29 March 2010

"the history of love" - nicole krauss

when I first saw this book, I figured it would be an easy and somewhat meaningless read. I mean "the history of love" makes it sound like a cheesy chick-lit book, right? what I found instead was a book so in tune with the longings of our heart, romantic or otherwise. we love so many things, and the history of love truly is a history of how we live and interact with the world around us.

five reasons it's not as sappy as you are (inevitably) thinking:

1. it is a story about love. perfect, trust, honest and, at times, tragic. okay, maybe a bit sappy sometimes, but real nonetheless. a love that every person possesses within themselves and is able to give to others. a love that seems like it happens only once in a lifetime, but really exists in the details of our lives - the little things that suddenly seem too big to measure or even fully take in. a love that teaches us about ourselves.

2. it is a story of loss: a loss of what we fear we cannot live without...and yet somehow we survive, if only in the biological continuation of our blood and lungs and nervous system. a loss that leaves our heart shattered...and yet we continue to breathe though it feels like it is through shards of broken glass. a loss that does not make sense...and yet stands there stubbornly, refusing to move from our direct line of vision. a loss that we cannot imagine moving on from...and yet with each day we take one more step toward healing - all forward motion counts.

3. it is a story of loneliness: a loneliness that leads to illusions of things not there. a loneliness that hits suddenly like a head-on collision and makes us feel forgotten and as unnoticed as dust. a loneliness that hallows us out. a loneliness that is prideful and keep us mindful of what we have lost. a loneliness that makes us disappear.

4. it is a story of discovering: we discover the "opposite of disappearing." despite loss and loneliness we can do so much more than survive. we discover strength and find that we are not made of glass or paper. whether fourteen or eighty-four, we find fragments of ourselves in a book, a dance, a kiss, a memory. we discover that silence is not silent. our words "lose their courage" and get lost and are swept away. we discover hope. we can find joy in so many little things.

5. it is a story of life: all that it encompasses. the contradicting themes. the irony. the lessons, mistakes and experiences. the disaster that it can be, the beauty that it is.
the story of it all.


"Sometimes I thought about nothing and sometimes I thought about my life. At least I made a living. What kind of a living? A living. I lived. It wasn't easy. And yet. I found out how little is unbearable."

"Now that mine is almost over, I can say that the thing that struck me most about life is the capacity for change. One day you're a person and the next day they tell you you're a dog. At first it's hard to bear, but after a while you learn not to look at it as a loss. There's even a moment when it becomes exhilarating to realize just how little needs to stay the same for you to continue the effort they call, for lack of a better word, being human."

24 March 2010

joy in a mason jar

i am so glad flowers never fail to make things a bit brighter. on my most difficult days i go for daffodils. nothing is more joyful than yellow daffodils. especially when they are from someone who knows you need them. thanks amy!

13 March 2010

rainy weekend

it is a rainy weekend. yesterday I drove into the District to drop a friend off at Union Station, and although I was right under the Washington Monument, the clouds hung so low I could not make out its sharp tip pointing into the sky. I drove through the city and along the National Mall as a steady, soft drizzle coated my car and bounced off the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. as I passed by Honest Abe in his limestone temple, I was reminded just how far from home I really am. but still the rain fell, and as I drove over the Potomac River, I could have sworn it was the Willamette.

almost a year ago, as I was getting ready to move to Washington, D.C. and preparing myself to leave Portland, I wrote about the rain – about how it comforts me and energizes me with its ability to instigate growth and make room for new life. I wrote about how, years from now, I will look back on this time in my life as a period of “rain, falling down, cleansing me from who I thought I needed to be.” and honestly, even a year later, not much has changed. I am still fighting against expectations I have for myself. and I still love the rain.

this is what the rain does for me, as I try not be lonely so far from home: it comforts me and reminds me, for the hundredth time, that I am a lot more than I often allow myself to be. it reminds me that home is fluid and abstract and always more than four walls. the wetness drenches my windows, and as my wipers sweep over the windshield, they wash away any inclination I might have to be anything but myself. the clouds hang low, enveloping me like my favorite, tattered baby blanket – calming, but a bit sad.

this weekend, my car is my home, the downpour continues, and the sky stays gray...and I might be the only person happy for the rain.