When Grey Comes to Visit

Here I am again.

I haven’t written for sometime, partly because October was a slumpy month for me.  My mood was slumpy.  Not drastically dark, but veering towards grey.

I tried various things to shake it.  Chocolate, red wine, a hamburger (and considering I’ve been mostly vegan for nearly 2 years, this was a dramatic lunge at a solution for me).  Hot baths, a jog, coffee, no coffee, a trip to sunny California.  All wonderful, enjoyable things.  All able to make moments twinkle.  But the grey feeling, it slumped back in, sometimes through the back door, sometimes through the front.  But there it was again, either way, sitting and waiting for me on my own damn couch.  “Hello,” it said, “I am here again today.”

I am trying to make friends with grey.  I am fully functioning with it around but I am slightly uneasy.  I feel a bit put out, with grey sitting there on my own inner couch.  “I didn’t invite you in!” I growl.  But grey doesn’t care.  Grey sits there anyway.  It even puts its feet up.

Grey is urging me to figure myself out.  Grey.  I try to look at her as a sister, a friend.  Stop resisting her. “Okay,” I say, “what do you want?”  But she doesn’t tell me outright.  That’s the nuisance of Grey, she has her own private language.  So I start experimenting, trying to break the code: bring her a glass of wine, take her out for a walk, put her to bed early.  What does it take to help this grey sister out?  What does she need, what is she asking me to give myself?

I start to see her as chunk of my soul, my longing, and what does my longing want?  Maybe she is here to poke and pester me in a positive direction.  Maybe when I get it right, when I figure out the mystery of what she is longing for and I give it to her, she will turn to me with a big smile.  She will shimmer and change shape, change shade.  Her Grey-ness will quiver and dissolve, walk out the door, the front or the back, doesn’t matter. Maybe she’ll fly out the window and say, “Thank you for finding what it is I needed.”  And I’ll say “Thank you for showing me what I needed to step into a fuller version of myself.”  Without Grey nagging me,  I never would shift into a more complete me.

So thank you, Grey.  For coming to visit.  Stay on my couch as long as you like.  Until you leave, I will be here, curling in, listening, trying to bring my own sense of longing what it needs, expanding my life to include the territory of her secret language.

I know she’ll be back.  She comes here and there.  Though next time, she’ll have a whole new language I’ll have to twist myself to translate.  So be it.  I can welcome her in again and again, expanding whatever it was I thought I was.



This Being Alive Thing

Just start to write.

Write something.

Yes, another cup of caffeine might help, but can you just sit down and write?

I want to say a perfect thing, a brilliant thing, a funny and/or insightful thing.

Write.  Just write.

Okay, I am writing.  I am doing it.  The words are appearing as my fingers hit the keys, nothing short of magic, really.  Nothing I understand, except loosely—something way down in the deep unknown of myself sparks a thought & language, then moves to a keyboard & electrical signals, and of course, the Internet, whatever that really is.  I don’t understand it, but I use it.  Like many things in my life: car, cellphone, refrigerator.  Loosely understood but often used.

I’d like to tell you about my day.  The walk down the hill to the coffee shop with my girls, passing the farm-stand along the way, the one overflowing with delicious summer garden abundance: cherry tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, & sunflowers.  I’d like to tell you about my day.  The song we were singing–or was it humming?–as we picked a few blackberry jewels off a neighbor’s rambling bush and crushed them in our mouths in jammy tart bursts.

We said hello to landscapers pulling weeds out of a half-hidden yard.  We said hello to two high school boys slouching in the bus shelter along the curb, or rather they said hello to us, loudly, which made me think it was a joke I am now too old to understand.  We picked pale purple flowers from the broken branch of a hydrangea, ate salty potatoes (which we sprinkled with extra salt) and drank a latte (me) and sparkling apple juice (them) under the almost sunny sky of the little waterfront village we call home.

I can try, but I can’t fully explain, the shape of my girl’s face as she sits across the table from me and tells me she wants to get her hair cut to her shoulders.  Her face, almost like a pear, sliced in half, so fresh and available and full of every ripe sweetness.  Her eyes could be the seeds, brown and shining, glinting with the thought of herself seated in a real salon chair, being pampered and shaped into another realm of beauty and grown-up-ness, a 6 and three-quarter year old queen.

And my little one, the light-bulb two-year old, flitting about the outdoor patio where we sit.  Skinning her knee here, on the gravely ground, then again there, on the stone pathway.  She melts into a whimper and a cry but after a quick scoop into my arms, and three tender kisses on each of her ouchies, she is off again– “my tay (I’m okay)”, she says–running, moving, an unstoppable force fueling her from an invisible source, like ocean waves or the orbit of the earth, just going, spinning, being.  Without explanation or self-awareness.  Existing as herself, fully and completely, she is mesmerizing.

We go to the bank, then the library, then make our way back up the hill.

We don’t pass anyone this time.  We just march up, the sun now streaming down, heading for home, pink lemonade popsicles, and nap time.

We live in luxury.  We are queens.  We have sun and blackberries, skinned knees and imagined haircuts.

We have ourselves, each other.  We have the invisible source/force holding us to this planet, fueling us down and up the hill of our town.

I can’t pretend to understand it fully, but I use it.  Often.  All the time.  This being alive thing.  This fuel, this source/force.  It creeps into everything we are and everything we do.  It uses us and we use it, inseparable.  The world shines of it, in broken flowering branches, in trips and falls, in the hot hike up the hill home, to more salty potatoes and cold, ripe figs for lunch.


Hello out there

It seems that I am starting a blog and the name of it is Sparkle and Zest.

I am here to share the things in my life that bring me joy, the things that are naturally beautiful and eye-catching.

I am also here to dig, to look carefully and with curiosity: if I pick up the nitty-gritty pieces of my life, the pieces that are dull or difficult at first glance, can I work with them, let them teach me?  Can I rub them just right so they begin to sparkle?  Can I welcome all the pieces of my life, finding the glimmer and light in just about every darn thing?  That is what I am here to do.

There is motherhood.  There is marriage.  There is housework and friendships and food (oh, I love food!).  There is art and spirituality.  There is life, with its strange and wonderful gifts offered along the way, the ones I can not yet guess at or imagine.

I come here to write and share.  To be myself unabashedly.  To feel my own sparkle and zest–in all it’s thousands of bits and pieces.  I hope you find something of interest here, too, and that we can dig and polish together.