after words, Excelsior.

I’m in my backyard, in a city, there’s a train out under the bluffs. I love that lonesome whistle, I love it too much. If I wait awhile, and I think I will, another one will roll on through. There are crickets for the in-between, since it’s a summer night.

My father died. Life is short, the trail is long. You could build cairns to find your way back home. You could put them close-together. All hope and a wish for some homecoming… you’re not sure of anything, much.

My father was a champion of men. (He was? He is?) Well whatever it was or is: like that. Yes, I’m certain.

I’m more of him than of anyone. I’m more of him now than I even ever was before, but I ain’t no champion… just his kid.

He has actual blood that is still alive.

He shined so. I miss him.

His departure timed like the perfect clock he made me– the one I sold at the yard sale long ago to the stranger who said I would later regret it. She said something about shame, too, something forgettable. That stranger had a father, once.

My blood leaks out when the moon is full: tick tock tick. He made me like that, I can’t take the credit. Thank you. Thank you. 

I regret nothing.

We did our best is all. The way it goes; the way of things; appropriate; supposed-to; like how the ocean swells at night– the worst.

Death is anticlimactic relief, openings, weights lifting or shifting. But grief, you old grey junkyard dog…

Grief is a bully and a friend. A friend who is there for you even when. When you wonder who you’d like to call and the answer is nobody, it calls you up. Grief ropes you in and ties you down and frees you up like a fast romance that might last.

Grief teaches you this: You can walk through this world like you don’t have skin: raw and warm and wet and glistening, reflecting everything.

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gradations.

this yarn smells like lanolin. it smells like cabin in the woods in the white mountains, late falltime. it feels coarsely soothing, if you can imagine that… scratchy, but you want it on your skin anyway. i don’t think i’ve ever enjoyed working with a yarn so much as this. i mean, just look at it, what a beauty. i’m in love with the kaleidoscopic scene it unfurls, and it’s so right for autumn, for this time in my life full of little changes, one bleeding to the next, peeling things back and watching the newness underneath take shape, tiny step and step and step, then something bigger, brighter, starts to show its face.

xo

triple digits.

the air is thick, and hazy warm, and mostly staying put… but crossing the river on a bridge on a bicycle you can feel things move, feel the cool mist of the water rise up to say hi. my bike & i are making friends with sweat and quads and what it’s like to be strong, to breathe easy again. summer is what i’ve been up to, summer things, as well as some boring-yet-life-enhancing stuff, and life-enhancing is nothing to scoff at, to be sure.

yesterday i hauled the a/c window unit out of the basement and propped it in the bedroom window. i will say that there was unladylike grunting involved, and perhaps utterance of an unladylike phrase or two, while i jury rigged a support beam & prayed not to self-decapitate (which, i am proud to say, i did not). so now: the house is cool, the outside is hot… & i do like it hot. oh summer, stick around awhile, will you?

because summer, you are the time for dates on bikes in a favorite dress to an outdoors dinner on the other side of town. you mean skate parks/ ice cream for dinner/ an hour every night watering the garden in quiet solitude/ craft beer/ eating what we grow/ pink nail polish/ mountain hikes to snowmelt waterfalls. etcetera. the good life.

this summer has included a whole lot of change, too. and though i’m not the most awesome welcomer of change, i’ve been letting it come, letting it go, and breathing. my little (and i mean little) home is currently home to a motley crew of currently houseless friends, including: one australian reality tv star (waiting for a second gig), one midwife, one child trying to be a grownup, and two street dogs who were recently smuggled out of the galapagos islands by hard core environmental activists. one of the dogs is named maria. oh, the weirdness, the bustle, the line at the bathroom door.

think of your favorite thing about summer. have you done it yet? go and have yourself a lovely weekend, friends. xo

basker.

if there’s a slice of sunshine to be found, she finds it. always. enjoy whatever morsels of warmth and light you can take for yourself, is her motto. sunshine, a game of string, some love, dog kisses, lap time, and three square meals a day: these are the keys to a happy cat life.

she told me the windowsill was just fine as-is, all skinny and un-softed, but it didn’t look too comfortable. i worried she was just being polite, as she tends to be. so i built her a little shelf for the princess bed.

& you know what? she says she likes it fine, thank you… she says yes, this is the perfect basking place for the sweetest kitty in the world (which is how she refers to herself when she is being modest).

i’ve been working on lots of little projects around here, but i’ve been soaking up summer while i can, too, so documentation is in the back seat, right next to an empty slurpee cup, in a pile of sand. we are heading into the woods today, to the secret magical place on the creek, with friends and family (this time, i won’t forget a tent!) but i’ll be back next week, with some good things to show you. stay cool friends, and get yourselves some vitamin d while it’s easy to come by. frida says she’d like that for you, and who can argue with her?

xo

these things happened.

i took my pops to maine last month. we walked over to the lighthouse and laughed about that giant lobster, like always. we watched the tide roll in and out, the sun come and go, the clouds move in. we were there. it’s true.
another truth is he doesn’t remember any of it. he’s angry with me, for promising to take him to maine and then never coming for him. so i had these pictures printed, and wrote a stack of little letters, to remind him. a letter & two pictures a day; they might help with something… kindness, at the least, in the face of all this rage. the only thing i could think up to give: sweet words.
there is a day coming when he won’t know me anymore. i sense it’s not far off. letters and pictures won’t stop that train, but i’m trying to lean my back into some grace for the waiting.
“dogs are good people,” is what he said just before i snapped that one up there. yes, there it was, the soft pelt of his tender heart, the wisdom of loving what we can’t hold onto.
there’s so much more to say about all of this, but i don’t know what it is.

xo

closer to the human frequency.

there are secret places not far from home, places that belong to you and to me, that we can make our own, if we take the time to find them (which we should). if you bring improvisation and good cheer, everything will be better than fine. even when you forget your tent… especially then. xo

pages and corners

“The cure for anything is salt water- sweat, tears, or the sea.” -Isak Dinesen

i got all three (sweat & tears & sea, that is) on that trip to new england. some healing came. it’s sinking in.

a certain unnameable, murky darkness i’ve been shouldering for months began to lift.

it comes and goes… acceptance of what really is. i like when i finally open the door to it after i’ve slammed it over and over again. don’t you? (do you ever slam that door?)let’s not overcomplicate the situation, let’s not ask why when the sun comes out!

welcome to summer, folks! big hugs. xoxo

adventures in beekeeping

i’ve started in on the beekeeper’s quilt. it’s a completely ideal project for the moment: easy and brainless, portable, and it offers a surging feeling of completion about every half an hour when i’m stitching up a little puff, clipping off the loose ends, and tossing it into a bowl. completion is a feeling i’m glad for these days. loose ends tied seem hard to come by.

: :

my dad used to keep bees out in the garden, in twin hives just behind the rhubarb patch. i remember his white beekeeping suit, the screen pulled over his handsome face. i’d watch from the window as he walked slowly out across the yard in morningtimes, graceful, steam rising from the smoker in his hands, fog rising from the creek to the east. i remember, once in a great while, a precious, glistening slab of honeycomb waiting at the kitchen table when i sat down to breakfast. i remember quiet voices speaking lessons of restraint and gratitude.

: :

i’ve been stung by both hornets and wasps, but not once by a bee.

: :

bees swarm in groups numbering between 1,500 and 30,000. swarming bees are gentle creatures, and the process of swarming is about transitions and growth. in the last seven days i’ve made what seems like 1,500 to 30,000 telephone calls to doctors, social workers, nursing homes, attorneys. i ask question after question. i can talk on the phone and knit at the same time. i can hear answers i don’t want to hear without crying, and that’s no small victory. i accept answers that aren’t even really answers. i count stitches like it’s my job, click click click. did you know that honeybees tap two million flowers in order to gather enough nectar to produce one pound of honey? whatever metaphorical message i was getting at has fallen apart, i’m afraid… something in there about work, and giving, and grieving. i had best be back to the needles. the beekeeper’s quilt could take me a year to make, and it could take me longer, or less, but i think it’ll be my friend for a good long while.

xo