Thursday, June 26, 2008

To feel (verb. 2 a: to be conscious of an inward impression, state of mind, or physical condition) . . .

When there is a void,
we must fill it.

But sometimes the substance
that created the absence
isn't available
to refill, patch in, replace
what was removed.

We might have to use
a different material,
and depending upon
its constitution and
physical properties,
the filling might leave
many smaller holes
in addition to the unwanted

Maybe it's better
to keep the hole?

(This is not a poem. I just felt like using line breaks.)

* * *

For some time, I have been intrigued by the notion of loss and gain. It seems that when we lose something, we also gain something, even if that gain is imperceptible at the moment. And when we gain something, we also lose. Perhaps I will go into more depth on this topic at a later date.

* * *

To fill
To feel

Pretty close sounding verbs.

* * *

I feel rather holey right now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I need a vacation . . .

. . . and just about everyone in my life has said to me, "Olive, you're going to take a vacation now that you have a little time off of work, right?"

I shrug. I really don't know.

It is interesting how different the views on vacations are. One friend said that I should plan the entire vacation myself and then invite someone along; that way, it would be a real vacation for me. I liked that idea.

Another friend said that I should have someone else plan everything--since that's the stressful part--and just show up. I liked that idea, too.

Someone offered me their personal wilderness for me to camp in. Someone suggested camping with friends at an established campground. Someone suggested California. Someone suggested Bear Lake. Someone suggested a short road trip, maybe to the canyons. My brother suggested that an 18 hour moving trip could be a road trip; we'd stop at sites. (But could this really count as a vacation?)

The truth is, I'm not very good at vacations. Maybe I will start out really small and go on excursions. Maybe then, I'll work up to a real vacation.

Places I would like to go, eventually:
* England--London and countryside
* New York City--energy, hot dogs and papaya juice, museums, traffic, crowds, art
* California--piers, beaches, Betty Edit, finding lost friend
* The Enchanted Highway--because it's odd and I like odd
* Anywhere in the U.S.-- where I can stay inside of the LV modular home
* Countryside, anywhere
* Cityscape, anywhere
* Various U.S. locations where friends live

As I compiled this list, I realized that I'm more interested in the odd and usual things that I can find in a place than in the place itself. (But maybe that's saying that I'm really interested in the place itself, because place is defined by what it contains and what happens inside its boundaries.)

Last summer I went to Cheyenne, WY and then on to CO to visit family. Why Cheyenne? They had the Sierra Trading Post. Yep, that was the whole reason. The Trading Post turned out to be a bust. (It's much better online.) But I do like my cowboy T-shirt, acquired from a WY museum, very much. Oh, and the trolley ride was quite fun; I do believe that I now know where Louis Sachar's Kissin' Kate Barlow comes from. A wild Wyoming outlaw!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Things I don't hear . . .

Today, I was driving and sobbing, and I had this memory of having seen this woman, she was crying while driving and she looked so much in pain that I wanted to stop her and do something for her. But I was powerless. When the memory closed, I looked around the road to see who might be witnessing my fragile moment; there was no one--Sunday traffic is light--but I stopped crying anyway.

Usually, I'm pretty good at ignoring all of the things that are wrong with me. I pretend that the me that I am is the me that must be.

But sometimes, the walls break down--just a little--and I see what I don't care to see.

(If you noticed that the title doesn't have any apparent connection to the the rest of the entry, you're quite astute.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I am thinking . . .

. . . how much my last entry reminds me of my grandma, who is 90 years and 5 months old, and who, when I last gave her a hug at the end of a visit said, "Come back and see me," with such urgency that I can't get her words out of my mind. And as the days since that visit tick by--Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and now Thursday--I wonder if I'm letting time slip away that shouldn't slip, and I wonder if she has something urgent to tell me, or if her words grow more out of not wanting to be left alone and forgotten, and maybe of not fully feeling--because I am guessing that in the end it is difficult to have that sort of confidence--that you can cross to the other side and find people there waiting specifically for you, and you alone, people who love you, know you, and will gladly encircle you in their embrace. I wonder what I should say, what I could say, to let her know that, even though so many people in her life were rotten, there will be people like me, people who love her, over there. And everything will be more than okay. It will be glorious.

My grandma is glorious already.

This is when . . .

This is when--if not long before--she would die in the wild. (Not that the tiniest poodles were designed to survive out there anyway.)

When I toss her a treat, she knows it's there, but this knowing is disconnected from the seeing, smelling, and hearing that she used to rely on to snap up treats with competitive rapidity. Now, she stands there a little dazed--she turns her head to look, but she can't see so small a treat. She sniffs, but she's too many inches away to pick up its scent. And the sound of where it landed was never so much a sound to her, as a gentle vibration that she felt, amplified by memory.

I tap my foot next to the treat. And feeling her way to the rhythm, she gets in range and sniffs her way to victory.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

He . . .

He is so used to watching the sky for activity and scavenging the earth for fallen things that when I flick my wrist he traces the arc from my hand to where the piece of cracker should land.

When there is no bit of cracker, he stares at me, bewildered at first, and then with steady, unmoving eyes. He will sit this way, this furry four-legged statue of mine, until I give in and hand him what he always knew he would find.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I sometimes wonder (a reprise) . . .

. . . at the forces that are invisible to me, the patterns that are beyond my vision, the relationships, powers, and truths that exceed my understanding, and how they lift, change, transform me in the most beautiful and transcendent ways, even when all I can do is sense these forces, feel the energy of them at work, never quite comprehending what they are or how they operate.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What I noticed today . . .

a dead doe on the side of the freeway; two of her legs had been torn off and were missing

that trailers and big trucks often have 7 or 9 brake lights on them spread out in a U-shape around the backside of the vehicle

the little almond shaped leaf, partially yellow, mostly light green, that was stuck to the back window of my car by the beads of rain

that sometimes you hear lyrics that aren't there--"do angels bleed?" is a good line, but it's not really in the song

that my enter key--which I still want to call a return key--is starting to stick

that chives, with their purplish domed flowers, and onions, with their white tips, are even more vibrant and beautiful in the rain

I sometimes wonder . . .

. . . what it means to be human.

Is it feeling this hard bench--that I have been sitting on for too many hours--beneath me? Or is it the fact that time can pass, and I will still be here?

Is it knowing that tomorrow I have hours and hours of expectations to live up to and no preparation to match it? Is it being able to glance around the room I am sitting in and notice the paintings, plants, curtains, and the cell phone, sitting on its side, next to the box of gardening stakes that I haven't yet opened? Is it being able to make sense of what those details mean?

Is being human listening to music in order to match my mood to its? Is it the ability to pull out phrases that connect to me and leave the rest, untouched and un-thought-about, in the song?

Is it the throb of feeling that pumps through my system even when I tell it to stop? Is that what makes me human? Unwanted feeling?

Or is it being vulnerable? And fragile? And entirely disoriented?

Sometimes, I wish that I could call out to the ancestor that I am named for. I would say, "Olive, what made you human, but in such a beautiful and strong way?" I think that Olive would remember the suffering she endured before her life ended too soon, and the pain of leaving four children orphaned, but would she remember what it was that made her soar? And is she soaring now?

I hope so.