Posts Tagged Nature
The other evening, the temperature dropped from a hundred and something to seventy something in fifteen minutes while the sky grew dark and the wind blew hard. Of course, we had to go out and be a part of that. The coolness, the darkness, the wind – it was where the love was. It felt so good. We laughed while the wind whipped our hair around. Some of us chased each other up and down the sidewalk and had a spitting war. One of us went inside to show the rest of us what she found slipped under her bedroom door earlier that day.
It was glorious.
When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love
The storms are raging on the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love
*Lyrics by Bob Dylan
My words have been stuck lately. I reach down deep, trying to find them, but they are not there. They have left me and I am grasping at nothingness.
This morning I woke up before the sun and took my coffee outside to listen to the birds sing this sleeping world to life. Togo came out with me and rolled over and over in the grass that has turned green again and the even greener weeds that have already overtaken the grass. The one tree in our back yard that survived the drought last summer does not yet know that it is spring. It does not hear the birds. It still has fifty or so dead leaves from last fall that forgot to fall. They are now black and brittle but they continue to cling tenaciously to the bare branches. Maybe the tree will open up its ears and hear the songs the birds are singing. Maybe new green leaves will push off the old black ones soon.
Or maybe it has lost the will to live and will nevermore grace us with its shockingly pink October leaves. Just like its fellow peach and apple trees who are now gone forever.
This week I took three days off of work and went to San Antonio with my husband of twenty years to celebrate our anniversary. It was a much-needed break as life has been eating us alive lately. We walked all over that city, with no agenda. Sometimes we would stop walking and we would sit and eat and drink while we watched other people walk. It was lovely and we had some good conversations while we held hands.
Last night my two eldest daughters sang in their school talent show. How does the world always spin us back to this point? Today Chris and I will sing at the St. Patrick’s Day luncheon at church. Tomorrow he will preach and then I will eat with my family and do laundry and make a menu and go to the grocery store and help with homework and clean and breathe and the next day I will go to work.
The other day all five of us were in the car when an old Ben Folds song played through the speakers. The daughter whose words also get stuck inside of her sang along with me while we both looked out our respective windows.
Everybody knows it hurts to grow up, but everybody does
It’s so weird to be back here
The irony was not lost on me as I caught a glimpse of her singing quietly along with me in the rear view mirror.
The years go on and we’re still fighting, and we’re still fighting it
And you’re so much like me
Both of us lost in our thoughts while we sang every word quietly, while looking at the world rushing by. The world that only half-knows that it’s time to wake up from winter.
There was pain, sunny days and rain
I knew you’d feel the same things
Sometimes I can find words in the midst of my pain and sometimes all I can find is pain. Sometimes sleep overtakes me when I’m not tired and sometimes my body feels exhaustion like it’s never known while I lay there praying for rest and finding none. Sometimes this task of raising young women in this world feels impossible and it is all I can do to keep loving them through it while guiding them gently.
We’re still fighting it, we’re still fighting it
You’ll try and try and one day you’ll fly
Away from me
We are now halfway through Lent. Sometimes I think Lent is harder on me than anyone else in the world. Maybe that means I need it more than anyone else.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Maybe the new green leaves will push off the old black ones soon.
One week and two days after I burst a blood vessel in my eye (or maybe EVERY blood vessel in my eye?), I am looking a little less like a vampire and a little more like a hepatitis patient. Originally the entire white area of my eye was blood red. And when I say entire, I mean ENTIRE. And when I say blood red, I mean no areas of sorta, kinda red were mixed in. It was shocking. BLOOD RED. My youngest daughter couldn’t even look at me without getting visibly nauseous. Today, there are still two little blood red dots close to the center and the rest of the white area is now a milky yellow-y, orange-y color.
I guess the doctor at the CareNow clinic was right when she said it could take up to two weeks to go away.
One day last week when I was driving home, I saw a sight that I have never before seen in my entire life. Right in the middle of rush hour traffic, headed due east on the freeway, about 5 miles away from my home, the moon began to rise. It rose directly in front of me, where the freeway disappeared over the ridge, into the horizon. I kid you not when I say that moon was the width of the entire five lanes of freeway traffic. It was like another planet was about to come crashing into us. Every crater was as big as my car and clearer than I have ever seen. I was literally driving with my jaw dropped open, staring at all the other people in all the other cars beside me, screaming at them and pointing, “Do you SEE that?!!!!?” Nobody looked at me or answered me. Nobody even had their mouth open. We just got invaded by another planet and nobody except me seemed to notice.
Five minutes later, I ran into my house and grabbed my camera off the countertop, screaming “Callie, Sadie, Grace!!!! You have to come with me NOWWWWWWW,” as I raced back out the door to the car that I had left running on the curb. Two of the girls made it out the door in time to join me as I drove like mad to a nearby field where I thought we might still be able to see it rising.
But we were too late. Only ten minutes at the most had passed and it was already high in the twilight sky. Looking beautiful, yes, but just looking like your average full moon. Neither Sadie nor Grace would let me take their picture in front of it, hiding their faces and running away and whining about how they didn’t have time to get “ready.”
So Grace took a picture of me. This is the best we could get. Me and the blurry moon that ten minutes earlier had been as big as the gas station on the corner.
I tried taking my camera to work the next day, hoping against hope that the rising would be in roughly the same place and time during the drive home and I could capture it. (No, I don’t text while driving but yes, I do photography while driving.) But alas, the day was cloudy and I saw no moon at all. None at all. Only clouds. But I did get some pictures at work that day, and I have to admit that it feels kind of good to finally have a record of the place where I spend most of my days.
Here I am at my desk.
And yes, I photoshopped my eye. No way I’m putting a picture of that ugly thing on here. No way, Jose.
And this is the view over the top of my desk.
And here I am with my cute friends I work with (or worked with). One is finishing up her temporary assignment this week, most likely, and one is having a baby this week, most likely. Can you tell which is which? Sniff. I’m going to miss them.
And my husband finished his exam he’s been working on for six months.
And I cut my hair all short this weekend.
And my daughters have all worked hard in school, and helped out around the house, and played music, and made laughter, and entered into family prayer with clear, loud voices, and kissed me goodnight before going to bed this week. And well, I really love them.
But I can’t stop biting the inside of my cheek, no matter how many deals I make with myself.
And I can’t get my iTunes store to open and I have an iTunes gift card burning a hole in my heart. And I really, really, really want to spend it. I sure wish I had a technical advisor like the olden days.
And that’s enough for today.
Every beat of my heart pumps the desperate plea of escapism through my blood. And every vein carrying the blood through my body just presses back toward home. The need to escape and the burning homesickness flowing firmly together. Not gently, but like a raging river. Coursing on to battle.
The sun rises unexpectedly in my rear view mirror. A ball of flame, glowing red hot and orange, sitting there as though it’s normal for fireballs to sit there, in between sky scrapers, as wide as each of them and a million times more beautiful than either. The imposing architecture of these majestic structures reduced to objects that merely frame the only object around that’s suddenly worthy of any admiration; their stunning, mirrored glass paling in comparison to this thing from outer space, making it’s own light (with no need for mirrors to reflect some other light), invading our world with a magnificent display of power each and every morning.
My sixteen year old daughter leans over unexpectedly during church, puts her arm around my neck and kisses my cheek affectionately.
My priest gives me an unexpected birthday blessing at the communion rail, after placing the body of Christ in my hand, waiting to be consumed. “Watch over thy child, O Lord, as her days increase; bless and guide her wherever she may be. Strengthen her when she stands; comfort her when discouraged or sorrowful; raise her up if she fall; and in her heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of her life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Then he makes the sign of the cross, firmly upon my forehead. And I know that I am covered. I am covered, I am loved and I am filled as I eat the bread and am nourished and drink His precious blood and am enveloped in His grace.
Sometimes I cry so hard I pop blood vessels in my eye. Sometimes that happens on my birthday. Sometimes it can take a week or longer for the bright, red, bloody eye to go back to it’s normal white. So I remember the blood that covers me and I try not to care that people cringe when they look me in the eye. Here I am in all my glory, paling in comparison to the glory I reflect.
I have so very much to be thankful for.
Every beat of my heart longs for tenderness. And every vein in my body courses firmly on.
It’s not in the endless view of chrome fenders and exhaust pipes I see through the front of my windshield every morning.
It’s in the rainbow that I see way far up above the fenders. Over there to the right, in the sky. It didn’t even rain and it’s not going to rain. But two little white clouds squeezed themselves together at just the right moment. They kissed and it made a little tiny rainbow in the early morning light.
It’s not in the way that I can’t keep my foot steady on the gas, but must keep going, braking, going, braking, letting this guy in here, going again, trying to get over there, braking again, almost running into the guy in front of me.
It’s in the way I almost run into the guy in front of me because I am distracted by all those black birds over there to the left, way up in the sky. They don’t know or care that they’re in the middle of a concrete jungle. They only know that the patch of green right beside me, connecting one concrete patch to another is good enough for them to descend upon, all at once. A living work of art, they land in perfect rhythm, one after another and sit there contentedly as I and the guy in front of me drive on by.
It’s not in the way that the people getting off the elevator in front of me have the identical conversation with each other as they arrive at their respective places of employment on Monday morning: “Did you have a good weekend?” “Yeah – too short though.” “Tell me about it.” Then the elevator door shuts on them and the conversation is repeated as the next person gets off at the next floor.
It’s in the way that I feel when I create the perfect spreadsheet. All formulas work and everything balances and for a moment I am at peace. My desk is clean, my mind is quiet, my to-do list is shorter and my drawer is filled with all the pens, scissors and post-it notes that a girl could want.
It’s not in the fact that today was the 65th day this year over 100 degrees. There is no longer any satisfaction in beating old records.
It’s in the realization that today is the last day of this month. All things start new tomorrow. It can only get cooler from here, right? Right?
It’s in the sound that my Coke can makes when I pop it open during the afternoon lull.
It’s in coming home to my middle girl, sitting alone in the living room, playing her dad’s guitar.
It’s in watching the delight on my youngest’s face when ¾ of the way through The Magician’s Nephew, she realizes with great joy that this story is just like the story of Adam and Eve.
It’s in my oldest telling me all about getting the best sushi in the world with her best friends in the world and looking every bit like she did when she was two years old while she’s telling me.
It’s in school starting next week, which means I will once again have my most favorite companions in the world with me for half of my morning commute.
It’s in the fact that tonight, when the passion and the heartache and the wonder of this day is over, I will unmake both the face and the bed that I so carefully made this morning and I will rest.
I will be unmade.
Somehow, that’s inspiring.
Tonight we went out in the back yard and moved the trampoline because the grass was dead all around it, while a forest was growing underneath it. Apparently the grass in our back yard really likes the only place in all of Dallas that has shade all day long. Seriously, the abundant green grass growing underneath that thing is about a foot tall. It makes for an amusing look now that the trampoline is moved over to the other side of the yard. There is a perfect twelve-foot circle of green lushness in the midst of a dry and barren land. The apple tree is brown and brittle, the ivy covering our trellis dried up weeks ago and withered away and you can’t walk barefoot through most of our yard because each individual blade of grass is like a needle puncturing the bottom of your feet. But we now have our own little perfectly soft and perfectly round crop circle. It calls to me, begging me to do a barefoot rain dance in the middle of it. So I do. It consists of hopping on one foot while spinning in one direction while chanting, “Hi yah yah yah Hi yah yea” and then switching directions.
I’ve been noticing lately that I don’t have time for things like I used to. When I dwell on that, it depresses me. I’ve even had to stop reading a lot of perfectly beautiful blogs that I used to read because they now depress me. Not because there’s anything wrong with them but because they portray lives that are so very different from my own and I find that what I am really longing for is somebody who is like me. I gravitate towards people I can connect with. And when I can’t connect, it’s kind of depressing. And then it starts feeding all sorts of jealousies, self-pities and ugliness. And there’s just no good that can come out of feeding those things and so I just stop reading those blogs.
But I’ve started wondering if everybody else is like me in that. And if so, who reads this blog, I wonder? So far, I have not found another woman working full time in corporate, downtown, glass-walled America with a husband studying to be priest and three mostly teenaged children who also blogs. If anybody knows of her, please point me in her direction. I would like to hear her perspective on life. But if she does rain dances in crop circles in 100 degree weather at 9:30pm, I am not interested. Because that’s weird.
The other day I overheard my daughter ask a friend:
~ Who does the dishes in your family?
~ My mom, mostly.
~ Oh. My mom NEVER does our dishes.
So that’s about how things are now. But at least we’ve reached day 38. Only four more to go. I know we can do it. Come on,Dallas! First the Rangers went to the World Series last year, then we hosted the Super Bowl in an amazingly icy ice storm, then the Mavericks won the whatever-you-call-the-basketball-biggest-game and now we’re about to beat a record not touched since 1980. Could we ask for anything more, really?
I mean, everything is brown and dead and people are walking around like zombies and moms don’t do dishes anymore but it will all be worth it if we can pass 42 straight days of 100 plus temperatures.
Hi yah yah yah Hi yah yea.
Today was the 31st day in a row over 100 degrees in Dallas. There really isn’t much else to talk about. Except that the record was set in 1980 with 42 days in a row over 100 degrees. The way I see it, if we’ve come this far anyway, we might as well shoot for breaking that record, right? Bring on the heat. We can beat this thing. I know we can.
The truth is that it’s depressing around here these days. It just is. It’s dry and things are dying. Our apple tree joined our peach tree this year. Their spirits have both departed this world. All that’s left is dry sticks, all held together by who-knows-what and sprawled every which way, with a couple little wilted leaves and shriveled one-inch balls of stink still clinging desperately to the splintered branches. Rolling black-outs are bound to start soon with the amount of energy this city is consuming, trying to keep all insides at 65 degrees even though nobody anywhere can get below 80 in the afternoons. Children sit around sulking and picking at one another and parents wonder how in the world they will make it another month before school starts. We are all well aware that August is always hotter than July around here and we cannot fathom what that means for our next 31 days.
We are withering outside and we are stir-crazy inside.
Therefore, I will not speak of the heat. Nor will I speak of how much we long for a good, long, drenching rain. Nor will I remember how I went to a tropical paradise that one time. Because that was a long, long time ago and I can hardly remember it at all anymore.
Instead, I will tell you about how I love listening to audio books while I drive back and forth to work in my air-conditioned car. Right now I am finding the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency most delightful. And I just had a sip of my husband’s chocolate malt shake. That was nice. And when I got home from work tonight, my two youngest had art supplies and paper spread all over the kitchen table just like when they were little. My fourteen-year old was working so hard on coloring her pretty princess picture that she didn’t notice me come in and I did a double-take because I thought she was my eleven-year old. Her cheeks were puffed out in concentration and the tip of her tongue was showing between her lips. And last week, we got to go to two Rangers games and sit in the front row! And they won both games! And even though it was still 95 degrees at 10:15pm when the fireworks show started, it was the absolute most beautiful feeling. The kind you rarely have in a lifetime. The kind that goes along with baseball and Texas and summer and your little girl catching a ball tossed into the stands and ice cold Coca-Cola and country music playing loudly while the most spectacular fireworks show you’ve ever seen in your life goes on right over your head.
This is a wonderful summer.