Tuesday, August 31, 2010

story

Beulah inherited the property from John Roy, her brother, although she hadn't seen him or heard his voice in over twenty years. She had moved away and only rarely looked back in her thoughts, or maybe she looked back often. I don't really know. What I do know is she had been living on the coast in Alabama, some town near Mobile. Neither she or my Daddy had ever planned on meeting each other but John Roy's death made it happen. And it was then my Daddy told me that he and Mama had an open marriage and he had three girlfriends.

So I laughed and said, "Daddy. Please tell me more."

He gave me that sly grin inherited straight up and down by my brother, Graham. "You hadn't heard, Boog? I mean, seriously, you hadn't heard?" He wanted to tell this story so bad it was oozing out of him.

"No, Daddy. But please tell me. I GOTTA hear. Seriously."

"Well, ya' know, Charles's place over there?"

"Yes sir. The one John Roy was building a house on. Up there in the woods behind Graham's hunting camp."

"Yes, yes. I was taking care of the peas. Ya know, the pea patch, I do it every year? Just minding my own business. Gate's locked, and that woman. She's up at the house."

"What woman?"

"Beulah." He said like I should have known her name.

"Who's Beulah?" I say feigning total shame that I don't. And laughing. I can't stop laughing. It's so good to be here with him.

I'm on a bench that has water flowing through it into a clear pool of blue. It is an uncharacteristically beautiful, southern August day and it's just us and he's trying to cook shitty hamburgers on a broken grill. Like a big fish story I will tell you that it took us three hours to cook those hamburgers and for Daddy to tell me the story. But, seriously, I think it did.

And I still don't know if I've got everything straight, but I hope to tell you this story 'cause somebody other than me has to hear it. Right now I'm giving myself a little break to kick back with Billy Sue, the dog who will soon be typing 'cause all she does is watch me do it.

Have I told you thank you for reading lately? No? Well, thank you. Thank you for being here.

Wyatt

This is what I believe to be true. I believe it is okay for you and me to believe differently. I believe we each walk through certain life experiences and we're taking those with us somewhere else. I believe it is well and fine if you believe life stops after this physical death or goes somewhere else. Cool. Peace. Love.

I believe Wyatt was no accident.

I believe he has already taught me and my family a million things because he learned those last time or the time before or whenever. Maybe God whispered in his ear.

I believe Wyatt has taught me to be in joy. I believe he is pure joy beyond any obstacle life throws his way.

I believe when he tries to eat my Dad's head he is saying take whatever God gave you and chew on it. Make it yours. It is. Eat it up.

I believe when Wyatt watches people with such love and intent, more than I've ever seen in any human, he is saying be observant and aware. And love, most of all just LOVE.

I believe Wyatt says be patient. Know that each one of us is walking our own journey and everything will be okay if, for a moment or forever, we are left to our own path and we allow someone else theirs. He is outrageously understanding.

I believe Wyatt says it is important to be strong in spirit.

I believe Wyatt tells us that our fellow humans are gifts.

I believe I wouldn't have made this world as it is. I believe I would have changed some things. But then again I also believe that you and I wouldn't be here if I was in charge 'cause I would have blown it up many centuries ago. Back when I was not so COOL. PEACE. LOVE.

I had some things to learn.

But I'm learning. I am learning to be more like Wyatt so he won't have to teach me anymore. And the world will be as Wyatt sees it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

grip

When you loosen your grip you stop looking at the clock and enjoy the drive. You notice the trees and the clouds. You share a hamburger with your dog. You sing along with the music and sometimes you even roll down your window when it's raining.

When you loosen your grip you fall in love all over again with the sight of your Dad sitting in HIS chair. You play in the banter you and he exchange as if you just left off of that conversation yesterday, not months ago. You listen to his stories and laugh and know beyond a shadow of a doubt...he is good.

When you loosen your grip you make a special note of how beautiful and stunning your mother is. You notice subtle differences as if she has undergone a season of change and think to yourself "how wonderful for her." You relish the dialogue as it flows like a swift current between you and how both of you could inspire each other to do anything. You know that she makes you want to be better as well.

When you loosen your grip you try to rest up for a particularly promising evening. You enter your brother and his wife's home with a renewed appreciation to what their connection to each other and you means in your life. You hear the lively music as if you've entered a celebration filled with crowds of people over joyous but it's only you three. You fall in love with their porch and it's lights and their dog and the table and the chairs and the storm off to the East. And you talk about nothing and everything all at once. You laugh and nod and know that they are good. Happy Birthday, Josh and Priscilla.

When you loosen your grip you sneak back into your parent's bed even though you're forty and should know better but your mother has gone to church and your Dad is trying to clean miles of fences. You think to yourself that in the future somewhere you will own a mattress just like this and it will matter not if you even have a bed to hold it up because this mattress has got to be as close as you can get to sleeping on a cloud. And when your brother wakes you up with his giggling you still tell him to go to hell and you're happy that he giggles more.

When you loosen your grip you treasure the moment in the parking lot when you get to see your son for the first time in a week. You make note of the sparkle in his eyes and are grateful for how clean and well fed he appears. You attempt at humor and swim in any laughter he gives you. You smile because your very heart does.

When you loosen your grip you get home and know that sometimes you're exhausted and it's okay to cut yourself some slack.

Good trip. Many thanks to my beautiful family.

Friday, August 27, 2010

word

Irony was my favorite word until I experienced it.

The thought that we see the world as we are and not as it is keeps me in check.

And, oh, if only we didn't always become the message we are preaching against.

What helps me on a Friday? Jack. And knowing that I truly don't KNOW anything. There it is again. Irony.

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Gone home this weekend but not before leaving you with this prolific, I think, quote from Eddie Vedder in his song, Society.

There's those thinking more or less less is more but if less is more how you keeping score?

Peace out, homies.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

girlie things

Okay, so yeah, I know we are living in a metro sexual age where boys and girls can cross the gender specific stereotypes laid out by humans craving certain separations, guidelines maybe. Hell, I know a guy who is all right wing, ultra conservative, large as a college football player, manly man with two tours in Iraq under his belt and nicely pedicured toes hidden under his steel toed boots.

Me? My idea of getting dolled up includes mascara and chap stick. And that's right before I go work the corner twice a year.

All this to say that this morning's spa treatment I gave myself was quite the experience. Self care via a facial, more shaving than I care to mention, lathering up in pear lotion and the actual plucking of eyebrows gone wild. All followed by a thirty minute meditation on cool sheets as the ceiling fan circulated the air around me. I kinda feel like a girl again maybe. Ya' know, one of those old fashioned, lines are clear kinda girls.

No, I didn't do the pedicure but maybe tonight. Today I feel like I need to wear my bright orange Mr. T "I pity the fool" t-shirt just to keep the boys at bay.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I think

pity is not love.

I tell myself that I believe in your strength to overcome.

Because I love you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

still breathing

He made me better and even in writing that I couldn't tell you better than what. I just know I always needed to be better because of him.

Now it feels as if I am swimming in a sea of enough, and it may take some getting used to. The waters are completely still. Not even a ripple. So maybe I will drown in music this week, feel the stir of emotion in some of my old favorites.

And miss him. Miss how he always made me want to be better.

Take it away, Tom....



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Sunday, August 22, 2010

dreamy



Some days I feel I may jump out of my skin. It's as if I've got to go. Get on the road. Move. Maybe this is a mid-life crisis, but then the word crisis doesn't seem to fit. Plus, let's face it, I doubt I'll ever be the candy apple red convertible type.

So here I am ready to put a few things in the car, open the passenger door for Billy Sue, back out the driveway and start driving without even a destination. What stops me from making that choice?

1. A knowledge that I haven't always made the best choices so I wonder if I can trust myself in my own hands.

2. My Mom. Thank God and goodness that her voice is in my head telling me to be sensible.

3. Absolutely nothing else.

Thus, it sounds like I need to get to work building confidence and being sensible.

House for Sale. Trees included.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

later that same day

He's too smart for me. When I asked which car we would be taking he quickly said both so that I wouldn't be stuck at Ole Miss and he wouldn't have to bring me home.

Later as I was following him up the interstate ramp it seemed strange that he could even drive. All of a sudden I had this feeling that he shouldn't be old enough to drive.

Even later when we were amongst what felt like millions of people attempting to move into the same place he turned to me, gave me a hug and said, "I love you."

"I love you, too, Slater, but I have to make up your bed, help you get the rest of your stuff out of your car...I'm not leaving now, am I?"

"Mom, I can take care of it. I've got this."

He walked me out the door, toward the elevator and we waited as I said, "Slater, you're killing me. I can't help you do anything? What about the bursar's office? Have you got your checkbook?" I knew he didn't because I had put it in my purse right before we left.

"I can do it, Mom. I have my debit card."

"You don't have the invoice." Something else I had stuck in my purse.

"They won't need it."

We were grinning at each other the whole way back to the parking lot with me amazed at how well he played defense against my need to take care of one more thing for him, to prove in some way that I was still his Mom. I finally stopped on the sidewalk before turning to go to my car and said, "Slater."

He turned around and gave me a wonderful, warm, sweet hug and within it I explained, "Slater, I love you so much. And I know without a doubt you're going to kick their ass. You show 'em what you can do, baby."

And then, "I'll see you everyday after I drive down here from work."

"No, you won't."

We laughed and parted ways. I got one last glance of him before I got in my car and headed back home. The home I bought because he wanted trees.

Friday, August 20, 2010

denial

Him: Well, ya' know, tomorrow is the big day. This is my last night.

Me: Yeah, but it's Friday. Classes don't start till Monday so we'll just be moving in all weekend. It's not like you're going to spend the night there until Sunday, right?

Him: Mom, tonight is my last night.


If I don't pack anything for him, can he still move away?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

YO

I wrote balance. There were these little cards we had to fill out when entering the class. The usual demographic information with the addition of several blank lines left for us to convey the reasons for coming to yoga. I simply wrote the word balance.

Yo took the card and instructed me on where to get my mat. My partner in crime, Cannon, was still completing his card and had yet to remove his shoes so I naturally retrieved his mat as well. This also gave me the opportunity to set him up in the middle of the room while providing myself with a space on the outer edge. Just before class began Cannon grabbed his mat and plopped down next to me. With a big grin he said, "Shea, my feet stink. I don't care if you smell them."

"Gee thanks, Cannon," I laughed.

Therein lay our problem. Cannon and I can barely look at each other without laughing. And we were at yoga. We needed to focus. I didn't want Yo to have to ask us to leave. So I said one last time because I had already warned him, "Cannon, do NOT make me laugh."

Then we both laughed again.

Yo was good. She had this kind face and soothing voice, a very calming presence. Warm, I think. It seemed right that I had entered my first yoga class in a very long time and found myself under her tutelage. With soft music, low lighting and with Yo as our leader we began by studying our breathing.

This is when I found out that although balance may be a long term goal, I need to first learn how to breathe again.

My first baby step toward Green River.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

worry

I know that worry seems normal.

Yet I think worry is a lack of faith, and normal is no excuse.

Or maybe not.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Atticus

Sometimes I think Atticus Finch ruined me for all other men. I wonder if he ruined Harper Lee. And if ruined is such a bad word.

Thank you, sweet Shelby, for reminding me of that.

One day a long time ago my Dad told me that once I knew true love I would know that everyday you wake up and think you could never love this person more than you love them today. But the next day you awake to find you love them more than you did yesterday. And everyday after it is the same way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

courage

This is my friend, Metaphoric Rusty.

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He is getting married again.

I'm not going to say anything about the horrendous monster that could potentially be at the bottom of that hole. The teeth on that thing!

Incredibly courageous, I think. And look, there was a happy ending. Way to keep believing, Rusty. Congratulations to both you and Rebecca.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

well.....finally!!!!!!!

It is the flight of the bumblebee. Staccato connections ranging from a disrespectful child seen at a school that day to a struggle of showing respect to upper management to our own children to our partners and to our bodies. Four lifetimes of words squeezed into the darkness.

The night air has grown cold, and three of us opt to take refuge in the inner sanctum. All but Angie. She chooses to do what I've been doing for the past three nights. She quietly walks into the dark, open space off the porch, toward the fountain where I can only assume she paces and prays, lays her troubles down and lets them go.

By the time she reenters the room we're camped out in front of a movie, but none of us are all that interested. Angie and Sherrie say their goodbyes and head north, while Kim decides to camp out on the couch. I make my way back to the bedroom fully spent from a day of testing the waters back in the real world.

I sleep well the last night and rise early the following morning. Kim has yet to wake so I tiptoe through my routine of making coffee and travelling back and forth from the porch to the kitchen for refills. About an hour later Kim awakes and gets ready for work. I insist she takes some leftovers, she finally accepts and heads off to a world of people in dire need.

I spend the majority of my last morning attempting to leave this place as I found it. I pack my things, take them to the car and go back in to leave Kay a type of thank you note in her guest register. Afterwards I set a book called The Power of Place on a table and look around the room in one last breath of gratitude.

I am grateful to know this place exists. In a world which can be dotted with conflict, mistrust, anger and misery there can be such peace, beauty, love and tranquility. I tell myself that I choose this. I choose this space. I choose to breathe this air. I choose to trust. I choose to allow. Everyday I walk in the knowledge that I have the choice so I choose this.

THE END.

with music....

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Monday, August 2, 2010

donor

I think it may be necessary to break from the regularly scheduled program of the NOW at Como Courtyard to do a brief public service announcement regarding the necessity of being an organ donor.

So here goes....

I am a bit of a snob regarding consumerism.

I like to think that I have managed to escape the need to compete with another human in regards to monetary gain and mass accepted symbols of such.

Yet yesterday I had to admit they have me.

Although the box on the back of my driver's license is checked in regards to me giving up any usable tissue upon my death, it is now evident that my charity has been trumped by my perceived need of a product. I am weak. Oh who am I kidding, I would die without it!!!!

Entergy Corporation could ask me for an organ, possibly some limbs, definitely the breasts, everything but the pinkie toes and I would gladly hand these over in order to have air conditioning.

Geeze Louise, it is HOT out there.

I am so very grateful for air conditioning and for the organs I have worthy of trade.