Buenos Noches Travellers,
I would offer an apology for my extended absence, but it would be more of an apology to myself than to you.
I say instead, let’s call it research, otherwise known as living a human life.
I had been doing this little thing here on Sundays in attempt to illustrate that despite all of our worst efforts, little splendid moments are still budding in our lives…
Did you read those?
Here’s the first one, give it a read, so we can all be on the same page…
But instead of one week, this one is a summer’s worth of good small things…
Tonight I will give you the words and tomorrow night will be the images.
It’s like I’m going to first present you with the tell and tomorrow night give you the show…get it? Tell show, show and tell…
What did you think I would be less clever when I returned?
Come now, I would never disappoint you like that…
In no particular order of importance or any sense of chronology, here we go…
Strawberries. Strawberries. Strawberries…they are my favorite thing to grow. And photograph. And just marvel at…Hands down. The way their viney little selves twist and sprout and re-root. Their lovely little pink and white flowered faces peering up through their giant green leaves towards the sun.
And I’ve fallen in love with the life cycle of the berries themselves as well. I love to watch as they turn from a sort of albino white, to a barely blushed flesh to full luscious red. Their red is one of the lovliest shades. It’s so alive.
There should be a crayon called “Strawberry Red”. Someone call the Crayola committee.
I remembered the garden we had when I was a kid in New Mexico. My parents were still married and the ground was mostly cracked and dried, but there was a smallish garden patch situation. And there were strawberries I’d eat straight off the vine with my tiny fingers. One summer or fall, I remember that whole area of the yard was covered in Monarch butterflies and I wondered if they came for the berries. Because we think that stuff when we are young…
Side note, I have savored very few of my strawberries due to the squirrel. Don’t even ask me about that mother-effing squirrel…There will be a reckoning next Spring I assure you all.
Morning walks continue in all their glory. Mo is 13 now and I can see the age in her hips. We walk all the walks because I want to squeeze as much joy out of this life for her to take with her wherever she goes next. I want her to know how it has been my privilege to know her and call her mine.
I’ve seen cat tails for the first time this year, and these two little paths that call to us in an adjacent wooded area. I’ve also become very aware of these strange drifty swaths of cool air in the morning. The way it feels on my skin. I wonder if the ladies can feel it under their fur coats. It’s a distinct and unusual sensation.
My favorite thing about our walks this year has not been the sunrises, but the shadow of the three of us walking together around this one particular corner of our neighborhood. I feel like I’m going to remember that turn and our shadows together when I’m old and gray.
The sunflowers are out hitchhiking on the sides of the highway again. Every Fall they show up in droves and I just love seeing them. It’s very Kansas.
AND there is this field, half on a hill, half in a valley kind of arrangement…right now there are hay bails spaced out across the plowed landscape and I can’t explain what it is, but I look for this area each time I take the drive. I find it comforting and reassuring in the weirdest good way. And I don’t have a photo of it, because I just like to see it. I like to know it’s there still.
I’ve eaten TOO MANY good fresh cantaloupes, pineapples, peaches and mangoes to count. Best combo ever goes to Bing cherries, champagne mangoes, and pink lady apples all diced up together in a bowl that I stirred with my hand.
I love to eat with my fingers instead of forks, don’t you? Food tastes better when you use your hands. Touch your food people. Obviously, wash your hands first, but touch that food. Especially the ones that can stain your skin. There’s something really marvelous about that…it’s sexy.
I saw a hummingbird in my own garden. First time ever. It was rather serendipitous. I had just taught my yoga class and we were discussing how I had never had one in my yard. Never. EVER. Within an hour later, I was on the phone and glanced out my kitchen window and there he/she was. Just like that suckling the flowers on my cactus. Just suddenly there. It makes me smile still… it’s so good just remembering.
One of my clients had this fantastic t-shirt on one day at work. It was a play on the old Jaws poster, but with Cookie Monster. It’s 100% fabulous. A week or so later, he knocked on my office door and presented the shirt to me in a bag. He had bought it at a Thirft Store and he said it was meant to be mine, he had just gotten it into my hands.
See that, Kindness is still here with us.
AND he’s a tall guy, so this is a t-shirt that could be a dress on me. Or a night shirt. And THAT jarred loose a memory that had been long lost about how as a kid I liked to wear my uncle Mike’s t-shirts to sleep in. Proportionally speaking, this shirt fits me about the same. And when I put it on, it made me feel something like however we feel when we are kids, and don’t know what the world really is. Like a kind of safety. A kind of safety I hope children can still find in this world. Even now.
I have been to two concerts this summer…the Foo Fighters, with 18,000 people. YES, 18,000. Accompanied by a guy who does not know how good of a guy he is…like when you know someone and wished that they could see themselves. He’s one of those and he’s hot. He doesn’t see that either, which is part of his charm. We are seeing his favorite band in October the day after the one year anniversary of Dave’s suicide, so kind of a big deal.
The best past was not just the show, the Foos are worth at least twice the price of admission. It was just being there, outdoors, with all the people…it was the closest to 2019 that I have been…it was like visiting the memory of our shared humanity. Where there were no variants of any kind, human or virus.
It was SO good. And SO bittersweet. Like we had taken a ride in that infamous DeLorean.
Concert #2 was Dermot Kennedy. I bought the ticket the morning of the show and I went on my own. First concert by myself. Hold your applause. Here’s the thing that makes this extraordinary, this day was the last time I felt Dave’s presence and something changed after this day.
I had this feeling that day, like the most reassuring feeling deep down inside myself, that I will be okay if I have to go it alone for the rest of my life. I have been loved, had all the sex, in all the places (Sorry Dad) and I have loved more than one boy. And it’s been more than most get.
When I went to the show, the opening was Bishop Briggs, whom is the last person Dave and I saw together in concert. I didn’t know she was the opening act AND she changed her emblem to an angel. And when Dermot Kennedy sang this song completely accapella, I could feel Dave. Just there next to me.
I know how this sounds, like someone call a doctor, she’s obviously misplaced her senses, but truly, I had the strangest car ride home. I encountered a shooting, a car accident, an accident involving a flipped semi and then a downpour of a storm with a sky full of lightening.
And when I woke up, I felt different and I’ve felt different ever since in a way I can’t explain. I’ve almost made an entire trip around the sun without him. Whatever is left of my life, it will be without him. And I will miss him, as I have missed him. And when I think of him, my eyes well up and I cry, as I am now. He’s on my short list of the souls I hope to meet again someday. Here on Earth or somewhere else.
My dear friend celebrated his 86th birthday for which I made another Hummingbird Cake. Rest assured no actual hummingbirds were harmed in the making of said cake…no idea why it’s called that…if you figure it out let me know. The real point is that friendships taste particularly sweet in this world, don’t they? They have become a fortune even greater than they were in the prior incarnation of human life on Earth, AKA pre-Covid.
I tried out dating apps…I know, Boo, Hiss, Gasp…I did a week-ish on Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder each. Safe to say, it’s not for me. Let’s just call it a smattering of boys or men…dates, conversations, had some drinks, some kissing, hugged a couple, one put his hands on my legs while we talked at a bar and on my low back as we wandered downtown Lawrence in such a way that made me feel like life was reminding me of what it’s like to be with someone. In the best way.
When I was in the process of getting divorced, I heard this song and I felt so very strongly inside that there was someone out in this world for me. There was a happier ending for me, another chance for me, another soul I hadn’t crossed yet and just something good was going to happen. I had a dream not long ago that I was getting married in Centennial Park and while I didn’t see the guy, my brother was walking me down the aisle and my friends were waiting for me and I was so happy. Everyone was so happy. And it didn’t feel too far away, somewhere in the nearby few years, so who knows…
That’s really what I want to drive home to everyone here. The world appears to be an enormous dumpster fire of legendary proportions, but I still believe we can make something good happen. In our own lives, in the lives of the people we care for, in the lives of people we don’t know…but it starts inside us.
Look for the goodness. The remnants of our human-ness. Kindness. Delish-ness. Softness. Ember in the darkness. A kiss on the nape of your neck sexiness. The stains on your fingers from fresh cherries beautifulness.
You have my word, it can still be found.