It’s that time of year again, you know the one when we get really excited about our country. Though, somehow that excitement has been transferred more to mattress and truck sales. Because nothing says celebration like spending hours in a show room waiting to find out about financing. Meanwhile I like getting stuck at the light on Colfax in my thirteen year old car because I can watch the World Cup for a few minutes on the big screens outside The Three Lions. I guess I didn’t get the memo early enough that I’m not American enough. Makes me think about Hari Kondabolu and his comment the other day about growing up in New York. He didn’t know any white people, though he knew plenty of Irish, and Italians, and Jews. Growing up around the same time ten miles away the only difference in my childhood was the occasional Midwesterner I would meet, usually someone who’s work intersected with my Dad’s, in New York for a few years as part of their way of working their way up the corporate ladder. They would come to Thursday Dinner, where the conversations would drift from Marxism, to someone telling tales from their latest stint of fieldwork. Now I live in the middle of this country, I find I have more connection to it, the land that is, I’m still doubtful of it’s history. Though I’m thankful that it gave my great-grandparents a place to land as pogroms filled the Pale. Two weeks ago I found a copy of A Carp in the Bathtub at the library book sale, yesterday I brought home some carp from H-Mart, dreams of my grandmother’s attempt to renew old traditions in my mind. Instead I had the fish in my hands wringing out the excess water from freezing. None of this assuaged my guilt from even buying the over fished fish. Finally at 8 we sat down to fried fish and plates of asparagus, while an interview about Roger Ebert played on the radio in the kitchen. We stayed up late watching murder mysteries on the couch. More excited about our next trip; Routt National Forest, than fireworks and burgers from the near-by market.
Oh and I did this.
See that smile, that calm look, this is where I am right now. There is so much to do but I am learning to take things slowly, deliberately. Ever since we got back from our trip to Moab life has been busy, the to do lists are long, but I’m trying to break tasks down to smaller pieces, enjoy successes along the way rather that feel disappointment when I don’t get the entire thing done. So much more gets done when you actually can cross something off the list. For a while I was hesitant to take such a long trip, feeling like I should just get started, but then I realized that Finals really tapped me out and what I need most was time with my boys away from the clutter of the city and the online world. You know what those 6 days were so grounding, long enough that I could lose all my confidence in myself and regain it, long enough to have enough daydreams that I have focus. Mostly it was about loving my family without distraction.
Now that I’ve been back for a week there has been time enough for the scattered beginnings I am starting to see the trail in the forest. There is no more psyching myself up for what comes next, the next is now. Two years ago when this whole thing shifted I thought going back to school was about learning a skill, today I realize more than anything it was about regaining the self confidence that I lost over the chaos before then, two years is a long rebuilding but looking at it from here I don’t know if I could have come to this place where I am now without the amazing program I was in (technically I’m still a student taking a class here and there but no more full time).
~All photos are from our trip to Moab~
It was a long semester, many 14 hour days on campus, nights of drawing and researching. Now it has come to a close and while I may still be taking a few classes I am no longer a full time student. I am glad that I did it, to know if I could. But I never again want to be a full time student at a traditional institution ever again (though I have dreams of this program).
Since my semester ended last week I’ve been catching up on life. Spending a day a school with Alder trying to figure out the root of his dislike of school, not that I didn’t already know. There has been some holiday shopping at lots of local stores while attempting to stay in budget. Mostly there has been lots of family time and quite a few hours peppered in between with a good book or some paint and paper. I even managed to find time for a morning at the steam baths.
While I still have so much to do in all my projects as I am moving from transition to doing I am also happy that I can once again be putting things in this space. You can’t imagine how many scraps of paper sit on my desk with blog posts that never got written. I know there are only a few of you who peek here any more but I am happy to be back.
Who can resist a bookstore that fills an old theater.
Time spend in a favorite spot with friends.
A new desk arrangement.
Dr. Who landing just by one of our favorite pubs (did I say that I got to see the 50th in 3D)
Another moment stolen at The Weathervane Cafe
A trip to the mountains.
Which wore someone out.
And a wonderful man who drove the pass through the 8″of snow from the day before.
Candy has been sorted,
remains of a Jedi robe returned to fabric
glitter covers the pillows,
My history echos pleasantly in the background and I stumble through over due work.
The sun through the window,
I could map the leafless world with the notes of his voice,
the autumn here lacks the smells of decay
the days of gray with no sense of time.
One autumn we found the Italian bakery,
we were too cool for the coffeehouse,
instead we laughed at the shapes of our pastries.
Then we walked to the old Opera House for a movie.
Those years where we spanned childhood to our futures
sanity came from place and from knowing always the world was bigger,
than our teenage worlds.
It was the invisible line of three miles,
past ancient mills and tanning caves,
that was where we found our center.
So many icy mornings I walked that road
to the warm stones of the fire
and younger cousins.
Always finding respite in the dated books
the encyclopedias from 1912 on their pine shelf
held all the knowledge we need on weekends.
Even now when we speak of home it is blue glass
the red board and batten walls,
and secret corners where the sun drew us in.
Home was the first cold morning drinking coco
while the sun rose and the hot air balloons filled.
Home was learning to swim in the shadow of an abandoned windmill.
Home was sneaking into the carriage house to see the hansom cabs.
Home is everyone in the sunroom with a bottle of scotch and theory
or music or books.
Home is a barrel of old cross country skis that we’ve all out grown
and a crop of boys who are learning what home means.
A little over ten years ago we all came together at the bottom of the lawn, a spot more commonly used for sledding than parties. You will all have to bare with me over the next week all of the photos are on disks and I want them someplace less fragile. So this being part one will be the ceremony. Part 2 will be the reception, those photos will have to wait until Sunday evening when I can use my father’s copy of the disk (ours is corrupted). All photographs, in the post were taken by Robert Tobey.
We had some visitors this weekend from New York, so we tried to show them a good time.
What didn’t make the photos was the frisbee throwing in the park in tee shirts the next day, or the trip to a favorite bookstore.
It is all in the timing, you know this. Passing by your favorite building just at the right moment may pepper us with rainbows. You know that somewhere up high there are giant pieces of glass, shaped just right to catch the sun as it passes by. But it is hard to know the timing one month to the next, as it slips from solstice to equinox.
You have always known exactly what works and doesn’t work for you. When you say you want to paint you don’t just stare at the shelf but already have decided which paint to use. At home you make your needs clear, and often your wants. But out away from here it takes you longer. You care so much for how others feel that you wait until you have a strong connection, then when you are comfortable you speak. (Perhaps that is my hopefulness and not the fact that you feel ignored). So it has been a long year of you sharing little with us about your time out in the big world, and sharing less with the people you spend everyday with what it is that you need. And, of course because you care so much for how the people around you feel it has taken you until now to share your feelings, but what was only partially clear a few weeks ago now is brilliantly clear.
Now it is up to us to help you, to bring you back like the spinach, beets, arugula, and carrots you planted. What was only a vague protest in the winter has become a clear statement as the ground warms and the days lengthen. You inspire me with more conviction that I have always known your soul and how to feed it. We have shed so many tears, each of us saying things we never thought we would. It has brought us to now which is a different sort of beginning.