Tag Archives: home

beauty in the contrast

5 Aug

I am at a loss about how to capture the beauty in the ugly or the raw.  I moved to a new neighborhood last year.  It is on a boundary.  If I go right out of my neighborhood, I cross under the highway within a block (The sound of traffic is quite noticeable from my yard).  A block beyond the highway is an area of the city where most are struggling with day to day life, many without cars.  The foot traffic and bike traffic on this side are a reflection necessity.  If I turn to the left, I pass by ranches from the 1930s to the 1950s that are being renovated and flipped, followed quickly by a reviving recreational center, followed by a little village with trendy new bars, restaurants and breweries.  The foot traffic and bike traffic on this side of the area are a reflection of recreation.   The trending of revitalization and commerce meets starkly at a highway overpass line a  climate of poverty.

The whole area is a grocery desert, which I had read about before actually moving here.  There are two grocery stores within 3 miles of my house, but they are not the sort of store I am used to.  The closest store has been robbed so many times that they have a security guard who sits by the carts at the front of the store.  The selection is improving due to the revitalization not so far away.  They have begun to have a few organic selections in the produce section.  They have a surprisingly good selection of chocolate bars, suddenly, out of the blue. The prices are several dollars cheaper at times than the nicer sides of town.  I shop here.  I enjoy trying to find things that I want to buy amid the slim pickings.  I hope to skew the selection toward what I want, all the while, in the back of my mind, I wonder if my shopping here will make the prices increase for those who walk to this store from shanty-like apartments and trailers.  Last night a man checking out ahead of me talked to the worried cashier with a backwards, unlit cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth.  Many at the checkout are buying only large alcoholic beverages which they keep in their paper bags to drink as they walk away.

I move in many worlds, and I love how my life exposes me to contrast  daily.  I have never rested easy in the priveleged isolation I’ve known so often.  Is there something in me that seeks the downtrodden side of life?    I want to pin it, the beauty I see in this meeting of worlds.

From the parking lot of the Food Lion I can see the paper mill putting billowing clouds of smoke into the sky.  Between the Food Lion and the paper mill exists a marsh.  The marsh is full of tall wetland grass,  yellow, chartreuse, and deep green wheaty spokes  broken up only  with a few leafless dying tree sculptures here and there.  On these leafless trees sit a variety of snowy white sea birds, egrets and herons, decorating the long stretch of grass and water with their elegant bodies.  They look like large white flowers blossoming out of stark sticks. There is trash strewn in places, but the birds pull my eyes up to their pure forms;  they gather here every morning in front of the paper mill  where I sit to wait for the light to change as I drive to work, sublime elegance displayed in the nature and grey, polluted spewing of the industry, rising affluence and surviving poverty, the spectrum looping around to complete a circle.

I am a center point, observing where a range meets.  Salinated and desalinated, clean and dirty, stable and unstable.  Some mornings the wind shifts and the paper mill smell fills the air in the nicer section and seeps into our houses; the stainless appliances and granite counters cannot counter the smell; we all pray for a shift in the wind. But who would receive it then?

If I were a photographer, I could capture and pin it, this contrast.  I could snap the shot my eyes take in, but my photo attempts fail, so I turn to words, which may not be working either, but here is my stab at capturing this unnamable something my soul is attracted to instantly, the contrast available.  I stand in line at Food Lion behind the swaying man, each of us holding the center of love that we share.  I am not anyone.  I am often surprised I have a name.  I sometimes forget that I am more than just a pair of eyes, observing the beauty without definition in all that I can see.


19 Oct


Often, there is just a walking through, no thinking-flow going on in my moment to moment existence for which I am deeply grateful.  Sailing through life from this place is a joy.

Sometimes, though,  there is a heavy familiar sadness that wells up that is not tied to anything particularly but an overall way of being that shades my eyes.  That familiar feeling is so out of place in my flow anymore.  I see my own brand of sad, circling around, looking for a way in.  When it comes over me, I have a hard time feeling any hope, or purpose for continuing to walk about  in this world.  It is heavy.  So heavy, I am amazed how it ever can blow over and leave the sky clear for joy to flow again.

So I ask myself, what is this?  What is there to uncover and learn?   What silly stairs do i stumble down, sometimes?  What song  plays in the distance to help me remember to dance – dance back into the true lightness of being.  Heavy is a smothering blanket best dealt a laughing blow.

Awake and knowing, asleep and seeking, asleep and suffering, remembering, awake and dancing: round-and-round:  macabre and delight – all of it.  I am doing this life.  Watching this life.  Lingering in bed on a Saturday morning.

While waiting for dance rehearsal to finish at 10:30 last night, watching the dashboard clock creep ever closer to 11,  I was so tired, I could have entered deep sleep there under the streetlight blaze behind the steering wheel.  As i sat in the car waiting, I realized once again that there were no pressing thoughts.

How I sink into this wonderful thoughtless space!  There is the seeing that when I carry on with my life from this place, I carry on with ease.

The sadness seems to start when I find a snaggy string  playing  at the corners of the door to this space.  Thoughts, like busy hands, seek out the messy strings distracting the entrance to bliss and they accidentally unravel a whole mess of thread which mounts up in piles.  Buried down under the piles of thoughts, I look up but cannot see what once looked like endless blue sky; the blue is obscured by the opaque nature of the mess I’ve pulled down upon myself.  Rising again seems impossible.

Where is that spacious place that felt like home now?

Why should I stay at the bottom of a well, when a strong rope is in my hand? — Rumi
Thoughts are string, but truth is a rope, a rope out.

Each time through the confusion, I see more clearly.  Each time I remember more quickly of the opaque nature of unclear thinking.  Each time I get still a bit sooner; I ride the storm out with a little more assuredness.

But dear, sweet, efforting girl, do not miss the large  recycling bin at the entrance to spaceousness  just waiting for those knotted mounds.  Drop them off.   Do not sort them or roll them up on spools to be brought out again another day.  Leave them and move on.

From this spacious place, it is clear:  home is inside and beyond the moving vessel of me – home enjoys the ride through storm and  soft breeze, music and imagined loss, luxury and stark beauty.  The true home is  free of noise, confusion, dust, clutter.

Home is not the vessel; the vessel is a springy, high platform from which I can swan dive into the sea of everything.  I don’t know even a tiny sliver of what is,   but I am given just what I need to push those boundaries out and out and out as I can handle more without quaking in fear.

While I lived on a boat for several years  (which actually didn’t move all that much as it was tied up to a dock), I resisted the idea of a moving home.

But now I can see that my real home is much more clearly all ways with me and always in motion, even in the bed on a saturday morning.

Home is where i want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb – burn with a weak heart
(so i) guess i must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It’s ok i know nothing’s wrong . . nothing

Hi yo i got plenty of time
Hi yoyou got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up + say goodnight . . . say goodnight

Home – is where i want to be
But i guess i’m already there
I come home – -she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can’t tell one from another
Did i find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this where i’ll be . . . where i’ll be

Hi yo we drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all tose kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I’m just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till i’m dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head ah ooh

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