Adventures in Imperfection

My Calm Before the Storm

  I can hear your whisper and distant mutter.

I can smell your damp on the breeze and in the sky I see the halo of your violence.

Storm I know you are coming.

Robert Fanney


Embed from Getty Images

It feels like it could snow.

I haven’t looked at a forecast or a weather radar, but there’s enough farmer’s daughter in me to recognize the signs.

Restless dogs
Achy knees
Dewy bird feeders
Sudden wind shift from South to Northwest

Like the slate-grey skies, our life is getting ready to storm, too.

Hubs starts a new job 
Dane starts driving to school 
Tanna enters a semester of busy classes and work
I’ve added two more states to the day-job travel – 9 total

I sense a foreboding of comings and goings and wits-end conversations delivered via text messages. There is a premonition of mental exhaustion and math homework discussed by the light of Facetime and the hum of a hotel heater. I predict piles of laundry and frantic calls to the village (Grandma and Grandpa) to help with impossible scheduling situations. My mind’s eye sees a neglected keyboard and dusty journals – it also catches a glimpse of the red numbers blaring 3 a.m. on the ceiling.

But, I’m not thinking about those things right now. Not really.

At this moment, my brain possesses an odd sense of peace, and the monkeys are uncharacteristically quiet. I’m not nervous or worried – but I am mentally preparing.

Button up the coat
Polish the boots
Prep the shovels, find the sand

Buy the bread
Check the milk
Fold the socks, put them away

Schedule flights
Run, Box, Yoga – repeat
Inhale, Exhale – breathe
Have patience, don’t lose your cool

Thankfully, this winter hasn’t taken its toll on me like it typically does. For that reason, I’m a little less freaked out about the February and March to come. It’s been so warm over the last couple of weeks that the tulips are bursting through the crusty ground. The lilac bushes are fat with plump buds and the promise of profuse purple petals.

On Sunday, I gathered up my garden journals, graph paper, and seed packets. I dirtied my neglected nails by concocting a secret seed-starting mixture in a huge plastic tub. By the time the boys had returned from baseball practice, I had six flats full of snapdragons, cosmos and marigolds – and a huge smile on my face.

Truthfully, there are other things I should be doing, but I’m trying to remove that “s” word from my vocabulary. Instead of making huge lists, I’m spending time in a bubble of balance.

write – read
cook – clean
pray – give thanks
talk – listen
work – play
asleep – awake
give – take
love – let go

I don’t have it all figured out, but some days, balance seems almost achievable and not the heavy yoke it can be when trying to stay level and grounded. For every stop, I’ve been able to find a go. For every yes, I’ve learned to provide a no.

Is this feeling real? Have I really discovered balance?

Ha! I’ve been doing this long enough to recognize the signs of a torrent atmosphere. I don’t need to check the radar or review the forecast.

I know…it’s my calm before the storm.

The calm before the storm


49 thoughts on “My Calm Before the Storm

  1. And I, a stormwalker from long ago, am so glad and rejoicing that Mama has connected my heart and your cares…I am finding a backpack full of you and yours to be so oddly light and well balanced in my daily prayers.

    I think I can take a bit more on board…and give food in the crunch.

    Your glad rejoicing friend on the walls and watching for you and yours, cheeks nipped red by cold wind teeth which cannot break the skin…


    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so great. To feel balance during a traditionally tough month feels like a huge gift. And I absolutely love the list of opposites you list, though that’s not exactly what they are. But if I don’t write, I will read. I may have been up too early today, but tomorrow I can sleep later (because a storm is headed our way). Today will be fine, tomorrow will get its turn. Thanks, M. What a bright read. Hope your week goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my favorite things about storms are those days that you do get to sleep in and listen to everything going on outside – all the while knowing that you don’t have to do a thing about it!
      Thank you so much for your kind words and for always being here. Enjoy your week and capitalize on that snow day tomorrow. I’m actually flying your direction…maybe your storm will keep me home for one more day 🙂


      1. It would be the first real snow day we’ve had this winter, so we will see. Lots of false alarms and minor snow/ice falls, not that I’m complaining. Meant to comment your greenhouse looks lovely. Safe travels!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s just a little greenhouse, but I’m in love with it already. I need to figure out all the little things (like how to heat it once the seedlings go out)….but the learning process will be fun, too.


  3. Are you guys getting hit with the snow today, too? Me and the boys are home watching the snow pile up outside the window. In a couple of hours there will be a pretty white canvas for us to go out and paint some fun on to.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully put, M!

    We are supposed to have our first real storm of the year today. Like, in a few hours. Not a blizzard, but usually by now we have had some snow so this is becoming a big deal. This year, we have had much colder temps than usual but no precipitation. I am not sure which one I like/dislike more :/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know what it was but I as I sat here reading this post I could feel myself settling down. I’m staring at a pile of paperwork on my desk, home school scheduling, sports schedules that need to be worked out, and dog hair all over my floor. Suddenly, they don’t seem so daunting. I hope you are indeed finding that elusive thing we call balance and that it is contagious through this page.

    Thank you for being the calm in my storm today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind, Sandy!
      I’m thrilled that you felt yourself settling down, too. You and I have spoken of how we are often the same person. I wrote this post to calm myself down. I even read it out loud a few times to get the feeling of calm.
      I wrote this last night and today is a Monday at it’s finest. I keep coming back to the two-word mantras I wrote in here. Inhale – exhale seems to be the most effective today.
      You know I love seeing you here and am so honored and humbled by your friendship. Have a fantastic week, my friend!! xo


  6. Some people never slow down – or look around – enough to notice the small signs. Almost any thing is manageable if you prepare, but you have to see the signs. Stay warm! Storms just make us appreciate the calms. (and there is a beauty to both – a balance, as you say)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautifully put, Mick. Throw that yoga mat in the car when you travel–it will help balance the hum of the hotel heater. Turn the heat up, find some vinyasa flow on YouTube and get real on your mat. May the peace of a flow session find it’s way into your spirit time and again during the months ahead.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhhh…thank you, Sarah. I tried to go to class this morning, but the snow kept me away. So, I found a video, did the flows and I’m trying to keep that peace through the day. You are always so kind to read and comment. Your friendship means the world to me! xoxox


  8. I love what Sarah said, youtube yoga in a hotel room sounds great to me.

    this whole post felt like a flow….prepare, pose, can i do it, ah yes that breathe will help, oh my favorite, grit teeth, breathe,prepare pose….allowing life to flow like a yoga class is a great service to you and everyone around you.
    but especially you!
    good luck with the storm on both fronts…you seem very prepared!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Squeeeeallll!! I’m so glad you said this “felt like a flow.” That was my whole intention. I was worked up going into it (just a little) and then was completely calm by the time I finished.
      That’s what yoga do, right?
      I think of you often, Michele. More so lately than ever. It’s often a thought of, “What would Michele do?”
      And…it helps get me through 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks for the thoughts. I have blogs half written, half formed and i just can’t get one out….too much homework, too much concentration on the work i am doing. but it is awesome, i am loving it. Your intention shone through Michelle…i felt a little like i was in class, and it was such a reminder of how we take all the stuff we learn of the mat and that real life is the place we really practice, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What’s that phrase you shared with me. “Start where you are at?…er, something like that 🙂
        Your homework and concentration is where you need to be right now. You know we’ll be here waiting when you get back. xoxoxo


  9. Enjoy the beauty of the calm while it lasts. That’s what gets us through the storm, right? You amaze me with all you do! Good luck on your flights (I’ll cross my fingers for no storm delays) and carry the calm with you in your mind, even if the whole world around you is falling apart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww…thank you, Mark! I plan to hop over to your blog this week and get caught up. Your words have the same effect on me 🙂
      (PS: I totally need to subscribe via e-mail…I’ve been missing too much from the reader!)


      1. I had no idea that your real world job had you driving so dang much, Michelle. Ouch! I hope it’s a career that you enjoy and not a chore to make ends meet.

        Come on over if you get a second. No calamity if you’re rushed. Yes, the email notififications have made my life so much easier than the Reader, in any case!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. No way Michelle. You’ve begun a journey. And I dare to say it will have the odd puddle, a couple left turns instead of right, and I’d say a stop or two to adjust your view or just get some sleep.
    And they all have purpose, to know one so that you can achieve the other. Yes, that lovely word that you are becoming acquainted with…balance. Touch one side so that you can understand, and then move towards what you believe in.
    And self IS the goal. To be happy in what you are, believe in who you are, and accept that person totally with no reservations, no expectations…and just be you.
    None of it is a mistake. You and 8 billion others are all trying to do that in their own way. Just accept and be that beautiful person who knows she is a lovely, compassionate lady, who only ever wishes the best on all, and accept that for herself as well. For when you do, then you become at peace and at one with yourself.
    Enjoy your life gardening Michelle, you already are as lovely as the flowers. Believe it! Namaste

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes! We and 8 billion of our closest friends!
      Even if balance is not fully achieved, it’s the peace you speak of that I really want. That nice, even breathing and eyes full of green sprouts popping up out of the ground.
      Have you put any new photos in your gallery? I know that’s random, but it just popped into my head! Perhaps the feeling of peace makes me want to look at cool photos.
      As always, thank you for stopping by, reading, and providing such insightful and helpful comments. Namaste

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And your getting more psychic. I was just thinking to put a few of my lovely sunsets in there. Only one little drawback, You’ll have to excuse the power lines that are smack bang in front of my balcony. I’m still getting used to ignoring them. The photo’s just seem to enhance them….or maybe its me 😀
        I’ll see what I can do 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oooh yeah! 😀 She (the universe), was just making sure your psychic tap was turned on 🙂
        I’ll throw a couple of my sunset shots (via mobile phone), into the gallery over the next couple of days Michelle. If I could get onto the roof, over the power lines, they would be magical shots.
        Maybe I’m being taught something 🙂


  11. I need a good storm now and then. Like you wrote in a post you linked to, “Something (broken) inside me craves the storm.” I’ve been weather watching a long time and yet I’m surprised every time when the sun goes away and the skies grow dark. And I can always feel it coming. I like to think at this point in my life I can embrace a storm without fear but why do I see fear as a bad thing? It’s the impetus for a change in perspective and sometimes everything needs to be washed away in a storm so that what’s underneath can grow. Am I still talking about the weather? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Cool post Mama. I like the balance, although I must confess that balance is something that I often admire from afar – not having the abiity to get too close. Ha! Balance for me has never had much of a positive meaning – mostly a temporary effect while transitioning from one crisis to another – ha! I recall being in the hospital very very sick -not sure whether I would live or not (cancer) – when a nurse took my blood pressure and it was 125/75. I turned to the Doc and asked: “How can I be this sick and have a perfect blood pressure?” His response was: ” Well, you have multiple issues and some are trying to push your BP to zero and kill you and some are trying to push it so high you’d die in the explotion.. They are perfectly balanced at the moment – so you are so sick in so many ways, that your BP is perfect.” I’ve always remembered that as indicative of balance in my life. Ha!

    I do know people who seem to achieve balance but I have always been a bit suspicious of the longevity. I think it is a worthy and valuable goal but one that allows you to recharge before the next challenge – not a permanent state of mind. Remember, years ago, the “Soma” cubes that came in 5 or 6 pieces and they had to be assembled into a perfect cube? Well, I think that cube is much like balance – there will be the odd person the odd time who will get it for a short time, but the majority of the time there is left one block sticking out from the side and a hole in the top and never the twain shall meet. Ha!

    Great post Mama, travel safe this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You always provide such amazing insight and perspective, my friend. You’ve been on my mind this week as I knew you weren’t feeling well after dialysis. I’m so sorry! You’re such a positive and engaging person in this bloggy space and always look forward to hearing from you.
      And oh, yes…the whole blood pressure thing and the somewhat false sense of balance…homeostasis. I’m okay with being out of balance as long as my family doesn’t suffer for it…that’s what stresses me out way more than a full laundry basket.
      I hope you are feeling well this week. As always, thank you for taking the time to stop and comment!


    1. What a beautiful song…love the guitar and his voice is so perfect.
      Thank you, my friend. I’m so tickled you noticed the poetic nuances…it was purposeful. Reading poetry has always calmed me…writing versions of it helps, too.


  13. I love this mixture of prose, poetry and reflection. It’s so neatly tied up with the photos. Nice!
    We finally got snow after a warm dry month. Out here in the West, we worry about drought and depend on snowpack, so does Cali! We’re in a new cycle with more to come this weekend!


    1. Thank you for the kind words, Susie! It was so much fun to write and the prediction of snow rang true. Sounds like it did in your neck of the woods, too! Stay warm and enjoy the wet promise of Spring to come. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Yikes. D’ll be DRIVING to school?? Oh, I’m right there, wringing hands with you. (FOR you, given you’re all Zen and all at the moment LOL.) Gosh, I’ll be bawling when they graduate.

    Love your simple balance list, Mickey. Simplicity = wisdom. And yes, easier said than done. I’m glad you worked with your snapdragons. The earth literally is a battery (a post sitting in my mental draft pile for a year), a powerhouse of energy. You did well to get your hands in the dirt before the storm.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. D driving….surreal! We just got his license today and he drove his old mama home from the DMV.
      My snapdragons are starting to sprout – and doing so a few days earlier than expected. The green is a nice contrast to the snow which sits outside the window. I love your perspective on the earth being a powerhouse of energy…I can’t wait to see what transpires when the draft becomes a post. Have a wonderful weekend, Diana. Blessings to you and yours. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh, Michelle…I FINALLY got to this one.

    Just love it and you and your heart. And this:

    “t’s been so warm over the last couple of weeks that the tulips are bursting through the crusty ground. The lilac bushes are fat with plump buds and the promise of profuse purple petals.”

    Love, love, love the alliteration. And I must tell you: tulips are my absolute favorite flower. There is something regal yet tender about them. They speak to me…as do you.

    With heart & friendship,


    1. My dearest Dani,
      First of all, it touches me to know that you took the time to go back and read all of my ramblings. In fact, it means the world to me – especially knowing that you have a lot of other important and time-consuming things happening in your world.
      Secondly – thank you for noticing the alliteration!!! It’s becoming a ‘thing’ for me and I’m still trying to decide if it’s fun or cheesy. Sometimes, it happens naturally (like in this post) and other times, it’s a bit more purposeful (like in my sugar post). Writing is fun – and even more so when I have such dear friends like you to share it with.
      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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