Monday, June 16, 2008

My oldest friend

This same moon saw me crying through the back window of my parent's car as a song on the radio broke my heart open, it watched me spin around and around with a group of people to Rembetika music outside a cafe in Chios , as it rose blood red over the Mediterranean. I can even imagine it catching my attention as a baby slung over my mother's shoulder on a summer evening a brilliant, glowing ball on the horizon.

One of the first things I look for when I go outside in the evening is the moon. Throughout numerous moves, lonely evenings spent smoking out back (when I was smoking) and times of transcendent joy it has been there. So much changes, but it has been with me wherever I go and whatever I'm doing.

It doesn't matter how well you know yourself...What matters is how you relate to what you do know. ~Mark Epstein

Every Thursday evening I drive along the Braes Bayou to the meditation center and the moon is there keeping me company in the damp green heat of Houston. Over the last month or so this winding road past trees dripping with Spanish Moss has moved me past something, a resistance I have had all this time to this place and myself in it. My feelings about sprawl and a car-centric city haven't changed, but something has shifted. I'm not looking to leave here unless something very specific comes looking to take me away.

I had dinner on Friday with a friend at a restaurant I had been dreaming about since we moved here. The entire menu was local and the food was stunning. I told my friend that I was tired of always wishing myself elsewhere, not to mention moving, and that we will make our lives here as if it is the only place there is to be. We walked outside the restaurant and I stood under a peach tree full of velvety ripe fruit and saw the moon through its branches and thought of it shining on my own garden: the fig tree, meyer lemons, blackberries and muscadines.

I thought, where the moon is, that's home.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Coming out of the shell

We found this snail shell on a morning walk. The snail either abandoned the shell, doubtful, or was plucked up and emptied by one of the herons that sometimes hang out in the trees of our neighborhood which is bordered by one of the many bayous that make this Bayou City. For the uninitiated these are not pronounced Bye ooo as I did when I first landed on these humid shores, but Bye O. Anyway, this snail is no native either. A gourmand or entrepreneur (or so the story goes) "introduced" them to the area hoping for a windfall in escargot. I do love escargot, but have never gotten up the courage to harvest them for consumption. Which doesn't mean my hands are clean, as I do round them up and make them "swim" in order to save our garden harvest. They can wreak havoc.

This snail is a good metaphor for what's happening in our lives in these parts soon. The shell is what I've surrounded myself with the past several years; taking care of others, putting my own needs and desires on hold and also just holding on to what came before in a way that keeps me from moving forward. I'm hoping to leave that all behind. A tall order, but one worth pursuing I think. I feel like this is a watershed year for me. I turned 40 and I'm about to spend an entire month on my own without my family. When I come back I will embark on a new career path.

The kids are heading out together to spend two months with their grandmother on a farm that has been in the family since 1885. I'm so happy that they can sit by the fireplace with books I read as a child and listen to their grandmother's stories.

And all three of us girls, heading out on our adventures, have a wonderful guy who supports us in our need to expand our horizons holding down the fort!

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