Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sheer Grace

Ten thousand diamonds
dripping from the rain-drenched trees.
One million tiny suns
glinting in the dewy grass.
And I,
solitary witness to each
spectacle of light.
Two mornings, separated by years,
Same light, different diamonds,
Same soul, new eyes.
Sheer grace, this life.
Photo by Bas van Anholt on Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Monday, July 10, 2017

Befriending Your Physical Self

The following ideas were received via a shamanic journey on behalf of a woman who was seeking answers to a question about her health. She had reached a time in her life in which her spiritual, emotional and mental self were all in good shape. She felt happy, vibrant, positive, engaged. More than ever before, in fact. Yet physical ailments and issues continued to present themselves, niggling reminders that all was not well. What was this about? Why, she wondered, was her physical body not in alignment with the rest of her?

The answers held such profound truth and near universal application for our gender in this culture at this time, that we both agreed there was benefit in sharing them. I share the message of the journey here, with her permission. You are welcome to read this as if it is directed personally to you. It may well be. You will know.

First I saw a circle, a hoop, with a cross in it, depicting the four aspects of your being: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. Spiritual was in the north. Mental was in the east. Emotional was in the west, and physical was in the south on the circle. Three bright lights, spirit-beings, stood at the north, east and west. Together they were joined in attending to the one at the south, which was very dim. I was given to understand that these spirit-lights are a part of your highest being. They are the highest and healed eternal aspects of your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical bodies, and are connected with Divinity.

Next the dim spirit-light in the southern position of the hoop turned into a newborn infant, and the others laid her on her side on the circle as on a table. They massaged her with oils, rubbing her back, and gently tapping her feet, to soothingly awaken her physical body and to seat her soul in it. Perhaps this was not done perfectly at your birth, these loving ministrations to make sure that your spirit felt completely welcomed and embodied? (For most of us, it was probably not even thought about.)

Next I watched you grow into a three-year- old, a five-year- old, a third-grader jumping rope. Something may have happened or not happened at these ages of your body. Injury? Illness? Trauma? Each age of your body was surrounded by the north, east and west spirit-lights and attended to in whatever way was needed.

Then we stopped at your twelve-year- old self. A significant disconnect may have happened here with the coming of puberty, adolescence, and awareness of body image. As well, the importance of being accepted in social circles of girls of that age figured largely. It was explained that this is not at all uncommon in our culture. At an age in indigenous cultures when tribal belonging and growth into womanhood is marked with ceremony and celebrated, in our culture it is largely kept secret, bemoaned, dealt with as minimally as possible, the subject of grave warnings of impending danger. Instead of being encircled among girls and women, this coming of age is often accompanied by the experience of being shunned or excluded, or of feeling as though you are separate, apart, and not as good as.

Photo by Yoann Boyer

Of course it is not news that treatment of body image among young girls and women has been brutal in our culture. This is so all-pervasive that it has taken us a long time even to be aware of it. Finally the correction of that is beginning to happen in current generations. It was at her age of attainment that the north, east and west spirit-lights gave instruction to the south, “You are a woman-warrior. You are strong, capable and beautiful. We welcome you into your womanhood.” She knows this already at some level but needs to be told it again.

Next we were at age eighteen-nineteen- twenty, and then pregnancy, and then first childbirth. By this time the light-being in the south was under a heavy dense cloud of fog comprised of all of the cultural oppression of women in all of its forms that has accumulated over centuries of ignorance. The sacred process of giving birth was interrupted and replaced by surgery. No true recognition or recompense was ever really expressed or offered. Why would it be? was the general accepted mindset. Instead, a substitute and an oh well.

Photo by Yannick Pulver

This was all a part of that cloud of non-caring and discounting of what is important to our physical aspect, this shrugging it off as oh well and never mind and don’t complain and just make the best of it. And of course, seated as this event was next to the joys of motherhood and of having a healthy baby, it was easily neglected and discounted further. It was let go, put away by the emotions, logically discarded by the intellect. It was even looked upon as somewhat selfish and petty by the spiritual. Yet your own physical body in its experience of childbirth was and still is intrinsic and important. It is right and good to attend to this part of your being.

The spirit-lights of north, east and west surrounded south again as a grown woman. They cleared the fog over and around her in an ever-widening circle of clarity. This is what needs to be done and it is being done in a species-wide manner right now. A clearing of the fog that has blanketed our gender is in process and if we recognize it and acknowledge it and cooperate with it we will hasten the process. This fog is comprised of centuries of oppression and ignorance. Its clearing is a return to a way of being that is forgotten in our tangible world but can be revived from within us. In this it is like the migration of the monarch butterflies across North America to central Mexico…they know the way though they themselves have not been there, not for three or four of their generations. And just so will we return to the originally intended beauty and power of our gender within our species. This is currently in process, and every woman’s observance of it within herself will help to bring it about for others.

It is no wonder that, given a lifetime of being discounted, criticized and un-included, our physical bodies may not have a strong connection with our spiritual, emotional and intellectual self. One prescribed “remedy” is to be conscious of including and welcoming your physical body. To foster this re-connection, visualize the spiritual, mental and emotional parts of yourself as spirit-lights of the north, east and west. Three women who will now make it their practice to befriend the fourth.

Photo by Suhyeon Choi

Create with them a ritual of healing and inclusion for your physical body, the south spirit-light. Let it be something ongoing until its effects are complete. In addition to a ritual, make a daily practice of visualizing all four parts of yourself participating in everything you do. If you are going somewhere, hold the conscious thought: “Hey, body-being, we’re going out…come with us!” Visualize all four parts together, in a loving and strong company, a group of lifetime friends.

When you are sitting down to eat, acknowledge and include your physical body and joyfully celebrate her presence, her membership in the circle. Share food with her generously, not begrudgingly or with guilt. (Oh the dense fog around food and self care that clings to our feminine bodies!) Receiving massage therapy (because your body is worth it) is another example of something helpful in re-establishing connection with your physical body. You might honor your physical being by paying attention to her, complimenting her ( !!! ), thanking her. Purposely and with awareness, include and address your physical body as if she is important, too, she is an equal part of your being, right up there with spiritual, mental and emotional.

Photo by Ben White

In the evolution of our species, the meaning and splendor of these four aspects of being have made and are making a comeback, in this order: spiritual, mental, emotional, and last but certainly not least, physical. Our timely and observant task is to notice this disconnect if it is present within ourselves and to seek wisdom to address and heal it. There are many among us who would benefit from inner work of this type. In this we have good company.

I thank our spirit teachers and guides for imparting this helpful information. I offer it to you for your healing and wholeness and for the highest good of all.

This account is an example of one type of shamanic service that I offer: journeying to obtain helpful information for a particular issue. For more about this and other services, please visit www.LauraLander.com, and click on Shamanic Services.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Earth's Vision Quest

“Earth is on a vision quest,” one of my sisters wrote to me. I understood her to be referring to the current tumult playing out in nature, culture and government as well as to our interrelationship as human residents of our planet with each other and with the earth.

Photo by Steve Halama

A vision quest is a ceremony practiced by Native Americans. In the Lakota tradition it is referred to as hanblecheyapi (literally "crying for a vision") and is one of seven main rites. It is a quest for truth and purpose, for soul-searching and personal growth, for spiritual guidance. It is an experience of seeking a deeper understanding of Nature and Spirit. It does indeed seem as though our earth and everything that is a part of it is crying for vision.

Not a casual undertaking, a vision quest is prepared for by cleansing of body and mind through the inipi, or sweat lodge ceremony, and is accompanied by solitude in the wilderness, fasting from sleep and food, deep prayer and observation. It entails suffering. And then, hopefully, a vision.

Photo by Juskteez Vu

Black Elk, a holy man of the Oglala Lakota Sioux (1863-1950) described a part of the vision that he received during his hanblecheyapi: “Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.”

Photo by Luis Perdigão

It is a gift that we have this record of Black Elk’s life and visions due to his own decision near the end of his life to impart his story to ethnologist John Neihardt, who met with Black Elk and transcribed his words in the book Black Elk Speaks.

Heroic resistance warrior, also of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, Crazy Horse (circa 1845 – 1877) was a cousin and contemporary of Black Elk. This description of his vision, spoken only four days before his death, is also well worth pondering today, approximately seven generations later:

“Upon suffering beyond suffering; the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things, and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be as one."

Photo by @Hikersbay

We are longing for light again. Let us go with the earth in a quest and cry for a vision with her. Let us learn to live together like one being, many hoops making one circle, all children of one mother and one father. May we, in this time of the seventh generation, humbly receive the knowledge and understanding of unity from the ones who carry it, and by that means may our sick world be blessed. May we recognize and salute the light within each other’s eyes where the whole universe dwells. This is my prayer.

Photo by Neven Krcmarek

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Getting Our Gandhi On: Which Wolf Will We Feed?

‘You cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong… We cannot be silent.”
 –Rep. John Lewis, GA

The day immediately following the 2016 election, as more than half of the voters in the nation stood appalled, the first Facebook post announcing plans for a demonstration to be held in Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day appeared in my newsfeed. Knowing the overt, at times violent conflict that had beset the campaign, my initial, heartfelt response to this news was: “Better get your Gandhi on.”

As the weeks between the election and the inauguration wound out, certainly no qualms were settled by any presidential-elect words or behavior. On the contrary, in this modern rendition of The Emperor’s New Clothes that we are currently witnessing, the need for increased vigilance and the call for more active and vocal participation in our democracy have only been made more apparent. The extent of the response to this call to rise up has now been displayed in the number of and attendance at the various marches, in Washington D.C., throughout the nation, and all over the world. When a group of people in Antarctica comes together in solidarity for justice and equality, there can be no blithe dismissal of the amount of impact this election has had and is having.

That our current events have the possibility of serving as a catalyst for a greater awakening to social and spiritual consciousness is a truth that I remind myself to focus on. Because our focus is a vital ingredient to the outcome; it is key to what our future and our children’s future and the future of the planet holds. While ‘resistance’ may be what our political strategy is called, while it may be our means to an end, I suggest that we aim our focus higher. Most of us have already learned by our own experience (and continue to learn) that what we resist... persists.

In the arena of non-violent dissent for the twin causes of equality and justice, we have been given some powerful examples of how to go about the work with integrity. These few come to mind: Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Congressman John Lewis, Nelson Mandela, Thich Nhat Hanh. The native Hawaiian protectors of Mauna Kea. The water protectors at Standing Rock. There are more. We would do well to learn from them.

I also remind myself to be conscious not only in my selection of the sources of my news, especially online, but of the amount of time I invest in following stories or online comments. It is essential to be informed. It is not necessary and perhaps more than a little unhealthy to allow the poison of fear mongering, cynicism, sarcastic one-upmanship, and essential rudeness to be the reinforcement of our attitudes and opinions. Certainly political humor and satire have their place, and a little laughter lightens the weight of these times. But I believe we must be careful not to return like with like. It behooves us to be careful, because, as the well known story of the two wolves that are at war within each of us goes, which one wins is a matter of which one we feed. Kindness, bravery and love, or greed, hatred and fear. When I turn on the radio or sit down at the computer and check in to social media, I ask myself: “Now which wolf are you going to feed?”

Photo Courtesy of Claire Cummings/Maine Young Democrats
As the flip side to what we take in, I believe that it also behooves us to own and cultivate the sovereign power that inherently belongs to each of us as thinking, intelligent individuals with hearts and souls, and that is to consciously choose the words we will speak, the thoughts we will think, and the actions we will take. To choose with intention, and to remember to ask ourselves before we speak, or post, or forward, or act, or paint the message on our sign if our intention is worthy: Which wolf does it feed?

These are turbulent times that we are navigating. Let us endeavor to bring only our very best to the challenge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Being With Trees: the Japanese Concept of Forest Bathing

There is nothing new about knowing that being out in nature, and in particular, being amidst trees in a park, woods or forest, is rejuvenating on multiple levels. But maybe it is good to be reminded, anyway. Maybe in our rushed and time-starved, 24/7 techno-hooked-in culture, it’s too easy for us to forget this free medicine for our souls and bodies, and to neglect to access it.

What many of us may remember from childhood, or if we are lucky and have been paying attention what we may continue to experience in adult life, is being scientifically documented for us. A decades-old public health program in Japan has been cultivating a practice referred to as “forest bathing”. Basically just putting ourselves in the presence of trees. And medical researchers have been tracking and documenting the physiological and psychological benefits, which are many and real.

Improved immune system function, including cancer prevention, is bio-chemically brought about by inhaling the essential oils naturally emitted by trees and plants to protect themselves from insects and germs. Decreased stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rate have been measurable effects, as have reduced levels of hostility and depression. And you don’t need to schedule a two-week vacation in the wilderness to benefit: a little consistent exposure seems to go a long way with lasting effects.

I personally find the term itself to be inherently refreshing! Forest bathing depicts a visual of the therapeutic effortlessness of receiving what the trees so generously offer.

Just reading this article on the topic felt restorative to me! I invite you to read it for yourself, and be inspired to foster in your own life the consistent wellness habit of forest bathing. Give forest bathing its rightful place right up there with adequate rest, good nutrition, healthful exercise and daily brushing and flossing. Your world will be a better place for it. It’s a scientific fact! But then, we already knew that.

http://qz.com/804022/health-benefits- japanese-forest- bathing/

Friday, October 21, 2016

Language of Laughter

I am known for my laugh. I hear about it all the time. It’s most often loud and full, it comes from my core, a true belly laugh. It’s genuine. It is not affected. It just happens.

The principal of the school where I taught music years ago, once remarked that he could hear my laugh all the way down the hall from the teacher’s lunch room. At her high school play, my daughter’s friends remarked to themselves from behind the curtain, “Susanna’s mom is in the audience. You can hear her laughing.” This was before the play even began!

I once was the delighted participant in a laughter yoga session at a retreat…what a powerful experience of energetic release. The whole room escalated with the sound of our laughter at really nothing in particular. I saw others pointing to me and laughing harder as I leaned back in my chair, my legs extended out in front of me, my head resting on the chair back, laughing toward the ceiling with tears pouring down my face.

Photo by Ben White

At the end of another retreat, we were given the assignment to laugh for two minutes every day for the next thirty days. I highly recommend it!

My laugh has only infrequently been the source of misunderstanding by people who equate laughter with ridicule or who count laughter as something you only evoke from others, as in, you don’t laugh at your own jokes. For me it is not at all ridicule, but it might be an expression of pure joy that seeks to be shared. Or it may bubble up when I share a thought that strikes me as hilarious. To me, laughter is not about scoring or affirmation of ego. It is certainly not about putting someone else down.

I had a recent experience of the transformative power of laughter. It was the day before my big out-of-state move. I had spent weeks sorting, hauling, packing, donating. I had had the details in place for some time: moving pods to be delivered and the independent team of movers scheduled to load them. All logistics lined up. I felt ready.

But, like a row of dominoes going down, my “best laid plans” went awry when the pods, once delivered, were too few and too small. I was in a bind. After sorting through possible options, the independent movers would do the entire move with their truck (lose the pods), but their available dates didn’t line up with this last-minute re-organizing crisis and conflicted with several important commitments of mine. I received that particular call in the line-up of back-and- forth contacts during the middle of my art class, and took my cell phone to the back hallway for the duration of that conversation. Overwhelmed with the stress of the situation and with the additional unplanned expense now looming over the move, I remained in the back hall for some time after hanging up to allow the tears of frustration that I could no longer hold back.

When I re-entered the art studio, thinking I had a least a shaky grip on my emotions, I sat down in front of my painting and took up my brush. But it was no good. More tears needed to arise. Feeling self-conscious even among these good people, I put my head down on the table and let them come. A bit later, after I had given some semblance of an explanation to the others and had taken up my brush again, one of my fellow art students began recounting a long story about her sister-in- law in some such similar situation involving the stress of a move. It was quite a detailed story of things going wrong, and as I listened I thought to myself, “Why is she telling me all this? The last thing I need to hear right now is any more about stress and moving!” But when her story came to an unexpectedly funny ending (one of those situations where the credit card that this person couldn’t find anywhere was tucked right into the holder with the cell phone she was using even at that moment to relay that it was lost), I had to laugh.

Photo by Brooke Cagle

Right out loud. From my core.

She smiled at me, and said, “There, at least you can laugh. Don’t you feel a little better now?” And the amazing thing was that I did. I felt MUCH better. Nothing about my outer circumstances concerning the move had changed. But my own inner experience of the situation had changed instantly. Laughter took me up and out of the depths of fear and frustration in a matter of seconds. And everything did eventually work out, as it so often does, in one way or another. I will always remember and appreciate her gift to me.

Laughter is good medicine. There truly is healing in it. Laughter is vibrance and spirit and joy. I invite you to try it often! Begin each day with smiling at yourself in the mirror. See if you can conjure up a laugh, even if you don’t feel like it. (And not out of ridicule or sarcasm.) Find occasion for it. It is worth seeking out, more than a pot of gold.

Photo by David Schap

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Here in Maine

My Maine Adventure Begins!
I pulled down the long 15 mph lane of my Kentucky farmhouse for the last time on the last Sunday of August.  The movers had just loaded the van and left minutes before. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard - 12:12. (Most auspicious!)
Lane through the trees
First destination was Philadelphia for a visit with my daughter, son-in-law and youngest grandchild Marco. I arrived late in the evening in their west Philadelphia neighborhood, which is partway into the process of gentrification. The curbs were tightly lined with parked cars and there was no place for me to park that was anywhere near the home they are renting.
Angel in West Philadelphia
Through a re-arranging of their car to open up a spot for mine, I was able to park a half block away. I was taking my suitcase out of the car when my daughter came to meet me and said, “Now we need to unload your car.” It was going on 11:00 pm. I had been on the road for over ten hours. All of the previous days and weeks had been busy with sorting and packing and hauling and last meet-ups with friends and nights of too little sleep. I was exhausted. My car was packed to the gills with stuff that I didn’t send in the moving van: musical instruments, my suitcases, my printer, monitor and laptops, my art supplies, who-knows-what-else.
“No way,” I countered…“we can’t carry all of this stuff a half block to your house! It’s way too much!” “We really should,” she quietly insisted. This dialogue repeated a few times, and finally in a weak attempt at concession I pulled my violin out of the back, the portfolio of illustrations for my next book, and let her carry my other suitcase. I locked the car, asked angels to stand guard through the night, and extended my hand, palm toward the car, putting a shield of Reiki energy around it. “This will have to do,” I said to my daughter.
The following morning as neighbors left for work, parking places opened up directly in front of my daughter’s home. “Now you really should move your car and we should unload it.” I agreed. I walked down the block and as I began to unlock my car to get in, a voice called out from a porch “That was a really bad idea.”  Not guessing that it was I who was being addressed, I continued to get in the car, when the voice took embodiment in the form of a tall African American man who was coming down his porch steps and saying directly to me for the second time, “That was a really bad idea.”
He went on to explain that in this neighborhood, you don’t leave stuff in your car. You can’t expect it to not be broken into. He said he had seen me park there and consult with my daughter, and saw me walk off and leave the car filled with possessions. “You must have been tired,” he intuited. I said that I was. He told me that around 1:30 A.M. he awoke and looked out to see a man sitting on the step at the end of his front sidewalk, just looking and looking at my car. He went out and told the man to move on. He said I was very lucky.
I did feel lucky! And I felt as though the Reiki energy shield that I had placed around the car was somehow delaying the man from breaking in, and the gentleman who sent him on his way and was now reporting all of this to me was one of the guardian angels I had asked for protection! I thanked him, moved the car, and unloaded everything with the help of my daughter and son-in-law. Even for the 24-hours that was left of my visit with them, I felt that I didn’t want to tempt fate again.
I spent that day blissfully interacting with Marco and the evening enjoying a Middle Eastern-Mediterranean style dinner out with Susanna and Camilo. By late the next morning I was on my way to Maine.
Me and Marco!

Susanna and Marco wave bye from porch

Upon crossing over the Maine state line, the heavenly scent of fresh pine permeated the air.  I arrived at my Brunswick daughter’s home after dark, and was greeted at the door by the whole family saying “Welcome to Maine!” My granddaughter Iris looked up at me with her eyes shining and her smile radiant. It was the best welcome ever!
A Plethora of Boxes!
The next day I spent caring for my grandchildren Iris and Arlo, then in the evening met my new landlord and lady and the movers at my new home. All of the furniture and household goods were skillfully unloaded in record time. After the van had pulled away, I came back into the house. Each room was stacked with boxes! There was the furniture, too, of course. But the boxes and boxes! I couldn’t fathom how much stuff I thought I needed. It was ridiculous that one person should have so much stuff. And this was even after sorting and giving away a lot of it before leaving Kentucky. I vowed that the next time I move, it will be with half as many boxes.
I made up the bed and lay down in my new bedroom. I slept soundly amidst all the boxes until dawn and awoke feeling very much at home.
The next few days were divided between grandchild-care and unpacking. On Day 3 I decided to put my priorities in proper order and took the morning to explore a river path two miles from my new home. The weather was fine and clear, the temperature was perfect. Being immersed in such a lovely natural setting was most restorative for me. The path is for walking and bicycling: two things that I love to do!
River Walk!


Home Sweet Home and the Essence of Friends
In just a few days I managed to find a place for everything and everything in its place. As I opened all of these too many boxes and unwrapped all of the various items, I understood why I had chosen to bring so many of them with me. Almost none of them were purchases of my own. Here were the gifts and memories and items inherited and donated to me from so many of you! It is good to have them around me here. Collectively they provide the essence of friends and loved ones near and far, infusing this new dwelling place with familiarity and helping me to feel welcome. I know that there will come a time to let go of each of them in turn, but for now, I am grateful to have them around me, reminding me of all of you.
Aunt Marion’s Clock
One of these cherished possessions is a LeCoulter clock passed down to me from my Aunt Marion. Featured in my first book Chapters From the Farmhouse Journal, it had engendered special significance to me when, after never keeping good time before my move to the farmhouse, it kept perfect time once I placed it on the mantle in my first few days there. I felt that it was telling me I was right where I was supposed to be.
In the past couple of years, though, I had noticed that it was off again, and just this year it stopped working all together. It is a valuable clock, one that is powered by the gravity of the earth; it never needs winding. I could not spare the money to see to its being repaired, but I brought it with me and set it up here to see if by chance it would run. It began to run as soon as I unlatched the catch that keeps it still. It is keeping perfect time! I feel that it is letting me know that I am right where I am supposed to be! As a special bonus, the day I set it up here happened to be my Aunt Marion’s birthday, September 4th!
Aunt Marion's Clock

Bald Eagle
On Day 5 (Labor Day), with only one box left to unpack, and the pictures yet to hang, I took the whole day off of any and all work and re-visited the river walk. I felt filled to overflowing with gratitude. With each step it was as though my sneakers were saying in rhythm, “thank – you – thank – you –left- right- thank- you.” A bald eagle gliding along the river passed very near to me. Another welcome! I believe that may have been the first time I have ever seen a bald eagle in the wild.
Colorful-Flowered Skirt and a New Neighbor
As I walked along I looked down at what I had put on to wear that morning: a pair of brightly colored pink, purple, yellow and green flowery skorts with a pink t-shirt…one of my former massage therapist “outfits”. ”Hmmm,” I thought to myself, this is not really the average get-up to wear hiking in this “Home of L.L.Bean” territory. I wondered how I must stand out, or whether or not I appeared ridiculous, but didn’t really care.
On my way back along the walk two young women were power-walking with their fitbits and their sleek black stretch pants and sporty, perspiration-wicking tank tops with matching headbands. I overheard their conversation about men and relationships. One of them smiled at me and said, “I LOVE your skirt!” Wow, I thought! Who knew?!
Shortly after, a woman who was walking toward me looked at me and said, “Oh! Are you just moving in…?” I said “Yes!” She explained that she recognized me because of my skirt! She had seen me leaving my house earlier, which is across the street from her house, and of course this loud and colorful skirt made an impression! She introduced herself and we talked. She heard I was a writer. We quickly entered into a more meaningful discussion than one would normally engage in on such short acquaintance. As we parted ways, I thought how useful this “loud”skirt had turned out to be!
Flowery skirt
I went further along the trail and came to a place where large flat rocks extend out almost crossing the river. I stopped to appreciate the site.
Rocks across the river
Before long a young child and her “Gammy” came along. The little girl skipped across the rocks toward me and announced excitedly, “I always put my feet in the water whenever I come here!”  Watching her and then her Gammy sit down and take off their shoes and socks and put their feet in the water, I could not refrain from joining in. We sat and talked and enjoyed the refreshing moment as if we were all good friends. It didn’t matter that we never met before and hadn’t even exchanged names.
On my way back home, I found a farmer’s market and loaded up with fresh, locally grown produce. Maine blueberries for sure! This afternoon I sat out on the deck reading and relaxing. The landlord and lady, who live in the other half of this duplex, came out and we chatted. They are very nice people, and I am thrilled that this renting sight-unseen-long-distance-from-Kentucky has worked out so very well.
Landowners: Jason, Angie and Cole (and Lily)
A Welcome Orchid from My New Landlady
I look forward to this time of being a nearby grandmother to one part of my family here.
Iris taking my picture

Arlo is happy!
Streganonna and Iris
Special Moments

I plan to continue my writing and illustrating, and my search for a literary agent for a book I have written. I hope to begin marketing my voiceover work again. And there is lots of exploring to do in this beautiful state of Maine!
Already I have been to visit my sister, niece and nephew at a friend’s “camp”, which is what Mainers call a summer lake house. It is about an hour from my home.
Lake through the trees

Sunset on East Pond
And spent a glorious Sunday afternoon at a State Park beach, about 45 minutes from home.
Ocean with Sailboats

Sandpipers on the beach!


Blissful day at the seashore
I think I am really going to love it here.

Some of you have requested photos of my new home, so here are some.
1880 original structure half of duplex
back door

front door

New doormat: All are welcome!

Settling in

View out front door


Refrigerator full of farewell and encouragement!
Living Room

Stairway with two turns!

Guest bedroom

Bedtime reading corner


Tree at front door too lovely to cut down