Saturday, February 16, 2013

the millenium falcon

if you've ever lived up north you'll know what i mean.

it's snowing ... the kind of snow that only falls when it's warm. the kind north carolina doesn't often see - the fat, lazy flakes that dampen the world effortlessly with their gentleness. they fall straight down, no swirling or blowing or drifting... just from God's fingertips to our brown grass, making the grey day suddenly light and clean.

these are the flakes of my childhood. i used to stand under the streetlights after dinner, after dark, bundled in every warm item i could find, and look up into the light while the snow was illuminated on it's downward path. if you stood there for any length of time at all, the world slipped away around you, perspectives changed, and suddenly you were han solo flying the millenuim falcon through a galaxy of stars, watching them soar past your cockpit windows. if felt like i could stand like that for days, frozen feet forgotten. if the street lights didn't come on early enough, my friends and i would pack the sensors with snow just so we could experience the dizzyness of flying through those stars.

i don't miss the cold. i don't even miss the snow. but i do miss the kid who could fly like that, so easily exchanging the ground for the sky.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


sniff turn
close push close
relax sigh
sigh stretch
breathe snore
breathe snore
breathe snore listen
stretch close push close
heavy solid
comfort sleep love

Saturday, December 08, 2012


mark has been after me to write our story in snapshots... just moments here and there that capture something real. here is one snapshot. maybe you'll like it.

the room is so dark it's almost black. from where i lay, i can't make out it's edges. of course, that could be the drugs. the barest light falls from a picture unchanging on the screen high on the wall: two small grey circles against a slightly lighter shade. our hopes pinned to the ceiling. the dimness is meant to soothe and calm, but the effect is undone by the sharp, white light aimed between my knees. i examine my feet, really the only thing i see clearly, and am glad i choose to wear my knee high socks. the thick black and white stripes running up my calf are the only protection i've got in this room full of strangers and half-strangers. the valium, like the lighting, is also intended to relax me, which it does- i certainly feel no anxiety - but it has the unintended side effect of making me chatty. i can't seem to stop the words from streaming out of my mouth, commenting on all sort of inane things, despite the doctor's urging that i remain quiet. somewhere behind my shoulder comes an awkward pat and a gentle shush, mark urging me to follow orders, but he has no effect. my tongue will not be stilled. i am in awe of those glowing grey orbs on the screen... two tiny, unformed lives. everything that they could be, will be, might be; all wrapped up in a perfect circle. no evidence of life, but life pulsing none the less. i wonder aloud who they will be. are they boys or girls? what will they would be good at? how they will look? will they take more after their dad or their mom? i am shushed again, this time by the doctor who seems to be concerned that hopes will get too high, that if something were to go wrong, the grief will be more crushing for having wondered.

i've never cared much for hopelessness, so i hoped. i knew, even. inside, where knowing doesn't have to be backed up by facts, where hope and love live a happily married life, i knew. it was easier for me, i suppose, because those orbs weren't my little life-hopes. i suspect that mark and tina were terrified by my cheerful patter, scared not just of hoping, but of pinning their hopes on a loopy girl in wicked-witch-of-the-west socks who had come into their lives mere months before. a girl they barely knew, but who had staked her claim to them and wouldn't let go. indeed, i had pitched my tent in the garden of their lives like a hippie, wandering barefoot through a history that ought to have been shared, making up for lost time with ferocity. i knew no other way to be.

so there i lay, naked but for a sheet and socks, feet high in cold metal stirrups, awkward but in awe. in awe of finding mark. in awe of what intelligence and creativity and persistence have allowed humanity to discover and learn. awe that i was participating in such a reckless, lovely scheme.

the whole thing took only seconds. two little futures, resting now in my body. i welcomed them, patted my belly and told them to dig in and make themselves a home, temporary though it would be.

back in the brightly lit recovery room (what was i meant to be recovering from?) it was just mark and me, tina having wiped her tears and left for work. he leaned forward with his iphone and played me a song that i had previously told him was going to be my theme song for the next 9 months....'capri' by colbie callait.  i was suddenly embarrassed, couldn't meet his eye. maybe the valium was wearing off, but the words dried up and i could think of nothing to say that would fit the moment. it was too big for me.

we've never really talked about that day, any of us. maybe they did, in the quiet of their room that night, hidden in the dark where words and feelings seem safer, but we didn't talk to each other. i have so many questions now. i wonder how it felt for them, the whole thing. i want a moment by moment play by play of how they felt, what they thought.

we drove home mostly silent, mark and me, and i pretty quickly fell asleep on the couch, drained by the emotion of the morning and encouraged by the doctor's orders to spend 3 days laying down. when i woke up, mark was on the sectional beside me watching tv and on the coffee table, right in my sight line, was an apple and a knife. it seems like a small thing, but it wasn't; not to me. everything we didn't, or couldn't say was in that apple. the whole world in a tight, red skin. i said 'thanks' and he smiled. it was enough.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

truth and curbs

i am tired of myself. i don't want to talk about myself. i don't want to navel gaze. i don't want to regale you with my stories.

i would rather listen to the stories of the people who populate my life. i want to hear the childhood reminiscences,  the long lost or long held dreams... i want to hear their Truth. i am weary of being fine, and having everyone else be fine. how can i celebrate with your celebrations or weep with your mournings if there is no Truth between us? how can any of us walk alongside another while both pretend not to need a companion?

i am weary.and truth is terrifying and risky and offensive, but aren't you tired of not living honestly? of plastering on a smile? of keeping all your plates spinning? don't you just want to sit down on the curb beside someone who cares enough to listen while you say nothing at all? i do.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

love spells death

there's a lot of rancor swirling around, isn't there? a lot of anger, some justified but most not, a lot of vitriol and hate, talk of revenge and name-calling and just pure meanness. sometimes i feel like i am being smothered in it.  accusations and rumors, wars, divorces of both spouses and friends ... frustration and fury seem to march side by side along every path. christians are not exempt from this, not at all. let's be honest:  in some arenas we are worse.

i am rereading a book right now - one of my absolute "must read" recommendations" - and something he says in the opening interview of the book struck me like a thunderbolt. this author is not a poet or a reclusive scholar-priest, but the son of a russian diplomat, raised in persia during the russian revolution, shipwrecked in gibraltar, gypsied across europe in poverty, eventually teaching math, chemistry and latin to pay for his education as a doctor. he became a french citizen, joined the revolution and served in WWII as both a surgeon and a revolutionary. he secretly took monastic vows because you could not be both a monk and a doctor. he is no dusty couch potato.

"so often when we say 'i love you' we say it with a huge 'i' and a small 'you'. we love as a conjunction instead of it being a verb implying action. it's no good just gazing out into open space hoping to see the Lord; instead we have to look closely at our neighbor, someone whom God has willed into existence, someone whom God has died for. everyone ... has a right to exist, because he has value in himself, and we are not used to this. the acceptance of otherness is a danger to us, it threatens us. to recognize the other's right to be himself might mean recognizing his right to kill me. but if we set a limit at his right to exist, it's no right at all. Love is difficult. Christ was crucified because he taught a kind of love which is a terror for men, a love which demands total surrender: it spells death."

'beginning to pray' by anthony bloom is actually a book about prayer - shocker! - but this little bit from the prologue seemed particularly appropriate to our time. nevermind the idea of someone who would want to kill you; how are you, how am i, doing at accepting the right to exist of people who believe differently, vote differently, love differently? are we willing to look right in their eyes, face to face, and say, "God willed you to exist, and you have intrinsic personal, human value." can we say, with any degree of honestly, "your otherness is ok with me. i will love anyways." are we living at all a Love which is a verb?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

bob ross & me

i have a struggle... don't we all... and for the last several months my struggle has been harder than usual. it has reached a point where my girls have noticed & said something about it to curtis. while i hate that they are affected, i am glad they know our family can talk about stuff.

anyway, last night they were on a trip to michael's, and came home with a surprise for me... you know i love presents... and look what they came home with! a hour long bob ross instructional technique video and a little set of oil paints & palette knives! i love bob ross! and painting is one of the truest respites from the world that i know...

it takes me completely out of my self and my life and lets me forget that i even exist. i can't wait to learn how to paint the "grandeur of summer" with bob ross!

and just because it makes me happy, here's a little song to brighten your morning. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

i'm just not that cool

so last night, after working all day on my feet - working hard, too ... it was so busy! - i went to the delta rae  show in carborro at cat's cradle. they are really good, by the way. but doors at 8, show at 9... which obviously that means that delta rae didn't come on til after 11. and if you've not been to cat's cradle, it's one of those venues where everyone just packs in, sweaty & hot, as close as they can to the stage and there are no seats. no. seats. it is very hard to enjoy the show when you just wish you were in bed, you know? plus no one even tried to grope me or sell me weed. sigh. i'm just not that cool.

but kyra is. meg was at a sleepover last night when her new, paid for all by herself, american girl doll came. so kyra went through all meg's doll stuff, pulled out all the birthday party gear from the licensed american girl doll party kit and set all of meg's other dolls up under a big "happy birthday cassie" banner, with a spread of plastic cake & treats, so that when meg got home and unwrapped cassie everyone could have a big time. it was truly, truly one of the sweetest things. kyra is cool like that.

lastly, look at the cool table curtis made for me from an old window out of the asbury chapel that my dad saved for me! isn't it gorgeous? i am waiting for the paint to dry on the legs, and then i'm going to spend some quality time distressing them... it's going to be fabulous!