I found ten perfect minutes today – sitting in the shade outside the coffee shop – all alone in the space set aside for patrons, sipping my blueberry-spinach-coconut milk smoothie. I watched the sailboats and paddle boarders and kayakers gliding by on the bay – and, with my mask securely fastened about my face – asked a pair of friends who’ve known each other for 40 years if I could take their photo for them – they said yes and thank you. Another pair of friends – a black woman and a white woman – walked by and stopped on the walk in front of me to look out at the water – and I had to comment on the beautiful sweater one of the friends was wearing – she smiled and thanked me and told me she ordered her sweater online. Just as I was contemplating leaving and continuing on with my walk a family came out of the coffee shop and joined me in the space for patrons – my table was the only one in the shade, and I told them that I was leaving and they could sit where I was. They smiled and – making sure to keep the proper social distance – we moved around each other and they took over the table out of the sun.
Ten perfect minutes is a pretty wonderful thing.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell
Found an old journal from probably 40 years ago as I was sorting through old boxes and bins.
I word-doodled (this was a free write ramble – there was no organization to it): “Even if ten years from now you’re not the same person, this person that you were really existed and lived. Love and trust and beauty aren’t magical – they’re real – and you can take them with you wherever you go. Be happy that you’re alive for this one moment of peace and contentment when you have everything you need.”
I think I needed the voice of my younger self speaking to me today from the before-times.
I most miss open smiles and hugs full of love.
I miss the waitress at the Colophon Cafe who takes
my order for African peanut soup as the music
of friends chatting and laughing at the other
tables washes over us, and bathes us in their joy.
I miss stopping to chat on the boardwalk and
meeting old friends, and new. I miss getting
to know people as we wait in line at the store,
and running into former students in the aisles.
I miss buying mochas for the stranger standing
on the corner. I miss the buskers and their music,
and the color and energy of the Farmers Market.
Here’s what I will miss when this is over –
I’ll miss the quiet roads and clean blue skies.
I’ll miss the No Car Days and the time at home
with family. I’ll miss the weeks without a schedule
and losing track of time. I’ll miss the stillness
and peace and time to reflect. I’ll miss this time
alone. I’ll miss the uninterrupted time to create
and garden and sing and think. I’ll miss the time
to catch up with correspondence, and the time
to sort and recycle the flotsam and jetsam that
washes from the mailbox and onto our kitchen
counter Monday through Saturday.
I’m going to remember to be grateful for what
I had then, and grateful for what I have now,
and grateful for what I’ll have tomorrow, too.
Enfolded in a sense of perfect well-being
a pure peace and stillness and quiet
surrounds me as I glide on my bike past
green fields and red barns and little yellow
flowers framing the craggly snow-topped
volcano in the background. I can smell
the briny bay and the sweet new buds
on the alders and the earthy scent of the
dairy farm – familiar and comforting.
One or two cars pass me, but I am mostly
alone on this road on the flats. Is it selfish
to say that this quiet time of quarantine
has been a blessing for me? I have thirsted
for a break from the angst and agitation,
the buzzing busyness and frantic, frenetic
frightful panicked pace of politics and ego.
I am enjoying this simple time of just be-ing.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Peace, be still.”
– Mark 4:39
Cleaning During a Time of Quarantine
The cleaning started with the bedroom – I vacuumed, dusted,
filled five bags full of clothes to take to the thrift shop
when it opens again someday, and washed the curtains
so they glowed golden in the sunshine from bottom to top.
Next it was the cupboard in the family room – sorting
electronics, gizmos and gadgets, a springy door stop,
a weird stretchy thing for exercising, the sons’ old toys,
and treasure! – an old card with love from Moz and Pop.
Then the closet under the stairs – a file full of paperwork
that was important once, costumes, Thomas the Tank Engine
train set, baskets full of old magazines, and board games,
an old slide projector and carousel, winter clothing in bins.
And today I awoke slowly from a lovely afternoon nap
to see curtains glowing golden in the afternoon sunlight.
Who could have guessed to find such beauty and peace
in clean light-filled curtains – in that simple sight?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
In these panicked times
In these fretful, frenzied, frantic times
I have found solace at the cemetery.
The shells of those who’ve lived
here and moved on
to whatever comes beyond
no longer need to distance themselves
from anyone, from me.
I find peace with them – the chrysalises
of my friends – Mike, Rachael, and Debby.
I wander amid the tombstones, snapping
photos of them, and the spinning wheels –
the bright spinners are the only movement
in the cemetery and I feel
drawn to the movement of their rainbow
spinning, faster and faster as I approach,
in a show just for me.
I’m allowed to be here. In the sunshine.
In the peace of the cemetery.
And no one disturbs me as I wander
through the final beds
for the shells of those who
are no longer scared of what lies ahead.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
Bow Cemetery #1
Bow Cemetery – Civil War Veteran #1
Bow Cemetery – Civil War Veteran #2
Bow Cemetery – Civil War Veteran #3
Bow Cemetery #2
Bow Cemetery #3
If you have a clear sky tonight go outside and take a gander at the stars. From our home, Venus looks HUGE tonight. The frogs are just starting to make their music. There’s peace and beauty all around us.
The stars help put everything in perspective for me. The universe is so much bigger than our problems – and I find that oddly reassuring. I always say hi to Mom when I look at the stars. And now I say hi to Dad, too.
“The stars make night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally towards the light.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)
We need world leaders who are grown-ups; who aren’t guided by ego; who actually care about their citizens and care about the lives of the people who serve their country; who care about our environment and want to do what they can to address climate change. We need world leaders who read and think and reason and try to solve problems, rather than create them.
We need something different than what we’ve currently got.
(Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn, Montana. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)