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the gift of paying attention

2019 May 24
by Rachel Turiel

The lilacs are overdoing it, drooping under the weight of their own perfumed purpleness. The fruit trees have had their 15 minutes of flowery fame and are now settling into the more serious business of making fruit for the masses.

The robins, who just last month (photos restored on last post!), were part of the dominant paradigm, have vanished. The black headed grosbeaks are now flashing their outrageously orange breasts, while the year-round residents patiently make room for the showy tourists. Yesterday I got almost no work done because two white crowned sparrows navigated their way from California to our very crab apple trees.

Serviceberry enjoying the 225% of average precipitation this month.

Rose turned 12 on a very pink day:

Col created an imaginary recessive squirrel mutation called “Squirrelentia,” in which affected squirrels become particularly rabid, prone to ripping the hands off humans. Yay, science class!

Dan is apparently still learning when to say when on elk antlers.

Mother’s Day came and went with promises for more comically-altered newspapers. Just what a mom wants.

We had (invasive) Eurasian-collared dove for breakfast.

I have a new garden apprentice! Rebecca lives downstairs and has a special way of caring for everyone on the property. When I’m ready to pull out the volunteer yarrow and toss it in the compost she gently suggests, “maybe we can replant that somewhere else.” Of course we can! Here we are planting tomatoes just before a predicted low of 29F. Because you know how wild I can be.

We adopted a dog! Rocket’s been with us for almost three weeks and has exponentially increased the flow of love in the house. His main focus is loving everyone exactly as they are and stashing bones under the peach tree (though occasionally a stinky deer leg ends up in Col’s bed). Dan and Rocket have been sharing elk liver (raw for Rocket, sautéed in cream and onions for Dan) and I think they both feel a particular kinship in their shared culinary appreciations. Rocket is really here to help us through the teenage years, to deliver the message that we’re each worthy of love just as we are. He is allowed on the couch because it’s important that he take his message to where the people are at. 

Today, Rocket is snoozing on the couch after dunking his children in love and sending them off for their last day of school. I am thinking about a training I did for liberal activists this week; I learned a lot from them, but did notice they did not seem to enjoy the activity of connecting with our Republican senator’s humanity (However, I love trying to see the humanity in everyone while remaining strong in my own truth and passion. Call me for a training!). The lilacs I cut yesterday are counteracting any circulating dog smells (we now blame all bad smells on Rocket). And the brave tomatoes made it through the frosty night.

Yesterday the kids had end of the year Presentations of Learning. Col communicated his personal growth through comic illustrations.

“So, my friends and I were throwing edamame shells at each other and I decided to clean up the shells on the ground even though no one else was.” Col’s take on integrity.

In Rose’s presentation, she shared the quote she created last year: There will always be someone who does better than you, and someone who does worse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try your best. This year, she explained, she refined her guiding quote to better fit her 6th grade self (her 6th grade self!!!): I want to focus on the positive and celebrate my accomplishments without comparing myself to others. Me too, Rose. All of us, too.

These were the last 3 books I loved, even though each was painful to read in its own way. Maid. A Mother’s Reckoning. Little Fires Everywhere (this last one was fiction, at least).

Last night I was giving Col a back rub, which seems to counteract all the misfiring neurons, the testosterone-sponsored boundary-pushing, the sister-directed snark, the spontaneous beatboxing (which I’ve come to love…after coffee) and he said, “that feels so good. If I could stay in one moment forever, this would be it.”

I kind of feel that way about spring, how it comes on so slow and mysterious, the wild lupine creating breathtaking purple tributes to themselves and then naturally fading into their own seedy background. The land is waking up into a procession of awe: vining clematis, pinkest phlox, and macgillivray’s warblers flashing yellow as they flit into the cottonwoods.

This daily parade of awe-inspiring life feels like the gift for paying attention.

p.s. Dan explaining why we didn’t get the kids easter baskets this year. “We’re Jewish, we passover Easter.” (Only some of us thought this was funny).

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Pam permalink
    May 24, 2019

    Beautiful and amazing post. I loved Dan’s joke. Here’s one that fits (an oldie, but maybe you haven’t heard it). Do you know why it’s good to get a dog when your kids become teens? Because then SOMEBODY is happy when you come home. =D

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 24, 2019

      Only sort of a joke, because it’s also sort of true.

  2. Molly Gassaway permalink
    May 24, 2019

    Hi Rachel, not sure why I never comment but felt inclined to let you know this time how much I enjoy reading your posts. They keep me up to speed on what Mother Nature is doing in beloved Durango while I am enjoying a different sort of harvest here on our Appalachian farm. Hugs to you and yours….

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 26, 2019

      Molly!! Fun to hear from you! Hope Appalachian farm life is meaningful and enjoyable! Every time I say “it’s SO green right now” after 150% of average winter precipitation, I wonder if people from the east/southeast would even recognize this as green, i.e. extra bright and thick grass between the sagebrush. :)

  3. Judy permalink
    May 24, 2019

    luv this latest post and thank you for sharing the fleetingness of spring, of children, of life – and the daily reminder from Rocket of unconditional love!

  4. gretchen permalink
    May 24, 2019

    me three, rose!

  5. Ellen permalink
    May 25, 2019

    I’ve missed your blog posts. It’s always a great pleasure when one arrives!

  6. Pamela J Marshall permalink
    May 26, 2019

    A big, resounding “YES” to all of it! All the nature, all the quotes, all the comics, all the love, etc…
    And as a fellow Jew – married to a non-Jew, in a house that loves to have Easter candy and matzoh brei intermingle – tell Dan I loved his joke (and have never heard it before).

  7. June 3, 2019

    Yea for Rocket! Spreading love and setting such a good example for us humans. Plus you never know when he’ll save you from starvation with those buried bones. Loved the rest of what you had to say too! XO

  8. June 17, 2019


    YOU are a part of the “dominant paradigm” (great job!)
    for the Conscious Parenting Tribe!

    head bowed,
    spirit vowed,

    get to ilg’s yoga class!

    Love WAAAAY beyond this paltry incarnation!

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