Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fear Knot

Happy Halloween!

I don't have phobias. Nothing is as frightening to me as the monster that dwells within. There's a creature (or two) that inhabits my mind that keeps me on tip-toes and whispering so's not to wake the hideous beast. It leaves me with that fumbling in the dark egads-what-is-that-thing feeling. Call me crazy, but you know you've got one (or two) as well.

My biggest monster is fear itself. And it's all intangible fear. I'm not afraid of anything I can see, hear or touch. I'm afraid of things that defy definition, of things that I know will try to mentally hobble me.

Mostly I'm afraid of the thing John forgot to tell me about when he made me promise to love again. By allowing myself to love Steve as deeply as I do, I've set myself up. I fear the day I'll be forced to say goodbye again. As I watched Steve move around the place yesterday I thought, "I don't care if it's 3 days, 3 months, 3 years or 30 years. It will come much too soon and it will be unbearable." Utterly. I know, I know. Really, I'm optimistic and I don't think doomsday thoughts (I'm so Pollyanna sometimes that I sparkle). It's just that I've met the inevitable and I never forget a face.

But. I'm not in a gloomy mood at all today. It's a beautiful Fall day. I'm having fun watching all the costumed kiddies wander around. My mate is off working on the other side of the mountains and I'm going to clean and bake some pumpkin bread. Life is wonderful.

Life is wonderful, Barb. Shut up and stand in it.

Just for fun.... (for you prudes [*what?! in my audience?!*] don't worry, the title isn't what it seems)

~Wet Dream, Kip Addotta

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alis Volat Propriis

A couple of afternoons a week I've been watching the track team train on the field behind our place. There are two runners who always catch my eye. One of them is the boy who is always a few yards ahead of the pack. He's wonderful to watch. He runs like he was born to do it; runs with all the sleek grace of an animal. His arms are always perfectly positioned, shoulders and back straight, and his legs move as if he gives it no thought at all.

But, my favorite to watch is the girl who is, without exception, the last person in the pack. She runs like it's work, like it's strenuous and painful exertion. She pants heavily as her ponytail flops up and down on her back. She runs without appearing to want to catch up to the rest of the pack. She's just doing it. Just running. I often wonder what's going through her mind as she trains.

I know what's going through mine as I watch... besides, "good for you for trying... keep going." As graceful as the lead boy is, I think she's the one who truly understands what's required. I think she gets that it's not about the winning of a thing. It's not about the destination at the end of a thing. And it's most certainly not about being lauded. It's all about the doing of a thing.

It's all about the doing of a thing. Yes. The satisfaction that comes with plain old perseverance. The self-pride that comes not with saying, I'm hanging in there, but with saying, I'm doing it. It's having deep enough belief in oneself that it doesn't matter if your stride matches another's, because the fact is, you have your own stride and that's enough. It's about having the fortitude to not quit. It's about saying, "I'm doing this because I get to." And that's a worthy reason.

I hope the girl who always finishes last keeps running. She inspires me. Alis volat propriis. Every area of our lives has a different level of potential. Fly with your own wings. Run at your own pace. Dream at your own depth. Eventually we all cross the same line anyway, right? Just be your own best. It's all the Universe requires of us.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Free Fall

I was just outside watching people jump from an airplane. Yeah, they planned it that way. We get a good view from the back deck of a local jump area. Today, being a particularly clear day, I was able to see the jumpers actually depart from the plane, shoot toward earth for a few seconds, and then slow into an easy drift as their 'shutes opened. I was grinning the whole time, nodding and whispering a "right on..." as I watched. It was beautiful.

It occurred to me just how much in my life has been similar to jumping from a plane... from the decision to just go ahead and do something (over thinking it, but basically confident all the while), to the thrilling plunge into who-knows-what for sure, and finally (with any luck) that sweet unfurling sound of the fall being caught, and the gentle ride to a somewhat bumpy, but satisfying landing.

And oh. The view along the way. The knock-your-socks-off beauty that this life brings, yes, often right along with abject terror. There's no way to get to that beauty without some risk, without jumping, without daring to allow for the total experience.

I have no doubt that, one day (because it is on my bucket list) when I get to sky dive, as I step from the plane I'll likely pee my pants and scream until my throat hurts. Will I be scared? I'm certain I will be. Terrified. But I also know that as I make my way back to earth, my eyes will be filled with tears of joy as I take in the panorama that such an experience affords. I know too, that I will kiss the ground at the same time I glance with longing at the sky. C'est la vie. C'est moi.

~Free Falling, Tom Petty

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mind Less Argument

What, oh what, is on my mind? Too much of late. Interestingly, specifics elude me. Were anyone to ask, I'd likely say, "Uh.... um... dunno." I've been whethering (*wink*... intentional misspell / play on words) a huge creative surge lately. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all the creative things I have swirling in my head. That would explain my sleepless, restless thang I've been going through lately.

What I find interesting about it is this: in the past when I've been happy and in love, my creative Muses have wandered off on vacation. So, it's intriguing to me that I can be this soupy n' sappy and still have so much creative drive and inspiration. Perhaps it's because (in my old age) I tune in to the sadness in other's lives... or maybe it's because I can still get down and party with my own sadness at the blink of an eye.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I'm hardly even questioning it. For me, it's a gift. Absolutely. It's just odd to be in creative mode using positive energy. I've always thought my dark half was the creative one... that anti-social, irreverent, moody gypsy that likes to hide out in the woods. I never suspected Li'l Ms. Cheerful had any artistic talent. (It seems there's no end to my self-perceived psychoses.)

Why, I actually made an entire set of cards using bright colors! I actually used the word "cute" in reference to one of my creations without uttering it like it was a pejorative. Yeah. Me. Go figger. What's next? Writing poetry about puppies and daisies?! Evidenced by the fact that the ol' sarcastic gypsy seems to be typing this and questioning it, I'll probably be just fine.

So... there's the current color of my brainscape... as wild and changing as the blazing trees outside my window. John once quoted a friend of his, "What does it matter, and so what if it does?" Time for me to dive into that luxuriant lush depth of October, wherever it takes me.
~Bach Break, from the movie August Rush

Monday, October 12, 2009

All the Best Freaks Are Here

I know I've been absent lately. I've written a dozen posts in my head... no consolation, I know. I just haven't been able to make myself sit down and solidify anything in writing. I've been busy too, designing cards (for actual orders.... YES!), and trying to come up with some marketing ideas.

I've also spent much time watching Autumn come in and enjoying that stirred up feeling I get... that thing inside me that feels like so many leaves swirling in the wind. As I stood on the deck this evening, cold wind stinging tears into my eyes, catching that luxurious scent of autumnal "death"... I whispered, "Where are you taking me this time?" My spirit dances and skitters like a kite.

What's on my mind just now though? My heart is with my dear friend Shelley. I learned today that her father passed away last night. I only got to meet "Skip the Bear" once, three years ago. He was doing a marathon to fund leukemia research. The fascinating thing there is that Skip had actually been fighting leukemia before he did the marathon. I recall the emotion I felt watching him come across the finish line and feeling astounded at the resilience of the human body. (At the time, John had just been diagnosed with his cancer, so my emotions were all over the place anyway.) But, when Shelley finally had a chance to introduce me to her dad, he looked at me in awe, began to weep, pulled me into a hug (you ain't never been hugged 'til you been hugged by The Bear!), and said, "I can't believe you stood around all day for me!" It was an incredibly humbling moment.

That day played on my internal film screen all day today. It was one of those wacky Seattle weather days where we had a whole lot of every kind of weather - wind, rain, sideways rain, sleet, snow. Suffice it to say, it was freezing cold and damp and standing in the stadium for 6 hours was a project in itself. But, that was before Shelley and her hubby moved back here and I had wanted to spend the day hanging with her, so that's what we did. We cheered the runners, tried (unsuccessfully) to stay dry, and made countless trips back and forth between the stands and Starbucks. We talked a bunch, we laughed, we cried. We became all-weather comrades.

Shelley is one of my favorite folks on this planet. We can go months without talking and finally get together and it's like we're picking up a conversation we left off on yesterday. So. Irreverent as it might seem, I'm dedicating this song to Shel. I know she'll understand my intent, and I'll be damned if she's not likely to boogie around her living room while it plays.

Here's to you, Shel... I raise a hearty cup o' bean to that big-hearted, funny man I will always refer to as Skip the Bear.

In my life... well.... all the best freaks are here. Wouldn't want it any other way.

~Freaks, Marillion

Friday, October 2, 2009

Be Aware

Happy October! It's Breast Cancer Awareness month. Please, please everyone... take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. Let's not suffer more loss. Let's find a cure. Let's live and live well.

I'm dedicating this song to those who have fallen -
Cindy Simon, Roxan Wynn, and Mary Johnson

They will always carry on.
I will keep on speaking their names.

With this song, I'm also sending a special hug to Tonto and her daughter Mandy.

Keep surviving... I love you!

~Hymn to Her, The Pretenders

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Never Let an Angry Sister Comb Your Hair

Rather than write a whole volume today, I thought I'd share something fun that I've been working on. What follows are pages from an altered book that I made for my sister (shhh, any relatives who might be reading this... she hasn't received it yet!). It was a blast to make it, and I can't wait to do another one!

The cover quote (and title of this post) is a quote by Patricia McCann. I chose that because there's an ancient story about Nancy and I when we were kids... she decided it would be fun to curl my hair. With a comb. Bad decision, and hence the beginning of my pixie haircut phase.