The Wind, The Night and the Canyon

It's strange, but I've always had a hard time with high places. Not because I'm afraid of them, but because I crave them. When I'm up somewhere on a tall building or cliff, I actually have to hold on to something in order keep from taking a flying leap off of it. I've never been able to explain this, and it's not as though I have a death wish, but rather, I feel compelled to fly out into the beauty of the sky and the air as if I could capture it's essence and brand it in my heart, to revel in the unknown, to feel the wind bearing me up. These feelings don't fall into the "mother" category, nor the Very Responsible Person category, nor the category that folds laundry or pays bills. Yet, somewhere in my being is the girl who wants to jump, heedlessly and recklessly into the abyss.

Last weekend, some friends and I went up to Knapps Castle late at night. We laid our plans at Cold Spring Tavern circled up around a smoking oil lamp under low hanging wooden beams. In the glow of dark red Budweiser cans and Manhattans we decided to embrace the night in all its glory. We had a guitar. We had the moonlight. We had a castle somewhere out on a cliff as our destination. We knew the road well, but it's been years since I was there at night. As we straddled the precipitous climb up East Camino Cielo, the lights of Santa Barbara spread themselves out beside us in a resplendent shimmering glow. The dark expanse of the Pacific was a great and velvety backdrop: a reminder of our smallness against the immensity of nature. There was a full moon - a tawny wind blowing up from the south and, though it was a February night, the air was fresh. We rolled out of the car and put on every item of clothing we could find inside of it. With the wind whipping us along, we set out to hike into the canyon.

Knapps Castle perches hundreds of feet above the back country. From the ruins, you can see the ocean on one side and the wilderness stretching out for a hundred miles on the other. On a clear day, it is breathtaking. At night, under a full moon, in absolute silence, it is magical. 

We sat in the amphitheater on carved out steps of what once was the living room. A towering two storied fireplace ruins stretched up to the sky. Kirby got out his guitar and played his songs and sang poetry which rose up like incense into the night. We relished in the quiet and the beautiful words; we held our breath as we felt the wind die down and silence fill the canyon. Then Kirby started playing an old hymn - one I hadn't sung for years.

Suddenly, I felt the timelessness of everything, the deep welling-up of joy at hearing words long forgotten and the invisible fellowship of humans who come from the same roots. As we sang together a song that filled the lips of my grandparents and their parents before them, I had a sense of peace and wonder at words, hidden deep, that came out and flowed in harmony with another person. 

Among the words and melody, I was transported to a rooftop in Jerusalem, where I sat back to back with a college friend. That was years ago, and I remember looking out across the dark desert, a warm wind whipping my hair, feeling effortless, feeling a part of the very fabric of the universe. We were all at the edge of our lives then, toes at the abyss, leaning out, confident, faithful, hearts turned toward the future with the optimism of youth. We could jump off the cliff and nothing would happen to us but the beauty of love and life and poetry and the warm wind as it bore us up. That was before we were tried and tested, before we knew what we were capable of, before we really knew ourselves at all, actually. That night, just like this, I felt the essence of God's greatness and his presence in the dark beauty of the heavens flung out, full of meaning.

As Kirby had said earlier in the evening, music comes from a deeper place. That's why as kids, when we sang in church, we learned the sweetness of our soul stretching upwards toward a loving God. We created music as a response, not to our own goodness, but to God's. To reflect and rejoice. To cry out, to ask, to confess. To tell the human story, to chronicle our own defeats and triumphs. We also learned to lean into the abyss, to trust that we would be borne up by invisible and unchangeable hands.

As an artist, I think my desire to leap off the heights comes from the same place as the passion to make the perfect set of notes or a sentence. It is the desire to become lost in the Great Unknown, it's the addictive pursuit of artistic joy. We feel deeply, and we race toward the abyss with abandon, whether it be out of desperation or fullness of heart. We're given passion and an insatiable urge to produce beautiful things, just as we are clinging to the edge of ourselves, waiting for an excuse to let go and fling ourselves over into Beauty. 

At this point, I've walked some very dark roads and come back to God with nothing to give but my broken life. I've become a different woman than I thought I would be. My wounds are part of who I am, and they remind me of how I've been loved and what I've lost and what I've gained. I look back to the college aged me with fondness. She was beautiful and indestructible, but I, molded and shaped by my failures, am much more true.

I look at Kirby, at John and Patty and Dana. All loved and all beautifully made. We are together and yet alone. We get to have this moment in time as a gift. It is a glimpse into heaven and into our own hearts. It's what we yearn for when we're down in the valley. The lofty mountain peak and a wind that carries us toward the stars. 

We drive home with the glow of moonlight on our shoulders. It is February, the snow moon, the hunger moon. We are hungry for life and beauty, ravenous, actually.  I see it in all of us.  I am filled with words and music. And I'm still the same girl as I was in Jerusalem, leaning out over the edge of the abyss in expectation of Something I will never fully understand. But I live in hope and I lean out a little bit more each day. The wind will bear us up and we will soar on eagles wings. I know it.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 23, 2016 .

Laying it on the table: the beauty of friendship

I took a hike this morning with a friend.

I don't know her very well yet. In fact, it was the first time we'd hung out together by ourselves so there was a kind of first-date awkwardness that can't really be avoided. But we have a lot of mutual friends, and I've known her for about a year already in the context of larger social things. So going on a hike was sort of only a quasi-risk for both of us I guess, considering that being alone together on a trail 45 minutes from any exit strategy could be potentially disastrous. I knew, though, that we both loved the same people and at the very least, we would enjoy being outside, and at the very worst we could smile thinly to each other from the safety of a wine glass and several friends at a later date.  

Also, I knew that she doesn't avoid deep topics, and in fact, pursues them with intensity. So I figured that no matter what we talked about, it would get real and dirty very quickly. And I love that. Every year, I crave more real authenticity in conversation. Maybe it's because I just don't have time in my life to talk about nothing. I mean, if we have a half hour to spend, let's get as real as possible. No gossip, no ruminating over inconsequential details of something. Because, for pete's sake, I've got a list a mile long of stuff that needs to get done. So if we're together, it had better be good. And by good, I mean I want to talk about LIFE. 

I remember sitting on the phone for hours with my best friend in junior high: 

"So...I think I would rather kiss Josh, if given the choice. Or maybe Jonah....(silence) Okay, hold on a sec. I'm going to grab something to eat."

"Yup, I'll be here (snaps gum)"

(4 minutes of silence. I lie on my back looking at the ceiling. I think about social studies homework. I think about getting a new pair of shoes.)

"you still there?"

"mmm hmmm. totally. Anyway, did you listen to the top 40 countdown on Sunday?"

.....

I try to measure the worth of these meaningless conversations against the entire spread of life. There was a time for that. It was blissful and uninhibited. It was around the same age that we took off to ride our bikes around Dunn School and subsequently ended up at the pool and oh well, I guess we should probably just stop for a swim now. And - bam - 6 hours passed just like that. Lots of daydreaming got done, and lots of dream-building.

Maybe there will be a time again for sitting and saying absolutely nothing to a friend, just sitting and watching the sun creep across the ceiling, or for getting on a plane and going to Italy for an art class with her, because why not. In fact, I'm almost sure there will be that day. But that day is not today. 

Today, I'm lucky if I get a once-a-week good conversation with ANY friend, on any level because that's the way the schedule works. In fact, I will admit that a month ago I tearfully begged my friend Tracey to please please please come out with me so I didn't absolutely go insane for lack of womanly contact. There are just weeks like that when the ship is moving and I can't get off of it to take a breath. 

So this new friend and I trudged up a steep hillside under a canopy of rustling sycamore leaves, completely alone in the canyon. It was a beautiful autumn morning with a breeze blowing up from the sea. We talked about our dads, our kids, our husbands, our community, our failures, our hopes. And with every step and every turn in the conversation, I felt my cup getting more and more filled. It didn't matter that we were still on the awkward edge of not really knowing each other well. All that mattered was that we brought ourselves to the table and allowed ourselves to be known. I'm not even entirely sure she *likes* me all that much. But there we were, being transparent. And I knew that any investment in a friendship with someone who was willing to be brave and honest would be a good thing, especially in the middle of crazy lives where we run until night and then fall back wondering if everything we did even mattered at all. 

At the end of the day, our friends are the ones who reflect back to us and shine on us the light we can't see for ourselves. They remind us that we aren't alone in the middle of this deep sea and that, yes, we are known and yes, the terrible thing which happened before will eventually be okay; we will survive it. Or that we need to get the hell out of that bad situation as quickly as we can. Those beautiful friends in our lives can speak our truths to us sometimes better than we speak them to ourselves. 

And the more I think about it, the more I realize it's not just because I'm busy that I desire  meaningful, deep conversation. It's because life is made up of relationships and that growth comes, in large part, through walking the journey together. It's because when everything falls apart, those friends will be the ones that remind me of who I am and who I should be and what I need to be striving toward. 

I can see my new-ish friend has these qualities and that she chooses her people well and wisely. I think about the blessing that good friends are and I pray that I'll be that kind of friend too.   

 

 

 

 

Posted on October 30, 2015 .

If I wrote a song

If I wrote a song, the notes would slide in perfect succession across the highs and lows of an emotional landscape. They would shadow and soar, flutter and fly through the hills and valleys of the music. The chords would reflect the state of my heart, the intervals between notes would tell the story of life, love and loss.

 

If I wrote a song, the lyrics would be full of meaning, deep as stars, high as light - the distillation of story into a few precious words.

 

If I wrote a song, I would give it to someone I trusted to help it come alive. I would gather the best musicians I knew and let them take the song into their skillful hands and watch them breathe themselves into it. I would watch the song unfold as each musician added their own personality to its structure and depth. They would change it and make it better than I could.

 

If I wrote a song, I would sit with my friend who knows about these things and we would make hundreds of tiny decisions about production that would bring all the musical elements into a harmonious whole. We would argue and I would trust him, we'd change things, we'd go out on a limb. We'd freak out and then, euphorically, realize that we had come out with something we liked. We'd drive around at midnight listening to it at various volumes to make sure it was just right.

 

If I wrote a song, I'd find an amazing venue run by a friend who loves music so much that he created a space just so people who could share his joy. He'd travel far and wide to get the best musicians he could find and make them feel loved and valued when they came to perform at his place. I'd hope to be asked to come perform there and then, when he did ask me to play a concert, I'd think: this is the perfect spot to have a CD release party! 

 

I'd perform the song a lot so I knew just how to sing it, I'd practice with musicians I love and respect, I'd let my introverted self be photographed so my outside would match my inside heart and I would just make myself forget that I felt super self-conscious about it. I'd ask my friend Paul to come and open for my concert because I love and respect his musicianship so much. I'd talk my sister into flying down from Montana to sing harmony with me, my cousin to drive up from LA to play trumpet. I'd try to think of everything to make it the perfect night to let my heart out into the world.

 

I'd look back on the last two years of hard work and ask myself: who are you going to share this special thing with? 

 

And I'd look around my life at all my blessings and failures, and the friends and fellow artists who have been with me along the way and I'd know -

 

If I wrote a song,

 

I'd want to share it with you. 

 

 

 http://www.standingsunwines.com/Events_ep_71.html

Standing Sun poster 9.20.14

Standing Sun poster 9.20.14

Posted on September 8, 2014 .

Parenting and Failure

Today I sat across the table from an old friend.  We sipped Brander Sauvignon Blanc and listened to Ray Fortune through the glass of the mod fireplace at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe. Ray's mellow guitar and the impeccable butternut squash caprese salad completed the backdrop of sophistication we felt after having finished a barrel-tasting of about 20 different kinds of Grenache with our winemaker friends who dove headlong into opinions about Austrian yeast strains. 

Unfettered and classy, we tucked our handbags under the table and swirled our wine. It was the perfect atmosphere for a light conversation, a decadent hour of enjoyment.

But this isn't the kind of friend you just shoot the breeze with.

We had lived most of our relationship in shorts and tank tops planning activities for 250 kids at a time, listening to and counseling scared teenage girls who were wrestling their darkest secrets in the safe space of summer camp. We had pursued deep theological questions together. We had had babies alongside one another, gone through several iterations of ourselves together and, more recently, walked through the darkest of times as friends. 

This is the kind of friend you talk about The Real Things with.  

So we sat there for an hour and talked about our daughters. We had both experienced excruciating failure in our lives and had to work harder than we ever thought we could work to climb out of the darkness. We had both found ourselves again - and this time a deeper and better self -  so we looked across the table at one another and talked about the fact that our girls would most likely, at some point, go through deep personal suffering.  

I told her how on my darkest day, in my darkest hour when I was all alone, my mom and I sat, our backs to the fire, and my mom  listened to me without judgement. And how, after I was finished talking, her arms were ones of love and she told me her greatest secrets, ones that I never knew about, and her telling them at that moment, was like the most healing balm I could have received. Not that those things she had done were justified, but that she could be with me in my failure, and love me from a real place of common suffering. 

My friend and I talked long about our mothers. About the way things could have gone but didn't because of the love our mothers had for us.  How even when things did go the wrong way, they didn't falter but instead leaned in harder to be with us, to fight for us to know ourselves and be known. How our moms had stepped in, had overstepped their boundaries and laid themselves out for truth because they loved us so much. 

Since that night and those dark days, I've grown incredibly as a person, and the urgency to be real and truthful, to take moments when they come and to be brave in life expels any pretenses I had before about my character or who I thought I was. 

I know who I am and what kind of parent I want to be. I know that my daughters will fail, and the sooner the better, I hope, because they don't have so far to fall when they are young. I want to be there when they do, and i want to hold them and remind them of who they are in God's eyes and who they are in mine. And I hope that when they are well into marriages and raising children and having careers in their thirties, I keep pressing in to know them intimately so that, when hard times come, I'll be there to speak love to them, and forgiveness.

This friend and I know two truths. One, that God is Love and he never leaves you, not even at the bottom of the worst hard time. And, two, that life is full of unmet wishes, unanswered questions, and lots of pain. 

Strangely, it is the suffering that causes growth and maturity and I have wondered at the blessing of it.

I watch my friend, her new-found vulnerability softens her. I see myself, able to take risks and not be fearful of life; fearful of failing. 

i know that this is the kind of change that will make us better mothers, and i know that our own mothers also had their own suffering to soften them and to make them brave. I know this and it gives me hope that I will be the kind of mother my mom is to me. 

The waitress brings our check. We'll split the bill and go our separate ways, but between us rests the knowledge that God holds us in his hands and it is our job to hold our daughters tightly and to speak words of truth and love to them every night and every morning and every day of their lives so that they know who they are in God's eyes: precious and loved.

 

 

 

Posted on January 18, 2014 .

The birth of a song

In the middle of the night, I think anything is possible. I wake up from sleep to see the silver light coming down and in my half-dreaming state, I begin to systematically conquer the universe. Usually I start with plans to move to Europe and I enroll all the girls in French school. Then I mastermind Jeff's brewery: how hard we're going to work and how it's all going to be worth it. After that, I go through the list of all the incredible things I'm going to accomplish before noon: clean closets, reorganize the pantry, put together an amazing dinner for later, weed the garden, clean the floors. 

Then I write the world's greatest song. I always think it's great, anyway, at around 3:00 in the morning, melody drifting through my head and gripping me like we're going to walk down the road to perfection together - me and the song - best friends already. 

By 7:00am, as I sift through my list of things to get through before I can write my brilliant song, I become steadily more and more depressed.

I know how this goes.

I send everyone to school. I come home and clean; I take care of all the things to do with running a household and then it's time to pick up the kids. Then I teach music, then I serve dinner, then it's the bedtime routine and then…i'm too tired to write the song I was so sure about. Now it's just a scribble, a puny lifeless thing that looks unable to hold its own even in the best of times. 

So back to bed I go and in my head the music starts again. I try to push it out because I will fixate on the chord structure and the minor 4th that pervades a good third of my melodies (do I absolutely need it?). Then I decide that, yes, I do need it, and I move onto the last two lines of the chorus which, even with my eyes closed at midnight, sound really stupid. I'll save those for later when I can write a list of viable phrases.

And my mind drifts to the things I didn't get done today…it's a very long list. I sigh with defeat. 

 I remind myself that this isn't the 18th century, and I'm not living in a squatters camp in the Philippines for heaven's sake, and I'm really definitely about as able to accomplish all I need to do as the next person. Yes, I can be a good mother and wife and daughter and friend and whatever else is going to happen tomorrow. Yes I will tell those kids how much I love them and bring them their forgotten homework and teach 5 music lessons to various adorable children who are not my own (however God has put them in my life to love and teach them). Yes, I will call the county and find out about how to get a facility bonded for beer. First thing.

Next thing I know, it's 3:00 am again and I am lying half-awake, watching the silver moonlight drift slowly across the floor. Fragments of a dream I've been having linger long enough to inspire the crazy middle of the night confidence. I am luxurious. I fly through the 19th century sky, I have a long pendant that tugs gently at my neck from a man I've never seen before but who is somehow familiar and smells of leather and tobacco smoke, and who grins conspiratorially across a chess board to me. Words spread out beneath us like water and they glow iridescent. The willow above, green and honest, widens her branches and begins to sing: ancient tomes of a forgotten place and age. There's something I can't grasp or understand and my chest aches with the loss of it. I grab the pen and, in the darkness, scrawl out messy words onto a scrap of paper. It's four lines: they're illegible. But in the morning I will read them over and they will become the nexus of the best song I've ever written. 

I am sure of it.

 

love and loss

I drove seven hours and didn't make it in time to see my aunt. My cousin flew 12 hours and didn't make it in time to see her mother. It was a sad day - the hospital did everything they could but it was time for her to go. I had wanted a last squeeze, a last word: anything. But when we got there, her body lay white and still and peaceful. No more chances..for anything - for any of us. We stood and looked at each other in quiet hush of the late-night hospital lobby. We knew we'd remember this forever, this meeting of all of us on equal terms, and a glaring, radical departure into eternity. 

This morning, I'm drained and irritable after a sleepless night with my three year old. She had nightmares and I ended up in bed with her..all night...and she is not a snuggler. After clinging to the outer edge of the mattress as her feet pushed into the small of my back I was not happy to hear the other two girls rustling around at 5:45 "It's almost up, I can see it turning grey!" (the sun).

I stumble, bleary-eyed, to bed, passing Jeff as he heads out to make breakfast while I try to catch 15 more minutes of sleep.  I struggle with my attitude as the perpetrator of evil slides into bed next to me, her little feet against my back the same as they've been all night long. 

But still, she's there, against my back. Warm and hot footed. I get her here with me in my life for...how long, I'm not sure but I hope it's forever.

I think about her as I write. I'm tired and unfocused. Her inability to sleep has sapped my creative energy and now I can't concentrate on getting this done and out of my head. I think about my song, the perfect words, the melody line, and I'm too tired. I can't be there today, in my writing head, even though the last week has left me churning with an anxious need to put something down into reality.  

Then I think about the different parts that make up the whole of us. One part mechanical - the habitual, the rote. Another part creative - we dig into that one with breathless fervor. Yet again - the poignant, the merciless beauty of love and loss that come on us quick and harsh - the moments that etch themselves into our minds for us to replay again and again.

We are made up of so many complex things; it's a wonder that we can even get through the day. So I put down one line and then leave it. There will be other days to do things. I will embrace what is in front of me because she won't be there forever. My little piece of heaven snuggled up next to me. 

Posted on March 4, 2013 .

The Little Ones

It's another Sunday and it's cold iron grey outside and Daisy has two tumors again, this time inoperable. My heart is still torn up about the tiny children that were killed on Friday - every parent's nightmare and something I don't want to think about: we are, none of us, ever "safe" from evil and suffering. (Why do we delude ourselves into thinking we are?)  It's also my family's Christmas celebration today - somehow squeezed in to the making of Scotch eggs and rosemary-kalamata olive bread is supposed to be time for us to both cherish what we have and offer up our heavy hearts to the one thing that is constant in life - God. Our school advised us to gently tell our children about what happened in Connecticut and I found myself stumbling over the words as I told my 7 year old that someone, somewhere had hurt a bunch of children just her age.

I know that elsewhere in the world, elsewhere in the county, elsewhere in my neighborhood, people live with terrible realities every day. The sobering knowledge of this doesn't change the sickening way in which it hits home when I imagine my daughter in a dangerous, futile situation - so easy and improbable and irreversible. In fact, I'm plagued with guilt over the idea that this (well, not THIS, but many other tragedies) is lived out every day in every corner of the world. Why are we so selfish? Why do we forget in between major disasters that there is such a thing as child pornography, famine, disease, AIDS or human trafficking? 

Is it because our hearts can not handle it?  Do we numb ourselves with what comforts we can afford and, when the flame ignites outside of our neighborhood, when it doesn't touch us, we turn aside - our small hearts breathing a sigh of relief at the danger passes by us? 

My thought, amid all of this, is a nagging suspicion that actually what we are doing all of our lives, as we scratch around in the dust, is avoiding looking up. When pain does not hit us directly, we exhale and hug our kids and enjoy our beautiful house and deposit our paycheck and feel blessed. We know that our routine will not be upset, that our reality need not change, that our days will continue on the way we have planned them to be.  

In the middle of my depressed thoughts about Connecticut, I hear my friend quietly remind us that our guest speaker at church this Sunday is a pastor from Uganda. He has seen war, he has seen starvation, AIDS wipe out half of his population, he has seen fatherless children and more atrocities than I can handle in a lifetime. He is also a man with an incredible sense of proportion and an insight into the heart of humankind that I will never know.

I'm not sure whether to be thankful for this reminder or not. This last time he was here, this man said that he was glad to be leaving the US. That spending more than three weeks here was difficult because he became so distracted by all the luxuries that we have and live with. He was eager to return to a land where reality is dealing with things that really matter.

There's a mixture of jealousy and revulsion that springs up in me. Jealousy of his purity of heart, his undiluted and clear vision, his love for God and his congregation: all encompassing. Revulsion at the way I cling to my car with heated seats, my Target, my safe neighborhood, my well-dressed kids and my choices at the dinner table. Do these things lean me closer to God or away from him? I'm thinking it's the latter.

I'm in a mixed state of The Blessed and The Worried and The Successful. I want to protect what I have, I'm fearful of loss and pain. I do not turn to God unless I'm absolutely forced to. And I wonder what kind of freedom I would find if I let go and looked up: if I stopped living in fear and started walking in faith. 

We can not be safe: that is never a reality - no matter how hard we try to make our lives beautiful and contained. Life is full of pain and it will come. When we are reminded of this, we squirm, we huddle, we become fearful. We do anything but look up. We do anything but square our shoulders and meet the Creator who holds all things past and future. We do not want to go that deep, we don't want to kill the buzz of our own success. We don't want to admit - to anyone - or to ourselves, that we might fail, or that evil might knock on our door. We sit, hunch-shouldered,  guarding our treasures while the rest of the world goes by. We don't look up because we are too afraid of what God will say to us when we do. We look inward and hope that we won't be touched. 

And then, I'm afraid, we miss the view.


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Posted on December 27, 2012 .

violin capo

After writing nearly half of my songs in the key of B, I became desperate. The violin was not working out for me and I kept having to pass on all these cool parts I had in my head. Not that I can't figure it out - it's just a strange key to play in and all the fingerings felt wrong. So I looked up violin capos online.

Nothing. Apparently nobody runs into this problem - or I am just a lazy moron who needs a capo to help me out? 

Online, I found two different ways to do it - one of which involved sucking on a match until it was bendable, then sliding it underneath the strings to create a fret. The other (not my favorite) was to do the same thing with a zip-tie. But who wants to take a pair of scissors to their fiddle neck? not me.

Then I started thinking about guitar capos - made out of rubber. Surely we could rig something similar. A trip to the hardware store for a square of rubber flooring and 2 minutes later  - voila - a violin capo. I can't believe I never thought to try this before. Yes, yes, I know. Professional violinists would NEVER bastardize their pristine instrument like this. But, hey - it works! 

Posted on October 4, 2012 .

1988

 My girls are growing up fast. They are each beautiful in their own way, unique to their own age and framed in time - the only ones who will experience *this* thing *this* year at *this* age. I think of my own childhood in the days of my independence, tongue orange from slurping on a Big Stick that I bought with my sister at the dusty corner store in the huge freezer right next to the push ups. I remember biking there, hot and sweaty, pushing over .55 cents on the countertop next to the cigarettes and beef jerky and I remember how good the thing tasted, the tangy sweet popsicle and the dark cool of the grocery after the hot sun. 

Those days are saturated in a filter of overexposure, shimmering gold hillsides in the summer heat. Refugio Road was long and unpopulated then. There were no vineyards and just a few ranches on its length. The mountains and hills seemed  undiscovered, and my imagination was boundless. 

I wrote a story about a girl, Melinda Appleby, who met the notorious bandit "Joaquin Murietta" and they became friends. I wrote another story about a girl who lived in Lake Tahoe at the turn of the century (this involved a massive and complicated family tree for some reason). I wrote another story about a girl who grew up best friends with Mozart and watched him slowly decline. I wrote poetry, I wrote piano music, I practiced violin, I lay in the grass and looked at the trees in the blue blue sky and I dreamed of someday being a grown up.

There was a lot of good silence in my life. A lot of music too, but a lot of quiet-in-the-grassy-field-with-the-dog silence that seems very good to me now. I know my mom had to fight for it - I mean she had to fight for the T.V to be off, for the kids to be outside in nature, for me to have alone time in my brain instead of constant play dates with other kids. I hated it then. Now I think it's awesome. 

I look at my girls and wonder what they will look back on - what filter will their childhood impress in their minds until they distill tiny fragments of now into the great expanse of their future experience, what will be an intangible but beautiful impression of these days.

I hope it's as cool as mine.

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Posted on October 1, 2012 .