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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best of alpha // whiskey // foxtrot

Sleepless, Under Shooting Stars {a Flashback}

If I’ve managed to convey one thing in my little series about insomnia, I hope you know this:  insomnia is hard … but also, it can be pretty special.

Few words capture this better than the ones below, which I wrote just after the night of my ninth wedding anniversary.  It’s one of my favorite posts … I guess because it reminds me that sometimes, the hard things give us our most beautiful moments.

And somehow, that seems like a good place to end.

Enjoy…

///

A week ago…

  
It’s three a.m. and I’m lying in bed, feeling the slow wash of the oscillating fan stirring the sheets.  I settle closer against my husband, stare at the ceiling and wonder — a familiar question — if I’m the only one awake.

I’ve spent my life as an insomniac, and I can tell you:  there’s no loneliness as deep and existential as the one that comes when you lie sleepless in the dark — especially beside someone you love.  You lean into him, letting his breath tickle your neck, his heartbeat drum against your spine.

Still:  while he sleeps, he doesn’t even know you exist.

But on this night, instead of the usual ache of his absence, I sense T’s presence — his breath conscious, shallow.  With me, somehow.

“Are you awake?” I whisper, and in a moment there’s his hum of affirmation.

“Me too,” I say.

It’s the night of our wedding anniversary, and outside, the Perseids are falling:  shooting stars streaking the black, like they do every year on August 12.

Suddenly it just feels wrong:  us, asleep.  The universe, awake.

“Do you want to go see the stars?” I say.

We do.

*

We go in our pajamas:  bundle ourselves into the Volvo with extra coats and two cups of iced coffee.

T drives us into the mountains, away from the city lights.  We drive, and drive, through one empty street and then another, climbing the hills until the black bowl above us is twinkling clear.

And then we stop.

T switches off the engine.

The sudden silence shocks us, until our ears adjust to all the other sounds of the night.

*

In the cicada-hum and cricket-song we open the sunroof and wriggle halfway through, leaning back with our elbows on the car’s cold roof, our bare feet on tiptoe on the leather seats below.

Somehow it feels like we’re standing side-by-side in waist-deep water.  The black sheet-metal shines, reflecting stars.

Time passes, slow as a single drop of water easing down the lip of the faucet.  The stars twinkle but seem otherwise unmoved.

And then, the first streak of light tears across the sky.

“Did you see that?” T almost shouts.

“I did!”

We wait longer.  Time passes — five minutes?  ten? — and more meteorites flash earthward.  Some are just tiny dashes of light; others look like small comets, with long tails that leave a smoldering afterglow.

We laugh.

We holler.

We gasp.

“Did you see that one?” 

“Look — over there!”

We watch until our necks hurt from craning them back.  Until our eyes feel owlishly wide:  unblinking in the starry dark.

*

And now here I sit at my keyboard, a week later, pondering the way it works:

The way we must put ourselves in the path of wonder, whether that’s the wonder of human love or natural beauty, the wonder of grace or God or goodness.

And I know — there are moments when we stumble over the magic like it’s a tripwire.  We skin our knees on the glory and raise our hands in hallelujah.  In those moments, the Mystery chooses us. 

But those moments are few.  And — my God — I don’t want to go through life asleep, hoping and dreaming of the next one.

So I get up in the middle of the night.  (Are you with me?)  I push back the bedsheets and stumble into the dark like a sleepwalker, hearing that voice at my back, still and small as my Sunday-school teacher told me it would be: 

Open your eyes, love. 

Open your eyes. 

Engage. 

And I walk out into a world where stars fall like rain.

I crane my head back and stand very still, my eyes wide-open.

*

Maybe you’re standing here, too.  ❤

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Seventeen

Tonight, I realize that something has changed between me and the guy I love.

I’m at a holiday party when I notice it:  in a crowded room full of chatter and hum.  I’m making my rounds — a slow circuit from one little knot of friends to the next — when I look up just briefly and catch T’s eye across the room. 

He flashes me a smile.

*

When I was newly married, some nine years ago, things were different.  

If T and I went to a party, we’d spend most of the time arm in arm.  I’d stand close to his shoulder and wait to be introduced to his friends.  We moved through a crowd eternally linked.

These days, when the two of us enter a roomful of people, we almost immediately part ways, our circuits widening.  Every so often, we’ll exchange glances, though…

A brief touch on the soft place at the inside of the elbow.

My arm threading under his for just a second as we meet at the middle of a room…

And then away from each other again.

*

It’s funny, but if you were to watch us from afar, it might look like we’re less connected to each other than we were a decade ago, but that’s not true.  If anything, it’s the opposite: I feel T with me all the time now … His thoughts in my head, even.

It’s almost as, in our younger days, we needed the bridge of our bodies to communicate.

And now we’ve managed to build something a little freer than that — gone wireless, so to speak — the soul gently expanding beyond the limits of the skin… 

Does this seem like nonsense to you?

Maybe it does to me, a little bit.  But I also know it’s just true…  

And it’s good. ❤

september

September 2015

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Sixteen

This evening, I asked T if he would take a few simple, spontaneous photographs with me …

Not all of us, of course.  Just our hands:

hands1

And at first, I think he felt like the whole thing was a little strange… 

But then this happened:

hands2

hands3

hands4

hands5

Sometimes, the photos say it all. ❤

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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.

thirty25

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:

bentmtbistro2

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.

day15

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?

indianpoint6

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

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Everyday Wonder

Sleepless, Under Shooting Stars

awake

A week ago.

It’s three a.m. and I’m lying in bed, feeling the slow wash of the oscillating fan stirring the sheets.  I settle closer against my husband, stare at the ceiling and wonder — a familiar question — if I’m the only one awake.

I’ve spent my life as an insomniac, and I can tell you:  there’s no loneliness as deep and existential as the one that comes when you lie sleepless in the dark — especially beside someone you love.  You lean into him, letting his breath tickle your neck, his heartbeat drum against your spine.

Still:  while he sleeps, he doesn’t even know you exist.

But on this night, instead of the usual ache of his absence, I sense T’s presence — his breath conscious, shallow.  With me, somehow.

“Are you awake?” I whisper, and in a moment there’s his hum of affirmation.

“Me too,” I say.

It’s the night of our wedding anniversary, and outside, the Perseids are falling:  shooting stars streaking the black, like they do every year on August 12.

Suddenly it just feels wrong:  us, asleep.  The universe, awake.

“Do you want to go see the stars?” I say.

We do.

*

We go in our pajamas:  bundle ourselves into the Volvo with extra coats and two cups of iced coffee.

T drives us into the mountains, away from the city lights.  We drive, and drive, through one empty street and then another, climbing the hills until the black bowl above us is twinkling clear.

And then we stop.

T switches off the engine.

The sudden silence shocks us, until our ears adjust to all the other sounds of the night.

*

In the cicada-hum and cricket-song we open the sunroof and wriggle halfway through, leaning back with our elbows on the car’s cold roof, our bare feet on tiptoe on the leather seats below.

Somehow it feels like we’re standing side-by-side in waist-deep water.  The black sheet-metal shines, reflecting stars.

Time passes, slow as a single drop of water easing down the lip of the faucet.  The stars twinkle but seem otherwise unmoved.

And then, the first streak of light tears across the sky.

“Did you see that?” T almost shouts.

“I did!”

We wait longer.  Time passes — five minutes?  ten? — and more meteorites flash earthward.  Some are just tiny dashes of light; others look like small comets, with long tails that leave a smoldering afterglow.

We laugh.

We holler.

We gasp.

“Did you see that one?”

“Look — over there!”

We watch until our necks hurt from craning them back.  Until our eyes feel owlishly wide:  unblinking in the starry dark.

*

And now here I sit at my keyboard, a week later, pondering the way it works:

The way we must put ourselves in the path of wonder, whether that’s the wonder of human love or natural beauty, the wonder of grace or God or goodness.

And I know — there are moments when we stumble over the magic like it’s a tripwire.  We skin our knees on the glory and raise our hands in hallelujah.  In those moments, the Mystery chooses us.

But those moments are few.  And — my God — I don’t want to go through life asleep, hoping and dreaming of the next one.

So I get up in the middle of the night.  (Are you with me?)  I push back the bedsheets and stumble into the dark like a sleepwalker, hearing that voice at my back, still and small as my Sunday-school teacher told me it would be:

Open your eyes, love.

Open your eyes.

Engage.

And I walk out into a world where stars fall like rain.

I crane my head back and stand very still, my eyes wide-open.

*

Maybe you’re standing here, too.  ❤

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