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Entries in Will (17)


Ten on Ten: Gear Day

I missed fall in the mountains this year because I've been traveling for most of the past six weeks.  I was lucky that one of those trips was both fun and soul food (more on that soon).  The group of lovely ladies I gathered with by the sea suggested we start a new Ten on Ten project, a perfect way to bring me back into this space that I've missed so much.

Winter has made its first overtures in the high country since I was last here. 

Winterizing our family apparently involves a frenzy of gear acquisition, starting with post-season mountain bike shopping to replace Will's bike that was stolen earlier this year.  (The gambit here is that if you're willing to buy a new bike and let it collect dust for six months before you can use it, you deserve 30 percent off.)

We're all itching to hit the slopes, and the snow has already started falling.  With Ezra growing like a weed, season ski rentals are the only rational approach to gear.  The minute we walked into the ski shop Ezra and I headed for the rental racks.

Ezra was so happy he refused to take his ski boots off for the rest of the day.

On the way home Will couldn't resist riding his new bike for the last five miles, even though it's straight uphill.

And ever his father's son, Ezra insisted on a short hike in his ski boots.

Welcome winter.  We're ready to play.

For more 10 on 10 goodness, head to see what Tara Romasanta has in store.


Things I Learned (Or Remembered) In Vancouver

1. My husband is my friend.  Obviously I know this to be theoretically true in my daily life.  But daily life is full of it's-your-turn-to-do-the-dishes and can-we-switch-school-dropoff-and-pickup and I-have-no-idea-where-your-car-registration-form-is.  Will and I had not been away from home and Ezra together in nearly two years and the minute we hit the airport an easy camaraderie fell over us that fit like a glove.  We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on this trip.  I think I'll keep him.
2. New friends are so fun.  I met Cherish at Camp Shutter Sisters last fall.  Tamar and I have been following each other online for a year.  They arranged babysitters so we could have a triple date that involved copious amounts of BC wine and the best mussels I've ever eaten and also photowalks so that I could see the east and west sides of their fair city.  Seeing a new place through the eyes of insiders, especially insiders who would also wander aimlessly with their cameras, is one of my favorite things to do.  (Followed, immediately, by seeing a new place through the eyes of a stranger.)
3. The Pacific Northwest is to die for.  Or is it the southwest if you're Canadian?  Either way, the combination of soaring mountains, ocean, towering forests, rain, boats, bikes... Really, I could live there.  I could get adorable rain gear and eat fish every day and never need to buy another bottle of moisturizer.  Also, coffee, Asian food of all varieties, Stanley Park, yes yes yes.
4. Colorado's pretty great too.  I remembered this when I got home and Ezra didn't give me the cold shoulder and the sun dried me out in the mountains, and old friends gathered 'round.  
5. Life is sweet.

Destruction and Creation

Ezra's teacher told me about a lesson she's been working with him, where she has a collection of small blocks of painted wood.  She asks him to go across the room and get the one that matches in color and then watches as he encounters all the distractions along the way: other children trying to get his attention, other work that might look interesting.  Sometimes he forgets along the way, and she has to remind him what he is meant to be doing.  Sometimes when he arrives at the wooden blocks he can't remember which color he came for.  It's an exercise in concentration and memory.  Some days, she tells me, are better than others.


I forgot what to dream about.  I know I wrote it down, and I remember that it felt very present to me in the moment, but now it feels like fog.  This urge towards some sort of movement, shift, transformation lingers, but the vision is utterly obscured.  A Montessori teacher might be helpful now.


I look around my comfortable life and wonder: what will have to be destroyed as this seed takes root?  Or maybe I shouldn't even plant it, not knowing after all, what it is I'm trying to bring to fruition.

Jen Lemen gave me a mantra: Nothing is wasted.

Nothing is wasted. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is wasted.

Will's compost pile comes to mind.  Scraps and remnants of once-useful nourishment, creating their own heat.  He turns it into the soil.  Plants the seeds.  And waits.

The seeds do their work in the dark.  We only know later, as green shoots emerge, that the process worked.


I can't even remember if I already planted the seed.  I should keep better records of these things.  I am waiting, wondering if the seed is going to crack open and sprout.

I hope it doesn't hurt.


Note to Self: Play

The Word
By Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue

but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time,
to sit out in the sun and listen.

Substitute "snow" for "sunlight."  And "ski" for "sit out in the sun and listen."  Then you'll have a sense for the little love telegram that arrived yesterday.  Eight hours of play, practically unheard of.  A pleasure that was (very) successfully accomplished and for which I am profoundly grateful.


And Finally, The Point

I was going somewhere with all this about meditation and cupcakes

Though I got permission from a colleague to blame the holidays for the grinding unease that has settled on me, I think this is more like Day 5 of Vipassana.  The moment where I realized that I had the feeling I was searching for, and then promptly blew it away with the immediate clutching, grasping, craving.

In the midst of the World's Longest Uninterrupted Good Mood (see also, September and October) I got the feeling of riding along on a flow of inspiration.  Not just riding it or letting it flow through me, but actually being made of it.  It sounds kind of silly as I type this, but I actually thought I had crossed over into some new way of being in the world.  I thought I had found my way into some secret space that only people more actualized than me already knew about.

Well I didn't. 

Or that place doesn't exist, and what is true is that sometimes you're in the flow and sometimes you're out of it but either way there's no use flailing about or clutching.  It's liquid, after all, and it slips through your fingers.  Better to just relax and point your feet downstream and float it while you can.  That's my current theory anyway.

So here I am washed up on the banks, a little bit bruised from flailing on the rocks.  But the grinding unease finally reminded me

chew the cupcake chew the cupcake chew the cupcake chew the cupcake chew the cupcake chew the cupcake chew the cupcake

I'm trying. 

This one's three and determined lately to bend me to his will, but he's eminently chewable.

This one's been remarkably patient with me during the end of the Good Mood. 

This is my job, good work that is its own reward. 

This is me, chewing, somewhere in the struggle to just pause, in the moment, instead of rushing forward or leaning backward.  Considering what it would take to see patience as a belief that all things happen in their right time.