Chicago Flag Symphony Center
Faith Family Journey

Cardinals song, dreams, and tight spots

I'm angry at myself because when I think of how people view me, this twice-divorced woman, I imagine they think I am an idiot but I'm not.

My watch read 6:32 am. I stopped. Listened. It came through the north window. I smiled. It was the cardinals song. I went over to the window. Pulled the curtain to the right. Now, I heard a robin, too. The geese squawked in unison. There was a lot of chatter this Monday morning.

I found the noise wasn’t only outside. My response to a sound night’s sleep flipped into overdrive. As I went to pour my coffee, I instead grabbed the red pen on the opposite counter, then a paper towel, and jotted down the words and images. I recalled water. A little spring, attached via a plastic tube that ran through the trunk of the fake or real tree into a small body of water. This pondlike structure was the size of a small living room. I worked on arranging tiny terracotta half basins that would capture the water from the spring below and help it return to its source. Soon after I was finished, I looked at my work from a nearby room and second-guessed my placement.  I recall someone finished what I had cast aside as unneeded, I can’t recall if the person was my mom or someone else, but I do know I felt no contempt, I loved the person. There were insects and small reptiles scurrying toward the fountain. There was a black beetle with a brilliant green opal-like back, whose scutter didn’t scare me. I was too fascinated by its beauty.

I can connect some influencers of this dream from yesterday’s events and experiences:

  1. Water, insects, and discovery: On Being with Krista Tippett: Sylvia Earle Her Deepness.
  2. Tree trunk: Facebook post from a friend whose tree was weeping yesterday.
  3. Mother’s presence: My mom wrote me some lovely comments yesterday, and I was also thinking of her friend (mine, too), MB when I listened to On Being yesterday.
  4. Water and tiny objects: Railway Exchange Building the home of the Chicago Architectural Foundation where there is a scale model of downtown Chicago. Last night, I reviewed my pictures from my visit there Saturday and appreciated the blue, symbolizing the water, and how the lake frames and binds the city, and the river dissects it. Together, Lake Michigan and the Chicago River make movement constant, contributing to the city’s vibrancy and energy.
  5. Second guessed: Self- judgment. My friend asked me at lunch yesterday what angers me most about my ex, and I replied that I was disappointed. He is so smart, has such a big heart, and could do or be anything that he wanted to be, but he is stuck because of that disease, a disease that is out of my control. And I’m angry at myself because when I think of how people view me, this twice-divorced woman, I imagine they think I am an idiot but I’m not.

Yesterday after a long walk, a short run, and a lot of poop scooped, I brushed the dogs and clipped the hair around their ears. The sun was bright, its warmth clipped by a persistent wind that quickly carried the dogs’ hairs, a force that made my attempts to get the clumps in the trash futile. In the background, I listened intently to Krista Tippett’s  interview Brother David Steindl-Rast. The interview is focused on gratitude, but it encompassed much more than that. It moves from anxiety to prayer, from faith to religion, and around again. It’s not fair to say that their words were in the background because they were most definitely in the foreground. I’ve listened to this conversation now three times. Each time I listened, I felt as if I was curled up, my neck moved left to right, as my head followed their voices. Like the cardinal this morning, their voices were musical; the Brother’s words magical.

BR. STEINDL-RAST: Destroys it, yeah. And that is why we can look back at our life, not only at our birth, but at all other spots where we got into really tight spots and suffered anxiety. Anxiety is not optional in life. It’s part of life. We come into life through anxiety. And we look at it and remember it and say to ourselves: We made it. We got through it. We made it. In fact, the worst anxieties and the worst tight spots in our life, often, years later, when you look back at them, reveal themselves as the beginning of something completely new, a completely new life.

And that can teach us, and that can give us courage, also, now that we think about it, in looking forward and saying: Yes, this is a tight spot. It’s about as tight spot as the world has ever been in, or at least humankind. But if we go with it — and that will be grateful living — if we go with it, it will be a new birth. And that is trust in life. And this going with it means you look what is the opportunity…

There were so many moments in that interview that resonated with me. Especially his take on prayer, and God. So much so, that after I took the trash cans to the curb yesterday, and I walked up the asphalt driveway, I knew that those 100 steps, buffeted by 20 mph winds, with a snow-free path, cleared by the sun and the warm air, that once I recognized I, that I knew I was a part of we, and that moment was a recognition, a prayer if you will, of gratitude.

The last decade had some tough spots and a lot of anxiety, that like the good brother said, we work through. Waking up this morning, to song and light, I thanked someone, something, some great connector, who or that, made this morning possible. I know there is a rebirth happening, and I’m stuck in the birth canal right now, but I’m going to emerge from the darkness soon enough.

 

3 comments on “Cardinals song, dreams, and tight spots

  1. I used to get anxious over that fact- that anxiety isn’t optional. Over time, and with much effort, and yes some prayers too, I was able to get to a place where it doesn’t faze me. But I am mindful that as with any process, it’s ongoing.

    As with you, I find that there are certain events and circumstances, that when I dwell on them for any length of time, they take me back. In some of these instances, I find myself getting pissed as if it’s JUST happening now. And then I think . . wtf? And breathe my way into some meditation. Yes . . the process.

    May every day begin with a bird song. Wouldn’t it be nice?

    Beautiful piece of writing, Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. Like it just happened a minute ago. Thank you. The best part of tight spots, is knowing I’ve been in them before and I’ll wriggle my way out, even if it takes years. The only person to release us from them is ourselves. Yes, everyday can begin with a bird song, if we listen for it. Happy Tuesday! I’m dumping my stragglers all into one doc and look forward the mess at the end of the week.

      Liked by 1 person

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