Monday, June 22, 2015

Ebb and Flow

This season. Rain and more rain these days, after several years of drought. Countless hot days ending in a deluge. There have been eerily-colored sunsets, and rainbows, and mammatus clouds creeping across the sky as the light fades. Even tonight I spent dinnertime with one eye on the sky, watched everything grow dark too early. When we came up from the basement later the house was dark and the sky was yellow. By now all is cool and quiet and our power is back on, but I have to wonder about tomorrow night. It is starting to seem normal that the dark would hide storms.

Saturday night the road that passes by our house—a main road through town—looked like a stream, the sheets of rain that hit the pavement mimicking a current. An hour later the rain had not stopped and the road-stream was still there, except the current had shifted and was flowing uphill instead of down.

A summer like thiswith the preponderance of rain, everything soaked, off-balanceseems to be a time to know oneself well and also to feel like a stranger inside one’s own body. There is an acceptance and a tension to it all. Often enough there are storms hiding in the dark, but then sometimes there is quiet. The air is heavy (will my lungs ever, ever feel normal again?) but everything is green life everywhere. There seems to be a promise in all of this that things do notcan notstay the same.

The days have streamed past along with the rain, and we are getting closer and closer to the day we take Oldest to music camp. (Six weeks long, and a big deal. I am unprepared for how much I will miss him, for how proud I feel, for how much I imagine he will learn and experience.)

The days have streamed past and writing has felt slow, stagnant. In reality I think it has just been different. There has been a lot of editing, and re-writing, and submitting of work (a promise to myself this year that I would put myself out there, beyond this blog.) The goal has been to constantly be waiting to hear back about something, so that there's always a sliver of hope, so that I will develop a certain numbness to the rejections. So far, so good on those two counts. Maybe there is improvement in my writing, as well. I have to remind myself that I believe in at least the possibility of improvement, and that I believe in what I am trying to say.

There has been a change, too, in what and how I am being pulled to write. Ideas I want to follow. It is hard to know what to do with that, other than pay attention and try to work with it. My discomfort with social media recently—there’s probably a connection. I am tired of the kind of self-consciousness it brings, tired of feeling like I must be either consumer or consumed. I don’t want to hide, exactly, but I want to work, or maybe hide in order to work. I don’t want isolation, but privacy. To feel a little freer, to let roads turn into streams, and to allow streams to change direction, flow uphill if they like.  

This, maybe, is summer in general—ease and unease, work and play, rain and drought bouncing off each other, always changing. Beautiful in its way, but never quite what you expected.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Wandering, Not Aimlessly

This weekend we spent a fair amount of time wandering as a family. It reconfirmed my—what should I call it, my mission? —as a treasure hunter. There is joy in this work. Every time I start to think it is a rosy-eyed, easy thing I am reminded how much wandering is necessary, and dirty hands, and muddy feet. Always an act of faith, and a blessed thing as well. Because every time I think the supply of magic might have been used up I am proved wrong.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hello again—

Front door opens—
sweet scent of cut grass.
First time I noticed.

It is summer, officially, even if the calendar doesn’t agree, even if the weather itself doesn’t agree. The steely clouds and cold temperatures make me feel like I am at a camp in the north woods of my home state, and the air holds the same yearning for warmth. But that in itself is a sign to me of summer.

And it is truly summer.

Kids are out of school. I forced them to stop on the front porch for a picture on the last day, even though we were running a little late. They still stun me with their beauty, with the fact that we belong to each other, with the fact that they are growing and growing. I am convinced the picture itself was beautiful, but it did not turn out—I’ve maxed out the storage on my device of choice and when I went back to look at what I’d captured after getting everyone to school there was nothing there but black. I haunted Facebook that day, full of regret, but in the end there were my kids, older and wiser, even without the smiling visual proof of having made it through the year. 

That surprise lingers through the first days of summer vacation—that we made it. That the kids are older. I have tried noticing it day by daythat they are growing, that we are getting through each day in one piecebut it only ever comes as a surprise. This happens with my students, too. You go along steadily, both expecting and not-expecting change, and there—suddenly—it sneaks up on you: these children are taller. Their hair is longer.  They are figuring some things out. There are things about them I know better, now, and other things I don’t. I sense changes in myself, as well (when I remember, I am taller too, maybe.) Like that scent of fresh-cut grass you always but never noticed. I love these surprises and will keep looking for them, all summer long. And they will keep being surprises, no matter how hard I look.

Happy summer to you. I wish you many surprises, as well.

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