Sunday, August 29, 2010

journey to the moon

I went in search of the moon last night after a well timed text from a friend declaring that I must find the moon. I sallied forth sans interest in anything but the discovery of the moon. As soon as I stepped from my dorm, I looked up trying to find her glowing presence. I found her. Her glow brightly shown through the full green trees and so I walked towards her.

When I could look at the moon face to face, I perched upon a rock. As I sat upon the rock, there was a scuttle of movement across the road. My eyes sought the noise and I saw a raccoon fearfully looking in my direction. I couldn't help myself. I hissed at the creature and it looked as though it was ready to be hit.

This moment of quiet, I could have stayed within it forever. I felt at home within myself and the cool of the night. As I stared at the moon, I could think of the problems and frustrations that seemed to be at my every side. All was well at that rock facing the moon.

My moment was interrupted by the purr of an engine. I felt my muscles tighten because cars driving by usually means stares. I'm not a fan of being the object of a stare. I hoped the car would pass, but instead, I heard a masculine voice asking me about a pool. If you know my college, you would know that we do not have a pool. It was a ridiculous question made by a ridiculous senior who was out and about around midnight. I tersely replied 'no' to all his questions of a pool. Finally, the car pulled away with his lingering whiney and jokey voice.

As I tried to return to my thoughts, I settled down within myself and my surroundings. Before I was completely comfortable, I heard another car. I hoped that the first car was just an abnormality. Again, my muscles tensed. Abruptly, the noise of barking exploded from the car's open window. I jumped and turned to see an athlete's head stuck out the window. I laughed at myself and growled to myself about these strange boys that go to my school.

I would like to state that the raccoon was much more frightened than I was by the barking and he had scurried up a tall tree with no intention of coming down again.

When I left high school, I had hoped that I would enter an atmosphere of much more maturity. I forgot that high school boys go to college as well and they bring their immaturity with them. Disappointment seems to be a familiar drink to me. Perhaps, I expect too much.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Pale Pink Memories

To find one's childhood diary is quite an experience. I found myself slowly being drawn into this pale pink tome with its fairy perched on the back of a butterfly who was in deep conversation with a bumble bee. This diary of my childhood was where I wrote the intense feelings that poured forth furiously from my soul. These feelings came with a strength that dulls as one ages. After all, the woes of young love captured in those pages was so terrible that I knew that it would kill me - there are a couple of pages of that diary devoted to my child-will. Well, I am alive and more or less well. The blush of intense embarrassment might as well turned the pages of my diary deep red for how deeply I felt that embarrassment. My recorded moments of fury were vibrant and vivid entries where I felt that my anger would cause my diary to burst into flame. Even as I relived those moments of intensity, I could not help but smile at this child-me. There was something entirely enchanting about the chunky childlike handwriting sprawling across the pale pink pages and the flush of memories long forgotten.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

snow angels

It is in the way of my family to adopt grandparents. For as long as I can remember, I have always had an aunt or uncle that truly wasn't blood related. When my family moved a couple of years ago, we started adopting new grandparents. (I mean, we have blood related grandparents, but we function on the mantra of 'the more, the merrier.')

We started with the widow across the street. It was like a secret game to us children to sally forth with our shovels over our marshmallow like shoulders. While snowflakes draped themselves across our eyelashes, we piled snow at the edges of our neighbor's driveway. After finishing that drive way, we would cross the street and begin upon another un-shoveled driveway.

The widows on our street were thrown into a confused cloud of gratitude toward these unknown 'snow angels' who always came to shovel their driveways and then disappeared before caught. It was a lovely mystery to create. Of course, the mystery only lasted so long.

Upon discovery, each woman was eager to place cash into the hands of these do-gooders. My mother who had instigated this type of mystery also kindly refused this monetary gift. That's when the term 'snow angels' began to truly stick. In this way, we have acquired more grandparents who are interested in the intricacies of our lives.

These women have greatly influenced my life and the lives of my siblings. Throughout the years, we have shoveled their driveways and tended to their yards. They, in turn, have creatively found ways to pay us in gift form although they are well aware that we do not wish to be paid at all. I think this is the way community is supposed to work. We watch out for each other.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An interview with Mr. Pipe Man

Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog post entitled "Mr. Pipe Man." It was a dreamy and whimsical take on an elderly gentleman who could be seen daily sitting on his bench puffing on his pipe. This habitual routine caught my attention and my imagination ran positively wild. At first when I sat down to write that post, I wanted to create a conversation between the man and I. Yet, I found that my imagination couldn't extend that far. Therefore, I left him speechless.

A couple of months later, my mother decided it would be a grand idea to give him this essay that I had written about him. She walked it over and she presented it to him. Thankfully, he liked it even plans on framing it. Naturally, he wanted to meet the author. Never had I any intention of meeting this man of my essay; but at the encouragement of my mother and then at his request, I went to visit Mr. Pipe Man.

As I walked up his sidewalk and knocked on his door, I could not help but muse at how potentially awkward my introduction could be. After five minutes, the door creaked open and there stood the man himself entirely clothed in a vibrant red robe with feet bared to the world. The introductions took place after he apologized for his dress in a most gentlemanly way. Light dawned in his eyes when I tried to explain that my mother had been here with an essay before and suddenly he was saying, "Please go sit on the bench over there and I will go get dressed."

As I sat in the shade of the tree on the very bench of which I had previously written, I tried to relax. It was impossible. For the moment had come and I was going to meet the object of my imagination. No longer would he be confined to the figments of imagination. Through my excited melancholy, I saw Mr. Pipe Man emerge from the house in paint smeared pants and white shirt. In his hand, he grasped his iconic pipe with a canister of tobacco and matches.

Mr Pipe Man aka Mike sat down next to me on the bench and he began talking. Once ascertaining that I was indeed majoring in English, he began to ramble about his teaching days because "I just want to give you a clear idea of what teaching is like." There were moments where I wished for a tape recorder so that I could listen to his rough voice tell a couple of his stories once again.

"There were some days where I wanted an airplane to plow into the side of specific buses so that some of my students wouldn't arrive to school. A boy in my class drew a picture of me with a handle bar mustache right before the end of school. During the summer, I grew this (gesturing to his regal handle bar mustache). Imagine that boy's face when school began." Mr. Pipe man chuckled to himself.

"I hated my school. I urinated in a bag. Then, I flew an airplane over the school and I opened the windows as I flew over the roof. The thud of that bag of urine on the roof of that school was the most satisfying feeling that I have ever experienced." chortled Mr. Pipe Man.

At this point, my eyebrows were about sky high. My imagination had not taken into any consideration surprises possibly packed into this seemingly serene person. He was Eccentric with a capital 'e'. Nothing had prepared me for this surprise, but it was rather a comical one.

Mr. Pipe Man has a keen dry wit that I was unprepared for. His comments left me confused or laughing hesitantly. Dry humor is hard to catch. I did find out that he's a great fan of the Three Stooges, silent films, and archaic horror films. In his basement, he proudly serves as dictator and handyman at a miniature town. Mr. Pipe Man revels in the naming of the different buildings with witty and slapstick play on words. These names either had me chuckling at his keen mind or blushing at the meaning of the words.

At a pause in Mr. Pipe Man's flow of conversation, I asked him about when he began smoking his pipe that he was currently puffing away at. Apparently, in the winter of '59 when he was a junior in high school, Mr. Pipe Man had walked down to a convenience store to purchase the pipe. From that day on, he smoked his pipe. Originally, Mr. Pipe Man had tried to hide the ashes of his tobacco within the ashes of his father's cigarettes. Yet, his father had come home, taken a look at the ashes, and asked, "Son, when did you begin smoking a pipe?" Mr. Pipe Man recalled that no one had tried to make him stop pipe smoking.

Heidi, the wolf dog, was contentedly eating her dinner within the house or so said Mr. Pipe Man. Therefore, I did not have the pleasure of meeting the wolf dog that took at least a portion of the spotlight of my previous essay on Mr. Pipe Man. I did see tufts of fur throughout the yard that proclaimed the presence of this wolf dog.

My imagination in no way prepared me for my meeting with Mr. Pipe Man. His appearance of wisdom and serenity hid a man who lived life in a cantankerous and witty way. I knew he was eccentric, but I did not realize quite how eccentric the man actually was. I do believe that he played up his eccentricities with the hope of shocking me. Well, he did good. I'm shocked and happily so. Bubbles are made to burst. When visit ended and I left his cloud of pipe smoke, I walked away with the desire to have a wit that matched his so that we could smoke pipes together and chuckle over our old fashioned wit. Oh, and let's just say that I'm very thankful that I never did give Mr. Pipe Man speech in my first blog post because it would have sounded completely absurd next to reality.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


My mother pointed across the room to a young boy who was focused entirely on his project. She stated, "That boy has stars in his eyes. People cannot help but be drawn to him." I looked and saw a set of brown eyes. There was nothing special about them. Actually, they mirrored my own in color and set. For me, it was the quirk that rested in the corner of his mouth that surprised me. What was it doing there? Through half glances, I realized that the quirk framed a twinkle that sparkled in the eyes of the boy.

From that moment on, my mother's love for eyes full of stars captivated me.

Once, I lived in the book by Lucy Maud Montgomery. My thoughts were in flights of fancy and my feet were often in muddy boots. People always seemed to find my peculiarities although they masked their words in crooning sentences of 'she is such a sweet girl'. Accidently, I overheard a conversation about my eyes. "Those eyes are 'come hither' eyes and one day, mark my words, she will only have to lift her eyes to call a man to her side."

Many book characters fade from my memory, but this moment is emblazoned in my brain.

His eyes, windows to his soul, brooded with many thoughts. No emotion spilled from his eyes to his face. The depth of the youth's soul was locked in the vault of his eyes. These two pinpoints were the only parts of his being that showed a crack of human feeling. Yet, he was unseeing. The youth lived within himself. Although he could not see out of his eyes, these portals to his soul were vulnerable to the seeing eyes of the world. His beautifully tragic eyes showed a struggling person. Although his eyes were dead to the ability of sight, they lived with his emotion whereas his body that lived was dead.

Emotion must spill from the eyes into the rest of a being.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Regrets Revisited

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair. ~Samuel Johnson

One thing that I have always tried to avoid with the nimbleness of a dancer is what we humans term 'regret.' To me, regret has a taste that is unforgettable. It's the sour taste of something gone wrong. Regret is a disappointment in a person's life or decision.

Random note about me: When I was a child, I got disciplined. Yet, the punishment wasn't as bad to me as the fact that I had just disappointed my parents. Once again, I had that most unpleasant taste of regret in my mouth after such an incidence of disappointment. As much as I desire to dwell upon that small regret, I have to make the conscience decision to allow life to continue.

I loathe the feeling of regret permeating any part of my life. I rarely allow it take a place in my thought. Yet, sometimes a regret slowly examined may show some nugget of truth that will facilitate learning. The 10 hour car ride of the past day was perfect for this type of contemplation. It's a painful way of learning from one's mistakes, but this type of analyzation is imperative.

For a moment, bear with me as I muse upon a regret in my life. It's a regret that spans the majority of my life. Regrets with friendships and people are the worst kind.

When I was a young child, my mother had a best friend who we would visit monthly. My mother and her friend talked daily on the phone, but they looked forward to the visits. Mrs. C had three children but her son, Robby, was only a year older than me. On our monthly visits, we would bring donuts to Robby's house and then we children (which included my two siblings) would scurry downstairs to play video games. I was in awe of Robby. Oh, I knew he wasn't perfect. We had our childish disagreements and miscommunications. Even still in my childish eyes, Robby could walk on the very clouds if he desired.

As all children do, we grew up. Robby's family moved. We still saw each other. Robby became wrapped up in school and I was homeschooled. We were tentative friends as adolescence rocked our separate worlds. High school broadened the gap that had started with a small crack of an ill-placed comment and poor decision. I saw it. Yet, I could not find any bridge.

The gap was a mixture of distrust, fear of judgement, and rebellion. I am sure that there is much more in this gap that I do not see. I know that I aided in the growth of this grand canyon. After all, during those turbulent teen years, I harbored a couple of romantic notions towards Robby that cause me now to cringe at my silliness. All of my teen crushes snatched away my ability to communicate anything but silence. That would cause a problem in a friendship - don't you think?

With all these thoughts resurfacing in my head as my mother and I discussed my childhood, I continually came back to this lost friendship. Sitting in the car next to my mother as we talked about the past, I realized that I regretted the loss of this friendship. To my mother, I said, "Mom, if I could go back in time and know what to change in my friendship with Robby so that I could be friends with him now - I would do it."

I mourn this lost friendship. He and I are both grown. I told my mother, "We will most likely never meet again unless you or his mother plans something that we both happen to attend which is fairly unlikely. Even then, we shall probably not talk." From my perspective, I see no type of mending possible. After all, it's not as simple as an apology.

I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences... I'm human, not perfect, like anybody else.
Queen Latifah

Friday, August 6, 2010

for ali

Once upon a sun set, a fisherman sat on the end of a pier with a pole three times the length of him. A shark tattoo swam across his calf as the man sat perched on the railing. Suddenly, something was on his hook. He sprang like a cat to the deck and grasped his pole. Moments later, a small shark clung to a hook on his line. Arrogantly but with skill, he removed the hook, flaunted the shark in front of the tourists and then mystery fisherman threw the shark back into the stomach of the ocean. He turned to his pole and looked once at the crowd. His eyes caught on those of a girl.

The fisherman's eyes softened under the gaze of the girl. Just as he represented all things wild and strong, she emanated the soft comforts of home and tranquility. She was the eye of his hurricane. In that moment, all stilled except for the conversation in their eyes and it spoke volumes. The girl's heart pounded in recognition of the raw strength coming from him and the mystery fisherman's eyes hardened in a sly look of planned pursuit.

The girl blinked at a zephyr that knocked her hair across her face. With her hand, she brushed her hair away and glanced up at the fisherman to see him again perched upon the rail of the pier. He was looking out to sea. The girl heard the rush of the ocean. Its roar was a familiar cry that had beat in the hearts of many adventurers and sailors. It called for movement and change.

With the song of the ocean singing in her ears, the girl walked across the pier to stand by the fisherman. Together, they stared out to sea. If a bystander had looked at this odd couple, he or she would have seen a slight smile on the face of the fisherman. This smile, although fitting upon the fisherman's face, was one that had been a complete stranger to this man until this particular evening. Now, in the girl, a bystander might perhaps not see past the calm demeanor of the girl's upbringing. However, if this bystander were to look closer he or she would see a pair of eyes dancing with wild fear and excitement of the unknown.

In all appearances, this fisherman and this girl did not fit together. Yet, they complimented each other in an almost indiscernible way. As her eyes reflected the wildness of her spirit, those same eyes mirrored the rough and untamable exterior of the fisherman. Meanwhile, the expression of softness that rested gracelessly on the face of the fisherman was an echo of tranquility that resonated from the girl's presence. The uproarious and unsung melody of the ocean bound their hearts together.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a nameless duet

The ocean told me a tale. I had been walking along the beach since the sun had begun setting. I don't know why the ocean decided to tell me the story, but perhaps it was because I sometimes unburdened my heart to it. The ocean has always called to me in a way that my very being could only respond to the wildness sensed there. The depths of the ocean calling to the depths of the soul. Yet, I digress. The story is of the ocean.

For once, I listened instead of only telling the ocean my woes and as I listened to roar of the waves I heard a softer haunting song of another. Once there was a girl of 15 who was quit plain. This phrase got caught in the waves and it bounced about in a way that repeated the phrase again and again. Nameless she will forever be because the ocean knows no names. Nameless although plain had a laugh that men fought to create. It rang true as a bell and more beautiful than the song of a bird.

When she was one and twenty, Nameless fell in love. Nameless fell in love. For a full day, she stared into the ocean. Her eyes could not be averted to the left or to the right. Nameless had fallen in love with the ocean. This loving was haunting. It haunted Nameless. It haunted the ocean. It haunted every person that Nameless met. Nameless had fallen in love.

When Nameless was a bit after thirty, she realized that this love of one and twenty had not weakened. The love of the ocean consumed her thought. Smiles rarely graced her face. Her laughter was legendary but forgotten. The ocean's reflection in the eyes of Nameless was eerie yet captivating. Her heart was in her eyes.

When she was forty, Nameless was only seen near the ocean. No one remembered the laughing girl. Her consuming love for the ocean had slowly taken the life out of Nameless. She sought only the ocean. People held no interest. The ocean was the only place that she felt alive.

When Nameless was all gray, she sailed into the ocean deep and far.
When Nameless was all gray, she sailed into the ocean deep and far.
When Nameless was all gray, she sailed into the ocean deep and far.

The waves continue to crash on the beach. In the rush of the water, waves still curl and crush sea shells. My heart searches for Nameless, the unknown girl who gave her heart to the ocean. I cannot find her. Yet, I could almost swear that I hear a soft joyous laughter harmonizing with the roar of the ocean. Finally, Nameless shall duet with the ocean for the rest of eternity.

I went to the ocean to pour out my heart. Instead, I return from the ocean with a heart full of story - a story told to me by the ocean.