somehow i’d like to think of myself as anything but wilty. only i’d know it wasn’t so. i am. wilty. so is he. we are both wilty. not quite the same as the wilty kale we put out next to the garage for the mama bunny and bunbun, but most definitely wilty.
and so, as we drove away, with our cut-in-half halos for the off-trail “ammals” (thank you, jaxon, for this most-adorable non-wilty pronunciation), d said – in his i’m-enlightened-now-and-want-to-share-it voice, “that’s it!! they’d hire us if we weren’t so wilty!!!”
we laughed and he guffawed at his wit and utter sidesplitting jocularity and then we looked at each other – we neeeed to write that down!! so i grabbed my iphone and summoned siri, the great goddess of handless note-taking.
“what would you like it to say?” she politely asked. i answered and she dutifully jotted our note.
and then we looked at it.
“they’d hire us if we weren’t so wealthy,” she transcribed.
goddess-schmoddess. siri has her own unique wilty sense of humor.
i wear one contact. in my left eye. though i can actually see distance, it helps me see cleeearly – you know, defines the lines a little bit more, makes all the signs crisp. my right eye – sans contact – sees up close. and somehow, for the most part, my brain figures this out.
so i can usually see. most stuff.
but there are times. and – even with the great squint – the greatest squinty squint – i can’t read. like the ingredients on the bbq sauce at the grocery store or the directions for use on the new cleaning product. or the dang menu. in the tiniest font ever is printed all the potential meals we could ever desire…if only we could read them.
there’s always a pair of readers – the cheap kind that came from the dollar-and-a-quarter-store-that-used-to-be-the-dollar-store (does ANYthing EVER stay the same???). but they could be 1.25s. or maybe 1.5s. and there are fonts out there in the world that require flippin’ 2.5s. i know you can relate.
we have this clay bowl in our sunroom. in it are about thirteen pairs of readers. a baker’s dozen. and we have readers tucked into the side doors of littlebabyscion and big red. and we have readers right outside the kitchen hanging on the same hook as the key basket. and we have readers upstairs on the drafting table in the office. and there are readers – yes, yes – next to the bed.
we went into a newly revamped shop in our town a few days ago. lovely. so many nice products. and the proverbial rounder – the one with all the fancypants readers. they are cute-cute-cute!! i was tempted to try some on. but instead, i passed by. $24.99 was pricier than readers-to-add-to-the-bowl can be for me.
besides, i kind of think menus should come with readers attached. or maybe a magnifying glass. a little less ego-bruising.
there is often a need to step away – these days. for us, that mostly means a hike at the end of the day or a longer hike on the weekends. sometimes it means getting in littlebabyscion and just driving.
we are a little limited by lake michigan – we cannot mosey east from here. but we can mosey north and south and west.
mostly, we go west. a little north or south thrown in for good measure and to shake it all up a bit, but west. east would mean up and over the u.p. or down and around – through gary, indiana – which is no one’s idea of a good mosey. so. west.
it doesn’t take much for us to decide. our days are filled with trying to sort to optimism, to wishing wishes and dreaming dreams. we work on finding ways and places we can contribute all we have learned and worked at in these last decades. sometimes that is easier said than done. and so, there is often a need to step away, yup.
the wander women – amazing and truly inspiring thru-hikers – have a QR code on their youtube channel. when you point your phone camera at it, it brings you to a place where, in multiples of $5, you can express appreciation, channel sisu, buy them a cup of coffee (or multiple cups, for that matter).
it’s been suggested manyatime to us that maybe we should have a QR code. our very own. i know that we are pretty verbose – lotsa words – maybe more words than anyone wants to read, but you can pick and choose, like from those overburdened menus at tgif’s. but they’ve encouraged us, adding very generous words like “we love to read your posts” or “this would be a way we could say thank you for something that touches us”. their thoughts – QR trail magic – we could use it for coffee or maybe a glass of apothic or…if you wish, it could be thought of as gifting us with miles. miles of thru-hiking middle age. and so anytime we just needed to step away – go find zen in the country outaways west from our home – we could use those miles. to keep going and going and going, thanks to you and you and you.
and then, we could maybe – just maybe – stop and get a coffee or a piece of flourless chocolate cake on our way. if coffee and flourless chocolate cake and red silos and gravel roads don’t help, nothing will.
and so, with the pompoms of people we are grateful for, our QR code is born. we’re gonna name himherthem “qrky”.
quiet guitar, a little flute, an oboe line weaving in and out.
i know – without a doubt – that they are trying to keep me calm while on hold. having just gotten off the phone with a billing department, it is not a far reach for me to imagine one falling fast asleep during this interminable period of time. the age of technology and customer service have taken a turn to the worse if they are programming music specifically to slow down our rapidly-beating hearts and blood pressure when we call.
from a personal standpoint, were i to be accessing this music – this particular track – through a mindful practice app or a guided imagery site, it would be pretty helpful. but the use of background music on loop – a composer’s nightmare – to soothe my billingbrain is trying.
and then there was this moment i had on hold one day when i called an insurance company. paperwork strewn in front of me, pencil and notebook at the ready, a list of questions in my head, i was ready to take them on. i was instantly put on hold the moment i selected “speak to a representative”.
the music started.
piano, strings, a cello line weaving in and out…
it did take my mind off the insurance debacle.
instead, i just kept wondering if they were paying royalties.
it’s a no-win. the classic rock-and-a-hard-place. a lose-lose. a pickle. a crunch. a conundrum. a double-bind. a dilemma.
yup. there is no truly right response here for that man.
i have learned to preface things i talk about – for instance, “i just want to tell you this. i want to go on and on. i want to _________ (choose: rant/think/ponder/ruminate) aloud. please do not try to solve this. please just listen.”
but sometimes, yes, indeedy, sometimes i just talk. with no preface. and then, in the way of conversation, especially in the middle of the night pillow-talking, he talks after i talk. and – whammo! – that’s where he makes his mistake.
we have adopted this tree and should we ever drive there and find it is gone we will likely be pretty devastated.
we have a relationship with this tree in this farmfield on this road. we never tire of it. somehow it keeps us centered.
this beautiful tree stands there – as weather systems spin around it and time travels on and on, we see the stalwart and steady tree – withstanding it all. it is not ON the mountain in the raging wind, the swirling snowstorm, the beating rain, the ice and drought and cold and heat and night and day and fog – it IS the mountain.
lessons on highway h.
“be the mountain,” the tree calls to us, “be the mountain.”
and before we drive off, “just like me, like me, like me,” it adds, echoing into the wind.
the first time i walked by i was a misunderstander, a glancer, a critic.
i thought – and spoke aloud – that it seemed elementary to display canvasses with the primary colors…large canvasses at that, lots of wall space, valuable real estate for an art museum.
it only seems right that ellsworth kelly, in a conversation with john cage (i mean, who gets to talk to john cage!!) said, “i am not interested in painting as it has been accepted for so long – to hang on the walls of houses as pictures. To hell with pictures – they should be the wall.” and so, ellsworth created big multiple panel paintings – murals – to cover walls. they are stunning and i have been enlightened – by sheer experience of his work. you need just stand there a few extra moments and it hits you. his “austin” temple of light is on our list of places to visit. minimalism. color. breath.
we visited the milwaukee art museum and the two of us, ellsworth, richard diebenkorn and mark rothko all hung out together. their notoriety far surpasses anything we could dream of – yes, yes – by miles and miles. but they love hanging out with people who get it and we were happy for their company.
we talked about art and music and simplicity and air and light. we talked about the ocean park series and rectangular color fields and bigness. we talked about communicating basic human emotions in our work. we talked about journeys and life and times of passage, evolution. we rued the difficulty of transitions and obstacles. and then, though sans museum ticket but clearly listening in, john cage stopped by and reminded us, once again, to “begin anywhere.”
and then it was time for us to leave, to go sip wine at the public market and to talk about the magic of getting it.
we’re running out of room. the nightstands to the side of our bed are overly-laden.
if you take away the lamp, the clock, a few pictures and a jelly jar of pens and pencils, it barely leaves room for the water bottle, tissue box, readers, cellphone, flashlight, itty-bitty-booklight, backscratcher, pad-for-the-stuff-you-want-to-remember-but-know-you-will-forget-by-morning, ankle socks and – when we plan ahead – the midnight bananas. if we determine anything else is of absolute necessity inthemiddleofthenight we will have to purchase a new night-table. bigger.
i wonder if aarp has grown-up night-tables on discount.
it’s a recurring theme. and variations. sleep. no sleep. partial sleep. disturbed sleep. sleep with snoring. sleep sans snoring.
i don’t remember having this problem earlier in my life. it’s not like i wasn’t worrying about things then, so i don’t know what the difference is. other than menopause. and hormones. and…ummm…aging. a fun trilogy.
we try to have good conversation in the wee hours. we generally have a banana (somewhere we read that bananas are sleep-inducing plus they are easy snacks in the middle of the night.) if we are still starving, we have been known to get up and make pancakes. having mid-night pancakes always sounds better than actually making pancakes in the middle of the night – tired and a little ornery from not sleeping. but once they are made, it’s pretty dreamy to indulge in a few maple-syrup laden pancakes at 3am.
david doesn’t really have trouble sleeping. his troubles come from my trouble. he is a generous sleep-giver-upper on those nights, for which i am grateful. he mustn’t have the trilogy, the whole trilogy and nothing but the trilogy. plus, somehow or other, he places all angsting to the side when he lays his head down. he just goes to sleep.
there’s no telling. no way to know. really anything. any. thing.
the mystery of the new year is enormous. giant arcing things will happen, life-changing. tiny morsels of moments will happen, life-changing. we have no way to truly predict. there is no artificial intelligence that can tell us the spectrum of life that we will experience in the new year. it is hidden in holiday wrap, too much scotch tape, gift tags that have become mixed up, like luggage on southwest airlines right now.
to greet it without a hint of anticipation, without a breath of celebration, without acknowledgement of the brevity of time, is to maybe miss it.
stardust falls on our shoulders as we walk into the turn of the year under the big, big sky.