Saturday, April 25, 2015

wild fennel

Your mother sounds skeptical when you mention you're going out with him again, after one too many nights of seeing you come home sad, mad, or on the verge of tears. You tell her it's only trivia at the bar, don't be silly, you're just friends now. You tell her you're pretty sure you won't be crying over him anymore.

She was right, of course, as mothers so often are about stubborn, foolish daughters. And so you find yourself walking home alone again, vision blurred with angry tears, wondering what the hell you're doing in this tiny little town, house key gripped painfully tight in your left pocket.

But there's a picture from earlier, taken as you walked out to the pavilion alongside this man you've loved for years. There was this moment of grace somewhere out there by the harbor, a moment of bursting light and the scent of wild fennel wafting along the path, a moment in which you wanted to take his hand -- even after everything, even after all of this.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


The waking-up noises here are vastly different, of course, from those I grew to know so intimately during the twelve years I lived in my sweet little apartment perched on the northwest cliffs of Manhattan.

I've been in this little town -- this tiny city, if you will -- for four months now as of last week and have only recently really begun to listen to the early morning. I've begun, it is true, ignoring my quarter to six alarm, lolling about in bed until six, six-thirty, sometimes even pushing on towards seven.

Sometimes the Llama-monster jumps up on the bed, curls into my neck, soft and purring, drowning out the almost-silence, lulling me into forgetting where I am, and how it is not where I've been for so long.

Other times she doesn't, and I find myself lying there quietly in bed at first feeling guilty about not immediately getting up and on with the day. But then I've been falling into the silence, feeling the weight of bed and sheets beneath and above me, the feel of hair tickling my ears, the sound of my breath. I've begun noticing the quietly sporadic symphony of early morning bird songs, the cresting waves few and far between of the traffic over on 12th Street, muffled by the houses between there and here. If I let myself linger long enough, I start counting the different birds, the increasing traffic as early commuters start coming in from off the ferries, and the noise begins to swell into full day.

Sometimes I miss the cacophony of the pre-dawn garbage trucks in Washington Heights getting their city ready for its day. But I think I could get used to these meditative hours or half-hours, here in this tiny city, counting bird calls and cars passing by, one by one by one.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

another april eighteenth, relocated

Marking twenty-two years today since losing Dad, and the first time I've spent the day as a resident of the state he grew up in and loved so much. The day was beautiful, and filled with warmth and sadness and anticipation: a morning coffee walk & talk with Mom, an afternoon spent with a new friend generous enough to come over for a photo shoot for my latest shawls, and now a quiet evening with the folks.

There is something to be said for quiet days spent with loved ones, surrounded by gardens and the ocean air. And also something to be said for hording these old pictures that Mom and I have been sorting through these last few months. Just look at that face, decades before that warm, sunny, gut-wrenching April 18th twenty-two years ago. It's enough to make me smile no matter the day, and reinforces this strange sense of maybe finally being home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

the sea, again

We spent an afternoon last week having one of those long, meandering, utterly heartbreaking conversations that seem to never want to end. We perched for hours on a bench overlooking the Salish Sea, our words laced through with rage and loss, resentment bubbling up before receding back into tears.  I tried to explain, as we sat there in the salty ocean wind, how I had imagined breathing this air with him, here on the edge of things, thousands of miles away from the concrete and noise of New York City. And I tried to hear all the ways in which I have let him down, all the ways in which we have failed each other. He, ever the optimist, said there is plenty of air to go around, even in those moments when it feels like we just can't breathe.

Eventually, though of course not really, there was even a quiet peace, perhaps born more out of emotional exhaustion than any real denouement.

The sun had long since passed its zenith by then, glaring down on us from the western sky, dulling the chill of an early-April breeze. And the following morning, an angry red sunburn encircling my neck -- but for a glaring white stripe where my necklace had been.