Monday, January 30, 2006

checking in {life and AW}

As you may have guessed from yesterday's post, I am on a trip. Training today for an editing project I am working on with a group of fantastic women. Because I am back in Indiana, I have been able to spend some time with my mom. Lucky me, I get to join her later this afternoon when she meets with her attorney to discuss her will. How am I old enough that my mom wants me to go with her to talk about her will? Yesterday, we did have some fun shopping at the mall I call Keystone at the Crossing - two new outfits from JJill as my early (very early) birthday present.

As for AW. I am behind. Very behind. I take a breath. Last week was intense for many reasons and I left on Saturday for this trip, going back home tomorrow. I am tired. The thought of getting up early when I am already dealing with a three hour time change is more than I can deal with. So I let go of the morning pages. Hope to write them tonight, maybe tomorrow in the airport. I brought AW with me so that I can read Week 4 and finish the Week 3 tasks, begin Week 4 tasks. But if all of that has to wait until this weekend...I take another breath. I am still excited and committed to this process, but life does sneak into my plans. And I have to let that go. Guilt, panic, guilt, shame. Letting go of this is part of the least my process. (And can taking a hot shower followed by a long nap be my artist's date this week? I am so tired with the time change and lack of sleep due to an uncomfortable bed, new surroundings in this hotel, late night arrivals, and late night conversations. I admire all you parents out there with young kids who sleep so little. You are amazing people.)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

senses. airport.

{smell} The air is stale but seems fresh after getting off the airplane. As I walk a little farther, I begin to smell the carts of fried food. Cinnabons, pretzels, french fries. I am glad I have time to eat.

Beep, beep, beep as the cart whizzes by on my left. People talk. Quiet, loud, annoyed, excited, silly, happy, angry tones all around me. Monotone recorded voices remind us not to leave our baggage unattended. Friendly, tired voices call people to their gates. "Just one tonight?" Yes, yes, traveling alone. Eating at a sit down restaurant all alone can be a pleasure, yes, a pleasure, even in an airport. "May I take your order." Hamburger and a Sam Adams please. "May I see your ID?" With pleasure. People talk on cell phones as they sit alone at their tables. I hear a man in annoyed tones who appears to be talking to himself. Then I see the earpiece. Do we know how odd we look talking to no one?

I bring the pint of beer to my lips; the rich flavor hits my tongue, then slides down my throat. I smile. Though I don't often drink beer, sometimes a cold beer makes my heart a little happy. And then a hamburger with cheddar cheese. In the last year, hamburgers have become my airport comfort food when I have enough time to sit and eat at a "nicer" airport restaurant. Not sure why. But I am just going with it. As I walk to my terminal, I pull a piece of wintergreen gum from my purse and pop it into my mouth. Fresh breath. Just like that.

People rush by me on all sides. Pulling their luggage behind them, some almost push each other out of the way. The fear of missing a plane on their faces. Long hallway through the G terminal. Moving walkways as far as you can see. People dressed in jeans, skirts, high heels, flip flops, suits, shorts. Many seem unaware that they are in Minnesota in January. Dreams of someplace warm, anyplace sunny, abound. I am jealous. When I sit down to eat, I pick-up the napkin to unwrap the silverware. For a moment I am confused. Plasticware. Then I remember. Terrorists. Right. No knives. People will steal the knives and try to hurt other passengers. Will they really? Sadness just for a moment. I watch the other diners, other people who are lucky, like me, and have arrived on time with enough of a layover to eat a meal sitting at a clean table in a quieter nook of the airport. A young man with a much older woman. Grandmother and grandson? She laughs as he animatedly tells his story. A woman sits alone and talks on her cell phone, pauses to order, then returns to her conversation. A group of six people get ready to leave. Time to get to their gate. They seem excited. The waitresses hurry with orders, food, drinks because they know their customers are passengers who have a firm agenda. My gaze moves over the words on the last page of a book I started earlier that day.

"It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make anything all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird's flight.
But I'll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting."

Tears sting my eyes as I read. My heart catches as I find myself hoping with the narrator. I do not want the book to end, so I savor the last few words. As I finish my beer, I note that feeling of drinking a beer on a mostly empty stomach. So no, I won't have another, thank you. I pick up my heavy backpack and swing it behind be, putting one arm through, then the other. I drape my coat over my arm and pick up my other bag. The nervousness of the time kicks in as I walk down the long hall to my gate. Then I see that they aren't boarding yet. A sigh of relief. Find the bathroom. Then back to the gate. Sit down. The calm of having enough time. I reach into my bag and pull out the next book, smiling to myself as I run my hand across the smooth cover.

{and know}
The companion of a good book is a wonderful sort of friend to have as you travel across the country.

(Quote from the last page of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

be gentle, seek strength

This week has been full of lots of time in my head...not sure what to put out there for others to read, see, judge. Trying to remember to be gentle with myself...and connect with the strength I know I have inside me. As I was driving yesterday, this song came on the radio and I have been humming it ever since. Thought you might want to hum along too.

End of the Line

Well it's all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it's all right, if you live the life you please
Well it's all right, doing the best you can
Well it's all right, as long as you lend a hand

You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring (End of the Line)
Waiting for someone to tell you everything (End of the Line)
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring (End of the Line)
Maybe a diamond ring

Well it's all right, even if they say you're wrong
Well it's all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it's all right, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it's all right, everyday is Judgment Day

Maybe somewhere down the road aways (End of the Line)
You'll think of me, wonder where I am these days (End of the Line)
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays (End of the Line)
Purple haze

Well it's all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it's all right, if you got someone to love
Well it's all right, everything'll work out fine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line

Don't have to be ashamed of the car I drive (End of the Line)
I'm glad to be here, happy to be alive (End of the Line)
It don't matter if you're by my side (End of the Line)
I'm satisfied

Well it's all right, even if you're old and gray
Well it's all right, you still got something to say
Well it's all right, remember to live and let live
Well it's all right, the best you can do is forgive

Well it's all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it's all right, if you live the life you please
Well it's all right, even if the sun don't shine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line

sung by the Traveling Wilburys

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

{self portrait tuesday} a first, a last

Grandma and me 1976

One of the first pictures of us together. I think about what she must have been thinking, "I am holding my daughter's daughter." I wonder if she realized that she was going to be my first friend. She taught me to give and not worry about what I received in return. Together we would laugh and laugh and laugh. She let down her defenses with me; she let me in. In this picture, she is so young. She always looked like this to me. I used to rub Pond's cold cream on that face; take off her make-up then put it back on for her. How she must have looked after I made up that face. She was patient and fun and silly and honest.

Grandma and me june 04

The last picture. The last time I saw her alive. Before we moved to the pacific northwest, I knew we had to visit them. A last drive from Indiana to South Carolina; we stayed for a couple of days. In the middle of the night before the morning we were to leave, I woke up with a wicked flu, so we stayed for two extra days and were there on my birthday. What a blessing. Two more days I wouldn't have had. She took care of me and we talked. She showed me a family genealogy book no one knew she had. We looked through old pictures. On the morning we left I insisted, as I always do, that we take pictures. And even though I was still sick, not wearing make-up, and feeling pretty crappy, she made me laugh and laugh as my husband took our picture. Then I hugged her good-bye; we were both crying. I started to get in the car, then walked back over and hugged her again. I got back into the car, and Jon began to back out of their driveway. If I close my eyes, I can see her standing there waving, crying.

I ache because it was only a few days prior to her death that I really understood the role she had played in my life. Through a conversation with another, I realized she had been the first person to let me be whoever I wanted to be. And I wanted to tell her that I finally got it. To let her know that through this acceptance I had become the person I am now and that she was my dearest friend. And I was going to be able to tell her in person because I was flying for a visit that Wednesday. My visit had been planed for weeks, but she had been hospitalized over the weekend. She was doing better they said, no need to rush your visit. You will get here as she is feeling stronger.
Tuesday morning, 2:45 a.m. the phone rang. My aunt. The hospital had called her, and things had taken a turn; she and my uncle were on their way. "Will you hold the phone up to her ear when you get there? Even if she is in a coma, will you do that for me?" I asked "Of course," she said tears in her voice. She understood. I just had to tell my grandmother what I had realized, but more importantly, I just wanted to tell her thank you.
We didn't know that she had already died.
I know that people say she already knew. But I wanted to tell her. And I wanted one more last picture. One more last day.

(link to more SPT personal history posts here)

Monday, January 23, 2006

some inspirations {AW}

imagining with 52 Figments
listening to the soundtrack from something's gotta give
reading the time traveler's wife
waking up early with mary oliver
eating chocolate
reflecting on brokeback mountain - if you have seen the movie and wish you could talk about it with others, visit the movie's web site. people have shared some of their stories and feelings after seeing the movie.
drinking mug after mug of green tea
taking moments to see the world through the camera lens. but also realizing that sometimes you need to put the camera down and soak up the world around you.
and truly, the biggest inspiration of all has been reading the blogs of other participants in the AW group. I am moved again and again by the stories, honesty, and creativity. I continue to realize that I am not alone.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

senses. a movie.

The popcorn is the first thing your nose finds. But I am in Seattle, so coffee is the next. There is the popcorn, candy, pop concessions guy and the coffee barista concessions guy. Later, after the popcorn has been devoured, I smell my wool sweater as I bring the corner of my sleeve to my eyes to wipe a tear.

Popcorn, of course. And cherry coke. The bubbles, the fizz, the syrup, the way it slides down my throat. My special treat when I go to the movies. Love it.

Stirring music that danced with the scenery, the feelings, the acting on the screen. A few moments invited audible laughter, but throughout the story, the people around me were quiet. Words filled with emotion, simple and complex feelings, love, pain, sadness, fear, hope, anger, happiness. A day later, I still feel haunted by these words and the feelings they invited with their resonance.

In between my husband and my friend, I am the keeper of the popcorn. I hold the bag in my hand and feel the course fluffs of popcorn in my hand as I bring the pieces to my mouth. I move the bag from one side to the other so they both can reach it. Halfway through the movie I grab my husband's hand, and I do not let go. The sadness invites the need for reassurance. With each breath it is as though the feelings I see on the screen are also felt by me. As though the words of the actors reach out from the screen like a hand, and the palm of that hand gently touches my chest. An understanding. The literal feeling of human emotion as an action inside. Tears, laughter, smiles, a creased forehead. As I get up from my seat and put my coat on it feels a bit like a cloak of protection.

An incredible old theatre that is now a movie house. The large red curtain opens as the previews begin. The movie we have come to see starts and within the first few minutes my eyes are reveling in the vivid, gorgeous scenery. Right there with them as they ride up those hills. The wonder of new love, joy of hope, fear of pain on the faces on the screen. A glimpse into 60's Wyoming, true love, lies, marriage, a cowboy's life, family. Another time. Would the fear be as wide and deep today? I don't know; my own fear is that it is. A beautiful, inspiring, sad movie that illustrates its truth without fear. We sat in our seats as the credits rolled. Partly because the three of us did not want to move; partly because my friend was crying. And as we saw the last two words on the screen, "The End," the big red curtains closed. It was such a simple moment. The End. The curtains close. The story ends. But we will not forget.

{and know}
Beauty can be found in the spectrum of human Do not be afraid to feel.

waking up {AW}


So far, the artist dates are my favorite part of AW. A scheduled date with just me. And a time when I have to stop my usual patterns and do something different. Get out of the house. Take a pause when I am working. Think of myself. Let go of answering the phone, email, pleasing everyone else.

This week I went to the zoo. One of my favorite things is to just stand and watch the sea otters play, swim, eat. I could watch them for hours. My heart fills with joy and I feel lighter as I watch them. I envy their ability to swim, float, play, tease, share, pause and groom one another. The laughter bubbles inside me and flows out in a giggle as the daughter otter steals food from her mother. Over and over. The mother tries to teach her to share by giving her a bite but eventually the daughter wins and takes the entire piece of food. I have to stop myself from talking out loud to them (well, I must admit that I do when no one is around).

I did not accomplish the morning pages every day. And I really appreciated that others were honest about this on their blogs - this was harder this week. I did do them four out of seven days. And I will keep going. I see the benefit to the extent that I am kind of afraid of them. This may be silly, I know.

As I looked back through AW on Friday, I was stopped short by Cameron's section on attention. The way she wrote about her grandmother. The tears came to the surface in the middle of the cafe where my husband and I were sitting. Partly because of the letters, notes, and cards I have from my grandmother, but also because I am beginning to notice that I am finally paying attention in my own life. This began to happen before these two weeks of AW, probably when I started my blog last fall, and AW is reinforcing this. I feel like I am awake. Awake in my own life for the first time in a long time.

Good morning.

Friday, January 20, 2006

a quiet thought

I visit my own blog to link to the other blogs I visit daily. And for the last few days, the smiling, young faces of my parents have been staring at me. Who are those people? I knew them once. I miss them. I wonder if they miss them too...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

a breath, a blessing

Sometimes when you let go of the expectations that surround a relationship, your thoughts can become just quiet enough to hear what the other person has to say. And every now and then what they have to say will amaze you.
This happened to me this morning.
A peak inside the soul of another. A meeting of two spirits who do not always understand one another.
A blessing. A blessing.

A reminder to take a breath and quiet the mind just a bit before I speak, before I listen, before I judge, before I let my anxiety take over, before I give in to the pain of the past, before I move, before I pick up the phone, before I forget.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Another glimpse into this idea that is forming in my head.

In the movie Finding Neverland, Johnny Depp's character talks about that moment when you are no longer a child. That moment. Do you remember yours? I tapped into mine this weekend. Found it in the morning pages. That moment. When some of my dreams, hopes, ideas seemed to die.
But I have realized, these dreams have just been dormant. My brain was so busy and full of the responsibility of being an adult that my soul could not whisper these hopes loud enough for my brain to hear, to remember. The idea that my dreams retreated; maybe they went to Neverland for a while. The hope inside me is that I can begin to sift through the memories and find these dreams again.

A scene from Finding Neverland...
J.M. Barrie: It seems to me that Peter's trying to grow up too fast. I imagine he thinks that grown-ups don't hurt as deeply as children do when they...when they lose someone. I lost my older brother David when I was just Peter's age, and it nearly destroyed my mother.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies: James, I'm so sorry. Your poor mother. I can't imagine losing a child.
J.M. Barrie: She didn't get out of bed for months, she wouldn't eat. I tried everything to make her happy but she only wanted David. So one day I dressed myself in David's clothing and I went to her.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies: You must have frightened her to death.
J.M. Barrie: I think it was the first time she ever actually looked at me, and that was the end of the boy James. I used to say to myself he'd gone to Neverland.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies: Where?
J.M. Barrie: Neverland. It's a wonderful place...I've not spoken about this before to anyone- ever.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies: What's it like, Neverland?
J.M. Barrie: One day I'll take you there.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

the seed of an idea is planted

The journey of grief, loss, death becomes a journey of living...more on this in the morning when I am not so tired...until then, words of another; words that resonate within this idea that has been forming inside me.

living eulogy

she danced
she sang
she took
she gave
she served
she created
she dissented
she enlivened
she saw
she grew
she sweated
she changed
she learned
she laughed
she shed her skin
she bled on the pages of her days
she walked through walls
she lived with intention

-mary anne radmacher

This sits in a frame where I can see it while I work. A gift from a dear friend. Write it on your heart. Live it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

honesty {AW}

The morning pages: a place to find the honesty.
This was what I learned this week. Writing stream of consciousness invites a letting down of the guard...a space to let the thoughts float to the surface and live. The fear of feeling is quiet. The truth I would not write about began to bubble and vibrate in the morning pages. The sketchbook I used for the tasks was too nice, too clean, too pretty for the realness of the words I needed to write. I did not want to leave a trace of my true feelings about those who did not support the creative spirit of my childhood. What if they found it? What would they think? I did not want them to feel hurt or sad or angry. But really, would they ever see? No. Still, the fear was there. In the morning though, looking at that plain notebook paper, amongst the "I don't want to do this" and the "I am hungry and my hand hurts," I began to write my truth.

Friday, January 13, 2006


today was day 26...straight days of rain

(i have to admit to a few minutes of sunshine a couple of these day, but by the time we were ready to get outside to the park, the rain began again. a valuable lesson: you see sun, get outside)

an invitation

the lessons
repeated over and over
this time will I learn
to let go
believe that I do not have to fix
everything and everyone
breathe more
talk less
see it for what it is
don't pack the "stuff" of others
into my backpack
my baggage of life
just carry my own stuff
heavy enough
remember the tools I have with me
all the time
the knowledge
I carry within me
in every moment
you have it in you
sit quietly and
we will both learn

Thursday, January 12, 2006

senses. the day.

My husband's minty breath as he kisses me good-bye and good morning. Flowery, plumeria incense as I write my morning pages, and I am reminded of Maui. Lavender soap, as the suds form in the shower, I smell my skin and think of summer, sun. The woodsy-ness of green tea as I bring the mug to my lips as I work. The damp, odor-full smell of wet dog as she nudges with her head, hoping I will stop working to pet her. Later, the rich, pungency of chocolate as my husband and I share dessert on the couch.

My fingers tap across the keyboard as I work. The weepies harmonize from the tiny speakers attached to my computer. Later, joni mitchell teaches me with her wise words and I attempt to harmonize along. The rattle of newspaper as I turn the pages, searching for words that speak. Scissors open and close, cutting through the paper. The click click pause, click click click pause of the antique typewriter as I write words that have been walking across my brain all day. Throughout it all, the rain falls and falls on the roof. Tink, tink, splat, tink, tink.

The glow from the computer screen brightens the room, and in the morning, I spend time with the words of others. For awhile, work related words; I write invitations to change meaning slightly, add a comma here, add definitions, delete redundancy. A break. Then the words of wise, creative, soulful, honest women. I turn the pages of this book and this book and revel in the colors as I learn. I put paint to paper and watch images begin to bleed in the water on the page. Orange becomes red becomes orange becomes yellow. I am inspired by the paintings of this woman.

My new favorite breakfast treat, warm toast with butter and cinnamon sugar. I know I can only eat it until I go back to the store for a smarter start to my day, so I let the sinful taste dance in my mouth, slowly, each bite, slowly. Two mugs of Trader Joe's green tea, each cooling slightly as I work.

The plush, softness of my favorite gray sweatshirt. The rain falls on my head as Millie and I run outside to the backyard for a quick break. She brushes against my leg, soft and wet, in her rush to get back inside. I shuffle my new cards, a gift from a new friend and am grateful for the wisdom I hold in my hands. I feel the smooth surface of each card and think about reaching inside the pictures and touching the knowledge there.

and know
When I pause to look at the day, I find that my heart feels happy. I am walking in my life. I am learning as I walk. I am growing as I learn. I am laughing as I grow. I am singing as I laugh. I am dancing as I sing. I am me as I dance, as I live.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

day 24

Dark August

So much rain, so much life the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won't come out.

Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.

She's in her room, fondling old things,
my poems, turning her album. Even if thunder falls
like a crash of plates from the sky,

she does not come out.
Don't you know I love you but am hopeless
at fixing the rain? But I am learning slowly

to love the dark days, the steaming hills,
the air with gossiping mosquitoes,
and to sip the medicine of bitterness,

so that when you emerge, my sister,
parting the beads of the rain,
with your forehead of flowers and eyes of forgiveness,

all will not be as it was, but it will be true
(you see they will not let me love
as I want), because, my sister, then

I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones,
the black rain, the white hills, when once
I loved only my happiness and you.

-Derek Walcott

twenty-four days of rain here in the puget sound area. straight days of rain. today, my mood reflects the sky. steady grayness. the record for straight days of rain is thirty-three. i will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

SPT 1/10

(photo on the left is my mother, circa 1949; photo on right is me, circa 1979)

When I was younger, my relatives and the friends of my parents used to always say, "you look just like your father." I have his eyes, his hair, his coloring. I was quite proud of this. I wanted to be just like him and would sometimes even try to wear his huge size 12 shoes around the house. I identified with him. He was larger than life in my world. In many ways, when I was a child he was my world. When my brother was born, he looked like my mother. It was easy for us to pair off when we did things as a family. Like went with like.

When my parents divorced, the image that I had created of my father was shattered. I didn't want to be like him at all. I was jealous of the relationship my brother had with my mother. I felt alone. I looked like him; I didn't want to be like him.

About six years ago, I came across this picture of my mother and thought it was me. I could see myself in her face, in her cheeks, in her big intake of breath as she smelled the flowers before her. A slight pose for the camera, just like I would have done. A simple photograph reminded me that I am not alone in my family. I am a reflection of my mother too.

I now know I want to be my own person. I want to just look like me. But I cannot let go of the reality that I am like her. There are moments that are difficult and full of misunderstandings and accusations and sadness. Maybe in the future though, we can meet in a place where we take a deep breath, smell the flowers, and see the way that we reflect each other.

see and link to other SPT participants here

Monday, January 09, 2006

start here

A poetry reading

I gave a poetry reading
this morning,
in the bathtub.
Not my words, but the words of another.
Mary Oliver.
If thoughts of poetry make you nervous, start here.
She will liberate the expectations.
My audience was the shampoo, soap,
yellow rubber duck, purple poof,
a blue candle.
The flame bobbed in time with the cadence of my voice
rich, strong, clear in the cavern of the tub.
Rhythm of words. Pause. Intake of breath. A hint of laughter. Pause.
Turn the page.
Lines began to resonate. A peek into the soul of another.
But then I found the one I was sent to find this morning
to read aloud in the quiet still water of the tub.
Pause. Read again. Pause.
And the resonance became a vibration
deep within my heart.
The reflected understanding,
a glimpse inside my soul.

"and here I am too, in front of it,
hardly able to see for the flash and the brightness"

(line above from the poem "Something" by Mary Oliver in the collection Why I Wake Early)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

creative journey (AW)

My theme for this year is seek. I want to find new aspects of my life, my self, my world, my soul. One way I am doing this is through the Blogging the Artist's Way group started by Kat. Morning pages have begun. I am writing all three pages. Even when my hand cramps. I keep writing. I am energized by the idea that others are out there doing this too. Just like me. Wanting to get in touch with that creative soul inside.

I discovered SARK's books when I was in college. I used to walk around Barnes and Noble with a copy of Living Juicy so I could look up all the books she recommended. I discovered Natalie Goldberg, Henry Miller, Diane Ackerman, Portia Nelson, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Artist's Way, and so many more. I started morning pages and the weekly tasks but only lasted a few weeks. (I realize now that I probably had enough homework already.)

As I read these books, I began to see connections. I read about the solitude some of these writers experienced and sometimes craved. I learned about giving yourself permission to feel, question, seek. I learned that most people thought that there was not only one way - to happiness, creativity, spirituality. Every now and then I would feel my heart quicken as I read. Almost as though something greater than me was telling me that I was on the right path. At that time, I didn't have a very big circle of support for this path.

After college, I moved to Chicago and started work in a cubicle. And I had a circle of support for lots of things but not creativity or spirituality. I forgot about my path. But I now know that I was still on it. After a year in the big city, I took a job at the boarding school I had attended. As a dorm counselor for 50 girls. On call 24 hours a day. Knee-deep in emotional teenage stuff. All the time. I forgot about myself. But my soul was always longing for something. And when jon and I moved to the Pacific Northwest and I let go of trying to save everyone else, the light came across my path again.

Last spring, I discovered this world of blogs. As I clicked and scrolled and read, the words of others began to resonate inside me. Maybe I really was not alone in these feelings, thoughts, hopes. Maybe there were people outside of the books on the shelves in my home who could become my circle. Over the last few months I had been thinking about AW, wanting to start it but wishing for another person or people to share in the journey. And then last month I discovered, via Marilyn, the group Kat was creating. A circle of support begins.

A greater spirit whispers that I am on the right path.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

senses. barnes and noble.

I open the door and pause. Aisles and aisles of shelves filled with voices, pictures, color, truth, sadness, lies, happiness, far off places, laughter. And the unusual, a group of four young people sit at a table in the cafe. A red Michael's shopping cart is next to them filled with an umbrella, purchases, coats. I wonder what people thought as they rolled it through the door. Did someone hold the door for them with a look of wonder on her face? I walk into the cafe. Choices. Pastry, cookie, sandwich. Tea, coffee, hot, cold. Choose. I turn and see the rain outside, as I pull my mittens from my hands. Hot. Chai tea.

The spices of the chai tea dance on my tongue, inviting me to take a trip with them. So I begin my journey in the travel section.

For the first time I choose a random book from a shelf, open it up, and smell it...that paper smell. Close your eyes and take a breath. You know it too.
The book: Italy. The Green Guide.
The sentence: Antico Caffe del Maro "Cafe des artistes" In the 1950's the artists frequented this establishment would often pay for their drinks with paintings which now decorate the walls of this cheerful cocktail bar.
I place the book back on the shelf and turn.

The next aisle: color, paper, beads, cloth, leather, embroidery, dried leaves. I open one. Smooth blank pages. Put that one down and pick up another. Open. Pages are rough to the touch. Leaves and flowers adorn the pages. Journals. Pick one.

Voices. Whispers. Laughter. A sigh. What can I get for you today? Tall caffe mocha. Are you finding everything? Right this way. My own voice humming along with "I'll stop the world and melt with you..."

{and know}
when you're down and out...and weary and feeling small...and tears are in your eyes...let books become the bridge over your troubles.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

a tag

acumamakiki tagged me to share five weird things about me. here goes:

1) I usually hate how my hair looks, but my friends often tell me that they wish they had hair like mine.
2) I have the smallest baby toenail you have ever seen. When I get a pedicure, the pedicurist has to basically paint it on (though she says she has seen smaller).
3) When I was a kid, I used to "cook" by mixing cheerios, honey, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and raisins in a bowl. Oh and I would eat it. And now, when sometimes when people ask me "what would you like to eat?" I think about this concoction and wish I could have some of it again.
4) I have a very low self-esteem when it comes to how I look, but I have chosen to teach yoga. For 3-7 hours a week a room full of people stare at my body and how it moves. And when I am teaching, I never think about how I look, but before class and after class it is at the forefront of my mind.
5) I flunked chemistry in college. F. And then I married a science teacher.

I would like to tag Yankee Belle, Bella, Frankie and beansprout - I think they would each add their own special brand of humor and insight into such a list.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

SPT 1/3

The photo in the photo: 1977 my grandpa sits in the green chair and I sit it my rocking chair next to him.

The green chair.
It has become a bit like the skin horse.
Bald in patches with seams showing.
But it links me to the past.
This was the chair where my father always read the paper and watched TV.
I spent hours on his lap in the green chair.
And when I came home from school, I would climb into that chair to watch Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street.
But when I heard the back door open, I knew it was time to jump because the green chair was no longer mine.
As my parents purchased newer, nicer furniture, the green chair began to move from room to room. They never got rid of it.
When I had my own apartment in college, the green chair became mine.
And it has moved to three towns with me.
I can't seem to let it go.
Though it is bald in places and showing seams, it reminds me of a time
when I felt the joy of being held by my father
when Mr. Rogers taught me that I was special
when I sang along with Bert and Ernie
when I wore pajamas with feet
when I wrapped up in blankets handmade by my mother
and all of this was enough to make me feel safe
Before I knew all that I know now.
But I realize that time did exist.
So I won't let them go.
Those moments are real.
Like the skin horse.

See other SPT participants here.

Monday, January 02, 2006

journey to poetry

I have heard the whispered invitations to explore the poet's world.
Do not be afraid, the voices say.
You will know when you find your words.
Open the door.
Let the others in to speak to you.
So I did.
And I will.

Jonah by May Sarton
I come back from the belly of the whale
Bruised from the struggle with a living wall,
Drowned in a breathing dark, a huge heart-beat
That jolted helpless hands and useless feet,

Yet know it was not death, that vital warm,
Nor did the monster wish me any harm;
Only the prisoning was hard to bear
And three-weeks' need to burst back into air . .

Slowly the drowned self must be strangled free
And lifted whole out of that inmost sea,
To lie newborn under compassionate sky,
As fragile as a babe, with welling eye.

Do not be anxious, for now all is well,
The sojourn over in that fluid Hell,
My heart is nourished on no more than air,
Since every breath I draw is answered prayer.