Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A day is so many colors.

Once I painted a tree.  She posed irreverently with branches sprawled every direction.  She had no regard for the ways and regulations of symmetry.  She was wild and free.   Her vibrant pink blossoms danced to a song no one else could hear.  Once you paint something you know it, in a kindred spirit sort of knowing.  I saw her today, or perhaps it was one of her kind, but as I drove down the street, I whispered, hello, it’s good to see you again.

Once, I painted another tree.  He was pensive and captivating, bearing his spiny form for all to see.  Black lines etched against the grayest sky.  I saw him today, too.  Soon, before we blink, a new coat will appear and he’ll proudly wear a green masterpiece, the “it” color of the season.

These trees, I carry them with me through all the years, as though the paint on canvas was still shiny and wet. It’s not only trees.  Once I painted a sunset and years later it came to life.  In the moments when we meet again or for the first time, oxygen is insufficient and eyes see past human capabilities. 

A day is so many colors. 

Today, the world and all its tiny sub-worlds were just too full of noise. 

So, I listened to the colors instead.

I watched from my desk as the rain fell diagonally to the ground.  It turned to snow, giant flakes fell on the branches already are bursting forth with white blossoms. A confusion of seasons set against the grayest sky. In-between phones and files, I listened.  I saw the ominous clouds introduced a freezing rain and then they were sliced through with radiant light, as a golden sun illuminated the tops of the trees, creating the most marvelous of shadows.   Eight hours worth of effects set against the same backdrop.

It’s March and I’ll tell you, this month has a history of big changes for us.   In the last four years, we’ve moved three times during a March.  Tonight, we’re just a few days shy of 365 days after Minnesota.  And that saying, bloom where you’re planted is not exactly my first nature.  I think I’m downright awful at it.  I’m more of a float wild and free in the winds of change girl.  But, this March, we’re not changing anything.  It’s the most peculiar of feelings.  I’m itching for the calendar to announce that I can plant things in dirt, because it feels like a declaration of intention.  Bloom, this is where you are planted.   Pressing seeds into soil and surrendering to the germination.  It’s obvious in plants, as we celebrate inch by inch, sprout by sprout.  And it’s nearly painful in ourselves, with all the impatience and desire for understanding.   Surely, we are a complicated breed.

Trees. I like trees, noticing the way they bend and stretch towards everything above.   I rarely stop to consider just how fare below the surface the roots travel.

Do you see what I mean?

A day is so many colors.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

On a Saturday

The morning lingers.   Longer, deeper breaths celebrate the calm of this day.  I dress into a relaxed maxi dress, that oversized wool cardigan, the one he claims is his, and a pair of thick warm socks, because even though spring is tinting the world with green and sunshine, a winter chill haunts my toes.  My hair remains in a perfectly unkempt state, my favorite way.

Filling the kettle, grinding the beans, and the art of the press poured into small cups without lids.  I  draw back the blinds and open a few windows to hear the song of the feathered ones.  Sweeping  through the house, I let in the light, my favorite morning part.  Welcome back, dear friend.  The trees are eager to burst forth with foliage, but as of this morning, remain dark and spiny.  I can see a church steeple in the near distance, from where the bells ring at 11 o’clock every Sunday morning.  Soon the tree line will fill and the crepe myrtles will adorn the streets with the loveliest pink. 

More coffee is poured into small cups.  Pages of books are turned.   There will be porch swings, naps, and bubbles. 

Together on a Saturday.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On numbers, eyes, and pauses

She walks in the building, in the motion of a day and its doings.  She wears a youthful beauty, but the effects of a heavy heart reside in her face, in her forlorn eyes.  I saw it immediately.   Like all the rest, she’s come to pick up her forms and tells me her name.  As I retrieve it from the drawer, I remember what was written inside.

I never considered that this job would be a front row seat to such humanity.  Answering phones, mailing invoices, scheduling appointments, greeting clients, these are the tasks where the stories of life are relived.  They flood the handset of my phone, spilling out into the spaces around my desk.  This place is not for sugar coated, hazy daydreams.  The tax office is where the deepest of life must be brought to the forefront.   And it gets me every single time. I never truly expect to find it in the sea of small talk, in the momentary encounters.  But, it comes, stealing my breath.

I remember how she placed an X over his name, every place it was printed.  The word, divorce, written on a key line.  I know the weight those seven letters hold.  I remember how it changed my family forever.  And there it is, on nearly every page, evidence of a joint life now being severed and split.   Brutal and real.  I uttered a silent prayer as she walked away.

And yet, another story where love surpassed the grave, as she slowly approached the desk with a smile on her face.  The spouse signature line will remain empty, for the first time in 54 years.  Her sigh is rich with a lifetime as she pauses there and sets down the pen.  Oh darling, she says.  We’ve never met, but I sense a kindred spirit.  It goes on, it just does, whether we like it or not and here I am having to handle all of this without him and to be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing.  But, another sigh, we go on, we just do.  I don’t understand how.  It’s a mystery.  As she walks down the hall for her appointment, I can hardly bare the weight of her story.  I can tell, theirs was a lovely life, rich with all the seasons.  And she carries their legacy in the fortitude of her smile, in the warmth of her eyes.  So heart breaking and beautiful.

Time after time, they pause at that same line, leaving it blank for the first time or perhaps, it catches them off guard too.

Does one ever get used to such things?  I hope not.  I hope that we always feel the tides of life, rising and falling, the motion of existence.  I hope the stories do not become commonplace. I hope the weight of life biggest moments are felt according their true value, as magical or devastating, as they may be. 

Birth and death and marriage and loss. Lifetimes. These are the stories of the tax office, often translated in lists and numbers.  Numbers aren’t my thing.  I read eyes and pauses, gathering a different kind of data.

The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.