Thursday, December 31, 2015

do not go into silence

 I know down deep, deep like damp, moss covered bricks crumbling at the bottom of an empty well, deep below the surface, something is wrong with me.  It is far too easy to sit. Far too easy to stay silent.  Far too easy to sink.
They say to look inside yourself.  
To break through all the outside casings.  
Dig until you find your truth. So I close my eyes and start excavating....
I would like to say there was something there in the in between but there wasn't;
it was like falling through lint.
I closed my eyes.  I looked deep asking, what is wrong, what do I need? 
And I found myself in the desert.
It is quiet there. 
Hot and the wind whispers of the memory of rain. 
You can walk forever. Stare straight into heaven; rest in the heat of hell. 
You can be.  
I miss it like the religious miss the ritual of church. 
I crave it like the starving yearn for bread.
There is a lot of time that has to pass before I will get to go there again.  The snow is piled high.  The mountains lay frosted in billows and the trees rise black and frozen scratching at the winter sky.
I think of hiking knee deep, lungs burning, sweating beneath the layers of thick protection. I love the freedom of the snow. the recklessness it allows. But I miss the slimness, bareness of the desert. I miss the ground. In the quiet there I find words.  And in words I find myself.        

"Peri Keeper let go of God. His whiteness sliding through her hands as he moved forward without her. She could feel his power pulling at her even as he broke loose freeing himself from her thin grasp on him.
As the great white dog disappeared into the milky light of brush and air, silence held her.  There was nothing but the sound of the wind reproaching the land. Peri watched the slender grasses bow and rise in prayer as the wind ripped over them.  She watched the birds dart low and fast jetting between boulders and twisted witch like junipers.  And she watched the gusts rattling the sagebrush.  Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in… 
She smiled unrolling the sleeves of her flannel shirt pulling her hands inside then shoving them deep into the front pockets of her battered jeans. 

The wind had started as it always does. Announcing the pending sunset, whispering, get your shit together now.
Darkness is the most unforgiving element the desert offers. Unlike light, which can be tricked, dark is absolute. One can attempt to stab away at it with the flames of a fire or the bulb of a lantern but darkness swallows light in greedy gulps and in the end darkness wins easily. Because darkness does not have to be fed or tended to live.   
The first tides of the wind had blown hot like the ground.  Slowly the sun in its pink descent dipped over the horizon swallowing all the other colors of the October desert. Leaving the wind as cool as shadow.
It began to break in steady sets of raging waves. Caught in the middle, cold in its clutches Peri would shiver. Then it would settle and the heat from the sand beneath her feet would rise flooding her whole body with the memory of that day’s long hot sun.  It was like a roller coaster up and down.
She stood patiently. Her eyes scanned the horizon but God was nowhere to be found.  
When the wind started to really bite and the ride no longer fun, Peri picked her path back zigzagging around the desert fauna and half hidden sandy burrows.  
In the last sticky hours of the day she had eaten a sparse dinner, made herself a bed in the back of her truck, and gathered firewood which she would not end up burning.
Even earlier in the heat of the day she had hiked miles with God beside her.
And before that, by lazy morning light read the remains of a book while drinking steaming dark coffee. Now there was nothing left to do but sleep under the coldness of stars and listen to the wind creeping off into the night.  
If it wasn’t for the silence of this place she was sure she would go mad." 

 Letting Go of God, by mlb from a collection of Short Stories titled: Gods of Glass and Other Broken Things (2014) 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

scene from a 40th birthday party

 Welcome to the big leagues, Brandon.

a hand to hold

Over the holiday break, BC found time to work on the handrail. Apparently his clients don't want him at their places running power tools in the middle of their holiday plans... so he did them over ours.
Installing the railing meant [BC] kerfing into the stair stringer. 
I would say, hacking into the thing that holds up the staircase but either way, you can imagine it must take huge balls to do something like this.  
It was loud (I don't do loud!) and messy but damn he does good work!
"Sweetness, are you going to kill me?" 
"Of course not, Dear. If I was going to kill you I wouldn't be taking photos."
Actually, the last time I had the privilege of watching him install a custom handrail I was pregnant and on bedrest with Beach- I couldn't do anything but watch him.  
This time doesn't seem much different. Despite being able to get up and leave I find myself sitting at the top of the stairs watching him work. 
This is going to take awhile...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

and away

5:30 AM on the dot Christmas morning the little black radio that was my sister's with its scratchy speaker that during the day barks out the voices of NPR over the sounds of the dishwasher humming and the dogs pacing the floor...turned ON. 
Into the darkness of a house trying to stay asleep a little bit longer, 'beneath the new fallen snow',  a voice said, "Merry Christmas" and Christmas music began playing.
I jumped out of bed. Hit the stairs running but at the edge of the kitchen, I paused. For a small moment I was unsure of what I thought I might find on the other side of a room lit only by drifts of snow covering the deck outside. 
In the far corner, shoved above the coffee maker, nesting on a wooden peg rail cluttered with forgotten drying mugs & drinking glasses a little black radio. It is probably one of the few things I have left of hers.  All the stuff, the clothing, the dishes, the scraps of papers, that I bagged up from her stale, fragile apartment and heaped into the little house on 10th- most of them are gone now.  Slipped out the cracks and faded away. Decomposing like memory, and faith. 

But not this radio.  A piece of junk and wires with a memory somewhere locked inside its circuitry of a time when she was alive and set an alarm because she had something to do that day... 
Over the years the radio has turned on in patterns we haven't figured out.  I'm sure it's a glitch.  My kids are sure it is my sister.  3:30 AM, midnight, 4:13 AM, 8:20 PM, and on Christmas morning 5-fucking-thirty. 
I turned the radio off which was harder than it should have been because it was already OFF.  I had to turn it ON then switch it back to OFF to stop the morning music from pouring out.  I stood in silence waiting to assess the damage.  
For days, no weeks, okay a year, I have been stretched too thin. I can feel the tightness in my neck.  See the effects on my body.  A steady pain my chest, a chronic headache; I know I have to find a way to unbury myself but I can't seem to find a place to set it all down. 
I keep saying tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes knocking for me. It always seems to be someone else's day.  So I wait on the Hillary Step of age and feel the same tiredness building that took me out of school. The same unshakable anxiety.  The same ghosts closing in.
Even BC feels the same to me as he did back then.  His hair long and curling, unkept like it was when our family was young and harshly divided.  A line right down the middle His and Hers. Beach a sort of an entangle piece of common ground. Most defiantly she was always mine, often his, but mostly she was solidly herself. Except in moments like islands in an ocean when she belonged solely to her biggest brother who won her whole heart by singing her silly little songs.  
I breathed out, oh Beach
I remembered the way it felt to run the hospital stairwells in a white coat. The slimness of self that walked in blue scrubs. The way books & bodies smelled among the medical stacks late into dark, snowy nights. 
You don't miss it, I have to remind myself.
Then across the room a small grayish figure padded by behind me. "Good morning, mom. Merry Christmas!" She said as she slipped up the stairs to wake her father, a half hour before the pre-agreed upon hour.  
No doubt feeling fully justified in capitalizing on the strangeness of a haunted radio taking all the blame for the broken 6 AM treaty of Christmas morning 2015.  
Not her fault that her mother has ghosts....haha   
"Not even remotely funny," I told the Radio. 
But I switched the coffee pot from auto to ON because I had heard what the music was saying, your tomorrow is already here.  It is time to get going. 
It's Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

holiday gym-ing

It's been a busy short week in and out of the gym. 
Epic amounts of dumping snow, early morning workouts, ninja sleepovers to ensure we all get to the gym on time, & holiday preparations, it's been wild.  
Yesterday, during Pad Drills Beach threw a perfect punch front layout full. No really, it was good- good enough that big coach D put it right into her floor routine. Hello!!! 

More good news from workout this week, Beach has successfully put her flick-flick back into her beam routine. She still may not compete it but it's nice to see her looking more relaxed doing series!
SOOOooo after all that hard work I figured she needed 
a stress break to kick off Christmas.
One of Beach's favorite places is the Nickelcade. 
I suppose we are officially on Christmas Break! 
No gym until Monday morning 8 AM....
>big happy sigh<