Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Many Hours in a Day?

My dad, along with a few close friends, ever so often tries to remind me that there are only 24 hours in a day.

I go through spurts when I try to fit as many possibilities into one day, hour, week (or any given time period) as possible. It isn't something I premeditate. In fact, it's almost instinctual. Or could it be habitual? All I know is that any logical and self-preserving side of my brain becomes overwhelmed with a sense of urgency that I must do A, B, C, D & ...... NOW. Simultaneously, if at all possible.

I am not sure where this instinct is rooted, or, if it is a habit, how it was formed. I had a lot of friends die before reaching 30 (hell, even 21), and I know that probably planted a "life is short and uncertain; live while you can" panic button deep in my soul. even so... i'm not sure why i put myself through this manic pattern: run, run, run until my body, mind and/or psyche force me to collapse.

today is a prime example of what i often do to myself (note: this is in no way meant to be a reflection of a "typical day" in my life. it is meant to reflect an overall pattern i keep repeating). i started my day when my alarm went off at 3:45 AM. my banjo mentor and friend, lee sexton, was having a cataract removed from his eye, and he needed a lift to the pikeville hospital. his appointment was at 6:45 AM, which meant i had to pick him up at his house at 4:45 to get him there on time. it is now 10:22 PM. i did a lot of other things today besides driving to the hospital and back, including an attempt to help neighbor bill figure out/troubleshoot the screwy lighting in my basement, writing reports/proposals, directing a kids' theater rehearsal and meeting with several different people about several different projects. the details are fuzzy, and i am resisting sleep because of this insane sense of urgency that i need to do this and that and something about getting quotes on banjo cases and/or travel banjos b/c someone might buy me a banjo for my trip to poland....

a part of me wants to keep going going going and following up on all these connections, ideas, etc. and that part of me doesn't seem to realize that there's a tomorrow. i really like this part of me. she's the kind of person you'd want to hitchhike around the world with. my sleepless gypsy. but somehow i've got to teach her the delicate art of pace and space.

the pace i'm thinking of is yoga-esque slow breathing pace. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnn............ and ooooooouuuuuuuuuut........
the space i'm thinking of is the soft, multi-layered blissful nest that is my bed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Blue Bird

When I first moved into my house on Judy Branch, I found a dead blue bird in my wood stove. Who knows how long its little body had been there. Even more disturbing is to think of how long it was trapped inside that ash-filled box before it finally died.

Yesterday, I prevented that fate from falling upon another bird. I woke to hear rustling from the living room and soon discerned the sound was coming from the stove. I was relieved to find that the bird was trapped in the actual stove and not the pipe. Her chances of survivial were much better this way, and I wouldn't have to worry about if it was worth burning out a birds nest to keep warm at night! Cat Rosie was standing on her back legs with her nose and front paws squished up to the glass window. The bird, understandably, looked like it had lost all hope of surviving this. I mean, even if it did manage to miraculously get out through that window, there was a big nasty cat ready to make bird meat out of her! What a horrible morning she must have been having.

I grabbed a dish cloth, shooed the cat away from the stove door, and gently scooped the little bird out and held her close to my breast. She didn't move. Outside I was greeted by an unseasonably warm, sunny morning. I gently placed my dishcloth swaddle on the potting table and unwrapped the little bird. What the gloom and the ashes inside the stove had prevented me from seeing was a brilliant blue breast and honey maple tipped wings. She uprighted herself, rustled her feathers and immediately flew off beyond sight.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

cutting the apron strings

there are some people that you can be "stuck" with 24 hours a day for several days and never tire of each other's company. i rarely put myself in that situation, and i'm always shocked when i discover that i have spent a significant amount of time in another's company without feeling a strong desire for solitude or escape. a recent trip with my parents required 24-7 companionship for four days. within the first few hours i began to feel an intense desire for alone time.

i have always been fortunate to have parents that i respect, love and consider friends.

reality check:
a positive relationship and mature friendship with the parents requires we each have plenty of personal space away from each other.

i am relieved to be back home on judy branch. i got back in time to catch the last dance of the cowan creek mountain music school's fall gathering. all the road-weariness dissipated the moment i entered the community center, greeted by old friends and the sounds of square dancing and old time music. i jumped into the band at the next set, playing julianne johnson for twenty minutes. just the cure i was looking for! when i got home i had an urge to call an old friend who has been living in wyoming for several years. was excited that she will flying into south carolina in a few weeks. we have planned a rendezvous at hot springs. cabin is rented, hot tubs will be there for soaking, and we'll have two days to catch each other up on the last five or six years.

today bella and the judy branch pack and i enjoyed unseasonably warm weather as we walked around the holler and up onto cemetery hill to visit the horses and the spirits of judy branch.

other news is that my friend learned that the coal company is making plans to strip mine all the property on her creek. she’s called out the cavalry and is preparing for a big fight. probably the biggest fight of her life. she's been building herself a house for the past three years or more, and now that is all threatened. not to mention a long family history on that land. she told me that this is a time when you really appreciate all the friends you have. as one of those friends, we'll do whatever we can to stop it. so if i get arrested for civil disobedience, you'll know why. it's ironic, maybe even psychic that i started re-reading edward abbey's classic last week.