From our seats see feet in flight

So I love the Wind.

Lord knows I love it!

Thus it’s with reluctance that I take my Morning Pages and coffee into the cafe rather than onto the grass of Courthouse Square as originally planned.

The midday gusts carry just enough chill — winter’s thready vestiges perhaps? — to reroute me to a prime seat at a large window — perfect for people-watching!

Not that that’s my intention.

I do try to write my Morning Pages — journaling first thing each day, before the day and mind fully unfold.

But distractions happen. Procrastination in particular happens. Truth be told, I’ve done Morning Pages in afternoons and evenings. Not ideal but better than a (too-common) big fat 0.

But today (dammit!), I’m letting nothing get in the way of the Pages. Not the many tourists and townsfolk strolling the streets of charming downtown.

Not the variety of vehicles, the cars, trucks, motorcycles or bicycles.

Not dogs on their leashes — abundant in this dog-loving town — leading their humans/owners (or vice versa if the owner’s good) around the grassy square.

Not even the state and American flags billowing furiously courtesy of the Wind.

Neither restless branches nor jittery leaves of giant trees on the square set against a crystal-blue sky can stop pen upon paper this fine day.

With iPhone set to Pandora’s Van Morrison station and earbuds securely stuffed in — chiefly to drown out the Most Annoying Dronish Voice of a female patron nearby — I begin journaling. The words flow, flow, flow.

So imagine my surprise when eventually I break concentration to raise my head, glance outside and discover the presence of a man directly on the other side of the pane!

Where’d he come from?! When did he arrive?!

No matter.

He sits by himself at the small round outdoor table.

An older fellow that honestly I couldn’t describe in detail save for his gray ponytail – perhaps – and gray cotton shoes – definitely.

It’s what he’s doing that captures my attention.

He’s sculpting.

Precisely, he’s applying very dark gray (almost black) clay onto an armature of a human in motion. The wire armature is perhaps a foot tall.

I’m riveted as he fleshes out the torso, a little bit of clay at a time. He presses here, rounds there, smooths here, creating curves of a rib cage.

He’s as focused on his art as I am on mine. Or was — ’til I glanced up and spotted him and his clay male figure just on the other side of the window!

I observe passersby responding to the unusual sight of an artist crafting, oblivious to the world An experience and feeling I know very very well!

Some slow, look over their shoulders, keep walking.

Some glance, barely, and keep walking.

Scant numbers stop altogether for either a closer look and/or to chat with the artist. Who, judging from the brevity of exchanges, is more interested in continuing with his creating than conversing.

Can’t say I blame him! Not a bit!

Like him, I’m more interested in continuing my writing than closing my journal to continue watching the fascinating scene unfold.

So I put pen back to paper and look up only now and then to observe the sculptor’s progress. He’s molding and shaping his way up from the armature’s feet to legs to torso. Still to be fleshed out: the arms and head.

Due to a commitment, I haven’t time to stay until its completion — if indeed completion loomed soon.

I pack up my backpack, exit the cafe and pass the artist, who’s now standing, evidently for a better angle while working.

While Inquiring Minds — Such is Mine — Need to Know, I forego query or conversation with the artist so for him to have his space and solitude.

As someone who FREQUENTLY writes in the noisiest, most ruckus-y of places! — from pubs and bars to street corners, cafes and courthouse squares — I appreciate being left alone while engaged in creating. Or reading. Or any solo activity.

In that regard, I sense a kindred spirit and let him and his man-in-the-making be.

But I leave you with this: a quick sequence of snapshots, my side of the window. Look closely and you can make out the wire arms, extended, and the head still to be fleshed out.

What these snaps capture are the creator’s hands flowing down a limb, giving it shape, giving it form, giving, ultimately, Wind beneath the feet.

Ahhh, Wind.

Poetry in clay, poetry in motion, today’s perfect moment …

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Spring forth, the soothing, the magic!

It’s for all to enjoy, today’s perfect moment.

An azure cloudless sky.

A light breeze.

A perfectly-comfortable 74 degrees (23 C).

Spring’s early fickleness is finally giving way to consistently pleasant sunny days — and a quieting of the pollens tsunami that had half the town’s population in a tearful tizzy.

Though I’m unaffected by the local pollens (knock wood), plenty of folks suffer terribly. Unsurprising given the forests all around us. Even made the front pages, the unseasonably high pollen counts, how to find relief in home or OTC remedies and so on. The allergens  have died down, so too the news.

Spring’s here to stay, it seems! The next 2-3 months promise to offer some of the region’s best weather. Autumn would be the other seasonal window.

We get four distinct seasons here — though none is extreme. No bitter cold and mountains of snow of the Northeast, for example, neither scorching blistering heat of Phoenix just to the south.

Still, there’s something so … soothing … magical … renewing … about spring when she shows she’s here to stay.

As the day”s picture-perfect weather signals.

It gets no more splendid and no more perfect as moments for all to share.

Doubtlessly thousands would concur, happily trading in their sniffling, sneezing and swollen itchy red eyes for

S………..

P………..

R…………

I………..

N……….

G!!!!

butterflies:flowers

 

 

 

 

 

turning cartwheels, turning memory

It’s not every day you get to see this.

Even when the weather’s a fine spring evening perfect for … well, I get ahead of myself.

Setting; A sidewalk in downtown Prescott. A block south of the real heart of Whiskey Row.

I go to my car to retrieve my laptop to blog at the alehouse. Two adults stand on the quiet sidewalk conversing.

Meanwhile, nearby, gray legs spin around the hub of a hot-pink and brown-striped T-shirt. A girl approximately  8 spinning cartwheels up and down a narrow stretch of sidewalk while the grown-ups — yawn — talk.

Shoots off cartwheels of an amateur one after another without pause, scolding or a care. No budding Nadia Comaneci from my observation, true. But no parental reprimands, glares or punishments either..

She’s just a girl in gray leggings and a  pink-and-brown striped T-shift spinning cartwheels to pass the time while the grown-ups talk — boooooooring!

I see the young girl in me and I in her.

My natural gymnast who tumbled at community center classes, in gym classes  along with balance beam and horse routines. All innate. Free of force of parental dictates or internal demands.

It’s who I was. And would be again at that age.

“Chicken legs” the teacher called me.

‘Tis true yet perfect legs they were for on this short petite frame designed to move, tumble, spin, climb, above all else MOBILITY. Oh how I’d climb trees to their VERY top, monkey bars, spin on playground equipment — before allowing schoolkids to do so became a LITIGIOUS risk from inane parents complaining their little Johnny suffered a bruised knee AND IT’S THE SCHOOl’S FAULT and next thing you know, litigious I mean greedy parents have been awarded a million bucks for their “suffering” their bruised-up kid got on the school playground.

My childhood “monkey” nickname — back to happier themes — was well deserved!

That girl in the gray leggings and striped shirt who cartwheeled so effortlessly and comfortably is a delight to witness. Especially on this side of life — at 60, nearer to death than arrival.

I remembered the extreme flexibility of my youth. Think Gumby. My natural athleticism, which btw is still in pretty damn good shape for my age!

While I don’t have the remarkable limberness and flexibility of that girl on the sidewalk, I’m no rigid immobile pile of bones. Not yet.

(And if that day ever comes, give me a shot of morphine and set me free.)

This Perfect Moment reveals:

I see life as a 60-year-old woman, closer to death than birth. And my body concurs.

Yet in that girl, I saw myself, young, vibrant, spinning cartwheels with abandon — anywhere.

I can’t go back to childhood. I can only remember what was. Who I was.

I miss her. The young spirited full-of-life TRUSTING-in-life BELIEVING-in-self girl.

In today’s  moment, in that spirit of mortality that is each of us, I smile remembering my youthful elastic-y vibrancy — a cartwheeling girl without a care.

There’s a hearth (sort of) but no home

It could be the solidly springtime weather.

The fine day for a drive and daytrip on roads less crowded than usual, thank you Easter

Could be the stroll around the old Western mining town.

Or surprising discovery of a tiny new art gallery that sells coffee.

Or it could be the two pints of excellent craft beer savored at the out-of-town brewery — unusually quiet, again thank you Easter.

Or it could even be that the evening’s hourlong windy drive home through the mountain was free of incident — notably collisions with deer.

That happened once in Colorado. Deer, obscured by dark dusk, sprang out of nowhere. Put my car in the shop for 5 weeks **while I was on a road trip a thousand miles from my residence!**

Short of that tale is: Those creatures are terrible unpredictable dangerous menaces. When I see deer, I see dinner.

Or it could be the opportunity to leisurely hang out at a cool brewery with two beers and create in my art therapy journal.

Any of these — and no doubt more if I stopped to think about it — easily qualify for today’s perfect moment.

Yet I didn’t choose them.

Instead, I choose a comparatively mundane moment:
The warmth on the left side of my neck — heat emitted from a gas fire in a cafe’s small fireplace built into a large brick wall.

I choose this because I haven’t a home (except for my Subaru).

Yes, I sleep in a small bedroom that I rent in someone else’s home. I bathe there, very rarely eat there, sometimes brew my morning coffee there.  I clean the entire rather large house for no reduction in rent.

And I have one roommate, a dude whom I predict I’ll like better when we’re no longer roommates.

Due to issues, I avoid home except to sleep. That’s A LOTTA hours spent every day in avoidance, in escapism, in despair, in continuous wishes to live alone. (Which requires foremost a good job and far better income than the 10-hours-a-week pizza job delivers.)

In short:

Home is not nourishing.
Is not warm.
Is not comforting.
Is not happy.
Is not even especially safe.

The touch of warmth on my neck from a fireplace is magnificent. It is warmth I do not have in my life or home.

It is comfort that I yearn for, desire, need. A brush of heat can mean so much to a girl starved for kindness, caring, respect and goodness in a home.

For all things wonderful today, it is “unremarkable” cafe low fire that provides today’s perfect moment, a hearth (sort of) but no hone.

You never know from whence old loves bound

It’s my place of comfort. And they’re my friends.

It’s: the library. And they’re: books.

The day’s perfect moment occurs in the local library, my place of worship.

I’ve scoured the shelves for a story I’ve been yearning to reread. One of my childhood whose character is my first “bookly” love, twin flame, companion and girlfriend: Pippi Longstocking.

None’s to be found.

I’ve checked the library’s computer. There are copies but it’ll take several days for transfers from other branches.

I “compromise” with another book altogether.

Still. Like trying to satisfy a craving for ice cream with frozen yogurt. Doesn’t work. You may TRICK yourself into believing otherwise.

But the heart wants what it wants. Needs what it needs.

I need Pippi for a reason. The rest of the story in a moment.

“Compromise” book in hand, I keep searching for Pippi — just in case it got misshelved.

“Can I help you find something?” A lady librarian in the young reader’s section queries.

“I can’t believe you don’t have any copies of Pippi Longstocking!” I respond with unedited incredulousness.

She checks. Confirms.

Then coincidences roll in.

Paraphrasing:

“Funny you mention it,” she says kindly.

“We just checked out our one copy today. We have three other copies that just today we removed from circulation. They’re to be replaced due to wear. The spines are cracking for their popularity.”

“How long will that take?”

“A few weeks.”

“Oh no, that won’t do.”

She steps to the rolling cart full of books behind the desk. Pulls forth a hardcover — love me some hardcovers! — edition of Pippi Longstocking — one with the cracking spine that’s earmarked for replacement

Instructs her coworker to alter its status “available for checkout” in the computer. And she hands me the book.

Such joy! I behold in my hands the golden scepter. I’m touched. Moved. Happy. Hugged.

Just then, I confide a secret to the kind lady librarian. Which is the rest of the story for you readers.

“I’ve just lost my mother.”

Grief is its own force. The most discombobulating disruptive disorienting power that life will give you. Give any human being.

It’s the other side of life. How could it be anything less?

“So,” I share with the librarian, “in my grief, I’ve rediscovered my love of the library and of books. Specifically ones I read in childhood.

{waves hello to the beloved Pippi Longstocking}

“They are my comfort.”

My soul – and sole – comfort.

The kind lady librarian listens. Doesn’t really grasp about grief, its power, the things it makes you need and not need, want and not want. The way grief gives the simplest things great meaning and makes intolerable the noise, the clutter, the stupidities of people and life.

Her time will come. As will yours if it hasn’t already. The loss of one parent, then the second, those losses change you in ways you can’t possibly imagine or predict or prepare for. No matter what your mind tells you.

“I’ll take great care of the book.” I assure the librarian, holding it tenderly as if it were a little animal, a kitten. She knows; she can see.

I thank her profusely for the book and we part ways for today.

The day’s perfect moment, you see, is about more than perfection. It’s about synchronicity.

PippiAs well as the enthusiastic and eccentric Pippi, who bounds now into my life as she did way back then, effervescently, eternally.

Frock You! Frock Me!

Reports of my death are premature.

Unless referring to my blogging life. There are causes for my total absence.

End of preface.


Have long been a fan of the blog “Today’s Perfect Moment.” Anthony’s a competent and descriptive writer. And though admittedly it takes disciplined biting of the tongue to not kindly mention errors (nothing mars otherwise skillful writing like errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling; in the writing craft, the devil’s in the details), I enjoy the stories immensely.

So much so the enjoyment that many a time have I been inspired to follow suit in a “Today’s Perfect Moment” theme. Which has led nowhere, as evidenced by this blog.

Still, I think about it — as a moment this evening bespeaks.

Setting: Starbucks.

Me: On the laptop. Not blogging (sadly).

At a nearby table: Two men, one middle-aged, the other somewhat younger. The third man has taken leave to a spot nearby to talk quietly on his phone.

All three were wearing black frocks.

The two sharing a small round table were deep in conversation. From barest snippets I catch, the older seems to be mentoring or addressing concerns of the younger.

None of the rabbis — so they appeared to these extraordinarily religious-illiterate eyes — wore head covering; each, however, wore long beaded necklaces over their frocks.

It was the long brown beard of the young gentleman that suggested Judaism.

It was the pair’s manner of conversing that struck me. Quiet. Earnest. Solemn.

It contrasted sharply against the usual public loud chatter, streaming diarrhea of the bombastic mouths and, most offensive, cell-phone dialogues broadcast for all the world to hear: whether or not we want it.

Wouldn’t you know it. Just as I pulled out my phone to discreetly snap a photo for this post, the two (presumed) rabbis gathered up themselves, their devotions and prayers and exited with their sidelined fellow, who of the three had the “eldest” air.

The sighting reads like “Today’s Perfect Moment.”

The garb: an uncommon sight in this smallish conservative white town in Arizona.

Their interaction: private, serious, as if matters of import and sincerity — dare I say godliness — were under discussion.

It harkened back to glory days (of my youth) of public decorum, manners and consideration of others. The era before cell phones (themselves not a bad invention) and, more precisely, their gross and ubiquitous misuse by loud assholes, jerks, uncouth brats and narcissists. Pick your people poison.

The three were probably Jewish. Yet their religious alliance is moot.

What I acknowledge and give thanks for is their gentlemanliness and their dignity.

A refreshing change from the usual public cacophony/crapola. An appreciated change. A perfect moment, today.

So frock you. Frock me.

Most of all, frock every rude self-involved blabbermouth polluting our public spheres.

Let today’s frocked men be a model.

Contemplation: is good.

Consideration of others in public: is possibly better.

Privacy: is next to godliness.

Thus in the best of ways: frock you!

The Jerk. No relation to the film.

As if moving’s not stressful enough.

In the Top 5 List of Life’s Stressors, they say.

Not so much for this Moving Queen, she says poised for the next move in two days. Move #56? Dunno, lost count. But if practice makes perfect, then the perfect mover am I! Got it down to a science and an art.

 

Even so, moving’s still a major stressor.

Made all the more so by people. Certain individuals.

Meet Jodi.

Some months back she posted a craigslist ad seeking a roommate. Unbeknownst to me, it’s present-time Jodi.

I replied, emphasizing that I’m a neat freak as the ad highlighted it as a desired trait.

No response.

I emailed again. Nothing. Again. Zero.

Persistence paying off? Not so much.

Then interest in the room morphed into annoyance at the lack of response, the lack of courtesy and manner.

Call me old-fashioned but I believe that every respondent to any ad deserves an acknowledgement as a courtesy. Even dreadful auto-replies are better than stone-cold silence.

I communicated this distress. Never heard back. Of course not. Only choice was to let go and move on — and find another place to live.

Fast-forward 3 months.

Same ad appears. Coincidentally, at a time when I’m ah-gain looking to move. I live in a perpetual state of looking to move but that’s another issue.

I respond again – again featuring my neat-freak qualities (and other things) since in this Round Two that’s again a stated preference in the ad.

Lo and behold, I hear back!

I pick my jaw up from the floor and go meet her. Jodi.

We hit it off more or less. I mean, how well can you know someone in an hour’s chat?

A green light to proceed far as I’m concerned. Jodi too.

Only one thing left to do: Meet the other roommate. A dude from India. No problem-o. So it seems.

Then a text from Jodi.

“I changed my mind. The roommate asked that since he is Indian and his family visits {ed. note: briefly like once a year}  that the new roommate be male to reduce cultural conflict.”

Wow! That’s a new one to this seasoned mover / roommate!

“I am sorry I got your hopes up.”

Jodi and I text fond farewells and I keep looking for new digs. Two months looking, one week before I’m to be out, Jodi drops the ball and I’m empty-handed trying not to freak out!

No other choice but to keep looking.

A new possibility emerges in the 11th hour. I pursue.

Then I hear from Jodi.

“I changed my mind. Can you come over to meet the Indian roommate?”

“Sure. When?”

“5 or 6 after work.”

“Can’t. I work evenings. How about I go meet him at his job like during a break?”

“You can’t. Have to meet him here at the house.”

“OK. How about Friday (yesterday). I have that day off.”

“I’ll ask him and get back to you.”

“OK.”

I wait. Wait. Wait. While the Moving Clock ticks ticks ticks.

Never hear back.

I text. “What’s the skinny on meeting the Indian roommate tonight?”

“Sorry. He’s already gone to Phoenix for the weekend. Maybe next week.”

No More Maybes.

“I wouldn’t count on this,” Jodi adds.

You don’t say!

Both rounds Jodi’s dropped the ball: (1) first time when she never responded to my shows of interest in the room then (2) when we met and talked — rather, she yammered, I listened — and advanced toward Go only to have her throw the curveball of cultural distress. Then rescind it.

When she texted: “I wouldn’t count on this,” I could only say:

“I’m out”

“OK. Good luck” she says.

“Goodbye” is all I could say — and needed to say.

Here’s a woman who not once but twice ignored me, jerked me around by offering her home, then taking it away, then essentially offering it again after meeting the roommate.

Every step of the way I accommodated Jodi.

At every turn she dropped the ball.

Either she didn’t respond … or did respond but sporadically and unreliably … or did respond all-in.

Like the three faces of Eve. Which Jodi would appear this day?

Her actions / inactions would’ve left me homeless had another door not opened at the very last minute. Whew!

In the end, I dodged a bullet.

Hence I write:

As if moving’s not stressful enough … it’s people, certain individuals, who make it 1,000 times more stressful.

People like Jodi. Who jerked me ’round not once but twice and for the last time. Jodi the Jerker. Jodi the Jerk.