Conversations with Harriet

Sera Beak writes in her fabulous work The Red Book that the Divine is constantly speaking to us – through our surroundings, experiences, interactions, people, etc. I have found this to be very True, and so I work to pay attention to all sorts of things that the Universe might be trying to tell me, to look for nuggets of wisdom, Divine voice in interactions, in things people say, in the very people I encounter; for pieces or a cosmic head’s up about lessons or shit I’m either working on, should be working on and aren’t, or are just being introduced to me. I have a relatively routine schedule in terms of places I typically go (work, school, the grocery store, etc.), and so when I go somewhere new, change my route, or space about something that I either didn’t do, didn’t need to do, somewhere I didn’t go or didn’t need to go, I pay extra close attention. Also, provided that when I interact with the Goddess, She is typically a very large, Brown woman (I mean ‘brown’ of the African American variety in a very genuinely honoring sense), I always keep an eye out for matronly-looking Brown women.

The other day, I completely spaced that it was technically spring break as far as my school courses are concerned. So after a hideously, jam-packed night full of dream after dream that I don’t remember and sleeping in far too late because it hadn’t felt like I got any sleep, I rushed to reprioritize my day’s schedule so I could leave on time for class. I was heading a different route because of an errand I planned to do on my way home. So after I realized that I didn’t have class I headed back to the train station.

It was about 4:30pm when I got to the station, and a train pulled up just as I reached the platform (a tiny little thrill of mine and source of constant joy and amusement). The platform was pretty crowded as it tends to be at the beginning of rush hour traffic, as was the train as I boarded. I saw an open seat, and when I went to ask the person sitting next to it if it was all right if I sat down, a lovely brown woman probably in about her early 50s looked up at me and said, “Of course! That’s why I moved over.”

She was wearing a coral colored blouse that had coral lace short sleeves in the pattern of flowers. Her hair was coiffed medium-short, a little wavy. She had big light brown eyes and a warm smile, lips colored with lipstick that matched her blouse. I was content to be on the receiving end of this woman’s kind nature and have that be that, but then she looked at me, said her name was Harriet and asked me how my day had been. First of all, people don’t typically talk to each other much on the train unless they already know each other. Add to that my bit about Momma continually appearing to me (both when I interact with Her in a spiritual sense and through actual human women) as a large brown woman, and I was paying attention. I told her my name and took quick stock of my day, filtering it through gratitude because I can get pessimistic when I’m cranky, and responded that my day had been pretty good. She told me she had come down to help a friend but was heading back home now. Inwardly, I smiled and wondered.

She told me she had had oatmeal for breakfast which fills her up more than anything else, but now she was hungry. I couldn’t help but ask what she planned to have for dinner. Breakfast, she thought. Being a huge fan of breakfast for dinner myself, I appreciated her selection. We talked about breakfast and oatmeal a bit more – the traditional oatmeal that you have to cook, not the instant kind – and our favorite ways of making it, what we put in it, what spices we used, etc.

 I’d been writing recently about the seasons, about the cyclical nature of life – the ups and downs – and how those cycles mirror the natural seasons. I’d been writing and thinking about how this winter, this time of death, this difficult and challenging period that I’ve been moving through has become so heavy, feels like it’s lasted so long and feeling like I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be able to deal and to keep moving. So when our conversation turned to the seasons and how we were both so glad spring had come, I remembered what I’d been writing and thinking about. I said that I hoped it didn’t snow in April again like it had the past few years and waited for her response. She said that no, she didn’t think that would happen. She thought we were over the hump.

My stop came not too long after that, at which point I thanked Harriet, told her to take care and got off the train. When I got to my car and started heading to my errand and then home, I thought about Harriet and what she had said about spring coming and winter being done now and prayed that those words truly came from Momma’s lips. The past several days haven’t been easy. After my epiphany/revelation from earlier this week, I think I expected (naively, I suppose) for things to just poof! be cake, or at least maybe like a mini-cake – some nice little pastry or maybe a donut from here on out. It’s like a post-epiphany type of euphoria that happens for me. Unfortunately, because those revelations don’t happen every day, I seem to forget in between them about this little hiccup.  As I write, though, I’m reminded that we (again, unfortunately) don’t jump from winter to the full bloom of summer. Spring is a time of small blooms, of gentle warmth, of rain that softens the ground to be able to accept the seeds we plant, a time of being patient while we wait for those seeds to germinate and grow and trusting that much is happening below the surface that we can’t see.

And so I celebrate those small blooms with gratitude, I begin to determine what new seeds I wish to plant as Ostara approaches, I practice patience and trust that the seeds already planted from the work I have done thus far are germinating and sending out roots though I cannot yet see anything above the surface.

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