Now where was I…..?

Sitting here at nearly 5am eating left over pizza probably isn’t a good way to start my day. But then again, maybe it’s the perfect way. It’s what I felt like doing. I was once told to at least eat something in the morning, even if it was cold pizza. I was very young and I thought at the time it was a doctor who told me and my mother this….but I could be wrong. He also handed out diet pills and water pills and all sorts of pills to help us lose weight, my mother, my sisters and I. I remember we used to go home with bags full of bottles of pills. I didn’t have my own, because I was too young. So this ‘doctor’ gave my mother extra on her ‘prescription’ for me to take. So now that I am older I wonder and doubt if he was actually a real doctor, and if he was if he is still licensed. Still, the idea of eating something in the morning to kick-start the old metabolism has stuck with me. Maybe it’s just an excuse to eat cold pizza at 5am!

I’ve been awake a lot longer than that. I think it was a bit after 3am when I actually woke up and then couldn’t get back to sleep. My cats found it very irritating that I was disturbing their sleep…poor things. I’m not sure why I can’t sleep, I’m not worried or stressing over anything really. I’m just feeling the need to be awake and to sit with myself while everyone else is asleep. Sometimes it’s best in the wee hours. There’s little chance of interruption.

I’ve actually had quite a bit of time on my own in the last week. The ex arrived in town and has been coming over after school to pick up the children and take them off for dinner and some ‘fun’ with him. He’s going to be here until the end of this week, which just happens to be the kid’s Spring break. I have to say, with the proper amount of intense sarcasm, the kids are just thrilled. I do feel a bit sorry for the ex. It must be hard knowing that your own kids really don’t want to spend time with you, and the only reason they do is because you will take them out to eat and take them shopping and spend money on them. Even that has already lost its appeal for the kids. Evening before last it came to a head and they began a screaming match in the parking lot of a local Wal Mart. My kids don’t get along well at the best of times. They are very different and both very strong-willed and they get on each other’s nerves. So being thrown together for hours every evening, in a car with their father, got the best of them. Then the ex couldn’t deal with it himself, so he brought them home early. I think he actually expected that we would sit down and have some sort of ‘therapy’ session and discuss what the issue had been and how to resolve it. They didn’t need that. It was a stupid argument over some trivial thing. The underlying issue being they had spent too much time in each other’s company. Plus their usual routines have been completely disrupted by him being here. That’s enough to unsettle the most easy-going person, and neither of my kids are one of those. So I let them tell me what had happened and then I let it go and we started talking about other things, things that amused them and caught their interest, and before long the glaring and snarky comments had faded and they were joking with each other and back on a fairly even keel. So the ex left, fairly bewildered as to how I did whatever it was I did to put smiles back on their faces, and the kids relaxed into what they normally would be doing on an evening when there is no school the next day. The result though was that my son refused to go with his father the next day when he arrived. He said he needed a break. My daughter thought that was quite unfair and would have followed his lead but she had ulterior motives for going. Her father had said he would pay for her new kitten to be spayed and get her shots. I had made the appointment and he was to go to the vet and pre-pay the bill. Cost him a pretty penny, but he had to keep his word. He has a very bad habit of not following through on things he promises them and she intended to not give him a chance to back out.

Today I believe that the plan is a trip to the coast. I admit I am quite envious. I was hoping to take a day trip to the coast myself while he was in town and had the kids. The problem with that idea is that they refuse to spend the night with him where he is staying. So they are here for at least half the day until he comes to pick them up. I could leave them here to wait for him, they are old enough at 18 and nearly 15 to be left on their own. However, I know that if I were not here the ex would end up camped out in my living room with them and I don’t want him here when I am not. I don’t want him here for very long when I am here! It’s beginning to annoy me that he arrives to pick them up and ends up sitting on my sofa for a couple of hours. I do not want to visit with him even if we have kept things friendly between us. It’s the kids fault actually. They sit and stall to put off leaving with him. Like I said, I feel a bit sorry for him. It is so obvious they don’t look forward to time with him. Today, however, they are. A trip to the coast is always fun. I suggested they go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I’ve heard it’s amazing.

That leaves me with an entire day to myself. It would have been a good day for me to slip away to the coast myself, but I have an appointment smack dab in the middle of the day and it can’t be rescheduled. Maybe that’s part of what had me awake so early and feeling a little at loose ends. This time with the ex being in town is not working out the way I envisioned. I haven’t done anything. I haven’t really even left the house except for the occasional trip to the grocery store and one night out for a friend’s birthday party. I feel like the time is being wasted, and yet I can’t think of anything to do really. I have to watch my money, as usual, so I have to choose wisely what I do and where I go. I have done a bit of spring cleaning and I have some other projects I really want to get to, but that isn’t exactly what I had in mind to do with my kid free hours.

Part of me can’t help but wonder what we would be doing if Storm were still here. She had to leave and return to England despite all efforts to find a way for her to stay. As much as I hate it I think it is what was meant to be. Things were very strained between us while she was here this time. In fact I think we came closer to calling it quits than we ever have. For both of us to admit aloud that it had crossed our minds showed just how serious things had gotten. We talked a couple of times while she was here, but we didn’t delve deep enough to get to the root of our issues. It took her leaving and the prospect of not knowing when she will be able to return to bring us to the point of asking if there was really any point in her trying to make her way back. We finally stripped ourselves down to some raw and festering points of decay in our relationship, things that were chipping away at our very foundation. I think that if we hadn’t forged such a strong base in our beginning years we would have just moved on. We even asked ourselves and each other if we were holding on out of stubbornness because we have been together for so long despite the issues of a long distance relationship. We opened up and showed each other our resentments and our grievances and all the nasty things we’d started feeling toward each other….and it hurt. It was like cleansing an open, festering wound. In the end we finally reached the bottom line, what it all came down to when all was said and done was….I love you. Under all of the hurt and crap we’d piled on top of it that amazing love we have had since the beginning was still alive and so worth fighting for.

We’re not out of the woods completely. We still have a lot of work to do if we are to get back to a relationship we enjoy rather than endure. Reviving the passion we once felt for each other, breathing new life into our relationship is going to take effort on both parts. We have realized we can’t go back to what we once were, but we can move forward together. We can evolve and build on our past to create a new future. Isn’t that what relationships are supposed to do? Grow and evolve and become something new with the passing years? Maybe trying to hold on and stay the way we were in our early years is part of the reason we became stagnant and began to rot. The healing process has begun though and we are looking forward to seeing what we can become together.

Actually, maybe a day spent on Spring cleaning projects wouldn’t be a bad thing. Storm and I spend hours online each day. From the time I get up until she has to go to bed. This week the kids have usually gone by then and I just want to sit and enjoy my quiet time alone. I’ve actually begun writing again. But I haven’t really given my Spring projects the time they require. Spring cleaning is best started early in the day. I can still take that time that I had thought to take going somewhere. I can open my apartment up, turn on my music and get some things done. I’m not sure what the weather is supposed to be like today, but I don’t mind if it rains. In fact, opening the house up on a rainy day would be nice. I love that smell. It may be just what is called for, a clearing away of the staleness and an infusion of fresh clean energy.


Love and Passion

I’ve had some sleepless nights lately. My mind is full of doubts and questions and worries. It’s been giving me nightmares that have me actually crying out in my sleep. Storm has had to soothe me back to sleep when I’ve woke her up. That puts her in a great mood. So last night there weren’t any nightmares, but then I’d have had to actually gone to sleep for that. I dozed off for a bit here and there, but didn’t get any real deep sleep going. I actually ended up out in the living room because once I finally did get to sleep I must have snored or something because Storm woke me up with a sharp ‘shh!’ which pissed me off so I got up. We seem to sleep better in seperate rooms.

So I sat out here with a blanket and a cat and stared into the dark and my mind whirred a mile a minute. There’s a lot going on right now with us. Things that should make me very happy, but I’m not. I’m confused and scared and sometimes even pissed off. I need advice but there’s no one I can talk to who can give me an unbiased opinion. I told Storm that I think we need counseling of some sort. We need a third party to tell our sides to, someone who isn’t predisposed toward one or the other of us. Or worse, tells each of us what we want to hear even if it means they are playing both sides.  We don’t have anyone like that and we can’t afford actual couples therapy so we’re pretty much out of luck.  I dont’ know if that would make any difference anyway. Storm has a degree in that kind of thing and I don’t think she’d do very well on the receiving end of it. You now how they say doctors make the worst patients? Yeah, that kind of thing. She’s very good at analyzing other people and pinpointing ways to help them, but like most people, she can’t see her own situation and see what needs to be done. I’m the same way. It’s easier to look at someone else and tell them what they need to do to fix something. I think it’s because our own emotions aren’t involved in their drama.

One of the things I was thinking about is sort of philosophical and it’s something I can share. It’s also the basis of our problems. As far as I’m concerned anyway. I was thinking about love and passion. It’s possible to have one without the other, apart from family relationships. I love my friends, some more than others honestly. But I don’t feel any passion toward them. In the same vein I have felt passion for someone, lust really, and not had any of the softer loving emotions toward them apart from basic friendliness. But I don’t feel that a monogamous, committed relationship can be without both of these things. They need each other to survive.

In the beginning a relationship has them both. There’s love and there’s passion and these fuel each other. But what happens over time as the passion fizzles out. I know, I’ve been told that’s the natural progression of things. Supposedly the love is supposed to make up for the lack of passion as the years go by. I don’t see how. Sure, if a couple are happy with the love they have changing into more of a deep friendship than a love affair then that’s great for them. If they don’t mind that there is no sizzle left, no fire or chemistry between them anymore then they can still be happy together. But what if that comfortable kind of love isn’t enough? What if only one of them feels that way?

I feel that way. I want a realtionship that keeps that fire alive. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living with someone I love just a step above a friend. I need more than that. I deserve more than that. I deserve passion and I deserve to feel as if I am wanted on a sheer physical level. Some may say that my need to feel wanted, even lusted after, stems from a lack of self esteem. That I need that outside input because I don’t like myself and that I can’t build good self esteem based on how other people treat me. Why not? It’s how other people treat me that tears my self esteem apart, why can’t it build it up as well? Besides, this isn’t about self esteem….it’s about sex. Raw, hot, wet sex and the lack thereof. For me, a relationship that lacks good sex or any sex for that matter cannot survive. It is vital and essential. Some people may be happy in a platonic relationship. I’m not one of them.

How can love survive without passion? I don’t think it can. I think it begins to wither and to morph into something else altogether. Sure it can become caring. It can become that kind of emotion where you can’t really imagine your life without that person, but you don’t feel that same charge, that flutter of excitement you used to feel at the mere thought of them. You would miss them if they were gone, but would your heart break? Would you lie awake at night and ache to have them beside you again? I don’t think so. I think you’d pick yourself up and get on with life and maybe that would include finding passion again.

This old house…

When I think of growing up, think of the place I call my hometown and the house I ‘grew up’ in, I think of the old house in Scio. My parents bought it when I had barely begun first grade. We lived there until mid-fifth grade when we had to move, but they kept the place. My oldest sister lived there the most, but all three of my siblings and their familes had a turn living there. In fact when my parents and I had to move back to Scio, just before I started high school, all three of them and their families were living in the old house. That’s how we refered to it, ‘the old house’ because it was old, and it seemed so big when I was growing up.

Somewhere there are pictures, mom surely has them, but I don’t need them. That house is burned into my mind. It was two stories, four really big bedrooms upstairs with a hall landing that could have made another small bedroom. Actually, for a while, when I was six or seven it was my bedroom after my oldest sister got married and she and her husband moved in with us while they tried to find a place of their own. Downstairs was a living room with another bedroom off of it, a dinning room that had actual doors to close it off, an enormous kitchen with very little cupboard space and the bathroom. There was an enclosed back porch area that we called the utility room because that’s where the washer and dryer went and off of that was the creepy old wood shed that was almost as big as the downstairs part of the house. It had a very creepy room with a door that was almost a foot thick and it was always cold in there. We called that the fruit room because when we moved in there were jars and jars of old fruit preserves left from the previous owners. There was an open porch that wrapped around one side and the front of the house and it was mirrored by what we called the ‘veranda’ on the upper floor. There was a grape arbor that grew along the side of the woodshed. It had gone wild long before we moved in and no one ever took the bother to tame it. The grapes were dark purple and never did taste very good. The house itself sat on a plot of land that was about two and a half acres, just flat pasture land that we never really did anything with. We had cows every now and then, but that was about it. In the front yard there was a huge evergreen tree, and out at the edge of the yard by the road were two twin trees of some kind. One of them was my tree and in high school I could often be found sitting under it with a notebook and pen, or a book. In the back, just behind the house, was an old mulberry tree. The berries weren’t good for anything but making a mess on cars parked under it and feeding birds, who then made messes on cars parked anywhere on the property.

When we moved back to Scio the summer before I started high school my parents and I lived in camp trailers parked out back. There wasn’t room in the old house for us yet. I think my second oldest sister moved out first. I think that was the only time she’d had to move in there and it was the last time. My brother went next leaving my older sister and her family living upstairs and my parents and I downstairs. For a while I had a bed in the living room right under the stairs next to the closet. I could have actually put a bed in the closet because it was just big enough. Very Harry Potter. I would have liked that, because then I would have had a door to close and a little privacy. My mom didn’t like the idea however. So she let me move my bed into the dinning room. Right in front of the giant picture window…creepy. But at least I had doors to close. Not that it gave me privacy really. Anyone needing the bathroom had to pass through the dinning room to get to it. After my freshman year I moved back into the old camp trailer that had been mine. Dad parked it right along side the house and ran a power cord to it. I didn’t want to be in that house any more than I had to. Which was another reason I could be found under that tree as soon as the ground was dry enough to sit on. That was the summer Dad bought an old single wide trailer with two bedrooms and moved it onto the other side of the property. He could do that because the property was split into two tax lots. So a lot of work was done that summer. A drain field was dug, and pipes were laid so we could tap into the well for water. Electricity was laid in from the road and we even had a new address. It wasn’t the nicest of trailers, kind of ratty really, but I had my own room again. That made it a palace to me. I still didn’t have as much privacy as I felt I needed, but I had my own space and a door to close. Which my mother would promptly open to see what I was up to. I’m not sure if she was suspicious or if she was just nosey…okay, probably a little of the first and a whole lot of the second hehe.

So that’s where I grew up. That old house that I dream about even now. I dream about it often, always different dreams, but the house is a common element and either living there or having to move back there is usually a common theme. I always wake up from dreams like that feeling kind of out of whack, just a little off. I really hated that house.

When my parents finally sold the place in Scio I had already gotten married and moved out. I had sworn that no matter how bad things got I would never drag my family back to that place to live. When they sold it, though, I wanted desperately to buy it. I wanted to own the old home place….so I could burn that house to the ground. I had it all planned. I was going to donate the burning to the local fire department for practice, on the condition that I got to light the first match. I wanted to personally be responsible for it burning.

The new owners put in a new mobile home where our trailer had sat. Then they began to tear the old house down bit by bit. Storm and I drove by there this past summer and I took a couple of pictures on my phone. The property looks so small now that I’m older, it looks so different. But my child’s eyes could still see the shadow of that house sitting there. They didn’t get rid of it.

It’s weird really. I have a lot of really good memories of living there in Scio. Some of my best stories are from living in that old house. All of my best ghost stories, stories of my biggest crush, my first kiss, hilarious things about the nieces and nephews, my high school years…everything centered around that place in Scio. But a lot of my worst nightmares happened in that house, and it wasn’t just me. Things happened in that house that children should never have to experience. I think in a way I wanted it to burn to purge the bad memories, to clear the taint from the place, for all of us who have nightmares of living in that old house.

Because it is still there, it haunts my dreams and still calls me to come home.

Because I felt like singing

One of my new friends heard me singing once. We were at this weekend thing and there was live music and I was singing along. I was enjoying myself. She liked my voice and said that I would have to come out with them some night singing karaoke. The local gay bar does karaoke every Monday night. That was during the summer and the opportunity just never came to go. Well, this past weekend we were over with the gang playing poker on Saturday night. It was Storm’s birthday and they made it a sort of party for her. There was a cake and there were presents and it was fun. Our friend, K, once again suggested that I come down singing with her on Monday night. She goes down there almost every Monday, even if she has to go alone. So I determined that I was going to go, even if it meant going by myself.

Storm doesn’t think much of karaoke. She doesn’t see the fun in a bunch of people, some of whom are most likely drunk, getting up and singing with canned music and showing off just how badly they can sing. Her theory is that people who really can sing don’t do karaoke because they don’t have to prove anything to anyone. They know they sing well. She tells me this theory after we got to the bar and were sitting waiting for K to arrive, she was late. I didn’t bother trying to debate the issue with her, I just told her that I didn’t agree and let the matter drop.

Getting to the bar had been interesting. I had been chatting online with another friend, my next door neighbor actually…yeah that’s kind of odd I know, but it works for us. We were both having a regular bitch session about our respective partners. I told her about the karaoke invite and she said I should just go, to not even invite Storm along since she had made her lack of enthusiasm over the idea plain. There really was no reason why I couldn’t go out on my own, and actually the idea had a bit of appeal. I don’t really enjoy singing in front of Storm. She has been less than complimentary on my singing in the past, but that’s another story. So I started getting ready to go. When Storm asked me what I was doing I said that I was getting ready in case K texted to confirm she was going to be at the bar that night. Storm muttered a bit and I could tell that she was not happy that I was planning to go. I told her that she didn’t have to come with me. She could stay home and have an early night and not worry about my snoring keeping her awake. She didn’t like that idea. It came down to her asking me if I wanted her to come with me or not. Honestly, part of me did and part of me didn’t. I didn’t want her coming along if she was going to ruin my fun, but there’s still that part of me that wants her company despite the issues we’re having. Once I had said yes, I wanted her to come she said okay, if K texted me. I think she figured she’d found her way out. K had said other nights she’d text if she was going and then had forgotten or something. So I waited until Storm had left the room and I texted K myself. I didn’t want to sit around waiting like some wallflower. With plans confirmed the only way out of it was for Storm to just flat out say she didn’t want to go and for some reason she wasn’t going to do that. She had this look about her that made me expect a headache to come on sometime after we got there that would require us to have to leave early. She really didn’t want to go, but go we did.

It wasn’t very crowded. It was Monday night after all. I could deal with that. I hadn’t been singing in so long I knew I was going to be very out of practice and probably not very good. We had our pick of tables and Storm got a book of songs and a couple of slips of paper to put in the number of the songs I chose and we started looking through the pages. The first song I chose was one of ‘our’ songs. I knew I wouldn’t do particularly well at it because it had been a very long time since I’d even sung along with it at home. But it was kind of my olive branch, my way of making nice. K had finally shown up and the slip had been turned in and other people had already been singing. Some were terrible, but some were really good. The first guy who went was so good that my courage tucked tail and ran. He was amazing. Turns out he has a group of equally good people from around the community and they put out cds and sell them for charity. I was so out of my league. But I got up there and gave it a go.

I choked, as I expected. I think it was a combination of being out of practice, still recovering from a nasty cold and the song being set too high. It was embarassing. Storm didn’t say anything. Nothing positive about my song choice, but at least nothing negative about my bad showing. K missed it. She’d gone out to smoke just before my name got called. I was rather glad. When it was her turn to go she choked as well. The version of the song she picked wasn’t the one she knew, so she had to kind of fake her way through. We had a good laugh when she came back to the table and later we dug deeper in the book and found the version she had originally wanted, so next time she can do it properly if she wants. Her later songs she did really well on. I did much better on my later songs as well. I think Storm was surprised that I turned in a second song since I had done so badly on the first one. But I was there to have fun and I wanted to sing. I knew that I could do better.

K missed my second song as well. It was really funny. Soon as she stepped out to smoke my name got called. Storm almost missed it too. She’d stepped out to the bathroom and had gone out to smoke too. She was just coming back in when she heard the first bit of my song and realized I was up there singing. I did much better the second go round. Storm pointed out that there were a few places my voice wavered though. It’s so nice to have someone who makes sure I don’t get an over inflated opinion of myself and my talents (oooh sarcasm…)

It was getting late and it was a school night for my kids. We had trusted them to be on their own for the evening and still get to bed on time. A first really. On the weekend we trust them to be on their own sometimes, but never on a school night. I think they showed that they can deal with it. That means that Monday karaoke nights can become a more regular happening. Yay! So Storm and I were talking about heading home. I had picked out a third song but tucked the piece of paper in my pocket because Storm really wanted to go home. K had been flitting around all evening talking to people she knew and when she came back to the table we told her we were going to head out soon. I think Storm was a little put out that I said she wanted to go, but it was true. I could have stayed a bit longer. Turns out we stayed anyway.

Just as we were about to go K got called up again. It would have been rude to walk out just as our friend was going to sing. So we stayed. She did really well. While she was up there singing the KDJ came over, leaned across our table with a big smile and asked “Are you going to sing another one, love?” How could I say no?? K had told us that he has a very caustic personality. He can be downright mean to people if he doesn’t like their singing. And he was asking if I was going to go again. So I must have done well enough that he was being encouraging. I told him I had picked out another but that we were thinking of going home so I had stuck it in my pocket. I handed it to him anyway and decided we could stay for one more song. Then I told him that K had missed both of my other songs and he said he would make sure she didn’t miss this one and left our table. K’s song finished and she went over to the equipment to hand him the mic. He followed her back to our table and handed it to me! He wasn’t kidding. So I got up and did my final song.

I love applause. I know that most of the time when people clap at the end of someone’s set in karaoke it is mostly being polite. Maybe sometimes it’s because they are just glad the song is over! But you can tell the difference. When the applause is because they genuinely enjoyed the song it feels different. I love that feeling. Maybe it’s because growing up I didn’t get much encouragement or told that I had done well at things. If I did something well it wasn’t me, it was God working through me and any praise should go to him. So I need that affirmation when I do something well. We were standing there saying our good-byes to K when this woman, who had not just sang that night but actually performed to the crowd, came up and put her arm around me. She told me I have a good voice and gave me a friendly one armed hug. It made my whole evening.

In the end Storm said she did have a fairly good time. I had a great time. I plan to go back and have a great time again next Monday!

In case anyone wants to hear me sing….
My karaoke spot

Something’s gotta give

So it’s a new year. Not that the date means anything. Time is relative. I guess people start thinking about it more when the year changes. It emphasizes a new block of time and makes people think about what they’ve done with the one that just passed. Then they start making all kinds of resolutions and promises to themselves and others about what they are going to do with the new year to come.

I don’t do resolutions. But I am thinking about the coming months and what I want from this year. In a nut shell, I want something different. I want a year I can look back on and say, “Damn that was good.” I haven’t had one of those years in a very long time.

I think part of it is that my eldest child turned 18 right after the change of the year. According to the law she’s a legal adult now. If she wants to do something she doesn’t have to ask my permission or even let me know if she doesn’t want to. I feel redundant. I still have my son for a few more years, but I know how fast time goes by.

So I’ve been thinking quite a bit these last few weeks about what I want from the coming year. What do I want for and from myself. Here are a few things I’ve come up with.

I want to learn to really like myself for who I am. I’ve always had a self-esteem problem. From the time I was a child I have felt that I could never quite measure up. I was taught that what talents I did possess weren’t really me but were god working through me so I shouldn’t get all proud of myself. So I’ve always depended on other people to let me know if I was worth anything. Unfortunately that has just made me feel more worthless when I didn’t please the people in my life and felt their disappointment. In a way I have used that as an excuse to hide behind. Why bother trying to do things when the people in my life will just shoot me down if I don’t meet their standards. I need to take my strengths and talents, the things I know I’m good at and enjoy, and do them for myself.

I want a passionate year. I am a sensualist. I love feeling. Touching, being touched. Experiencing the world around me through physical exploration. I am a very sexual person. At least I was up until this past year. I’ve become a bit cut off from that side of me over the last year. Again partly because I have made how other people react to me form my opinion of myself. I’ve relied on others expressing desire for me or because of me to be my gauge. A lack of that in my primary relationship has left me feeling undesirable and unwanted…fat and ugly. Those are nasty words, but I’m owning them. These feelings have muzzled my muse. My creativity is stiffled because it comes from the sensual feelings I used to revel in. I’ve been here before in my life. But you know what they say, if you don’t learn a lesson the first time around it comes back for you to learn again. This year will be a year of passion. Passion for my life. All the things I derive pleasure from, that I feel in my very core, are the things I will pour my focus into. If in the course of doing that it overflows onto those around me and they derive pleasure from it then that’s just icing on the cake.

I want to become proactive in the running of my life. How to explain this…I have a habit of letting life happen to me. I daydream and wish for something better, but I don’t take action to get it. There are a few things that I am going to actively start pursuing that will improve my life. From the usual healthier lifestyle that most people say they are going to start living to actively going after real publication of my writing in some form.

I think that’s a good start for now. I feel good about my prospects for the coming year.

They say I’m crazy….

…they could be right!

Day before yesterday I had my hair cut by a nice older lady who my mother knows from church. She lives next door to mom’s church, where my parents have their motor home parked while waiting to take their yearly trip to Arizona. So I drove over and mom and I walked to A’s house.

Now, in the corner of the church property, next to the road there has been a huge tree for ages. It was probably there when the road was a dirt wagon track and no houses for miles around. But as with all things, time has taken its toll on this mighty sentinel and due to tree illness it began to rot from the inside. It was decided that in the interest of safety it had to come down before the winds blew it down.

I’m sad to say that I had never really taken notice of the tree before. As with most people I was always too busy bustling about my little human life to really see the beautiful things around me. As mom and I walked past the work area with all the limbs and greenery that had been stripped from the tree laying about in piles and the huge rounds of wood waiting to be chopped into burnable chunks the scent of the wood struck me. Cedar….not the strong cedar scent that comes from opening one of those cedar hope chests, this was more subtle, but it was definitely cedar. I asked mom what they were going to do with all the pieces and she said that those church members with wood stoves were sharing the wood among themselves, the smaller bits and greenery that were not much use would be piled out back and set afire. For a moment I felt almost appalled by the near sacrilege of this magnificent tree being reduced to a few hours of warmth and a pile of ashes. It just seemed so wrong.

We went on to A’s and I had my haircut (which turned out just as I told her I wanted it…a rare thing!) but in the back of my mind I couldn’t stop thinking about that tree. All that beautiful wood just destined to be burned up. I paused on our walk back to pass a polite word with the men working, mom’s pastor and an older man I have known since I was a teen, and to just inhale the fragrance of the fresh cut wood. An idea began to form. Even if it was only for this season, some of that greenery could be put to use. A wreath, a swag…something. I posed the idea to my mother and she said it would be alright if I wanted to come take some of it. But she looked at me oddly. It’s a look I have been getting from her and others for most of my life. That look that says they are wondering what kind of weird thing is running through my mind now. I don’t know what was so odd about the idea of a cedar wreath to hang on my door for the holidays, but then it was my mother, she rarely gets me.

The next day my good neighbor and friend, Char, came over to see my new do and I told her my idea. She didn’t give me the look at first, she thought it was a great idea. She even said she wouldn’t mind going along and snagging some for her own project. Then I told her that along with some of the greenery I wanted a piece of limb…about ‘this long’ and ‘this round’…and there was the look. Not exactly the same as my mother’s look, because Char knows me and how my mind twists and turns sometimes. I think she even knows that though I may have said out loud I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my piece of wood there was an idea of some kind behind wanting it. Like the good friend she is, she let me keep my secret ponderings and just gave me her version of the look. It’s still the look of wondering what is going on upstairs, but hers is more curious and hopeful that she gets let in on it at sometime.

And so off we went…Char and I and her daughter Crys. The air was knife sharp, it cut through our clothing like we weren’t wearing any at all. My nose and cheeks were bright red and nearly numb and the tips of my fingers protested strenuously. Still we persisted in our quest. We arrived at the church and my father came out to help us poor girls with our dirty work. He gave me his version of the look. The one that says he wonders about me sometimes, but he also enjoys the occasional nuttiness I bring him into. Mom stayed in the motor home, she’s not an adventurous person.

We quickly grabbed up quite a bit of the greenery and stuffed it in the back of the van. Enough that we could both get something nice made from it. Then the search for the perfect stick began. I showed them again how long and how thick I wanted it and we all started looking. There was more of that look thrown my way, especially as the wind picked up and the cold began to sink in. Finally after several pieces were held up for inspection I picked up a small piece to move it out of the way and then looked at it closer. It was a bit shorter than I had envisioned, but it felt right in my hand. Here was my new stick, my piece of the tree that I would keep safe when the rest of it was long gone. In triumph we headed back to the van, me cradling my piece of tree. Then dad stopped and slid another piece from beneath the edge of a pile of greenery. It was about the same thickness but almost shoulder height, for me. He asked if I wanted that one too, and I found I did. Or maybe I should say…it wanted me.

Yes, I can feel the looks coming through my screen now…you all just stop that, you know you want to know what I’m going to do with my lovely pieces of wood……..