Hope Among the Birch

2015-04-18 13.41.03

They say that following the last Ice Age the robust and weather-hardy birch would have been among the first to re-colonize ice ravaged landscape. In botanical terms, it’s known as a pioneer species.  This fact alone makes it perfectly fitting that I found myself among the birch at Green Mountain at Fox Run in view of fabulous Okemo in Ludlow Vermont.

2015-04-18 13.32.14-2

I agreed to accompany my sister but it was increasingly clear the more I read of GMFR the more I couldn’t wait to get there myself.  I’m no stranger to issues with weight and I’ve spent the better part of the last seven years developing life strategies but the weight…remained.  From their website:

…Over the past four decades, Green Mountain at Fox Run has helped thousands of women end weight loss struggles with eating, exercise and body image, make long-term healthy lifestyle changes and lose weight permanently…

We were part of a four day “intensive science based program” centered around food, movement and mindfulness.  Our group was a dozen and a half women of varying backgrounds, sizes and stages of life.  I refer to them as the most phenomenal group of love and mess I’ve ever met.  They completely filled my heart for so many reasons and though we’ve vowed to keep in touch even if I never hear from them again they will remain in my heart.

2015-04-19 08.06.47-3

I’ve spent the entire past week trying to process my experience last weekend and it has been extremely difficult.  The amount of knowledge was staggering, the ah ha moments just kept coming, the movement was diverse and fun and yes you could actually walk the next day, the thought provoking, look inside and discover what serves you and what doesn’t moments were like streaming video.   And the food was incredible and delish.

I thought for a split second that I might be able to do “a post” on the experience but it’s impossible to boil it down to just one post.  There is just too much to share that is legacy related.

I have to start with the staff.  How the hell do you interview for kindness? These are experts in their field with the highest levels of education but at the core they are women helping women.  They will fly their hand to their heart in a minute at someone’s tiniest success.  They will engage at yet another moment’s notice with anyone showing the slightest bit of courage.  They will pop out of their office at the slightest hint of someone in need, whether they are a mother or not they all have that “mother hearing”.  Hell they will jump up and send a hug your way if that’s what it’s going to take to cement your first ah ha moment (my sister can attest). As I watched the weekend unfold I came to realize that these were also women with their own stories turned into incredible legacies.  They know like they know of what they speak. And so you can’t help but trust the integrity of their word, THAT cannot be contrived.  They define living life the way you want your story told. Brava.

Oddly, one of the biggest things I took from this weekend was one of the tiniest things you can do each day, pause.  I learned about the natural pauses that occur in almost everything you do.  Thousands of times a day you breathe in, breathe out.  There is the tiniest pause at the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale.  If you’ve never considered this you should for it can stop you from any number of things.  Not that I remembered to pause this morning as my mother told the same damn story about the time himself brought the dog to her apartment and she (the dog) pooped in the living room….agghhhh.  Let it go already… both of us clearly have work to do I laughed on the way home.

Another important natural pause occurs when you’re eating.  It is physically impossible to keep at a breakneck pace without pausing, even if you’re starving.  Not that I’ve ever been accused of breakneck speed when eating, you didn’t think I heard your eyes roll….did you?  Many times you will actually put your fork down and then pick it up again without taking advantage of the pause.  What I can be accused of is not paying attention until I’m at shaky, sweaty, hangry, gotta eat or someone will get hurt.  You knew it was coming, you’ve seen it.

There is irony in my not being fully aware of the pauses in my life as most of these posts are categorized as pause points.  Yes I’m paying attention now.

Suffice to say that over the next few weeks I hope to further process and share what happened on that mountain, as my sister would say, so that you can understand that I am not the same person for having gone to explore what might have been a new “diet” (no such thing, don’t let’em tell you otherwise) and come back validated in my work of the last seven years with hope for an incredibly bright and creative future.

File Apr 26, 4 21 35 PM.jpeg

Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees….Karle Wilson Baker



The Air of the Day

2015-04-12 14.46.28

“We may not know whether our understanding is correct, or whether our sentiments are noble, but the air of the day surrounds us like spring which spreads over the land without our aid or notice.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel

Every year there is that day, the one that brings energy and dirty hands and relaxing and doing and satisfaction and tired muscles at the end of it.  Today was that day.

2015-04-12 09.46.30-1

It started out easy like Sunday morning in the relaxing and reading and playing.  Toti Nonna has rediscovered her toys.  Lina was not a toy girl; she was a lover who stuck as close as possible to anyone who would pet her.  As time goes by Toti rediscovers a bit at a time. Today was that day.

2015-04-12 09.45.11-1

The air was so warm and the sun so bright you just had to be outside.  I’ve been trying to make a beautiful space out of some packed soil that gets a bit of afternoon sun since I got here.  I salvaged an Adirondack chair from the dumpster many years ago that just needed a few screws and it’s been moved from one section of the back space to another looking for just the right spot.  Yes I know it needs a paint job desperately not just for the aesthetics but also to keep it together.

2015-04-12 14.50.06-1

I also had the good fortune to inherit some wonderful flag stone from a friend and today was the day to make this space come a little bit more alive.  So for the last time this winter I put on my duck boots and got to work.  Loosening the soil, placing the stones and back filling the cracks; I wanted to get it all done this weekend so the upcoming April showers would set them more permanently.  I get this is no professional job but it’s added yet another story for the neighbors to tell about the crazy women who’s trying to transform the space next to the enchanted forest.  Not sure I’ve convinced them it’s enchanted yet either.  Some mulch and creeping ground cover and it should really take shape, maybe even creep into that enchanted forest.

2015-04-12 14.46.20-2

There is something about doing the work yourself, putting a bit of yourself into it that will give it the legacy effect.  Combine that with the story of each of the components and the legacy seems to get even more sure of itself.

2015-04-12 14.53.50-2

There is also something about getting to the end of the job and sitting down to evaluate your work that gives you more satisfaction then writing a check.  The view from the new home for the Adirondack chair into the enchanted forest is perfect.  The summer sun will come over the roof at about 3pm and that’s pretty much where you’ll find me well into the fall.



Suffice to say…

2015-04-05 12.08.46-5This was a day filled with tradition and family; the kind of family that is fashioned a bit from friendship and a bit from inheritance.  We gathered to share a meal that was part Easter and part Spring.  We ate the traditional foods in a different way, we picked.  We put it all on the table and just sat around and shared.  2015-04-04 13.14.56

2015-04-04 13.15.07-2We shared food and stories and laughs and concerns and wine and sweets.  We had the windows open for a time and the air smelled of fresh soil and renewal.  The music was jazzy and the exhale was immediate.  Just like Sping, love was in the air.

Rusty Cook

They say that Spring is a time for new beginnings but those new beginnings don’t come without old endings.  We lost our much-loved Rusty this week leaving Mocha to figure out life without him.  Our hearts are broken but if my dear Toti Nonna can begin to show the love again I am certain that little Mocha will too.

2015-04-05 11.40.48-1

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson