Thursday, December 10, 2015

Our Lady of Ripening on the Vine

to Carrie and Wil

There are no accidents.

Yesterday was a difficult one, and I spent much of the afternoon in tears. By dinner-time, my responsibilities as a mother seemed as burdensome as a factory job, and while cutting a lemon for dinner, the lemon not dinner, I knicked the nail on my middle finger of my left hand. It was the first time I'd used the knife, a new one from Japan, it said. Exceedingly sharp. Precise. A bead of blood rose instantly to the surface and then a line that ran down the crease and into the cuticle. It hurt. A heart throbbing in a nail bed. Oliver was circling around having picked all the Meyers from the little tree in our garden bed. A bounty of lemons hanging heavy and ripe, limoni, a Montale poem. Please don't pick all of them, I had told him. They'll keep on the vine but not if you harvest them. He didn't listen to me as his wont, and because he's fourteen and his wont also includes over-reaction, because he is newly part of a broken family, I held my tongue at least to something duller. I set my mouth hard when I saw the giant bowl of lemons on the counter. Why did you pick them all? I said as I chopped, while I chopped before I cut. He wiped each one clean at the sink as I held my finger under water, pushing the blood out. We were both silent. I'm not sure when the tension eased, but at some point he showed me one particular lemon with a tiny "4" etched into the skin. Look! Mom! he said. Isn't this weird? It was weird, and it was cool. I agreed, my mouth softened. You have to eat this one whole, he said when I told him that 4 has always been my lucky number (since the 4th grade, when I had Mrs. Delp, my favorite teacher, four letters, the number itself, four letters, room 4 in school), Oliver put it beside my bed.

This morning I woke up, heavy in my bed. My finger throbbed. A heart in a finger. The bed of a finger. Some months ago, my friend Carrie wrote about Alana Fairchild's Mother Mary's Oracle cards and guidebook. I'm a sucker for oracles -- whether it's bibliomancy, the I Ching, a book of poetry, Mary the Mother of God. I bought a set. This morning, I shuffled the deck, cut it and turned over the top card. 

#4. Our Lady of Ripening on the Vine

I ask you to surrender your future-thinking to me. Although your future contains the promise of great blessings, do not let this distract you from the blessing I bestow upon you in this moment. I ask you to open your arms to my blessings in the here and now. You are the sweet fruit, heavy on the vine. The time for harvest has come. This is your time.

...This oracle comes to you as a confirmation -- there is something within you, something of you, that is ready. Even if the immediate reality doesn't match a fantasy that you have once held about how life would be when you would finally share more of yourself with the world, you are still ready and this is your time to shine.

...This oracle brings you a particular message that you are more ready than you think you are -- for whatever adventure most concerns your heart, or is already right at your feet. Do not shy away. It is your time for harvest. Open your arms and gather abundance to you. Trust that your abundance will benefit others too, because the more you have, the more you can choose to share and give. Do not be afraid to receive blessings and to have what your heart desires. The manifesting desires of your heart are the heavenly fruit becoming heavy on the vine and ripening, ready to be enjoyed. Fruit that is not gathered and eaten will rot, feeding the earth to be born again. So nothing is wasted. Yet that fruit could be sweetly savoured by those capable of receiving. There is so much waiting for you in this moment. Gather your harvest, accept the goodness and let gratitude fill your heart.

Damn if I'm not eating that lemon whole today, letting the sour and the sweet run down my face, clean my wounds. We've got bags of lemons to share as well.


  1. This says so precisely what I have been trying to tell you for so long- the time is ripe for your harvest. Ripe and right.
    Beautiful, true, girl- hold out your hands, let the heaviness of the fruit fall into them.

  2. Mary, she never disappoints. Love this story, and everything about this story.

  3. I love this post, every word. I know so well the tension between mother and son, and how in a moment it eases. You have a good boy, picking the lemons, wiping them clean, put the treasured one beside your bed. And the oracle, how perfect. The world is yours.

  4. Sorry you cut yourself. I can't imagine a tree of lemons in my yard, or how amazing they must smell. My impulsive youngest would probably have done the same thing.

    Have you tried this recipe? It is one of my favorites. It is a fantastic marinade and very easy. Also makes a great gift so you can make a few jars to give away. It takes 4 lemons/jar. Maybe a sign.

    Preserved Lemon Marinade

    Juice from one lemon
    3 lemons cut into slices or wedges
    1/3 cup coarse salt
    Olive oil to cover (after one week)
    Pack the lemons in a glass jar, add salt and lemon juice. Let stand for one week, turning daily to redistribute salt. At the end of the week, add olive oil to one inch over the lemons.

    Will keep forever in the fridge. A few hours before cooking, coat meat or fish with marinade.
    Bake, broil or fry.

    Blessings to you.

  5. Hugs to you for the cut...I had not realized your family was newly broken, as you put it. I am sorry. Oliver's impulses are good, especially in placing that special one by your bed...My grandmother candied lemons...that might be worth trying if you like them.

  6. The oracle reading brought me to tears. It is all said there. I'm so glad you ate the lemon and wish you healing for your finger. I find I can only work with dull knives, anything else is too dangerous for me. Additional blessings. xo

  7. You are now the THIRD person that I know who has cut a finger in the last week. What's happening? But oy, lemon juice in a cut? Ouch.

    I have 'issues' with the term 'broken family.' You are not broken. You are moving forward in a different configuration, and as long as mom and dad continue to be good parents, that is all that matters. Love to you all.

  8. I love this post, the not-accident, the reading. I need to get back to my oracle as well. I need to know what I think has been missing that's probably right in front of my face.

  9. When I got divorced we all floundered for so long. It felt like we didn't fit anywhere anymore. We felt broken. We felt cut open. Like any grief, you don't get over it but just learn to live differently. And that is OK.

    Much love to Oliver for picking all the lemons and putting the special one by your bed.

  10. It's funny how the universe works. Sending good thoughts and peace your way. Take care woman.

  11. Can I say I love Oliver enough times?

  12. I feel like I am intruding in a circle of friends, but, I just want to tell you I never read anything as moving as this. How do you tie it all together like you do? I also hope you experience the steadying and freedom that comes from a separation from a spouse- if the experience is common, the fear of the loss is the worst (first) part, and then you come to realize you are happier than you ever thought possible. And you wonder what you were ever afraid of in the first place... All good things to you.

  13. Yes. No accidents. And there is much within you that is absolutely bursting to come forth and illuminate the rest of us. Love.

  14. #1. I'm sorry for the tears. A day of tears is a hard day indeed.

    #2. I'm sorry you cut your finger...I hope the new knife redeems itself.

    #3. I like your nut case box.

    #4. That is an enormous lemon...are they all that big?

    #5. Take that message from the card and hold it tight...good things for you all in the new year.

    Also, preserved lemons are tasty. Lemon pickles, lemon curd, lemon bars, lemon pie, lemon cake. I love lemon!!

  15. That oracle!
    A lemon seems perfect to go with it.
    I have that same little box. Maybe the universe gives it to divorced mothers.
    I'm thinking of you, Elizabeth. Call me if there is anything I can say or do.

  16. I don't think I've ever commented before, but I've been reading for years. I knew recently you were speaking to me even more so than usual. I couldn't put my finger on it. I'm also in the middle of a divorce. I don't know what else to say or why I'm even trying to make a coherent thought right now. But thank you for your words.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Christie! I appreciate your words and connection more than you might realize. Feel free to email if you ever want to share more of your/our experiences. Peace to you.



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