Friday, July 3, 2015

(what a night to be alive)



Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Old Story

A few days after my mother died
the furnace went out, and my father,
who had been sitting in his chair
across from hers since the funeral,

his unshaven chin on his chest,
heaved himself up and went down
the cold gray cellar stairs to see if
he could relight the pilot himself

or would have to call for help.
I know what it must have been like
because I remember him other times
on his back down there, cursing

match after match, god damning
each for burning his fingers, as he
reached through the tiny metal door
as many times as it took. This time

it lit, caught, and roared back to life.
When my father sat up he faced
the washer, the dryer, the empty
laundry basket, the ironing board,

and my mother’s radio above the sink,
her absence so vivid that climbing
the stairs he thought he heard her
behind him, and he turned around.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I laid in the grass on the edge of the canal and read all of Home by Marilynne Robinson this afternoon. The water smelled green, like honey and musk warmed by the sun. I heard a bird that sounded like the loons landing gracefully with their sleek wings on the surface of Leech Lake. A ways down from me, a group of lanky boys - on the cusp of adolescence - hollered with loose laughter and jumped into the glinting water. Their unabashed enthusiasm made me want to cry. A couple lay sleeping side by side underneath the slips of gold from the leaves, her hand rested on his slumbering form.

I walked back to my apartment and scrubbed dark velvet beets from the farmer's market until the dirt came away in my hands. They're roasting in the oven now, and I'm lying on the couch, a little burned and weary, but with the good kind of exhaustion that comes from a long day in the sun doing not much of anything at all.

"There's so much to be grateful for, words are poor things."


words from yesterday, photos from last weekend on the ferry to whidbey.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Everything reminds me of Minnesota now. The sky, the water, the gold veined pocket of leaves during sunset. I walked past a house with windows like the homes alongside Lake Harriet, the large and lonely mansions made of cherry wood and marble stone, with space for light to seep through the cracks. The only time I can write lately is nighttime, when I’m too tired to think about what I’m writing. I’m not self-conscious. Because it is silent, save for the thrumming of air conditioners, the needle prick in your eardrums of quiet, or the random car rushing through the streets like wind. If I’m still enough, I can hear the water. I know it’s not the water, but if I slip into a kind of dream, I can pretend.

In a week, I’ll be home again, and in one of the dearest places I call mine. The water - the lake - will be a stone’s throw away. I will taste the lake in the air, see it in watery light against the wood walls when I wake. “For who can see a stones throw of ought thing in land or plain?” In plain: we will make pancakes for breakfast and walk around white from sunscreen. We will go to bed with sand on our feet, in our hair, etched into our skin. We will play games with ads grown soft under our fingers from years of slapping, we will see who will jump off the dock first. We, my siblings and I. I haven’t seen them for six months now and they’ve freckled and grown lean and lanky in my absence.

Absence, to be away from. Not much longer. I will scoop them in my arms and pretend they still fit in the crook of my elbows, against the hollow of my collarbones.

Friday, June 26, 2015

We stood against the edge of the bridge. Let's sit, she said, and I shook my head. You need to face your fears, she said and I laughed. Not this one. I love the moon, she said. We all rest beneath it, and then, look at the sky, we live here. Look at the water, we live here. Our hands swept out beside us, willingly, unconsciously. We leaned on the moss and watched the sky mirror itself, blue here, peach here. On one side, a last emergence, and the other, surrender, surrender.

Green leaves, for split seconds, revealed golden strokes. And so the world burns. Across the water a boat ran in a single path. The wind sounded like a brush, sweeping across the whole of the world and pulling all colors into one. Everything bleeds into each other. I won't be here forever, I said, and she responded with a kind of understanding, I know - I knew that.

We talked about babies. A couple walked past holding hands. Look, and I pointed to the house behind us. The windows, the light - it's like a house on the lake, back home, I gestured, and did not have to say Minnesota. She smiled.

How do we perceive beauty? How do we speak to a God who seems silent? I don't feel anything, but I love him. We nodded we nodded we nodded. A kind of dance.

I chose carrots for their color, for they looked sweet. the raspberries and strawberries in their pale blue boxes reminded me of Minnesota summers. round yellow onions and fat cucumbers, leafy kale and sugar snap peas. what a gift. thank you God for your faithful provision, your bountiful gift of generous tips, surprising jobs, deep purple beets. all undeserved blessing. what a joy it is - that I'm able to hand over crumpled ones and fives in exchange for a pound of cherries or a soft peach. I don't want to take that lightly, but to recognize it as a mercy of God. remarkable with how he provides more than necessity requires. I walked back to my apartment and laughed. Lately, I'm laughing and crying daily. For once, I don't see them as two opposites canceling each other out.

"Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers? Why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half earth's gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become.”
― Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

Friday, June 19, 2015

We do not want merely to see beauty... we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.

― C.S. Lewis