I highly doubt I’ll ever have a day where I think, “Hmmm, nothing at all worth remembering happened today.” That’s why I write. There’s always something:
Monday, June 6, 2011
I pulled out my partner’s anniversary card from my purse, where it’s been hanging out for a week. I re-read it, for the fifth or sixth time, but it still feels like diamonds. His words, soft and sweet, still leave me thinking, “Wow, he really does love me!”
Just like that, a sluggish Monday afternoon suddenly felt spacious and bright.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
I’m standing in the spot-on center of a group of churchgoers at the morning “pray-in.” We are facing and encircled by more people. The Rev says, “I invite you to raise your hands toward one another and intone your prayer.” The Choir Director let out a high, silvery “Hallelujah” and in a split second, sixty or so voices rise up to join her in no particular song but praise.
I remained silent. When the pulse of sound hit me, I felt as though my atoms rippled apart from one another and for just a flash, I was nothing at all. Then, velvety warmth flushed through me. From my belly, in a voice I still don’t recognize as my own, rose a soft, lilting worship-song.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
This is the first day in months that my partner and I got to spend together with no work, no obligations, no plans. A whole day of: “Well, what do you want to do next?” We did nothing extraordinary, but it was one of the most perfect days.
Friday, June 3, 2011
This afternoon, I attended a research presentation from a student who will graduate on Saturday, who I have supervised for two years. She rankles lots of people: she’s bombastic, has the attention span of a five year old unless she’s engaged with someone one on one or focused on something that excites her, and she’s blatantly honest, sometimes to a fault. Case in point: her presentation was being recorded, so she decided to chide her faculty mentor, in a way only she could make hilarious, for choosing to attend an academic conference instead of coming to her presentation. She is also funny as hell, fiercely independent, and deeply committed to social change. Though she is certainly a rough around the edges kind of person, she has shown me a gentler part of herself, one that is reflective, kind-hearted, and compassionate.
I was so proud of her as she spoke. She was engaging and funny, compelling and inspired. I know I have little to do with the woman she is growing into, but it’s still exciting to play some small role in reflecting to her what a truly unique and impressive human being she is.
In the evening, I went to the UCSC Gospel Concert. Another one of my students, also who will be graduating Saturday, was the last person to walk on stage. She took up her post on the edge of the sopranos, in a bright red top and hair styled in thick, dark, wavy locks. She was gorgeous and she sang her heart out. She is, hands down, one of the best singers I have ever had the pleasure of hearing sing. She once sang some silly pop song as a joke to someone in our office, but the resonance and inflection in her voice made me teary. Although I try not to have favorites, she is one. I adore her endlessly, and like my former students Christina and Roopa before her, I am fairly confident she and I will be friends for a long, long time.
Though she didn’t sing a solo, I was grateful to be there to see her, to honor her in some small way, for adding her impossibly beautiful voice to the healing journey that is Gospel music.
It’s no small thing to “be there” for a young person, to show them love in a way no one else can. I remember “older” adults that were not my mom showing up for me, and feeling singularly special. It gave me just enough confidence to believe I could be the person I wanted to be.
Perhaps I give myself too much credit, but that I get paid to show kind regard and love to young folks while they are on this college adventure seems almost perverse.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Stand Up Paddling. Best thing to do on water EVER. I spotted otters, bathed in the late afternoon sun, worked out muscles I forgot I had, and best of all, didn’t fall into the staid waters of the inner harbor. In two weeks, I’ll leave the harbor for the open bay, paddle my way across the swells, and feel, with no small amount of grandiosity, as though I’m walking on water.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Almost every time I do yoga, I’ll have a few unlikely moments when my inner bitch forgets to rag on me about the way my love handles are accentuated in the sitting poses, and not in a good way, or how my stomach droops into a massive teardrop-shaped bulge, when I move into plank position. It appears even she is lulled to quietude in the sequence of poses as they slide one into another. Just when I praise myself for getting her out of my head, I have, of course summoned her back, but if I’m quick, I can put a muzzle on her and linger in the truth that this body is agile, graceful, and wondrous.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Choir Tuesday. Today it felt a bit like exercising: I didn’t want to go but once I was there, I was exactly where I needed to be.
This choir is a motley collection of Santa Cruz snags, middle-aged hippies, young hipsters, and a bunch of lefty grandparents who have storied pasts and more energy than I do. I looked out across the choir on the risers and studied them. A few folks were wearing clothes I am sure I remember seeing in the 80s, others had clearly made their own clothes, or bought them at the Salvation Army, lots of flowing knits and colorful prints. A few are devotees to classic fashion trends and are dressed smartly. Most of us are white. Those who aren’t, love the rest of us despite our bumblings and shortcomings, for a reason I don’t claim to understand but remain humbled by and grateful for.
When we sing, and especially when we get it just right – when we are devoted both to the relevance of the message in the music and to the tuning of our bodies as instruments — we are one awesomely powerful voice. There is something in the music we sing that makes use of all of us in service to Connection.
I’ve been in the choir for four years and I am still blown away that our collective voice can break open fortified hearts and make even the unbelievers feel that ineffable presence that just isn’t explainable by anything, not even God.
Monday, May 30, 2011
I woke up before my partner did. I watched his back as it rose and fell. I followed the line of his shoulder to his brown neck and the back of his head. In the cool morning light, I tried to distinguish, one from another, the tiny black curls that have grown in longer than he usually keeps it. The fleshy rim of his right ear peeked above his hairline, like an invitation. I resisted the urge to go to him. I didn’t wrap my arm around his back or drape it over his waist or nibble on his earlobe like I desired. I wanted rest and peace for him for as long as he could have it just enough more than I wanted to gather him into me and whisper, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
A year ago to the moment, I had woken up in my best friend’s bed, thinking of him, and of our first date, which had happened the night before. I had a really good feeling about him.
One quick year, but for me, the perpetual single woman, this anniversary feels like a rite of passage.