Waiting for my friends to walk on

This Christmas tide has been a time of watchful waiting. It’s been a time of intentional candles and tearful remembrances of two strong women who have been angels surrounding me. About a month ago, I had the undeniable calling to write about one of my elder friends. I felt driven to write as if it were urgent and I had to capture the essence. I had to pay attention.

This friend is a writer. I wanted to talk about our friendship and how her quiet love was like having an angel surrounding me. I had photos of Kay and her land that she shared with me when I visited her home. I knew what inspired her to write about a tree that she loved. Writing comes in the middle of the night now with this post.

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Kay Karras lives in Solon Springs, Wisconsin. We have spent many happy hours together over the years. She is a life long friend and poet with several chat books. Her latest work Bits of Birch, was published in 2008 by Belle Ink, LLC. At the time of publication, she was 90 years old, a remarkably strong spirited woman. Kay was chosen as Poet Laureate of Solon Springs a few years back.Back then, my friend would visit her elderly sister every week, driving at least 80 miles round trip from Solon Springs to Spooner and back. She would stop mid way at my house in Minong on many of these trips. We would sit outside in good weather and I would make her a cup of tea, or we would sit and chat in the house. She is such a loving friend who took the time to visit. Kay made me feel like a chosen one. I often felt she was looking out for me like an angel on your shoulder.I miss her and her wit. Oh Kay has wit. I have never known anyone before who could recite poetry from the top of her head like she can. She has sent me prayer cards and greeting cards over the years with angels as a theme. Kay Karras is an angel to me and I love her very much.

Photo Gallery

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Kay Karras I love poets
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Kay with book cover by Kathy Maas
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Kay’s favorite tree where poem was dedicated
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Kay’s heirloom rose
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Life before on the farm
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A dirt road on property
Always
by Kay Karras
I think of you
When the day is ending
My dreams hold the memory of you
Always.

Wintergreen

by Kay Karras

By Way of the Wintergreen Tree

Your little bare feet brought you to me

A lad so young – so happy, so free

To hunt wintergreens by

the wintergreen tree.

You take me back to the days when I was

A bare foot girl ‘neath an azure sky

Came to hunt in the cooling breeze

The wintergreen berries

and wintergreen leaves

I see in your happy eyes the smile

Making me wonder all the while

As the years fly by and I cease to be

Will you look for me, here?

by the wintergreen tree?

Kay gave so much to so many women. She was a member of the St. Croix Writers Group in Solon Spring, WI. What tribute can I give her, but a response to her love. She was a mantle for many. We can feel the same love now even when she no longer lives here.

Her daughter Maryann sent me a poem that she wrote for her mother. I knew she had one daughter in California. She’s a dark haired beauty of native descent. Kay sent her bear paws years ago that never made it to their destination; she was heartsick about it. She was a woodlands woman familiar with hunting, fishing and gardening. Kay was of the earth and a survivalist. She taught her children well.

My other friend lived in a different world. Dorothy was from the city. Years ago, when I was a young woman, we worked in publishing in Washington, DC. Another strong woman Dorothy Hill befriended me. We worked for a Jewish family who treated their employees well, like family. Our work was investigative and we worked on the Hill. The publishing house dealt with chemicals in food and cosmetics, Food Chemical News and Pesticide and Chemical News.

It was an informative time. It was here I learned that all that came in packages was not well, including food and cosmetics. This was my first exposure to the world  that was not as safe as I once believed. Madison Avenue is effective in what they do. Everything in society is about marketing and selling.

Dorothy came to my wedding at St. Dominic’s Church, in DC in 1985. She was suffering a terrible tooth ache from an abscess tooth and was immediately going to the dentist after the wedding. I knew then that she would do anything to show that she loved me. I trusted her. I didn’t trust my own mother and Dorothy taught me that she loved me unconditionally. What a beautiful friend. We both came from alcoholic families. She was married to a drinker and I was born into a family of alcoholism. I have trust issues when it comes to letting people get close to me. Dorothy broke that shell as did Kay.

We have been friends for what seems like forever. Now she is no longer here, but ascended to where love abides blissfully and showers us here the Earth. I am not alone even though I have said goodbye to many things. I am amused of course and dedicated to my work, but my own family of a husband, Tia the dog, and three cats don’t live here anymore. I don’t live on the land anymore that I loved in northwest Wisconsin. I had to leave my northern retreat for health reasons. Now I live on the east coast near family. This is a new chapter in my life. I have been gallivanting around the world for most of my adult life. Now I am spending these precious days with family as I age.

God Bless you all who have walked with me through these writings. May you know the value of family and friends surrounding you.

Be well Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

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Finding the answer to my heart’s question

Grandfather boulder

Grandfather boulder

Yesterday I hiked out on a trail through a forest near Fitchburg, Massachusetts; last week I was rewarded while on the same path by what I discovered while out in the woods.

Meantime, I have been feeling torn about taking an altar from my home in Minong, Wisconsin. I am moving to Massachusetts from Wisconsin. The beautiful raw wood is a single piece of wood, a former tree limb. Many years ago, a severe storm hit Southern Maryland and the limb fell during the storm. The fallen limb was from a sacred tree hidden in the forest, along a horse trail in Lusby. There were no other footsteps because no one hiked or road horses on the trail any longer. I used to go here with Tia, my dog,¬† when we lived in Southern Maryland. I could unburden my heart at the base of the ancient tree. I loved the tree that survived massive development of Southern Maryland, withstood thunder storms and still strongly stood. I sensed the tree had good medicine. I could feel it. I had many experiences to learn from the ancient tree. I don’t know how to express it any other way.

When we moved to Northwest Wisconsin, I took the limb with me. For many years it stood on the mantle over the fireplace at our home in Minong, Wisconsin. Here is where I lit a candle to set the day’s intentions. Here is where I put sacred objects to honor the Great Spirit and Mystery of the Cosmos and Universe. The altar is still there. I return to Wisconsin on Wednesday. Shortly, I will be moving to Massachusetts into a small alcove penthouse in Fitchburg, MA. There really isn’t room for many of my things, including the sacred wood of the prayer tree. Now you know how I was feeling about moving this sacred object. All my family including my husband, our animals, and most of my elder friends have walked on whom once lived on B Street, Minong. It was here in this little valley where we had our retirement home and I spent many a happy year.

Now, it is time for me to move on too.

 

 

Woodland trail

Woodland trail

It was while hiking within the woods, in Massachusetts, that I was led to another ancient tree. It was then I literally broke down because I had found the tree, or was it that the tree found me? I knew then that I didn’t need to bring the altar to MA. I could now honor the altar by placing it with the sacred place where my animals are buried. It is here also where the bullets from my husband’s Military Honoring Internment Ceremony are also buried. My husband is interned at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Northwest Wisconsin. Someday, I will return to Wisconsin to be interned with my husband. It is a beautiful place. There are native gardens that border the woods and I will someday be in these beloved woodlands forever.

In the meantime, I am getting ready to fly to Wisconsin on Wednesday, pack up the house, and say goodbye to this sweet interlude that embraced me for 12 years. Know that when I return to Massachusetts, I can walk out to my sacred tree as long as I have the strength of my legs to carry me. How sweet this reality is and how honored I am.

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