Diary 2/18/19

The Ides of March are upon us (‘ides’ being a Roman method of naming the lunar cycle in March; Shakespeare named the dangerous time frame for Julius Caesar’s death, not for the rest of us) and it is good to know that spring is inching closer every day. Despite the gathering snowflakes on the lawn this morning, my ‘dirt’ fingers are itching. I can’t get out there to work the earth or plan landscaping for outside of my windows yet, but I am mentally puttering inside with potting the six plants now under my care. That is the #1 sign of my internal spring returning.

When I first arrived at Kendal I was adamant- No Plants. In my widow shock, the concept of caring even for a plant was beyond me. I had nothing to give. I barely kept a beautiful orchid alive that my in-laws sent me as a welcome gift. Likewise, I was relieved to be cooked for at every meal no matter what was served. It turns out my body is still sensitive to even incidental gluten and processed grains on a daily basis and I really do not like beef or pork. I am so glad I now have a kitchenette.

My personal spring #2 sign, is that I am cooking for myself more often to supplement the meal choices on offer. Kendal has a 7 week rotation menu schedule, changed for every season. I now know that ‘Caribbean Chicken’ tastes less appealing than it sounds. By my standards, the vegetables are mostly overcooked, there is little salt, and even less seasoning in most dishes. There are some exceptional meals, and there are unannounced surprises like excellent seafood gumbo for Mardi Gras. The variability and limitations of what I both like and can safely consume, are uncertain week to week.

Learning to use my microwave in unique ways- gluten free ‘banana bread-in-a-mug’ on Sunday mornings, Yum!- and ordering a small InstantPot will give me a much larger scope to stretch my wings. I am so grateful to cook again.

Speaking of wings, the #3 sign of my burgeoning growth is: I am going to choreograph a dance for Kendal’s next big community wide event. Spring Fling is about dances and the theme this year is butterflies. My senior dance major friend from Oberlin is returning the favor of being in my five minute piece as I was in hers for her senior project last semester. To begin our piece, another friend will read: “This is from The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang-Tzuby Zhuangzi or Chuang-Tzu, a great Chinese philosopher who died in 327 BCE. He was a major contributor to the philosophy of Taoism and had great influence on the rise of Buddhism.”

Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a {wo}man.”

My friend, Martha, and I have many non-corny ideas to set this into literal motion using five minutes of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings as our musical backdrop. She is also a meditator and this is a classic parable on the nature of reality. People will hear what they hear, and see what they see, but for us, it is a deeper revelation we are exploring. I just found out today that we can have it filmed by a professional photographer who is married to a social worker here. Kendal has a newly installed large screen to view it in the auditorium. Rather than doing a live performance, this video will provide for a more relaxed creation in case the actual night is a ‘bad body day’ for me. If it turns out well, I will learn how to post it on this site. My body is still sore, limited, and shaky, but I am filled with visions that cry out to me, “Come, move as you can.” Together, Martha and I will, and will not be, flying.

May we each find our personal signs of new growth in the midst of the world tragedies and sorrows that we all bear. May our tears water that which is starved for the waters of Love.

12 thoughts on “Personal Signs of Spring

  1. Oh, I am so glad to read this
    and how wonderful and interesting your Butterfly Fling will be
    I do hope that you get to post it, I would love to see it💕


  2. A toast to your dance from Italia where I am teaching! A friend photographed a Dali sculpture with a butterfly at a special Interactive Dali Journey exhibit. Butterflies and the theme of metamorphosis loomed large for Dali – I will ask her to send me the image to send on to you. What I can’t capture is the experience of the video projections with butterflies on cave walls. Here is to your experience creating a new piece, with love, Elaine


  3. I enjoyed reading about your personal signs of spring. I bought a small InstantPot about a year ago and have really enjoyed it. The small size works well for me. One of my favorite things to make is six-minute potato salad. (You cook the potatoes and hard boil the eggs at the same time. Then add your other ingredients afterwards.) Really tasty and of course the eggs are the best cooked that way too!


  4. hi judi,
    how utterly beautiful to choreograph chuang tzu’s dream, the famous teaching on the mysterious and vast interdependence of all things, all beings.
    wow, i’d sure love to see that!
    so glad to read of your signs of inner spring, of cooking– i can’t help thinking of rumi’s poem about a chickpea who tries to jump out of the stew, but the Friend tells chickpea to stay, to cook, to become tender, spiced, softened, flavorful.
    in God’s great soup.



  5. I wish you Butterflies in the Spring….Just wrote a long post, because your posts go to my Social tab and I miss them. As I miss you. Samuel Barber’s Adagio is one of the most beautiful pieces of music on Earth. I am so happy that Dance is dancing again for you. Can’t wait to hear more. xxx


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