I noticed that I started my life journal last year around this time with a list of what I wanted for my 46th birthday. Well, 47 is less than a week away and a list is evolving. Some of it is just "stuff," some of it is something else that other kinds of stuff is made of.... I am the Queen of Etcetera I have decided.... ..... ...... ....... ahhhhh.....................
MP3 Player (that was a trick question on my fb quiz "How Well Do You Know Denise Cottingham?" But seriously, I don't have one. Beach towels for water exercise class and saunas. Aqua gloves. Geraniums, nasturtiums, ground cover. A new wardrobe (ha!). A new attitude. Yes. A Polaroid camera (what do they make these days besides that thing that makes little stickers?). More courage. Less sleeping.
A lobster dinner. A red Adirondack chair from Home Depot. A new house. A new/used car. Seriously. A massage. SERIOUSLY! This book: "Collage, Assemblage, and Altered Art -- Creating Unique Images" by Diane Maurer. Awesome book, crappy title. Sarong, haircut. A play list from a night when Heidi Mo DJ's. Paint brushes. 1000 Hands of Buddha Qigong instruction booklet, can't find mine. A love shove. Wisdom.
So, that's all.
"My inferiority complex isn't as good as yours" -- Anonymous
47: number of years I've been Denise Aileen Cottingham, come June 2nd
Just over 1: number of years I've been keeping this journal, and number of years we've had the laptop
10: number of years I've had my Honda Pearl and my Cat Rudy
200,000: number of miles on Honda, to rollover any day now
0: number of times I've been married, number of children I have, number of college degrees
26 or 27: age at which I thought I would marry, as a young girl
7: my favorite number
13: G's favorite number
29: years since Mt. St. Helens erupted, and I graduated from high school
Over 4: number of months my parents will not be at home this year
1: number of teeth I am missing in more than one way :(
18: number of months before I started walking
18: number of years before I started dancing
.5: add this to my GPA and I would've been Valedictorian (okay, so I'm a little bitter :) Accounting.
2: number of extra invisible toes I have
1.0 number on my reading glasses (shown in current profile picture)
Read then, if you will,
and in the springtime of your reading
the pages will shine with pale fire,
like new alder leaves in sun.
In their secret way they grow
and gather as you turn them,
they remain with you,
they rise up close around
like blackberry thickets in midsummer,
a wilderness of leaves
you're lost in. Turn, turn further.
Something shy and never seen
awaits you, and as you search
you may discover what you did not think
to ask for, a last apple
in autumn boughs where you saw
a bird fly in. Listen.
In the Douglas firs the wind
is saying something, voice
of distant places, other years
returning. Does it speak your name?
You need nothing more for winter now,
the faithful rain on your roof,
a warm fire within. Go
the way you were born to go,
turning and turning the pages of time.
-- John Daniel
(thanks to Dana for sharing this with me -- it was published a few days ago in the Oregonian)
"Prose generally lacks the formal structure of meter or rhyme which is typical of poetry; instead it is composed of full sentences, usually divided into paragraphs, and then smaller segments known as meta-paragraphs."
I know Wikipedia is controversial but I'm a lazy Googler. Prose generally probably lacks the potential half sentence/thoughts of a facebook status or twitter tweet as well. That is a sentence I would not have written a mere 6-ish months ago.
No offense to poetry, of course!
I had a canoe that took me into the forest I read about. It was fleet and I asked no questions. I saw the careless embroidery of the sky above me. I was small. I was embracing. And I was dear all my life. My instrument is silent. I never learned to play. But it sits poised in my arms like an amber deer that I'll give my life for. What does it sound like? Why haven't I tried?
She crept into my arms like a red flower a stranger gives me. She is tame and soft. In a low voice, I tell her stories of when I was a girl. I bring her fruit from the brook of my own glad tidings. I overflow and I almost forget her. My hair is wet and I feel I can be alone. I know other songs. But what about my deer? She's sleeping. I fit an arrow through my bow. I kill so she eats. She says if only I'd been a better mother.
and lonely socks are somewhere
laughing at our loss
"It sounds familiar."
"Yeah, it does sound familiar."
"I guess everything sounds familiar when you're a librarian!"
(question:) "I don't understand why people become senile."
(answer:) "Senility is the answer to the soul's prayer. More often than not, its advent sets the heart free. When the mind has been rigid and controlling, there is a time in some souls' choosing in which they say "I want to use the rest of this particular physical existence to recognize my entirety without the interference of my intellect." And so the mind is quieted, slowly by some, rapidly by others. The body can slouch, the mouth hang open, the eyes wander, and thoughts come and go without conscious recognition.
"Released, at last, from the confines of the tightly controlling intellect, the heart can soar."
I liked the poem Elizabeth Alexander read at the Inauguration. She had a real wavering and unwavering braveness about her. Here is her poem:
The following is a transcript of the inaugural poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander, as provided by CQ transcriptions.
Praise song for the day.
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."
We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."
We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."
Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.