My favorite thing about Winter is Spring cleaning.
I recognize the necessary death and destruction of spent foliage and harmful microbes that the cold temperatures bring. I appreciate the sense of clean slates, quiet reflection and beauty in silence and solitude.
But I like the rebirth better. I want it sooner. Maybe I should live somewhere with a shorter Winter. Because these days, I spend
too much time
in my house, and I am
too frequently reminded
of all those projects that need doing. The foundation, the garage, the kitchen counters… all better tackled in dry, mild weather. Winter makes me feel a little
too helpless and dormant, and that’s when the demons creep in. Nasty buggers.
And this year we haven’t even gotten to say “vortex.” What is the point?
My point is in the tip of my nose, and I’m directing it toward March April May. The most beautiful time of the year.
For today, I make lists of all the little tasks Spring will hold, and count the growing days until we can again clear the air of frigid dust and shuttered windows.
When the anxiety rises inside you, go stand in a line. Wait your turn at the grocery store and watch the people of your town go about some of the most mundane and necessary tasks of their lives.
See the college students, stocking up on beer and ingredients for what they fancy is a gourmet pasta meal. See the elderly and obese, confined to electronic mobile chairs, their baskets full of meds and processed fruit snacks for the grandkids. See the aging yuppies and crunchy hipster parents with their reusable bags and organic cookies.
Is there anywhere more safe? They say that to combat a panic attack, one should focus on the present. Stop the past from haunting and the future from taunting by focusing on the here and now, and maybe even doing something.
But waiting in the checkout lane is about as still as one can get while remaining in the thick of life. It’s familiar. It is safe. Everyone is busily observing their own little system within the larger organization and its rules, and you can take comfort in that structure. If you have trouble, perhaps with scanning an item, someone is there to help you, and laugh while saying “It’s alright – everyone has trouble with these.”
You can’t take things too seriously here. We’re all just trying to get our share of eggs, mac-n-cheese and frozen peas. Gotta be polite, because nobody likes running into another cart when the aisles intersect.
Where else have we all gone every week since childhood, and continued to go for most of our lives? Where else can we be surrounded by all of our favorite comfort and fancy foods? Where else are we so reminded of our good fortune at being born in a country that has an excess of food (for those with the car and money to get there)?
Stand in line, and take this all in. Where else can you be so safely, wonderfully still?
“An Englishmen, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.” -George Mikes, Author
I’ve been thinking about the idea of personal essays… sometimes the form seems most approachable for me. A little blurring between the lines of auto-biographical, informative and creative writing might be the reason for that.
Years ago (10, maybe), I made a list of the personal essays I was going to write and then compile into a collection. I never wrote them. It’d be interesting to see how different the list might be today.
Consensus: I need to make a greater effort to write creatively.
On January 6, 1759, George Washington married the widowed Martha Dandridge Custis, making her and her two surviving children active characters in 18th century U.S. history.
On January 6, 2012, my mother’s eldest sibling married a sweetheart he’d dated six decades in the past. She’s brought so much to our family with her love, generosity and culinary skill.
Sometimes, we have to circle back, and connect with pieces of our earlier selves. It might be an old flame; it might be a lingering (albeit nerdy) fascination with a long dead figure of patriotism. These pieces usually still have things to teach us.
Getting back to a routine after the holidays has its pros and cons, but the truth is that I’m ready for the structure. I have a new guide for prioritizing, and plenty of plans with which to fill my time. I’m nurturing various pieces of me that are the foundation of who I am now, and feel, as much as ever, that I’m doing it right.
As we start the new year, I want to pause and thank you. The fact that you’re reading this blog is something I appreciate, and also means that you might know me better than some folks do in “real” life. But more than that, you may be one of the many people who, through direct contact, have encouraged me to continue doing my thing. You’ve helped me look to 2014 with positive anticipation, and better, expect things from myself. Man in the Mirror and all that.
“Do you remember how disgusting it seemed, that first time you drank a glass of blood? And now? It’s just sort of like, ‘Hmm.’”
I looked around at the people gathered in the room. We were all relaxed, and happy. The work day was done, and now we could unwind with a fine beverage.
I was a vampire. And it was such a relief.
Real vampire life is nothing like what’s in the books and movies. Even when we were outed, it wasn’t nearly so dramatic as popular culture would have you expect. In fact, we’re more like you now than we ever were before. Joining society – living by its rules. At 15 years out from the Revolution, we’re working jobs and going to community meetings. We drink blood, sure, but it’s from donors, and resisting the urge to kill, for me, is as easy as you not killing a pig just because you crave bacon.
My curiosities wriggle to the depths of the oceans,
And flit to the height of the stars.
Sharing niceties with the fish,
And begging secrets of the planets.
Listening to Sagan as if in a dream,
And hoping his sentiments do not go unheard.
Musing a little as we hear that NASA’s Voyager 1 is officially the first human-made object to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space. Wooooooooooow. Words fail. Astounded. To only imagine what might be found… or what might find Voyager.
We watched some “tribute” videos of Carl Sagan this week, and were again put into that dreamy, inspired trance that his intonation and knowledge always impart. Science and humanity take on new meaning when spoken of by such a sage.
Also, because it’s pretty, and because stars… and fish:
Also, because cosmic fish (the only clip of this I could find):
This is really not anything… simply phrases that my brain said while I was in the bathhouse shower of a shoreline campground, with a little extra added for length.
If the circumstances of my birth had been different, if I’d been born poor, male or five centuries later perhaps, I could have made something of myself.
Instead, something was made of me.
The girl that I was did not want to be queen. I’d seen what it had done to my aunt, and wanted only to live life unencumbered by the weight of a nation and constant threat of death. It’s astounding how little one can relax when seeing assassination lurking around every corner.
But, here I am, and here I shall stay. I hope at least that it will be entertaining.
Off topic: It has been three years today since I last ate meat (other than seafood). My overall dietary philosophies have changed somewhat, but I am still very glad to not be supporting an industry that feeds people low quality meat and meat products, and mistreats the animals that share our terrain.
It’s often said that “the little things” are what really set us apart from countries like England. Pounds instead of dollars, tea instead of coffee, lorries instead of trucks…
Really though, we know about all that stuff without even visiting the UK. These days, I’m more intrigued by the similarities – the things that are surprisingly familiar and make me realize how much we have in common with our friends across the puddle.
Case in point: Foxy Bingo. I think of games like Bingo as quintessentially American, and of course flashy mascots and words like “jackpot” are habits that have remained west of the Atlantic, right?