s sweet and feisty, and a good buddy for Malarky. Of course, we planned on a girl, about Malarky’s size (25 pounds) and age (9 months), and came home with a 4-month-old, 6-lb boy. Funny how love works.

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And Mickey was in need of love. Full Moon is working its magic on his little body and spirit as it did on our friend’s recovery. And just as her presence blessed us, Mickey has brought gifts to each of us, completing a puzzle we didn’t know was missing a piece. Till now.

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And so I make deep bows to the rivers, oceans, hills, and mountains that offer us a home, and to the fields, and flowers, and birds, and 4-leggeds who teach us about resurrection and love, and the possibilities these hold for us in our brokenness and loneliness. May we be healed and offer our mended energy to the world.

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14 thoughts on “Deep Bows to the Earth

  1. Oh my goodness Kitty!!! I love Mickey!!! ‘Ya done good pickin’ out your new kids’ 🙂 He looks sweet as can be and I know Malarky is loving the companionship. So glad you brought him into your lives.
    Isn’t it uplifting to see birds and colors and a thousand shades of neon green again? I love spring and all it gifts us with on so many levels inside and out. Your photos are fabulous again and all looks ready for spring to head on into summer there at Full Moon Cottage. Enjoy and I am so glad your dear friend is well. How wonderful of you to offer her so much support. The world is a better place for your presence 🙂 Blessings and hugs to you…VK ❤

    • I agree, Hollis, that spring is most vivid and welcome this year, and I like winter. 🙂

      Mickey is a sweetie and such a well-defined little personality. I suppose he had to learn a lot quite quickly about surviving, because he blended right in with the 4-leggeds. And for a tiny fellow, he sure likes to wrestle with Malarky. Very entertaining.

      Having our friend rest with us was a real blessing. Her acceptance and gentle focus on healing was remarkable to witness.

      I hope you are blessed with a lovely spring and that your creativity and sweet nurturing gifts are being fed. 🙂 Thank you for your kindness and encouraging words, as always. You sure make a difference in others’ lives. Gentle peace to your week’s end. 🙂

  2. Oh,,,oh OH!!!!! Here I am in the lakes, and suddenly have internet access…..so will type REAL FAST…y’know what, you are just such a lovely, lovely person…how I love and look forward to your posts! How comforting it must have been for your brave friend to know you and Philip were there for her….I loved Jax, and seeing him with Malarky!

    Mickey????? MICKEY????? Just LOVE him, I love his up and down ears, flippy floppy they are, and I love how both boys have curly tails…meant to be, no doubt about it!!! Awwwwhhhhhh…….you have no idea how happy this post has made me!!!!!!! Loved the wildlife too, and those gorgeous spring visitors….and here you are, with new life and another pup to train…simply can’t wait to hear more!!!Hope this comments posts….xxxxxxx

    • Oh, Dina, Mickey’s so very precious. Yes, his right ear is usually up and his left down: quite charming. I was so worried Malarky would feel put out, but he’s doing fine…took a few days, but not bad at all.

      It’s been a wonderful spring…had to cover some plants tonight, but the temperature should rise tomorrow and stay there, so I’m hoping the gardens make it through the night. But so many beautiful birds and nests all over the yard and around the house…over the back door, over a garage light. Lots of little lives blessing our days.

      Thank you so much for taking precious minutes from your lovely Lakes-time to write. Now, have an amazing week of hikes and adventures and take a lot of photos and save your usual entertaining stories about all the unusual people and 4-leggeds you meet, so you can share them with us. 🙂 Joy to you.

  3. Kitty, what a glorious post full of beauty, love, encouragement, and fun with Milarky and little Mickey (cute!!!!) Your photos are beyond beautiful – I could feel myself relaxing and uncurling inside as I continued to read and look. Thank you for sharing these moments in your life and offering a perspective for living a beautiful life. Namaste.

  4. Thank you, Lynn! So good to hear from you! I just saw your post and loved it: such amazing beauty and glorious words…Tried twice to share comments, but WordPress kept interrupting and asking for my data, which I entered, but couldn’t see my posts register. Sorry about that. I loved so many of the plants you featured and the beautiful combinations…a real work of art. So, thank you, and know I send you love and namaste as well. Joy to your week. 🙂

  5. Deep deep bows indeed. What a marvellous post Kitty! I have always known your home to be a sanctuary for the ailing and all living things. You truly touched my heart by restoring your friend with your tender care and offering physical and spiritual nourishment. I can almost breathe in the wholesomeness that surrounds your Full Moon Cottage! Now Mickey! I’m just lost for words with that little face. And those ears! 🙂 With you, he will be made new. Big kiss to that brave little chappie from me. You have been in my thoughts and I’m so happy to read about life in your cottage. Much love, Sharon x

  6. I love how life gives us opportunities to be kind and be blessing, and then, if we say yes, even tentatively, we end up being blessed even more. My friend is that kind of person; I learned so much about healing and grace from her that week.

    Full Moon is special to us and our visitors, no doubt about it…glad you can share it, even vicariously, Sharon, and grateful for your kindness and generous words, as always. You always brighten, but also deepen my experience of the day; thank you. Kisses to Mickey have been delivered. He is thriving. 🙂

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