I used to think it was tough to travel alone. Some kind of lone wolf wannabe persona. Eyes keen and bright, haunches poised for the fight. To find meaning in solitude. To buy a car on my own. Tough to say I could do it. Got high off the aesthetic of a station wagon for living quarters, a jeans and T-shirt wardrobe, sunglasses and windshield between my eyes and the lowering sun in the west.
I’d be kidding if I didn’t admit that it still gets me off a little. But there is an irony in the delicacy we use to engineer indestructible buildings when they are eventually to be abandoned.
No, body is not machine. And the lone wolf will rejoin her pack. No matter how hard feet pound pavement, abs crunch and flex. Bones not timeless like steel factory gears. Not tough like industry, heavy like rope. Flesh punctures easily, heart wounds with little pressure. And sometimes the fight ain’t in me. Tenderness of ego gives way under a cranking of love gears. Sometimes, baby, I ain’t tough enough for this game. Ain’t tough enough to weather the sharp violence of love-war. To always look for myself in myself. I want to surrender in a pair of eyes that bring me home. And find the mate that embraces my wide swinging pendulum of fight and surrender.
"He tells me we’ve been put on earth to crack each other open, and then to stick around long enough to watch the thing that, having been cracked open, suddenly shines."
— Pam Houston, Contents May Have Shifted (via wwnorton)
It’s all happening, you tell yourself. It’s happening. It’s here. This is it.
You tell yourself, this is it. If this wave crests, this is it.
This is what your animal legs have been trained for.
Your wild heart was born for.
You won’t be crushed. In eyes that held safety.
You will not drown. In eyes that read safe.
We do it to ourselves again and again.
(The heart only needs a small amount of sunshine to open.)
Even as the crest collapses on the tiny village of your heart, you know you’ll offer yourself up all over again when the time comes.
Anonymous asked: where are you now? long time, no blog post. :)
going into the woods…more updates at the end of august!
I want to fold the big, big earth in half, then in half again. That way, your feet and mine can share the same patch of land. Our eyes can meet on a common latitude, our hearts thump, thump, thumping in time. Then, just like that, the world will feel small and manageable again.
Sometimes I wonder what the 5-year old version of me would think of the 30-year old version. And if she’d want to have a picnic with me, with the woman I’ve become. I wonder if I’m the type of big kid she’d want to go for a swing with, or play tag with, or draw with, even though we don’t know how. Well, maybe I don’t know how to draw, but the 5 year old me doesn’t know that she doesn’t know how. She attacks the crayon box with an abandon that intimidates me, makes the 30 year old me blush. For all she knows, she’s Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, a young Patti Smith. Her gallery the refrigerator, her retrospective held impromptu one day when Mom discovers the box of her masterpieces in the basement. And as the 30 year old me looks on at this lost treasure, I wonder why such a gifted young girl’s career was cut short. And how long she’s been waiting for me. How long she’s watched the big kid version of herself swagger and strut and stumble and forget where she came from. Because where I came from China can be reached in a day, by digging a hole deep enough. Neighborhood armies of expert excavators stand by to be recruited. Any misunderstanding once I arrive is dealt with diplomatically, and with a good translator. And when international travel no longer holds my interest, excavators become aspiring Tour-de-France champions, racing around my childhood streets in Big Wheels, bikes and scooters. Where I come from, I am going to be the 1st woman President. It was really that simple.
And on the horizon began appearing these massive, white, cylindrical structures. Small at first, but with the promise of something large and powerful. Something entirely different than compact, convenient Brooklyn. One went by. Then two, maybe three. My jaw agape, my heart scrunched up in the face of a thing so glorious, I felt the wheels of my car turn and drive right up to one. These could not escape my examination. Gabriel, a man who moved from L.A. some years back, was more than happy to let me walk around a take photos of the grain elevators. Being from a city, he appreciated my sense of wonder at something so commonplace in the plains of Kansas. He asked me where I was from and what I was doing so far from home. He seemed pleased at my answer and I excused myself to snap some photos. Another man had appeared when I returned to my car. Obviously curious about this strange woman who was walking around with a camera, he shuffled his feet in the dust while I exchanged a few more words with Gabriel, who told me that most people in the town either worked in the grain yards, or at the beef slaughterhouses. He admitted to missing L.A., but that the simplicity of this life was preferable. I introduced myself to the man shuffling his feet and made a few comments about the weather before driving away.
This is one of a million stories just like it, happening all the time to people traveling across the U.S. They never get old for me. A grain elevator is like a mystery solved. It is a place where things are made. Where something happens, where a good is produced. It is the root of something. And roots define place. And this definition connects people to their place. They own it. Are proud of it. And this, for me, is serene.