Quote of the Day

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The ocean seems endless,
the tides come and go.

The sun that makes the waves dance with light
as if alive with a million restless water nymphs,
threatens ever so slowly
to set upon another day.

I sit and wait
and want.
Not yet... not yet...


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

there are places I remember

though some have changed, some forever
~The Beatles

I was feeling good after yoga the other night, and the newly-turned-night sky was such a gorgeous shade of cobalt blue, so I decided a walk to Alamo Square was in order. I should have known the light mist would turn into all-out fog by the time I'd run inside to feed the cat and throw on a jacket. But then as much as I love a clear night sky full of stars, I've also grown to appreciate the beauty of the blanket of fog that almost always rolls in at night to tuck the city into bed. At times I even finding it strangely comforting (I wonder if that means I've been in San Francisco too long?).

I knew where I was headed as I reached the top of the hill, pulled
instinctively in the direction without even being fully conscious of it. My tree. The one that's just perfect for sitting in. But it wasn't there. It's an odd feeling; looking for something you know should be there but somehow isn't. I began to feel strangely disoriented, the heavy mist swirling appropriately around me as if I had somehow landed in the Twilight Zone or an old film noir. I felt almost as if in a dream, one of those disorienting nightmares where you are in a place so familiar and yet things are unnervingly off, and you can't quite tell where you are, what's reality and what's the dream. I started to feel like I was going crazy, I knew I hadn't been there in a while but it hadn't been that long.

Then, almost as if a switch had been turned on, I regained my bearings, and there it was, looming out of the fog like a long-lost-found-again friend. Not lost, merely temporarily misplaced. I swear, I was so glad I almost hugged it. As if I didn't feel foolish enough already.

But in this almost-losing of one of my special places, I felt a certain sense of sadness and nostalgia awakened in me. I couldn't help but think of when I was very young and my parents, at the city's urging, allowed the tree on the sidewalk outside our house to be cut down without my knowledge. They replaced my beloved tree, with it's little white flowers and tiny sweet plums, with a boring anemic stump, something "less messy" that wouldn't litter the sidewalk with fallen fruit that would inevitably become a thick splatter of purple stickiness as it was trampled underfoot. I was furious. I thought of the
idyllic summer days I'd spent with my grandparents, picking plums to make jam, eating them by the handful until I felt sick; waking up to the explosion of white petals from my bedroom window in the spring; listening to my mom tell of how it was blossoming the week I was born. And I cried. Maybe it's because it was the biggest loss I'd faced at the time. Maybe because it was the first time I realized that everything changes.

Then there was the first time I came home from college for thanksgiving, seeing through the passenger side window of my dad's car the playground around the corner, the playground I'd practically grown up on, completely torn down and rebuilt. The comfortably familiar splintered old wood and worn-in metal replaced by garish plastic, mocking me like some sick circus clown in bright, safe primary colors. The uneven wooden posts I would balance along, the slide I hurt my back on as a child when I tried to climb down the ladder face first, the tire swings where as I got older I would go to sneak a cigarette or have a romantic rendezvous. Gone.

The tangible settings of my memories scattered to the wind like the night-cooled sand I would dig my bare toes into, staring at the stars in a ragged rubber tire hanging from a rusted old chain. Another reminder that nothing ever stays the same. That when you're not looking, things change, people die. Buildings are destroyed, trees cut down. Restaurants and shops close. Acquaintances are forgotten and friends move away. Love fades.

All we can do is mourn and move on. And remember. And when I find myself growing nostalgic for places and times that no longer exist, or for people no longer in my life, I have to remind myself that as sad as it is to lose something or someone, to lose part of yourself, there is also beauty in loss, because it's just another part of the
inevitably ephemeral experience of life. Another part of the journey. In leaving home we find a new one. The ending of a romance makes way for a new one. The death of one dream can lead to a life-changing epiphany. And so on and so forth.

So we go on: losing and learning, mourning and growing, remembering and discovering. Collecting the little bits of wonder that make up our lives and make us who we are.