It's not the stillness, the speed, or the possibility of slow. It's not the length, width, or the depth of this ark we build. It's not the what-ifs, or the we-wills. It's not in the details, of how the procession into our tomorrow happens. It's not our tomorrow. It's not how the beginning of this celebration will end. And if there's no end, though there's always an end, it's not about the beginning. It's not about the rules we don't make, or the ways we know too well, or about the ease of our desires and existence. It's not about the haves or the nots, or what's missing between our lines. It's only, only, our today. And only is what fills this ark, because anything else would be a burden for buoyancy as palpable as this. Only is a promise that can be kept. And what is anything, if it can't be kept? So I promise you only today, at a time, as a covenant to our May. It's only our November, and only is an everything I'd like to keep.
(to be read with 14:40 Walking Here, Two Shadows Went)
When the rivers rise
to meet where my words once fell and failed me,
so that the words can find balance in swimming.
When I can remain still and comfortably desperate at my desk to write,
in order to forgive myself of my wrongs.
When the day comes that I can finally move on,
from everything that I thought I was,
in a universe I constructed with balsa wood foundations
and houses made of sand castles of his ashes.
When the rivers finally rise to make mud of those ashes,
so that the sun can set the ashes to clay,
as a reminder that everything was real.
And when I can wake up to put a smile on, before deciding what to wear,
and he's still there.
When all of this...is, not dreamt
is when I can say I found the Ark that Noah built,
the one that saves us from ourselves.
The 'animals' were just an illusion.
You think Valentines Day is not for you, you don’t think it…you know it. And in a world of fast in and out’s and where goodbye tears are more memorable than hello’s, it’s almost justifiable. Almost.
I’ve shared my opinion on Valentines Day several times before. I hold it very close to my heart, though not for romantic purposes. I’ve never celebrated a Valentines Day with a “significant other,” not with past boyfriends, not with my ex-husband, not with flings or possibilities. It was one of my stepfather’s favorite holidays; it was one that bonded us while I was growing up, and while life was getting tougher. For me, it was one of those days that I could always look forward to being filled with – no strings attached, no worries, no heartache - kind of love. But this Valentines Day is very different, in a much more evolved way.
We’re living in a time where connections are fragile, and our ability to nurture them relies heavily on our juggling skills. For some of us, our parents bought us Valentines cards to share with our classmates. For some of us, our parents were the ones that would write the names on the envelopes. And now those same parents are vanishing from those safe places we’ve taken for granted. And if they haven’t vanished, they’re on their way. Not to mention our friends, the ones under 40 years old we’ve been losing, painfully and unnecessarily. This year, one of our loved ones will be one of the estimated 1,665,540 diagnosed with cancer, and someone we know will be 1 of the 4 to succumb to it. And every single day 680 people die of Sudden Cardiac Death, half of them are under 65 years of age.
On our birthdays and those special occasions we often make promises to ourselves to breathe, relax, appreciate each other a little more. And we seldom follow through. Today is that day when we are allowed, without fear of rejection or abandonment, without embarrassment, we are allowed to tell ourselves, our friends, our parents, our loved ones… “I love you” ...and we’re allowed to mean it. And maybe my perspective is unique because of the love and loss I experienced way back when, he was taken far too early, before he or I had a chance to grow up, together or apart. Fast forward fifteen or so years and one marriage later, I find myself looking at everything differently. Looking with my heart, spine, and deepest part of my soul, because the man who is sharing his heart with me, and who I’m falling in love with, lost his beloved wife way too early, and right after committing to each other that they’d spend the rest of their long lives together. Yet, he’s shown me a level of resilience, strength and compassion that has me seeing with eyes of an adult, rather than that kid looking forward to the perfect day.
And of course, there are those friends, pets, family members, lovers, and companions whom we cherish and loved, and have lost because of circumstance, not death. It’s quite possible that circumstance can get in the way tomorrow, so today is the day of love. Today is that day to show the people we love, that we love them. It’s as simple as that. And if we honor that love today, what could get in our way of doing the same tomorrow?
The notes play, as a winter wind to an autumn leaf my ears breathe in brightly painted oceans, sometimes not so bright. Orange and Blue in hues of C & E briefly move me, until the note vanishes and I anticipate the next, and the next, and the last. This is precisely how I discovered gold. And even before listening to colors, I learned that at the softest enunciated whisper, or at minds glance of an enunciated movement, euphoria sets in; a temporary nirvana tip toes through the spine. Angels disguised as feathers disappear into the edges of my skin, awakening follicles. Orgasmic embraces - I've convinced myself - is all they are. When the hand slowly readies itself to play the orange key, I realize that the two can sometimes overlap. Tone, mood, movement, hearing; shades of outside become inside, through hearing. The mind creates a body of heaven from a temporary hell. And all of this is not all that I have been since childhood but it’s half of me, it’s usual, while the other half of me concludes that finally everything now makes sense.
So I have these two things about me that are kinda weird but kinda not, since I’ve experienced them since I can remember. One I’ve known for some time, it’s called sound to color synesthesia, which means I basically hear colors. The other has baffled me since childhood and I’ve lived in secret with until a couple of weeks ago. I just found out that it has a name, it’s called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. I use to figure it was just a sensitive nerve thing, that crazy almost constant tingling sensation at the back of the neck and spine, triggered by sounds and particular movements. Some of you may have it, and I’m realizing that it’s not so rare for some to have both of these (if you already experiencing one, that is). It can be annoying or fun, but is just mostly interesting. I’ll be writing something about this in the near future. If you’d like to share stories of your experiences with either of these, or if you have an idea for collaborations, write me a note – I’d love to hear from you!
It was hard for his heart to hold so much wonderfulness, and so much of his crazy kind of love. RIP Sebastian
Eleven years ago, when the time came to adopt a dog, I did a good amount of research. I remember the books pointing out all of the characteristics of a dog "well-suited" for adoption.
1. Make sure he gives you eye contact
2. When they let him out of the kennel, he should be curious, but beware the signs of nervousness
3. The dog should be happy, willing to walk on a leash
So I visited all the shelters, looking for little Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.
I'll never forget walking into the South Central Animal Shelter. Each dog kennel stuffed with dogs as if they were sardines, most of them pit bulls. But one kennel was stuffed with the little dogs, with maybe one or two timid but larger breeds thrown in.
And there he was...shy, timid and a loner...wanting nothing all to do with the other dogs.
1. Couldn't look anyone in eye, actually turned his head when you'd look is direction.
2. Was so shaky and nervous, he pee'd on my shoe the moment he exited the kennel.
3. He was terrified and wouldn't let us put a leash on him.
Perfectly imperfect, sickly, untrained, miserable. It was love at first sight.
And after the doctors got him healthy, he quickly became our little partner in crime. Trips to Joshua Tree, camping in Big Sur, and trips to his favorite dog beaches. I'm sure his favorite memory was the drive to Alaska where he stayed with me for a year to hike snowy mountains, run from moose and dig his nose into pebble beaches scrounging for fish.
Of course if I followed the advice of professionals I would've had a trainable dog, one that didn't snap after asking for some affection, or that wouldn't run the opposite direction after calling him. But then, I wouldn't have had the puppy my mom would lovingly call "a spitting image of you, Jessica," with his abundance of energy, fearless attitude and ...refined palate. Well, refined until we moved to DTLA and he developed a panache for grabbing anything on the street, that might be food-related.
That's the Sebastian I want to remember, the fiesty and fun little guy who loved road trips, watching basketball games and who's favorite past time was laying in the sun. I hope to soon forget the Sebastian who couldn't walk six feet without panting, who couldn't sleep because it was uncomfortable for him to lay down with a heart his size and who couldn't stand the sun. And I'll definitely forget those congested coughs that lasted as long as his energy let them. And thank goodness for an amazing vet who made this last road trip of his as peaceful as possible for all of us, the good memories are richer because of it.
The kid had a great life. I wasn't always the greatest mom, my life is nuts...if he were alive he would tell you all about it, in his own words. But he was loved, and more importantly, he brought a lively kind of love into mine, into ours.
Thank you Sebastian, for letting this crazy lady into your life, and for bringing something resembling motherhood, into mine.
On this day, Día de los Angelitos, we honor our beloved children that have physically left us, those born and unborn. It’s on this day that we celebrate their eternal wing, and as they stay with us in spirit we feel their love and the trail of hope that follows them.
In this crazy world, the truth is this place would be better with them in it, and if all of us were forever children…
“Think of your child, then, not as dead, but as living; not as a flower that has withered, but as one that is transplanted, and touched by a Divine hand, is blooming in richer colors and sweeter shades than those of earth.” -Richard Hooker
The days when he or I would come home, I'd jump into his arms and we'd kiss our way to the room where families begin, never happened...after that day happened. That day when everything became a question. "Our love was a different kind of love," he assured me while we held each other only halfway between where we last left our hearts, on that day. We had sampled the longing and lustful kind, the sad kind, the agreeing and smiling kind, the meandering kind of love. And after living two chapters of life hoping the lasting kind would arrive, I ran to the forest where trees of an entirely different kind grow, trees with flowering blossoms of dreams that don't need to come true. Where promises don't exist. Where obstacles are Gods way of bringing us closer. Our universe may be filled with the shadows of our own abandonment but the forests are where we find rest, make believe, truth, and love.