i've been working. a bit of temp work and late nights. it's been nice to think, hey, an hour has passed and i have earned money. i'd forgotten what that felt like. productivity.
and i'd also forgotten how easy it is to be consumed in the busyness of a day; to invest all your energy into details. you can create a life out of organizational skills development: success as checkmarks on a to-do list.
as i practice stepping back into the world of offices and deadlines, i want to be mindful of what the past seven months have taught me. i want to have an iona perspective in my daily life (see 15 october entry). i carry the quiet and mystery of the island inside me. i do not want to forget and fall away.
because i still have all these stories in my head that i want to bring to life; characters with names. histories. families.
and there are article ideas that i think could make people scratch their heads and say, huh. i never thought about such a thing this way before. maybe there is hope for me.
i don't want my stories and ideas to be victims of my own busyness and distraction.
i do not want to forget and fall away.
i have ventured back into the world of the YMCA recently, after a bit of a hiatus. i attend a very posh Y; it's more like the Y country club for the beautiful and the lycra-clad. i am working on my resentment issues.
in my target-bought bathing suit, i went to water aerobics tonight: my 2nd time this week. (you are astonished by my discipline.) tonight was the more agressive kind of workout, with noodles and weights and an overzealous, marathon-running teacher called catie (with a c). i did jumping jacks and seahorses, cheerleaders and reverse cheerleaders with carol and karen and kara and various other k & c names. nice girls, chatty. catie is getting married in a few weeks to a golf pro. she's a big fan of reese witherspoon and loves to run marathons. when i asked her for an immediate solution for shin splints, she asked, "oh are you running the marathon too?" hahaha, i thought. but i said, "no, not this year."
"do you run?"
at this question, i am impressed with my athletic prowess: someone on God's green earth thinks it possible that I, of all the women in the water aerobics class, could possibly be a runner. so to preserve this image, i say: sometimes.
sometimes to catie means i'm not running the marathon this year (probably because i've got conflicting fitness engagements, which she understands.)
sometimes to me means that i have run before: across streets, a frantic block to catch a train in london once (remember, jude?), that one time in april, when i was 14 and played soccer. see? i sometimes run. i am athletic.
actually, right now i am just sore.
even on sunny days, the thick cloud threatens to descend. i try to rally. it is sunday. i woke up early, on time for the early service at st. a's. i sat in the back and recited the nicene creed with my eyes closed. i prayed the lord's prayer. i took the bread and cup and listened to the stories of ecuador afterward, in a sunday school room. i sat on the floor, indian style, my feet humming with numbness. saw the gifts of community and service on the faces of the storytellers.
later, i had a milkshake.
i lay in the backyard, on a blanket thrown over purple clover, and read awhile. i stared up at the thick, harmless clouds of an early spring sky, thankful to be able to stay so long in the grass before the mosquitoes come. maybe we should camp out here some night, i said to sandy. pitch a tent by the ditch we call a creek and drink cheap beer, tell ghost stories.
then i napped on the blanket, under the tree.
so. i try to rally. poke holes. breathe as deep as i can. beat back heavy clouds by tending to small things.
i try to rally.
it is spring now. tonight is dogbark and lightning. no rain. now is the season when you watch your local on the eights in anticipation for the constant weather changes. spring has suddenly ascended: leafbuds and daffodils. the boulevards in the business parks are rows of white-blossomed trees.
latenight thunder rumblings are late march lullabies.
my friend asked the other day: when the world outside is talking about guns and poison and weapons of mass destruction, do you think its okay to sleep well in your small nest?
all i can say is yes.
there are new thoughts in my head; thoughts of hopeful things, clung to with a new kind of belief: despite the chaos and casualties of this shock-and-awe war, i am willfully entering into a new season. a season of deeper breaths. deeper, more active peace.
i'm looking for the words.
recently, i've been reading about the civil rights movement in nashville via david halberstam's book, the children. this particular passage feels quite timely to me; it is talking about minister/activist jim lawson's mentor, a.j. muste, whose influence on lawson was key in the civil rights movement of non-violence:
to lawson it was as if muste, more than the people empowered in washington, had a real sense of how strong and powerful america had become in the years right after WWII. muste spoke of a prosperous, affluent, yet curiously anxious nation, one that had emerged untouched by enemy bombs after a world war which had obliterated so much else in the developed world, but which was terribly uneasy and uncomfortable with all of its newfound wealth and power. muste, in lawson's eyes, virtually alone was willing to ask the questions which that new american condition mandated: who, in this extraordinary moment when the nation's wealth and power are so overwhelming, helps the victor have any humility? what political form does that humility take? ...the answer, muste believed had to come from the teachings of jesus christ, based on christian love--the ability to love someone who was supposed to be an enemy, at home, in the workplace, or, if necessary, in foreign policy. love was the most basic law of life, muste seemed to be saying: you will love the lord, you will work actively for him, and thereby, because his belief is love and his life is love, you will end up seeking a concept of greater social justice and a more just (and peaceful) country and planet.
first things first: please go visit shannon's new blog, to which she has made her first post. there is no commenting place just yet, so wink and smile erie-ward as you read (it's a bit like facing mecca, i think) because you will fall in love with her.
i have come home to a humid nashville, 60-something degrees and overcast. i am completely up on all my current vanity fair trivia, and once i unpack, i'll be ready to start my week.
this weekend was an exercise in small things: lunch with family, as my nephew sat on my lap, and my niece let me read her true or false horse informational book. (who knew there were toes underneath those hooves?)
shannon and i stayed in a lot, gurgled with bea to make her laugh, played cards, drank incredibly bad wine (i.e. local wine which should have been made by welch's) and watched movies. we talked. there is something to be said for conversation with someone who has known you through various haircuts, geographic relocations, pant-sizes, boyfriends, and immense hardships. conversation like breathing, and then you can nap on the couch with the dog.
i'm sad to say such quick goodbyes, especially to the queen bea, who will be a completely different baby when i see her again.
sigh. it was good, though. so very good to be around fambly.
and now i need a shower.
in erie, pa, home of queen beatrice abbot, who likes pacifiers, fart noises, and me.
coming soon to a computer near you is shannon's new blog. don't go visit just yet. because it's not ready. mark my words, though, you will be a big fan.
that's all i gots for now, because i need to entertain a baby.
today was blueskies and seventy degrees. a safely home elizabeth smart and a job interview which left me feeling something like competent. little boy christian smiling and happy to be near me.
tomorrow will hopefully be more of the same, if i put any stock in the predictions of my local meteorologist.
and friday i go to erie to see my bestest shaney. we get to be girls together for four days.
holding all these things like the flowers i know will soon surface in this tennessee place.
thanking the sunlight for coming around again, if only for a few days.
it's this time of night i dread sometimes. the quiet, last conscious moments before sleep. the whole world is still. no crickets yet. just me and my heart. my lungs. nose sniffles a bit. jaw cracks when i yawn. and as i lay me down, the thoughts pulse like blood in my ears: the day's cares which i can't quite let go. peacebestill prayers. underneath the noise lies the deeper hum of my humanity. lowpitch. i get panicky. i'm young, the whole world will tell me but i'm human, like you, with numbered days.
lent descends at 11:46 pm.
self-sung lullabies can't drown it out.
40 days till morning. till easter tuesday. i'm holding on.
singing myself a lullaby now, late, after over the rhine singing in the chapel this afternoon. karin convinced me to keep my hair longlonglong, as she pulls it off like a beautiful pro. she even wears bangs. i'm considering them, though they're famously inconvenient on ash wednesday.
the world is change, small like haircuts, and enormous like iraq-has-not-disarmed. kristina in san francisco. curtis taking a clarity job in chicago. vicky's rachel moving to atlanta.
tonight's lullaby is change; hands held in a firm grip so we know we're not alone.
i had to use my sun visor while driving today. this is very, very good news.
today is one of moments and small things. you know how you can look upon your life in seasons and seemingly unimportant days serve as hallmark memories? and you say to yourself: this day was what this time in my life was like. and sensory memories like songs or smells bring the day back for the rest of your life. so was today.
the second of march and i slept in. late. the day, like all the nashville days anymore, was fog and grey. just enough rain to smear your windshield if you turn the wipers on.
and i stripped wallpaper with marlei. smoked too many cigarettes. sat with her dog on my lap for a long time. read the secret life of bees. i listened to johnny cash sing "hurt" (watch the video here). such wistful poignancy without despair. very raw. like the day. like this season.
my cousin tom called. "so how come you never call me?" he jokingly asked. i don't know, i said. i really should. he invited me to a party in erie over memorial day. maybe i'll go.
i talked to my dang-near grown up niece, alyssa, who turned eleven today. she got a new bike. i am (much like you are) jealous.
i don't know what sets today apart from yesterday, really. i think it has something to do with the fog and insulated emotions. getting out of yourself enough to strip wallpaper and listen to johnny cash. a good day to turn eleven.