With her it was all too easy, life slowed to a crawl. She held an ability to shift time. One moment it was summer, the next, autumn. I was seventeen again, holding her hand and watching leaves fly.

Even then, I knew, there is always a winter. How I had waited for her return. I had loved her. Sometimes, she had loved me back.

The rhythm of time ticks on with an undeniable force. Once more, autumn turns to winter. As thread slips through a needle, I stitched the tapestry of my life. There were others, some more beautiful. Through it all, she remained a distant memory: my rose, her spent petals softly falling to the floor.

~excerpt from a scene, draft

Be silenced by majesty. It is found seated on a wooden pew, in a tiny church, light fractured through glass. It floats as hope in disaster. It’s carried on the wings of a Mourning Dove, on a path bullet-straight.

Ground your feet on the shoreline, at the edge of water and sand. Feel the water’s pull against your toes. Let the wind rage as it pushes against your body. Hear the waves crash. Cry at the salt’s sting. Carry more questions than answers. Look up. Be willing to be small.

Pray. There was a time, I tried prayer, believing if God only listened, he would grant my one wish, which was to ease the weight they had placed upon my shoulders. Of course this isn’t how it works. In those moments, I would have traded my one gold watch and moonstone, for peace of mind.

Wonder. As a child, I found wonder tucked away, within the silence of a library. Beyond the heavy oak doors was a sense of order and a treasure trove of books. There was always a gate keeper- usually a prim lady, seated behind a wooden desk, its surface polished to high shine, her lipstick blotted.

Entering the room, she stares back. A fan blows. I look up. The air above her is misty. Shafts of light illuminate bits of dust. Each particle hovers and drifts, reminding me of dandelion moons on a springtime breeze. So beautiful if you take the time to pay attention.

Lemon- orange oil hangs like a veil. The lady waves a hand and nods, a sign of approval. She raises one finger to her lips. There are rules, Child.

I nod. Beyond her, is Utopia, a world of leather and paperback. Books of every genre, tales of fairies, mysterious events, and clues. Books, their jackets fresh, others worn, spines softened by fingers and time. Beneath the towering shelves, I look up.

She notices and appears at my side, fingertips sliding along the row, coming to rest at a dark covered spine. The letters are golden.

“Can you read?” Her voice is so soft and low I can barely hear her speak.

I nod.

She hands me Mark Twain’s, ‘Huckleberry Finn.’

“You look like a reader with those cat eye glasses on.” She reaches over and straightens the frame at my temple.

“Better,” she says. “Check out, when you’re ready, Hon.”

I watch as she walks back toward her desk, patent leather heels, clicking with each step taken.

***

It’s told, “artists possess beautiful secrets.” They do. Lifting a brush, I let it slip through paint. ‘Titanium White’ softens ‘Payne’s Grey.’ I show her my painting.

In silence, my mother tilts her head, studies the canvas. She asks, in a tone of doubt,

“You did this?”

I nod.

A secretive smile crosses her face. Words are unnecessary.

***

The Book Club recommends this month’s read. In darkness, I slip into the cushions of an over stuffed chair. Words drop me like stone onto the banks of southern swampland and into the heart of poverty. I lower my head. Silence is loud. Birdsong breaks dawn.

We’re a world that is slow to listen so I turn down the noise. Music floats through the Bose. A voice falls soft as summer rain, notes pitter- patter across my heart. Change is a motivator. Cupboards clear, creating space for only that deemed essential. Practical magic swirls in the kitchen. Heated shea butter mixes with vanilla. Lemon kisses heirloom rose. Cinnamon sprinkles oatmeal, an alchemy of scent. The refrigerator hums as I stir.

Everything stirs if you listen to whispers.

Photo by Nick Bondarev on Pexels.com

silence, wonder, humility, self-care, writing, draft

Lavender Oil Skin Serum

“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” 
― Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

I planted roses and lavender. Over the years, the vines climbed higher, blooms evermore fragrant. I lined the beds with lavender. Drowsy bees slept, deep within the stalks. Sally’s wisdom: “always add pepper to your mashed potatoes,” is a ‘must.’ And Sally- harvest your lavender. Strip the flowers from the stalks. Create practical magic in the kitchen.

Lavender or Lavandula Angustifolia, is a species in the mint family, commonly used in aromatherapy. The fragrance is believed to promote calmness and wellness. Pure Lavender Oil contains certain antibacterial and anti fungal effects. When lavender is combined with a carrier- virgin olive oil, it is in ‘pure’ form- a serum to soften and soothe skin. Serums penetrate deeply into the skin, therefore, one need only apply one to two drops.

In many specialty markets, lavender is sold in bunches. It’s easy to grow. Over time, one small plant will yield plenty of flowers. Snip the stalks to encourage new growth.

Harvest your lavender. Cut it, dry. Separate the flower from the stalk. A Suggestion: Use your finger tips (pointer and thumb) to slide the flower down the stalk. Place the flowers in a bowl. Some people suggest leaving the bowl in the sun to further dry the flowers. I skipped this suggestion. A spell of sunny, hot weather has left the lavender in my garden beds, dry. Note the lavender is beginning to grey. It’s perfect!

To make Pure Lavender Oil Serum, follow a two part ratio: Two cups of Virgin Olive Oil to one part lavender flowers. You can reduce the receipe amount to one cup virgin olive oil to half a cup of lavender flowers. Following a two to one ratio, makes a gentle, lightly scented, topical skin serum. Olive oil is the carrier. It reduces the potency of the dried lavender flowers. It’s important to read up on the chemistry of plants and oils. The photo shows my lavender yield- more than enough dried flowers for two cups of serum. Make small batches. You only need apply a drop or two of serum to skin. Store dried flowers in a clean, glass jar.

Materials

One sterilized* glass jar with lid

*To Sterilize Glass and Lid: Place jar and lid in a pot of boiling water for 15 mins. Cool before removing from the water. Set jar aside.

A measuring cup

Virgin Olive Oil- two cups

Lavender Flowers- one cup

A suitable, safe stove top pot

A strainer or muslin cloth

Heat Method:

Following the two to one ratio: Measure one cup of the lavender flowers and pour into the pot. Measure two cups of Virgin Olive Oil. Pour the olive oil over the lavender flowers. Turn on the stove element to the lowest heat setting. Let the lavender and oil warm for two hours. The element should be warm, never hot.

Always supervise and remain in the kitchen area while the element is on.

Turn off the element. Allow the lavender and oil to cool.

Strain the cooled lavender and oil into the sterilized glass jar. Using a spoon, press the bits that remain in the strainer. This helps to squeeze out all of the lavender’s oil from the flowers. Strain twice for a ‘clear’ serum without bits. It helps to place a pump spout on your jar, allowing for easy distribution of serum to smaller amber glass containers. Less fuss. Store Pure Lavender Oil in a cool, dark place.

• Always pre test a small area of skin and check for any allergic reaction to the serum. If a reaction occurs- STOP.

Label serum. Date it. Keep serum out of reach from little hands.

Strained Lavender Oil Serum: You can see from this photo that the above recipe makes close to two cups of serum. You only apply a drop or two to skin. I’ll pump this batch into smaller, sterilized amber glass jars with droppers.

Pat a drop or two of serum onto skin.

• You Tube has many ‘DIY’ videos on the topic: ‘Lavender Oil Serum’ for skin. Sof McVeigh has created a fabulous site.

• WebMD- http://www.webmd.com has articles on the safe use of lavender and other natural remedies, salves

https://www.thezoereport.com/p/oils-vs-essential-oils-the-biggest-differences-the-most-popular-uses-more-19442788

https://www.thezoereport.com/p/oils-vs-essential-oils-the-biggest-differences-the-most-popular-uses-more-19442788