Saturday, April 18, 2015

How to Get There

It used to take daylong treks up big mountains. Long sustained activity that left room for only tiredness. It took wearing out my muscles, my body, my ever-churning mind left no option but to stop the churning and focus. Focus on rock, movement, tent set-up, calorie-getting. That fatigue felt good. Getting to that point felt good - the sucking of air, the burning of lungs, the absolute stunning beauty of mountains. It took me there. To the happy place, a place where I let go of everything that wasn't being.

Now I get there differently.

It takes... a morning of waking with him, my 6-month man who I'd like to be my *jinx* forever-man, coffee on the couch, idle chatter. A slow preparation for leaving. Pulling the car off the road to smell the pretty things, to take photos of new flowers, to pee down the side of oblong uptilted rock, competing... him,


of course, winning. A hike up Devil's Head, a 3-hour endeavor with stops, shared observations. Weaving our way down unknown roads, talking, listening to music, being quiet, soaking in sun through the windshield, wind ruffling via the sunroof.

It takes less. It is simple.

I am mellowing.

It is about time!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Canyon

One of my favorite memories of the canyon is him. Coming around the corner, cheeks stuffed with pb&j bagel, one bite pinched yet in his fingers. Striding toward me, trying to smile around all those cheeks.

I was hot. Not just with the 87 degree Grand Canyon sun, but furious at him for not giving me half the bagel. Hadn't I just raged 20 minutes ago about how hungry I was? Hadn't I been silent at our last stop in the shadow of the red layer? Hadn't that silence communicated to him that every part of my skin was prickly, that my stomach was growling, that tears were near? Hadn't he seen me stomp off, tired of waiting yet again for my brother and his girlfriend to finish their lunch, wanting to get out already, to get to the car and eat mounds of real food? Was he genetically-incapable of reading the needs of the woman he supposedly loved? Was he selfish? Was he stupid? 

"You didn't think to save half of that bagel for me?" 

The pinched bit was instantly thrust toward me.

"No, I don't want your last bite." Spit couldn't have sizzled more on the rocks.

Silently, but looking at my face and finally (hallelujah!) taking it in, he pulled off his pack and fished out a whole, intact, oatmeal & raisin Clif bar. 

It made a dent in my hunger. It made a dent in my anger. It loosened my tongue enough that I could tell him all that was going on. How I felt so strong, going up, ascending out of the canyon, how I was born to do that, but that it KILLED me to have to stop and wait. He listened in that quiet way he does. We looked at the blisters on his heel and toes. We speculated about how much more of our 10.3 mile hike might remain. He hugged me and held me by the small of my back. He helped me into my pack.

One of my favorite memories of the canyon is him. Watching me melt down. And calmly, coolly putting me back together.

-Grand Canyon, March 2015

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The True Things

Hiking in the sand dunes
you feel the true things
The happiness of giggling families
kids sliding down dunesides
the pure joy
of running 
flying
sandy plunge steps
the kiss of sun on cheeks, legs, 
so much warmth in February


The joy surges and you
Stop
and share it with him
what is real and true
the best in life
You wish for him
Will his way
across a thousand miles
around the signed divorce
over the hurts
the loss
you find the true things

The feeling
the knowing
the absolute
of that short list
joy
sunlight
laughter
Give to him and
know
that he feels it too

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Secret Side of Me

"You are living the life I always wanted."

HA! If only you knew!!!! Yes, I feel proud that you've said this and for a moment, I even forget the truth and the secret side of me. And yes, someone asking if they can publish a piece of my writing feels GREAT. But I also know the cost and the secret side of me. The vision that blurs around my periphery because I am concentrating-focused, racing from thing-to-thing-to-thing, trying to hold it all together and I care so much about it all that I can't bear to drop a single shard cuz I'm sure the whole caboodle would be shards if a strong enough wind came by. I do love it all: grad classes, new teaching job, MY STUDENTS (are awesome times 10,000,000!), my colleagues, my family (oh yes, they're in there somewhere), my mountains. The outside look is happy, happy, happy cuz I do love it all.

But the cost. Man, I know the cost. Nights like last night where I cannot drag myself to the pool. Instead my car steers itself to Target and the Oreos are open before I leave the parking lot. Potpies ensue - comfort food for the frenetic. I allow it. One night of total abandon. (I know, sexy abandon this. Feel free to add yoga pants and baggy sweatshirt for the full effect.) That somehow recharges my batteries and makes me able to get up the next day, get on my bike and charge uphill (yes, it is literally 5 miles uphill to my school) to see my students again and teach them math and writing and music and... life. Followed by the downhill ride where I plunk again in front of this laptop and respond, respond, respond to grad level reading but connect it to me. I have to make it who I am. Then to eat and exercise and have any kind of social life that is permitted at this point.

HA. If only you knew, colleague of mine... the secret side of me.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Autumn's Kiss

Kissed by autumn
sunlight and cold
their lips meet
and leave pure gold.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Picture of Fulfillment

Today, I walked into an eighth grade classroom where "my" kids were. The students I had last year. There was a groundswell of "Ms. Triiiiteacher, Ms. Triiiteacher..." And smiles. Let me tell you about the smiles. Every one of their faces swiveled in my direction, lit up in shining recognition.

I felt famous today. And gratified and fulfilled.

I said a brief piece about how I'd be co-teaching in that particular class two days a week (more cheers from the crowd) and then yielded the stage back to the eighth grade teacher. Throughout the class period, I worked my way through that crowd, asking about this one's horse, that one's favorite book from last year, checking for pretty shoes on the girl who shared my shoe fetish... reconnecting with the kids to whom I grew close last year. I have a great job.

It makes me more committed as I start my new role this year. I am teaching English to speakers of other languages. In this role, I get to be with many, many students across three grade levels. I have an opportunity to be present, to weave together my knowledge of 11-14 year-olds and my different areas of expertise: math, science, literacy, Spanish. I have the chance to do it all.

Vow: I am going to be the best, hardest-working, biggest-hearted, most attuned advocate and teacher for these students. I want them to excel, I want them to feel great, I want so much for them... let me see the way to give them the best in me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Diamond Necklace

“You wander from room to room
Hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck!”

-Rumi

I find the diamond necklace 
In the scramble up a chimney 
to a summit block 
and friends
In the easing of slight nausea 
as I descend to 10,000 feet




In the full body wag
of the creek over rocks
In the sight of a wild rose
and the rush of my dad
posing by a rose for Mom
backpack on his 70 year-old back
His goofiness
His steadfast neediness

The sight of a Shooting Star
and hours later humming
"Don't you know that you are a shooting star
Don't you know? Woah, yeah!"
And feeling it must be me
In sunlight on my face
daydreaming on the narrow gauge train



I reach up and feel --
Yes. Necklace.