Just a Little Boost

You have to climb a hill to reach our sweet abode. It’s a paved driveway, but steep. Like the kind that tugs the gears of our all-wheel drive vehicle when we hit just-that-spot of incline.

This hill, plus a valley, plus one more sharp slope, are all that lie between us and the Good Neighbors. Mary, (referenced here over the years in connection with her abundant garden) is one half of the Good Neighbors living next door. And being more like, Incredibly Amazing Neighbors, they’ve given Jeb an open invitation to freely roam between our house and theirs.

On one of Jeb’s recent visits, after fueling up on hearty snacks provided by Mary, he was ready to return home. I get the call. It’s Mary and Jeb in her front yard.

“Ok, Jeb’s here and ready to head back to you. He’s going to try to beat his record. Can you set the stopwatch?”

The last time we played this game, Jeb ran home in around three minutes. Not bad for two steep hills in flip flops.

“Yeah, I can set the stopwatch here in just a second.”

“He’s going to try to beat his three minute time. So if he gets 2:59 or under, I’ve agreed to offer a cash prize.”

“Hmm. Ok. Lucky boy…I’ve got the stopwatch ready.”

“Jeb can hear you on my speaker phone, so you say the word and he’ll take off.”

“Alright then. Ready…set…go!”

Somewhere on the other side of the valley, Jeb sets in motion, his growing ten-year old legs leaping down sheer terrain. The seconds on the stopwatch roll.

At 1:45, I wander out to the top of our driveway to see if I can hear any sign of Jeb’s approach. At 2:04, I’m shocked to see him cresting the hill in front of me.

He is very close, though he is not running. Rather, his arms dangle at his sides, nearly scraping the pavement like an orangutan. His back is curved in slight defeat, his flip-flops advancing him forward in exhausted ascent.

He does not realize how fast he’s made the journey. He has no idea how close he is to easily achieving the goal.

“You’re at 2:04! Come on!” I shout with enthusiasm.

His face looks to me, brightening. “2:04?” he heaves.

“Yes, you’re so close and plenty of time. Come on! You can do it! Get to the steps and you’re at the finish!”

Like a flipped switch, or lit flame, Jeb’s exhaustion takes an instant turn, motoring him across the final stretch and landing him at the bottom of the stairs. 2:34.

“2:34! You did it! Right on, Jeb!!”

Never one to miss a chance at theatrics, Jeb proceeds to collapse on the bottom step, panting dramatically, and punctuating his triumph with sportsman-like spits toward the lawn.

It matters not to me whether Jeb makes it home in two minutes or twenty. But I saw a little something in this beat-your-record exercise.

We all have challenges to face on our own. Sometimes, we don’t even realize how far we’ve come along our journey. The trek can be strenuous and long. Ofentimes a bit inspiration is all we need.

As we make our way, it really can make a difference when we get just a little boost of encouragement.

courtesy of out of ideas
courtesy of out of ideas

Resolving Host

I try loading my WordPress site and the rainbow pin wheel spins while a message reads “Resolving host…”

These days, seems everything is in resolve, including my internet connection, which is my lifeline to the Archives. I am a writer first, and a blogger second, so in keeping with my resolve, I am typing here anyway, hoping that once the internet gods bestow me with a better signal, I can post these words for your reading. Until then, the letters are just for me at 5:42 am, as I sit at my desk which is now in a new location, in a house I’m still getting to know.

I watch my family reach for the familiar in this home that has none of our grooves yet inlaid. We seek simple routines, like which drawer houses the forks. We embrace new discoveries, like finding a vast collection of organic herbs and spices left behind.

The story goes that this house was built as a bird lover’s dream. There is literally a stained glass window at the front door from which a parrot shines. But after the birder left for a new island, the house hosted a lineage of others that used it more as an interim while their ‘real’ home was being built. After several couples had their temporary stays and left for more permanent dwellings, the house became a landing pad for island visitors, mostly a small cast of characters who visited regularly but stayed only a short time.

As we clear cupboards and closets, we wipe down the layers of about 30 years of history. I did discover two boxes of macaroni and cheese, the labels faded in color and looking to have been purchased sometime in the mid-eighties. Though one never knows the future, we’d like to settle here for a good long while. And it feels satisfying to wipe the slate clean before hunkering down.

Like every dream come true, there’s a full spectrum of reality. This morning, it’s a glitching internet signal that’s just not reaching our rural locale. Yesterday, it was a strange greenish-brown silt that had backlogged around the drain of the shower. Hmmm…

But the other end of that gamut gifted us with a cornucopia of citrus: grapefruits, tangerines, Tahitian limes, and oranges. Yesterday morning the Bohemian even sighted a whale breaching as he sat taking in the ocean view from the couch in our living room.

It’s all here. Like everywhere. The connect and disconnect. The light and the dark. The moldy shelf and the freshly cleaned windows. As an artist, I’m forever trying to encapsulate the scope and share it. The truth is, right now, I’m all out of my routine and scattered, unable to streamline anything.

This host is still resolving.

And with that, the roosters in the dark outside my window are crowing in the trees. It’s time to wake up Jeb and make our way to the bus stop. We’ll open a few drawers before we actually find the spatula. Start the day in new ways. Feel around for our groove. Remember gratitude in the chaos.

2014-02-10_parrot window

Hippie Angel

All I could do was notice.

Notice that birds sounded in the wet morning. See the waves rolling in mountainous sequence, soaking the shoreline where my toes were sinking in.

All I could do was watch myself, immersed in nature spectacular, yet round shouldered, hunched and worrying with a burdened mind. My story was a good one. The tale that stated the case for exactly why – this time, at least, oh yes, most definitely – I had every reason to be fretting. There were finances at stake, stability, livelihood. These were topics that had a right to overtake the morning.

Stress reasons well. I couldn’t argue its points. All I could do was observe that I was walking on a beautiful day and not a bird, nor a tree, or the breeze seemed to be a bit upset or preoccupied. And there I was – human that I am – moving one step in front of the other, in a paradise tainted by my own inner turmoil.

Not quite fully drowning in it (observation, my one and only lifeline), I held the proverbial rope of hope and made a request to the day: please help me remember.

My head stayed swamped with thought while my feet continued sifting through sand – that literal marker of time, so vast, though even its infinite grains could not penetrate my wrestling mind. I did notice a figure ahead, walking towards me and I glanced to my watch, continuing my pace. Work would start soon.

Backlit by morning sunlight, glowing golden, the lithe frame of a young man came closer into view as our paths neared crossing. He was probably about 21, his bare chest still boy-like and freshly pink from over-exposure to tropical sun. His hair was pulled back in a low ponytail and a hand-woven satchel was slung diagonally across his shoulders.

His face told all. The gentle smile spreading across it held no secrets (but for the greatest one that everyone forgets). I could plainly see that he remembered. His eyes were open windows, filled with awe and wonder and happiness. As we passed one another and exchanged “good mornings,” he did not look away. He gazed at me with serene endearment, a genuine openness. All-receptive, not just to me personally, but to all of it. To the moment.

Like a babe in an adult body, this hippie angel seemed to be experiencing the day as if for the first time, reverent and in wonder. Alive.

I continued walking in one direction as he walked the other, leaving a dusting of sweetness in his wake. His innocence and simplicity bathing me in remembrance. All I could do was notice. So touched, I felt like crying.

photo courtesy of Jewell Willett
photo courtesy of Jewell Willett