Monday, May 25, 2015

How To Be A Bad Neighbor

How To Be a Bad Neighbor - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak
Our neighbors are lovely and their beautiful lawn is a true reflection of their loveliness.  Their mower works without complaint - sometimes twice a week - sometime thrice...

We are friendly, trading small-talk where our yards meet, making the appropriate yummy noises when we smell the others barbeque, waving at each other when we leave the driveway.  

There is, however, a great divide and it happens to be right on that borderline where their lawn - meticulously trimmed and fed - butts up against ours. 

We are to their grass what a hippie is to a business man.

And, true to that hippie image, I have no qualms about the dandelion farm we're running.  I mean, we have all this land and even though I've given up my dreams of a vegetable garden we really should be growing something...

So we are.  Dandelions and grass. 

And like I said, I don't mind the dandelions.  

I do mind the grass.

I mind when I'm writing at the table under the front yard arbor and it's tickling against my ankles.  I mind when I'm pushing the wheelbarrow back to the garden waste pile behind the barn and it gets stuck because the grass is too thick and long.  I mind when the dear neighbors are cutting theirs for the millionth time and ours just waves at them like a group of little green idiots.

When Saturday proved gorgeous that old Yard Pro was backed out of the barn and the summery sweet smell of fresh cut grass wafted through the air and the thirteen-year-old got his first lesson in how to run the tractor and the world was righting itself and I wasn't going to have to be embarrassed and shrug off the judgement that lurked just behind the friendly smiles of those darling neighbors...

thirteen-year-olds can cut the grass!

Then the belt came loose.

And all my dreams came crashing down.

You want to know how to be a bad neighbor?  Come sit with me on my deck right now and take a good look around.  You'll figure it out.


June is GIVEAWAY month here at SelfBinding Retrospect.  You'll be challenged to take some time for yourself, share the ways you unplug and recharge, and enter for your chance to win a cute little gift pack I've put together with some of my own favorite 'Stolen Moments' tools.  I will start taking entries on June 1.  Check out the giveaway page if you want to know more!
You know what I'm intentional and dedicated to?  Dandelions.  Little discs of sunshine.  Wee dollops of chaos.  Sweet lollipops of warm breeze joy.  And you know which house I live in?  THE ONE SURROUNDED IN DANDELIONS!  Let me take you down to dandelion fields.  Let me show you how to make a chain with their stems.  Let's make it long enough to string the whole house with garland.  Let's lay down amoung them and not care about staining our clothes.  Let's "Momma had a baby and her head popped off."  Let's blow the seeds onto the neighbours immaculate green and start pickets for the Yellow Party.  Let's play.  Let's not worry about what doesn't warrant worry.  Let's embrace them for what they are: Irish daisies, granters of wishes, healers of dullness...

Far and wide, hear the call:


Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Hands

~an edited post from the archives in honor of Mother's Day~
A Mother's Hands - mother's day - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

There were nights when the darkness was too thick and the country silence too heavy and the comfort of my sister sleeping on the other side of our little paneled bedroom too far and so I would call out for her.

She would slip in without a sound, tiptoe across the ugly brown printed carpeting - distilling annoyances over scattered legos and baby dolls - and sit softly beside me on my little mattress under a wall covered in drawings I traced but claimed to have done freehand.  Sometimes she would sing. Mostly she would run a finger over my face.  Gently.  Tracing my features.  Soft touches over nose and forehead and eyelids.  Soft touches like sand paper, skin dried out from daily dishes and baths and gardening and mothering.  And somehow, in that roughness, there was more love.  The cracked skin.  The worn cuticles.  The short, unmanicured fingernails.  This was her heart.  Love worn on her hands as she brushed my hair to sleep and never had I known a woman more beautiful.

And now I have children of my own and as I hold them in those sweet end-of-day moments when they fight sleep I feel the way my calloused fingers catch in blond locks, the contrast of their youth against my day-weary touch, my roughness against their softness and I am immensely satisfied to see my own heart shinning there.  They are just like her's.  I have my mother's hands.  Wounded and scratchy and worn.

And breathtakingly beautiful.


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