Filed under: Uncategorized
At the moment, I have found myself lost in the Brazilian Quotidian and so my musings can be found here for those who are interested…Come late May, I will come back to this blog and write more posts when I am again lost in the American Quotidian.
Filed under: Uncategorized
The other night I sat on the couch talking to my friend. “You know,” I said, “I remember, there was this point in my life when I was reasonably content. I thought I’d finally gotten there. It wasn’t a state of utopia, but I wasn’t excessively reaching forward into the future, like I’d always been doing as a teenager and in my early twenties. I was always thinking that my life would begin when I graduated high school, when I graduated college, when I found whatever it was I was meant to do with my life…”
“And somewhere along the way, I was just okay with where I was. I remember standing in a friend’s garden at her mother’s house with plants and cats and dirt. I remember telling her that everything felt just right. And then even this summer, I started to realize that it was even easier to achieve these in-the-moment experiences of grace…But now, I don’t have it anymore. I feel as though I’m wading through mud, trying too hard.”
“Things don’t stay static,” said my friend, “Clearly you’re in a new part of your life. You need to adapt to that…”
Funny, how easy it is to forget that nothing stays the same, trying to maintain that homeostasis when really you need a system overhaul.
Today was a shiny, happy Texas fall day. I accidentally broke (yet another!) glass in the kitchen sink. And my boyfriend made our bed. Today I smiled after I made myself go on a bike ride. I sat on a bench with blue Christmas lights strung in the tree branches overhead and I watched the pink sky turn dark. And I got a close parking spot in the supermarket because for once in my life I went there in a non-peak time. We’ll see if I can perhaps more lovingly adapt to where I am, instead of beating myself up for not being as I was…and we’ll see if in another couple months, when I am thrown into a new environment I can keep remembering, while enjoying being overwhelmed, that this too shall pass.
Filed under: Letting Go, Photography, Small Things That Take on Epic Proportions
I lent my boyfriend my camera when he went on a short trip to Ohio. “It’s just a few days,”I thought, “I won’t miss it.” I knew there’d be lots of moments there that he’d want to photograph. I’d be busy. I knew I wouldn’t make the time to go out on a photo shoot. And the flowers outside our house, the uncurling new fern, they could wait until his return for further documentation.
So now, just 24 something hours after he’s left, I find myself seeing potential pictures in everything I look at. Longing after a camera to take them with, instead of being happy to just enjoy the images I see. It’s not that I miss the camera. If it were here on the shelf right next to me, I might not necessarily glance in its direction during the next couple of days. But I’m hyper aware of its absence. Wanting what I don’t have just because I don’t have it. And so it goes.
I look forward to seeing his photographs.
We had just made it to the changing rooms when the lifeguards blew their whistles and shouted, “Out of the pool! There’s thunder!” Our smiles turned into frowns.
“It’s not fair,” said the older sister, age 14.
“I know,” I commiserated.
“Well, at least we’re still dry,” said the younger sister, age 11, as we walked back to the car. Dark clouds were forming overhead.
“Yeah,” I laughed, “Who said we even wanted to go swimming anyhow. Swimming’s no fun at all.”
“Yeah right,” said the older sister sadly.
So, we sat at a bench at the Dairy Queen eating glorious mixtures of cream ice cream and chocolate.
“Wouldn’t it be funny,” said the younger sister, “if it rained people from the sky?”
“I’m not sure,” I replied, “That might hurt. Or maybe people would just end up in funny places. Like maybe you’d be on top of the tall Dairy Queen sign out there. I can see you shouting, ‘When I said I wanted to go to Dairy Queen this isn’t what I meant!’”
I grabbed us more napkins.
Her older sister sat with intense focus trying to find a Prima J video for the little sister on YouTube on my iPhone.
It started to splatter rain just as we made plans to leave.
The older sister, with a shirt balled up above her head stood out in the rain while the younger sister and I made a mad dash for the car.
“The rain is so weird,” she said finally joining us, “It tickles the skin but not really.”
Filed under: Actions, Dusk, Love, Moments of Grace, Small Things That Take on Epic Proportions
The first story I’ve really felt in months happened on my birthday. A very hot, eye-squintingly bright day in June. Into a quotidian experience of supermarket shopping and errands, I blended a birthday bike ride to a macrobiotic restaurant and some happy yoga on a mat in the living room. I spent the early evening accidentally burning cookies with the young woman who I mentor.
The actual story began when I was bringing her home. Her mother, Jane, and younger sister, Susie, were at a pharmacy a few blocks from their apartment. We pulled into the parking lot and walked into the story to find them. I chatted blithely with their mother and hugged my mentee goodbye. Before I turned to leave, Susie bounded towards me and gifted me an exuberant hug. “Happy birthday!” she announced smiling as she hugged harder and stepped all her body weight onto my flip-flops with her sneakers.
I heard a little crunching sound and winced slightly all the while grinning and saying goodbye.
I began the trek down the linoleum towards the brightly lit exit. I glanced down and saw blood oozing out of my big left toe. Susie called out my name and I turned back to see her performing a hyper dance for my benefit. I gave her a thumbs up sign and walked out, watching as blood colored my whole toenail a bright red.
The sky was the glowing blue of dusk. Birds congregated on telephone wires. Car lights streamed down the thoroughfare. I got in my vehicle and eased out of my flip flops. I found myself driving home barefoot having forgotten to check out the toe. Every time I pressed down on the clutch, I felt its persistent pain. For all I knew I was dripping blood all over the carpet.
I felt in awe about the experience though. Just sort of jolted into feeling part of something so much bigger than myself. I was the object of a gesture full of such love and meaning that in turn caused me pain. I kept thinking about how this is the sort of thing we must do all the time to each other – just because we imbue our actions with such well-intentioned kindness doesn’t mean they don’t also hurt the receiver a little. And really, even though I now had a potentially cracked toenail, I couldn’t harbor any ill will towards the child who had just expressed her love so sweetly and fully.
Back home I sat on the side of the bathtub washing away the blood under the tap and telling the story over and over again to my boyfriend as he presented me with a band-aid. I was trying to turn the experience this way and that to possibly shake even more out of it. And as I limped back out to the car so we could go see Up in 3-D, I felt so much love for this little girl and her happy birthday hug.
Truth is, had it just been a hug, I might have forgotten it by the time I had left the store. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not an invitation for everyone to come step on my toes (please don’t!) but perhaps more of an ode to these moments that give us a heightened awareness of the beautiful intentions of others no matter how they actually play out in reality.