Tuesday, June 25, 2013

full celebration

Summer has really only been in full swing for a week, but boy have we greeted her with ferocity.  Spent all of last week moving and organizing and purging and focusing and celebrating our little, "rainbow house", getting her ready to be enjoyed by others.  And in one wild swoop, somehow found myself sitting around a table explaining a lease to three lovely twenty-somethings, twenty-somethings that very much resembled me and Jeff and our little Missoula crew in the early days.  They cut us a check, signed their names and, boom, wild role reversal.  I'm now the landlord.  I'm making the rules that they promise to follow.  Full circle celebration.

In the midst of this tremendous burst of work and responsibility, my husband left for a week long conference.  My go-to guy was gone and I was in charge of finding answers and making executive decisions.  And I still have two little, creative, loud, loveable people to care for.  So the balance has been a bit tricky.  They have definitely enjoyed the ipad while I've shown the house and scoured the cabinets.  So when Kay suggested we take a day away with the kiddos, it seemed like very appropriate and needed family fun.

I don't know why it's taken me this long to go to the garden of 1000 Buddhas in Arlee, but it has.  Wow.  This place is amazing.

Absolutely gorgeous and wild and so other worldy right there off the highway.  A perfect place to celebrate the solstice, the full moon, the move forward, a day with my girl and our babies -- just slowing down and savoring.  The kids spanned three to ten, but somehow the dynamic worked beautifully with Kay's olders taking care of my youngers.  Hayden even managed to shower Solomon in the men's locker room after our soak at Quinn's hotsprings...Jeff and I can barely manage to shower our bath-obsessed boy.  Kids rise for their own kind.

 The children passed out after our very full, sun-soaked day, skin soft with the mineral rich waters.  I felt a deep sense of safety and calm, mama-ing in tandem, taking the time to hold this moment in our story.  Eliana is changing so fast.  I feel her six-ness coming on; the way she rolls with it, asks meaningful questions, tries to be her best self and represent us with poise.  Solomon is a bit more hit or miss, his three-ness a walking party foul replete with sweetness and soul.  I held him in the water and felt his sweet lips on my cheek, the way he finally trusted that his life jacket would, indeed, allow him to float on his back, the look of serene calm that met his face when he finally settled in.  And Eliana, her swim strokes finally settling into her body, finding her confidence and stride in deeper waters.

This summer feels much less challenging, me home all day with the two of them.  I've had a few years of practice and now know what to expect, what I need to do to hold steady and surrender to meandering days and moment to moment goodness.  So bring it on.  Bring on this full celebration of now, of change, of shifts in light and space.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

rockin' transition

We're rocking transition around here.  Rockin' hard.  We pack boxes and bags, purge and recycle.  Re-organize, re-configure, stand on stools and stepladders, scrub ceilings and deep beneath stairs.  Things, things, things -- the stuff that defines our lives.  It sits in canvas and cardboard, backpacks and suitcases.  Sits for years and years and years, still defining us. 

When we came here, we packed two cars.  Books and clothes, a few lamps perhaps?  A box of favorite mugs?  Journals and photographs.  A decade later, it's mainly the same.  Add furniture and all things baby, add cold weather goods and wedding presents.  But strip it back, and we are so the same.  Our love of words and travel.  Our passion for our friends, our family, each other, our children - it spills forth from all we do.  And we purge the rest, each bag of trash another triumph, each pile for the garage sale, another share of joy. 

I scrape the yellow ceilings and remember how we painted each and every last square inch of that little home, how gray and dilapidated she was when we first found her.  Us, so not DIY, so not crafty or country or learned like that, we made it work.  We painted, already.  We scraped and weeded and planted and sowed.  We took time.  Friends camped in the backyard, in the basement, in the spare rooms.  We cooked elaborate meals, threw big parties, birthed big babies.  We made that space ours.  Our rainbow house.  Each color a piece of me, a piece of us, a little it of story. 

The narrative unfolds. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

my mama

my mama boards a train
for days and nights
holds her stick through
another lurch
takes in the pacific,
the columbia,
snaps shots and sends them
my way
to reassure me
that she is,
of course,

though it's hard to stand
on solid ground
these days and
the train jolts equilibrium
so she waits for her dinner
to arrive
on a tray
sends another sweet text
reads her fabulous books
watches the hours pass

and finds herself in a
tiny mountain town
states from where she began.
she waits for us to arrive,
walks with her Winnie
up and down the boulevard
up and down.
examines the pottery and local
photography, muses that the books
seem old
in the local bookstore,
they probably are,
nothing has the same sheen
around here,
though the mountains shine green
and the june light is
pretty remarkable.

she settles herself in
to day after day with
my strange children
their imaginations and frizz
their quick tempers and
wild songs

the week passes too quickly and
once again
the train awaits.
we circle the lake,
take in the hues of blue
the clouds and curves,
find all the ways we
are the same
the way we can talk for hours
break it down
eat every last
decadent bite,
I think my lack of worry
is refreshing,
I'd rather a perfect bite
than no bite,
the pork belly,
beets and beef tips,
languid in their splendor
and we move through
our surreal moment
in the little mountain town
where she'll await her train
a little lady with
tremendous adventure
though you might not know her
that way
beneath the control is a gal
who wants to see the world,
jumped ship from south africa
alone for weeks
to come to this country
she knew one man
for a few days
one man
oceans away

we can't not call her
my mama
on the train.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eliana in the backyard

The stone wall is thick with weeds,
long and light
seeped in May sun and
June rain.

I show you how to
pull from the root
and we work together
uncovering rock after rock,
a lone red tulip
shrouded in remnants
wild pink roses and
patches of lavender
their fragrant excess
and gray, gnarled roots.

There are so many moments
to hang on to:
how your long curls fall down
your back.  The way you repeat
the word, columbine,
ask for sticks of chive,
chew soft leaves of mint,
while your body hauls
life from earth.

You ground together a
pile of fairy dust:
purple sidewalk chalk
dandelion fluff
moist soil and
bits of sage and I remember
the way I haphazardly
placed it all in the earth
so long before I ever
thought of you.
Your tremendous questions,
singing yourself through
the evening.

The way you took your time,
sultry and gentle,
to find your way into the light.
On a long July day we walked
in heat, circled the loop of park,
soaked in a cool, creek pool,
hours and hours of music and
slow, grounded sway of hips,
I push the jacuzzi jets
on and off
on and off
chaos of bubbles,
cadence and swell,
bear down, seize

like the pulse
of plates,
the decades they wait
to finally come together.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For Brandon, in spring

In my dream you
walked in
confident and alive.
We had a long hug,
your strong frame
solid and familiar
beneath me.

It had all been a hoax
but you knew now
how real our love was,
no apologies just
your true
spirit of abundance
radiating around the room.

It was so absolutely real
your aliveness
and we hug again,
you flop down on the bed,
Hilary's high school one,
with the white shelves,
buoyant and relaxed,
and I see that
life is never really
as it seems --

your dark river of hair
and resonant voice,
the way you love
the world
love us
sing us through
another season,
soften across the shoulders,
choose to stay.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Where I’m From

I am from street lamps and
sidewalks, a snake of brake lights
winding slowly down the 110,
red sun electrifies smogged sky,
a silhouette of skyscrapers,
grass protruding from cement.

I am from show tunes and hip hop,
turntables and Chaînés
jazz hands and bass,
speakers the size of sedans,
my body pressed
against the vibration.

I am from palm trees and chaos,
swimming pools and siblings,
popsicles and Alta Dena Dairy,
nonfat and cold,
left on the front step.

I am from earthquakes and oceans,
an incessant tremble at our core,
rhythm of everything
beyond the man-made,
beyond control.


I am done scooping goldfish
into tiny tupperware containers
looking for matching blue lids
rinsing lunchboxes and
matching socks.

Done tapdancing for rooms full
of children, making up catchy ways
to remember the difference between
verbs and nouns,
the importance of topic sentences,
transitions and capital letters.

Done with piles of laundry and
thinking about what meat to
pull from the freezer for dinner.
Piles of papers to grade,
thoughtful comments,
kind but firm.
Done with the clarity of my to-do's,
the surrender to details. 
Absolute exhaustion. 

Pull me through these next two weeks.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

sunday night

spring sunday

spring is breath and light
swift shifts
unexpected triumphs
and dark, cold rains

one bitteroot pokes her pink flair
from tan earth
the clouds transform
suck me in
I stop again and again
on the trail
try to remember it all

eliana said tonight
I wish we had the power
to transform skin colors
so sometimes I could have dark skin
and rainbow hair
and boys could be girls

spring gives transformative energy
we can be anything
solomon strums his guitar
can riff on a strip of paper
upturned chair
hardback book
he blows the dandelion head
notices everything

our energy is only sustained
by how tremendous they are
and just when I think I can't do
another damn thing
another unexpected shift
and the blood flows back
I bend down and pick up
another wooden block
another lost sock
another piece of creation
or collection

our creations surround us
how green and full
how sad and real
morty is raising his hands
losing it in all the wrong ways
the young aide at the home
is exasperated, hit,
his blood and shit part of her
ridiculous day
and all I see is the photograph on
our wall, how handsome and tall
he was in his uniform,
Windy Winnie's sultry frame
scratched on the body of a plane
I see his intelligence and integrity
in my husband
how hard he works
his commitment and focus
his eternal quest for answers
and fiery adoration

we hold each other tightly
these days
worlds shift all around us
storms suck up small towns
we meet equal points
peril and pleasure
fear children too close
to high water
choose anyway the cabin
alongside the creek
pump water like primatives
the laughter of our friends
boys and girls
their imaginations extra alive

in the wild
everything aches with presence