Tuesday, September 22, 2009

do you ever just want to be sad?

not because anything's wrong or terrible or troublesome, but just because?

like maybe you saw a commercial* for a board game that reminded you of your brother and you thought, i should get that for him for his birthday, and then you remembered that he can't play it and that you miss him?

i don't think the sadness of someone's death ever goes away. it's no longer the crippling sadness that that alternately kept me awake all night and then cringing from the world under the covers come daybreak, but it's still there. sharper and deeper in some ways, or maybe just clearer**, now that i understand it with 29-year-old wisdom instead of whatever passes for wisdom when you're 17-almost-18.

he'd have turned 31 last saturday - still so young. what would his life be like? would he be married? what would his kids be like? where would he live? what career would he have chosen for himself? would he have served our country in iraq or afghanistan? what would he have thought about that (because surely he'd have an opinion)? i worry that i'm forgetting too much. i think about him often, but only mention him in passing because it still has the ability to make my eyes fill no matter where i am - like in my office writing this post, but particularly if i'm doing something he would've loved like this. were he alive today, he'd have been out in front leading our expedition, running down side trails, winning the gallon challenge and generally leaving his own (infamous?) trail behind. like the time he won a contest by eating, legend has it, 12 raw eggs at scout camp.***

my memories become more and more shadowy and are replaced by the frozen pictures from various albums and i feel like this is a kind of betrayal, to myself and to him. curse my mortal memory that saves every exquisite detail of the night he died and the ensuing grief, but fades the sound of his laugh and what his hair looked like and the way his eyes looked when he was up to something. it makes my heart happy (and a little scared for his mother) how much this one reminds me of him, in both look and personality. so alike that grandma kept calling him alex at our last stimpson hoo-rah.

the connections between experience and people and how those things affect a person is the inspiration for much of my artwork. and so, i leave you with this, the artist statement that goes along with these, which i've probably posted before because they're among my favorites:

"she thought of the rain and fire and you"

and this one, too
"the place with the fireflies"

*because you've been watching entirely too much tv lately...

**for those of you that read
this, yes, this post was influenced by her. really i should just ditto what she said and call it good. dear little sister, you are younger in years than i am, but so much wiser.

***for the record, it wasn't that many, but as he said, let the tale-bearers tell their tales...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

yes bonquiqui i have had better days

my shirt clashes with my purse. the hem is falling out of my left pant cuff. i'm getting a blister on my right arch and another on the pad of my left foot and i can't feel my toes anymore.

it's going to be one of those days.


that was yesterday. now i'm in california and life is good.

and actually, yesterday wasn't that bad. more funny than bad.

Monday, September 7, 2009

tales from the trail part 1

after a slight debacle finding a ride to the trail, my buddy jordan agreed to give up his entire morning and shuttle dad and i out to front royal. Ten miles later we made camp at a shelter apparently infested by snakes, according to some southbound boys. we didn't see nuthin', but i also refused to sleep in the shelter and insisted on pitching my tent instead. i like tenting better, anyway and i don't think freddo really likes snakes all that much, either. we woke up the next morning to the pitter patter of a gentle rainstorm. we broke camp in the rain and got on the trail just as it turned to a steady downpour which stopped only about an hour before we made it to the next shelter.

behold the aftermath of hiking in the rain...

what you can't see is the grubs that enjoyed the mud caked on my shoes and took refuge inside during the night. good thing i thought to dump them out before i put them on. ew.

i actually don't mind hiking in the rain, especially in august, which is disgustingly hot and humid. the rain cooled us off and gave me some gorgeous photo opps.

if you look closely, you can see hiker fred in the distance. he's always faster than i am on the downhills.
a few days later we hit the roller coaster, named for its several miles of ascents and descents marking every mile.
it says "hiker notice: warning! you are about to enter the roller coaster!!! built and maintained by the 'trailboss' and his merry crew of volunteers. have a great ride and we will see you at the blackburn trail center (if you survive)" it used all caps but i don't like them cause they look like shouting. i don't like to shout on my blog.

the entrance looks innocent enough, right?

at the top of the first hill. go freddo go! ride that roller coaster!

not sure how i feel about this ride. 

a few bumps and about 8 miles later at bear's den hostel, named for bear's den rocks (in the background).

every now and then the trail crosses a highway or freeway. the experience is a little surreal, going from the woods to the high speed bustle of the "real" world.
for some reason i also really like power lines. dan (who wrote the a.t. thru-hiker's handbook that dad and i like) uses them as milage markers. i also like the openness and rare view from the man-made clearings. AND and they remind me of when alex and i would pretend they were evil transformers (from the old cartoon) when we were on road trips. actually, i think those "road trips" were really the 20 min trips to nana and papa's house. but when you're 4, 20 min is a looooong time.
anyway, i leave you with another lovely view, courtesy of our communications technology.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

finders keepers

i love finding things in unexpected places...under my bed...in the refrigerator...the top of the closet...my bathroom drawer...in my pockets.

i've been looking for my driver's license for a good 2 weeks, now. i'm also missing my social security card. if you find one floating around with last four digits...

ha! i'm not THAT stupid.

anyway, after searching high and low and in between,* through several purses, a number of wallets, several skirts, and laundry clean and dirty, i finally found my license in the pocket of a suit jacket that i last wore at my pgcc interview.** it's one of my faves, the same one i got on sale for $4 (i know, right?!) at dillards and wore for my mfa lecture and orals, but i don't often have occasion to wear it unless there are clients in the office. no idea why i put my license in my pocket instead of in my wallet, but there it was, keeping mr. lincoln company. and then i found some washingtons partying in the other pocket.

it was a good day.

*which i often have to do because i don't put (or throw) things away, i put them in piles (or bags or boxes or containers) for later. so i have shopping bags full of old mail to sort, documents to file away, random receipts i felt compelled to save, ticket stubs, pairs of earrings, bracelets that bugged me so i took them off, magazine subscriptions to send off, tickets to pay, etc. etc. etc.

**this interview went VERY well, in my opinion, and i think they agreed since they hired me and i'm now teaching 3 sections of art appreciation.