the color of water

the color of the water

“have you SEEN the color of that water?” sara says to me, again, for what seems like the millionth time.

“it’s so beautiful.” i reply. and i mean it.

the color of the water in the cove is a seductive shade of perfect turquoise. it sings a silent song, which beckons you to its shore, the allure too strong and too serene to resist. like moths to a flame, even we land babies cannot resist the color of that water, the gentle bluffs rising from the waters edge, the quaking leaves of cedar, elm, oak and ash. the intermittent splash of baby bass, the distant echo of faraway voices from the opposite side of the shady cove, the yelp of a small dog, the billow of a big one. the honking of geese, too rebellious to adhere to their genetic makeup and fly north for the hot winter months.

Casey, his beard curled and greyed, his legs white, his eyes a bit down-turned and defeated, takes the old silver canoe without a paddle and splashes about the cove, until alone he capsizes. It’s shallow and he can swim. We lazily look over to the splashing from our perches atop the dock.

“Is he ok?”
“Yeah I see splashing, he’s fine.”
“Should we uh….help him or something?”
“Yeah I guess.”

And Reis walks over, helps Casey, and thus begins the casual teasing of the one-man-canoe-capsize for the remainder of the weekend.

“Who carries their birth certificate in their wallet?” we tease Casey as he assesses the soaked situation he has now found himself in.

“What’s next, Case, your social security card?” I tease as he begrudgingly pulls his floppy, wet social security card out of his dripping wallet. Cackles of laughter ensue, echoing off the bluffs, the metal interior of the dock, the supports of the pontoon boat swaying slowly beside us.

Sara and Jason crack Keystone Light after Keystone Light, and puff cigarette after cigarette, an exhibition of excessive intake, but fuck it; we’re on vacation. Reis and his friend Kim, visiting from Fort Collins, lounge on the table and chairs on the wooden planks of the dock. Kim does her best to keep it all in stride, but the wrinkles between her shoulder blades and rapid darting of her eyes suggests she may be a bit out of here element here in the middle of the Ozarks. And not that we can blame her – we’re one hell of a smoking, drinking, swearing motley crue, welcoming but abrasive to new faces. We do not accommodate, but we carry no judgement and heed no expectation.

i took some drugs. you know, to enhance the experience. LSD, my substance of choice, came on quickly and much stronger than expected. this was only my second time experimenting with this realm – the first time had been at this same location nearly a year ago. the colors’ vibrancy turned up, the butterflies scouting about the dripping karst rock formation near the dock expounded in infinite numbers, the clouds trailed off in spirals, whirlpools of the heavens. each leaf of rustling oaks melted into each other like flecks of cheddar on hot sourdough. cigarette after cigarette was smoked, the result of an unabiding oral fixation. using my phone was a challenge, i cannot comprehend the intricacies of technology in this primitive state of mind.

the experience was much more intense than planned – i guess that’s why they call it a “trip”? i couldn’t take the words, the colors, the stimulation of normalcy. so i took my little dog for a nap in the back of the VW, the world floating around us. for hours, we lay together, chasing an elusive sleep until the dial of the drugs ebbed down with time, and we emerged into the woods in time for the earliest embers of a campfire.

as the flames licked oak stumps, Sara opened package after package of smoked meat, lay it about casually on the iron grill. i cranked the tunes on the VW, grabbed my hoop and pulsed my brain and body, still alive with LSD, about the woods, moving my every inch to the demands of the hula hoop. beastie boys. bob dylan. band of heathens, talking heads. gorillaz. tom petty. we listened to anything and everything as the sun began to set over the pines and gentle rolling hills of the distance.

we spent sunset on the dock, Casey, Matt and i.

“I wish I could hit the pause button on this sunset.” i said, as I kicked my legs into the hammock Reis had hung earlier.

We blasted AMERICA, FUCK YEAH on Matt’s phone, and i laughed so hard, my face hurt. Casey vented some girl problems and i reassured him that women were in fact crazy, and he had nothing to worry about; he was a kind, sweet man, and if he waited, the right woman would come along. I hope this will not come to be a lie in later years. I sincerely hope.

And, as expected, the sun set, as it always seems to do. And we wandered up the lavender-butterfly covered bluff to the campfire and listened to music and cooked meat and drank and smoked and laughed. And laughed. I held court and held my belly as my stomach muscles stung with the extasy of laughter. A real good time, a genuinely happy moment among my motley crue of Arkansawyers.

I have never been this happy. I will always remember this feeling, of love, of wilderness, of pine trees, the gentle scent of smoke and cannabis and a cozy breeze coating everything in stillness. I slept in the back of the VW, my sweet dog lying soundly by my side, the light of nearby campfire reflecting about the wagon, the softness of it all. The ubiquity of perfection, here by the lake.

In the morning we cooked bacon, we tended the coals, we said one final goodbye to the dock and the emerald green waters of Beaver Lake.

“Have you SEEN the color of this water?!” Sara yelled to me from her perch atop a rocky outcropping.

“I can’t get enough of it!” I yelled back.

Sometimes, when looking down into the emerald water, i think it is perhaps gazing back up at me, my hazel eyes turned an envious green, if just for a moment. And the butterflies flit about, and the water drips slowly, and somewhere in the distance, the echoes of time reflect back up into my mind, a lost place of stillness; oh, the haunting color of that water. In dreams, it finds me still.

 

rescue me, beneath the live oaks, the falling sky

rescue me, beneath the live oaks, the falling sky

i have been saved, it appears. not by some dude in a white robe and a long beard, but by a man who knows not of the power he possesses over my heart, over my mind, over every atom and inch of my being which i choose to give. i won’t give it all, but i’m willing to part with most of it.

we met for the first time in 3 trips around the sun. it was like picking up the best book you’ve ever read and putting it down, only to return to it later and find that its luster sustained through the years, that the characters are just as vivacious, the desire to turn page after page after page is not only strong, but importunately weighted upon your fingertips like anchors on the fins of fish.

i relish this moment. i look into this man’s eyes and he sees me. he looks into me like no one has, and in this moment of stillness i feel whirled into the stars at a million miles an hour, my heart races, i swallow, i glance downward, i am moved.

we checked into our hotel room – the ultimate bow to tie onto this weekend: one bed, or two? he goes with one. a king. it’s that kind of getaway.

we look coyly at the bed, throw our stuff down, and head out the door to imbibe, take the edge off, reconnect. we walk to Magazine street and duck into a small pub. bruce springsteen rocks the jukebox and i tell him “bruce is my favorite” and he tells me we can “agree to disagree” and we toss back a few more (and by a few i mean a few) and proceed next door for mexican grub and conversation and i’m still so nervous i can barely form sentences.

we return to the hotel room. we do what two people who haven’t seen each other in three years do in a hotel room. and it was spectacular. we lay in bed and stare at each other, falling asleep as the birds begin to rouse, as the sun begins to peek through the blinds. my face hurts from smiling.

in the morning we make our way to the St. Charles Cafe as finely dressed families filter in and out to the sounds of live guitar music, celebrating Mother’s Day. the city is slow today, i am in no hurry. cheesy grits, bacon, black coffee, he palms at my hands. this is it.

we filter in and out of the crescent city, talking of things that matter, things that don’t. he rolls cigarettes with his fingers as we walk, i take pictures of trees and wax poetically on Faulkner, Welty, Andrew Jackson. we edge the curbs to avoid panhandlers, admire the squared balconies of the French Quarter, laden with ivy, moss, low-hanging ferns and centuries of city sludge. he holds my hand, our arms extended fully, a perfect fit, palm to palm ambling along the cobblestones.

we admire drakes quacking about the lakes of Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. “Why is this place so empty?” he asks. “Beats me, it’s beautiful”. we spot a kingfisher, steadfast and unmoved at the edge of a lake, eying his next meal.

we are everywhere we’re supposed to be, we are becoming who we should. we are together in this moment. it’s fucking perfect, nothing like i would imagine, for imagining leads to the ultimate doom of expectation, unrealized dreams, disappointment. for this man, i will not travel to that land, because i would go anywhere else to be with him.

we sit on a bench in City Park, beneath the fern-drenched boughs of Live Oaks. “If I wasn’t wearing a skirt, I would lay down and put my head in your lap” I say. “You can do that anyway.” he replies.

i comes time to leave. we hold hands. we hold each other’s faces. i look into blue eyes, he brown. this is one of he best weekends of my life, aside from the one we shared together, when i first met you, nearly 5 years ago. it’s meant to be this way again. it might be meant to be this way forever.

but that’s forever away. and for now, we’ll have phone conversations, witty banter, letters and thoughts and smiles and a thin white string running from wherever i am, to wherever you are.

my dreams of you, have ruined you?

my dreams of you, have ruined you?

they’ve been wildly vivid dreams of late. the kind where you regret waking, where your dreams bring to fruition the perpetual cycle of imagination, steeped in sleep.

i get lost in my own head in bouts of boredom, bouts of stress, bouts of sexual inactivity. i dream of a man, or a big blue horse, or of a land far away and filled with smells and sights and people and sounds unfamiliar to me. i dream in a world unattached to comfort. and in this, i find a safe space.

i dream of a man, a blue eyed man, who i shared a kiss with once in a dark tent on the side of a mountain. it was June, the air was still crisp, and we had just met each other 24 hours previously. maybe not even that long. i didn’t over-think things then. it seemed a little simpler. i looked into his eyes and i didn’t think about reciprocation, or expectation. i merely admired their kindness, their color.

his demeanor was light, easy, airy. it still is. i read it on the letters he’s written me over the years, i re-read them from time to time. they don’t make me feel sad, nor do they fill me with regret. with this man, i have yet to do no wrong. he has yet to do no wrong. we’ve traveled down the same road, side by side for some years now, without ever seeing each other. we’re climbing up the same mountain. he’s on the north side, i’m on the south.

in a few weeks, after 5 years of knowing each other, we will finally meet on top of this mountain. we’ll meet down south, in a big city, surrounded by jazz, heat, the crooked, black branches of live oaks and the fallen blossoms of pink dogwoods. we’ll be harangued by street peddlers, i’ll gawk at horse drawn carriages, he’ll make sure there are no awkward silences.

but will this man live up to the guy i’ve been dreaming about? will my near-constant daydreams have squashed the potential for this reality to be bliss?

they say that expectation is the thief of joy. but how to i free the person of my dreams for the person at my feet? there are two men here. one is real, one is more real. i would like to stop dreaming, but the dreams fuel my reality, for one day, hopefully, they can come true and i can move onto dreaming of other things, completing the perpetual wheel of desire and want, never landing on anything solid. for a girl who finds comfort in walking on quaking ground, a solid place equates to an immobile, trapped existence.

this man, he always moves. he’s like air. but i do not desire to grasp this person, attempt the impossible. i intend to let him flow his existance over me like a breeze, weave his essence through my hair, close my eyes, and know it’s real, this time.

hopefully he won’t disappoint himself. hopefully, i won’t let him, my mind, the air and breeze, and the impossibility of reality, under live oaks and over dirty streets, being drowned in the odor honeysuckle. i hold my breath.

what does it mean to cope?

what does it mean to cope?

what does it mean to progress? we measure progress by successes. by attaining a triumph, or two. by defeating an enemy, by sustaining a winning streak. by curbing the urge to give in to temptation, to maintain a sickness a depression by continuing non-productive means of coping.

what does it mean to cope? coping implies a hidden pain. a life free of burden requires nothing but openness. only when you’ve had a few doors wrongly thrown against your face do you strive to shield yourself from the impending and certain onslaught. my arms are braced for impact, my heart races at the thought of what it to come. i have been thrown into the world of harsh reality, and sometimes its just too painful to bear. sometimes the places of pain and darkness become life’s only comfort, life’s only familiar place, the heart’s only familiar feeling.

if i was born in a cave of darkness, the light and color of the world would seem foreign, frightening. if i were born in a land of milk and honey, the damp, crepuscular world beneath the earth would stifle and suffocate me. but our reality can change. we are adaptable. like the iris of the eye, our minds can shrink and expand to buck the inherent dynamism of life.

what does it mean to cope? it means an aversion to change. we are not made of water. we are not made of earth. we are not made of air, or fire. we are all; immutable. we can flow through life like a brook, a stream, rage through existence with the voracity of wildfire, we can float above affliction and peer down upon ourselves like eagles over a lake rippled with big fish. we must protect ourselves. like the lake fish, we keep our eyes to the sky, our eyes to the lakebed. we search for threats, we search for that which nourishes us.

i am a deer. i am a deer in a deep, dark forest. i am alone. i am comforted. i watch the other deer, frolicking about in the open meadow. i watch them kick their hind legs, bow their heads, twist and whirl in a blissful existence of naivetivity. i once played in the same field. i ate the lush grass, enjoyed the sunshine on my face. do i dare enjoy this place? i shall don my horns of wisdom and walk upon this space. i have heard the nightingales singing, each to each.

i do not think that they will sing to me.

i love lists: your greatest comforts

i love lists: your greatest comforts

i love lists. YOU love lists. now featuring a list, yep, of my greatest comforts. what are yours?

1. kissing my little pooch, smack dab on his puppy nose.
2. hugging my father.
3. fragrant, smoky gusts of the first winds of fall.
4. oatmeal.
5. sitting by a campfire, drinking whiskey and singing songs.
6. dancing with reckless abandon atop Mulberry Mountain during Wakarusa.
7. being the only unruly white girl in a sea of Thai people in the middle of Bangkok rush hour.
8. the first drag of a cigarette with my first sip of coffee.
9. my bed, and all of its perfectly plump pillows.
10. memories of high school.
11. hoodies. gloves. baggy sweaters. warm boots.
12. reading a book on a sheepskin next to the fire in the grand room of my parents house.
13. pizza after a long day of shredding the gnar.
14. sinking new tracks in freshly fallen snow in the middle of a flitting pine forest.
15. summer nights.
16. standing on the top of very, very tall mountains.
17. blue-eyed, tattooed, pierced, sarcastic men.
18. running.
19. gazing out onto stretches of vast prairie, in the west, wyoming, colorado, the big sky and rolling clouds.
20. horses. everything about horses.
21. the smell of a barn, the smell of a tack room.
22. sleeping on the chest of the man i love, hearing his heart, rising and falling with his breath.
23. the smell of rosemary, the smell of prairie sage.
24. washing my face at night, brushing my teeth.
25. family.

a green glow to the west

a green glow to the west

a few weeks ago, i walked out of a library and looked to the west as it mysteriously glowed green. my sleepy little town was lit from below by some strange, ominous light.

my dear friend had told me that night, the Aurora Borealis would be visiting my home land of Colorado, and i was epically disappointed i would be missing it. i would be missing the ephemeral flashes of color, shirking humanity for one wondrous night.

looking to the west, i was sure my Aurora dreams had come true. i took my pup and drove to the top of a mountain to gaze at the source of this light, this glowing. i was not alone – dozens of others joined me atop this precipice to see that this omen of (good?) (bad?) fortune was indeed shining on from our massive, aesthetically unpleasing football stadium, which i would eventually learn was a jumbo-tron malfunction.

how cruel.

i texted a man, whom has occupied my thoughts. he called me a witch, and i took the compliment. i thought of the spell this light had cast on our town, if only for a fleeting night, and i found myself thankful. sometimes, what i not real supersedes what might be. if i were to have a false Aurora, or no Aurora, i choose faux.

i choose to see the beauty in things that are, and things that are not. i choose to daydream. i choose to imagine beautiful, amazing things which will never come to fruition, for they are powerful visions, taciturn, fraught with the most meaningful and meaningless powers of my mind. i implore them.

i fell asleep, to the green glow and i envied not those who saw the real show that night. ours, albeit faux, was brighter. the man in my dreams, the man who passionately runs his hands across my body at midnight, the man whose intensity radiates through my bones like static, he’s real in my thoughts; his contrivance in reality is too terrifying to bear. my heart breaks already.

together in solitude

together in solitude

two days after christmas, we went to a cabin in Estes Park, to be alone to be together. my brothers and i, our aging parents. even though we come from different blood, i consider them my brothers. perhaps our genetic barrier is what forces us to make the extra effort to be closer to one another. honestly, i don’t know what i’d do without them

the YMCA encourages you to find your inner child. the boys went ice skating, roller skating, hiked a bit, smoked cigarette after cigarette and navigated their free time like two teenagers who’d cut class. enjoyment of life seemed a novelty to them. uncomfortable with time, time that was theirs, to do with it what they pleased. they made wooden airplanes, powered by twisted rubber bands and flew them in an open field in the middle of the rocky mountains, wearing black pea coats and thin socks.

it’s as if they didn’t belong. and that is ok.

adjusting to your old home, coming back from living far away, making the familiar the foreign and the foreign the familiar is one of the most alienating life experiences. i feel the same way, when returning to colorado, my home, the land of beards & beer & mountains. it’s what i dream of, and it’s what fuels my insomnia.

my mother made tea. my dad went fishing. we came together and played games and silently picked puzzle pieces together as the sky lost light and the moon crept over the tops of some jagged, rusting mountains in the distance.

the fire warmed my legs. i moved the grate as little sparks spat out, and ben yelled, concerned i didn’t know what i was doing. i knew. i always know. even if it’s to my detriment, i always know.

i took long walks with my mother. she’s aging, but simultaneously discovering the child she never had the time to be. her dedication to a new path, yoga, Ayurveda, conjures up a new light and energy in her i have never seen before – perhaps it’s because i was too young to care to look. now, i look for her spark, i cherish it. i beg her to cherish it herself. it’s far too easy to worry about a mother who worries too much. my mother worries too much. as a perfect daughter, i would give her nothing to worry about. i’m always striving to do just that.

our time at the cabin was tense, a bit, but one of the times i will cherish most. i will cherish learning how to be a big sister to my big brother. i will cherish learning to turn the car on an old relationship and embrace driving down a new road, in a new direction, creating new definitions of what it means to “love”. we are not what we were, and i must learn to love what we are and what we will be. i want my brother back. and once he finds himself and his power and happiness, i will once again hold his hand and walk down the black beaches of La Jolla and talk of tide pools, of sunshine, of things that matter and things that don’t.