home ownership

You Have to Do the Cutting First

I lay there in the dark with my legs feeling heavy. The previous night we went to bed expecting snow. Nature followed through and we got mounds of it. A big, heavy blanket of spring snow.

When I woke it was dark, big flakes falling in that orangey glow of the street light.

I lay still and I stared at the ceiling, my dread-filled heart beating slowly when my phone started to ring.

It was my in-laws, calling in early, asking if it was still going to happen.

The funeral.

Was it still going to happen?

You don’t postpone funerals.

Not even with blizzards and three feet of mushy, heavy spring snow that takes out trees.

Overnight, one of our two tall aspen trees had laid over loudly in the quiet snow.

It’s bulky trunk and magnificent branches now splayed themselves over our driveway, hugging concrete and saying, ” I dare you to try to leave.”

My husband kept fielding calls from people.

So many people asking, “Is it still on?”

I couldn’t answer.

I got dressed in my black dress and scratchy tights. My cousin brushed my hair.

We continued to look out the window and kept thinking, “This storm has to stop soon.”

It didn’t.

In suits and ties and dresses and heels, the three of us marched outside and stared at the damn tree.

How were we supposed to get out of the driveway with that thing keeping us in this house? We had to get out. How were we supposed to go to the funeral?

It was still on.

Our kind neighbor was using his snowblower and looked up at us, dressed in all black, and quickly came over to move that heavy snow into piles.

Dylan pulled out of our garage at a precarious angle, and we bounced our way over the snow to the funeral.

The people kept calling to ask.

It was still on.

We went through the motions and mentioned how you could take the boy out of Minnesota, but you couldn’t take the Minnesota out of the boy. Even for his funeral. That boy, grown man, now gone, brought so much snow to his own funeral.

We headed home.

Exhausted from emotion, to-do lists, and people’s empathetic arm squeezes, I wanted to rest, but knew we’d have to face that tree first.

Except, we didn’t.

That same kind neighbor had cut the precious tree to pieces and stacked the remains by the side of our house. Dylan went over later to talk to him, and say thanks, and the kind man said, “It looked like you were heading somewhere pretty important.”

Yes. It was pretty important. That funeral happened.

As a result of that heavy weight, where two trees once stood, now just one permanently tilted as its partner was ripped from the ground.

Two years passed. 

I got worried every time it snowed and our neighbor’s truck, parked ever in front of the house, seemed to look over its shoulder at me every time I’d walk in to my home saying “Are you sure you’re going to let that guy lean like that?”

And so, on Saturday, the men brought the trucks and saws and rope and they cut her down. The second half of the tree – the one that fell with the snow on the morning of the funeral. The one that was still on.

They cut her down, even though she was standing bravely, without her friend.

I almost cried as they chopped that beautiful, living tree into pieces. I stood in our front window and thought, “Thank God it’s not snowing. We cut it down in time.”

IMG_6100

There were buds on the branches. It would have bloomed again.

We’ve got piles of wood on the side of the house again, and now a bench made of the trunk.

IMG_6102.JPG

I hate that we cut down a living thing that was just living it’s life at an altered angle. It was just trying to reach for the sun.

And yet, sometimes we have to rip things out of the ground for our own safety. We have to cut things up that no longer are good for us, take what was and make it into something new.

The beautiful process of recognizing  you can’t postpone some things and move forward by taking actions where you can.

IMG_6101

We will plant more trees and they will grow and shade us and bring fresh oxygen into our lungs.

You just have to do the beautiful cutting first.

 

Advertisements

Squirrel Tail

Affirmations. Positive associations to words and activities that you want to bring into your life. You’ve seen the memes, and the quotes mashed over beautiful images that float through our home pages, Pinterest boards, and streaming Twitter feeds.

The thing is, in this time of growth, I am choosing to surround myself with these beautiful images that make my heart swell and remind me to breathe.

IMG_3408

This one, posted on the Facebook Page, Raising Ecstasy, seemed delightful to me this week as I choose to venture among new waves. And waves there have been as I juggle new responsibilities, and realize that with these new responsibilities comes new schedules and routines, and the letting go of what once was.

I know, I know, I’ve been using this space as an outlet for my process – thank you for those are still choosing to join me in my journey in career exploration. Some of you may want me to sugar coat the process of my job transition and neglect to share the true colors of the overwhelming swells of new. I feel to do so would be unfair to the process. Swells also have moments where the waves are calm, and I rest here.

I hope that for all of you readers who are embarking on your dreams, you can remember that the switch to pursuit of a dream come true isn’t fantastically easy over night. Or over, well, a few weeks. It takes time, and self-love and the ability to work a few extra hours in the hopes that the next morning may be a little bit easier to handle.  I stand on my ship and breathe in bravery – leaning over, and leaning in, one day at a time.

 

if

 

This past week I dabbled between overwhelmed and incredibly amazed at the beautiful potential unfolding before me. When Friday rolled around, I was ready for dinner with friends.  As six sets of hands picked at a massive pan of nachos resting on my kitchen table, I smiled a sigh of satisfied relief. I do have people that choose to invest in me – even if they live far away and we don’t hang out every week.

I also feel I conquered a major choice in our home ownership. When we moved in, our lower den was painted a shockingly bright, lemon yellow. Paired with an accent wall of sky blue, the colors didn’t exactly scream, “Come sit and relax.” When you put our dark blue couch and red lounge chair in the mix, the achieved rainbow effect was shocking to say the least. This weekend, with Dylan’s tasteful guidance, we transformed our den with coats of soothing gray and an accent wall to boot. Even though the paint was named, “Squirrel Tail” (eww, who wants squirrel on their wall?) I do find the achieved effect to be much more desirable. Ahh, I may be able to rest and breathe in this space too.

IMG_3419

If you want to reflect on imperfection, though, as the purpose of this blog suggests, I have to laugh that the lower portion of the walls perimeter remain in their shockingly bright, original hues. We have plans for wainscoting, but have to wait until next month to budget accordingly. Our banisters remain down, and the ladder sits poised in our living room, anxiously waiting the second coat of cutting in.

One step forward. Pause. Two steps forward. Pause.

This too, shall pass.

This transition, this covering of old, this beautiful evolution of a house into our home, shall become a reality.

What other affirmations do you find to be useful in times of self-doubt? How about when things feel under control, manageable, delightful and enjoyable? Do you whisper small statements of truth to bring you good and beautiful things?