“The Beautiful Summer.”

Overnight

If I count up all of the times that I have moved in my life, it comes out roughly, (give or take the small six-month periods of homelessness here and there) to 19. That is to say that I have lived in 19 different houses, but only six area codes. I have used trucks to carry all the things that I own across thousands of miles between Texas and Colorado, Colorado and Brooklyn, and now once more to Olympia, Washington. The sunshine is cooler in Washington when you are sitting directly in it. My lips do not beg for moisture as often as they did in the Mile High City, (Unless of course it is the moisture from the lips of the man I love best) and I have noticed that people in the North West like the variations of blue and green mixed into the paint of their houses, not just the bottoms of their boats or backyards. I have also noticed that in each place there is a separate culture, and even with all of our similarities, we are also so very different. 

It has been a real pleasure to see it, and know how much more I have ahead of me.
I have noticed that each time that I move, I do so in the same way, but my process has evolved. I unpack very quickly. I establish a relationship with the things that already exist there, and then show my appreciation for the things that I can make my own. I almost always paint a room or two; three of my houses have had at least one red room.  

(Two have had a yellow one, but we will get back to that.)

I am fond of seeing a chair in the sunny corner of my bedroom, and although prone to throwing my dirty laundry on the floor, I try to avoid it as it seems to imitate more of a mess than it actually is. That, and a turned down bed can lure you into a nap, even if you are not the least bit tired.

Those are the visual comfort foods of moving to me. Necessary. With high impact and very little effort. When I first arrived back in Washington I had about two weeks to get unpacked and prepare for Drew’s homecoming. The house could have been covered in unpacked boxes, barely cleaned, and he would have appreciated those small efforts, made by me to welcome him back. Hot showers and fresh fruit were his only real requests. “I haven’t seen an ice cube in six months.” He would tell me during a phone conversation wherein I asked him to make a list of grocery store items that he wanted. This would be my second time back to Washington, but my first real summer here. It was also my first real chance to settle into life with someone that I love so completely.

Needless to say, my joy started building on the first mile due North West and the arrow of my internal compass began to spin wildly, not just the literal one on the necklace that I always wear around my neck.

Sometimes a song can set me off like a gun firing. Other times there is a visual element. The color yellow, for example, is a joyful one of those elements. In printed images, yellow is a dominant color in our skin. It is the color of time when papers have been stained by it, and it is the cast that my living room turns to around three o’clock everyday. It sets me at ease, this color, and the way it feels warm, even when it isn’t.  I love to watch it change while the day gets older, and as I check back in with the people and jobs that I have put aside it seems to keep me from getting overwhelmed; takes my hand and focuses it with colored light.  

With that, I have to confess that I have not sat down to my computer in ten days. I have looked at emails in the few minutes of the morning, and have answered the really important ones. I have taken only a few calls, but still, a few. And then this morning, after plenty of little chores that could have waited, I finally created a space for myself at our breakfast table. With a cup of coffee, a pitcher of water, an empty glass, some pasta salad and my vitamins (that I have also been neglecting) I found the most wonderful thing just sitting idle among the unimportant junk of my digital mailbox.

My sweet friend Michelle had sent me a video, made by and for Vanessa Bruno entitled ‘Le bel ‘te’.
The video features Lou Dillon, a French model frequently associated with Vanessa Bruno, and beautiful piano music by Gonzalez.  (Not to be confused with the also impressive Jose Gonzalez; this Gonzalez is a Canadian musician who currently lives in Paris.)
I admit that I do not make a habit of sharing much media except for my own. It is not an act of rebellion against anyone, or frustration with what is being put out there, although I suppose sometimes it is. I have watched it now about a dozen times, and in the curve of Lou Dillon’s shoulder and the extreme change in tempo, the dip of piano keys against some kind of chaos in the hidden glee of washed out video, I might have found the words that I was almost certain would be lost to me somewhere in all the time and space that it took me to get set up.

It is an overwhelming feeling trying to capture happiness in something as simple as words and pictures. But to capture it in the promotion of a shoe or a silk knit top? It was in the moment of first seeing this that I felt somewhat understood, and less ashamed of all these days that I could only tuck the way I am feeling into the lining of my own garments, and hide from the outside world with such resolve. (I would put my giddiness in the giddy up of my nightshirt and ride off into the sunset of my sleeping dreams. The reality of my waking life and the wide-open pasture of those dreams had begun to blur together.) I found myself in a love coma, my only release, a few engagement shoots that I could use as a catalyst to discuss my school girl frame of mind.

It was then that I discovered the translation of  ‘Le bel ‘te’   ……………

“The Beautiful Summer.”

Yes, It really is.

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The connection between love and lightning bolts….

It takes a lifetime to discover the delicate nature of things….
We each find, at different times, that our parents are just regular people. That magical quality of theirs, although very real, is mostly the light of unconditional love.  
That is their gift.

We find that friendships are not obligations, but contracts. Entered into freely, we may participate as long as we like. The weight of those relationships however will grow as the number of connections begin to lessen, and the value of seeing someone change over time becomes a tiny and visible miracle caught in so many album pages.
We all, at some point, get to say: “I use to know them when…”

We see that as people age they protect themselves more & more, and maybe that’s the reason that we hesitate in letting go of old bonds. It’s not the adding up of years, but the lost days between us that become so important. A laundry list of imaginary numbers.

We learn that anger and resentment are toxins, the kind that bear down on us, and eventually end our lives; whether we actually die or not. With experience (and some common sense) shedding the bad feelings is learned, and they are replaced with the wisdom of forgiveness.              
To me, that is real freedom.
Freedom from feeling badly over the things that we can not control; a difficult task to master.

My favorite lesson (so far) has been realizing that my happiness is in my own control. It is this lesson that has given me the chance to stop dancing around certain difficult issues and just sit down with them.
I spent years trying, like a little steam engine, to look  into the eyes of the people that I would meet, and really understand  them. I did this so fervently that over the years I created a sort of super power. There was not a person in my path that I could not admire, in everyone there was something to love.
There were the stubborn ones that could not listen, but oh what resolve! I had to respect their design. There were the ever so smart ones that, although sometimes arrogant, always had something to teach me. There were the elegant and beautiful ones that did not use their voices and they struggled to connect in substantial ways. But I loved to admire them, and because they craved that admiration, I was able to give something back.
Then, there were the terribly naughty ones that had nothing to give, but would thrive on the negative energy created by their attitudes. But I eventually loved what they gave me… perspective.  

The hardest of these universal lessons is the one of patience, and the long standing joke is that we never actually learn it. We go on trying to wait patiently for the waiting to seem less taxing. Much like the long lists of ‘Honey Do’s’ always on the kitchen counter, there is also always something to wait on. I thought that I understood this lesson, even thought that in admitting my disability on the subject of patience, the Gods would some how smile down on me; spare me, in a manner of speaking.

And then I fell in love with a soldier.  

Gone away nearly six months, we have found new ways to connect,
and it has been during this time that I have seen the connection between love and lightning bolts.

Lightning is caused (very simply) by the difference in energy between the air, in the sky and on the ground. Most people struck by it can survive, however none are ever the same. Sometimes in the form of explosions in the sky or as warm Texas rain, the goal of the bolt is to strike ground; regardless of what it must go through to get there.
It can be relentless, but it will light everything around it;

making things much clearer, even in the darkness.