Day #81: Comfortably the Same, Tantalizingly Different

Today was surreal. I was in Albuquerque. I lived here for two years. And Adalie happened to be born while I was here… I got to show my Love the apartments we lived in, the mall I often frequented, and introduced him to several of my friends and co-workers at a late lunch. It was fun to listen to conversations all around because several of them had moved on and everyone was catching up on the who and what and where…

cottonwood-mallIt’s incredibly grounding to see how people change and don’t change in the space of time. I have this distinct memory of my experience at this school doing this job as a team with these teachers. And in a lot of ways I have frozen pictures of this time in my brain. Frozen moments, snapshots of events, whispers of feelings that tinge my recollections. I look around at the table… at personalities that still shine through, at physical features that remain true to memory, but I see growth, too. I see depth that wasn’t there, courage showing through in who they have become, and I feel so proud of these souls who have continued to evolve… some despite… others because of… but we all showed up a delicious mixture of being comfortably the same and tantalizing differentA man in a black hat and beautiful brunette woman drinking yellow Boba tea together in a mall.

This was also my experience with some of my favorites in Albuquerque… the BLT with egg I had so adored at Flying Star… very different although not bad… the Boba Tea in the mall I was addicted to… comfortingly the same and still just as decadent.

 

Day #80: Tread Lightly, and Laugh Loudly

Another day of skiing, another wonderful adventure…it was a bit windier today which kept things more…”interesting”…and cold.

We both only fell once today. Him while standing perfectly still, and me when the lift chair decided to give me an extra push… we laughed both times till we cried…

On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at the overlook and took some pictures. The aspens were breathtaking… they stood so white, so stately… so unassuming in their pale nakedness… and I could feel their energy… their whispering… as I stood there…

I am not generally a mystical person but I felt so drawn to these trees… I felt compelled to touch them, to take them into me… a reminder… “but for what,” I wondered… and then it sang in my heart…“tread lightly.”

Smiling brunette woman wearing heart-shaped glasses, purple beanie, and wearing pigtails.
I spent the rest of the day contemplating this… my mind took it all over… to Theodore Roosevelt’s similar advice to “speak softly, but carry a big stick” to thinking about the footprint I leave on this earth and what we can continue to minimize that we haven’t (we currently recycle and compost).

But it took on a completely different meaning for me that night at dinner… we met up with an acquaintance from my hometown and her significant sweetheart. She is a couple years older than me, so growing up she was a grade or two ahead of me. She was super popular, wealthy, and a cheerleader. She was beautiful and outgoing and smart. And to me, growing up knowing of her, she had it all. So I was nervous as I got out of the truck and headed in for dinner. I could have never dreamed or hoped for the shared connection that transpired. She is going into the same field I am in and we have similar interests. She is still beautiful, and outgoing, and smart… but as she shared her journey with me… the good, the bad, and the ugly, I listened in awe of how perception and reality are often so contradictory… and it reminded me of how we see people two-dimensionally and think we see it all.

We forget the depth, the shadows, the corners of a person that actually gives them sustenance.

It was a beautiful reminder to tread lightly because it’s so much easier to not know than to know… 

Smiling man woman bundled up on top of a ski slope.

Day #77: Friends and Loss Along Our Journey

Today was my last class. It’s always an odd feeling for me to walk in that last time and know I will probably not see any of these students again. The classes are only five weeks long but we spend quite a bit of time together talking about semi-personal stuff because it’s a psychology class.

As I ran this morning, I had one of the best 3 mile runs I’ve had so far. Because of that I felt some loss about not getting to run for at least the next three days due to our vacation. As much as I was looking forward to getting out of town for the weekend there was a bit of apprehension about my normal routine being changed.

When I got to class that night, I looked out at their faces that represent so many stories, so many personalities, so many thoughts and futures and lives…

It made me think on how many people have wondered in and out of my life… as an adult we endure this, probably even expect it and only when it’s someone extremely close to us or rather unexpected do we acknowledge the loss of attachments that happen. Obviously they hurt more, cut deep, and strip us of our normal.

But I feel the need to affirm that small losses are losses too. The coworker you rarely see after you switch jobs. The friends that fade away. The “gangs” you outgrow. The runs that go unscheduled. And the class you say goodbye to…

Everyone you come into contact with adds to your journey in both their entrance and their exit. And it’s okay to feel those moments…

Day #13

“There sure are a lot of crusty people out tonight.”

We’re at Walmart walking and buying goodies for Adalie’s Grinchmas Party tomorrow. I’m counting this as my walk because it was again wet and cold today (you would think I live in Seattle!) and we were there forever!

My Love made the previous observation and I giggled. “Crusty people” just seems funny.

We sit in a restaurant (I refuse to tell you which one because I’m ashamed to admit it was fast food!) after Walmart and watch the news. We don’t have cable so we rarely get to see news live. They were showing the protests in NYC over Mr. Garner who was killed by the police. The protesters looked so strong and unified. It was really beautiful to watch.
I sat back in admiration at brave people who do things.

I teared up a little watching. Selfless people just seems moving.

An acquaintance messages me out of the blue and wants to come to our Grinchmas Party tomorrow. I’m excited because there will be some new faces and graces at my house (I love making friends!), but I feel nervous, too, because well…they’re new people. What if they judge my house, my party, my family? I want them to like me!

Friendly people make me nervous. And I laugh out loud at my juvenile ways and shake my head. But I still clean my house like my life depends on it… because “new friends” just seems awesome.

As I walked and people-watched and observed my own reactions today… I think my most profound thought…”people are just people.” We see snapshots of the “I’m off work and refuse to wear make up” run to Walmart. Or the specific cause for which they choose to lie down, or the friendly smile, or party hat. We see pieces of people, known and unknown, all the time.

And our brain tries to connect dots like someone is a puzzle who can be easily squared. But no one is that simple or that put together and we are all… just people. A colorful collage of the familiy with the vibrant word love centered in the middle.

Day #2

ducksI ponder friendship as I walk.

My friendship skills have seem to decline as the years have passed. It was just so EASY when were younger. Our friends were essentially picked for us; they are our mom’s friend’s kid, or the other girl in the class that likes green instead of pink, or whatever. And time… you have all the time in the world to devote to these beautiful connections. No pesky jobs,  or needy kids, or significant others to prioritize. And although I seem to have outgrown friends, I have not outgrown the need.

Therefore, I bumble through.

I have friends… kind of… I have those that find me when they need to vent or dump. I have those that spend time when time is easy but never when it needs to be made. I have those that surface love me but cannot dig too deep, and finally, I have those that just have too much on their shoulders without adding me. And these lovely souls waft in and out of my life–enriching experiences–but never devoted.

I once asked my husband why he didn’t need friends. He said, “People are just so damn fickle.” And I am inclined to agree. Friends of decades-and-the-most-intimate-moments turned a silent shoulder to me when I made one decision for myself that they could not understand. Friends of deepest-darkest-secrets disappear because another one has stolen their heart. Friends of good-times-and-bad-times lose their way to my door when my door is no longer their need.

And a part of me feels betrayed… angered… shamed… but more of me feels sad.

As I walked today, I became mindful to these things.

And I noticed: leaves whirling in tornadoes together, turtles sunbathing in a pack, geese talking amongst themselves, ducks huddling together to stay warm against the wind, families playing together at the park… and roots.

Everywhere roots!

I once read that dying trees will send energy out through their roots to other trees. There is a massive root system under the ground that connects trees and if we could see the root system we would not be able to distinguish one tree from the next. I feel we, as a human race, are like this; all connected but separate. We look different, we bloom different, we need different but fundamentally we are the same and intertwined. I know this because … empathy.

At times, and especially with those close to me, I cannot always separate their feelings from my own. They weep, their heart is broken, they hurt and my soul carries that burden. They celebrate, enjoy one of life’s gifts, they smile and my soul soars on dancing clouds.

Connective-ness is not always fair or pleasurable–but it is the essence. The thread that interweaves itself through the tapestry of our lives , holding us together and ripping us apart. But it keeps us warm at night… you know?