Juxtapositioning

words are foreplay for the soul
December 30th, 2009

2009 in the rear-view mirror

A year ago I had just moved from a country that didn’t want me to a bare echoey white place hidden under a stifling canopy of tall dark trees. I adore trees, and loved lying in bed looking at green branches, but the bare echoey place had an inner emptiness that rang loudly in my ears.

Plus it had weird carpet.

In the spring I discovered forested trails and alternate universes. I sat, motionless, sometimes for hours, staring out through a skylight and eventually emerging into a giddy, childlike state, a person who thought lakes were oceans and wondered whether she should be driving real cars.

A year ago I had a job, a sort of a job, a full time gig for part time pay, plus a promise of a someday full time pay for the time I was putting in, so I wrote and I wrote and I edited and I wrote my little heart out. In February that world exploded and it limped along through May, and then I was done. No job, no pay.

I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and found my way through a maze of fears. Later, a motorcycle fell on me.

In June I moved to a smaller place near the water and near the trails and across the street from a banyan tree and in a community. The Magic Bus drives up from time to time and takes people places. I look out my tiny window and see a slice of ocean. The place isn’t hidden, is sometimes a fishbowl with the world looking in, but it fits me better. I have an easel and paints, and I write. The sun shone on this place and now the rain falls gently on my sari-clad zen room and my bicycles smile through their gears.

In July my intentions caught up with the world.

In August I brought my heart-pieces closer and together we walked my world, now theirs. We ate 18 pounds of blueberries. We laughed. We parted with new paths woven between us.

I discovered a box.

Summer tumbled into autumn and soon the bright crunchy leaves became dank and moldering and slick underfoot. Outward turned inward. Not being a joiner — ever — I joined and joyed. I sang. I found a home, at least for now.

Now, inward, I sing. I joy. I raise silent lips in inner song, singing my heart into wholeness. I breathe and become one with my heartbeat, and with yours. I walk and feel aliveness in the dirt under my soles, in each sparkling raindrop on my face, in each leaf and sound and sigh. I touch hearts and they touch mine.

What do I wish for 2010? More. More of what comes next.

November 29th, 2009

Ordinary

Yesterday we went for a walk. It was raining a little and I put my hood up to cover my hair, missing my favorite black beret that disappeared last week into The Land of Misfit Hats when the mighty wind blew and trees toppled. We wove our way through art galleries. I admired some pieces and took away new inspiration. There was nothing that needed to be bought, not even the beautifully-colored large glass octopus that called to me from its waterless perch. I turned my eyes quickly  away from a young woman’s impossibly large nose, even though she is probably accustomed to nasal scrutiny. A plate of untouched and drying  fruit stood near the counter.

We walked through a boatyard. Two signs: “Empty” and “Full,” with no other explanation, were posted on the side of the building. Instant art. We went around to the bayside after standing and studying the hundred-years old dog-drowning pool where Padden Creek meets the bay. No dogs now. We crossed the tracks and step-crunched mussel shells on the empty beach, singing improvised Irish drinking songs. I flipped the mitten-ends of my fingerless gloves over my fingertips against the cold coming off the water. An empty cruise ship stood in the bay.

Neighbors stoked the fire in the coffee house across the street when we came in bringing the cold of the bay with us. We watched the flames flare up and then die back down again while we talked in a sine wave of unremarkable connection.

Inhale, exhale.

October 26th, 2009

Forest love song

It started two years ago (or was it two millennia?).  I rented a wee dollhouse in the forest space high above the rock-strewn beach of Pt. Roberts, WA, a tiny peninsula that juts from Canada into Boundary Bay and that because of oversight or a mapmaker’s joke actually belongs to the U.S., requiring border crossings and passports. My dollhouse-in-the-woods was to be the perfect writers’ retreat — difficult to get to, remote, quiet. I could overlook the tiny bathroom/shower combination, sit on the wee sofa built for two, and write.

I found myself drawn outside, though. Late-season blackberries still dotted the tangled vines marking the steep trail down to the beach. Beaches had to be walked. Driftwood and mollusk shells had to be examined. Photos of texture — some rocky, some pebbled, some wood-grained — had to be snapped. The ocean’s calm waves had to be gazed at. Forest trails had to be run through.

And I ran through the forest, marveling that every trail felt like it went downhill. I stood under tree canopies, with rain dripping gently over me through a leafy filter. I shuffled through ankle-deep drifts of maple leaves the size of dinner plates. I knelt reverently under the One Tree, its wide trunk belying its wisdom. I drank in the love of trees, of the forest.

Trees and forests like this don’t exist in Pennsylvania, where I was living at the time. After my ten days in the Pacific Northwest forest, I went back to PA and looked at the Blair Witch trees there. It wasn’t the same. My heart was with the tall mossy firs of the wet west.

Now I live a short walk from the forest. I ran the nearby trail the other day, taking in the heady scent of fallen leaves that reminds me of the smell of pumpkin carving, remembering. My forest runs are meditational. This one was filled with color — gold, deep crimson, and moldering deep wet green-black. An artist neighbor who makes colorful banners that decorate this part of the city with unexpected waving splashes of color made a banner in those colors exactly. It waves on a bamboo pole just opposite my livingroom window next to the wide tree across the street.

Matthew’s house is not far from another magical forest. We go there at night, when the walls become the world all around and the trees disappear into time. We sit under a big tree, melting into the rough bark, remembering when trees were our world, and feeling the slow sap heartbeat awaken within us. I hear whispers in that place, and the tall trees bend their branches down, inclining their regal heads, remembering.

December 2nd, 2008

Home

I have a home again. At least, I left a deposit check and a lot of information about myself, and it’s my hope that it will mean picking up keys in a couple of weeks and then trying valiantly to fill a space that I already know is too big, but what the hell?

Shopping for places to live has consumed me for weeks.  Several times a day I’d comb through the offerings on Craigslist, looking for treasure. The perfect place, summed up in a paragraph and, if I was lucky, a couple of blurry photos. I hunted down property management companies and sifted through their inventory.  I saw, after a few days and certainly after seeing some places (and smelling them) in person, that my price expectations were unrealistic. That, or my taste was too expensive, but at any rate I reconnoitered and moved into a new eschelon. The hunt continued. Relentlessly. Unceasingly.

What I really wanted was to set foot in a place and feel, with all of me, the “this is it!” feeling.

Today I felt that. The place is twice the size I need and half again the price I wanted to pay, but it felt like home. I figure the rest will take care of itself.