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.
so…we didn’t go to nearly enough places and i am sort of stuck in buyer’s-remorse, retail-regret, choice-underload.
i, eventually, chose frames – they resemble john denver’s and john lennon’s. a little bit bohemian. a little bit retro.
it had been a long, drawn-out affair. i tried every frame on at the vision center – well, not the really expensive ones because – though we had vision insurance at the time, my portion only covered contact lenses and no back-up glasses. we went to costco and i went up and down the optical wall, trying on, taking off, trying on, taking off. it was exhausting. we went back to the place where i had my eye exam – there would be a discount for buying glasses in addition to contacts.
nearly everyone at the vision center got involved. i had gotten it down to five different frames and – standing in front of the mirror trying them on over and over and over again – finally resorted to asking lovely sarah, the my-age vision assistant. i tried each pair on for her while david watched. we eliminated two frames. one made me look exactly like harry caray, which is not a good look for me. i loved the anderson cooper look, but all those frames were too wide and extended well beyond my face. apparently, i do not have a big face. or – women don’t mind frames that extend into their widest peripheral vision, making their hair stick out. there are many, many, many large frames out there. even bigger than the ones i had in 1985.
i had tried tortoise shell and red, maroon and clear. i had tried hexagonal and cat-eyes, square and rectangular. i had tried my-little-pony and under armour, karen kane and bebe and vera bradley. and now there were these five.
sarah turned to her colleague and asked for her help. the colleague had me try on the three frames – over and over – and then she turned to another colleague and asked for her opinion. the customer who was being served by that vision-center-person piped up. eventually, there was a vote. and everyone in the store voted. the black metal round frames won. i placed an order, laughing, and was relieved it was finally over – the stress of choosing a frame that fit my face – which, i might add, turned out to be a child’s frame. we left.
but i still think about the frame in my mind. also round, but plastic and black and just exactly right – making my forehead look smaller, the indent of my face less indented, the wrinkles around my eyes disappearing, the dark circles lighter, my eyelashes longer and my eyes more expressive.
david picked out his frame in about two minutes. so it was hard for him to understand the hissy fit i had over finding the right frames. a dedicated contact lens wearer, i have never really liked any of the glasses i have owned. i wanted this time to be different. so i tried to explain to him all the parameters the new – perfect – no, no – quixotic – glasses must fall within. purple stuff came out of his exploding head. but my hissy fit helped.
we picked up the finished glasses and, putting them on, they seemed a little blurry. i sighed. i haven’t tried them again. but i will. i’m hoping they will be ok. and i guess i’m still wondering if that truly perfect frame exists out there somewhere.
i can still locate my 1985-ish glasses. they are huge tortoise shell frames – bigger than my face – that sit way above my eyebrows and way down on my cheeks. i have no idea what i was thinking, but i suppose they were all the rage at the time.
well, guess what?
they are again.
giant frames, wide frames, frames that cover all expanse of your visage. yikes!
i look – decidedly – like a bug wearing any of these. like a fly – with big eyes – or an ant or – adding to my list of lookalikes – a meerkat or a spectral tarsier.
these are not good looks for me, i have decided. it didn’t even take pondering. it’s quite obvious.
so, re-using the 1985 glasses doesn’t work. i can’t find my glasses from the mid-90s but i know – i remember distinctly – that those do not sit low enough on my cheeks to cover the sometimes-dark-circles i have inherited from my poppo. somewhere in there i sort of remember a pair of big clear glasses. fortunately, they have gone the way of one of the charities that collects eyeglasses. i, in addition to ordering new lenses, was stuck having to look for a new frame.
but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
mostly, the experience of deciding what kind of lenses – lenses! – you want is complex.
i am a contact lens wearer and only need glasses when my eyes are tired at night and maybe we’re driving and i’m behind the wheel. in that case, i want the lenses that specifically deal with darkness and oncoming headlights and the possibility of rainy wet streets and glare off puddles and asphalt, orange barrels that populate every road in our vicinity and on every highway we choose to travel, equipped with deer-alerting alarms.
so – the anti-dark, anti-glare, anti-highbeam, anti-barrel, anti-deer, anti-sleepy lenses, please.
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.
i wouldn’t say it’s completely autobiographical. but one has to get one’s idea nuggets from somewhere. and – since our lives together have some really ordinary moments – truly ordinarily-ordinary with a smidge of extra as frosting here and there – they are somewhat easy to pull from.
day-to-day living has enough funny stuff. really. stuff happens. big stuff. little stuff. silly stuff. stupid stuff. hard stuff. poignant stuff. goobery stuff. one just has to notice, to pay attention.
and then – in the case of of a sort-of-autobiographical-sort-of-construed-sort-of-vulnerable-sort-of-stand-up cartoon – one has to be willing to share.
the perils and the summits of middle age. there are plenty.
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.
“…and now, you’re here, in a world of hypocrisy and your love can heal us all.” (you’re here – kerri sherwood)
in a universe fraught with challenge, an overabundance of materialism, a shortage of generous kindness, with unprecedented division and bigotry and marginalization of people, it would seem that whatever deity to whom we choose to turn – by whatever name we choose to whisper in prayer or utter in beseeching voices – that, in our turning, we look for light. it would seem that our fervent wish be healing.
and here – another slice of the celebration of the season – from years ago:
and – in this week of preparation – i am reminded of previous years, many, many people gathered in community singing in celebration.
it is the work and the gift of a minister of music to help bring ancient stories to the hearts of people, to help those stories resonate – to help that which is not seen, that which is so mysterious, be felt – through music. we choose melodies that soar, harmonies that weep; we choose lyrics that tug.
my memory bank is full of solos and anthems and cantatas from decades of bringing them to congregations. this is an excerpt of narration and a song from a cantata i composed years ago called “the light is here – a christmas cantata”. this particular recording was performed by the choir of first united methodist church.
so, neither of us has any trouble with going on and on and on. nope, this is not new news to you (as you read, vehemently nodding your head in agreement, thinking that this is not rocket science.)
each day – now – suddenly – when we open our blogsites, there is a prompt at the top….as if we can’t think of anything to talk about. they are not profound prompts, existential questions, deeply probing and inventive. no…these prompts are kind of remedial…like today’s “tell us about your first day at something – school, work, as a parent, etc.”. seriously? the first one was “how do you feel about eating meat?” and there were others: “who do you envy?” and “what’s your favorite cartoon?”.
we wrote to wordpress – really expressing our dissatisfaction with these newly ever-present prompts. we pay for these sites and really just want blank space to blog. good grief. staaahhhhp it. but it was to no avail. they show up every day on the top of our screen. yada yada.
we – clearly – don’t need wordpress’ prompts to write. we seem to have plenty of words milling about in our minds and bodies, just waiting to surface and barrel out onto the page.
and then…there are the words that don’t make it to the page…that just flit about in the air. because we both tend to be thinkers, we are both often mulling things over in our heads…for me, that tends to be details and for him, well, it’s more a concepts sort of thing.
it is not unusual for one of us – or the other – to just start blahblah-ing about all that goobledegook going on – babble, folly, a few valid points thrown in for good measure. more on the verbose side of the coin than the succinct side. we are together a lot – and we love to share – so this is not a rarity. it is an accoutrement of our relationship, like a scarf in cold weather.
and, though we usually hold good discussions, have good conversation, compare viewpoints and learn tidbits from each other, there are those moments when one of us will just reach maximum input, one word over the line, just a smidge too much – like when you are filling the sink soap dispenser and reach the top and the dawn dishwashing liquid just starts spilling everywhere, which, incidentally, is not easy to clean up, though i suspect you already know that – and that one of us (more commonly me, but most definitely him too) just sort of shuts down. all hearing stops – and it kind of looks like staring into space…but it’s really just being boggled. completely and utterly boggled. time stands still for a few minutes and then, catapulting through space on the planet while standing there – frozen and boggled – it catches back up, listening resumes and the boggle un-boggles.
and we continue on our merry way, laughing at the temporary word-absorption-lull.