Friday, July 24, 2015

Notebooks



I am a notebook fiend, have been even before I could write. When I was younger my parents had to keep any notebooks they brought home out of my reach, otherwise they would go missing (and eventually rediscovered tucked away in a corner of my room). I loved back to school as a kid because it meant several crisp new composition books that I could carry around. Knowing my love of them my mother always picked up one or two extras for me. 

When we went shopping at dollar stores it was inevitable that you would find me in the notebook section, holding the various books, feeling the pages, seeing how they would lay open. I was rather picky about the kind of notebooks I liked and could spend the entire trip trying out every single on for the right notebook. Sometimes they wouldn’t have any I liked and other times my parents had to talk me out of buying 15 of them at once.

In high school it was disappointing to me that we no longer used the composition books, but I found that I liked having binders. The days before school had me putting in the fresh new pages, carefully dividing the binders with the bright new tabs and carefully labeling them in my atrocious writing. I would then sit back and flip to each section, admiring the pages. The first few days of school I tried hard to write in them neatly, to keep them tidy and organized, it never lasted. Eventually the pages tore, little notes got scribbled in the sides, snacks would be spilled on them and the writing smudged. I knew it was inevitable, but I’d try to postpone it.

Despite my love of notebooks and paper I have always been an inconsistent journaller (is that a word?). I would go in fits and spurts, writing out long entries for a few weeks and then not touching it for weeks or even months on end. I often reused old journals years later because there was still some good paper in them. If I wasn’t journaling I was doing what most teenage girls did, write stories, story ideas and really crappy poetry. Wherever I went a notebook or two was always with me.  

When I decided to become a witch in college I spent months hunting for the perfect notebook for my Book of Shadows, trying out several different kinds of note books and pens to see which felt the best. I had several magical books on the go at one point in time… a Book of Shadows for my spells, a Book of Light (detailing my spiritual feelings which is now scrapbooked… another story), a spiral bound notebook for notes from the books I liked and even binders with lessons I did for myself.

Over time my diligence waned. I slipped into being a lazy witch and an overall “Bad Pagan” (actually I might keep that moniker along with “Redneck Pagan” for the same reason… I find it funny). I wasn’t doing a lot of work on the magical side of my life as the physical realities of being a grown up (you know, work, marriage, mortgage, taxes, wondering why the hell I came into this room) took over. 

I got stressed, I got tiered and generally pissed off at life. And then we had a tsunami of crap (granted both good and bad) happen over the last year and a half that threw monkey wrenches into everything I planned and got me even crankier. I pushed through, did what needed to be done and started to take the chaos in my life and build a new future (with help from an amazing husband, a loving family and friends who didn’t care if I ate the whole pint while talking). Things started leveling out, and I started to get on with day to day life. 

As I went through all this notebooks were constant companions. They gave me release for all the pent up emotions, a chance to get out some of the negative things I was feeling in safe manner. And when I had finally exhausted the negativity and emptied out my soul I had space to fill up with the more positive things in life. Once again another notebook was at my side. Slowly I have started writing about the brighter things I see around me. Little by little the light within is shinning brighter. A notebook absorbed my darkness and another helped me find my light

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Year End

We are in crunch time in my little corner of the world. In less than 20 days my youth group will be done for the year. We run from early September to early June. Some of the kids will go to summer camps and some will not. As for my husband and myself, we are looking forward to a summer off. But before that can begin we are in the mad dash rush to get to the end of the year. There is a million and one things to do and prepare before we can finish off, and our annual wrap up is one of them. This is a massive day long undertaking that sometimes reminds me of a Broadway Production.

First we have the innumerable practice, the creation of displays, the primping and preening, the planning of awards, the banquet afterwards... and then when all that is done an epic after party at my house (that still needs to be cleaned to within an inch of it's life at some point in time).

So forgive me for my absence since every time I sit down to write something I end up making a to do list... I'm not gone permanently, my mind is just occupied!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Little

This weekend was a hard one, I had to face a death. This death was so little in the cosmic scale, so seemingly unimportant and so simple and average that it shall not be thought of by more than a tiny handful of people. And yet is so immensely heart wrenching that I am haunted a little by it. The death is that of a tiny ball of fluff, a little mutt of a dog who at 16 years slipped out of this life. The little dog isn't my dog, but was the dog of a friend of mine and my husband.

 She called us Saturday night, having come home from being away to find her little dog, curled up in it's bed, cold and not breathing. It was not unexpected, the dog was ill and frail. Totally blind and partially deaf this little dog had begun to have some health concerns and there had been some heart wrenching talk of taking it for the last ride to the vet. Now that decision would not have to be agonized over. We came right away, driving the 40 some KM into town with the car on cruise control to keep me from speeding. My husband and I said little on this drive, I think we both got lost in our thoughts and concern for our friend.

I won't describe the scene I walked into as we came into her home, it's heartbreaking enough just thinking about it. I wrote it out in my blue journal (the one I save for my saddest and darkest thoughts) and out of respect for my friend it will stay in that journal till I fill it and burn it. I can only tell you it tore into me in a way that no other scene I have ever experienced could. The grief that pour out of my friend caused me to cry a little while I was there, and a lot when I was alone.

We sat with her a long while, offering what little inadequate words of comfort we could. This little inconsequential dog had been her light, had been there in her ups and downs. Had comforted her in the night, and brought joy to her days. As the dog failed in health she continued to pour love onto my friend. And now the dog has passed, and the emptiness was palpable. We talked about the little dog, held our friend as she cried and reassured her that love never dies.

We then took the frail little body with us to the local pet crematorium. I know the owners and know the respect that they will give to this little body who contained a soul larger than life. We will go with my friend to collect the ashes when they are ready, and give my friend a small gift of a cast of the miniscule paw. It won't be much, it is all we can give her. I wish I could do more, I wish I could give them another 16 years, I wish I could pull out the pain and sorrow of the loss. I wish I could mend the broken heart this little life left behind.

I still hate death. The actual death itself does not bother me, all life is transitory and must someday end. Death is a doorway to the next life, releasing the soul for a chance at rebirth and renewal. I do not hate death for those things. I hate death for everything it leaves those of us left behind with. I hate the heartbreak, the shattering of the lives, the pieces that must be picked up and put back together (and they can never be put together the same as before). I hate the sorrow and the loneliness, the guilt and the anger. I hate the feeling of loss, the feeling of being helpless at either the death itself, or the pain of those left behind. And I hate the wandering of the heart and soul that we all go through as we work through the death of a loved one, big or little.

I also hate sometimes how we as a society views death. For my friend the loss of her little dog is an immeasurable tragedy, felt just as deep as any other member of the family. And yet there are those who are poised to tell her "It's just a dog", like it's life was somehow worth less than another. Like somehow her personal grief is not important or worthy of them to take a moment and express sympathy. Like an animal who has faithfully been at her side for over 16 years is something that she should just be able to toss aside and forget. I wish I could change that mindset in people, for them to see how sacred and meaningful these bonds are, or to at least respect those who have those bonds.

For my own part I would like to take a moment and pause, to acknowledge this little death, that will go unremarked by many. To give thanks for the life this little dog had, for the joy it brought to my friend. For the nights it sat with her faithfully, giving kisses and cuddles. For the love it shared with her, for being her baby for the past 16 years and giving of everything it had until it passed. And I would like to give thanks for the millions of other little lives, just like this little dog, who will be remembered by only a few, but whose love and devotion made their worlds a much brighter place.