A book review of Leading by Nature, by David Lorimer

Good books are still being written. This is one of them.

The Nature of Business

This book review first appeared in The Journey of The Scientific & Medical Network, and was written by the Director of the Scientific & Medical Network, David Lorimer.

‘The is a brilliant, timely and paradigm-shifting book — required reading for all business leaders!’

Leading by Nature – Wordzworth 2022, 227 pp., £23.99, p/b – ISBN 978-1-78324-242-9

Following up on his & Laura’s 2019 book on regenerative leadership, Leading by Nature is Giles’s most accessible and highly acclaimed book, which is not only required reading for business leaders, but also for those who would like to understand in more detail the transition from the old industrial age of top-down organisation-as-machine metaphor to the new organisation-as living-systems metaphor based on systemic quantum complexity.

The three parts of Leading by Nature address opening into the shift of world view, embodying the shift, and manifesting the shift. Both the crisis of meaning and the…

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Journeying into Ourselves – the Power of Nature Immersions, by Christine Nicholson

Nature is reliable and wise. Thanks for your years of work Giles.

The Nature of Business

Often people ask me about what I do and the way I do it; perhaps hoping I can send them a one-pager fact-sheet that succinctly summaries with the comfort of bullet-points. In reality, what I do is difficult to boil-down into bullets, and so it’s a real gift to have one of my clients, award-winning business mentor Christine Nicholson, share in her own words her first-hand experience of journeying with me, Giles Hutchins, amid the ancient forest of Springwood Farm.

When babies are first born it is recognised that to really thrive they are placed on the skin of their mothers as soon as possible. The feeling of their breathing and direct contact with the skin has some quality that really makes a difference. As adults we can easily get disconnected from this connection with a life force that’s outside ourselves that is found in nature…

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This Giant ‘Water Battery’ Under the Swiss Alps Could Be a Game-Changer for Renewable Energy in Europe — Ready Nutrition Official Website For Natural Living, Sustainable Lifestyle Tips, Health Food Recipes, Family Preparedness and More

There is a gigantic water battery located in the canton of Valais, under the Swiss Alps, called Nant de Drance. It’s a hydropower plant that provides the same energy storage capacity as… 584 more words

This Giant ‘Water Battery’ Under the Swiss Alps Could Be a Game-Changer for Renewable Energy in Europe — Ready Nutrition Official Website For Natural Living, Sustainable Lifestyle Tips, Health Food Recipes, Family Preparedness and More

Growth SIStem

Photo by Fayette Reynolds M.S.


As your body generates new cells …

code the new issue of cells with what you want to be your beliefs. 

Code the cells with your life purpose. 

Code them with your Growth SIStem of: Persist, Resist and Insist. 

Growth SISTEM:

Persist in growing by being curious and humble

Resist the low levels of energy that use pettiness and apathy by being firm in what you believe and flexible in how you achieve it. 

Insist in dignity and authenticity. 

Integrate your beliefs into daily life:

Using short prayers composed of a few words to align your intentions; or

Long prayers of putting those intentions into action. 

New cells are like a newborn baby – fresh from the source – innocent and clean passing from the marrow through your bones Into your bloodstream. There is a heritage of knowledge passed on from ‘old’ cells to the fresh ones. The brand newest of cells are reasserting your well being and ready to receive the human ancestral wisdom. They have a purpose. They have an intelligence. They have a mechanical infrastructure. They have their engraving agility (as opposed to emotional agility). This is an agility to transcribe and translate the DNA via RNA into actionable instructions. This is cellular level synthesis of energy into magnetic information that can be repeated.  The residue of this cellular synthesis is hosted by the blood. 

What do you want to host in your blood as your cellular orientation.  Can they grasp what you want now, as an adult? Or is your childhood programming stronger than what you want? 

To the Power

To The Power of …

As in mathematics.

As in exponential.

As in the power that is incumbent in the design of all things.  In the case of humans, power refers to the powers to resist, insist and resist.  Resist the lower levels of energy in pursuit of meaning.  Insist on being responsible for your thoughts and actions that support the community.  Persist in elevating to higher realms that love to be in service to perceptions about growth.

However we are self-inflicted with auto-GMO.  The design has been messed with.  In the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual domains.  

It’s been a fierce few thousand years of downward pointing modification that we have not been able to resist.  Modification of men and of women.  Of education.  Of religion.  Modification away from the natural design towards the power of profit.  Profit has perverted the power away from purpose.

Maybe the market momentum for electrical vehicles these days is unconsciously mirroring a need for realignment towards something less abrasive to the surroundings; be those people or the planet.

Consider the formula:

Man to the power of two = Man squared.  If you think about it, that means man to the power of himself.  Whatever he considers himself to be is what will give him power.  If he has confidence in himself, in his skills and qualities, they are empowered by his degree of confidence in his ability to get stuff done.  Whether that stuff supports mutual growth or the attainment of power. 

More man power formulas:

Man to the power of self ignorance; man to the power of the life stage he is passing through; man to the power of soul trajectory.  All of these energies a man can process in a span of a few seconds – boom boom boom.   Which can cause him to not know what he wants because there are conflicting energies petitioning his awareness.  And those around him can think he is lost or doesn’t have ambition.

Man to the power of …  anything – implies there is a great versatility in the design of a man to be amplified.  And that is what every teenage boy is waiting for.  Anything that leads him to build his identity.  A teenage identity can be the foundation which leads to meaning for a man as he passes from adult into elder.

A man needs clarity to choose his own alignment?  Clarity can take time: perhaps in a conversation, through years of therapy or on one’s deathbed. 

What are your alignment options?  Align yourself to success, to a sense of community, to your inherited religion – or possibly a mix of all of the above. 

What is required to make your alignment relevant and (yet) religious?  Actually making it relevant points to a religious life;  making it religious makes it relevant – to what is above and below – past and future.

We all use the same tool to measure love. The instinct is like the heart of the soul – pumping the marrow of the moment into your capacities.  The instinct assumes that you want to be in the best possible health so your faculties will be in service to your soul trajectory.  Confluence of corporeal and soul health is exactly what the planet looks for in a human.  

The challenge is when we are lost – meaning not in touch with our instinct – not in communication with the human instinct.  When someone is lost, it can be difficult to find the ramp to exit from the highway to nowhere.  

Like GPS on your phone is for you to get to the farm outside the city where they have those really expensive u-cut your own Christmas tree, the instinct is the GPS of the soul.

Your instinct resonates with the truth of you in the moment.  

The greater we can, on a daily basis, jump out of the claws of being lost and into the embrace of love and its corollaries of awareness, sharing, service, understanding and agility, the more we can experience being responsible for our daily relevance and religious alignment.  Thus in the equation/formula of man to the power of  ___________ we can insert the alignment we want for us based on our generation of personal beliefs (big and small). 

Turn Your Genes Inside Out

Photo by Ivan Rudoy on Unsplash


New cells are like a newborn baby – fresh from the source; innocent and clean. They have a purpose. (Since most days of our life there are new cells generating this offers a thread we can follow to connect us to our purpose.)

These cells have an intelligence with which they are eager to permeate our being.  Issuing from within your marrow your cells have a mechanical infrastructure to get the job done with grace.  Grace is a trinity of strength, beauty and meaning.  Cells appear inside you that foster your awareness of meaning. Your meaning seems to us to be written in hieroglyphics because it is written into our DNA.  These unique string stories refer to your universal nature that you reveal in your fealty to your instinct in daily life. 

Adjacent to your emotional agility is your cells engraving agility.  This is an agility to transcribe and translate the DNA via RNA into actionable instructions. This is cellular level synthesis of electrical energy into magnetic information.  The residue of this cellular synthesis is hosted by the blood. 

What do you want to host in your blood as your cellular orientation?

You are the conscious leader of unconscious cellular syntheses, which can function as your troops. Are you on the same page? Can they grasp what you want now, as an adult? Or is your childhood programming stronger than what you want? 

These are micro dynamics that are true to their function and produce accurate results at the level of Elevated energy.  The macro dynamic is everyday life.  You are the macro manager of the purpose of your cellular micro life.

Our job is to find a way elevated information can be integrated into daily life. 

It’s easy when it flows and it is difficult when our intentions are out of sync with our cells’ purpose.

How to Create Your Personal Runes


Photo by Dagmara Dombrovska

The following is a good place to start when thinking about runes:

As well as being a literal alphabet used during the Viking ages, runes were (and still are by some) believed to hold power, symbolise inherent qualities and values and be associated with magic, as well as having meanings in more modern divination and oracle reading practices too. https://happypiranha.com

How to create runes to insert in your life for the purpose of conducting your energy through your strengths.

Decide on one of the areas in your life that you will focus on. For example: professional, marriage, personal religion. 

State what you want for that aspect in your life. 

“I want …… in my ……..”

“I want mutual support in my marriage.” 

Work it into a declaration sentence. 

“In order to instil mutual support in my marriage I will seek the good in my wife and offer honest expressions of my goodness.” 

What symbol can you create that holds the essences of your sentence?  It is your declaration sentence for what you want so you choose what works for you.

In that sentence is a power word(s) you will select. This power word has leverage to get you from the level of daily energy to elevated energy.  The power word is what accesses your Emotional Agility in the moment. Your Emotional Agility is what allows the flow of life energy to be expressed in the daily and elevated aspects of your life.  

This can work well with meditation to further engrave the reality of becoming what you want by activating your strengths.

The Rune Meditation:

Pair the word and the symbol: draw the symbol and below it write the power word. 

Close your eyes and picture that symbol – say the power word out loud. 

As you breathe in, imagine your breath being permeated with the power word. 

Have it print on your blood for the minute that it takes to circulate through your body culminating with an exhale. 

Open your eyes: you radiate your power word.  

As you grow forward draw your symbol and say your power word out loud as you wish.

Short Story: The Pythia

Beyzahzah on pixels.com


It wasn’t supposed to be a beauty contest.  If it was, Nicola would not have won.  Her bigger bones had sharper angles; her beauty didn’t quite fit into her body.  Being an odd, perceptive woman she attracted people’s attention but not the love of a man.  Which was one of the reasons the priests chose her.  Her father’s connections were another.  And the position was open as a third.  And by coincidence, Apollo was unlucky in love.

Being one of The Pythia engaged Nicola’s thoughts and replaced her need for a man’s love even if most of the priests that surrounded her had no interest in her.  Within six months of Niolca starting her training Anna, the most experienced Priestess, contracted pneumonia, could no longer attend the temple and was buried soon after. The other priestess got knocked up by one of the visiting supplicants who she met bathing in the Castalian spring.  With her two ushers unavailable Nicola had become the Oracle of Delphi.

Though Nicola knew she lacked sufficient training and practice she felt her belief in herself could make up the difference until she had more experience.  Her belief however was not important to the priests of the Temple of Apollo.  They felt she hadn’t observed and absorbed the wiles of Anna.  Anna was an excellent actress; she could feign possession by the spirits and struggle to find the human lexicon when translating the message from Apollo   She tailored her private performances to each supplicant so they would go away with a prophecy that was promising yet mysterious.  If the prophecy didn’t lead to their desired result then the supplicant could be accused of lacking faith in the Pythia and follow through on the prophecy.   

Now Nicola would be in charge of an apprentice.  She didn’t want her assistant to know more than her so she asked her father to tell the priests to interview her brother-in-law’s sister as the next Pythia in training.  Dimitra was a young woman of status but not of any specific intelligence that could be developed for the role of the Pythia.  Plus Nicola felt, in those warm afternoon breezes, she looked better than Dimitra in the colourful, flowing robes of steel blue and ruby red.

Before being tarnished by greed, being chosen as the Pythia was an honour. It was one of the few official positions where a woman’s instinct in the society was valued.  Now the priests would appear beside the supplicants and provide context to the cryptic message from the Oracle.  Nicola grasped that she was to play the role of a possessed priestess or she would be replaced.  

She coached Dimitra on how to respond to the requests of the supplicants.  Both women faked possession by the attendance of the essence of Apollo. Most of the time the priests had no idea what their message was; they simply knew what the supplicants were looking for and would convert the gibberish into witty riddles and enigmatic poems that could be taken either way.

The more tenuous the connections between the woman, her instinct and the planet, the more accessories were used during the ceremony.  The clouds of incense that filled the temple gave Dimitra a headache so she couldn’t think straight.  She would become dizzy  causing her to wobble on her stool which only helped to further the myth of her possession by Apollo.

Nicola and Dimitra preferred to knock their clients off their game so their methods couldn’t be questioned.  Relaxing them with an excess of food and libation and possibly female distraction they were less demanding for details about naval victory or political alliances as they were now feeling more satisfied in the moment.  For those who came with questions of lesser importance, like family disputes they would simply embroil them in greater family drama using guilt and blame.  In such cases there was no connection with Apollo, nor consultation of any respectable god energy.

The elders had called a Symvoulio, a local Council meeting, to express their increasing concern about the direction of the gymnasium for the children, Apollo’s sanctuary and the descent of the Pythia towards drachma and away from caduceus. Jonas, one of the local elders, showed up with a handful of arrows and a scowl.  The myths, rumours and convenient lies that manipulated the role of The Pythia for social and economic means was atrocious. The priests were scared.   

The elders told the priests to choose, as the next Pythia, a woman who didn’t abandon the female instinct.  A woman who knew her decisions would impact generations of Pelasgians and many rotations of the planet.  A woman who loved the beautiful story of the gods as a way to make the higher realms of life energy tangible yet still sacred.  

Lydia had travelled with her dad’s cousin Jonas on one of his business trips; was engaged to Tobias who was working his family’s olive orchard.  She saw that not only did Dimitra and Nicola not have the desire to deepen in the understanding of higher connection but lacked the capacity to engage the discipline of the role of an oracle.  Lydia knew not to attempt to clarify for these flousies that Apollo was not the source of the vision of the future – that it was a local planetary energy that permeated the rock of Delphi, resonating in the minerals and the water reaching hundreds of metres down.

Sprouting at the shore of the Gulf of Corinth there was a gnarly vine of human survival ascending from fishing off the coast to olive groves on the mountain side levelling out to ranching sheep as Mount Parnassus plateaus to where the spring hosted the Oracle.  

Provoked by a sense of purpose Lydia’s gait lightened as she climbed the mountain path to the temple.  Lydia sensed that she had become a nexus of powers that expressed themselves through a human life.  Challenging; confusing and possibly crazy making while being inspiring and intriguing. It was on her walk up the mountain to the temple with her head covered by a white sheer headscarf and a turquoise skirt she could feel the force settle on her head like a sparrow on an olive branch.   It was weird the first time it happened.  When Lydia asked, Dimitra had no idea about any sensation of attendance of higher forces.

The day before she is to provide prophecy Lydia feels the power of the office of Oracle settle in her body.  She eats a small bowl of vegetable broth and drinks water with lemon the rest of the day.   As dusk would succumb to evening she would sit in her small room looking out her window above the neighbour’s roof and into the sky.  When she lay down to sleep she felt received by a benevolent force that rejuvenated her.  She was learning this was the attendance of what was called the power of Apollo.

In the temple, Lydia had placed a piece of amethyst crystal in a tiny accidental niche in the wall in the rear porch where the air stayed cool. It was a gift from cousin Jonas and  not something Lydia could afford to replace.   In the morning Lydia trained herself to inhale and exhale along the lines of her connection to the amethyst in the temple. She would breathe in the immense sky then, in her mind; walk to the temple picking up the wafts of myrrh before arriving, feeling her fingertips running over the dimpled limestone columns.

On these vision walks in her mind, she was discovering that the Pythia’s role was more of a healer than a diviner.  It was the healing guidance she offered that made people think she knew the future.  She knew that if you had issues with uric acid then juniper berries would help flush it out.  She knew that the incense could be used for much more than just bathing the supplicants in dramatic clouds of smoke; it had the capacity to elevate the atmosphere into a higher realm of awareness.  

Lydia was not popular because she didn’t require the service of the priests to translate her prophecies because she did not spout trance induced Gibberish.  Using her powers of observation plus her instinct Lydia promoted clarity and well being by applying two of the three Delphic maxims: Know thyself paired with nothing in excess.  Her straightforward manner angered the priests because it lacked mystique; it had a way of clearing mental fog with belief in oneself. The priests banked on that fog and people relinquishing their belief to the translation abilities of the priests.

Whereas the Priestess Pythia was portrayed as a beacon of serenity behind the scenes there was a lot of infighting.  Lydia argued with the other two because they insisted they had to wait 7 days after the new moon before they could offer prophecy.  Lydia explained that the point was to be clean, both the Pythia and the supplicant.  That is why she had designed a 3-day retreat for the supplicants as opposed to the bacchanalia of Dimitra and Nicola.  The retreat was only to include fresh fish from the gulf and water from the spring.  Likewise it was the woman who would, once cleansed by the moon, be ready to receive, grasp and deliver the message of the gods. 

The priests knew that Lydia was very well prepared for the role of Pythia.  Much more so than the current two that were neither experienced or perceptive.  Lydia’s sincerity jeopardised their business model.   The Castalian spring was well known and had many visitors even before the reputation of the Pythia grew.  There were important visitors from afar bringing gifts and wealth. The priests didn’t want their status or their economy to be diverted.  With international fame the energy of the place was more about the buzz of commerce than the connection with Gaia.  

Lydia wanted the opposite to happen – she wanted a thriving community based around listening to the Oracle – even if it wasn’t her because she knew there could be somebody much better than her at connecting with the air of Apollo.  Someone who is fresh as the vapour from the spring yet as wise as emanation of the rocks. 

Tobias agreed to help her decorate the temple in a manner that would be pleasing to the attendance of Oracle energies.  He was happy to support Lydia but also wanted to get on with their life as a family.  They had a sincere love that their parents remarked on but the family growth was stalled.  First it was because Tobias went to war but that was 4 years ago now.  When he returned home he discovered Lydia had left on a trip with her dad’s cousin Jonas to Italy. This was quite unusual for a woman at the time but not unexpected of Lydia.

It was the sound of how he inhaled that said it was over.  Which was no surprise.  But it wasn’t fair.  Lydia knew that she could be The Pythia and a wife and a mother.  She knows it.   It was heartbreaking.  Like this moment now with Tobias.  She loved him and she knew he loved her but she couldn’t let go of the Pythia. It was more her than she was herself if that made any sense.  Lydia said it was her duty to her lineage, her land, to be The Pythia. 

Lydia’s father could not understand why Lydia didn’t marry Tobias when he was ready to make a life with her.  Lydia’s mother who knows how to deal with her dad and chose her moments when his point of view needed adjusting.  This was one of those times.  She stood up and he sat down.  No words were spoken.  He was glad because he had no idea what to do next. 

Within a year Tobias would be a happy husband and a satisfied father.  He would make his father so proud by marching off to fight for the Spartan Alliance in the battle of Marathon.  He would make his wife distraught by not coming back. 

Emotional Agility Series – Inheritance

Emotional Agility is the capacity to synthesise elevated emotion with daily life.

Elevated emotion is the power within the growth of natural development.

What is your inheritance?

Is it: money, traditions, culture, a place in the family tree, unconscious beliefs, family trauma, a house, a business, lack of love/ self love, belonging, forgiveness.

Compare the following life themes in previous generations to identify what you have received and what you have impacted: family, neighbourhood, how much money there was and the work to get it, the awareness of the condition of the planet, religion, health, education, travel, communication, marriage, old age, language, goals.

Beliefs

How do all those themes influence your beliefs?  Are your beliefs the same as the previous generation(s)?  Have you updated the beliefs that you inherited?  How much do they impact you?  Do you have information previous generations didn’t have that you have used to update your beliefs?  Are your beliefs better than other peoples?

Ask yourself:

What do you want to give continuance to?

What do you not want to inherit?

Use your Sistem.

Persist – towards the light, towards elevated emotion, building Emotional Agility.

Resist – below and around you; friends, enemies, opportunities, habits; low level leeches

Insist – inside you.  Insist to uphold what you stand for.  What do you stand for?

Clarify your Big and Small Beliefs

Big B Beliefs are those about what it is unto itself,  in theory, for everyone.

Small b beliefs are how that Belief reveals itself in your life, in practice, in your daily life.

The challenge is to make small b relevant to Big B and Big B relevant to small b beliefs.  The flow of belief in action highlights your Emotional Agility.

Example

A Man

Big B Belief – A man is willing to participate in the growth and well being of his community.

Small b belief – I, as a man, love seeing my family safe and curious about life. 

In the wake of the recent shootings read this – Angry Young Men: 10 Good Reasons to be Angry

10 good reasons for young men to be angry young men:

1. Nobody can tell them about their Soul

Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

2. They can’t get traction on responding to the stages in life.

3. He has been cut off from Nature.

4. They don’t understand women.

Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

5. The proverbial ‘man cave’ does an injustice to their abilities and needs.

6. They have no real rite of passage into manhood.

7. Satisfaction and Fulfillment have been usurped by blame and guilt.

8. They can’t find an elder.

9. Their youth and future have been tarnished by lack of vision by weak elders who know fear and lack of resistance.

10. The female instinct is not respected.

Martin Jernberg on Unsplash

Short Story: Toad – Part 3 of 3

Sarah Chai on Pexels


Even though the agreement was for her to start after she gave birth Maritza started learning coding right away and for the next four months she worked at the restaurant till she was seven large months pregnant.  It was a period of hyper focus because she wasn’t going to have the time or energy for the months following the birth and she didn’t want anyone else to jump in and take the opportunity away from her.  The first step is to study CSS HTML, and Javascript.   

With the confidence of her new job her life plan was while she has child number one she will be a Front End Developer. Then after her second and last child she will become a Back End Developer.  The odds in Vegas of Diego being ‘the sperminator’ for that second child have been dropping steadily.  

Maritza’s due date was October 16 so Diana arrived Sept 30 just in case the baby wanted life to start a few weeks early.  

She wanted her mom to be with her when she had children.  But she knew by the time she was 14 years old she would never leave her hometown – the mini universe of petty importances – if she got married and had a child there.  It was painful but with the reports of increasing ‘femicidios’ she knew it was the right thing to do.

To begin with it worked out really well.  Diego was on his best behaviour; still a bit nervous and ashamed he got his girlfriend knocked up.  Diana loved seeing her daughter after three years and she spread that love on Diego’s toast too.  For a while.  Diana liked Diego but he just couldn’t get with the program. He would do anything you asked.  But you had to ask him to stop watching videos and put down the phone.  He worked full time but other than that there was a weak response to the fact of the cost of raising a family.  He didn’t party – he didn’t do anything. 

Diego’s mom died when he was around four years old so he ended up living with cousins till he was a teenager.  His dad became unhinged; unable to transition from grief to widower/dad/homemaker/happy person who didn’t drink everyday and just plop white bread and peanut butter on the kitchen table for his two boys to make their sandwiches to take to school.  His dad’s sister Blanca took over the role of responsible adult.

His dad visited a few times but his absence fertilised weeds of disdain to germinate in their garden of young man formation.  Of course the boys felt rejected and wound up with contorted relationships with love for a long time.  Perhaps that was one of the things that Maritza and Diego had in common. His limited lexicon of love was familiar to Maritza.  Not quite comforting but at least she knew what she was dealing with having seen her dad come back from Oregon without the words or the balls to improve the situation with her mom.   

Maritza explained her theory to her mom that since Diego was brought up by his Aunt and embarrassed about his dad and afraid they might kick him out if he and his younger brother became too much of a burden he didn’t impose.  That is why he had programmed himself out of ambition.  And probably the same for drinking.   He didn’t drink.  He went to church every two weeks to pray for aunt Blanca who was sick and had been for a while.  Diego sent her money on her birthday and at Christmas – 250 bucks – which surprised Maritza.  At first she didn’t say anything but now with needing things for the baby and el mendigo coche things had changed.  She can see that conversation about Aunt blanca coming soon.  Her mom was totally in agreement.

It was cramped in their one bedroom apartment.  Mom created her tidy corner for living.  They  pulled the couch out from the wall and put a foam mattress down.  She would nap with the baby when Maritza had gone out to shop.  In the space between conscious and unconscious is that beautiful feeling of experiencing your mind compressing.  It might have been a dream in sleep or had her mind imagined she was back in Mexico as a young mother with infant Maritza.  But instantly she realized that was silly because she lived in fear in Mexico of her loncheria being targeted by the narcos and she was breathing in the smells of her granddaughter.

Maritza told her mom she wasn’t married to Diego in any civil or emotional sense.  She wanted chdilren and she didn’t want stupid parent problems impacting the development of her children.  Diego was perfect for the job.  He was not anything remarkable: a little pudgy, not funny or depressing, not ugly or rich, not violent or warm, or not ambitious. 

Diana talked with him one Saturday morning when the two of them were walking with the baby in the carriage that everyone at the restaurant had chipped in for and given her as a gift.  In fact they had offered to give Diego a job.  He would have been making less money but it would have been stable and they would still have benefits.  He would have to improve his English and to him that meant reading and lots of things going too fast for him and not understanding.  Any book caused a white rain in his head that didn’t let him think.  His English wasn’t that bad but he made no effort to learn. It made Diego feel too domesticated.  He needed to be the man to go out and make his money to support his family in a job he found doing work he learned.  He didn’t need help.

Diana sensed he felt guilt from how his childhood went.  She told him he was not responsible for his parents.  How could he be?

“Hijo, as parents we make mistakes.  The ones you are going to make are enough.  You can’t also carry the sins from the previous generation.  You are so good to send money to your Aunt Blanca.  She will understand if you have to focus on your family now.  She has her own children to help her.  You have helped them so much.”

Diego sent money to Aunt Blanca so that he could feel a mother’s love.  He was too scared to go out into the world by himself.  His past was bullying his present.

“Hijo, you are a good man.  Your family loves you and needs you. Here.  Now,” said Diana.

Diana living with them allowed Maritza to study more and sleep more and obviously she was a great cook so Diego’s lunches were famous on the job site.  Diana made him dishes that he could share with the guys at lunch time so they liked having him on the team – so they didn’t fire him for being a lazy dumbass.  

She made tacos dorados, flautas, chiles en vinagre and she always gave him an extra bottle of agua de Jamaica sweetened with piloncillo.  She taught Diego how to make hand made tortillas so when she was gone he had a specific task in the kitchen.

She opened Fonda Diana two years before she got pregnant with Maritza.  It was such a hoe-in-the-wall restaurant with economical food for locals.  The revenue often just covered costs and everyone knew they had nothing really.  Just the house. Her father-in-law had divided his property up in equal parts for each of his six children.  Diana and Rodolfo had their plot closest to the road where they built their two bedroom/one bathroom house as newlyweds 20 years ago.  Diana wanted a little more distance between her and her in-laws but she didn’t have her own free property up her sleeve.  Being closest to the road gave the illusion of an easy escape in case of emergency. 

Now this was her turn being away like her husband.  Diana was traumatized by her husband’s experience in the US. Even though Maritza had her work permit Diana still had fear la migra was gonna knock on the door.  

She needs to be in the same place as her biggest worry.  In her marriage there was no worry nor love.  At least not love that flowed between the two of them.  There was his support of wanting the mother of his children to be healthy.  But there were no emotional hydraulics that kept them connected, rejuvenated or feeling appreciated.

Their love was like a coiled and faded green garden hose that sits in the grass beside the house – the grass growing all around it.  The water in the hose gets heated every day and cooled every night but never quenches anything.  There was endearment from him to her because he knew she knew he had cheated on her in Oregon.  Or as Maritza at four years old would say – oregano.

With her mom around Maritza started speaking more in English to Diego so her mom wouldn’t understand.  Diana understood they were a family and needed to have their privacy.  As a young family they had so many unknowns, of baby sleeping and parents not/diaper rashes/not trusting the doctor/medicine and diapers/noisy neighbours, arriving at once, like it was a surprise party no one told you that you were hosting.   Diana would ‘go to the store’ just to give them some space.   But winter had placed a white canvas on the ground after the beautiful palette of autumn fiery reds, glowing oranges and comforting yellows.  The cold was hard and penetrating and was more than necessary.  All the cold you needed was to make snow, why get colder, thought Diana, when she looked at her phone and it said minus 17 degrees Celsius.

 Diana sat in the coffee shop with her sugary medium hot chocolate.  She took her coat off and hung it on the back of the chair like the Canadians with their large double doubles.  She thought if she acted like them her marrow might radiate some warmth through her body.  She bought the hot chocolate because there was the word hot right in the name.   Diana cupped the hot chocolate with her pale hands.  It’s like she was wearing special lead gloves that didn’t let any radiation through.   She didn’t want to complain and cause her daughter any stress and pass that to the baby.  

She needed a hug.  She found a gif of a boy wearing a toque,snow on his head and frozen snot coming out of his nostril.  She sent it to her sister back home.   Her sister sent her a gif of a smiling devil with a bottle of booze.   Diana had planned to stay six months but cut it short saying that her son back in Mexico needed taking care of because he was getting sick and wasn’t eating well because dad was a moron in the kitchen.  And elsewhere.  They had Sandra’s first Christmas together and she left in mid January.  She was too cold to stay.  

Her tears were going in all directions.  They were falling up in the joy of being a grandmother of a beautiful shining life.  They were falling down in sadness at the stupidness of husbands and son-in-laws and sons not knowing how to love.

They were falling sideways at being 54 years old, grandma, mother-in-law, and feeling needed for what she did and not loved for the woman she was.

She knew what kind of woman she was.  Not from a sense of self-confidence based on life success.  She knew because Maritza told her.

“Mama,  I’m not going to miss you,” said Maritza, which shocked Diana.

“Because I will have you morning, noon and night.  Because I need to be strong for Sandra and caring at the same time.  All I have to do is exactly the same as you did for me.  Everyday. Resilient and dignified and creative and…”

“Ya basta,” Diana stopped Maritza and reached for Sandra to cradle her one last time before she went home.  Only Diego drove her to the airport because Diana couldn’t handle the car trip with the joy of being with Sandra and the sadness of having to leave.

Maritza didn’t want to have two children from different fathers so Operation Rogelio was live: get drunk while eatng dinner, have sex and hopefully get pregnant. Maritza figures by the time Rogelio (she has decided it will be a boy and his name is Rogelio) is five years old she can take out the blue recycling bin with Diego in it.   Have him get picked up and out of her life and he can get repurposed by another woman.

“Oye gordo, can you jump in your sexy car and run down to the liquor store and get us a bottle of wine for dinner.

“What colour?” asked Diego, liking the idea that he drove a sexy car.

“Red menso.  Have you ever seen me drink white wine in my life?”

“I dunno maybe when …”

“Make it one of those one litre bottles.  Here’s 20 bucks.”

As the door closed she could hear him jingling his keys with the satisfaction of a man with purpose. Click/clack the door to their second floor apartment closed.  She stood there feeling like she was watching the final credits of a bad movie you sat through hoping to be moved by it at some point – and the best part of the movie was the popcorn.

Maritza said to the closed door,

“You are a toad.”

From the short story series Tool by Kevin McNamara