Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Walk

On Sunday we had the best weather of the year.  Sure, it rained, but it was also 77 degrees and mostly quite sunny, so we did the only logical thing: we took a walk along the Charles River. 

                                [i didn't get a good pic of sam. he'll thank me for not posting a not-good one.]

[boats. we have big plans to ride one of these boats very soon.]

I love spring here.  I wish it would feel more springy and less wintery already, but the trees are blooming, and I'm remembering how obsessed I get with them.  When I'm walking downtown, I have to be careful not to run into buildings or cross streets without looking both ways, because all I want to do is look and look at these incredible trees.  I love how dark the bark looks, and how green the green looks--like the freshest thing in the whole world.  I wish I had a springtime dress that was just that color: that vibrant green.
[this is the green i mean. wouldn't it make a lovely dress?  especially if i could capture that feathery texture, too.]

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Lights

Last night Sam and I and a few friends went to Easter Vigil at Sam's church.  When we arrived, they had a basket of long thin candles and everyone picked one up.  At the beginning of the service, the church dark, the priest stood at the back of the church and lit an enormous candle.  From that one candle, several small ones were lit and then, slowly, we passed the flame to everyone in the congregation. 

I could tell once mine was lit that it was made from bee's wax, which instantly brought me back to my childhood.  My father kept six hives of bees in our backyard, and that smell reminded me of extraction day, a big metal drum spinning with wax frames in our driveway and the bees flying around, intensely curious.  I stood there in the church, next to Sam, watching everyone's face lit by their small flames, listening to a man sing about the light of Christ, how it illuminated the world, how we must keep it and tend it and pass it along.  I was surrounded by the smell of honey and beeswax and comforted by it, thinking of my family and my father and his beehives, and, most intensely, of Christ.  Of the Miracle we celebrate.  The power of Christ's light to wrench good out of evil, to light our shadowed faces, to glow for each of us, to know what we need and provide it if we're willing to ask.  What beautiful symbols the Catholic Church has.  When I think of Easter, I'm glad I'll now think of that dark church, and of how beautiful each of us looked in a holy glow.

And because I came across this poem this week and have been reading it and reading it, and astonished by it, I'll share that too, for Easter.  Enjoy.

Seven Stanzas At Easter
                  by: John Updike, 1964

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sam and His Business Associate

Sam went to school one day and came back with a card for me featuring this image.  He says it's a publicity photo.  Apparently the guys at the mall photo booth took him completely seriously, which makes me laugh all the more.

Being married to Sam? Not a bad deal at all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Spilly Parts

On Sunday I said two awkward things.  Two things that made the people I was talking to raise their eyebrows or laugh nervously.  I'm the type of person who is still thinking about those things I said two days later.  It's not that I offended anyone, it's just that sometimes my brain works differently, and what I think/say comes out a little weird.  Sometimes I love this about myself--that my brain is not like other brains--but most of the time I wish it wouldn't be so.  I wish, in some deep part of me, that I could always be the good girl, to think how you think, to please you, World.

I realized today that Sam is sort of the opposite of this.  If he says something shocking, something surprising, this is a good day for Sam.  He may worry, occasionally, about his students reporting him to someone who might be concerned about the edgy joke he made, but mostly, when he makes his students laugh nervously or raise their eyebrows, he feels like he's done his job well.

{Writerly sidenote: This is why, I think, it's easier for Sam to make art, to write.  When you write, you're not meant to say what's easy to hear.  You're meant to surprise people, engage them, keep them reading and thinking and then thinking some more.  Whenever I write a story/poem/essay that does that, that scares me or that I think might scare someone else, I (without intending to, really) abandon it, or stop writing altogether for weeks.}

Where does this difference come from?  My femaleness vs. his maleness?  My Mormon-ness?  Is that what makes me so eager to please?  Those seem easy answers.  I wish I would stop being so afraid of what spills out of my subconscious, of my spilly parts.  I think I married Sam in part because he seemed to love my spilly parts.  When I over edit, he seems to find me rather dull.  Being with him has been good practice in another way of thinking/being.   

I came across two quotations today that seem relevant:

"the chief end i propose to myself in all of my labors is to vex the world rather than divert it, and if i could compass that design without diverting my own person or fortune i would be the most indefatigable writer you have ever seen."  --Jonathan Swift

and also

"loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important."     --Carl Jung

I like what Swift says about vexing the world, and yet there's a part of me that frets, thinking it doesn't need anymore vexation.  But I think this is why I feel lonely, in the sense Jung identifies: I check the things that seem important to communicate before I actually communicate them, and spend too much of my time worrying about what spills over, what gets past the checkpoint.  All hail checkpoints, in some regards.  But I'm tired of lonely, and I wonder what would happen if I adopted Swift's idea that my efforts should go to vexing the world, or at least walking around in it with my real self spilling out.  Maybe the world could use some vexing after all.

What do you think?  Do you let spill?  Do you think you should?  Does Jung's definition of loneliness seem accurate?  Maybe these are overly deep thoughts for a Tuesday at lunchtime.  But, well, they're in my brain.  So here you are.