Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Loud Hair, Loud Jewelry.

The blue sky turns to gray and I am walking.
Up the grassy hill, the back strap of my chacos escaping me as I climb.

My muscles ache from the day before, the good kind of ache that gives you hope for toned limbs just in time for summer.

The grass is soft, silky.
I have always loved the smell of grass, ever since I was a child.
It reminds me of my brothers’ soccer games under that Alabama sun that you love and hate all at the same time.
All of the younger sisters at the game would drift away inch by inch, climbing trees in our dresses and coming back with new stains to brag about. 

We ate up attention like it was our job.
Then the team would eat oranges after the game and smell like sweat all the way home.

My back is to the boats.
I hear them sneaking up behind me, ready to tag me and say that I am “it” next.
They are slow but they are graceful, like the kind of Southern ladies that always remember to wear their pearls to the parties and smile and nod when they have nothing nice to say.

I love being a stranger in a new city.
I am the guest, the visitor, the neighbor next door stopping by to introduce myself.

The city of Portland, Maine is calm and kind with the wind of San Francisco.
It reminds me of a best friend’s grandmother that serves lemonade and asks you to make yourself at home, but really means it.

Wrinkled hands and big, rosy cheeks.
Loud hair and loud jewelry.

Nice to meet you, Portland.
It's been a real pleasure.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Body Tells Heart.

The moment has come.
And the dance hall awaits like a grandmother’s silent plea for a baby’s first step.

Ceilings as tall as mountains, white as snow.
Grecian columns, so circular and round, taking in all perspectives, never missing a thing.

The tall, elegant windows build bridges to the outside world.
Bridges to the magical, mysterious forest, so full of that deep, fresh green you want to breathe in forever.

Without any instruction, the girl begins to make tiny inches toward movement.
She shifts the weight to her toes, then her heels, then back again.
She curls the tip of her fingers one at a time, enthralled by each knuckle becoming more defined, more deliberate.

Her eyes float around the room.
It feels good to float, she thinks to herself.
Her arms swing side to side like the wings of a blue jay.
She leans her hips to the left, right, finding her internal rhythm and tone.
And before she knows it, she is gliding.

The music in her head guides her, perfectly aligned to her steps.
Knees bent.
Legs extended.

Why she dances, she’s not entirely sure.
Perhaps her body is telling her heart a story.

Monday, May 18, 2015

And She Moves.

The lilies of the field dance and applaud the arrival of the wind.

The wind greets the lilies with the most perfectly timed, perfectly arranged schwoop over their heads and around their leaves and stems, each lily’s heart racing to this adventurous hello. As surprised and startled as the lilies are, they welcome this delightful disruption to their routine as they bend each and every way, giggling with glee.

Finally, the lilies theatrically lean toward the sun, and produce their final bow after this most pristine and sophisticated performance, all enhanced by the wind,

the Helper
the Mover 
the Greeter

The sun thanks the lilies with a little extra warmth and glow, something special for their morning.

The wind is the extrovert of the crew- brushing by like a glance from someone you love across the room at a party. But then she moves along to greet the grass or the branches of the trees or the hair of the pedestrians, always giving them a gasp and a desperate need to control their appearance. Hands move like lightening to their heads as they try to contain strings of hair behind their ears. Then they smooth out their hair like a worried mother ironing away at her child’s shirt seconds before he runs out the door to catch the school bus.

The wind never stays for an extensive or elaborate conversation, yet she never fails to say hello. She moves her hips from side to side, just gliding and floating around like a 7 year old boy in the kitchen with his socks on, sliding his feet in his silent, sneaky way.

The wind is the life of the party, the center of the Soul Train at all the wedding receptions. You never know how long she willl stay or who she will greet next, but she will be there nonetheless. 

She loves to twirl around in circles and make herself known. 
Sometimes she’s quiet, but she’s always moving, always dancing.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Like a Solid Block of Ice.

Sometimes everyone moves around her while she remains still.
Sometimes she stands within this tornado of life, rising with the breath of the wind…
Yet she is still.

Like a solid block of ice under the weight of the sun, refusing to melt, refusing to disappear and be forgotten.

She takes in the scene.
She studies the view.
The others rotate above her with wind in their hair and compassion in their eyes.
They move at the same pace with the same perceived intention.
And they circle over her head like the clouds.
Looking down but spiraling up, this tornado… of life.

Yes, LOTS of life. 

Is this what it’s like to be loved? the girl asks
Being watched and cared for by strangers?
Not being able to move, just standing, receiving?
She hears music in their movement and her heart feels light.

The floaters- they just smile and laugh.
A man with a white, braided beard, with sunglasses and large feet.
A small African girl who wears yellow and smiles without apology.
A man with a tie and slacks and blonde hair.
A red-headed woman with a pony tail and pink finger nail polish.

They spin in a choreographed dance, an unbreakable pattern.
A common language but no interpreter.

Frozen in this mysterious whirl of wonder, the girl watches.
Frozen in time, thought, breath.

She watches.
She stands.
She receives.

Seas and Sidewalks.

In class the other night, we were asked to write our own personal mission statement. I finally stopped when I realized my thoughts had gone MILES past the assignment and now everyone was staring at me.

Anyway, here are some pretty important things I hope to live by. 

-to receive love and give it back.
-to connect people.
-to facilitate creative growth for others.
-to use words to create safe places for the heart, soul, and mind.
-to be a lifelong learner in the classroom, in the car, with friends, without friends.
-to eat cookies every once in a while and not feel bad about it.
-to have a multicultural perspective and sensitivity in all things.
-to never forget to dream.
-to breathe deeply even when it’s hard.
-to honor all stories, especially those I cannot relate to.
-to never stop asking questions about the world and what part I play in it.
-to empower others through intentional and active listening.
-to channel humility even when I don’t want to.
-to bring color and texture to the dark corners of life.
-to always fight for a better tomorrow.
-to invest in my community with my personal resources, time, and energy.
-to never be afraid to say No.
-to always consider saying Yes.
-to appreciate the “weird kids” because... aren't we all?!
-to never quit going on adventures over the seas and down the sidewalks. 

There is nothing like these special moments where we steal a glimpse into these deeper parts of ourselves.

In these moments, we become the story-teller and the story-listener.
And we let ourselves lean.

We lean back into the seat of a rocking chair and our feet dangle under the heavy weight of humidity, a summer's best greeting.

We lean back into our story and soon we discover,
Each story is a treasure.
Yes, even our own.