reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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la vida. [two artists tuesday]

i don’t remember what grade i was in when it was assigned: a project detailing what your ideal life would look like. it was either later junior high or early high school years. if i could find it in one of the bins in the basement i’m sure it would be predictably naive. i remember designing a house, writing about family, but not too many other details come up for me. designing an ideal life is never really inclusive of actual reality, difficulties, disappointments, hardships. i think it would be interesting to find this report anyway. the 1970s were a different time and this project would reflect that. were i to write a report now to reflect my ideal life, it would be a much simpler picture than i would guess that old paper would paint.

i remember columbus saying that he worked his whole life to have weekends with his family. to enjoy his backyard, his garden, a little fishing, time with the masons. he was living his ideal life each day, though the look in his eyes when we took him back to iowa and he stood in the fields gazing out at maize corn and blue sky would belie that. his dream was to raise his family in his hometown and, though he ended up in colorado, his other life was, i’m sure, somewhere in the farmland daydreams that swirled in his heart. he was wise, though, and didn’t wait to live until he was back in the midwest. instead, he set his sights on now. he didn’t wait. and each time his children or grandchildren visited he would cry upon their leaving, giant tears falling on this rugged man’s face. dolce.

some people are fortunate enough to have both: real life and the other life, la otra vida. crunch always felt that way about his boat too, so he’d understand the boat owner who named his boat ‘the other life’. moments of escape away, drifting, piloting to block island and fishing in long island sound, these are crunch’s ideal moments. though many of the boats and yachts in our harbor never leave their slips, perhaps just sitting on them in fresh lake air yields much peace for these boaters.

a house with lots of windows and open space, lots of repurposed old stuff, a kitchen in which we love to cook. nothing fancy. wood floors and a lot of white paint. a fireplace, my piano, david’s easels, places to sit and write and room for our beloved children, family, friends to come with significant others and visit. mountains and a lake out the window, a couple horses grazing.

last night as we sat on the deck in waning light turning to dark, tiki torches and our tiny firepit burning, dogdog sprawled out at our feet, we listened to the soundtrack of richard curtis’ movie about time. arvo pärt’s piece ‘spiegel im spiegel’ came on, a long piano-cello interplay of simplicity. we both had tears. if contentment was a piece of music, it would look like this.

though there are not mountains, a lake and horses out the window, perhaps someday there will be. it’s my maize-corn-blue-sky vision. but columbus was right. there’s the rest of it. the other life is always right there.

andrea wrote to me in 2009, “nothing is idyllic. i think we have idyllic moments. we have to take time to savor what is around us.”

la otra vida = la vida. ideal living.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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soundtrack on repeat. a balm. [merely-a-thought monday]

were i to have their addresses, i would write thank you notes to ben folds, jon boden, sam sweeney, ben coleman, nick laird-clowes, paul buchanan, ron sexsmith et al….you get the picture. this soundtrack is our go-to right now. not only does it elicit thoughts of this most-marvelous-movie, but the music just speaks to us. on repeat. over and over we listen to it, never wearying of it.

there are just certain pieces that center you, that give you pause, that lift you. there are really too many to count for me. some of them are as simple as the text sound my phone makes when either of my children write to me. some of them are unembellished and sound like my husband humming along. some of them are as complex as layered music can get. some of them are silent, floating rumi’s words on their wings: “listen to silence. it has so much to say.”

these words of wisdom from this film, brilliance written and directed by richard curtis: “i just try to live every day as if i’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.” and these words on re-living days that have passed: “live every day again almost exactly the same. the first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing.” i am reminded again and again as we listen.

this movie stays with you. it’s right there, beckoning you to remember. in the recesses behind the lists and tasks and daily troubles, in profound je ne sais quoi it quietly sits and waits for you. it’s a well to dip into even on the darker days and its music evokes each thoughtful scene.

we sit in many layers of complexity right now. it’s a symphony of great proportion, filled with questions, with challenges, with things begging for our angst-filled attention.

this album, on repeat, is a balm.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY