Saturday, December 27, 2008


Sometimes I lurk a bit. The shadows and fringes can be comforting, a place where I can watch all the people so busy. Family gatherings are something akin to hurricanes, if maybe more chaotic. But they are also easy to get lost in. Its so nice to listen sometimes. I like to listen, even when people are talking of things they expect me not to care about, I always pay attention. Its all interesting to me. And then I get drawn into it, because I just have to ask a question, make a comment, dig deeper and deeper. I can't seem to stay out of it for long. And then every now and then I am surprised by just how much of the conversation I am carrying. Its funny, I always thought of myself as a reserved and quiet person. I think I would be too, if I wasn't so inquisitive.

When a conversation starts moving quickly, when there are a lot of people involved, I sometimes just stop talking. When things are really moving, and everyone gets into it, sometimes I will leap in with some comment or correction. I think I surprise people, they probably thought I tuned out.

Its not like me at all to tune out. But lately, its been happening a lot. In the middle of something, anything, my eyes drift off to some far away or nonexistent spot, and I am lost to what's happening around me. My mind taken by thoughts of you. I can just see myself standing there, eyes adrift and turned inward, with that goofy half grin on my face. Time can seem a bit disjointed, and I wish it would just brake away and leave me and be done with it. It never listens. The day goes on.

I'm not sure what I sat down to start writing about... But I'm not at all surprised where I ended up.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cactus and Dust.

Star bursts of purple waving at the end of long green stalks, forever frozen, forever in motion. White stones in defensive tiers, guarding emerald leaves. A mottled canopy, casting distorted shadows in the soft wind. Slow and patient Ivy, crawling, waiting, twisting over everything. When no ones looking, in the dead of the night, it spreads its dominion, inch by inch. Up the pale sky blue walls, hiding away wide white trim. An inviting teal double door atop 3 stairs.

A tall and steep hill, crowned with sparse bushes. Each an invader, an outcast, surviving on an edge of two very different worlds. Natures mounded wall, a boarder between quiet suburbia and the wilds. A wall with towers and sentinels, long dead and silent, fallen to ruin. The watchers still there amid the white dusty skeleton of rock, melted into its walls, fused into stone. A graveyard of the ancient masters of a watery world. Cross over, and be confronted by a beautiful and savage vista. Shrub covered hills slopping away into obscurity. Meandering paths leading deep into fields of mustard, with small yellow flowers held high over our heads. A place to lose yourself.

Stands of cactus, sharp and unwelcoming. Keeping mostly to themselves, they grow in tight comities, spike covered havens. Amongst the thorns, purple and yellow flowers blossom with a hundred little fingers, each reaching out to the sun. Past them lay the hills. Rocks piled high with a light dusting of dirt, and a few hearty shrubs clinging on with all their might. And to those brave enough to climb their sides, a grand view and just the right number of seats. A place of rest and reflection, to watch the sun sink on another carefree evening.

For you see they really are fond childhood memories. Cactus and dust.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lost Winter

Its less then two weeks until Christmas, and its just now starting to feel a bit like winter. It came up so quietly. I look out my open window and I see leaves on trees, feel a warm breeze pass by. One out of ten trees are bare, and that isn't even counting the evergreens. Most still cling to a bright golden covering, thinning but still very present. I feel like Fall just kept on falling and falling. Will true winter just pass us by this year? Its somehow a very depressing thought. I hope winter is just running a bit late, maybe half way to California it remembered it forgot all the snow and hand to turn around. I hope it comes back.
I think about all of my wintery feelings, and realize most are artificial. I'm entranced by a smattering of decorations and lights, but its better then nothing. It still makes me happy to see them. I drove by city hall today and saw the one mother with her child trying to skate through the melting slush they laid out. I applaud their determination and sheer bloody mindedness. I'm sure its the mothers doing, doggedly trying to give her son a memory of Christmas that fit with her own childhood joy. I wonder where she was from? Somewhere cold I think, somewhere in the real world. I keep coming to this thought, like there is something wrong... Something wrong with here. Like a "normal" place to live would have snow, and rain. And storms, real ones, ones that we talk about in a sentence with out the word fire in it. A place with forests and trees and rolling green hills. For most of the year the hills are just covered in sad brown grass, mostly dead. The odd small bushes, squat and prickly and uninviting. I have fond childhood memories of cacti and dust.
I can trace my bloodlines back to Sweden. A cold and harsh place, but also one of unsurpassed beauty. After my ancestors crossed the ocean, they settled in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They chose there because it was just like home, cold harsh and beautiful. I feel out of place here when I think about it. I keep reminding myself that we in the west only consider things like snow and rain as normal because that's the European normal. That maybe even a large percentage of the human population lives areas like here. But I keep coming back to the fact that in the greater picture, I am an out of place European. I am one of the first few generations to strike out to a radically new place. In the big picture, I am but a dot at the end of a long line that stretches back thousands of years. Is that were all these feelings come from?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Perplexing reflections

Calmly watching from mind a twisting tumult, I can’t help but look on slightly perplexed. It feels like I woke up one morning, drew back the curtains, and was greeted with a vista of unimaginable strangeness. I expected a quiet lake, the odd bored duck. Instead I find oceans of sand crashing on a frozen crystalline shore. The sun is a writhing void in a glowing sky of soft and pale light. It is then I realize that it is but my own reflection on the chilled glass I peer at. Beyond lies the world much as I remember it. It is only I who change. Slowly at first, ever so slowly. Then faster and faster, like an all consuming storm driven by its own fury. Change.

I look back at words and thoughts both old and somewhat new, and I can’t help but to wonder: Who’s are these? Its disorienting, I know they are mine, its just hard to believe sometimes. I still feel the much the same, I still stand by all of it, every last word, every last notion. But somehow I feel disconnected from the person who originated them. Much has happened, inside and out, and it is only accelerating in pace. I don’t know who I am anymore. Logic says I should be afraid, that I need to know. Reason tells me I should latch on to myself and not let go, to try and bring this headlong rush to a halt. But my heart tells me be at peace. Its voice is strongest, and I listen to it alone.

There is nothing to fear. I feel possibility surrounding me, so strongly I can almost reach out and touch it. I feel undefined, liquid. Its staggering, and frightening, and comforting, and exciting. What will I see tomorrow? Who will be looking back at me on that chilled glass? I honestly don’t know.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Commonplace impossibilities

It was sunny and bright, with a few skittish clouds cowering before an onslaught. A light wind whipped back and forth; just strong enough to remind you it was there. Standing next to my car on top of a hill, fumbling with my keys, a most impressive thing passes overhead. Then just a few dozen feet behind it, comes another one. Screaming like wild and enraged animals, loud enough to drown out thought. Two sleek jet fighters in tight formation flies past, lazy and confident. I’m not really into planes, but this time seeing them it hit me just how amazing they really are. They were clearly masters of the sky. Thinking of the one or two people sitting at the tip of these contraptions, commanding their path with the touch of a finger, I was taken with awe. It’s strange, sometimes I feel like I grew up inside of an airplane. They have always been a part of my life as far back as I can remember, but I don’t know if I ever really, truly thought about it. How truly overwhelming the idea is.
And yet, around here, such shows of technological might are actually rather commonplace. Ask people who work around here and they will tell you it gets annoying. Always having to keep your coffee mug from rattling off the edge of your desk gets tiresome. Always having to pause a phone call and wait for silence and sanity to return, and then explain what that hellish sound was, becomes frustrating. I guess when you get to see a miracle enough times, it becomes just another parlor trick. Gimmicky and unwanted, how sad.
The very idea that anyone could hop into one of these infinitely complicated things and fling them selves around at unimaginable speeds and incomprehensible heights should be breath taking. But of course it’s not really. Most all of us have done it ourselves, most of us so many times we lost count. I know I have. But after a little reminder of just how insane the idea really should be, it’s becoming easier to look at all planes with wonder. Even the lumbering commercial jetliners that pass by more often then birds have some new meaning today. I wish I had fresh perspective on everything now, I wish I could really see things for what they are. Every little detail would be quite astounding and miraculous. Every tree a work of art, every splash of color a masterpiece.
I just wish I could look upon something and really see it more often. Sometimes it takes a bit of focus. Other times you couldn’t ignore it even if you wanted to. Today was like that.


After a scant five hours of mediocre sleep, I still find myself awake at 7:09AM. It’s significant because the alarms go off at 7:10AM. Of course if the irony is if they weren’t set, I wouldn’t ever wake up in time. It’s strange to have a something that works best when you don’t need to use it. I think we all would rather just wake up, then be woken by shrill and annoying sounds. I know I hate my alarm, so much so that I rarely hear it anymore. It really is amazing that we can do that. Of course there is all that nonsense about Circadian rhythms, but I don’t buy it.
There is nothing about my life that has much rhythm. Every forthcoming day is an unknown to me. I work when I’m needed. I play when I’m lighthearted. I relax when I’m calm. I think when I’m reflective. I sing when I’m inspired. I laugh when I’m elated. I learn when I’m intrigued, and when I’m not, and when I’m every feeling in between. At the end of the day, I often lay awake in bed, not wanting to let any of it go. And when sleep finally takes me, I dream of the wildly imposable, and the stunningly ordinary, and often, a surreal mix of both. And yet, on days like today I just wish it was tomorrow.
Do I wake when I do because I deiced that is what was needed? Was my body listening in? Watching as I programmed the alarm clock? Could it be so simple? I hope not, because I think that would be quite unfair. I wish I could so simply deice to do other things when it’s needed. Like set my mind at ease because I will it. That only ever seems to work for about three quarters of a second. Some thoughts just seem to persist like a virus, caring only for their own existence. Uncaring as to what they devour along the way.
I still don’t think I’m an optimist, and this is why. Sometimes scary or sad thoughts find me, and I have to work very hard to be rid of them. I just understand the value of being positive, but it doesn’t come naturally sometimes. For a true optimist, I think it would.