A Day for Friendship

The first year that I did a daily tarot reading, I used a single card. This second year I used two cards. Next month starts my third year, and I’ll probably graduate to a three-card reading. Not that I’m learning anything much either about the tarot or myself, but you never know. If there’s anything to learn, I’m sure I’ll eventually learn it, and if not, well, it’s as good a way to start the day as any other.

Mostly the reading is rote — I pick the cards, look up their meanings and try to figure out how the two cards fit together. Sometimes there seems no discernable relationship; other times, it’s obvious.

Last night, I dreamt of a wedding. I’m not sure who was getting married, though I tend to think it was one of my sisters. The main thing I remember about the dream, other than the talk of her getting married, is that the bridesmaids dresses were going to be brown. This morning’s tarot cards were the four of wands and the ten of cups. In the deck I am currently using, the Egorov Tarot, the four of wands is about completion, prosperity and satisfaction, and love affairs leading to a wedding. The ten of cups is about true happiness in love and friendship, and weddings.

I must admit, this reading amused me, reflecting, as it did, my dream of an upcoming wedding rather than any real-life experience.

Today was a day for friendships, however, so the cards got that right. One friend stopped by this morning to return a pattern for a paper project that she’d borrowed. We chatted for a while until it was time for me to get ready to host a different friend for tea out in my gazebo. Since today was vastly cooler than the past couple of days, this seemed a good time to try out my new gazebo furniture.

The chairs were comfortable, though after our tea, we took a walk to the dollar store to check to see what sort of cushions they might have. Although I liked the cushions I found, I wasn’t sure I needed them. It just seemed as if they would be more things to have to take care of. We also decided the furniture would be able to withstand the elements better without any cushions, so that’s how we left it.

On my way home, I visited with another friend in the middle of the street. The only time I see this woman, it seems, is happenstance when I’m out walking and she’s out driving. Hence our visits in the middle of the road.

That was the best thing about today — seeing friends.

I still feel a bit sick at the desiccated swath of grass (the only good thing about the desiccation is I’ve finally learned to spell desiccate, just as the only good thing about high temperatures is finally learning how to spell Fahrenheit). I’m pretty sure what happened to that grass is that there are no reserves of water beneath that part of the lawn since that patch of grass is being grown over an area that once was part of a gravel driveway. Although there wasn’t much gravel to be seen when the sod was laid, I have a hunch there were many layers of buried gravel beneath the dirt. So, great drainage, but poor sustainability. I’m not giving up, though. The grass did fine for many months, and if I can get resuscitate it, I’m sure it will again do fine. Meantime, I’ll be watering that patch every day for a while.

Many of the plants that were also affected by those hot, arid winds have recovered though, not surprisingly, the Siberian wallflower had no use for the heat and is struggling.

Still, there are plenty of flowers and greenery to enjoy, especially when I’m sitting in my gazebo, on my new chairs, sipping iced tea with a friend.

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Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Fabulous Fall

Today was an astonishingly beautiful day, the sort that makes up for the summer days of blistering desert heat.

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It was an especially nice day because I was able to share it with a friend I haven’t seen in over a year. There’s been too many traumas for both of us, which shouldn’t surprise me since trauma was always something we had in common. We met at a grief group at the absolutely worst times of our lives. I still remember the look on this woman’s face the first time I saw her — absolutely disbelieving, eyes wide with indescribable pain,  clutching the arm of a friend as if afraid grief would swallow her.

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Well, grief didn’t swallow either of us. And today, the sparkle in her eyes along with her easy smile was, I am sure, matched by my own.

And the day smiled at both of us.

We walked twice around “our” lake, the place we’ve most often gotten together, and afterward promised each other we’d do it again.

It might even be so.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

The Yin-Yang of Friendship

I feel sad today, though I shouldn’t. The weather is lovely — cool with wonderfully clear azure skies. I had a delicious lunch with a friend and afterward we sat beneath a tree by the shores of a lake (human-made, but still a lake) and enjoyed a quiet interlude.

If the sadness isn’t a belated response to my four-and-a-half-year anniversary of grief, and if it isn’t simply a general malaise stemming from the change of seasons, then it could be due to an ongoing disagreement I am having with another friend. This other friend periodically accuses me of being contrary or negative when I resist being taken for granted, and I never know how to yinyanghandle the accusations, so I often make the situation worse by trying to explain my position. This time, I’m not explaining, and perhaps that’s what’s making me sad — I value my friends and I don’t like passing up an opportunity to put things right.

Last year, another friend accused me of being negative. (When most people look at me, they don’t see someone negative but a smiling woman who is doing the best she can with what life throws at her.) I told her I was sorry she felt that way, and that’s pretty much how we left it. We reconnected recently, and she apologized for her behavior, saying I wasn’t negative and she had no idea why she accused me of being so.

I don’t know why she said it, either. To be honest, I don’t know why anyone would accuse a person of being negative. I can’t think of a single instance where I accused someone of being negative, perhaps because I don’t put much faith in being positive. I’m one of those people who don’t care whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. I simply drink what’s there and refill the glass if possible, which could be why I have no idea how to deal with the infrequent person who calls me negative.

The truth is, negativity isn’t necessarily negative. Negativity is simply yin to positivity’s yang. Everything is a duality — complementary forces that interact to form a dynamic whole. Light and dark. Male and female. Hot and cold. Fire and water. Good and bad. Positive and negative. In Taoism, there is no real distinction between these forces that we in the west see as opposites. Since negativity is a matter of perception, the problem lies with the person who perceives me in such a light. And so it goes, the yin-yang of friendship.

Now if the friend had accused me of over thinking everything, I’d have to agree with that. If nothing else, this post is an exercise in over thinking. But I had fun writing this bloggerie and now don’t feel quite so sad — I even have a small smile on my face.

I hope you do too.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.