Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wayne, James, and Me -- Right to Left -- Workin' It!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Autumn Equinox (okay, yesterday) -- and here's a bit of what I've been up to.

What a fascinating couple weeks I’ve had for a variety of reasons, some of which I’ll share here. First off, hummingbirds seem to be my new best friends, but the thing is, when I’ve spotted them lately, they haven’t been fluttering through the air at some mad-cap speed. Instead, three (but I think I may have spotted the same one twice) have been perched on telephone wires, enjoying the early hours before the sun totally scorches the sky. And then one was up in the tree in the backyard, bopping occasionally to a different branch but overall just relaxing and enjoying the Friday afternoon. I’ve taken these spottings – a usually fast, fluttery, almost spastic species – as peaceful omens of gentle times to come in my life. Or, more accurately, that I’m in a gentle time in my life right now. I suppose I’m just as guilty of wishful thinking as the next person, but I do feel like I’ve let so much go, and – while I’m still tender and fresh from so much – I’m also feeling a strength and confidence that is more than welcome.

Jordan is visiting en route from Alaska to New York City. He’s going to wrap up some business there – and be reunited with his lovely pup, Brooklyn – before buying a car, tucking Brooklyn into it, and then heading off to Lake Tahoe to live with Katie and Adam while they all work for Northstar at a ski resort. They’re signing a year lease, and I’m just so happy for Jordan that he’s taking these chances with himself and being true to what and where he needs to be. On Sunday, Mom, Jordan, and I drove up to Mt. St. Helens; Mom and I have been thinking a lot about Mt. St. Helens ever since she brought home this really old article in The Oregonian that was a special edition about the 1980s volcanic eruption; the article was about 40 pages long and extensively covered the before’s, during’s, and after’s. What a perfect day we had weather-wise – 73 degrees and sunny. The drive there and back was beautiful, and then to stand at the lookout points and vistas just topped things off. Jordan and I shared one moment where Mom was listening to a ranger speak about the eruption, and we were further back and just sitting up on this stone bench, and I felt like things were just perfect in that instant, in that transitory, almost melancholy, but achingly beautiful way that happens on occasion. On Monday, Jordan and I headed to the Audubon Society in NW PDX, and spent some time with all the birds in the sanctuary – the owls, kestrel, raven, and more that live there because they aren’t able to fly, are imprinted by being around humans from too early an age, or have other health conditions that prevent them from living in the wild. Then we headed out for a couple hikes on trails behind the Wildlife Care Center. How great to spend the whole day just walking and talking and being in nature with my bro!

So many other little moments have stuck with me:

While out and about on one of my new favorite walking routes in my neighborhood, I looked at one of my favorite homes and glanced off at a different angle, thus noticing a pet cemetery on this grassy knoll, with carved faces in the tombstones and a rubber glove covered in dirt, and toy animals strewn – lovingly and ritualistically – amongst the stones. On that same walk, I discovered a bench with a “FREE” sign on it that had a painted lady door for the back of it (we took Mom’s mini-van to pick it up and load it home) and a single dollar bill lying on the gravel, waiting for me to pick it up.

On Saturday, before Mom and Jordan got home from their day trip, I decided to put on the new A Fine Frenzy, Bomb in a Birdcage (check out #3, #4, and #10), and walked up to Alberta Street as the last of the sunlight slipped away, and had some pizza and beer on the back patio at Bellafaccia; I was one of the only people out there – the night suddenly grew chilly – but the lights were strung through the ivy, and everything felt right; I felt very present in that moment.

Today I took my lunch break at a nearby cemetery, which I sometimes do because it’s so peaceful and quiet. I was talking to Jess about something both old and new, and all of a sudden this little squirrel – a cute Disney one, not some scary 1970s horror movie one – came up to me and paused at my feet. Then it hopped onto my shoe. I tried, gently, to ease myself away from the little critter, but he literally followed me around the cemetery about three times. And each time I paused, he blinked up at me with his cute eyes and hopped back onto my feet. I really don’t think he was looking for food, as it was apparent – at least to me – that I didn’t have any. And he wasn’t rabid or aggressive or anything. He (she?) just struck me as genuinely curious, and I swear he just really wanted to spend some time hanging out on my Iron Maiden Vans and listening to my conversation!....Not to bring the conversation down (but quite the opposite), I have to mention a sad incident from several months ago that I immediately thought of today: I was driving around and having a REALLY bad day – one of those where everything sad and wrong seemed to be happening at once - and I drove by this squirrel that had been hit by a car. As I drove past, I saw the squirrel flop around a bit, and I knew it wasn’t dead yet. So I parked my car, already so distraught from other things, and I went up to it to see if maybe it was in the throes of death and these were just the nerve endings still going. And to this day I’m still not 100% sure, as it only moved around a bit here and there, but I decided in that moment I couldn’t take a chance and let it keep suffering. So, crying, I grabbed a large rock, put it out of its misery, edged it to the side of the road, and built a makeshift cross near it. Every time I drive by that spot, I think about that squirrel, and I know I did the right thing, even though it was such a very hard thing. And today, at this point in my life of Letting Go, I can’t help but see these two experiences as connected, like this cute almost cartoon squirrel was saying, “It’s okay, there is sad stuff, but look, there is cute and fluffy and innocent stuff too!” And I felt like maybe the Universe had given me this moment to reassure me that my demons don’t have nearly as much power over me as I think they do.

Well. Wasn’t sure about everything I was going to write about today, but there you go! A few fragments of what I’ve been feeling and experiencing, a nice mix of dark and light, kind of like the rest of everything we all go through.

p.s. to Tara and Jennifer – I miss you. Oregon misses you. I love you both!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mood of the Day (and Happy 9-9-9 to all of you!)