Thomas Lawrence Toscano
Welcome To Spring!
Yep, I'm back.
Hello my friends - I apologize for disappearing since my birthday on Jan 31 - I can't truly explain why - suffice it to say much has happened, and I'd say more dramatically for you than for me. But, more about that later.
My life is simple. I'm blessed - each day I learn how much. I realize that either this brings a smile to your face or you assume I'm exaggerating - however - I'm not. It's stunning to me how happy I am. How I take each day smiling - greeting the woods - the creatures - the weather - the snow - even the mud. And, this time of year there can be a lot of it. And, of course, this incredible town that I live in, vote in, am a citizen of and where I have the pleasure of meeting new people each and every week.
This week I was rewarded by being involved in receiving food from our local inn (which is very famous by the way - https://www.graftoninnvermont.com/ - the Grafton Inn - a historic inn which has a great pub, wonderful accommodations and is a central part of our community.
Then, I watched people from the community come in and take advantage of the wonderful bounty as the news of the Inn closing earlier than normal - brought the current virus situation very much to the forefront.
So, what do you think - am I isolated? Thousands of acres of forest - very few full time people - and I've had a great, great, great winter. I so do love the cold and have noticed myself become more and more a part of it.
Look at the bottom of the picture - I'm actually wearing shorts and of course, a t-shirt in front of my 1st tent while I was putting up the ceiling. And yes, it was cold. But, not to me. :-)!
What was this...
moved through this
and became this. Now I have to continue with the ceiling above and continue down the other side. Hopefully, it will be easier - I believe I'll need another hand to do it - 8 foot boards and all - however, who knows. I often figure things out without someone else. This was one of the hardest jobs I ever took upon myself. I won't say why - it just was.
Always, I contrast my working here with my experience as a 12 year old as we built the house in Mahopac. There are those who are still alive who remember all of this. Who remember that house and our building it. I keep thinking of those times - and also years later when I helped my brother Frank build his house. I know that they are with me and enjoying this cabin as much as I do. How many times I have wished that they were all with me. Including my Uncle Tommy and Uncle Lenny. Who were all there as well, lending their expertise to build what would become a center of our lives. It's funny, I shock so many - who recognizing my musical and artistic self - have a bit of a hard time reconciling my construction and woodsman self. We are all multi-talented. Which means, I'm just one of many. Starting with my grandfather Gaetano Toscano.
My Uncle Dom would have enjoyed it as well. One of the greatest memories of my life - one that makes my heart soar to heights unending - was one Thanksgiving night we ended up in a cabin near Ellenville, NY with my cousin Peter, my father, my Uncle Dom and my brother. Stories told around the stove and the promise of deer hunting the next day. I had 3 does stop right in front of me - and never spooked them, however, no buck. HA! All of that pales to spending time with them. And, now, I LIVE in the cabin!
I keep TELLING you that I'm blessed. Do you believe me yet?
Why am I blessed? Can you tell me? Well, no worries, I'll tell you. We are ALL blessed. That's it - it's that simple. I realize you may not feel that way at the moment - neither did I for fairly 62 years or so ( between 0 and 5 or 6 or so, I was a pretty happy kid). However, that all changed - slowly but surely until 90 days ago, last December 19th, when I came here and slept, no insulation, very cold temperatures and a wood stove that would go out every 3 hours. And, couldn't have been happier. And, then, many things came clear to me. Mostly, that I'm me - and loved - and blessed.
Now, as so many struggle with isolation and changes to their lives and of course, the fear that so many are feeling. I bask in the joy of living (as I always could have), with the added benefit that I am exactly where I belong, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
What is that you say?
See the grouse in the top right hand corner? I turned out of my driveway and there it was. I stopped and it gave me a show as I tried to get my camera on the phone to engage. Finally it did - this was the last picture. More grouse here than I've seen in my entire life.
And, each time I see one - I'm happier than I can express. Simple huh? Why grouse? Well, for those of you who want to know more - and who sense this might be something that is appropriate for you to hear - read this. http://spiritsymbols.blogspot.com/2012/10/grouse.html
Everyone of us has an opportunity during this time. An opportunity to re-examine, hear within, to step out of the patterns that have just been shattered and calmly, confidently pay attention to the synchronicity ( coincidences). And, understand that they are for you. Not just something to smile at and then forget. There is so much love around you - around me - around us. Just allow yourself to Be - avoid the trap of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Give yourselves the gift of you, recognize the gifts that are there - there's always something to appreciate -- focus on that. Until you feel that smile - that happiness and follow it.
Those of you who know me understand I say none of this lightly - and those of you who know me even longer - have accompanied me through all my drama, suffering, gnashing of teeth, rejection, horror, sorrow and death of loved ones - both literally and figuratively - soooooo. I'm not saying any of this without having paid my dues. Done the great job of failing at so many things and yes, taking it personally. So, please if any of this rings true - try it.
Meanwhile, there's nothing like great food. I cooked this on the wood burning stove. More pictures and the recipe tomorrow ( pork curry). And remember, if you have challenges appear and they can be scary - please do accept that this too will pass. Take a deep breath and literally feel your heart.
As always, thank you all for being with me here today. Thomas