Uncertainty and Hope

Beloved, let us sit down together in the shadow of the oaks; let us take deep draughts of fresh water from the clear, swift stream. In the scorching heat of the middle of day, let us take refreshment like the dragonflies that skim the water’s edge, and be restored by the caroling of birds in the distant shade.Digital illustration from a photo: By the Cooling Stream

The days are long and our work makes wearying and seemingly infinite demands, and we know that this will not soon change. There is change of many sorts ahead, this we know too, but what it will be is yet beyond our imagining. Thus it has been, and so shall it ever be: we travel our paths, seldom knowing quite where they lead, and we labor in darkness the while. Some days, the destination is sparkling joy, and on others it is marred by sorrow and strife; at times, the mists of uncertainty part and the way ahead becomes clear, and at others it remains quite fully obscure.

Photo montage: Beloved, Let Us Sit

What I know, Beloved, is this—that no matter how hard or easeful is the road and no matter what the destination holds for us, we walk our way together, you and I. We may long for clarity and even for the strength to wait for it, but in the meantime we will take our stops for breath along the way, sitting in shade when we may and drinking deeply from the icy stream, traveling always hand in hand no matter what the journey brings.

I am a Three-Year-Old

Digital illustration: Coloring Book/Stained GlassHave I matured as much in three years of daily blogging as a toddler does in her first three years of life? Highly unlikely. I was, after all, already a half century old and probably set in many of my ways to a degree that could forestall any large amount of progress toward real change, or at least drag it by the ankles dramatically.

Chances are, I haven’t made a huge number of changes as a person in general during the last three years. But I can lay claim to some growth, after all.

Moving to the wholly new world of life here in Texas in 2009 certainly necessitated some change. My aging corpus may not have made the transition perfectly: being over-endowed with the internal furnace function of middle-aged hormonal fun isn’t entirely compatible with the outdoor temperature norms here, and like many transplanted citizens I’ve done some battle with the local slate of allergens new to my system.

On the positive side, what I’ve found as a blogger echoes the best of what I found in migrating from my longtime home in the Pacific Northwest to the new-to-me frontier of North Texas, an entirely different sort of northern-ness. Entering new territories, both the real and the online ones, presented the possibility of encountering insurmountable tasks and challenges, or worse yet, unfriendly natives. Of course, my being still in Texas after five years and still blogging after three tells you that none of those fears proved true. Quite the reverse, in fact, considering that I’ve had some lovely experiences in both worlds during my brief tenure here, and I’ve garnered a whole cadre of wonderful friends in both, as well.

In short, I would amend my initial statement so far as to say that anything leading to such an exponential increase in the size and variety and quality of my circle of compatriots seems to me the very best kind of growth possible. Happy blogiversary to me this week—and more importantly, from me to all of you, who have made the journey so worthwhile and still so inviting. Who knows where the next three years may take us all!

The Intersection

Lacking, as I do (see yesterday’s post!) any real sense of direction, physically or otherwise, in my life’s journey, I kind of live it in the middle of the intersection. You know, when the traffic slows down and the smog clears, it’s kind of exciting and always interesting here at the crossroads.digitally doctored photo

There are not only all of the events and incidents that brought me to the place where I stand at any given moment, but so much more that enriches life in the intersection. All of the peripheral things that I didn’t do—yet, anyway—lie somewhere nearby, should I change course or take notice and choose to move accordingly. There are all of the other people who come and go up and down the same roads and walkways, and there are all of those who cross my path at any given intersection, and all of their lives and adventures are influences on my own travel, even on my moments of standing absolutely still there.

And then I move on, often without any greater sense of direction than before, but also, often enough, with an optimistic sense that I will soon find myself having yet another unexpected, very unplanned trip through yet another unknown intersection.

Signs of Things to Come

I’m so far from being clairvoyant that one could hardly accuse me of even knowing what’s happening right in front of me. I’m not even all that hot at figuring out my own history, let alone any that’s larger than me or mine. I’m just plain not very observant.

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Even familiar places can lead me astray.

I do have an interested and curious eye for colorful details, don’t get me wrong. Mostly, I’m intrigued by the arcane and eccentric, so it’s inherently unlikely that what catches my attention is useful, meaningful or significant. The reality of my frivolous and shallow frame of mind is that it is easily filled up with trivia and obscure oddities.

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If you walk a mile in *my* shoes, you just might get really, really lost.

So forgive me if I’m clueless about what is in my future, or anyone else’s. I can barely find my way from one end of my own house to the other without a map, and I sure as heck don’t have better skills for figuring out how to get from one point in my own history to the next, let alone the history of the larger world. Great reason for me to avoid messing around in history and just enjoy the smaller victories over my little reality. I mean, here I am in the den and I found my way here from the garage when we got home. And I enjoyed all sorts of details along the way, signs and all. See you around!

Tell Me Not What Lies Ahead

digital illustration from a photoEven if I could I would rather not see the future. If it’s not to my liking, then I’ll despair and give up all attempts to improve upon it; if appealing, it will tempt me to live in constant yearning and not invest my heart and hands in my own present.

That doesn’t stop me from persistently trying to scry any hints of what’s to come in whatever handy crystal ball I can conjure. We’re curious creatures, we humans, and impatient at that. I wish and want and hope and dream, along with all of my fellow mortals, thinking that if I just knew what lay around the next bend of the road, surely I would be content, or at least if not content then prepared. But few who have access to dates and deadlines, foresight and certainties actually prepare in full, and once the approaching events are known they so often become the sole focus of the journey, not a point along the way, in fact distracting us from all of the possibly meaningful points that do exist en route.

I would rather not give myself any excuses for being even less attentive than I already am, and to be honest, I think it would take a fair measure of the charm out of discovering my life with a degree of surprise as it happens. Do I hope that what comes will be pleasurable and kind and fulfilling? Naturally. But whatever it is, I will let it keep its secrets for now; there is a lot to be seen and felt and done long before I get there, wherever there is and whatever it holds.

Green Means Go

It’ll be a while yet. Spring and its sprouts aren’t making any particular headway even here in Texas just now, and I don’t expect to see any more than tiny hints of promising green until the current cycle of typically unpredictable and radically changeable temperatures settle into their usual late-February-into-March kindliness. But I can’t help thinking ahead.photoAfter all, there’s such a compelling sense of momentum that comes with those first tiny glimpses of something ever so delicate and yet determinedly pointy that forces its way out of hard ground and harder branches. The very fact that they can emerge from such unwilling sources tells me that once they’ve driven through those barriers, not only is there little that could stop them, they will pick up speed as they go, unfolding, uncurling, swelling, bursting into bloom, and finally, enlarging into the full fruits of the season. Such a suffusion of newness and energy and purpose!photoI look forward, in the same way, to some of my many projects coming to fruition, as I so rarely know what the final outcome will be, really. What seems like a perfectly lovely little green bell pepper can grow up into a dramatically bold but even sweeter scarlet capiscum, if nurtured and tended along its sojourn of development; in the same way, what may have begun as a quick little one-line idea sketch with pencil or pen while I sat in the back of a rehearsal hall or in the waiting room before an appointment could well grow up, over time, into a digitally enhanced illustration full of color and texture and layers that I hadn’t planned at the start. Whatever the result, it begins with the green bud or the green light of an idea, and I cannot resist the allure of that color, beckoning me with its promises and possibilities.

The End of Us is Not the End of All Things

photoHer Bones are Glass

Her bones are glass; the diamonds in her eyes

Now shining dust, yet still and otherwise,

Though time says that she must, she still decries

The need, opposes it by effort, will

And awful grief and rage at what would kill

Her body, spirit, mind and heart, until

She mounts the ridges of that final hill,

‘Til battle’s over and the victory won;

So while she harries them, Age sets her sun

A-fade, Time lets her hourglass empty run,

Approach the space where sleep and she are one;

The sands thin silently, passing to less-

Than-empty, right to utter nothingness,

In view but fading, to her pale distress,

Her winding-sheet already worn for dress,

‘Til battle’s over and the victory won;

Comfort she needs, yet I can offer none

‘Til battle’s over and her victory won.photo