Views from Annie's Cabin

miscellaneous musings on aging and living and loving

Dangerous February!

Merlin & Archimedes, waiting for spring...

Merlin & Archimedes, waiting for spring…


I woke this morning feeling all out of sorts. Nothing pleased me; nothing made me smile. I walked the dog, but she only wanted to zip out and back in quickly, so I went about my morning chores and then silpped back to Abbey my Book Barn, to my little yoga studio and did a full routine…a hybrid mix of Hatha, Kundalini and the Five Tibetan Rites. I could feel how much I needed the lengthening and stretching and deep steady breathing.

But I still didn’t feel right. Something was wrong with my inner soul, my woman-heart, my poet-mind. I was grumpy and didn’t like myself and found myself grumbling at husband, cats and dog and the world. Harumpfing and being snide. Not my usual Pollyanna self!

And then I had an Epiphany (I love Epiphanies! Thank GOD for Epiphanies!). I remembered my mother’s words to me, her warning words to me, which she issued every February: “Anne, remember, February is your dangerous month. It’s the month you always want to change your life—your hair, your job, your house, your husband, your world. So be mindful of February.”

And all of a sudden the burden lifted and I understood. ‘Tis not me at all—it’s the bleak and dispirited month of February to blame! YESSSS! I felt better, though not “better” in the all’s-right-with-the-world-immediately better; just better remembering that February’s always been my most dangerous month and that I’d better pay protective attention to my inner soul, my woman-heart, my poet-mind………

It’s like…whenever the Black Dog jumps upon me and weighs me down, I’ve learned that all I have to do is check my Biorhythms and voila! problem solved: my emotional wave is waaay down there lapping the bottom of the chart. Which, granted, doesn’t undo the problem, but it alleviates the worry from my mind. I’m reminded that it’s the Universe’s fault, not mine. I can blame it on the moon, yes, the moon, the inconstant moon—not me, this lone innocent woman who’s really trying to do her best: to meet her obligations, care for the ones she loves, and keep the creative flame a-burning all at once. (“Each being a full-time job every day unto itself,” she grumbles. “STOP IT, Anne!” her self retorts back.)

So, I’ve lived with the remembered knowledge of February’s curse now for almost a full day, thankful for the memory of my mother’s observed wisdom. And I decided that the best thing might be to sit here and write the gloom out of myself on this blog…to chase the moody ol’ Grinch of February away.

For I’ve been expectantly watching the daffodil noses push up through their winter bed of leaves…..and watching the sun glistening upon the glass of the Bottle Tree…and I’ve been watching Merlin steadying himself against the windchill of February, too. And so I say to myself, at least we’re all in this together…..and I know we’ll all survive, for we always do. For the daffodils do bloom, and the earth does quicken and my heart does warm up with every ray of sun that filters through the grey clouds of February. And the birds are singing in the mornings now despite the cold and little warm drifts of breeze nudge me on my morning walks. So I know spring is around the corner. I just pray that I can be a good girl till then…..Need your help, Mama! Stay close beside me till I’m safe…till the glow and bloom of spring warms my inner soul, my woman-heart and poet-mind once again.



Black Dog & Biorhythms


I have got a black dog on my back today. —–Sir Winston Churchill


BIORHYTHMS: Continuous physiological changes that recur in a series of never-ending measurable cycles within our bodies.

How do we explain the unexplainable? I’m a grown woman now and at times I still feel the tugs and pulls I remember feeling when I was sixteen, though now the tugs and pulls are from the dark side of the moon in the adult world. Sometimes I feel that all the woes of the world have fallen upon me alone—from watching a dear friend drift away to Alzheimers, to constantly beating my head against the concrete wall of bureaucracy, to watching the weeds in my garden exploding uncontrollably—sometimes I feel I just can’t handle all the cumulative problems of the day, at all. (And this is just in my own small world, not even bringing into consideration the Twenty-Four Great Circles of Hell of our larger Fallen World.)

When the Black Dog jumps on me, he weighs a ton and sits square on my back and pushes me down, down, down.

He won’t listen to reason and he won’t let me get up. I can’t wiggle out from under him—I simply cannot escape his weight which pressures my heart.

I don’t like to fight and I try to avoid arguments because if once I begin to argue, all stops—intellectual and emotional—are out and what comes from my mind and mouth and heart is unstoppable and vindictive, vituperative, devastating, unretrievable and brutally honest. And I was brought up to be NICE.  So fighting’s not a path I choose lightly. I usually try to go within myself and study the dark woman lurking in there before revealing her black side to the whole wide world.

But thankfully that’s when I remember my Biorhythms, just in the nick of time. The lightbulb goes off and, black dog still clinging to my shoulders, I lurch back to those faithful cyclical charts and summon up my biorhythmic waves for the immediate present. And, gentle reader, you wouldn’t believe what I see—-sure enough, those waves of emotional and physical and intellectual balances are usually all tangled up way down in the darkest depths of the chart. And do I rejoice! Yes, I rejoice, because there’s my explanation for the heretofore unexplainable. I realize that that old black dog simply rode in on the universal waves of energies (again), like the ebb and flow of the tides, and now it’s (usually) just a short waiting game for the tides to turn; and though I know I’m going to have to be sucked out and down and out again, still—I’ll know:  I’ll know that as the tide turns, as the biorhythmic cycle turns upward, I’ll know that soon will come the redeeming ssswwwwsssssshhhh…and like the ocean’s waves, I’ll be washed ashore…..coughed up by the surf, squinting in the brilliant sunlight yet breathing in the clean fresh air of a brand new day.

And the big black dog sitting on my back?  Well, it’ll be his turn now to be washed out to sea. And  Sir Winston and I will be free.  Free that is, ’til the next rhythmic cycle…ebbs again.






Black Dog

Honeysuckle on the breeze

magnolia blossoms big as dinner plates,

wildflowers growing tall

nodding in the sun—

and the everlasting chorus of the river

singing back-up to God’s Creation Medley.

And one lone woman

now middle aging (as Faulkner would say)

wondering again

(sigh—will I ever learn)

what Life’s all about.

Why these mercurial moods?

Why these brooding thoughts?

Where’s the dance in my eyes,

the lilting smile on my face?

The Black Dog has straddled my back again.

Go away, you old Hound Dog!

Go growl someone else’s way….

Darken someone else’s thoughts and dreams, I say!

**   **   **

So today…all aforethought plans

Gone “gang aft aglay”,

I planted sunflower seeds

behind the lavender and rosemary wall,

and painted the rusted faces of

flea-market flowers—

now proud as Indian bucks

in fresh new war paint—

(like the blood red

wildflower itself),

and afterwards

shared a pick-up lunch

with my (nice) dog

on the porch by the river,

watching my garden grow

in the changing light of the day.

And it hit me again—

(See, I’m not too old to learn!)

that happiness is not of this world,

(this lost, fallen, tawdry world)…..

But lives continually

like the river’s background chorus

in my heart all the time—

I just have to be quiet enough

and serene enough

to listen and hear.

I just have to remember

to pull deep from within

rather than shallow from without—

And Ha! I felt the Black Dog jump!

I see his tail hanging low—

I see him slinking away

from this lone contented woman…

Out on the prowl for some other hapless soul

until she too

can wake up and










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