Category Archives: Change

Rhyme of Another Summer

This is adapted from an exercise we’re doing in Crash, which was adapted from my friend Theresa’s brother-in-law’s classroom. Each week, one of us posts a song, and then we have a few minute’s writing meditation. This week’s selection was made by my friend Brent, and it was Yann Tiersen’s “Comptine D’un Autre Eté”. He described it as “short and heartbreaking and beautiful,” and shared it because it “peels back the layers in slow motion.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*

I think the only word I’d add to Brent’s adjectives is wistful; that’s how I feel after listening to it. I want the song to keep playing over and over, slowing time down to where I notice each breath I’m taking, each pulse of my heart. I know the song will be over all too soon, and then? It’s back to the grindstone.

Why is it so hard to carve time for one’s self? Sometimes, in the midst of chaos I thrust myself into an existential mindset that leaves my inner-self clamoring to have the right to choose each moment in a way that feels best for me. I can intuit what is right for me, but there is no path easily available that leads there. (Apart, say, from winning a MacArthur grant and having the freedom to direct my energies as I see fit. Wouldn’t that be just lovely?!?)

At times, I feel out of place. Like I’m an artist-in-residence in a suit-and-tie world. If you look at my cube compared to those of my colleagues, it could serve to highlight that fact. And though it’d be lovely to just do as I want to do, I understand that in order to provide for myself, I must do the work that others ask me to do, in order to be rewarded with the opportunities to do the work I’m called to do. I am glad that the work that I’m doing in the CU Movement holds meaning for me, and that the people I’m working alongside are ones who brighten and enrich my life in so many ways – but am I just being ungrateful for what I am fortunate to have? (It feels a little like that.)

I wonder what it would have been like to be a nomad, before the Age of Industry, before the Renaissance and the Dark Ages. I’ve no doubt I would have minded my duties with great care – gathering food as I walked the beautiful and bountiful landscape around me. Undoubtedly tending to members of my tribe in the ways that I feel called to do even in the here and now, though there’s so much more that’s… different… with technology.

Last night I walked through the neighborhoods around my house, and there were people I wanted to say Hello to, except that they were absorbed in the devices they carried with them. And there were others I did greet, andwe made that brief connection with surprise, like it came out of nowhere. We shared space for a few seconds and acknowledged one another, and I think that’s all that we’re really put here to do, anyway.

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Murmurs on a Transitional Season

The leaves outside my window are a beautiful shade of yellow.  The ones still on the trees, at least.  The others are carpeting the sidewalk, turning it a slick reddish-brown.

I’ve always had a hard time answering the question, “What’s your favorite season?”  For as each season comes, I take a deep breath and think about how much I love this time of year, whatever time of year it is.  If I had to choose, really, as in life depends on making a choice —  it would be this murky segue between fall and winter that we are experiencing right now.

When the weather is like this, I don’t really mind when I’m indoors – at least I’m dry and mostly warm, right? (I say “mostly warm” because our house ineffectively heats the outdoors… and we prolong turning heat on until we can see our breath inside.)  This encourages more reading and writing, more contemplation about life and what I want from it.  Sometimes the depths of contemplation leave me longing for sunshine, but when I choose more superficial wants, it’s pretty easy.  What do I want from life right now?  A mug of hot cocoa.  See?  That’s easy.

And when I’m outdoors, running or walking along the streets, I feel a kinship with others who are outside too.  We don’t let a little chill or rain prevent us from breathing air that is so crisp it almost sears your throat with sweetness.  I try not to stare into houses as I walk by, but I treasure the glimpses of strangers’ lives, seeing warmth lighting up the transitional season.  The smells are good too; people cooking heartier meals filled with onions and garlic, the aroma of woodsmoke sparking a reminder that I want to create in my future a home with a fireplace.

The trees stand in various stages of undress, none quite naked yet.  The days are dimmer, a little fuzzy around the edges — perhaps our ancestors used to hibernate like bears when winter struck.  I know I find myself lulled into early sleep by the susurrations of wind on the roof, the pitter of rain-drops on the skylight.  When I sometimes find myself awake at three in the morning, which happens more often than I prefer, I count the people I love in place of sheep.  “I love…  I love…” each love wrapping my heart in blanket that makes the long night warmer and lighter, making a lonely hour of sleeplessness one filled with company in my dreams.

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