“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

9.30.2008

Bird as muse

I'm starting to see birds everywhere.

This little leaf is the first outside thing I saw this morning,
balanced upright on its side, pecking at the ground.

Harvey is starting to make a lot of sense to me.
jimmy stewart

9.29.2008

Gifts where there seemed to be none

In which I receive gifts.

I am busy, busy, busy & I do not do busy, busy, busy well at all. I am a mess. You no doubt can see me pulling out my hair, wringing my hands, doing my usual job of agonizing oh-so-well. Much is out of my control. Yesterday & today I forced myself to stand still, at least inside myself (this week there is no standing still allowed outside myself) and find the smiles of the Universe. Here is what I received in return: 1. The very first insects to fly through my new front door were 2 mating dragonflies - they flew a circle around those of us in the room & back out. That cannot be a bad sign. 2. a young girl flying a kite from her scooter 3. a surprise of a book, all wrapped in pink paper, from the wonderful Robin 4. a wonderful secret that I cannot tell just yet, but it's truly, truly happy-making (and if my mother is reading this, no, I'm not getting married) 5. getting lost on familiar backroads with the ever-wonderful Michael, and ending up at a cafe that served a fabulous baked potato - you know, just normal size, perfectly baked, butter only, salt & pepper; no unnecessary stuff piled on top, probably homegrown 6. election signs in the front yards of people way off on some country back road that read Vote Obama/Noriega, and no, I don't get it either, and I'm not breaking a rule & talking politics - they just made no sense & that made me smile; I was in the mood for nonsensical stuff 7. that movie with Doris Day & the guy that played Sissy & Buffy's uncle was on tv - the one where they each have about 8 or 9 kids, and then they fall in love & get married, and it was truly awful & made me so happy 8. Mad Men.

9. This silence in front of the computer screen

9.28.2008

Trail of hearts

I thought she didn't love me anymore.

It was a tough week for Maggie - one that meant more pills hidden in treats so that she would maybe not know they were there, so that maybe she would just have them swallowed before she knew it. Maybe she'd never know it. But not this week. This week she became the Maggie she used to be - the Maggie who would fight you over a pill. I knew things had been going too smoothly - in fact, it concerned me, although I silently thanked God & the Universe & whoever else might be listening for the ease with which she'd been eating those little things. Even though they were tucked away in wonderful little treats, she'd usually not been fooled. She usually refused. No way. But this summer? This summer, she'd been eating the pill-laden treats as if they were candy - no big deal. But not this week. This week she hated me. She wouldn't even try. She'd just look at the treat & sit back & look at me. With disdain.

But she had to have the medicine. I couldn't live with myself if I allowed a little pill to get in the way of her feeling better. All of you who live with cats will understand what that meant. It meant war & scratches & bites & more scratches & crying on my part & yowls on her part & more scratches & general misery all around. It broke my heart. I hated it. I hated how it made her feel more than I hated my torn-up hands. She would quickly skedaddle outside when it was all over. She wanted away from me. So I'd give her a bit of time to herself & then I'd find her & pick her up - and thankfully she always let me, although she would eye me quite suspiciously as I approached - & hold her for a few minutes. Rub my cheek against hers. Wait until she started to purr. Sometimes it just took a second, sometimes longer, but in a few minutes she'd want down again, and I'd let her go. Away from me.

But look at the image above. You can just see Maggie's tail as she rounds the corner ahead of me. And see that trail of hearts she left behind?

She still loves me.
i cannot live without her

9.26.2008

Forgotten leaves

I forgot.

I forgot about the way leaves change. I was jealous of Jaime's red leaves, told her we didn't get that here in NE Texas, which is true, is true, we don't. But I forgot about what we do get. We get golden, we get silver, we get stars & arrows & hearts. As I child, I'd walk to school through the woods keeping my eyes open for beautiful leaves & pine cones & acorn caps - I was enchanted with their shapes as well as colors - possibly more. Leaves shaped like arrows were my very favorite - I forgot how they'd point the way here & there, how I considered them as fairy talismans. I use them now in my artwork, I keep them now in my house, flattened between wax paper - I'd forgotten why they held such meaning for me. I forgot about the Japanese maples which do go very red, I forgot about the ginkgos which go golden all at once - every leaf changing at the same time. I forgot about the lovely way they fall when the wind whips up, a storm of good luck & hope falling in front of my door. I forgot.

Autumn approaches to remind me.

9.24.2008

Hither & yon

See those 2 hands?
The ones holding on for dear life?
Connected to someone who's being thrown hither & yon?

Hither & yon. Hither & yon. Hither & yon. Faster & faster, this way & that, back again to the same spot - wait! wasn't I here already? Why I am here again? - wait! - now I'm not there - wait, I need a break! - wait, this is too fast, too high, too, too, too low! - I 'm going to fly through that fence! But wait! I'm back to this spot again!

I'm having one of those days. I just want it to slow down - I want to just say "Wait!", and like when EF Hutton talks, I want things to stop! Just stop. Just for a few moments. Let me catch my breath! Because I should care about an employee's broken foot, should care that this means someone will have to be hired as his temporary assistant - someone to haul camera equipment & lights - and mentally I do - I do care- but emotionally I can't muster up the emotion. I am full already - there is no more room. I am cared out.

When I look again at the above image, I notice that that person doesn't seem to really be holding on all that tight. I think to myself that I should've chosen a picture with the little car flying out of the picture - that would be more illustrative of my feelings today. But then I think that maybe the not holding on so tight is the remedy - maybe my muse/guardian angel chose this picture, maybe I had nothing to do with it - maybe because I'm supposed to notice that those hands are actually having fun. Despite all the hither & yons. Maybe because of the hither & yons.

Because yes, I'm admitting it now, days are full of hithers & yons. And yes, some of those yons are pretty scary, pretty aggravating or annoying, but there's always that hither bringing me back. Always. No thing is permanent, said the Buddha. So I will try to remember that today is this ride - one I'm not particularly crazy about - but tomorrow may be that lovely, slow, stars overhead, nighttime Ferris wheel, or a carousel with a giant sky-blue giraffe waiting for me to climb on board, or maybe even bumper cars.

I'm thinking today would be a great day for bumper cars.
jane, how do you stop this crazy thing?

9.23.2008

Behind the fair

The back of the fair.
Behind the Mardi Gras building,
all crazy mirrors & mazes.

I am quite, quite, QUITE in love with the little lights
&
all the soft edges
&
out-of-focus feel
&
fairy-tale tilt.

It could not possibly be any more magical by night.

9.22.2008

The Company that Cannot

Is this a story I should tell?

Should I be brave & mention the real names,
or play it safe & only hint at them?

It's the story of a company that doesn't care, despite their name.
It's the story of S
(you see how I'm hinting  here, how I have so little courage? ),
who bought the company from B.
It's the story of F, who works for S - are you keeping this straight?
It's so difficult,  I know.
I am here, in the midst of this story, and it is difficult even for me.
It's the story of a company who finds nothing wrong,
nothing untoward in treating a woman like a commodity.
Yes, she is aged,
yes, she is ailing,
yes, she is stubborn & angry sometimes,
but she is a woman,
a human being,
still alive,
still listening to their lies & watching their games.

It's the story of a company who pretends.  Oh,  they will say, her comfort,  her well-being, these are the things we care most about.  Oh,  they will say, we are so sorry  we didn't return any of your phone calls last night - sometimes that particular cell phone doesn't work until we open up the office the next morning.   "But is she okay?",  they will ask, voices oozing concern, "that's the most important  thing."

It's the story of a company that cannot pick up broken cookies or bowls of peanut butter from the floor - yes, she left them there in a moment of confusion, but this is the story of a company that cannot.  Do not forget that or, like me, you will be disappointed & angry when they step over those bowls.  This is a company that cannot allow their employees to change a cat litter box, cannot allow their employees to help her take her medicine, cannot allow their employees to help her bathe, cannot allow their employees to wash a window so she can see outside, so she can enjoy the birds & the flowers & the rainclouds.  This is a company that cannot take the reheated food out of the Tupperware bowl & place it on a plate for her - eating from the bowl should be just fine  for her.  She is aged - no reason to make the meal pleasant.  This is a company that cannot remember that you know they already have  the nurse's phone # & the doctor's name, when they ask again,  when they make a great show of writing it all down again.

This is a company that cannot understand why the neighbors have keys, but they  do not.  This is a company that cannot have that.  Oh, they will ask, and why did  you just happen to stop by when we were supposed to be there & we weren't?

This is a company that cannot tell the truth - the dishes will be washed, they say, but there they sit in the sink the next morning. Oh, they will say, you misunderstood.  And her, too.  Yes, and he  misunderstood also.

You too, they will say.


9.20.2008

The fair comes to town, magic & all

I am beginning to feel fall in the air.

There's something different about the way the daylight slants in through my bedroom windows in the morning, something different about the light of the full moon. I am able to turn off the air-conditioner & just listen to the swooooosh, swooooosh of a small fan at night. There are stacks of pumpkins at farmer's markets & vegetable stands, and very few blooms left on the crepe myrtle trees. It is just that much darker when I leave work in the evenings & football season has started.

And the fair is in town. Fairs feel most like fairs at night - it's been years since I rode a Ferris Wheel through the darkness & neon - but they are still fairs during the daytime, so I took myself there this morning to find again the magic of the fairs I remember as a child. We lived just a few blocks from the fairgrounds, so a group of us neighborhood kids would walk up in the late afternoon or after supper, needing no adult supervision, thank you, and it was nothing but fun & magic & silliness & scariness. I couldn't find that today. I walked about & thought, oh, I've grown so old. I don't want deep fried pineapple or fried Snickers, or Tilt-A-Whirls, or any of this. Where is that magic?

I eventually wandered into an exhibit hall & looked at children's art & jars of pickles & listened to a family argue about why this quilt had won Best of Show and not that one. The doll exhibit had 4 dolls, tons of empty shelves & torn paper. It was depressing. I finally just sat down on a bench inside the front entrance to people watch & accept the fact that I had, in fact, grown too old for this kind of magic.

And there it was. Waiting for me. The magic. Just waiting for me, asking me what was wrong with me, was I blind, for goodness sake? I began to take pictures of the entrance, and people were so polite, not wanting to get in my way. No. no, I assured them. Please. Get in my way. The boy pictured above never even knew I was there. He was at the fair.
the magical mystery tour

9.17.2008

How things begin & the things that make people happy

Just a quick story.

See this image? See how the photos fell down in the frame when I hastily moved it the other day, because it really doesn't fit in the frame very well & I have to use blue painter's tape all rolled up to attach it & sometimes that just lets go? Well, never mind - I'll fix it when I have a spare moment. But right now the story is more important. This is how it all started for me here at this job. This is where I learned that photographs aren't really all that sacred - not on the outside at least - because they can be changed. This is where I also learned that photographs maybe are sacred inside because they hold moments for people.

This image is the retouched photo I keep here as a sample. It was done by hand, long, long, long before Photoshop reared its beautiful head. I mean, long ago. Back in the olden days. (And no, I don't miss retouching by hand.) Back when our business used to be way on the other side of town, back up behind other buildings, almost hidden - you practically had to have a map & a secret password to find us. We moved downtown 3 summers ago & it took a year to actually get everything unpacked & out where it belongs, and one day I came across this lovely sample in a box of other photos & put it out. And - I swear; this is true - the daughter of the woman in the photograph just happened to be walking by one day & just happened to look in & through all the window glare & everything, she saw her mother's picture, and it turned out they'd been looking for us. They'd lost the negative they'd received when they originally had this photo retouched, and they'd been trying to find us, needing more prints, but they couldn't remember our name. And here we were. All we had to do was scan the retouched image & print more. They were so happy.

I hadn't put the photo back up on display until a week or so ago. It was still back in the room with the scanner & I finally remembered to return it to the front room. And then this weekend, while I was huddled in my office reading blogs & working on other photos & thanking the powers that be that the hurricane hadn't really done much damage, I heard children's laughter & adults' voices outside & peeked around the corner to see a group of Ike evacuees on the sidewalk, peering inside. The kids were thrilled to see Lily, who was rolling about quite wantonly for their benefit, but the adults? They were pointing at & talking about this image. No, they didn't know the woman, but they were amazed at the photo's transformation. They were smiling - they were happy. I wanted to let them in, but by the time I found my keys they were gone.

And I've been thinking about that. Maybe it gave them a teeny, tiny, isty bitsy, little glimmer of - maybe? - hope. That things could be fixed. That if things were really a mess when they got back home, all was not lost. Oh, I know. How vain of me, you're thinking. But still, I think, maybe. They were just so happy to see it.

9.16.2008

Peace, solitude, nakedness, silence

The door to my bathroom.

Peace
Solitude
Nakedness
Silence

If you look really hard, you will see those words barely, barely visible beneath the tossed-off jeans & t-shirts. I stole these words from a novel - one of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series books, but I can't remember which one - and I painted them on the door to my bathroom. No doubt I will get many hits on this post via people googling the word nakedness - some day I may write a post about the odd things people google which bring them to my little place here. "Macho boots", for instance, brought someone all the way from Brazil. "Giggling child picture" brought someone from a school district somewhere in the state of Washington. Oh, and when I was linked from another blog via the word "bra" - oh my goodness! All those gentlemen who popped in for just a second & popped right out. My biggest day ever. :)

Actually, these words have power just on their own, just right there on that door. And not just for me. I once had a plumber who was absolutely thrilled to see the word nakedness written right out loud like that! Oh, he was quite silly! Began to blather to his coworkers about the indignities his wife - what a lucky woman! - would have to put up with if she put such a teasing word on their bathroom door. Embarrassed his compadres greatly, and made me laugh.

For me however, they're just words that mean what they say.

Peace - lights are off, candles are lit.
Solitude - just me, baby.
Nakedness - no clothes allowed in the bath.
Silence - phone is off the hook.

Eyes are closed.
Thoughts are dwindling,
flickering like the candle flame.
Slowing down.
Slowing . . . down.
Slowing . . . . down.

9.13.2008

Puss and boots

It's an ill wind that blows no good, and at least I got a cool new pair of rubber, steel-toed, macho, macho boots out of Hurricane Ike's visit. As you can tell, Lily loves them too.

The storm is mostly over - it's grey & drizzly & yucky & really it's rainy still, not drizzly - I just looked out the window. Ike blew over - I mean right over - & my mother swears she knew when the eye passed over us, and Robert swears he shot the eye out of the sky, at which point it became a tropical depression (and it did). There are about 13,000 people without power - most in rural county areas. We lost power at 4 a.m., which woke me right up. The sky was yellow, yellow, yellow - an ugly sulfur looking glow. I lit a couple of candles, fed Maggie, and wandered outside to see how far the power outage extended. It was still & eerily quiet. Pretty unnerving. I had a few moments of high anxiety, thinking that it was going to be worse than I'd originally believed. But the power was back on in about 40 minutes or so, and I slept most of the day. Tried to watch Dr. Zhivago, which, as I just admitted to Robert, I have never seen all the way through, and have no idea how it ends.

So thankfully - knock on wood - the worst is by us. Thanks to all of y'all who emailed to check on me & kept us in your thoughts & prayers. I'm forwarding all those good thoughts on to the folks south of us, with a few of my own added in.

9.12.2008

Here comes the rain again

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . .

Lordy. Ike looks to be much worse than Gustav for us Texans. About 100 buses pulled into town last night, full of evacuees from SE Texas - Red Cross shelters & motels are full; an old, empty WalMart building is being opened up to house people. I topped off the gas tank in my Jeep last night when I heard stations in Nacogdoches (about 65 miles down the road) were running out of gas. Good thing, too - Joe just stopped in to say there was no gas between Frankston (25 miles away) & us & we just pushed Michael out the door to get his Jeep filled up. I stopped in at the grocery store this morning to get ice, and there was almost none left. It was 9 a.m. & the parking lot was full. I bought cokes & ice, bread & cat food & some Hostess Streusel Cakes. When I leave this evening, I'm headed to the drugstore for Pepto-Bismol. And feeling stupid about it. But better to have it & not need it than the other way around.

One of my brothers was admitted to the hospital yesterday for some kind of lung problem & when my mother stopped by this morning to check on him, there was a line of ambulances from who knows where waiting to drop off patients. Traffic is busy, busy, busy & heavy, heavy, heavy. People passing us by headed even farther north or west to find shelter from this storm.

The image above is from a couple of weeks ago - we're just now starting to get a few sprinkles today. The sky is full of grey clouds & the tv & radio are full of warnings. It's hard to comprehend (once again!) that we're facing high winds & water when we're this far inland, but this is a big storm - as big as the state.

And me? Once again, concerned about possible flooding. I've been lucky so far, and hopefully that luck will hold out. Nonetheless, I am prepared to start stacking furniture if need be.

9.11.2008

2 chairs


2 Chairs.

Yesterday blue chairs were all over the blogosphere.

I found this at Iconolatrie & this at Something White.
I am such a sucker for blue chairs.
Chairs in blue or teal or pale blue/green or aqua or what I call
KMart blue
because all the employees at KMart at one time wore smocks
in a greeny/blue color I really liked.

Today is a day for colors I like -
I am studying this blog
& wondering if it should stay this color
or perhaps go back to white.
White is so much easier
when you're adding things to the sidebars & you want them to float,
but I really like this color & I am dithering, agonizing,
sweating the small stuff.
Remembering how some people told me this was soothing.
But the white feels more free, so I don't know.

Decisions are not easy for me today.
I must remind myself that nothing is permanent,
that all things change.
It will all be fixable if I change my mind.

9.09.2008

Things didn't get done

Things didn't get done today.
A painting did not get shipped.
Mary had visitors, friends down from Dallas who brought home grown hibiscus,
but things didn't get done.
She was lost again,
trying to find her way to the bedroom, lost in the red living room, wanting photos of the flowers, but lost, lost, lost.
The ever-wonderful Michael helped turn her in the right direction, leading her towards him, Lynda & I guiding from the rear, but she was lost.
She was tired, she wanted to stop here, stop right here, not go on,
please, please, please she said.

For days I've had a Guy Clark song in my head, unable to lose it.
It stays.
Although it's about an old man, not a woman, it stays.
So for Michael, who introduced me to this song 20 some-odd years ago,
and for J.Y. who knows about the Green Frog cafe,
and for me, and for Lyndi, and for Katie & Robert
& for Mary who wouldn't understand,
for all of y'all who know nothing about Texas music,
here are the words that I can't shake:

I played the Red River Valley.
He'd sit in the kitchen and cry.
Run his fingers through seventy years of livin'.
"I wonder, Lord, has every well I've drilled gone dry?".
We were friends, me and this old man,
Like desperados waitin' for a train.
Desperados waitin' for a train.

Well, he's a drifter an' a driller of oil wells.
And an old school man of the world.
He taught me how to drive his car when he w's too drunk to.
Oh, and he'd wink and give me money for the girls.
An' our lives were like some old Western movie,
Like desperados waitin' for a train.
Like desperados waitin' for a train.

An' from the time that I could walk, he'd take me with him,
To a bar called the Green Frog Cafe.
An' there was old men with beer guts and dominos.
Oh, an they're lying 'bout their lives while they played.
An' I was just a kid, that they all called his sidekick,
Like desperados waitin' for a train.
Like desperados waitin' for a train.

One day I looked up and he's pushin' eighty.
An' he's brown tobacco stains all down his chin.
Well, to me he's one of the heroes of this country,
So why's he all dressed up like them old men?
He's drinkin' beer and playin' Moon and Forty-two.
Like a desperado waitin' for a train.
Like a desperado waitin' for a train.

An' then the day before he died, I went to see him,
I was grown and he was almost gone.
So we just closed our eyes and dreamed us up a kitchen,
And sang another verse to that old song.
Come on, Jack, that son-of-a-bitch is comin'.
We're like desperados waitin' for a train,
Like desperados waitin' for a train.
Like desperados waitin' for a train.
Like desperados waitin' for a train.

And that's how I feel. That son-of-a-bitch is comin'. It's comin'.

9.08.2008

And did you ever do this?



While I'm on the subject,
did you ever make Thanksgiving turkey decorations using your hand as on outline?
Oh, I loved this!
4 or 5 years ago, I asked my niece if she'd been taught this,
assuming she had, assuming that this was just one of those things all teachers taught.
Apparently not.
She'd never heard of it, but she loved doing this.
We sat around my mother's kitchen table & drew turkeys to celebrate the season.
jones elementary

9.07.2008

Digital therapy

When I was a little girl, my mother took me here, took me there,
playschool back over there, art lessons up in that pink house that's now a lawyer's office.
In the pink house, back in the rooms over the garage apartment,
I became enchanted with the value of natural light,
and with being up high - looking out over the yard, into the trees.
It seemed to be all windows, all springtime light, summertime light,
a room filled with nothing but tables full of art supplies
& all that wonderful light pouring through uncurtained windows.
Thus began my longing for such a house,
a house with light, with space, lots & lots of space, space to make art.
It was there I learned the magic of making a potato stamp & using that stamp to make art. Anything I wanted - any color I wanted.

In first grade, we had art 2 or 3 times a week - I don't remember.
Piles of wonderful big manila drawing paper would be placed on a desk at the front of the room. We'd take a sheet, and after finishing another assignment,
would take out our crayons & give ourselves over to the fun of art.
My very first assignment, I messed up & went to the front of the room,
got another sheet of paper & began again,
not knowing that the teacher had put out an exact number of sheets of paper -
1 for each student.
When the last person came to get his sheet, there weren't any left.
I was paying no attention - intent on my drawing,
until the teacher accused Ricky of stealing an extra sheet.
At that moment I realized what was going on & was mortified -
paralyzed, unable to speak.
I was so painfully shy that I'd actually had to be removed from a previous school
& start first grade over again - I suffered from selective mutism,
although back then there was no name for such a thing.
I was just shy.
And that day, I just froze.
I knew I was the guilty party & I wanted to speak up, but I couldn't - I was terrified.
Never fear, though, because another student had seen me take that extra sheet & told our teacher, who was
1. Stunned, because I never did anything wrong - why should art be any different?, and
2. She'd assumed Ricky, the class troublemaker, was at fault,
and she felt quite guilty & ashamed of herself.
I whisperingly fessed up & to this day still feel guilty about my inability to speak up.
In 4th grade I had a gorgeous redheaded teacher
who got married over the Christmas holidays & became Mrs. Wheeler
& who taught us batik.
Oh lordy, the magic of that. I've never forgotten.

But back before I was old enough for real school, I went to playschool,
which was in the backyard of one of our city's founders.
There was a wooden walkway leading to outdoor rooms under the trees -
the windows had no screens; it was very pavilion-like.
Walls that were waist high, the rest of the rooms opened to the outside.
And there I learned my very favorite thing of all, something I've kept with me till this day.
We'd be given drawing paper (God, how I loved drawing paper) & a black crayon
& we'd draw scribbles on that page. Like this:



And then we'd color it in. Like this:



And then real magic!
We'd write our names with a black crayon,
then trace them on the other side of the paper,
exactly backwards & upside down, like this:



And THEN ,
we'd turn the paper 90 degrees and make creatures out of our names.
Like this:



And I still do this.
Now however I use a computer & photographs & the magic of Photoshop.
That's how the fence image at the very top of this post came to be.
When stressed or depressed or needing a break,
I come in & start coloring on a photo I've taken for that very purpose.
Lots of sections, pretty plain, but an image I like nonetheless.
Digital therapy.
It takes a long time, but eventually, after many days of a little here & a little there, it's done.
I recommend it highly.

And remember poor Ricky? Who was accused of stealing that extra paper I'd taken?
In 3rd grade, he kissed me & then told everyone during Friday's Show & Tell period.
Once again, I was mortified.
Speechless.

9.05.2008

Things fall down

Leaves leave the trees. They fall from their homes on limbs to the foreign earth below.
Flowers drop from branches & stems, sprinkling color across the ground.
Rain falls upon us, sleet, hail, snow - the storms are many & varied. They all fall down.
Down is they way they come, down is the direction of their travels, down, down, down.
Alice down the rabbit's hole. Down, where magic awaited her. Down.


Does magic wait for all of us?


I sit in the evenings with a woman I love, who tells me she wants to die.
Who tells me she is sad to want that, but want it she does.
She is falling down, and I cannot stop her.
I want to find a magic rabbit hole & help her in,
to visit with The White Rabbit, to eat, to drink (she'd love that), but I can't find it.
I dream of looking. Is it here? Hidden by lavender wisteria vines?
Her favorite color, I think, it must be here. But nothing.
It is night, but the color of the wisteria is bright & beckoning,
a wave to me to search just over there, but no, that's not the place. In the cannas perhaps? No.
I search the backyard next to Bob's grave - how perfect that would be, I think,
Bob will be waiting, but nothing. Nothing, nothing.
I cannot help her.
There are clouds in the night sky, bright stars behind them,
a moon illuminating the yard - each blade of grass is sharply outlined
& I can see there is nowhere to go, nowhere to search.
I pass by her window & Charlie the cat stares at me from his perch atop the couch,
the house dark, but moonlight slanting in to light the room.
Suddenly I remember the owls.
They are in all the trees around her house - I realize I've been wrong, that they're not guardians, that they're there to take her not down, but up.
That they're waiting. Just waiting. I can't see them, but I feel them surrounding the house,
and it makes me sad. And it makes me love them, and it makes me angry at them.
All this time, I think, all this time I thought you were here as gifts, but you are here as guides.
As messengers. I stare & stare into the darkness of the hovering tress, but I cannot see them. They are silent.
Waiting.
hovering, the bastards

9.04.2008

between now & not quite yet

Feathers below the sky, outflying the oncoming storm,
confused by the the strange winds & scents from the sea.

I found this little guy on the front sidewalk this past weekend - too late to help;
he was gone to a new, always blue sky.
I like to think he came in with the other evacuees,
perhaps hitched a ride - stowed away on the bus to catch his breath.
A little lost Cajun baby in from Louisiana.
He didn't look hurt, so I imagined a whirlwind escape for him,
escaping from the hurricane all the way to Texas to end up at my doorstep.
I've given him a heaven bordered with with leaf-like hearts - he can fly through the gate.

The title comes from something Robin said to me.
no wind anymore, no wings to fly

9.03.2008

Instead of art, a cat

More art is coming, I promise.
The emotional sadness & craziness of my life lately leaves me exhausted by the end of the day
& painting is far from my mind.
No, it's actually on my mind, but far from my fingertips.
But I know this will pass & I will paint.
In the meantime, stories. Cat pictures. Complaints. But soon. I promise.

This is Maggie waiting for me to walk across the street from Mary's.
She waits for me every day - to return home from work, to return from Mary's,
to return from the store.
How wonderful is that?

9.02.2008

August

I found this over at 1 Door Away from Heaven Part II.
To help shake off this past weekend's apprehensions, I'm playing. Here goes.
And PS before I start - does this not seem quite egotistical of me?
I mean, really!! I am shaking my head even as I type.

The Month That Was:

a photo of me:

This looks so lonely. Me in an otherwise empty motel room. It looks like waiting.
.
current candles scents: Well, usually unscented white, cause I'm allergic to so much stuff, but I've got some lime candles that were very expensive that I'm pretty crazy about.

what i am currently reading: Life is a Verb & The Jane Austen Book Club

newest music i added to my playlist: I don't have a playlist, but I've been listening to some opera cds that were given to me by Mr. J.Y. - actually I've only been listening to one of them, and in truth, I've been replaying the same overture over & over for several days. All I know is that it's by Wagner.

movies i saw: Once & lots of old ones on TNT

something yummy i made this month: Boy, I don't cook. This is hard. Ummmm, well, really, this is hard. Let me think. I'll have to get back to you.

the last place i ate out: Los Gueros. Does that count? Eating out, as in date-like eating out, or fancy eating out, is not a big thing for me. You'd think I'd be thinner, considering cooking is not a big thing with me either.

something that made me cry: Oh, what didn't? Let's see. Mary's failing health made me cry, losing my floatie made me cry, my cat's failing health made me cry. I was an emotional wreck in August. I knew I was a mess when I caught the last 10 minutes of an old Jag episode one morning over breakfast. It was a Christmas episode, with snowflakes & a nativity scene & all was well & I just started to cry.

something that made me laugh: My reaction to that Jag episode.

something i looked forward to this month: Less work.

something i’m thankful for: The fact that even at $3.49 a gallon, I'm still able to fill up the tank in my Jeep whenever I want.

something i want to remember about this month: That I got through it, emotional mess that I was.

a photo i took this month:

This one was just for me - a bit of retouching & hue desaturation & Photoshop stuff. Out at the lake.

So there you have it. My navel and all.

9.01.2008

And now the rain cometh

There are a couple of busloads of Gustav evacuees a couple of buildings over from me.
First Baptist Church here in town.
It's a good place to stay - they have a playground that's outside but under cover.
Protected from the elements.
Sitting here at my desk, I can hear the kids playing & playing & shouting & playing
& having a great time.
If I walk outside, I can see a man sitting on a low wall outside the church, staring into space. Staring at this sky that's gone all gray & dusty, staring at this deserted downtown area.
Skirting the side of the playground I end up in their parking lot -
a few people are there, smoking & talking, a few more sitting nearer the building, each alone.
No groups of folks there.
Aloneness must be awfully hard to come by in such a place.

I'm too shy to talk to them - it feels too intrusive, too voyeuristic.
I have a camera with me, but no way would I ask permission to take a photo.
Would they say yes, I wonder?
Would they want something to remind them of this time,
when their memories will be constant reminders?
It occurs to me that I can never be a photographer of events - it feels so wrong.
I'm reminded of the Christmas I spent in Mexico City years ago,
seeing the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe -
people crawling on their knees to pray to the Virgin, some for miles.
Tourists taking their pictures - crowding into the church alongside them,
taking more pictures.
It was wrong.
I moved away as quickly as possible.

So I say nothing to these people -
I leave them to their thoughts & their cigarettes & the sound of the children's games.
I begin my walk back to here, using the back route,
and there on the asphalt, next to the entrance to the Prayer Garden,
someone has left a message.
Ok, it says. Okay, indeed.

The rain & wind are headed our way.
Warnings are everywhere -
prepare for floods, prepare for wind, prepare for no electricity,
no hot water, no this, no that.
Buy batteries, buy oil lanterns, top off your gas tank,
buy water, move your furniture to a higher floor.
I am exhausted from hearing it.
I live in a flood plain - I've been through high water before.
I want no more.
The ever-wonderful Michael thinks it's much ado about nothing,
it won't get this far inland.
Robert & Katie aren't worried, and they live right there
smack in the middle of the flood plain themselves.
Next door Rodney, however, thinks it's worth being concerned about.
I've done what I can, and now I'll wait. I'll watch the sky.
Clouds have moved in & the blue is gone, but no wind is here, no rain.
Just the threat.

But I remember that okay.
It puts my worries into such perspective.
I can only do what I can only do. It will be okay.