Jon and I were back at Jon’s foot surgeon this morning. It was his first check-up since getting out of the hospital on Saturday. Next week we’ll go back for a procedure that will straighten out his toe so it can heal properly.
So it’s not over yet, but we’re headed in the right direction.
We got home with just enough time for me to have a quick lunch before I had to head back out to a dentist appointment.
I was very happy when I heard Dr Merriman (that is his name and is a kind and merry man) say “good, good” as he looked at my xrays.
Before going home I stopped at a shop a few doors down the street and picked up a gift for Jon. We’ll be married (lucky) 13 years in a few days and we’re going to our favorite Inn in Vermont to celebrate.
It’s the same Inn we went to when we first met, then honeymooned at. The Inn with the wonderful food, claw foot tub, and nothing much to do.
It’s changed some over the years but is the kind of place where we can both relax as soon as we walk through the door. Familiar enough to be comfortable but far enough away to make us forget about work and home while we’re there.
I treated myself to an ice cream cone at The Ice Cream Man,(they make their own) on the way home from the dentist and was only a little late feeding the animals. Then Fate and Zinnia and I went for a short but restorative walk in the woods.
I didn’t get into my studio, but I’ll be ready for it Monday Morning. I have no plans for the whole day except to start working on something new.
It rained during the night and was still misting when I led the animals to the pasture this morning. This evening I was a bit shocked when I was able to clearly see the clouds, and then the mountains, deep blue-green as they are this time of year.
It’s only been a couple of days since the haze from the wildfire in Canada descended on us. But I’d already gotten used to the smoke-filled air limiting my vision and coloring my world.
That kind of adapting can keep me going, but I wonder if it can’t also make me complacent.
Sometimes I’ll look at one of my sister belly dancers when we are dancing and I see an image from my Language of the Goddess book. It’s a reproduction of a drawing on a piece of pottery of a woman with her arm circled over her head, her body holding a pose.
It’s easy to see the goddess in the women I dance with. Bellydancing is one of the oldest dance forms so it’s no wonder that the people who perform it today are reaching back through time.
Two weeks ago Julz, my teacher and friend, showed me how to use an eyebrow pencil. Something I’ve never done before. I’m learning how to use makeup for our upcoming performances.
Everyone is willing to help. When the eyebrow pencil I bought made me look like Martin Scorsese, Trish brought me a lighter shade that she had at home.
Trish told me that when she got promoted a co-worker let her know that if she wanted the men in the office to take her seriously she had to wear makeup. Ever since then, she thinks of her makeup as war paint.
I get that.
She, like the other women in my class, talk about how they wear makeup for themselves, not for other people. It does something for them. That’s the same reason I put on earrings in the morning and think about what I’m wearing, even though most days, Jon is the only person to see me.
I do it because it makes me feel good.
So along with practicing dancing, each week before class I practice putting on my performance makeup. And each week I get another helpful tip from the experts.
I never wore make-up. I wasn’t allowed to at the age most girls start wearing it. After that, I lost interest. Now I see it as another part of my costuming for Bellydanicng.
After getting over my initial anxiety about having stuff on my face I became curious about the artistry of it. It’s kind of like wearing a bra (which I rarely do). After a while, I get used to it and sometimes it gives me more confidence. Like I have protection between me and the rest of the world.
Which makes me think about what Kathleen, who has been dancing for over 25 years, told me last week about performing.
I’m still uncomfortable leading the dance and will often rush through the moves. I do the same thing when I tell a story. I rush through it thinking no one really wants to hear what I have to say.
Kathleen said that when I’m dancing I had to believe in myself the same way I believe in a piece of my art that I put out into the world. What I want to be saying with my body is, ” I don’t care if you look at me or not, but I am worth looking at.” I’m dancing because I want to and I’m good at it.
I’ve always felt comfortable in the long skirts and jewelry, but it took me a while to adjust to showing my belly. Now when I dress up in my belly dancing clothes, I feel strong and beautiful. It is a shield in a way and I can imagine the makeup playing the same part.
It might be just what I need to put between me and the world, while I’m still faking it.
And I have a feeling that eventually if I keep at it, I will “make it“. Because sometimes when I see myself in the mirror during dance class, I think I look like that illustration of the dancing woman in my Goddess book too.
When I opened up the backyard where the dogs have free run, for the donkeys and sheep to graze, they all came in except Biddy. Somehow she got left behind and found herself on the wrong side of the fence.
She just needed a little help finding the open gate so she could join the rest of the flock.
Jon brought the chicken back from the village market after his Meditation class at The Mansion. “I think it is a cold,” he said to me on the phone. That’s when I told him I’d make chicken soup if he picked up the chicken.
An hour later, after lunch, I chopped the onion and my eyes didn’t sting until put them in the pot.
The light coming into the house has been strange all day. This morning it glowed orange on the bookshelf, now there’s a yellowish-gray cast over the farm. My neighbors, the mountains, are pale ghosts of the haze.
I can’t help but wonder if my eyes still sting from the smoky cloud that reached our town from Canada early this morning.
“I think I can smell smoke on my sweatshirt,” I said to Jon putting my nose to my sleeve. Can you smell that or am I imagining it?
Jon smelled it too even though he’s congested. Maybe his cold isn’t a cold, but the effects of the tainted air. The weather channel warned against going outside if you have certain health conditions, heart disease being one of them.
It’s been dry here. Not like in some places thankfully, but a small thunder shower a few nights ago is all the rain we’ve had in a long time.
Last spring and summer, when so much of the country was in drought or flooding, we got the perfect amount of rain. Enough to keep the grass green through September without it being too much.
I worry it’s our turn, the grass in the pastures is already mostly yellow. “It’s just dormant,” Suzy texted me, “protecting itself till it rains again.”
I know I’m fortunate to only be concerned about having enough grass and hay for the animals, and not about wildfires.
We’re promised a thunderstorm, but I don’t trust it even though the air is beginning to remind me of the color of the chicken soup simmering on the stove.
When the rain does come, it smells like a campfire and doesn’t last as long as the thunder. The ground under the big maples is bone dry, but still, I’m grateful for what we got.
It feels hopeful.
Jon says that dogs know hope. The way Fate will always run to the door when I put my shoes on, hoping to go to the sheep no matter how many times she’s disappointed.
Maybe the grass knows something like hope too. Like the potential of dew. Just enough to not give up.