Monday, July 23, 2012

A Simple Post

Life is as beautiful as it sometimes is terrifying. Allow yourself to be happy. Embrace the world in spite of all of its faults. Go on an adventure. Dare to live a wild beautiful life. No matter how far you wander, you will always always have a home.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, My Beautiful Twin

Just now, Lydia, we were sitting together in the living room, and we were listening to "Skinny Love." I was letting the lyrics seep into me, I was letting them create a warm space inside of me--a space where the past is beautiful and the future most definitely will be and I am not grasping for either of them, because I am happy and safe right now. The future will come, and it will become the present, and we will both be happy and safe.

Just a few minutes ago, we were listening to "Skinny Love" together, and you were singing along. I don't tell you enough that I love your voice. When I do tell you, it is usually because you have been working on a new song, and you come up to me and say, "Does this sound alright?" and usually I sound annoyed when I reply, so you don't believe me. I love your voice, Lydia. I love it even though it is only a piece of the bright and brilliant sprit that you possess. I love it in the same way that your children will love it on stagnant and moonless nights when they cry because they don't believe that the sun will ever warm them again. You will hold them in your arms, and you will sing "Landslide" or "I Want to Hold Your Hand" or "Skinny Love," and your voice will create warm spaces inside of them where nothing exists and everything fills its absence.

Seventeen years ago, we were born into this world together.

I wrote a poem last year, about our life inside of the womb. I wrote it for a poetry class taught by a poetry teacher who wanted my poems to be stranger, to make less sense. So I tried to make the poem mysterious. I tried to make it sound like one that she would write. And in all of this trying, I failed to really convey the truth--of what it might have been like for us, together there in the safety of the darkness, in the warm space where we grew.

There is one stanza of that poem that I like, so I will post it here:

Our metronome hearts birth metrical ticks
in accord, a reminder
we were born to never be alone."

And we will never be alone, Lydia. Happy seventeenth birthday, my love. Blow out the candles. Make a wish. Believe in the warmth inside of yourself.

Love, your sister

(Photo taken by Uncle Dave, Christmas 2010.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wandering Wednesdays: The Way Fear Makes You Move

"Keep walking, though there's no place to get to. 
Don't try to see through the distances. 
That's not for human beings. Move within, 
but don't move the way fear makes you move."


(Image via The Stylish Wanderer.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Song of the Probable Stars

"You Are Tired (I Think)" by e.e. cummings

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we'll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired. So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I'll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I'll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

(Image via The Stylish Wanderer.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wandering Wednesdays: The Spark

Happy Fourth of July!

By the time you read this post, I will be in Scotland with limited computer access. I didn't want the blog to be empty for the entire month while I was gone, so I decided to schedule some posts ahead of time. 

This is one of those posts. 

Since I am not actually in Scotland as I am writing this (am I confusing anyone yet?), I can only guess at what I will be doing and feeling and hoping and thinking on July 4th. This is the plan for July 2nd-6th, according to my itinerary: 

"Transfer to the Isle of Sky, where you will learn about Scotland's largely unknown 'Highland Clearances.' Discover the culture and history of the indigenous Scots who used the sea as their livelihood. Like they did, you will get a chance to try your hand at sea kayaking, fishing, and archery."

So maybe I will be climbing into a kayak or standing on the bank of a river or positioning an arrow on a bow when this post is published. Whatever I am doing, I'm sure that my mind will be far away from parades and red-white-and-blue and fireworks. 

But right now, I am thinking about all of those things. 

When I was little, my family would travel on the Fourth of July to a little town in Nebraska where several of my incredible relatives live. My parents had a business for a few years called "Clowning Around." They owned an inflatable bounce house and a balloon typhoon, and we would travel around setting them up at fairs and parties throughout the summer. On the Fourth of July, they would set up the bounce house and balloon typhoon in the local park where the celebration was held. My sister and I would run wild, wading around in the swimming pool to cool off, devouring our parade candy, watching the sun set from the playground. Those are some of the happiest memories I have. 

One summer, when we still lived in Nebraska, my mom and sister and I traveled to Santa Fe to visit my grandmother. On the night of the Fourth, we ventured to the high school stadium where the fireworks were set off. We lay down on blankets on the grass. The fireworks were so much larger than the ones I was used to. I remember the way I felt, watching them go off overhead, as if the trails of sparks were going to land right on top of me and set me ablaze. 

It is hard for me to imagine what the world was actually like when the Declaration of Independence was signed. It seems so far away, so mythologized and yet so unimaginable. To me, the Fourth of July has always meant family. Home. The way that it felt to run around barefoot in the park, my mother and father close by, their laughter echoing through the evening air. The way that it felt to lie beside my sister and mother in the grass, gasping as each firework went off, mesmerized and safe and just the tiniest bit afraid. 

I have wandered far from that place where I ran barefoot, where I lay with my mother and sister. That world has trailed off into the night sky, and it will never come again, but there is something in its place. A spark, a beginning, and I will grasp onto it, and I will watch it come alive. 

My sister, last year, watching fireworks from the playground where we used to watch them as children. 

(Image one via The Bean and the Bear.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Letter Addressed to You

Dear You, 
     I thought that I would write you a proper letter, since it will be a few weeks before I see you again. 
I am going to the rustic land of the rolling green hills and the cobblestone streets and the rain that escapes from the sky without warning
     This past week, more than anything--more than the stress I have felt over packing or the excitement I have felt over going abroad for the first time--I have felt grateful. 
     I am grateful for you, and for this adventure, and for all of the people who I have met through my past travels. They have become my best friends and my inspiration, my home that is not stationary. It is the most wonderful feeling, to have so many people who I love, spread all around the country. Someday soon, they will be spread all around the world. 
     I will be in Scotland from June 26th through July 26th, and I will have limited computer access, so I have scheduled some posts for the month while I'm gone. Keep checking back--I hope that you enjoy them!
     The good news is that, when I come back, I will have stories and adventures to share, both through pictures and words. I can't wait to share them with you. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Little Gift

During my month in Scotland, I will live for one week with a host family in the city of Perth. The program that I am traveling with, The Experiment in International Living, works with a placement agency in Scotland to match all of the Experimenters with host families. Oftentimes, the placements are made right at the last minute. (For example, I leave in two days, and I still haven't found out who my host family is.)

This past week, I went shopping for a gift to bring to my host family. I wanted to find something that was representative of the unique spirit of New Mexico, without being overly touristy.

This is what I came up with...

I went to two little shops here in Santa Fe to find my host family gift. The first, Doodlet's, is a whimsical nicknack store in the downtown area. Wandering around inside of it, I can find something that reminds me of almost everyone I know. The second store, The Chile Shop, sells--you guessed it--authentic New Mexican chile! It also has cookbooks and beautiful aprons and the most wonderful hand-sewn table cloths and runners and napkins.

At Doodlet's, I found these Guatemalan worry dolls. When my grandmother moved to Santa Fe, years before we moved here, these were the gift that she gave to my sister and me the first time that we visited. The story behind them is that, before you go to bed, you tell a worry to each of the dolls. Then you place them beneath of your pillow. They will take away your worries while you sleep.

This Pinon-scented incense is made right here in New Mexico, and it smells just like the forest, so authentic and woody and natural. I love it. 

Without a doubt, my favorite find are these table napkins from The Chile Shop. They are just so beautiful. I could stare at them all day.

I am excited to meet my host family and live with them for a week. I am looking forward to the evening conversations, to running around in the backyard with the children, to the shared breakfasts, to the chance to learn about their dreams and their hopes and their day-to-day life. These strangers in another country, these people who will hopefully become a second family to me, are giving me the most amazing gift: they are welcoming me into their home. I hope that they will enjoy this little glimpse into my home.