Thoughts in Progress

Quiet

A black-and-white photograph of a pale rose, the focus lightly blurred, the petals unfurling.

Come in, Love,
and shake the rain
from your shoulders.

Come —
let the storm lash
the panes of the windows,
the thunder rattle
the bones of the house.
Here we’ll make Quiet 
the way some people
make Love.

(I’ll tell you a secret:
Sometimes they’re one & the same.)

Let’s not talk of the world
outside the door —
the storm has snapped
the wires to this place,
and no outside voices
can reach us.

We will not eat at the table, 
but here on the floor,
the blanket smoothed out,
the glass bowl full of
petals and candlelight.

There’s a broken husk
of pomegranate.

Bread.

Wine.

The still air empty between us,
and the invitation 
to fill it.

Hush. ❤

 

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Thoughts in Progress

other tongues …

 

 

I have spent my life in the company of those who like to talk about words. Their power (so they say) mightier than the sword.

But words are just one language, and — hear me — there are others.  

Ones I am just now beginning to learn…

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*

 

In the last light, I go walking down the road to the woods.  

I shake the sun from my shoulders — watch it fall like glass prisms, shattering on the pavement.  

(The light is only multiplied in the breaking.)

So I stand there in the circle of winking shards … and look up.

Open my arms.

Turn slow.

This — trust me — is language.

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*

Then, too, there is the language of flowers.

Frost.

Sea-spray.

Stars.

There is the language of the shutter, opening to sun.  The language of paint sliding slow against canvas.  The dancer’s body, turning in a slow circle.

The language of skin.

*

So.

*

Feel my hands now, pulling you against me.

Feel my head tucked under your chin, my breath against your neck, my fingertips at your lips in the gesture of hush

as we stand still — so still —

and the light rains down around us —

breaking…

 

*

*

*

breaking …

*

*

*

 

Oh, Love.  Put away your sword.  And just stand here with me, silent:

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… speaking. ❤

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Thoughts in Progress

Let’s talk …

Last week, quietly and without much fanfare, alpha // whiskey // foxtrot surpassed a milestone that still blows my mind a little bit:  by my latest check, I’ve got 1,066 followers and counting.

I’ll be honest:  this is both wonderful and a little unsettling.  Most days, I envision myself writing to about as many friends as I can fit around my dining room table. There’s a cozy envelope of good wine and candlelight-gleam and flickering shadow, and if I decide to tell a story, I’m leaning on some friend’s shoulder while my favorite jazz fills up all the empty space in the background … Safe.

All that to say:  if this space feels intimate to you, it’s at least partially because I view the writing process as intimate.  And so I’m still getting my head around what it means to be intimate in a space that feels a little bit less intimate all the time.

Which isn’t a bad thing — just different.

But maybe we can make this space feel more personal, even if there’s slightly less elbow room at the table than there used to be.  Which is why I thought I’d share a few basic things about myself that are important for you to know, if you’re new here:

 1.  I’m all about the beauty — and I mean that.

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Most humans need food, water, shelter and warmth.   I need those things, too … And I need beauty.

I need green leaves, moonwashed night skies, the electric hum of the city sparking to life in the dark.

I need photographs and paintings, dancing slippers and drawing pads.

And I guess I don’t need a vintage Victrola, but I sure would like one. (Anybody?)

All that to say:  keeping a blog offers me the space to make beauty, even — and especially — when it’s hard for me to find it out in the world.

2.  I’ve been married for more than nine years to this guy:

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T is the stable voice of reason to my gushy creative chatter:  the guy who pulls me out of the middle of the street when I’m standing there transfixed with my camera, shooting birds on rooftops while a car threatens to run me down.  (And yes, that’s actually happened.)

He’s the patient one who just sighs and turns over in his sleep when I get out of bed to get an idea on paper — again.

I’m crazy-lucky.

3.  I’ve been recovered from anorexia for more than a decade, and I feel crazy-lucky about that, too.

I’m long past the days when I worked to stay healthy.  Now, I get to work to be happy:  to live joyfully in my own skin.  To go easy on myself.  To love well.

It’s still hard sometimes.  But mostly, it’s kinda beautiful.

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4.  I’m an ENFP, and an Enneagram Type 4... a deeply creative, meditative and introspective person with a surprisingly sparkly social persona.  If you really want to know me better, go ahead and click those links — In spite of the tension that seems to exist between these descriptions, I’m about as textbook as they come.

So.  If you’re new here — what about you?  What makes you hum and glow?  Who keeps you grounded — or pushes you out from the dock?

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I’d love to get to know you better, too. ❤

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Thoughts in Progress

Oh, Summer, what can I say …

to make you

stay…?

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Please —
I’ll just
bed down
here
in your
gold light,
your green
shade,
and press
my face
against 
the wild things
you’ve grown–
grass-blade,
fern-frond,
moss-wet
stone.

Let me fall
face-first
into your
blue pool,
wrap myself
in the net
of sun
that shivers
and sways
at river bottom.

Let me steal
the kayak
and slide out
to deep water–
water flat
as glass,
so that
the sunset
catches fire
in the river —

and I am racing —
sparks flicking
from the paddle —
hoping, almost,
to turn
myself
into flame —
and burn —
burn alive —
through frost,
through snow,
through that
dark night
called February …

Oh, Summer:

Just lie down with me here. ❤

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Thoughts in Progress

Speechless

I’ve built my life around words:  planted them like seed, panned for them like gold.  I’ve gone out into green valleys and collected words like rainwater, storing them up for seasons of drought.  

This is what my kind of people do.

But.

There are days when words feel too small for me — a poor, mealy-mouthed language too paltry to say what must be said.  On those days I dance.  I paint.  I reach for my camera.

And lately, I’ve found myself speaking wordless prayers.

So today, I’m praying this:

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I want this, and this, and this:

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I go out into the green world and I ask for what I see — for my soul and for yours.  

For the parts of us too wide and deep for talking.

I sit still, and I say nothing. ❤

 

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Thoughts in Progress

The Way of the Leaves: Part III

III.

A week ago, I am driving down a country road that hugs tight to the curves of the river.  

The road runs long through a tunnel of trees, and I am driving behind a tractor trailer, its top so high that it lops off all the low-hanging limbs as it goes, sending a shower of leaves all around me.

We drive, and drive, and the bits of leaves skitter over my hood, slap my windshield.  I think, then, that if I could take this picture in black and white, it would look like Winter:  my headlights cutting a swath not through leaves but through snow, the white flakes floating and spinning in the beams.

I take a breath, and consider, how narrow the divide between one thing and the next:  Winter and Summer.  Brokenness and Beauty.  

And maybe there’s no divide at all.  

My foot eases the gas pedal closer to the floor and I feel the car surge forward toward the bumper of the tractor trailer, see the torn leaves fall thicker and faster, a blizzard of green just cut clean from the stem.

I am thirty-three now.  Old enough to feel the way my days are numbered.  Still — if I take a breath, I can feel my lungs expand to eat the air, my heart pushing the oxygen through me so that it pulses in my fingertips against the steering wheel.

I am a broken thing, and I am breathlessly, astoundingly alive…

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Thoughts in Progress

The Way of the Leaves: Part II

I.

Summer opens wet and green:  foolish as first love.

Each leaf unfurls, fearless of frost.  It cannot imagine such a thing as Winter.

 

II.

I have a certain memory:

I am just a girl — nine, maybe ten.

I am balancing on the long railing that runs around our family’s big raised deck.  One foot in front of the other, arms outstretched for balance, I walk a slow circuit, over and over again:  amazed at the feeling of fitting my body carefully between two invisible planes, the crossing of which will send me tipping into a fall.

(I like to test my edges).

*

There are trees in this memory, and there were trees in real life:  a high green canopy at the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp, each ancient oak and cypress shaking so many leaves that the air sounds full of applause.

My father is there, pruning a hedge or cleaning a grill, building something — I can’t remember now.  And he is musing.

I am not really listening to him … not actively, anyway.  He talks both to himself and to me, teasing out the edges of certain thoughts, small hypotheses that make him curious.  We are both this way:  people caught in a current of ideas that interest us.  So he talks and I walk, shifting my center of gravity to my hips, then to my knees, raising myself onto the balls of my feet.  I am testing all the ways that my body can veer from its clean straight line and still remain upright.

I lift an index finger.

I balance on one foot.

I move from one balletic position to another: testing, testing.

And then my father’s voice breaks through my thoughts:

As soon as we’re born, he says, we’re already beginning to die.

*

There is no fear in his voice when he says this — he is not a fearful man, my father.  Just curious.  The only thing I can sense in the words … is wonder.

As soon as we’re born, I think, we’re already beginning to die.  I test out the thought, and it feels true.  And also safe.

A breeze ruffles all the green leaves around us, lifts the hair on my head, the tiny hairs on my arms.  I move my body through the green air and I feel the power of my own physicality, without the maturity yet to understand that this is what I am feeling.

This, I think, without the words to describe what I’m thinking.  This — all of this — is what dying feels like.

And also living.

*

This is the very first moment when the edges begin to dissolve for me:  when the membranes begin to seem comfortably porous.

On the narrow railing, I walk faster, more fluid.  All the air around me parts to let me pass. 

 

 

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