The only constant is change. That’s abundantly clear as we shelter-in-place, and the moments stretch like taffy between in and out, past and future, here and there.

This morning, I woke refreshed, feeling calm, trusting, safe.  Before I rose, I reveled in the darkness and stillness outside.  I’m a morning person, a lark, and I’m happy to be awake.

I sat, and still sit, with my morning coffee with cream. I’ve placed Steve’s coffee mug and a thermos of coffee in a safe exchange place. We continue to honor separation until we get the results of the Covid-19 test. A kitty is here with me, a soft purring curl of beauty and light. 

I’ve been cooking comfort foods. I knead bread and roll out pie crusts. Yesterday I made meatloaf, something I haven’t made in years.  Meatloaf was the first dish I learned to make as a child. I’d forgotten the only way to mix the ingredients is with your hands, which results in a lovely squishy sound as meat, egg, milk, onion, ketchup etc. come together to bind in new ways. 

When shelter-in-place was ordained, I ordered meat from a family ranch, Alderspring, in Idaho. I know the history of the family and the lush environment of the cows so I envision their lives as I knead and squish. Normally we don’t eat much meat but these are not ordinary times.  I return to my Midwest background, and meat and potatoes are essential ingredients to bind then with now.

Each morning I read Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac.  Today I’m struck by these words of Carol Bly: “Literature has low enough standards. But we can avoid writing the worst literature if we make ourselves ask ourselves, every two or three sentences we write, ‘Is that what I really think?'”

Why would we do that with just writing?  Each moment we can ask ourselves, “Is that what I really think”, and perhaps add, “Is this what I really feel?” 

We can allow thought and feeling to percolate through like petals dropping softly to the ground. Sometimes I’m startled when I hear the thud of a petal fall and hit the kitchen table. I think of petals as fragile and light, but they are strong and purposeful. They’re not here just for our heart’s delight.

When my friend’s mother died, we dealt with what needed to be done, but that night I felt her mother scattering rose petals on my friend and me.  Was it imagination or “real”? Does it matter?

Friends say they’re having trouble sleeping.  That’s never been a problem for me, but in these times of stress, I have an evening ritual. I tuck into bed, which is now the couch since Steve has our bedroom, and I imagine those I love who have passed away, and I picture them scattering petals like feathers over me as I go to sleep. Usually it’s roses, but these days, it may be the flowers I see during the day, so pink jasmine, lavender, and rosemary.

I feel bees full of pollen return to their hive to share and sleep.

One more thing.

I’ve been putting off washing my kitchen floor. I’ve kept everything up but that, but now as I plan my open, spacious day, I’m reminded of Anne Rudlow’s book, Butterflies on a Sea Wind: Beginning Zen.

A busy woman, she gave herself the gift of time in a retreat center. Her assigned task was to clean the stairs. They looked perfectly clean to her, and she was a bit peeved at performing what she felt was a menial and made up task, but then sweeping revealed the stairs weren’t as clean as she previously thought.

In addition she learned it wasn’t about the stairs. In cleaning our surroundings, seeing more clearly, we cleanse the lens with which we perceive.

So maybe today I’ll clean the kitchen floor which is clearly in need of a sweep and a wash. Another friend finds comfort in ironing but I think that’s way too much for me right now as I need folds and creases as I origami my way to be.

Am I a swan, hawk, duck, or crow? I’m changing all the time, so all four and more.

Blessings for each of us on this new day.

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