Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28, 2013: a small treasure

It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very very near to a world of wonderful beauty.  Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside—but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond—only a glimpse—and heard a note of unearthly music.

This moment came rarely—went swiftly leaving her breathless with the inexplicable delight of it.  She could never recall it—never summon it—never pretend it; but the wonder of it stayed with her for days.  It never came twice with the same thing.  To-night the dark boughs against the far-off sky had given it.  It had come with a high, wild note in the night, with a shadow wave over a ripe field, with a greybird lightning on her window-sill in a storm, with the singing of “holy, holy, holy'” in church, with a  glimpse of the kitchen fire when she had come home on a dark autumn night, with the spirit-like blue of ice-palms on a twilit pane, with a felicitous new word when she was writing down, a “description” of something.  And always when the flash came to her Emily felt that life was a wonderful, mysterious, thing of persistent beauty.

Excerpt from Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery

Thursday, July 25, 2013

on the bravery within and things never to forget

Between towering vacation homes squished tall and snug, we followed the public boardwalk that stretched long and narrow.  And then before us, the expanse.

I walked behind him, as my boy met the sea, months before his fifth birthday.  His plaid blue hat atop his head. He stopped at the edge where the railing turned to meet the stairs, the stairs covered in sand, and his head turned to the left and to the right and back again.  Quietly, he observed, as is his nature.

And after contentment rushed through my bones, the kind that only comes in this place where my soul is at home, I took his hand and said, “Come on!”

We walked together on the sand. He was cautious and when I tried to walk him to where the water splashed our toes, he shivered and reached out to be held.  The winds were strong, the waves crashed, he was so small before the sea.  I held him close and spoke in his ear, isn’t it beautiful?  It’s my favorite.  This is where God lives.  Or, rather this is where you can always find him, if ever you aren’t sure. Intrigue slipped through his trembling eyes. His sister was scared too, which is uncommon for our Wild Eyes, but she saw her brother afraid and so she would be too.

The tide was low and they played in a small pool far from the waves, where giant rocks, covered in a slippery green grass, created shallow streams and caverns. A safe haven of exploration and wonder.  Every so often, they’d look out towards the greatness before them, not yet ready.  Matt and I jumped in the waves while Gigi and Allan built sand castles and collected shells.  We let the waves thrash us around. It was therapy as life and its adult heaviness melted in the power of the water, in the place where God lives.  We could be seen, but not heard in our bubble-sound-barrier of the wind and waves. We were like children and we were free.  And we flirted in wildly appropriate ways. 

We talked about how we want our children to be brave. They looked so small down the shore, playing in the sand.  We talked about how we want them to live with abandon and delight in the wonder of nature, to be able to feel him so closely in places like this, because we do -- so very much. 

We returned, scooped them up, and carried them the water’s edge.  They clung tightly as ever one could.  And safely in our arms we jumped and laughed until they did too.  We sat down and the water splashed over us.  Their cautious laughter grew into certainty, the shaking stopped, and then they stood on their own.  The salt water spray was still shocking, but no longer terrifying.

I want to remember it forever, the way he was brave first, the way his laughter started and then she followed his lead.  How he was then standing on his own, radiant with courage.  Sometimes, he’d fall and the water would wash over him, sending him running up the shore, but he’d turn right back toward the sea and try again.  She stayed close and gripped Daddy’s hands, but her little body shrieked with joy. 

They didn’t want to stop for lunch. They didn’t want to leave. And the days later, in the tiny kiddie pool at home they showed me how they jumped in the waves, like this, mom, like this.


life is not easy and it was never intended to be, for a life well-lived will always be overflowing with maddening goodness and breath-taking badness, with easy and hard, and with wondrous beauty and ferocious ugly.   and you’ll be tired and weary, you’ll question and fear, you’ll feel confusion and doubt. 

i hope you’ll always know that when the world is dark and you’re absolutely unsure of everything that you’ll find him at the water’s edge.  you’ll see his power in the thundering waves that smash upon the shore.  you’ll feel him in the salty spray that covers you, in the wind that sweeps up your hair and makes it dance.  you’ll marvel in the sunlight and moonlight that sparkles across the water. and that you’ll know in this moment, when you stand before the great big sea, that the creator of the universe is with you.  and find his boundless love pouring out in the roaring and crashing and spraying and sparkling. 

my darlings, if you dare to live, you’ll often be lonely. if you dare to dream, you’ll have to jump into the unknown and sometimes the unknown will be more like a place where you set up camp and stay for a while, rather a brief moment or a quick visit.  you’ll face opposition in a world full of logic and reason and the masses won’t understand.  and you’ll feel small, oh so small, but, my dear ones,  be brave, be free, be strong.  his love is an ocean.




Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On neighborhood plotting, cat cartel happenings, and a show

Happenings around the neighborhood have been minimal lately, mostly due to summer and the way it greets you at the front door with a big, wet slap of humidity and rain. Humidity and rain. Humidity and rain. Repeat.  We’ve been spending most out of time in the backyard, the kids by the pool, while I hide from the sun, which is public enemy number one to my fair skin.

But, this has not hindered my calculations to become friends with a certain neighbor who is in possession of one hydrangea bush that is falling over and in desperate need of my pruning.  Or is my table just in desperate need of its blossoms? The line is blurry, I can’t say for sure.  I’ve never actually seen the people who live there and perhaps I could coax some information out of Ophelia, next door.  One can never be too informed on such matters. I know for certain, they don’t appreciate it like I would.  It’s the deepest blue, almost violet and it’s breathtaking.  Stay tuned.

Recently, one Sunday morning, when a coolness still lingered in the air, I tiptoed out the door to the front porch, managing to make a cup of tea and gather a book and journal without waking the children.  The street was still, except for one lone ranger of a man doing yard work before the hot hot heat (remember them) and Rose.  Yes, Rose the godmother of the cat cartel, as deemed by a friend.  Let me paint a picture for you, from the top down.  Fiery red hair, wild and untamed, unnatural and shocking.  A housecoat of black with large white polka dots and a clunky pair of black wellies on her feet.  She did a brief survey of her kingdom, checked out her zoo-like cat enclosure, which is a totally normal thing to have in ones yard and then retrieved a half gallon of milk from inside.  I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone that at least ten cats appeared out of no-where, no-where, at the sight of that milk. Like, out of bushes and trees and from under flowerpots and perhaps out of the underground community that may or may not exist.  Just a little gift from Rose, your friendly neighborhood cat lady.  Happy Sunday cats!

And then, there was one day when my next door neighbor, a tall, country grandfather was sitting in a tree that grows on the other side of our privacy fence, cutting down branches, with a saw in his hand and a song in his heart.  A song that filled his heart and at least four backyards as he belted out his duet with Cheryl Crow. People, he just really wanted to soak up the sun and he wasn’t afraid to tell anyone. Sing it, Jesse, sing it. 

Well, that’s all I have to report from this little gem of a neighborhood.  I’ll try to gather something good for next time and I don’t just mean flowers.