Joan Adele deForest Winston with John, Lisa & Andy 1962 (sorry Mary …born 1964)

In the midst of a pandemic…    Today is Mother’s Day. I’ve been missing my mom, and thinking about all the years she lived “on the hill” out in the countryside of Western New York where we grew up. She was surrounded by nature, and lived pretty much in isolation. She didn’t drive, so the world had to come to her. She had a deep appreciation for the deer, turkey, and occasional bear that visited the yard, and she marked the calendar the day each species of bird came back in the Spring. So as I took my daily walk today, I carried her memory and her appreciation for nature with me. The gifts were even greater than most days. #beautyheals #natureheals #loveheals in so many ways.

Gift #1   Just a block from my apartment, I received the gift of another little painted rock – a beautiful blue starfish. When I got home I googled “spiritual symbolism of Starfish” and this popped up from the website Universe of Symbolism:

Starfish spirit animal opens its wings, reaching to feel all that it can.  When you are at the water’s edge of the magnificent seas and oceans something mystical happens as you gaze into the rolling tides… something within you happens and you hear the truth.

Well, that’s a home run message! One thing I’m really missing during this “stay-at-home” time is sitting on the beach at the ocean’s edge listening to the wisdom of the surf.

Gift #2   Walking up Fairhills Drive, where I hear turkeys gobbling every day, today I saw them from afar and up close. I could hear a turkey call from across the valley. When I stopped to listen and follow the sound, I could see in the distance on the next hill, a big tom with his tail feathers all fanned out.

On yesterday’s walk I had continued down the road and through that valley. Today I was called to turn around and go back down the hill the way I came up. Five minutes later as I was taking a close up photo of some yellow roses, I turned and saw a big tom turkey just a few feet from me. I stood still and watched as he did a little dance in the middle of the road and fanned his tail. I could hear little cooing sounds coming from under a bush. He was showing off, trying to coax a hen out from hiding and wasn’t paying me any attention. I very quietly, very slowly edged a little closer, and a little closer. At one point he turned and looked straight at me. I stopped, stood perfectly still as he came towards me… and then he turned and we ambled down the road together for a few yards.

Turkey is one of my animal guides. In the Jamie Sams, David Carson Medicine Cards book and oracle cards, turkey occupies the “below” position in my 9-card totem animal spread. “The Below animal teaches you about the inner Earth, and how to stay grounded and on the path.  Turkey symbolizes the spirit of giving – “Ho, Brother Turkey! So freely you give, Of everything that you are, So others may truly live.”  From Animal Speak by Ted Andrews: Turkey is sometimes called the earth eagle. It has a long history of association with spirituality and the honoring of the Earth Mother.”  So here I am. Here WE are. All of the photos I share on my daily walks are honoring a grounded path and our mother… Earth.

Gift #3   Back down on level ground I took my loop along streets with beautiful landscaping and a vast variety of flowers.  I’ve taken a couple hundred images of camellias, iris, bluebells, rhododendrons, bottle brush, succulents, honeysuckle, and lots of roses.

As I was admiring some tiny little multi-colored blossoms along the stone wall of one home, a gentleman came out the gate, “Hello,” he said. “Are you admiring those flowers?”

“Oh yes,” I said. “I’ve been walking every day since almost the start of the lockdown, taking flower photographs and appreciating all the beautifully landscaped yards in the neighborhood.”

“Would you like to come in and see our roses?” he asked. “My wife is an expert rose gardener, and the rose club meets here. Well, it did until this pandemic hit.”

We introduced ourselves and I followed him through the gate at a proper “social distance,”  into the stunning beauty that surrounded me.  Yellow, white, pink, red, peach, mauve…

“How many variety of roses do you have here?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. Come back again sometime later in the day when my wife’s up, she’ll be happy to tell you all about them. Stay as long as you like, and come visit again.” With that, he went inside and left me to the roses. I took a few photos and let myself out the gate.

Elvina & Lisa 2004 – Princeton NJ

Gift #4   A couple blocks from home, near the end of my walk, my phone pinged. A message from my best friend of 45 years, Elvina Tamasi Pettus. Her 65th birthday was yesterday and we had just talked and laughed and cried together, so her message was a surprise.  And what a surprise! It said, “Just wanted to say that actually bearing children is not always the only qualification of being a Mother. For all the guidance, patience, courage and love you have extended to me and your family I wish you a very blessed Mother’s Day. I love you.”

After my mother died 20 years ago and we held her memorial in Boulder with the family gathered at my house, Elvina came from New Jersey to mother me. She had known my mom,  and I adopted her mom, “Mommy Adele,” when my mom was gone.  Her mother’s name is my mother’s middle name. From the time Elvina and I met in college we’ve both mothered each other. I’m pretty sure none of this is coincidence… it has to be some past life connection.

It is with deep gratitude that I share these gifts bestowed to me today. And in the midst of this pandemic which is causing so much disorientation and suffering, I pray that you stay safe, stay well and have a blessed Mother’s Day.  May it be so…

Footnote:   A spiritual teacher once shared with me that during a time in his life when he was experiencing deep depression, all he could do was walk. He walked for hours, sometimes days. He said, “Feeling your feet on the ground, emptying your mind and allowing open-hearted awareness to just notice what’s around you, to drink in nature, helps to ground and orient you when you are in a disoriented state.”

I started walking around my neighborhood daily about 10 days into our lock-down, discovering streets I had never walked. With the sun coming up earlier, each day I start my morning meanderings a little earlier and stay out a little longer. I’m not trying to lose weight or get in shape, I’m merely trying to stay grounded, awake and aware. So I walk with no agenda, just quiet mind and open heart. Some days I vary my route slightly, some days I reverse it totally, always curious to see a different perspective with fresh eyes. It’s my spiritual practice these days.  Visit my profiles on Facebook or Instagram

What are you doing to stay grounded these days?  Needing some soul care?  Send me a private message. Peace and Blessings…  Namasté