April 26, 2003

down from the mountain.

from my journal today:

Saturday afternoon at Monteagle. The Innocence Mission's Small Planes on the stereo, broadcast throughout the house. Friends playing Uno. Julie reading a book. Josh painting his figurines. Tony smoking on the porch.

It is foggy day: Monteagle is a smoky pub. I feel so quiet. Covered by the fog like God's own quilt. I walked to the chapel awhile ago, damp and cold. Alone. I sat at the piano awhile, hammering out my new, in-progress tune. And I sat on the front pew, watching out the big window at the disappearing trees. I sang too. My voice and the aching windows, creaky wood floors. Three part harmony. Three-fold cord. I wept; quiet tears slipping down my chin, settling on my throat, around my daughters' cross. I believe, I said to the spirit trees. I recited the Nicene Creed. I sat still and breathed. And with all this fog slowly moving, the Holy Spirit was tangible, right in front of me. I was clearly looking through a very thin veil at what is always right in front of me. I knew this beyond a doubt. I believe, I said again, wiping the sticky tears from my neck.

Everything felt OK in that moment. I felt myself. Connected and loved and taken care of.

Some clear joy is coming, is proclaimed now over the speakers, finally. On some slowest train.

Do you know just how green the trees are today? They've got their chests puffed out: see? We are the newness of life you profess.

I dreamt of my father last night. My father and mother and my own neglect of them. Yet, despite my thoughtless decisions to do everything myself, without them, I still ended up in the backseat of my own car, my father driving, humorously ornery. I had in my possession the small yellow dresser from years ago—the one that smelled like Cathy's art supplies—and all the letters of my past were in its drawers.

If Monteagle is a thin place, then I think my father's fingers are touching me through the fog.

I need a cigarette.

5:30 pm

this is all almost too much. Julie handed me a purple wildflower from the garden. A subtle scent. Spring. I'm lying on the bed now, alone in the sky-blue room. I've spent an hour or so with Lauren Winner's girl meets god and I want to write her a letter. Her words of belief have caused me to retreat, to want to cry, to know the need for release from all this breath-holding. God hangs heavy in the air now, like cigarette smoke on the porch.

I simply want to keep writing, to acknowledge these moments. Maybe there are words, and I've never felt so compelled to pray. There are thank yous and whys and sighs of oh. God. I'm writing on half battery now, underneath a hat and braids. I am comfortable but my insides are still achy. I am craving solitude. Maybe I should drive home tonight. I want to go home and thoroughly clean my room like Passover. I want to call Marlei and drink her tea. I want to finish my book and consider the etymology of belief: belove.

I do not know what to do with all of this. I feel caught between my physical and spiritual selves. Because I am here: at Monteagle, on this firm twin bed, atop the pastel quilt. But I am also deep within myself, opening doors from the hallway. I am writing bad metaphors. My mouth is dry from cigarettes and bushmills-and-coke. Neither drunk nor sober. I am recovering from subtle moments of the Spirit in front of my face.

Today is the day that the Lord has made. Today is a lodestar. I do rejoice. I am glad in it. I am steeped in it. these are the words in my mouth. I'm thirsty.


Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 23, 2003

school.

it's wednesday afternoon in the journalism computer lab. waiting for class to start. only one more week of this before summer. then comes the auditing. spanish. environmental literature (a la annie dillard: this class must have been created for me). i am planning my final classes after seven years of trying to get this degree done. concurrent grad work looks possible. i feel more like a student this week than i have in a long time.

everything else is settling around me as i move into the rhythm of ordinary time. i am thinking about small things like a weekend in monteagle, and i am thinking about monolithic things, like rachel. in texas. experiencing the hardest time of her life. i'm thinking about my mom visiting in eight days. i'm wondering if i will have enough money to get me through this month. i'm trying to remember to bring enough hotdog buns for a cookout tonight.

and now i think i need to go to class.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 18, 2003

wheel of fortune.

check your local listings and stay home tonight, because my friend heather is on wheel of fortune.

i've never been so proud of someone who has been in close proximity with pat sajak.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

God hears amen wherever we are.

i never knew light could happen so quickly.

5:55 am. it has been a night. i have stayed awake through maundy thursday into the dawn of good friday. every year on this night, our church holds a twentyfour hour prayer vigil. two by two, an hour each, sitting alone with a prayer book and hand written petitions and thanksgivings, we pray.

my hour began at 4:30. i could have slept until 4, but decided to stay awake. put on my ballcap at 1 am and drove to an allnight cafe. huddled in the corner with my laptop and a cup of tea and wrote for three hours. i simply sat, hidden, in the company of the dreadlocked and the tiedyed. the loud. the after-hours people.

and then i quietly walked down the aisle of our tiny a-frame chapel, and sat between two slow-burning candles, awake, on the hardwood floor. barefoot.

God bless the birdsong that carried us through the night, just outside the chapel. just outside the cafe.

after an hour, i drove home. dark when i walked to my car. grey when i got on the highway, and then a slow blue light yawned behind the tennessee hills, and became purple. and now at 6:07 am, neighborhood dogs sit in the street. the birds are all chattering: it is morning.

i will go to sleep in my ballcap for two hours.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 14, 2003

what palm sunday was.

annie arrived at the stables still wearing her sunday clothes: a denim skirt covering the knees she always neglects to shave, and a blue blouse. it had been a good day, slow and warm, with palms and songs and the passion read that morning. she got out of the car, holding in her arms a riding-friendly change of clothes, and was immediately greeted by dara.

"hey legs," dara called to annie, walking down the gravel driveway. dara is always the one with the news of the stables: who is fighting with who, who has left their spouses, who is the-real-asshole-around-this place.

"hi dara," annie said, laughing. "don't worry, i'm about to change my clothes."

dara ignored the small talk, and immediately opened her mouth for the latest story. "jim had a car wreck the other day. he was life-flighted to vandy, and he died, and the visitation is tonight until nine."

shock. annie just looked at dara, unable to comprehend what had just been said. instead, she just looked at dara's face, uncharacteristically made up with caked foundation and purplish lipstick. finally, she asked, "where is the funeral?"
"goodlettsville. you need to take old hickory all the way out to...and then turn left at...and then right at...you'll see it on top of the hill." annie did not hear any of the details. her thoughts began to pulse like the blood finding its way to her temples. she felt dizzy. she had just seen jim a month ago, the day his wife had left him. jim, the tall, skinny man with the tall, skinny horse. the one who loved to photograph annie riding her fat little horse. he had pulled her aside, rested his hand (the one missing two fingers) on her shoulder, and told her the news, looking at her through wet brown eyes. she hugged him that day. said she was so, so sorry about what had happened, she said. he stayed in the barn for a long time, brushing his horse mindlessly in the corner stall.

dara was still talking, reiterating directions, suggesting alternate routes. annie interrupted her. "ohmygod," she said, still holding her clothes. "how did it happen?" dara relayed the details about I-24, jim losing control of his car, swerving into the median, flipping, hitting some trees. annie held her breath. none of this made any sense. surely, jim would show up any minute in his pickup truck, asking who wanted to go to the crackerbarrel for dinner.

instead, judy showed up. judy, with her long blond hair, and sagging breasts in a tight body suit and khaki shorts: the owner of the stable. never known for her tact or compassion, she interrupted dara, and said, "on a lighter note, i have something for you, annie."

the equine dentist had been out to visit the day before, and judy saved annie a "souvenir." she saved me a tooth, annie thought. but no. it wasn't a tooth she had saved. as judy led annie and dara to the tack room, rummaging around for the souvenir, her voice took on a lecturing tone. "now annie, sometimes male horses need to be cleaned out down there. if you don't do that from time to time, dirt and shit will collect, and he won't be able to pee. well, your horse couldn't pee. so the dentist checked him out and pulled out a bean from his penis."

"a bean?" annie asked, not interested in hearing any more details.
"yes ma'am. it's about an inch in diameter. someone must have moved it. oh well. can you lead some trail rides today?" before annie could answer, judy had already left the tack room, dara following behind her. annie stayed put a minute. jim had tragically died. jim, our friend. and judy had saved a bean from a horse's dick? none of this is real, annie thought, and saddled up a horse to lead a ride.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

what palm sunday was.

annie arrived at the stables still wearing her sunday clothes: a denim skirt covering the knees she always neglects to shave, and a blue blouse. it had been a good day, slow and warm, with palms and songs and the passion read that morning. she got out of the car, holding in her arms a riding-friendly change of clothes, and was immediately greeted by dara.

"hey legs," dara called to annie, walking down the gravel driveway. dara is always the one with the news of the stables: who is fighting with who, who has left their spouses, who is the-real-asshole-around-this place.

"hi dara," annie said, laughing. "don't worry, i'm about to change my clothes."

dara ignored the small talk, and immediately opened her mouth for the latest story. "jim had a car wreck the other day. he was life-flighted to vandy, and he died, and the visitation is tonight until nine."

shock. annie just looked at dara, unable to comprehend what had just been said. instead, she just looked at dara's face, uncharacteristically made up with caked foundation and purplish lipstick. finally, she asked, "where is the funeral?"
"goodlettsville. you need to take old hickory all the way out to...and then turn left at...and then right at...you'll see it on top of the hill." annie did not hear any of the details. her thoughts began to pulse like the blood finding its way to her temples. she felt dizzy. she had just seen jim a month ago, the day his wife had left him. jim, the tall, skinny man with the tall, skinny horse. the one who loved to photograph annie riding her fat little horse. he had pulled her aside, rested his hand (the one missing two fingers) on her shoulder, and told her the news, looking at her through wet brown eyes. she hugged him that day. said she was so, so sorry about what had happened, she said. he stayed in the barn for a long time, brushing his horse mindlessly in the corner stall.

dara was still talking, reiterating directions, suggesting alternate routes. annie interrupted her. "ohmygod," she said, still holding her clothes. "how did it happen?" dara relayed the details about I-24, jim losing control of his car, swerving into the median, flipping, hitting some trees. annie held her breath. none of this made any sense. surely, jim would show up any minute in his pickup truck, asking who wanted to go to the crackerbarrel for dinner.

instead, judy showed up. judy, with her long blond hair, and sagging breasts in a tight body suit and khaki shorts: the owner of the stable. never known for her tact or compassion, she interrupted dara, and said, "on a lighter note, i have something for you, annie."

the equine dentist had been out to visit the day before, and judy saved annie a "souvenir." she saved me a tooth, annie thought. but no. it wasn't a tooth she had saved. as judy led annie and dara to the tack room, rummaging around for the souvenir, her voice took on a lecturing tone. "now annie, sometimes male horses need to be cleaned out down there. if you don't do that from time to time, dirt and shit will collect, and he won't be able to pee. well, your horse couldn't pee. so the dentist checked him out and pulled out a bean from his penis."

"a bean?" annie asked, not interested in hearing any more details.
"yes ma'am. it's about an inch in diameter. someone must have moved it. oh well. can you lead some trail rides today?" before annie could answer, judy had already left the tack room, dara following behind her. annie stayed put a minute. jim had tragically died. jim, our friend. and judy had saved a bean from a horse's dick? none of this is real, annie thought, and saddled up a horse to lead a ride.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

what palm sunday was.

annie arrived at the stables at four o'clock, still wearing her sunday clothes: a denim skirt covering the knees she always neglects to shave, and a blue blouse. it had been a good day, slow and warm, with palms and songs and the passion read that morning. she got out of the car, holding in her arms a riding-friendly change of clothes, and was immediately greeted by dara.

"hey legs," dara called to annie, walking down the gravel driveway. dara is always the one with the news of the stables: who is fighting with who, who has left their spouses, who is the-real-asshole-around-this-place.

"hi dara," annie said, laughing. "don't worry, i'm about to change my clothes."

dara ignored the small talk, and immediately opened her mouth for the latest story. "jim had a car wreck the other day. he was life-flighted to vandy, and he died, and the visitation is tonight until nine."

shock. annie looked at dara, unable to comprehend what had just been said. instead, she just noticed dara's face, uncharacteristically made up with caked foundation and purplish lipstick. she must have been to the funeral home already, she thought. finally, annie asked, "where is the funeral?"
"goodlettsville. you need to take old hickory all the way out to...and then turn left at...and then right at...you'll see it on top of the hill." annie did not hear any of the details. her thoughts began to pulse like the blood finding its way to her temples. she felt dizzy. she had just seen jim a month ago, the day his wife had left him. jim, the tall, skinny man with the tall, skinny horse. the one who loved to photograph annie riding her fat little horse. he had pulled her aside that day, rested his hand (the one missing two fingers) on her shoulder, and told her the news, looking at her through wet brown eyes. and she hugged him that day. she was so, so sorry about what had happened, she said. he stayed in the barn for a long time, brushing his horse mindlessly in the corner stall.

dara was still talking, reiterating directions, suggesting alternate routes. annie interrupted her. "ohmygod," she said, still holding her clothes. a delayed reaction. "how did it happen?" dara relayed the details about I-24, jim losing control of his car, swerving into the median, flipping, hitting some trees. annie held her breath. none of this made any sense. surely, jim would show up any minute in his pickup truck, asking who wanted to go to the crackerbarrel for dinner.

instead, judy showed up. judy, with her long blond hair, sagging breasts in a tight body suit and khaki shorts: the owner of the stable. never known for her tact or compassion, she interrupted dara, and said, "so you heard about jim? on a lighter note, i have something for you, annie."

the equine dentist had been out to visit the day before, and judy saved annie a "souvenir." she saved me a tooth, annie thought. but no. it wasn't a tooth she had saved. as judy led annie and dara to the tack room, rummaging around for the souvenir, her voice took on a lecturing tone. "now annie, sometimes male horses need to be cleaned out down there. if you don't do that from time to time, dirt and shit will collect, and he won't be able to pee. well, your horse couldn't pee. so the dentist checked him out and pulled out a bean from his penis."

"a bean?" annie asked, not interested in hearing any more details.
"yes ma'am," she replied, shifting around old horseshoes and stirrups. "it's about an inch in diameter. someone must have moved it; i can't find it anywhere. oh well. hey annie, can you lead some trail rides today?" before annie could answer, judy had already left the tack room, dara following behind her. annie stayed put a minute. jim had just tragically died. jim, her friend. visitation was until 9 o'clock. and judy had saved a bean from a horse's dick? none of this is real, annie thought, and saddled up a horse to lead a ride.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 12, 2003

vocation. discernment.

tomorrow, i will braid my hair (as i have been doing just about every day anymore because it is fun and i like me with braids). my braided self will then turn up loud dar williams' beauty of the rain in my car, and drive over to belmont at 10 am, where i am to be a guest speaker (a term which makes me chuckle) for a class. i will speak about vocation and discernment.

i've decided not to write anything out, fly by the seat of my pants. no bullet points or power point. just a whole lot of thoughts interpersed with "um" as segues. i've got the stories in my head (and in my pockets) and i will ask the question that led me to quit my job, go to ireland, and wonder:

is the life you're living the life that wants to be lived in you?

i will profess the wonder of packing your bags full of dreams and sweaters.
i will confess the despair of empty pockets and overdraft notices.

i will offer no closure.

and then i will ask if there are any questions, and offer i don't knows as answers.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 9, 2003

happyhappybirthdaytoyoutoyoutoyou ole!

today, my blog has turned one year old.

she is walking now, but mostly crawling. babbles a few words here and there, and is definitely developing a willful streak. she is looking a bit more like her mama every day.

here are her first words, spoken a year ago tonight:

hello world. how does a girl begin such an endeavor as her brand new blog? twelve hours ago, i had no idea what 'blog' meant. then, dearest [jp/p] enlightened me, and now i can boldly tell my family: i have a blog, and they will be blown away by my web savvy.

my own little e-corner.
i certainly hope i have something to say.

...but not necessarily tonight, because it is nearing midnight, and i must get up and run before going to work tomorrow morning, like the fitness goddess i am not.

the end.


well, much has happened of course (although we all know what happened with the whole running thing) and many things have been said. seasons like death and grief and hope and ireland have all found their way to your eyes, friendly readers.

my toddler blog and i thank you for coming around, sticking around, and for calling us friends.

here's to another year.
xo

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 8, 2003

sssshhhh

perhaps it is inappropriate to paste this link HERE.

(but i will anyway, without biting my lip like most days.)

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 6, 2003

iona again.

it is a rainy sunday, cold. warnings and watches. storms and floods.
i just put a sleepy christian to bed. sang a lullaby.

i have put away the kool-aid for a glass of wine. and now i need to put down some words about the day.

my dear friend karen invited me to her church this morning, where she led an iona service. i sat alone in a pew, and i wept. i wept at her prayer: goodness is stronger than evil. i wept at hearing the very word: iona.

karen and i enjoyed a lunch together afterward, and she gave me a copy of the most recent weavings, for which she has written a wonderful piece about her own iona experience.

from "being buoyed by beauty":

the waters will not overtake you.

...many months have passed since that pilgrimage by the sea as i now look out onto another ocean, as beautiful and brimming with life as those hebridean waters. yet now, even with all its beauty, the melancholy of the water calls to me and i feel as though i could walk deep into it, keep walking, and never stop--let the waters rush over me, engulf me, take me under. brokenness and lostness overwhelm my spirit. i feel the weight of the world tangled up with my own burdens since that beautiful august night--before so much lost innocence; before everything shifted; before everything had to be let go; before God's absence was so piercing and left me adrift. i long for the buoyancy of the beauty of that sweet communion night out on the sea. yet, is not communion really bittersweet? it seems the life of faith is one where we delight in that great paradoxical mystery where we taste the fruit so fine--letting it run down our chins, knowing full well that it is born of great suffering and sacrifice. it is indeed like licking honey from a thorn.

now the looming questions echoing from the Great Mystery are, 'can you be faithful without all that beauty?' 'can you trust that the dark waters will hold you up, and not overtake you?'

[you must read the rest of this article.]

i share, in wholehearted empathy, karen's questions. i know the very honey. and i know the thorns. i wept for them both today. i never knew i would grieve one october week on an island with strangers-turned-friends. but i do. i grieve iona like a lost parent. like a lost part of me.

karen's presence in my life bears witness to iona's existence in nashville. because she has been there. she knows. she reminds me that i was there. and that i carry it within me like the kingdom of God.

i will not forget.

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

make it up as we go along.

after a long (ie 15 hour) workish day yesterday, i woke up without an alarm at 8 this morning.

i went and saw my horse, who hugged me. there is nothing like a hug from a horse. you put your head against his neck, wrap your arms around, and lean in. he leans back. sniffs your hair. sighs. says wherehaveyoubeen. you sigh. it'salongstory, you reply.

he understands.
keeps leaning into you.

we decided to trailblaze today. there is stable folklore about a mysterious pond, deep in the woods. a quiet place on a hill, and no one can ever find it. "i found it the other day," dara told me. "i thought, 'this is an annie pond. she needs to see it.'"

dakota and i found the quiet, hidden pond, surrounded by purple flowers, moments before getting lost on a non-trail. smacked my face and knees against tree branches. we eventually ended up on a main road, where we alternately passed and were passed by a mailman in a van. we waved to each other each time.

after i reluctantly left the stables, i sat at boscos in my messy braids with a beer and three fantastic women, and talked about etty hillesum for an hour.

and then i had my first date of 2003. (thank you s.)
coldplay on the radio as i drove home.

a full, full day (off).

Posted by bananie at 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack