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Copyright 2012 Mary Montanye All Rights Reserved.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Leaving A Place You Love

April is supposed to be the month for awakenings, for moving up and out, for rediscovering what is new and fresh.  It is not supposed to be about illness and overdue snowfalls and bombings and exploding fertilizer plants.

Still, that's the reality of this April, and these are painful realities.  The grief and fear of the U.S. right now, as well as in much of the rest of the world, is real and worthy of our attention, compassion and grief.  Next to the magnitude of what has occurred, my concerns and nagging irritations are inconsequential.  But, still, they are my inconsequential irritations and are at least indirectly related to what this blog is all about.  I am in the process of letting go of the place I've loved for the last 21 years and turning my eyes to the place I've just recently fallen in love with: the central Oregon coast.

I've had swaths of time to think about what it means to leave this place.  I came here to heal and to try to forget what felt like the mess I'd made of my life in Southern California.  I came here, to this beautiful canyon place by a wild and scenic river to try to slough off the pain of failure and to come to terms that I hadn't been living the life I wanted to live.

And I accomplished what I set out to do.

I acknowledged and accepted the fact that I don't have all the qualities needed to be a very effective counselor.  I forgave myself for not turning out to be the woman I think my parents would have preferred me to be.  I renewed my commitment to my marriage and fell in love with my husband all over again.  I healed my relationship with my mother and was by her side when she died.

I wrote my memoir and honored myself, my mother, my grandmother, and this place, by doing so.

I found my true calling.

And now I am ready to let this place go.  This house, this canyon and river, this stage of my life.

I've had a week to myself here while George took care of his parents in Florida.  Due to a virus of some sort, I had no energy to pack or sort or clean.  So I sat.  As snow fell, I watched with shock and grief the developing situation of the bombings in Boston and the explosion in Texas and when it all got too much, I watched the spring snow piling up outside this home I've loved and am about to leave.

I know only one thing.  Change is inevitable.  And in order to have some semblance of happiness in this short life we've been given we need to learn how to let go and move on.  We do it easiest if we have learned first how to fully embrace each present moment.  I learned how to do that here, and now I'm learning how to leave this place I've love so much.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On the Move

Here are today's August Break photos.

I have a 4-door Sedan and so much to take on my trip to my second home on the Oregon coast.

How will I get it all in????

I did it!!!  Now to fill my cooler with green smoothies for the road.  I'm ready and I'm excited.  Can't wait to see my beloved, my son, and the dogs.  They're waiting for me!

I am deeply in love with Colorado and Oregon.  I can't wait to share my discoveries with you as I explore the coast.  And even though we will be spending a great deal of time there, for now we still live in the mountains.  I'm looking forward to sharing both of my favorite places with you through photos and stories.  Join me on the adventure!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Conditions of Satisfaction

I learned about the conditions of "enoughness" from Jennifer Louden, and today they served me well.

I started Susannah Conway's August Break challenge on August 1st.  By August 3rd, a mere 2 days later, I'd already missed adding a photograph to my blog.  I'd taken one the night before, but forgot to post it.  It was a busy day of packing up to leave the retreat at the Loretto Center, say goodbye to my new friends, drive the two plus hours to Fort Collins, shop for groceries, drive up the canyon, unpack ... you know how it is.

But I declared myself satisfied with what I had accomplished yesterday as I blew off 3/4s of my "to do" list, eased into a hot bath and then took myself to bed much earlier than usual.

Today was another sluggish day (see my posts below about slugs!), but I did have some fun taking a photo of a shadow on a wall and a little watercolor my husband brought me back from Japan years ago.  I took the photo (which I love) and then played around with one of my ITouch  Apps -- Snapseed.  Lots of fun to see such a dramatic change with just a few clicks.  A few clicks was all I could handle today, and I declare myself satisfied.  Thanks Jen!

And, late but I think still beautiful, here is the photo I wanted to post last night but didn't.  Sunset over the mountains as seen from our meeting room at the Loretto Retreat Center.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rest and Renewal

I am renewing my spirit in this sacred place.  It will be difficult to return to my home tomorrow, because I still have traumatic memories from the recent fires.  But here, at the Loretto Retreat Center in Littleton, Colorado, and with this group of amazing women, I am reaffirming for myself that all places can be sacred depending on how we choose to be while in them.  If we enter a place with intention and a gentleness of heart and spirit; if we enter prayerfully in whatever way that means to us ... the place is then sacred.  I pray that you may also make your special places sacred and that your spirit will be continuously renewed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An August Challenge Begins

So much has happened since my last post.  Wildfires, evacuations, mudslides, road closures ... too much to go into here.  Over the next few months, I'll share what we've been through as residents in Colorado, a state that had ten active wildfires burning simultaneously this summer!

But today, I'm beginning something new and exciting and much more fun than all of the above.  It will be an enjoyable project to help me ease back into blogging.  I am participating in Susannah Conway's August Break.  It is a challenge to publish at least one new photo each day during the month of August.  Some days I'll add a few sentences to explain the photos.  Other busier days the photos will have to speak for themselves.

August begins with a retreat at the Loretto Center in Littleton, Colorado.  Although I've never attended before, this is an annual event put on by Kathleen Adams. This year, Dana Reynolds is co-facilitating with Kay.  After the summer I've had, the retreat is nourishing and enriching.  It is preparing me for our imminent move to the Oregon coast.

But more on that later!

What has YOUR summer been like?  Do you have links or photos to share?  Would love to know -- share below.  And see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weeds in the Grass

I'm in the throes of first love.

There are mole holes in the backyard and weeds in the grass.  Slugs crawl up the exterior walls of our house, leaving trails of a yellowish slime.

It has at least misted if not all out rained every day for a week.

And still ...

All I feel is love and impending sadness at the thought that we will be leaving here tomorrow.

I'll miss my son who now lives only a two-hour drive east of here.

I'll miss the quiet.  The lush green.  The rolling ocean waves seen faintly from our front windows if the fog hasn't moved in.

I'll miss the stands of alders and waist-high ferns on the hill behind the house.  And the creek so hidden by the overgrown foliage at the far edge of the yard that we only know its presence by the sound of it.

Perhaps especially I'll miss the me I am in this place:  calm, creative, content.

What do you most miss when you leave -- even for a little while -- the place you love?  Do you feel you are more yourself in some places than in others?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rainy Days and Slugs

Whenever I fall in love -- whether with a place, a person or a thing -- I tend to minimize the negatives.  Perhaps we all do this to some extent.  If we didn't we'd probably never fall in love at all.  And I've had enough experience now to believe that we don't love in spite of defects or foibles, but because of them.  That's what makes what we love human if they are, well, human.  And that's what makes them unique if what we love is a place or a thing.

I'm telling myself this as I get used to long, chilly rainy days here on the Oregon coast.  When my husband, George, and I arrived at the beginning of May our weather was glorious -- almost two solid weeks of temperatures in the mid to high sixties, deep blue skies, and not a drop of rain in this place where pretty much everyone told me to expect constant rain.

Still, it isn't the rain I'm afraid I won't learn to love.  After all, rain gives me the opportunity to cuddle up by a fire with a good book and drink lots of hot herbal tea.

I'm afraid I will never, ever get used to living in a place with slugs!  Slugs as, I kid you not, as big as cats.  Slugs everywhere: crawling up the outside walls, curling up under the ferns or the flowering rhododendrons, hanging out on the back patio.

No one told me about the slugs, only the weather.  When I look at them it's difficult not to recall the slimy leaches at the Wisconsin lake we went to every summer as kids.  They'd maneuver themselves from the bottom of our rowboat and onto our bare feet and calves when we weren't paying attention.  We wanted to boat, but we didn't like leaches.  I want to live at the coast, but I don't like slugs.  In fact I hate slugs.

I'm trying to remind myself when I see yet another slug, that no place or person we love is perfect.  It's usually the little things we dislike the most -- and I'm trying to categorize slugs as a little thing.  There's the proverbial raised toilet seat or the wrongly-squeezed toothbrush tube.  It might be beard clippings in the sink or the way he chews his food or loads the dishwasher.  You probably have a list of your own irritations.

I'm also remembering how once I was afraid of spiders and now I'm not; that I couldn't drink ice tea without sugar and now I can; how I was terrified to fly and now I don't mind it at all.  Perhaps I can learn to love slugs, or tolerate them a little, or love the Oregon coast despite the fact that I'm going to have to share it with these disgustingly oozy-looking, large things.  

When I learned about spiders and bats and how necessary and good they are for the environment, they stopped scaring me.  Sometimes all we need in order to change hate and fear into acceptance and even, perhaps, fondness and love, is knowledge.

I can put up with the rainy days because I know that without them we wouldn't have the lush, emerald beauty of the forest that edges the ocean here at the coast.  Without rainy days, there is an increased threat of wildfires as has been happening all over the American West these last few weeks.

So I'm wondering if perhaps I can learn exactly what it is slugs are good for and then like them a little.  I don't know.  But I'll do some research and get back to you on that.

Help me out here.  Do you know anything good about slugs?  Is there something you once hated and now you like?  Has learning about something changed fear or hate to respect or love for you?  If so, let me know in the comments.  I can use all the help I can get.