Monday, December 6, 2010

Imagining Snow

I've long given up the dream of having a white Christmas in South Carolina. While it does snow here sometimes during the later winter months, December sees little of the fluffy stuff.

Coming out of Harris Teeter a few evenings ago, as a light rain misted the chilly air, I looked into the glowing lamp posts over the parking lot and imagined that the glinting water falling down was actually snow. The cold rain gave my cheeks a slight sting, and the way the lights reflected made the droplets look like tiny glowing snowflakes.

I felt warmed through, except my chilled nose, of course. Ah, snow for the season, even if only imaginary.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Well, Here I Go Again

It has come to my attention that I have far too many posts about Christmas. They actually took up a majority of the space in this blog last year at this time. Am I unusually obsessed with this holiday? Perhaps, but only for the sake of having something to write about...
Well, since senior year has christened December as not only the most wonderful time of the year but also the most busiest time of the year, I will allow only one (I can make no promises, however) post concerning Christmas. Here I go again.

Tomorrow the 25 day countdown begins! I'm fairly excited about this year's Christmas - we have our last day of school in the year 2010 on December 15th, and then we're off and running to finish last minute Christmas shopping, realize that we still have a whole other week until Christmas, and sleep until noon everyday. My family is doing things a bit differently this Christmas; my mom works on Christmas day, so we're celebrating early, on the 24th. So, my countdown might be a little off this year, but I'm not terribly concerned.

Our Christmas tree is beautiful and marvelously smelly (though not yet decorated - I was born into a family of procrastinators), and tonight we had our first sips of eggnog for the season.

What presents am I getting for my family? This is my question, and I alone can answer it... and possibly mother rabbit.

I'm terribly disappointed that I don't have any pictures to add, but tis the season to use your imagination. Imagine here, for instance, pictures of holly, wreaths, snowmen, sugar cookies, and my dog with a santa hat.

Merry Christmas! or Happy Holidays for whatever holiday you will celebrate in the following month!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ode to a Web

I have a confession to make: 
I absolutely abhor spiders. 

I think they are some of the 



and most repulsive creatures to crawl the planet.

And yet,

I am always drawn to admire their webs.

The intricate design, 

the sparkling symmetry, 

and the fluid strength 

in each web amazes me. 

Then, the Sun hits the dew covered strands just so, 

and I'm completely captivated.

So, even though I may have an aversion to eight-legged things, 

I give a toast to a spider's web ... 

a beautiful creation, 

however disliked or misunderstood its creator may be.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Puzzle

The first day of school ushers in a whole plethora of firsts:

The first homework assignment of the year, the first new face you discover in the class, the first freshly baked chocolate chip cookies you've eaten in quite a long time.

But even as the new year begins, or what feels like the beginning of the year to me much more than January 1st ever has, I remember things left undone in the previous year. There's a puzzle sitting on a table that is still one-third incomplete. Pieces lie around it, hoping to soon be placed.

I wonder what else I've left undone. The feelings and ideas, the problems and their solutions, what has followed me here?

But I'm not worried by the puzzles left undone. They too, will find their place in the new year, in this interesting season, this young music singing. Echoes of the past will add character to my path, perhaps more rough patches than I'd like, but they won't hold me down, won't keep me tied to yesterday.

It's a puzzling thought I know, but I rather indulge in thinking it. My puzzle is yet undone, and the growing picture is dazzling.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Eyelash

Sometimes in this bumpy life,
I feel like I've got an eyelash stuck in my eye.
It's a terribly helpless feeling, being blind and in pain.
Just one
little hair...
And as tears come into my eyes, to wash it out, I wonder what's the use of eyelashes at all.
They're supposed to protect,
To keep foreign objects out.
And they keep my eyes safe,
Till they turn and fall into them...

A good friend tells me when
I've got an eyelash
that's loose
and wobbly
and waiting to poke me right
in the pupil.

Sometimes I need to be told that my defenses
the nets I keep around me
are about to hurt me.
That the tiny hairs I trusted
will only cause irritation
That I need to wipe them away
And let the light hit my eyes
Let it in
All the way in.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Turning Back

At some point in the curve, there's no turning back.


Like a sledder on a snowy hill. I inch forward slowly with my boots, the snow crunching underneath my blue plastic sled. Farther and farther I creep towards the edge, until I start to slide slightly. Gasping in fear, I dig my feet and hands into the snow to stop myself just before the drop.

The hill is tall and steep, slippery and terrifying.

I turn around, glancing at the little boy behind me waiting to take his turn. I feel silly. It's just a hill, after all.

Releasing my cold feet and hands from their snowy death grip, I prepare for the worst. But I don't move. I've stuck myself in the snow bank, and the sled won't budge.

I want to give up just then, embarrassed by my fear and afraid of embarrassment.

But ... but that's not all I want. Somewhere, down that hill, something is waiting for me. I want to go there, I want to feel the rush of cold wind and the thrill of falling, and I want to stand at the bottom, and turn, and laugh at the hill that frightened me. My eyes turn once again to the boy behind me.

"Can you give me a push?" I ask, hopefully. The young hero obliges. Crouching, hands gripping the edge, he gives the sled a tremendous push. And I fly. Oh, how I fly.

Squealing from pure exhilaration, I rocket down the hill. Snowy air stings my cheeks as the sled races along it's course. I may have doubted before. There's no fear now.

At the bottom, my sled stops with a crunch, and I flop into the snow on my back, giggling. Then, I stand up, and I do laugh at that hill, at my fear, at my joy. I laugh that I can somehow laugh at all three at once.


I'm there now, at the edge of the hill, feeling stuck and unmoving, but ready to go. Ready to fall. Absolutely fall. And there's no turning back.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Look

If looks could kill, or save, or make you pee in your pants from laughing ... this could probably be one of those looks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Last Note

The beginning of a song is - in my opinion - the most enchanting part of music, like the beginning of a romance. With many of my favorite artists, from Train to Coldplay, Paramore to Alanis Morissette, the first few notes and the first uttered lyrics are what captures me. They pull me in, slowly and deeply, until I'm completely immersed. The notes weave in and out of one another, subtly including me in their design. All thanks to a deliciously cooked beginning.

But lately, I've begun to notice the end of songs more, or the lack thereof.

Well, how do you end a song, really? It may suddenly stop, the sharp silence more surprising than any noise. Or, the song may fade into the distance, repeating over and over for an implied eternity. Maybe the singer even whispers one last sentence in conclusion.

Honestly, I can't imagine ending a song in a way that seems right. I don't feel like a song should have an end. It could continue, changing and growing, leaving a trail to follow. I'm entranced, held by the notes, until they end. The music disappears, and I hold my breath, waiting for the next song, new music. It's like finishing a good book that I know has no sequel.

Maybe the ending bites me so because I know, somewhere that I don't often visit, that those stories the music tells, the feelings it reveals, never truly end.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Beginning of an Adventure

As the dewy leaves drop water bit by little bit into the morning lake, I look out into the sky, at the growing blueness and brightness of morning. The beginning of the day.

The beginning of something is so incredibly beautiful and special, a sense of excitement at what's to come, a hopeful feeling that shivers in the damp air but holds firm.

So often we miss the beginning, preferring to sleep in late or rush through it completely.

But I love beginnings.

The beginning of summer: the first splash in the pool, the first waves of the beach, the first sting of sunburn, and the first afternoon thunderstorm, are as exciting as birthday presents. Why not? a birthday simply celebrates a beginning after all.

But now, summer's not what I'm looking for. Somewhere in the morning air, as I sit by the lake, I sense an adventure about to take place. A new adventure. A fantastic adventure. And I'm invited.

I treasure this moment, when no one knows but me. One day, my hard work will be noticed, my actions written, or my journey recorded, in the middle and end of my life.

But on this morning, only I can truly appreciate ... the beginning of the adventure.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Bucket

Notes that reach the ear of thousands. They pass by with their brief cases and black suits, their flashing cameras and sneakers, their eyes and ears drawn to the man who beats a bucket.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Color






Five colors spilled out into the ocean.
Five colors crested a wave.
Five colors drank all the water in the world.
Five colors dug a graying grave.
Five colors only

Four colors smiled at the sunlight.
Four colors spoke to the moon.
Four colors milked the glowing way.
Four colors only

Three colors lay down under branches.
Three colors danced with the leaves.
Three colors only

Two colors hoped for something better
Two colors only

One color only saved the world. Red.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

An Unexpected Resident

The magnolia branches shiver under the sudden weight of a small D.C. resident. Skipping playfully along and slapping the air with his great bushy tail, he looks more like a small, chubby citizen than a half-rabid rodent. Like any upstanding citizen of the District, he pretends to be terribly annoyed by photo-snapping tourists, while in reality, the majority of the profits of his sleazy trade comes straight from their hands... literally.

A cheese cracker, the end of a hot dog bun, or the crust of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will soon be tossed to him by ignorantly adoring visitors. He basks in the sure deviousness of it all and licks his lips of the foreign crumbs.

He just may be D.C.'s finest entertainer, and certainly it's most loyal citizen.
A squirrel.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Shadow

The light dances away from the sun in waves and particles. It shoots into the atmosphere and blazes down to the surface of the lake in my backyard. Bouncing, jubilant little waves catch it and toss it back at the sky and into my eyes, making the sun's reflection roll and twist in front of me.

But when the light hits the wooden dock, it ricochets back like a ping pong ball, no dancing involved. The dock is flat, hard, firm. The light hits it and leaves it at a perfect angle without fail, revealing the textures of the grain and the tired faces of the aging boards. No distortion, one direction.

Then I notice something. No wait, it's nothing. As the light hits me, it splinters. It can't go through. It bounces off of me first, never reaching the smooth wood of the floating dock. No light touches my outlined form, no light is reflected by the dock so that I can see it and it's devious shapes.

The lack of light isn't a something that I noticed, it's a nothing. A shadow is nothing, a non-existence.

A shadow is whatever I can't see, whatever I can't discern. Do I fear my shadow? Perhaps I would be more afraid if I had no shadow and the light could see through me... Then I would be open, clear, completely visible, vulnerable.

Terrifying, isn't it?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Ripple

It wakes up in the sky somewhere, stretching and shaking off a sleepy daze. Slowly moving, awakening to the sensations of other air currents, it dives into the river of wind and air swirling around. It's tossed and carried along like a plastic bag on a windy day. Then, in the distance, it spies something marvelous: a lake, so pristine, glimmering faintly in the early morning light, so inviting. It wants to, it could; no, it must!

It shoots towards the water's surface, pulled towards the delicious sight by some unseen force.

It pauses for a moment, hovering just above the water. Stretching out finger-like wisps of itself, it barely brushes the stagnant skin. The water moves for the fragile fingers, ebbing away and apart, giving them room, creating ripples. Ripples. It gasps at the wonder unfolding and folding in front of it. The little waves continue, rippling and growing wider and wider, farther and farther.

There's no hesitation now. It reaches across the entire lake and splashes like a child, frolicking on the surface until the whole body of water is covered in delicate ripples. It chases them and turns them this way and that. It breathes, blowing on the water, watching it move, feeling it yield beneath it. Pure ecstasy.

When I dip my oar in the water, pulling the water toward me, pushing it away, it watches. It rushes past me, whispering,

More, more, more ripples.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's Polite

It's a courtesy that's not widely recognized in America (or maybe the world) much anymore, a thought that has slowly rusted and decayed, shrunken and withered away to something small, optional, unnecessary. Yet, I remember it well.

I casually glance over my shoulder to see how closely someone is walking to me, gauge the distance. I reach the door and without hesitation, fling it open, stepping to the side and gripping the handle as I do. With a practiced flip of my head, I turn and smile and the stranger who's about to go inside, whose suspicious face only makes the act more exciting. Yes, most people look at me with a mix of surprise, annoyance, disgust, and mistrust when I open the door for them, but someone has to break the ice, right? They hustle through the door and try not to make eye contact, mumbling a quiet thanks and continuing on their way. I slide in after them, grinning.

On some occasions, I'll open to the door and be thanked heartily by a kind soul who understands the gesture. Their face lights up and their smile stretches out till it touches their ears, and they eagerly walk through the open door. Maybe it's people like them that really keep me going at it.

Even more so, I love it when people hold the door open for me. I feel like a queen, a star. When someone opens the door for me, it's as if they're acknowledging me as a fellow human being, a dear person who deserves to be cared about. I instantly start to think, I must be beautiful, I must be sweet-looking, I must have the most amazing smile if someone would bother opening a door for me. It's such a little thing, such a small act of kindness, yet it touches my heart so deeply.

Who holds open the door to love, so that we who are burdened, carrying the luggage of the world, and cannot hope of reaching the handles, may enter into love's sweet presence? Who opens the door?

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Mockingbird

We - my mom, aunt, grandma, and I - were lazing on the dock this past weekend and enjoying the sweet rareness of the moment, both the unusually warm March weather and all of us girls sitting together at one time, when our easy chat was interrupted by the charming twitter of a bird sitting in the tree nearby. We listened for a few moments as his tune changed from high-pitched chirps to throaty warbles and back to sweet tweets again. It was quite a marvelous composition.

While none of us are exactly bird experts, we decided that this little Beethoven was definitely a mockingbird. Craning my neck around and straining my eyes to pick out movement in the still leafless branches, I saw him, a bland-colored little thing without any impressive features to match his loud voice. At first, I was sure he couldn't be the one because he sat so still even as his volume grew and his notes swelled. However, my grandma was sure that he was indeed the grand vocalist. He entertained us for quite some time, his melody as fickle as the chilly wind, before flying off to another perch across the lake.

I think that he's come to stay in our niche of the lake though. Several times since his first performance I've heard him singing, and just this morning I noticed him courageously fighting a pair of blue jays for the bird house in our backyard.

Before I met this little fellow, I had always been befuddled by authors who praised mockingbirds in their stories. Little did I know that these most ingenious little birds could sing in such interesting ways. I even feel inspired by Jerry Spinelli's book Love, Stargirl to put out an orange slice for the mockingbird and encourage him to stay.

A mockingbird sings for someone special, a soul mate placed in the world that can only be found by singing his inner most song, a lover not yet met that will fall so in love with his song she never leaves. Sing on, sing on, oh mockingbird.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dream of a Dark Room

I had a dream the other night. Sleeping in my bed, eyes shut tight, minding my own business, I was thrown into a room. I don't remember many specifics about the room, only that it was definitely a classroom and incredibly dark. The whole room - walls, floor, ceiling - was a murky brown. Even the desks, the chalk board on the wall, and the teacher's desk were dark and difficult to make out. The only light in the room came from the open doorway, which appeared blindingly bright.

The classroom was also unusual because of a dark brown cloud that hovered just below the ceiling. It looked like a swirling mass of dirt, infinitely dark and dreary looking. I knew - as sometimes you can know in dreams - that this room was haunted.

Now, I'm not sure of the order of all the things that occurred in this dream, as dreams tend to be unclear in my memory, but I do recall most of what happened.

Out of that evil brown cloud, I saw a glowing object emerge (whether it was created in the cloud or had simply been caught in the current I do not know). It was an American flag, the small kind you can find in school classrooms. It floated and bobbed in the cloud like a ship on the ocean until it came to rest above the open doorway.

Before or after or around the same time that this happened, a boy came to stand in the open doorway. He was short, dark-haired, and bespectacled, and reminded me somewhat of Harry Potter, only without any scars or magical influences. I remember knowing that, while I could not see them, there were other students in the classroom; I was viewing the room and the boy through their perspective.

In at least this one moment in the dream - the boy was standing in the shining doorway and the glowing flag was above him.

Then he was in the classroom among the students, although I don't remember watching how he got there. This is where it gets a little fuzzy. Whatever happened in that classroom, the students unanimously decided (along with me, the viewer) that this boy was the "chosen" one, the one that was going to save them. The room itself appeared to recognise he was different. When he tried to leave, the haunted room seemed to become darker. The doorway that had been bright grew dimmer, contorting and shrinking around him, trying to keep him inside.

He did manage to leave, however.

Then, "bing!" I was instantly transported outside of the classroom. The sky was endless, the grass was green, and the day was still intensely bright though infinitely more cheery. I looked at the room that had seemed so terrifying and evil before and realized with astonishment that it was only a small, shabby one-room school house, much like the kinds in old western movies. I was viewing it from the outside while the young boy was walking back inside. Following him, I found the classroom had been emptied of its students (perhaps they had magically appeared outside as well) and only the teacher, who I hadn't noticed before, remained.

He had a half-crazed look and blood-shot eyes, truly miserable in all appearances. He was bent over what looked like tiny shards of broken glass, sweeping them up with a short broom and dustpan. As the boy entered, the teacher looked up with a wild look in his eye, still sweeping and hobbling farther into the room. The boy made a gesture towards the flag that hung above the doorway, saying something to the effect that he wanted to take the flag down and remove it from the room. He said this, of course, with the idea that doing so would remove the haunting.

The teacher spit with anger and fear (and a hint of madness) that the boy was a fool to mess with such things. He turned around and continued his sweeping.

Then the dream ended.

So, is the boy really a savior - a young person who wants to save the flag from the darkness? And the older man the real fool, busying himself with trivial matters and missing the whole point?

Or, is the child stealing the last point of light in an already dark room, only to leave it hopeless? And the teacher simply trying to clean up the mess he's made?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

If I Died Tomorrow

This is, in fact, the first post of 2010 in my blog, though I don't know if that's a big deal or not.

If I were to die tomorrow, I don't think it would be that big of a deal. It might mean something that I actually had a blog, that I put time into writing my thoughts on a wall for all to see, that I cared. If I'm not alive tomorrow, people won't cry because I failed that one math test a few years ago, but the friends I made in school might remember me.

If I lived just one more day, would people care whether or not my underwear matched? Would they be grossed out to read my diary and find out that I picked my nose in private? Would they care that I had said hi to them every morning and gave them hugs when they looked blue?

If I fell off a bridge, was hit by a meteor, or was killed in some other wholly unpredictable and unexpected yet catastrophic event, would it matter whether or not my dreams were big or small, whether or not I wore makeup or left my face naked, whether or not I took the time to watch the ripples in the lake and imagine they were telling me something?

What would matter?