7300 Bowls of Campbell’s Soups

I was stirring the oatmeal this morning and christened the 50+ year old stainless steel Paul Revere pot, “The Red River Pot.”  I chose this name because my Dad cooked Red River cereal for himself each morning in it.  I suppose I could have co-termed it the “Campbell’s Soup Pot” in fairness to Mum and the many hundreds of tins of Campbell’s she heated in this sturdy vessel.

If I take 365 days a year and multiply them by 20 years I have eaten 7300 bowls of Campbell’s soups.  I have not yet mentioned I was allergic to the great quantities of sodium laced into these soups.  These caused me to experience, “soup rage.”  I became unhinged after each serving but we all thought these out-rages were just part of me being Nicole and OD’ing on drama classes at school.  It was when I terminated conventional and manufactured foods from my diet that the reason for my reactions became quite clear = allergic! to chemicals, additives, and preservatives.

When I cook oatmeal I take my time licking the wooden spoon after filling our bowls with the sticky, nutty, batter-like organic cereal.  Blueberries, bananas, maple syrup, and cream:  perfect!

Listening to CHQM-FM and a country singer, a neighbor of Johnny Cash, is singing a song of tribute to him.  The singer says he loves crows; and Johnny Cash dressed like one!  This made me laugh.

When I’m up late in here filling in this book I feel like I’ve kindled my special powers.  I consider this time, “The Witching Hour:”  my witching hour.  It’s dark and raining.  I’ve turned on the heat.  A black figure reels down an inky Seawalk with a silver path from overhead lighting the walk under his feet.  An orange umbrella  appears like a gigantic flower moving in the black air.

"Moon Reflecting the Orange Umbrella"

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

In with the Fruit Peels when I Die

We’re here and gone.  We’re in and out.

The swell of the waves makes my thighs quiver and my lower body feels sensations taking in the movement of the sea.  The Shangri-La thrusts above the headland.

A deep pink geranium sits pretty in the black cast iron urn near my feet silently dropping her petals as she too admires the whitecaps. A dainty sophisticate, the geranium has an oriental lily pad leaf anchoring an English flower and bud with small petals, fanning out a saturated hue against clouds swollen with shadows leaning along the sky in layers.

The icy wind is bending tree branches and whirring the stalks of shrubs into a frenzy. The Seawalkers keep their collars up and kleenex under their noses as they brace their steps for the next burst of cold air breaking over them.  Long scarves twirl and leap outward in a scatter-brained dance.

The train tracks creak, dogs yip and howl.

My feet are cold, as is my tea, and yet it is mesmerizing to sit in the midst of it all.  A lone gull is being blown blocks out of his way by the next forceful blow of the wind.  He’s drawn across roof and tree tops and sent soaring away from the water toward the hard blue mountains.

A steady grumble makes its way through the leaky windows and the canvas awnings flap furiously against the current.

Without warning leaves are blown inside out revealing their naked light side.  The logs sitting atop the giant granite boulders lining the walk thunk, thunk, in repetition.  All is divine as blue sky and tips of sunlight foreshadow a heavenly day.

Now the sun comes out to spoil me warming my bare feet resting on the tile floor.  The rays are blinding as they reflect off the water and the surface of the sea glitters in madcap fashion. Sunlight is pulled back and in ten breaths I see only a glare as the seagulls wail mournfully.  The sun is back, in the completion of a sentence, playing hide and seek with me.  I have to squint hard against it.

More people are out walking now.  The path becomes a medley of color:  mauve, red, blue, pink, white, gold, black, navy, tan:  the colors of our clothing, our cars, and our floral arrangements.

The walk has emptied, my tea is drained, I leave the solarium in peace having read a few more pages from Louise Erdrich’s book, “The Blue Jay’s Dance.”  A Birth Year.  Exquisite, lyrical prose by a Best-Selling Author, Mother, Observer of Nature and Poet.  These little vignettes are “unpredictable and unforgettable.”  The mundane of everyday life is rendered marvelous!

Once back in the kitchen I look out and see the arbutus tree waving wildly in the wind. My concern is for the crow who built her nest in a strong fork of one of the branches.  I can see vaguely through the blossoms that she’s home by a small glimpse of her shiny black feathers.  The tree  is caught up in a baby hurricane and I think of the bird mother having morning sickness in the dizzying gale. If the eggs aren’t scrambled by the time the wind ceases the birdlings will be born remembering this psychedelic drama in their incubation. All day I fret over whether the nest will weather the storm.

I had watched the nest being built and the crow had a mate helping to weave each thoughtfully chosen strand of material into a new home. Many trips were made carrying puffs of something white and fluffy. Normally the nest rests in utopia almost hidden by the thick and lavish white flowers and green leaves of the arbutus tree; a floral-lined loft.  By sunset the scene turned calm, the five-hour power outage was repaired, and I had the kettle back on. I was extremely grateful for electricity, a safe nest, and all the energetic forces of Mother Nature purifying the air we breathe.  The electric heat is back on, the fridge is cold again, and the food didn’t spoil.  So what if the computer wouldn’t work, I got this written anyway… by hand and heart.

Crow Nursery constructed in the boughs of the red-trunked Arbutus Tree

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

The Eagle and the Ego

Today was of the special variety that I experience randomly and want to add more of to my life.  It’s a day when nothing can ruffle me; I sail along with no fears, no worries, no upsets. I didn’t have any concrete plans made in advance so I didn’t have to get snarly when life moved impulsively into my morning.  Instead of writing this post at 2 p.m., as I intended, I got together with a friend who rang just to see if we could meet for coffee in my neighborhood.  Painting the day with flexibility keeps me happy.  There is no need to routinely cross off the must-do’s on the list in any special order. What doesn’t get finished today can be added to tomorrow’s list.  Was I blissful because nothing went sideways throughout the day? Or was it my fresh attitude and faith in life itself that brought unequivocal and dynamic energy into my realm, in perfect synch with others, rewarding me with the wonderful feelings I attracted.

I was careful to watch my thoughts today and keep them supported upward.  Being negative never allows me to fulfill my dreams or handle risk taking.  Rather than resisting intrusions I make the decision to embrace them and redesign the day.  The recapture of energy by not forcing my will on on the clock is abundant.  If, however, I keep repeating I’m too busy and can’t fit anything in, guess what happens:  exactly what I’ve told myself and the world returns what I’ve told it to.  I give the Universe a chance to understand I am communicating to receive positive vibes and outcomes.  It sounds corny yet I was amazed that what I had read about does work perfectly well.

I started off out the door of our building to see my friend Sonny and as I approached the intersection I looked up into the sky to identify a bird flying in slow circles.  Too big to be a crow, I realized it was a baby eagle.   The circles he was making were small, baby circles. Even birds show a respect for the young as they left him alone to practice learning his flight patterns. Adult eagles get verbally blasted and dive-bombed by crows and seagulls in our area but this little guy was left in peace.

I was early to meet Sonny and I remembered a conversation yesterday with one of my very close friends.  They mentioned taking things slow because they did not want to miss a step or mis-step; or worse, make a mis-take as they proceeded along a new path.  I was surprised.  I’m a risk taker so I am impulsive; quite the opposite of this person.  But like the baby eagle, if I think I can fly I will try it.  If I lose a few feathers or make other birds laugh I don’t mind.  I might get a little red in the face but I’m living and alive!!

What if baby birds wouldn’t try to fly because they were afraid of falling or failing.  What if they would only fly if they could form perfect circles.  It’s not in our nature to be perfect; it’s something that is learned and practiced once we leave childhood and compete and work in an ego-based outside world.  A world outside of ourselves where we may have to compensate for shaky self-esteem.  It’s not healthy to thwart ourselves when we can blast off and get to the core of our quest.

I told my friend that holding back didn’t make sense; that it’s ego talking.  Ego that thinks everyone is watching us, waiting for us to make a faux pas, and then ridicule us.  Yet everyone fails their way to success.  Even rocks, as steady as they are, will take a fall at some point in their stony life.  The  last thing we need is to stay in one spot and never move because we’ve let our ego fill our minds with nonsense.

At Art School no one tells you how to do things.  There will be a short talk, and if you’re lucky a demonstration, but no one can do it for you because they don’t have your mind, body , and spirit.  Only you can make the finished work by experimenting.  Marcus Bowcott, my painting teacher says, “You’ve gotta’ break a few eggs to make an omelet!” Go ahead and scramble into something new. Don’t listen to your head, listen to your heart. The heart holds only love:  no fear. Never pull back when the momentum takes you on a roll to a passion for what you were meant to do.

I just tore a week off the calendar and in a sweep of the arm the week was gone.  It woke me up with the thought that every moment must be loved:  have, think, and do only what you love! Be the little eagle who loves to fly.

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Argent March To the Tulips!

Desaturated Color
"My Inside and Outside Don't Match"
"I Feel Really Frail, Weak... "
" ...and Close to Death Often"
"Yet, My Exterior Looks Healthy ..."
" ...Strong and Well"

The water’s slapping at the rocks along the seashore.  Two black crows are dropping single barnacles onto the black parking lot below me.  Once the shell cracks, their hungry beaks break into them and pull the contents out, stretching it like a rubber band. An airplane hums along with Sarah Vaughan.  As the plane’s engine gets louder a piano riff is heard from the background.  The candle flame keeps me company as does the electric baseboard heater that just clicked on and is making its spring-loaded clicky sounds.  All this is a comfort.

A man’s red all-weather jacket lights up the gray surface of the Seawalk.  Sarah Vaughan sings, “It’s just my luck to be in love with you” to the man’s back, as he takes slow strides forward, keeping his hands in his pockets, never straying from the carved granite curb of the walkway.

Where am I in my life?

The message at the yoga class is: do not be judgmental.  I concentrate on remembering this as I go along, feeding the inner critic cream puffs to keep its mouth full, so I don’t have to listen to its outbursts.  I keep the faultfinder noshing instead of gnawing at me.

Sometimes it’s okay to have cold arms, a clean kitchen, and time to watch the raindrops collect on the window glass while sunflower seeds roast in the oven.  I’ve put the French station on the radio hoping to hear some jazz.  A train is coming from the East.  It’s a very short one:  only eleven cars; some with well integrated graffiti striking their sides.

Mid-afternoon and the rain is tickling the sea; making the water laugh.  An orangey-red and white boat stands out; motoring by it looks like a running shoe.  A gray gull waves his wings up and down above the water shaking a heavy rain out of his feathers as he flies through an unexpected cloudburst.  The atmosphere is argent:  monochromatic.

The day seeps into night and into 2:30 a.m.

It’s pouring.

The sound of the rain.

The rain’s texture,

Its sticks of water

plummeting toward the ground.

I wake up and my color is back!

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Yesterday’s “Anthrax” of Life

"Morning Glory"

I’m having a day of disorder,

I can feel I’m wearing

my Father’s expression

along the sides of my mouth.

The misery lines

lead nowhere.

I walk and write.

Yesterday I found anthrax

in my life.

I stop to

see a crow

selectively picking up

soft white under-feathers

to line his nest.

A blister forms on my

best toe,

from a pair of shoes

I thought I could trust.

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets