art it out

2 07 2015

The only way to get something out of your head is to

art it out

draw out the image

paint out the dream

write out the story

poem out the feelings

then you can go on about your day

when a creative force strikes, it’s not always something pretty and fun

sometimes it is the tiny little demon which needs to escape

so that our protagonist

can go on about the business

of living life





Earrings

2 07 2015

Then, there are those dreams

when you see your sister

and she’s still alive

and you sit across the table from her

and you want to explain to her

that the reason you’re wearing her earrings

is because it was a way to have her with you.

But here she is—

she’s across the table from you

she isn’t gone

so you sort of feel bad for having her earrings while she’s still here

but there was a reason you had the earrings

a bothersome, sad feeling

which becomes a slow washing over

a tiny river of realization

this odd knowing

this knowing

that she is both here and not here.

She is both dead yet alive.

Gone from this world, but very much present in your heart and mind.

These dream moments are too quick

too fleeting

and you don’t realize how precious they are

until you have left them

until you are awake

and alone

in your room

thinking of her

and her earrings

your sister

the love





Where You Were and Where You Are

3 03 2015

chocolate-birthday-cakeAs one gets older, it is widely believed that one gets accustomed to getting older. I suppose that’s true to an extent. A small extent. For getting older is not the same as riding a bike or learning another such skill. Every time you get older, you’re in new territory. Every time you have a birthday, you’re turning an age you’ve never been before. Every single time.

It’s sort of exciting, really. It’s always new. Life is the great improvisation. And it’s always spontaneous. We can fool ourselves a bit with routines and patterns. But we’re just fooling ourselves. We never truly know what’s going to happen next or how things are going to pan out. Life is just one surprise after another—some good; some bad.  Occasionally, we make plans and what we think/hope will happen, does.  More often though, our plans are rejected by Life and both far worse or far better can happen.  We simply learn as we go and do the best we can.

I’ve been really lucky. I was born into a loving family; I’ve encountered some of the most supportive, fun, caring, wonderful people in all of the places I’ve lived and visited; and so far, I’ve enjoyed some pretty delightful artistic and creative opportunities. Man, am I grateful for everything.

Tonight, on the eve of my birthday, I got to teach something I love to a group of wonderfully open students. Lucky. I got to drive in a comfy car while listening to great music. Lucky. I got to come home to my “grown-up house” that my lovin’ hubby and I live in. Lucky.

FogYes, I’m a bit of a sentimental fool. I notice significance in places and times where, perhaps, others might not. It slows me down and might mean that I miss out on something else, but I don’t mind it. I love it. I love that tonight, while driving home through the thick fog, I was struck by how immediate it all is. Fog is really good at putting the “now” into focus and leaving out the “much later.” You can only see just a little bit in front of you, and when you’re improvising, that’s all you need to see. You know where you were and you know where you are. And that’s all that matters.

The fog and life and improvisation and the music and the soon-to-be-new-age-I’ve-never-been-before and my gratefulness made me a tiny bit teary eyed. Then, my awareness of my almost-cry, rooted in deep spontaneous appreciation, gave me more appreciation. How lucky that I’m living this, and realizing that I’m living this.

I’m filled with love about the whole thing, y’all.

It’s nice to take a moment to be grateful of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, who you’ve known and all of the unknown that is to come.





Living in the South

27 01 2015

Best things about living in the south:

fried okra

the weather

the wonderful people I’ve met

(they don’t necessarily come after okra and weather, but I just had more okra today, and it’s really on my mind)

fried lots of things, actually

sweet tea

the weather: it’s worth mentioning again, as it is the middle of January and I am only wearing one pair of pants

ubiquitous bicsuits

ubiscuitous

mountain hikes

and seriously, y’all:  the weather





From the Homesick Files…

5 01 2015

And then comes the day after all of the holiday hubbub when you’re at the gym trying to work out, and that Tony Bennett song comes on and you remember walking on State Street, that great street. And you close your eyes, but you’re not in Chicago, you’re in Cumming, Georgia. And the suburbanites at the Y are looking at you funny, because you’re walking in between treadmills with your eyes mostly closed trying to imagine you’re somewhere that you’re not and attempting not to cry.

And you make it all the way outside and you’re sitting in your car, thinking now—NOW I can cry a good cry. But the soccer mom next to you is sitting in HER car and it’s just not far enough away. So you make it all the way home and you sit in the garage, the dark garage in your car (you have a garage now–isn’t that weird), and you cry a nice homesick cry for the friends you miss and the routine that’s no longer yours, and even your favorite little cafes and whatnot. Yep, a good homesick cry.

And then you pick yourself up and you go get your mail and you find a little something from a dear friend in Chicago and it’s perfect. Lovely and perfect. And everything’s gonna be okay.





the losing of someone

30 09 2014

in the losing of someone, you gain so many things

things you didn’t want

you just want to trade all of those things back for your loved one

but you can’t

your loved one is gone and you are stuck with a crappy grab bag

filled with

sadness, anger, fear, loneliness,

and a hollow, emptied out part of your heart

“I’m sorry to hear about your loss,” they will say, kindly, not knowing what else to give you, your hands already full with the contents of your unwanted bag.

“I know it happened a while ago. I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner.”

but anyone who has lost a loved one knows that there is no such thing as

belated condolences

you will never stop missing your loved one

never

and life continues and you do all sorts of things

you thought you’d do with them nearby

wishing you

good luck

and

congratulations

and

I love you

It’s so different without them there. Different than it always had been. One less.

one less at dinner

one less at the celebration

one less at all the gatherings

and there are positive thoughts and comforting quotes

but sometimes

you don’t want any of those

you just want to cry

and there is a gentle beauty in that

crying

for the knowing

that even if your loved one was here for only a brief time

how lucky you are to have had even that





The Rain Here

11 09 2014

It rained here the other day with such big, round drops, that a person could walk five paces in between getting wet.

"Ecstasy" by Maxfield Parrish

“Ecstasy” by Maxfield Parrish

But that was just one rain. The big-drop rain doesn’t seem to be the dependable personality of the rain here. The one constant I’ve seen so far is its ability to both approach and depart so quickly, surrounded on either side by beautiful blue skies with picture perfect clouds. The skies here often seem that they are exquisite artist renderings of what people think beautiful skies should look like—back drops meticulously painted on scrims, which the set-designer just rolled out from the back of the theater.

The downpours can be heavy at times, with magnificent thunder and lightning shows. Afterward, steam dramatically rises up from the hot pavement. Surrounded by all these trees, and chirping bugs and birds, it is less gritty than the steam rising up from the manhole covers in the big city. And it’s prettier too.

The other day, I drove for about 20 minutes on curvy back roads through a forest to buy almond milk, taquitos, and popcorn. (All of Georgia is in a forest, whether you’re in the city or the country—or, like us, somewhere in between). And in those 20 minutes, I witnessed gentle grey clouds, a spectacular maybe-I-should-pull-this-car-over rainstorm, steam and mist and fog (condensation that couldn’t decide whether it was warm or cool), then cleared-up skies, followed by the most amazing sunset I’d seen in a long time.

This cartoon gets it.

This cartoon gets it.

I am fond of rain. I can’t remember ever not liking a rainy day. I’ve always preferred them to the sunny ones. Just as a sun-lover feels downtrodden and irritable after so many days of rain in a row, I am not a truly happy camper until a stretch of sunshine-filled days is finally interrupted with a gentle, grey day, giving me a much-needed respite. The sun is just too aggressive for me. Perhaps that sentiment is rooted in my much too pale and sensitive skin. I can accrue a sunburn in less than eight minutes of being out-of-doors on bright, sunny day and my Nordic eyes are sensitive to that harsh light. There’s a certain amount of pushiness that a sunny day has. “Get out there and do something!” A grey day, on the other hand, is much more laid back about your personal choices. “Did you want to read a book today? Oh, okay. That’s cool. Just to let you know, if you wanted to take a wee nap, that’s fine too.   Really, anything you decide to do today is splendid. No judgment here.”

Sunny days are the over-achieving girl who lives next door, always giving you the side-eye, because you don’t mow your lawn every week. Grey days are your best friend, the one who always listens and supports your every decision.

I am not as deterred by the amount of sun here as I thought I’d be, mostly because the bounty of trees provides this super white gal with ample amounts of shade. And also, those clouds—those picture perfect, Maxfield Parrish clouds that decorate the bright, blue sky are not so bad. Not so bad at all.

If I had a little rain cloud following me everywhere, I would save so much money on sunscreen!

If I had a little rain cloud following me everywhere, I would save so much money on sunscreen!

I’ve only been living in this region for a month, and it’s certainly not going to surpass Seattle in its ability to please me rain-wise. But already, Georgia has given those glorious mid-west thunderstorms that I loved in Chicago a run for their money. And maybe, just maybe, since the winters are so mild here, the months to come will have lots more grey days and rain. I sure am lucky my husband didn’t get a job that moved us to Arizona or New Mexico.