Faces in the Trees + Notes on Gratitude

The last 5 days have been busy…non-stop actually. Both good and bad. A planned lunch with friends where instead of being present I was double timing and working on last minute edits to a program for a show (but at least I was with the most awesome babes in the world). My mother-in-law taking the toddler for a few days because I’m solo parenting and trying to work as much as the summer festival at work as I can which means late nights (small team…all hands on deck). Actually getting to go to the Kusama exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. Spellcrafting. Gifting tarot decks. The toddler and I crashing in the city because I had to work until midnight. Getting stuck in traffic on I-5 and literally seeing a car on fire. Like, completely engulfed in flames. And counting 5 fire trucks with the toddler as they tried to navigate their way to the fire. It was terrifying.

And today was pretty good, despite the few hours of restless sleep and getting kicked in the face by tiny feet. The toddler and I spent most of the day with Grammy, walking on the beach + going to a community barbecue + listening to small town bands playing hits from the 1960’s-70’s. But they didn’t get a nap and their routine has been completely off and by the time 5 hit we were both exhausted. Dinner ended up in the floor in a tantrum. Bedtime was interrupted by lack of boundaries (which led to a not-very-discussiony-discussion between my mother and me about continuing to navigate and learning how to live less than 100 feet from each other), and subsequently took more than three hours filled with tears (from both the toddler and me) and doors slamming (because they have figured out how to open doors and because they are a tiny version of The Hulk doors are always slammed, never closed), and a constant going to bed and almost settling and then running into the living room yelling for more playtime.

And in all that’s been going on, the time spent on witchy-ness has been close to none. Keeping my family going, whatever that means, comes first (as of course it should), and the rest waits. And after running all day on 3 hours of sleep exhaustion wins. It just does–it’s that simple, really. But the toddler eventually fell asleep. And the house was quiet. And I snuck outside.

And I can now stand outside, butt naked, no longer surrounded by neighbors security lights pointed in our back yard. I can stand outside, feet planted on the earth, and have the moonlight bathe me, while looking at the stars. And this washes the scurry away. And it is how I practice a little bit of daily gratitude for the life afforded to, and built, by me. And also, today I was just standing in the moonlight, breathing deep, and looking, deeply looking, at everything that surrounded me, and I saw the trees make a shape–an eye, and a mouth wide open (not yelling, I suppose, but asserting…) and another eye–half closed, or perhaps plucked. Pointed in my direction, as I bathed in the moonlight and asked Brigid for bravery. I dubbed it the Odin tree. Breathing out the bravery I ask for.

And I was simply reminded that even in chaos I could still find silence.

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Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: A Witchy Summer Beach Book

NorseMythology_Hardback_1473940163The days are getting shorted here in the Pacific NorthWest, but it’s still summer and we’ve got at least another good 6 weeks of warm weather before the rain begins to fall. Which means a few more trips to the rocky beaches where I can prop myself up against a drifted log and read a book while my kid chases crabs along the tide-line. My perfect beach book consists of casual writing style and tone, an easy to digest story, relatable characters, and drama that isn’t tooooo close to home. And Gaiman’s Norse Mythology fits all of these categories, making it a near perfect beach read.

The stories aren’t new, of course, but Gaiman shows us these flawed deities through a his modern lens of tone and casual style, refreshing Norse mythologies and making them much more relatable than the 1200 BC prose from which they are derived. We are taken from creation to the end of the old gods and goddesses days in a choppy yet easy to follow flow. Gaiman shows the gods and goddesses in their fallible existence–their vanity, fierceness, selfishness, mortality, crassness, manipulation, and often indifference to the trails of humankind.

The book isn’t a comprehensive tome on Norse mythology by any means, and the stories lean masculine. But it is a little trail of breadcrumbs, a window lovingly cracked open inviting us in to explore. It’s a great witchy beach read, and perhaps as the season’s change, and we settle into a time for darker, richer stories, it acts as an arrow pointing us to a hearth-side reading of the Poetic or Prose Edda during the winter months.