Monthly Archives: March 2013

Flowers, Ecology

I seem to have lost a day somewhere, due to how difficult sleep has been and my days stretching out into thirty or more hour segments.

What I think of as “yesterday,” but was actually Friday, we walked for a little while in a beautiful garden. It reminded me of English gardens, the sort with tall hedges and fountains and areas of grass. Except the hedges were made of flowers, many different kinds of flowers, growing and woven together.

I stopped to look at one that reminded me of a daffodil. It was more graceful, with long petals curling gently around a smaller trumpet. He said, “Pick it, if you like.”

“But I have no nails,” I protested. “I’ll hurt the plant too much.”

“Here.” He reached past me, mildly amused that I worry so much about plants that I won’t even pick flowers, and plucked it himself, putting it behind my ear.

I retrieved it and looked at it. The bottom of the stem was closed. I looked up at him in confusion and he moved some of the vines, showing me the same thing on the original stalk. “The [word for the type of flower it was] is fine. And that will not wither, so long as you wish to keep it.”

“But how did you–”

“Plants. Harvests,” he said blandly, with an expansive gesture.

He was teasing me. Without hurting me. That is a very rare occurrence in my life coming from anyone but Brand.

“You know that a rose will not bloom well unless it is pruned regularly, and that old flowers should be removed from plants you wish to keep blooming, and any flowers at all should be removed from a plant that you wish to expend its energy on growing rather than flowering,” he continued, in his ordinary tone of voice.

“Yes.”

“And there are many plants that should be shaped, lest they grow spindly and unwieldy.”

“Yes.”

He threaded his arm through mine. “Some people make an art out of that all on its own. A third of an herb or plant can be removed or harvested without damaging the plant; it will keep growing. You needn’t worry about a single flower, Shannon. Particularly when you pick it with care and reverence for the plant and what has made it grow and produce something so beautiful.”

“I just like flowers to stay on plants, because they don’t die in a vase,” I said, still looking down at the flower, and feeling silly. People have always found this stance ridiculous. “They’re still beautiful on the plants, even if I don’t have them indoors to look at all of the time.”

After looking at me for a long time, he quietly said, “You are very kind. Even to things to which few people are kind, few people notice, few think of.”

“They’re alive. They’re real. Just as real as anyone. Being human, or whatever, doesn’t make someone better than anything else that is alive. Only different.”

He drew me close, kissed my forehead, and held me very tenderly. “And you wonder all the time why I love you so. Please keep the flower. May it remind you of this.”

“I will.” I leaned against him, tired suddenly, from the weight of carrying that around with me for so long.

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Tomatoes.

Today’s rune: Eiwaz.

After I went to bed feeling suicidal (one of the only sane ways of dealing with it), I was gently removed from this body and much of what I remember is colored like late afternoon summer sunlight. Some of it was afternoon sunlight. Some of it was him. Some of it was warm wood. The colors of fabrics complementing it. Decidedly out of season but nonetheless sumptuously healthy tomatoes (cherry) and pears, with more seasonable arugula and asparagus. Perfect spring asparagus. The sort you can only get from your own garden or if you are fortunate enough to have access to a farmer’s market. The kind you steam delicately and do absolutely nothing else to, because it would be an outrageous sin.

I’ve only had such perfect tomatoes from my own plants, twisted from the vine and immediately put in my mouth while I was working on getting the rest of them off of the plants. Sun-warm.

When I commented on the tomatoes, looking at one of them on my fork with a slightly baffled expression, he smiled crookedly, said something about being a god of the harvest and of plenty and if he wanted perfectly ripe tomatoes in late March, why shouldn’t he have them?

He was deliberately hitting my food weaknesses.

I was not complaining.

CherryTomatoes

I actually forgot for a while that I’d spent most of the night crying until I finally cried myself to sleep and that I was extremely upset. Truly forgot.

What a gift.

Yesterday, when however I was holding myself together after the news of the night before collapsed on the exterior of my therapist’s building, and I felt like I was ten miles underwater as I tried to get myself underway to the train station, he was abruptly hugging me hard.

That terrible question: when was the last time someone else did this? When was the last time someone wanted to see me, even when I was miserable? When did someone want to be there?

Brand doesn’t count; he’s practically obligated. Is obligated. Willingly. But there are all sorts of ties in there that neither of us can walk away from, and while it’s always his completely genuine choice, I don’t think he could avoid it if he really wanted to, so the dynamic is different. Also: thorough, very thorough, lack of romantic interest. Oh lord.

He likes mangoes.

Dying for some fruit but being in the wrong part of town to find a store that would let me use food stamps without a hike or an extra fare, I bought a mango drink at the anti-food stamp grocery store, and some instant oatmeal that will not make me sick.

I can go shopping on Thursday. And basically buy nothing but fruit and vegetables.

On the train, I was very tired (I can’t remember the last time I slept well: it’s been months) but appreciative of the mango drink. We shared it (however that works) and he was delighted by it. I said that I tend to avoid the particular company because unfortunately they donate to conservative and Republican things, and then I drifted into thinking of mango lassi, which I’ve made at home before, and love just as much. I can’t make/handle/consume any of his traditional offerings, but he likes mangoes. And I like mangoes. This could work out well.

Sweet Mango Lassi - Mango Smoothie

Sweet Mango Lassi (Photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife)

I was also thinking about my financial straits and beads and the poring over the beading catalogue we’d done recently due to how picky I am about malas and Brand wanting to upgrade his to a stone his father particularly liked.

I was going through things in what I thought was an appropriate color range and wondering how expensive they would be, and he said, gently, It doesn’t have to be expensive to make me happy.

My background, such as it is, states very clearly that you should spend all of your money on sacred things, and forgo various things so that what is on your shrine can be as nice as possible.

No, he said.

On the walk home, we stopped to look at everyone’s crocuses, which were especially beautiful in the late morning light. I foolishly didn’t bring the ipod, so I had no way of taking photos, and tomorrow, the light will be very different, since I will be coming back around 6. The colors and shadows were outstanding.

It was very simple. Looking at things that most people barely glance at. Admiring their beauty.

We were both very happy.

Crocus

Crocus (Photo credit: formalfallacy @ Dublin (Victor))

 

In a second story room.

Today’s rune is also Wunjo.

Brand seems to be doing better, in a way that I find difficult to describe in words. In the beginning, it seemed like he was being torn apart, unmade. He had several panic attacks. Now he seems to be radiating profound love and a bright, almost blinding light. I could see the light when he was being torn apart, but this is radiating, not spilling through the rips. And the quality of light is different.

He’s always been somewhat restrained, and tends to hold enough of himself back from anything that he can leave it without it mattering very much (there are exceptions). He doesn’t get emotionally involved in things (exceptions).

I’m very withdrawn because whenever I’m not, I get extremely emotionally involved very easily. And it hasn’t gone extremely well for me.

When he was being torn apart, they asked him something and his response was a very tortured, I want to love everyone!

It feels like that, I think. A strong love that is not concentrated on a single person. It’s colored like unconditional love.

He talked to me a little while last night while I was dealing with meds and deciding that I needed a nap, too. We talked about my fears and issues and his opinions on all of it until he started to slide sideways again due to his chronic fatigue interacting with this in a way that might be a blessing (he sleeps a lot here). Toward the end, when he was sleepy, he announced, think you should kiss him.

Impossible at the present time, but thank you for the twenty or so minutes I laid awake feeling flustered and embarrassed and awkward.

Which is the proper teenage girl reaction for when you do want to kiss someone.

This morning, having woken up several hours before the alarm, I’ve been listening to music (headphones, politely) and reading things, and got stuck on Going to Queens by The Mountain Goats. Music functions as oracles, divinations, messages, and so on. Sometimes from the subconscious, sometimes not.

The ghostly sing-song
Of the children playing double-dutch

I felt the wind come through the window
I felt it turn around and switch back

In a second story room
In Jamaica, Queens

Your hair was dripping wet
Your skin was clean

And the children skipping rope
Tripled their speed

You were all I’d ever wanted
You were all I’d ever need

In New York City
In the middle of July

The air was heavy and wet
The air was heavy;
Your body was heavy on mine

I will know who you are yet
I will know who you are yet

Why me?

I’m babysitting my best friend’s body while most of the rest of him is involved in an extremely taxing, very long ordeal. This is convenient, as I’ve been mostly-homeless since the beginning of the year.

A few days before it began on the equinox, Freyr visited him while he was meditating. Neither of us are very surprised when people show up, but he is one of Loki’s sons and is more accustomed to having extended family drop in. Freyr told him to tell me, in essence, to pay attention because I was so lost in my misery that his attempts at getting my attention weren’t working.

Well, yes. That got my attention. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted. I’ve always thought of myself as nothing, a nobody, someone who is at best an assistant and otherwise overlooked. I am the people dressed in solid black during plays that you’re meant to ignore as they rearrange things in the background. I am good at that job. Why else would I be sitting here next to Brand’s sleeping body, particularly in lieu of anyone else you’d assume would take the job, such as a lover?

Also, I’m a Buddhist. This isn’t my religion. I’ve just been tugged into it sideways because Brand’s everything tends to be enveloping, and I’m a very sensitive empath and sensitive to otherworldly things, and Loki is chatty, and… really, I just thought of all of it as interacting with my best friend’s family.

His father talks to me from time to time. Today it was to tell me in part to stop being terrified of Freyr — of intimacy (insert 10,000 words about the ways my heart has been twisted and broken in the last seven months) and of being one of those people who, with no prior experience with a god, suddenly announce that said god is interested in them — and to reassure me at length that he had never left Brand since all of it started, and that Brand would be all right.

He told me that despite the nearly-overpowering radiation of LIKE, Freyr was the gentlest person he knew, no doubt knew all about my PTSD and trauma about relationships and sex and how afraid I am of even entertaining the idea of being near anyone, and all of the rest of it, and would never do anything, or, and this may have been the most important part, would never make sad eyes at you or lay guilt trips on you because of it.

He suggested that rather than spend my trip home from the dentist reading or reciting mantras (my default subway activities), I talk to Freyr. Suggested rather strongly.

So I did, for a little while. I had a headache from the dentist. I asked why me?, and after why not you? clarified, no, a real answer. I need a real answer.

He said that I was gentle and kind, regardless of how many times and ways that I am hurt. He said that I was beautiful. He said that I was very strong despite being very wounded.

(And then I was distracted by getting to the train station and getting on the train.)

When we resumed, I was looking for something to listen to so that I could tune out some of the subway noise and ended up deciding to listen to a talk on maitri instead, with the intention to talking after I’d gotten home, eaten, looked after Brand, etc.

When it started playing, he gave me a look.

Maitri or Metta is a loving-kindness practice/meditation. It’s quite simple but very challenging. You work on earnestly wishing yourself, someone you feel grateful toward, a close friend, a neutral person, and someone you dislike happiness and the cause of happiness, and freedom from suffering and the cause of suffering, and then you wish the same to all sentient beings (this includes things like fruit flies and the yappy dog down the street, gods, otherworldly all sorts of things, the dead, and so on). Work on is the important phrase. Over a long period of time, it opens your heart, enables you to experience great compassion, and helps you reach a place of equanimity, which you’re simultaneously working on with your regular meditation practice.

So — largely homeless, life a mess, deeply hurt, and I’m spending forty-five minutes doing maitri instead of any of the other million ways I could’ve found to use the time.

Apparently that proves his entire point of why me.

Today’s rune was Wunjo.