Tag Archives: Life

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 1930’s to the 1950’s 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.

where i have been

31 May

here. listening. trying to  anyways. it is a tall task to listen in this life – which is so unbelievably short. the next task and the next will alway be pressing on the part of the brain and decision process that has carried me so far, but without soul. the numbering of days is so apparent – how many more do i get? how precious these days as they wind down toward the end of the the tunnel. i drag my feet here, not in a hurry to meet the light of the next incarnation-or the light of the unveiled transitioning. you might laugh and call me young to write this way, i get that, but the later half of this journey is a reckoning that i will not allow you to dismiss. i’ve an appreciation of the map and for the tracking and i’m open to seeing it truly so to not miss the rewards i can gather in each spot. i’ve worked hard to reach a certain emptiness in my guarded sanctuary that i’m not in a hurry to move out of or to fill with the knowns that lead to no where.  i am a bird woman at heart, i meet your eye with a certain intensity that is steady and flittering at once. i look forward to meeting where one can meet that wordless gazing. most i meet are projecting out what they wish others would see in them; i know this dynamic well and have compassion for it for having played it for years (and still I slip into it occasionally when I forget).  how do we shed the self and deepen at the same time? no answer is forthcoming for my question, yet all becomes apparent as i walk it. the deepening is a happening that seems to be the side effect and not the directly hunted objective. deepening is ripening, which fruits know how to do – are made for doing. Also occurs to me is the fruit’s apparent purpose in being consumed or for wasting and rotting on the ground, turning into a seed, for starting it all again. the drum of traffic in my tiny house reprimands me – scolds me for stepping away – places to go, purposes, motion, yet i make effort to hear the bird in the urban landscape on a mission in its song. a salamander, a ferrel cat, herbs, a sago palm tossed off by a neighbor, i’ll take what appears and bow. here now for me is a space for typing words, for listening to a train whistle, and the splattering start of rain on roof and road, I’m lingering before the shower and before my day. to you, i bow as well, in your day, aware of the appearing phenomenon where ever you may be, your sharing space beyond the words with me here is a communion that i can’t explain. love to you, there.

dressing the BEing

13 Nov

From an early age, I picked up from the environment the importance of looking acceptable on the outside in order to be included. Most of us have conditioning in this area, right?  All of us, really;  how could we not, or else we would probably all be wearing pjs or even going about naked based on what feels good to us.  I’ve lived in some places where the outside appearance was more important than other places.  Perhaps these environments of my earlier days reflected my own understanding in these areas as well.  I was shaped by (or reflected in) some strongly conforming environments and some strongly class-conscious spaces.

A really great outfit is a relative thing. One might judge a great outfit to wear based on comfort and craftsmanship. One might also judge a great outfit to be what others will perceive as cool or as pricey. These examples are just a few options on a whole spectrum of variety in the land of belief in a personal self looking for practicality,  comfort,  value,  reflecting group think, class systems, sub culture, in short, all relating to separation.  The clothing of Adam and Eve suddenly becomes a myth in my mind today with a practical fallout in apparel all beginning with a misperception of separation.

Oh goodness, what a long way to get to a little anecdote from life recently.  A momentary flicker across the screen of self, but interesting to me nonetheless, so much so that I find myself writing much more than I would have imagined about this micro-moment in my day.

My friend invited me out to explore a plot of land that she and her husband have purchased with several others to develop for themselves. It was a beautiful day and so fun to explore unkempt land full of tall trees and birds and mushrooms. A horse farms on one side brought the sounds of an excited braying horse.  My friend’s dog Shelby is 14 and not doing well, so she was not able to come with us, but I got to pet her before and after our adventure into the woods.

On my way home from the visit, I stopped by Lowe’s for some paint I needed for a project. As I made my way through the store, I had several friendly interactions with people who work there, but on an aisle in the back of the store, an elegant gentleman looked me over in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time.  He looked me up and down as if to say with his face and eyes that I was not up to his standards, in dress, as I took it mean.  I felt a moment of my old conditioning come back; first I felt a shame, then a sort of prideful turn around occurred in my head to myself, saying “Well, I’m just at Lowe’s – I’m sure these clothes are perfectly fine for this errand.”  I had a momentary feeling of being a SELF who needed defending against the casual look of a stranger.  It wasn’t until a few aisles down that I took a look at myself and I laughed (audibly:).

This is how I looked. Because of petting Shelby so vigorously, my black clothes were covered in white dog hair.  Then because we had tromped through the woods without a trail, I was covered in seeds and weeds and brambles.  In short, I was a bit of a mess. The amazing thing was not that one man had noticed my state of disarray, but that no one else had made me aware of this fact in the least.  How beautiful that my friend and the workers and the shoppers had not given me any disapproval whatsoever.  From my earlier experiences in the posh posh tisk tisk environments of some times of my lives, I now was able to flow in the world unselfconsciously and to be met with the blind acceptance. Lowe’s as a full-length mirror of then and now.

I hope your day is full of unselfconscious joy, dog hair and woodsy remains!

good will

21 May

My back seat was full yesterday, and when a small window of time opened up,  I crawled amongst the beach traffic to a Goodwill drop-off point.   When I pulled up, the worker was standing ready to help me with the boxes. On top of one box was a skirt that has made it through all my many moves the past 10 years.  It was a beauty, rich fall colors, a mix of fabrics.  Time to say goodbye, but my hand couldn’t help but fondle it one last time before I picked up the box to hand it to the man waiting in the drop-off.

May the next owner of that skirt be well.  May the skirt live the next phase of its life with joy.

“How are you doing, today?” I asked the man, present.

He told me as we shifted these boxes to his arms that he was not doing so well.

I asked him why this was and he said that “it started out okay but…” and his voice faded out, so I added into the words unsaid, “Then all hell broke loose?” and this made him laugh.

“Yes,” he said.

More boxes, more shifting of weight from my car to his arms.

“I hope you are able to resolve your trouble” I said as I waited for my receipt.

“Oh, it will be resolved alright.” He said.  “I’m moving out.”

“Oh, big life shifting.” I said.

“Yes.”

“Good luck with your move,” I said in parting.

He smiled.

I do not know what it is, this way life has of bringing me truer interactions with what many would consider peripheral.  It has been this way often.  The moment opens wherever and whenever.   May Mr. Goodwill be well. May his move bring him peace—and may we all meet where we meet in the smallest of moments .

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