Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Omen

I don't see myself as a complainer and I try to work hard. It's always been amazing to me the more I seem to do the more people expect me to do even when I tell them I can't. I know folks are busy but a kind word or an offer of help would be welcome. I guess I just got too few phone calls asking how I am and too many emails asking me to do this or that or saying this or that was expected and I've finally just had enough. Nary a word asking how I am doing. This isn't a plea for sympathy, either, just to let you know where I am right now and that I'm a little behind on things too.

For many years now I have had a bad back and kept on doing, because I had to - 'twern't' anybody else to do it. Over the last few years I haven't been able to do as much but ignored it. This last six months or so it has gotten progressively worse which is one of the reasons we planned on selling our home and now have it for sale. Which is also one of the reasons I concentrate on making slab and slump built ceramics because I knew my back wouldn't handle throwing. So I decided to do what I knew I could. These last few weeks have been terrible. It has gotten to the point where I can't sit or walk for extended periods of time. Terrible, too, because not being able to do what you normally do and having to ask for help isn't a place I want or like to be.

Do you believe in omens? In good omens? I like to think they are real. Up to this point in my life I feel I have been lucky, more than most. I also like to think I have made some of my luck from hard work. Striving to improve my life and the lives of others around me. Too often I think folks are misjudged by those who don't know them or their circumstances in life. For several years now I have striven to look beyond what I see as the outward person into the inner person of who I meet, or talk with, or know. I've tried to, (and this might sound hokey) but treat others as I would have them treat me. I am reminded of that line in the Rolling Stones song "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need".

Today I found good omens in the garden, one on the downspout - a monarch butterfly chrysalis. What joy I felt at this wondrous discovery. I got my camera and took a photo. Then I decided to see if there were any more chrysalis on the butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, in the herb garden. What did I see but a monarch caterpillar. Then I saw another and another. And I remembered butterfly weed is one of the monarch caterpillar's favorite foods. What mystery and beauty and hope, right here in my garden, which I was lucky enough to discover today. Fear, of the future, of my back going out, and of not knowing what is wrong, has prompted me to write such a post, but here's hoping it will all be OK. Xrays and CT scan showed nothing unusual. Tomorrow I go for an MRI and I hope they find something (so I'll know what's wrong), but I hope it isn't much.


  1. Linda- know that I am thinking about you and hope only for the best outcome.
    Your garden is full of beauty and hope.
    I am one of those doers and for many years I did.
    I started about 5 years ago saying no and really thinking about where and when I wanted to use my energy. It is empowering in many ways.
    I hope you can get back to your pots.
    I am well over 50 plus this year and I am changing the way I work in order to continue to work in clay.
    We have looked at how to make changes- the fire in the studio brought this change to the front for us.
    Good luck and I am putting you in the front of the list for good thoughts, which I will send your way.

  2. Linda - I'm thinking about you too & hope you get a 'simple fix' for your bad back. There's nothing more miserable than to push through your day with an aching back!

    You definitely can't give up clay or gardening or photography - tell everyone else 'no.' You have a gift!

    Saying 'no' is something you can learn - and it is empowering. When my son was young - his friend's moms used to call me from their jobs to do their errands during the day - since I was home & 'just playing in clay.' That's when I learned to say 'NO!'

    Please let us know how you are - after your MRI and I definitely believe in good omens. That butterfly is signaling a beautiful change.

  3. I hope you feel better Linda. I have something I think you need. If you are interested email me your address to: Love the photo of the little cocoon. It's always such a treat to find one of those.

  4. Linda - I am sorry to hear that you are having problems with your back and that they are limiting what you can do. I hope that the docs find out what is wrong and that you can remedy it.

    Speaking of omens, this is the second "saying no" post that I have read today. It is definitely an important skill to have.

    What a joy to have found the chrysalis and then all of the other stages! Great pics.

  5. I'm so glad your getting your MRI. I hope it will lead to a diagnosis and treatment plan, but I also hope it's not too serious!! We need to get you back to the things you love!!!

    Lovely pictures of the cocoon, caterpillar and butterfly....

  6. you said it, I hope you will be OK!

  7. Linda, I love your photos of the monarchs; ah yes.
    I also love watching your process in the studio.
    About the other issues..
    I have a knee replacement and the other knee is bad.. always in pain. I have to say no alot.. it gets easier.
    As you start sorting.. I can do this not that; I choose to go here not there; I want to spend time with them not them.. it all gets alot easier.
    Like the monarch you need to hang out with beauty, then take a rest and come back even more beautiful.
    If I were a neighbor i would invite you for tea and cookies and a big talk. Only healing thoughts going your way. Joan Tucker Off Center Productions

  8. I'm so sorry to hear that you're not feeling well. Back pain is no fun and I hope that you will find some relief soon.

    I am also a doer and a people pleaser and have been since I was a child - I was so afraid to disappoint. I started cutting back this year and have been saying "no" to some things - not all - for my own sanity and well being.

    Also - in regards to luck, I heard this quote the other day and think it's brilliant. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)

    Your garden photos are very inspiring...

  9. Thank you to all of you, I just had to vent about several thoughtless people around me. got back from the MRI and will find out next week or so about results. Will let you all know.

    Meredith, I am well over 50 plus too and have worked doing too many heavy type things. Thanks for your positive thoughts. Both Gary and I have had to revise our ways of doing and thinking about what we can do in many areas, but even that hasn't been enough for my back. I am hoping a small fix will fix it all.

    Judy, I too am hoping for a simple fix and you are right about how the back can affect everything you do; I actually did say no - but folks are worried about the economy and other things and it affects how people treat one another to some extent.

    Deborah, that's so nice of you. I appeciate your offer and don't want you to go to any trouble, expense or anything; but I will email you.

    Thanks Jerry, I am saying no these days to a lot of things even to myself. I am so happy my plantings here have encouraged monarchs and other critters, I am lucky to have the opportunity to photograph nature right in my own yard.

    Hi CJ, when I have been lying around I have been thinking of new pieces to make in clay and how to glaze items. Gary has been saying I am "sick" for always thinking of clay even when my back has been hurting. I really do have another addiction besides the gardening. At least I have something to look forward to and I am thankful I have found this outlet when gardening has mostly become too difficult lately.

    Gary, thanks, I just had to vent a little.

    Joan, thanks so much, young at heart and mind, but our bodies aren't cooperating. I hope to one day meet you in person. I wish we were neighbors right now; if we were I am sure we'd be seeing each other for regular cups of tea and such.

    Thanks to everyone who reads my posts, sometimes admitting ones limitations or discussion problems in writing is very good therapy, I highly recommend it.

  10. Thanks Cynthia, when I posted the photo on my blog the chrysalis reminded me of your friend Mary Cay's kiln jewels. The gold band at the top is like little dots of real gold - the photo doesn't due it true justice. A butterfly officianado friend of mine is coming by to show me how to recognize butterfly eggs - hope we can locate some of them too.

  11. Linda, so sorry to hear about your back trouble...and I'm hoping the MRI will bring answers that lead to a speedy recovery.

    I do believe in omens. I truly think there are "environmental signposts" all around us, every step of the journey. So I am heartened that the signposts you've seen & have posted here are ones that bring promise & hope. And change.

    It saddens me to hear that you've had to put your home on the market. But you seem to be a woman who is close to the earth (through your beautiful gardens and your relationship with clay) and I believe those who are close to the earth...attuned to Nature's rhythms & myriad lessons...are well-equipped to accept what comes their way. You will, I am sure, make the most of these transformations. And you'll do it with the grace of the butterflies you so admire.

  12. Hi Becky, what beautiful words you write, thank you.

    We had decided to sell our home some time ago and were waiting for the market to improve, but it seems as though that hasn't come as soon as we thought. We decided not to wait any longer.

    My gardens were created with the intention of sharing nature with others and hoping to influence others with all the earth has to offer. Over the last year I have found I can post my observations of nature here and spotlight the beauty which surrounds us all every day.

    Hopefully someone will come along and appreciate what is here for them.


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