Sunday, November 22, 2009

A magical year.

Ken (now Ben) Fremer descended upon Bay City and told me that he had been more crazied than wronged – an incredibly astute statement – and said that he saw in me all the evil that rocked his boat. I decided to take the statement as a compliment and not miss anything at all because there seemed a special quality in the people and the air about that time – the better part of a year – that began with dancing under trees named The Sisters in Bay City between the park and the DoubleTree.

Mandy trotting down the sidewalk in a pouring rain holding twigs over her head as if they were an umbrella. (I have one of the branches still.) Roderick and I walking almost every night down to Caroll Park and talking there until the small hours of the day. Random midnight pizza at Brooklyn Boyz with Dan (who cannot see to drive, but is guided by the loops of energy that radiate from all things), Meredith (whose personality was as wild as her fabulous hair and whose uncle Ray was an ex-carnie), Jon Rigg (who was pale and cadaverous and whose clothes always looked as if they’d snagged on him as they blew by and whose look could only be described as heroine chic), Jen (who will one day realize her greatest art are the grafitti drawings she doesn’t have to think so hard about), Schultzie (Damn, the boy can look nuts when he wants to), and sometimes Amandrew.

Amandrew…watching Amanda and Andrew become the kind of couple that quirky novellas are made of was a once-only thing to see. Spontaneous road trips to Iargo Springs and unplanned but perfect evenings with scrounged suppers and foreign movies. Happy Hilfiger (Chris has had a sartorial awakening since that summer and has now – I am happy to report – entirely recovered from the experience of being home schooled) and his love of sushi and air guns. The end of the summer had Warren off to Interlochen and Nick out of the closet and firmly established as an adopted brother headed to Detroit to learn this thing called life.

In the autumn, the trees clung to their color almost three weeks longer than the year before as if trying desperately to slow the coming of winter and we all looked upward into the branches and grinned appreciatively.

Winter was brought in with a dancing of our group in the intersection of Saginaw and Center late the night of the first swirling, fluffy snow. And then it was over. Somehow, suddenly, everyone was boarding buses, packing cars, finding new adventures and life began to look different. But it still happened, that year, and we are all better for it.

Scratching posts and Baby Boys

October 18th, 2009 11:18pm

I looked out the window and watched as nineteen cats of every possible ancestry (or incestry?) prowled all over my front porch, lawn, the alley next door and meandering across the street to use the newly planted trees as scratching posts. Several had planted themselves in a row in what was left of the O’Keefe carriage stone as if governing the assembly. I watched them and thought of another odd October night Some years ago.

My mother became pregnant when the family still lived in Norway and our move back to Houston landed at the extreme end of her last trimester and our flight was on British Airways. The in-flight movie was "Batteries Not Included," and our row of seats was the last in the no-smoking section. We arrived in Houston, found an odd house, and my mother began labor just after closing on the house.

I sat up that night waiting for a baby and reading “The Time Machine” from cover to cover. The book is still a favorite. And the baby wasn't so bad in time, either.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The tight-wire act that is the universe.

“And then there was this shift in the universe and his texts, like, just about dried up altogether.”

Granted, she was about seventeen years old and trying to force down a double espresso at Starbucks because it had sounded like an elegant thing to order ("cool" she would probably say cool.), and her universe probably didn’t take much to rattle it, but she got me thinking.

Tiny things can rattle the universe and some of those tiny things aren't in the hands of superheroes, but, instead, in the paws of very average folks who can choose small things at every turning. There is no comittment to the level of choice taken...could range from how and where one buys produce or shoelaces to the amazing trick of looking into another human being’s eyes – even those of a total stranger – and draw from them a smile without saying a word and reminding them that they are not alone. And - knowing they are not alone - perhaps they make a tiny choice that changes someone else's day, and with that day an entire life.

Imagine what a hug or a random, but carefully considered phrase could do fifty years from now. So there’s really no excuse not to create a shift in someone’s universe today.