Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ice Out

Hey All
I've missed writing. I've been attending to the needs of my Mother. So far, her 89th year has been a challenging one.

But while I did not find the time to write about it, I have found some inspiration. I've been inspired by my visit to Northern Ontario last month, before my world turned just a little cockeyed. 

But while I had inspiration, sitting calmly and writing without distraction has been lacking. Just when I think I will be able to carve out a little time to write, there's one more doctor to talk with, one more nurse who needs more information, a physical therapist who wants history and one more signature needed somewhere. And right now, that's just where my attention needs to be. 

So, here's April's inspiration in May. I started it, my friend David happened to call in the middle of one of my frustrating days and offered to finish this up for me.
Thanks David!

As I've said before, my intention in writing, if anything, is just to present the musings of a wandering woman. Take what works for you. Discard what does not. David and I won't mind a bit.

Ice Out...With A Little Help From My Friend, David
April is always the month of flow. My April musings have often been about the rise of my backyard creek, the torrential downpours, the flooding of my driveway, and the flow of maple syrup. This year was the year of Ice Out in Northern Ontario. The few hours it takes lake and river ice to disappear is generally unpredictable so I did not count on being privy to the ritual. But this year I happened to be there just in time. 

One moment the lake, and the river that flows from it, is totally covered with ice except for a little ring of water along the shoreline where the warm sun has heated the ground enough to melt the ice. The next moment, dramatic movement begins as the ice starts shifting. 

One moment, it's a calm spring day. Birds can be heard in the background. The next moment, nothing can be heard over the thunderous noise created as the ice moves swiftly from the lake and down the river. 

One moment the shoreline is flat. The next moment the ice is piled up on itself in a geometric design that has Mother Nature's signature all over it. 

One moment the sound is deafening as the ice crunches and grinds upon itself. The next moment, as the drama subsides, the gently swaying ice sounds like the tinkle of wind chimes as it lightly bumps back and forth. 

One moment birds on the lake ice are taking flight and Mr. Beaver is diving deep. The next moment that same wildlife is calmly floating by on spring ice flows.

So much like life, eh? Right now, I'm stuck in the “next moment.” David listened and took over….

"I am your biggest fan."
Isn't that a lovely statement? I’ll take credit for it because I said it. I said it to Deb Martin just a few minutes ago.

Deb has been my coach and very good friend for about 6 years. I called her a few minutes ago and she was stuck, just not feeling the normal mushroom-loving, fishing-loving, moose-loving mojo that she normally does.

Deb is a love so I call her from time to time and I tell her I love her. I tell her I love her because it makes me feel good and I think it makes her feel good too.

When I called her today she said she was stuck with her essay and I offered to ghost write something or just write something. She said I should so I am.

Since this is ostensibly a coaching column, I’d like to talk a bit about coaching. Since this column is also from, I’ll throw in a little ice and ice fishing just so you all feel comfortable.

Deb and I struggled over the years because I kept wanting her to coach me to do something. She just wanted to coach me and let the process lead me, and she and I together, wherever it may.

Just like her columns, she lovingly suggested, that the most wonderful and powerful experiences could be had just going outside, walking around, and taking your clues from the moss on a branch or whether the morels had decided to grow on the roots of the oak trees.

I have found her suggestion to be true. Whenever I try to live my life strictly according to goals it feels empty and shallow … hollow. I came to Deb wanting to change the world, solar power the world, get my musical on Broadway, etc. I came to her convinced that these achievements would give me peace and serenity, joy and meaning.
She didn't say I was wrong. She listened lovingly, for hours. I wondered why she spent so much time listening to me, talking to me. Her attention did not seem at all tied to my achievements or my attempts at achievement. She seemed to love me for exactly where I was at every moment, regardless of whether I was achieving mightily or (in my estimation) screwing up. 

Deb let herself wander in my life and quietly and sweetly, by her trusting and generous nature, invited me to wander in hers.

Today's conversation between she and I was unusual. Usually, I bring the conversation around to what I am doing, achieving, and she as always, listens lovingly. Today, I listened to her talk.

Deb is tired. Her brain and maybe her soul is tired, if a soul can be tired. She had a potential topic for this month. She had already written about the ice breaking up at one of her favorite bodies of water, one of the lakes or rivers where she communes with nature (and her friends sometimes) and recharges her soul.

Recently she had been at this lake or river and the ice started breaking up and moving. She told me the melting ice and shifting and breaking sheets of ice made thunder noises and tinkling noises and crushing noises. She intimated it was beautiful, maybe moving to her. We didn't talk about it much.

It was another of nature's demonstrations and showpieces that Deb loves so much. She seemed a little sad or confused or just frustrated that this tasty piece of nature's showmanship was not as inspiring to her as it might be if she was not dealing with her mother's caretaking.

Funny. I think the roles have reversed. It seems to me that Deb was just a little concerned with performing and meeting expectations and I am the one who is saying, Deb, it's okay, I love you just the way you are.
I love you for struggling.
I love you because you are
letting me write a story for you.

I love you for teaching me how to just be.
I love you for teaching me that if you can't write a kick-ass story, maybe one of your friends will call you up and write it for you.
I love you for teaching me that there is no right or wrong … there is only love.
I love you for taking such good care of your mother.
I want to assure you that there are many years of ice melting and rivers thawing and glorious crunchings and groaning of Canadian lakes in the springtime.
Right now, you are exactly where you need to be, struggling to write an essay so that I might write one for you.

You are my friend, Deb, and I love you very much.
David Freund
“You never really know your friends until the ice breaks” ~~Eskimo Proverb