Thursday, April 28, 2011

So True

The apprehension of universal truths through personal experience is no fun.  I mean, isn't the point of an aphorism to spare you from the consequences of discovering in real time what happens when you stick your finger in a candle flame, or drive across a flooded road, or date the mentally ill?

Axioms, tenets, proverbs, almanacs: Guideposts on the pot-hole-riddled, grime-encrusted, badly-maintained-yet-perenially-under-construction-and-bearing-a-startling-resemblance-to-the-craptastic-byways-of-Richmond-VA road of life.  I collect them, clutching truths to myself like a grandmother shielding her collection of Precious Moments figurines from the approaching tornado.  Still, every so often, I learn the hard way.

As when, enticed by the seductive salty saltiness of salty salty delicious salt water, I decided it would be a good idea to drink the concoction I'd been gargling to alleviate sore throat.  Salt water turns out to be startlingly effective emetic.  WHO KNEW?!  Apparently everyone else.

As when, hoodwinked by an overly optimistic church-junkie-cum-husband, I decided I could stomach attending a quick 1.5 hour Easter vigil if it were followed by ice cream sundaes. 3.5 hours of liturgy later, I staggered forth, ears numb, eyes red-rimmed, throat raw, brain befuddled, to collapse face-down in a carton of melted vanilla.  Who knew Easter vigil was so GOD-AWFULLY LONG AND FULL OF CHURCH STUFF?!  Yeah, that's right.  Everybody.

As when I leave home and miss it, terribly.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Decorah, IA

Watch this!

Except it's not really watching, if you define watching as active absorption in a scene played out before you.  No, the live footage of a pair of bald eagles raising three eaglets in Decorah, Iowa, is unwatchable in the sense of taking in a movie or a play or a circus act.   The eagles and  sit around and do a whole lot of nothing, only occasionally punctuated with vivid mundanities: They stir!  They cheep!  They poop!  Riveting stuff.

Nevertheless, this thing has been open on my desktop for weeks, ever since the third eaglet hatched at the beginning of April.  There's something to be said for an observational experience that is less focused and more expansive, less about actively engaging and more about fostering a warm, dim awareness of other lives lived in parallel. drink my coffee; the eaglets gulp dead fish.  I come home from work; the eagles rearrange the nest.  I go to bed; the mother eagle tucks her head under her wing.

It's drama, alright, but uncondensed, unspooled over the fullness of time.  It's both expansive and expanding, in the way the best of the Internetz can, but seldom bothers to, be.  I'm here; you're there.   Hello, world.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Classifieds, Bloomington Herald Times, 4/18/2011

I have 17 guineas.
You must catch them.
Please call.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How Many Ways Can I Say I Love You?

There's some way in which, in every town save the one in which you were born, you hold an extra inch of air in your lungs.  Not so as you'd notice, day to day.  You can run; you can sing and talk and dance.  Your lungs meet your requirements.  But you never get down to the bottom of your breath, and so that inch of air hunkers there, fallow, stalling, until such time as you can get around to coming home.

If this is all sounding a little bit "Waiting to Exhale," it's because I have been.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The kumquat: pretty much the best, most orthographically awesome celebration of spring there is.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The course of true love never did run smooth, according to Shakespeare, and neither did the course of musical collaboration.   Anytime you have to rely on someone other than yourself to get stuff done, whether that stuff be musical or logistical, you run into problems.  Of course, the glory of collaboration -and love- lies in that lean, that trading of weight.  To be at your most human, your most engaged and exposed, you must depend on others.

I currently have a project going.  We've divided up tasks tasks, and one of my fellow humans is struggling with hers.  She is overwhelmed, emotionally and otherwise; she has too many things on her plate; there is a lot going on in her life.  I understand this.  I sympathize.  But some part of me -a part I keep locked in her room with no supper- is screaming just do it.

For as long as I can remember, I've had too many things on my plate.   I juggled five or six extra-curriculars in high school.  I triple majored in college.  I maintain two legitimate careers and a couple of hobbies.  Many days are 12 hour days.  I'm no stranger to procrastination, but if I need to get something done, I force myself to make time.

Yet, I'm surrounded by people who don't.  I have family members who say, "I didn't have time to exercise!" when I know for a fact they they spent the previous weekend watching YouTube videos of kittens dangling from trees.   "I couldn't possibly have gotten to it," says the coworker who wastes hours shopping online. "I didn't have time to pay that bill," says my husband.  How about the hour you spent watching Battlestar Galactica, hmmm? Just do it!

Just do it!

It's my friend K, calling to me over the noise of the river.  We''re down in the floodplain, trying to make our way from the scrubby woods to the water's lip.  The sky is still swollen with the last of the  rain; K, moving confidently, has already leapt from rock to rock to navigate across a johnny-come-lately of a stream that has sprung up as the water rose.  I look from her to my feet to the water to the rock, friend to feet to water to rock and back.  It would be so easy.

Nope.  I shake my head.

Just do it!  It's not very far.  You can do it.  Come on.  Just do it.

It was pie, for her.  Something sweet and well-made.  Easy, says my mind.  But my body's in revolt.  There's sweat on my palms, bile in my throat.  No no no no no.  I turn my back on my brave friend, on all my brave friends, on my husband who's sure everything will turn out fine, my mother who changed careers, my coworker who answers every question with compassion, my collaborator who never settles for less than her dreams.   I turn my back and I head to the tree line.  The air stills; the sound of the river fades.  It'll take a little time for my friend to sigh, flit back across the rocks, follow me up the rise.  

We're all just doing what we can.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We accidentally killed this bird-to-be while cleaning out our porchlight.  I feel awful.  Of course, I didn't feel awful when I ate salt-cured pig, or went on a deranged mosquito killing spree, or took antibiotics, so clearly I practice selective guilt.  But who doesn't?

In other news, the sun continues to rise.  The moon is a thumbnail.  The flowers are over, coming, here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Optimism We Haz U

  • Get up on the right side of bed.
  • Marvel at my acute sensitivity to the difference between right and left.
  • Our educational system is working!
  • Shower.
  • Running water is great!  And so are vocal cords.  I love you, arytenoid cartilages!  I love you, Chaka Khan!
  • Pop-tarts: An unequivocal sign that humanity is on the right track.
  • Coffee is for pessimists!
  • Who's the fairest of them all?  
  • Who likes rhetorical questions?
  • I'm not working; I'm pursuing my passion!  
  • My passion moves with the speed of a decrepit box turtle! 
  • I catch it every time!
  • Coffee is for pessimists!  
  • Look behind you!
  • Sometimes I hold coffee cups to make the rest of you feel better, but I am naturally so perky that caffeine is redundant.
  • What slurping noise?
  • That's the sound of me sucking in happiness from air currents.
  • No, I've already explained that coffee is for pessimists.
  • Did somebody wake up on the left side of the bed?
  • How about you go enjoy yourself and I will clean the coffee machine because I am filled with generosity, love, and light?
  • I think you meant to say "effulgent."
  • No.  
  • I mean, yes.  
  • No means yes!
  • NO. 
  • Now you're just fulfilling less than 100% of your potential.
  • Judgment is not judgmental when it comes from a place of love.
  • Give me back the coffee DAMN IT.
  • By DAMN IT, I mean "fluffy bunnies."
  • Fluffy bunnies.
  • Fluffy bunnies.
  • Fluffy bunnies.