Archive for ‘love’

What Allures Me Now

June 11th, 2009

* The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys. The Thames has frozen 40 times in recorded history, and Humphreys has written 40 tiny stories based on events that happened each time the river iced over.  It’s poetic history.
* This pin from is so cheeky and deceptive. It looks like something a proud mommy would wear…until you lean in a bit closer.
* The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I gulped it down in one furious read. If you belong to a bookclub, it would be a great choice. 
* Spinning. I tried it a few months ago and hated it. Tried it again this week and suddenly got interested. Didn’t fall in love with it, but all of a sudden I loved that my body could do it and that I’m soaking wet and psyched when it’s over. We’ll see if I can keep it up.  And going to a class first thing in the morning means exercise is OVER for the day. Hallelujah.
* This ring from Bjorg jewelry. They say they’ll have a U.S. online site soon. I’ll be there!

Tina Tarnoff of Thought Patterns (love her papercuts!) tagged me, and I feel like one of the popular girls at school…even though I’m still not completely sure what being tagged means in blogworld. But the task is to make a list (one of my favorite forms of writing) of 6 (un)important things I love:
1. when dogs smile because I wonder what they’re thinking (“…can’t wait to roll in that dead bird I found behind the house. I’ll pretend to be asleep in the sun til she turns her back and then I’ll make a dash for it before she catches me.”)
2. online coupons from Barnes & Noble…so many more during this recession!
3. Turning the sprinkler on my plants and watching the birds that come to take a shower and dart in and out of the spray. 
4. a plethora of pillows on my bed
5. the perfect shape and subtle scent of Crabtree & Evelyn avocado soap– I stockpile it in case they discontinue it.
6. getting home just before a thunderstorm breaks and feeling safe and snug in the midst of the sturm und drang.  

The Spirit of the Place

February 13th, 2009

My guardian Buddha has lost his nose as the result of being knocked over by winds or maybe the neighbor’s cat. I like him better this way–as if his spirit had been tested and tried. As if he had ended up in this raggedy, weedy garden bed and was making the best of it. As if he’d been around the block and had a hundred stories he could tell about what he’d seen. This is no pretty boy Buddha but one that has withstood a few freezing nights and too many unbearable southern August noons. A Buddha for someone who has been broke but not broken, someone’s who’s often lonely but not giving up on love, someone who has a hundred stories about what she’s seen. 

But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us–to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.
[from The Buried Life]

When I was walking across the drawbridge to the barrier island near my house, I stopped to take a photo of the marsh and Intracoastal Waterway and the scene suddenly made me think of “The Buried Life” by Matthew Arnold. How strange to have words from a Victorian poet time travel into such a setting, but somehow it seemed perfectly fitting, absolutely right. When I first read his poem in an English Lit class years ago, I felt an immediate recognition, as if someone had a key to my heart, and I could feel the tumblers clicking into place. I wasn’t alone in being overcome by some “nameless sadness” when I was with a lover; someone else had wondered if one’s deepest self could ever be fully known, even by those we love the most. It seemed a wholly modern poem, remarkable for its insight into the human psyche, the hidden self we all long to reveal, to share with another. Reading it again recently, it seems as fresh and moving as it did the first time I discovered it. We all have that longing to be known, to be recognized for who we really are, not what we seem–the constant hunger for it can drive us to God, sex or celibacy, work, food or drink, NASCAR, politics or piling up money–the substitutes are endless. Lucky Matthew Arnold, that it drove him to poetry. 

Where is Your Green Light?

December 15th, 2008

Gatsby’s green light at the end of the dock conjures up a longing for what was lost, what can never be,  fulfillment that is always just out of reach, a longing that doesn’t even have a name. When I was taking an after-work walk in the dark recently, I saw this light at the end of a dock on the creek near my house, and I was unexpectedly suffused with nostalgia for dreams I can’t even remember, with sadness for people who have disappeared from my life, with a yearning for transcendence that is a constant rumbling hunger.  I imagine everyone I know is overcome by this now and then, but we never really talk about it to each other. Maybe we allude to it, come at it sideways, but mostly it’s the dailiness of our lives that makes up our conversations. And time passes and we never get around to baring the lonely thoughts that visit in the middle of the night, or the rare, blinding flashes of awareness when we sense in an instant the oneness with everything that lives, or the sensation that ghosts of our past selves live on in places we’ve left behind. I suppose that’s why we’re always searching for a soul mate, our lost half, the one who won’t laugh, but will listen and say, “I know exactly what you mean.” 

Little Heavens

September 24th, 2008

One of my favorite books is Wind in the Willows, and even though I’m a nonswimmer who fears water, like Rat and Mole, I love messing about in a little boat. Yesterday after work, a friend and I launched kayaks into a tidal creek that runs behind her house and paddled out to the Intracoastal Waterway as the sun was going down. Being at eye level with the marsh grass, gliding across the silky surface, was meditation on the move. Coming back in against a strong muscular tide with the sunset leaving a neon red trail on the water behind us engaged every part of my body and mind. Almost home, I rested my paddle and rocked gently on the wavelets like a baby Moses adrift among the reeds. For a whole hour, I’d settled into my place in the physical world, surrendered to it, been cradled by it. For a whole hour, I wasn’t just a big giant head thinking my way through the day. When we pulled the kayaks up on the bank, my friend pointed out a small brass plaque fixed to a nearby rock. It was in honor of a longtime resident of the island, placed there by his family after his death. It was engraved with his name and the line, “Because he loved this creek.” I thought how blessed it would be to have your ashes scattered near your home, near all you cherished about being alive, leaving behind a simple, almost secret, love letter to the world.

Soul Searching Graffiti

August 20th, 2008

This graffito was stenciled on the step leading up to my favorite coffee house this morning. I wondered how many people have been literally stopped in their tracks as they reach for the door, the only thing on their minds a nonfat latte with 2 raw sugars please. I don’t know who’s leaving this guerilla art around town (the last one I saw read, “How much stuff do you need?”), but I love her or him. I get furious at the random tags that are sprayed on building walls or doors or mailboxes, but this quietly subversive sentence made me pause and think about what I’m passionate about beyond Project Runway, cream in my coffee, down-filled chairs, cashmere socks, hot strong tea with lemon, Kerouac, Csezlaw Milosz poetry, gardenias, Il Bisonte bags, Robert Louis Stevenson, Hawaii, all the little lovely things that bring me beauty. And of course, I love my family and friends. I love my little cottage with its prayer flags fluttering in the breeze and the ocean’s reassuring ebb and flow just a couple of miles away. Those are quiet steady loves, the foundation of my life. But what would it take to knock me off my feet, make my heart race, lure me out of my cozy existence? What are you passionate about?


May 5th, 2008

I love the idea of Forever. I have been buying Forever stamps with the same manic frenzy as a trader in Dutch tulips or the collectors of those ill-fated Beanie Babies. I have BOOKS of Forever stamps in my desk, and somehow they have become all bound up in my fears about my own mortality, the volatility of my 401K plan and relationships that had an expiration date. Oh, Forever! Last night I talked to my my high school boyfriend of way too many years ago (yes, I know I vowed to let go, but Forever was on my mind). He has been through two wives and one child, and I have been through one husband, an encyclopedia salesman (may he ever be nameless), too many Loves of My Life to count, three long-term monogamous relationships, 5 children and one magazine (the Real Love of My Life). I know it won’t work when I’m on the phone with him, but I want to go back to the year I was 14 and he was 16 and it was Forever. He does too, but I know when/if we meet, that one dreamy Forever fantasy will be smashed. Because he is looking for my 14-year-old body, and I’m looking for his Platonic shoulder to lean on and neither of us wants to look at the war wounds we’ve incurred in the years between. If only we could realize that those are the only the interesting bits. 

Monday in Fridaville

April 14th, 2008

My two-year-old cherry tree put forth her best effort this spring and now all her blossoms are just memories, like the last glimpse of a kimono as its wearer leaves the room. When my mother died, a friend gave me a rose bush to plant in her memory. When I dug the hole, I dropped in a note to my mother before I put in the root ball and covered it with dirt. Maybe I should do that more often…send a message to the plant, or to the universe, or to someone who has gone ahead. Or simply a word to the earth you’re disturbing, maybe explaining what this plant is, where it came from and what your hopes are for it. Possibly I would have better luck with my garden (dark)arts. Instead of stunting my plants’ growth, it might encourage them, give them strength to survive frost, sporadic watering and benign neglect. I didn’t do that with the cherry tree, but if I had, I would have copied this haiku by Basho on a slip of paper and put it in the ground for the tree to grow on:
Myriads of things past
Are brought to my mind –
These cherry blossoms!


I Heart…

April 6th, 2008
Silly hometown dramas, like who is mad at soandso and what soandso said about youknowwho. Riding my bike at what I think is daring breakneck speed down a back street. Playing 18th century dress-up with the package of beauty marks I ordered from Bell’occhio…the placement of the one at the corner of my eye is called “La Galante” and means, “risque/determined.” Working on two laptops at once…ooooo I’m so cool. Bringing home two bags of books from Barnes and Noble and stacking them up on a chair spines out and just savoring the pleasure they are going to give me and delaying it as long as I can–tantric book yoga. Learning something new on Photoshop. Talking to the orchid I bought at Whole Foods on the way home in the car…although that might be weird.