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So I'm leaving for Spring Mysteries in a few minutes. I'm proud of the fact that I'm happy and still alive in the incredibly intense lead-up to this. I've taken one day off in the last dozen, otherwise it's all school and work. I slept 3 1/2 hours last night (about 5 each the two nights before that) and woke up next to my lover to work on my take-home exam (in bed! on my iphone!) before rocketing off to put things in order so my brother can ratsit here. I'm packed. I have homework to take with me. My right eye has stopped the ceaseless twitching it had taken up yesterday.

I'll have time to catch up on not doing anything this weekend, out of cell reception and on a beautiful coast full of mostly strangers who believe in touch, the earth and shared ritual (well, maybe someday I'll write more about that, it's not strictly true).

When I get back I've only a week before my home is back in my custody and I can make it nice.

My brother is more-or-less moving into the neighborhood and we had a good talk like we haven't in years last night. I'm looking forward to more of that, more biking on the seawall and talking like friends with nothing to hide from Paul, Burn Notice with Andrew, gymming with Mcbain, maybe even the conversational black holes Kynnin and I fall into... friends, who I'll lean on heavily so's not to crash like a needy sledgehammer on Michael's head when I'm alone nights, and so I can find the strength to stand mostly unbowed in the storm of this change with Angus. I'd like to not desert him to heal, but instead to shift gently to wherever we're going.

Plus, school friends jumping the school/life barrier, gardens lifting, new home visioning and the move that will inevitably come--

life has promise. I've been really swingy lately, this is an upswing, but in general things are solid. They're especially solid when I'm too tired for angst, to be honest, but that's a reminder to keep my energy invested in the upward climb to... wherever it is I'm going.

See you on the flipside.

Freedom

Mar. 21st, 2011 08:04 am
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Yesterday I had class outdoors; we didn't start in the classroom, we met outside, we stayed outside. I biked to class with a friend of mine, biked home with her, and then biked across the city with another friend, had dinner, biked back, had another dinner with another friend, and then basically went to sleep.

That's over 2 hrs on my bike, nice easy riding (the way to school is disappointingly flat, if briefly terrifying where there's construction on an overpass) and I really had no desire to stop. That's just over 12 hours outdoors, most in a big long chunk, and it was the cold that drove me in. It was a good day, and a glorious way to start on the official spring.

I also harvested stinging nettles while at school, just a few small first ones, and tonight will be nettle soup.

I'm happy; I'm well. I feel cared-for.

I found two poems this morning. Here they are. Then I'll wrap myself in warm textiles and waterproof things and go to work with headphones on, surrounded in comfort in every way the opposite of yesterday and good because of it.

Enjoy.

Answer

If you were made of stone,
your kiss a fossil sealed up in your lips,
your eyes a sightless marble to my touch,
your grey hands pooling raindrops for the birds,
your long legs cold as rivers locked in ice,
if you were stone, if you were made of stone, yes, yes.

If you were made of fire,
your head a wild Medusa hissing flame,
your tongue a red-hot poker in your throat,
your heart a small coal glowing in your chest,
your fingers burning pungent brands on flesh,
if you were fire, if you were made of fire, yes, yes.

If you were made of water,
your voice a roaring, foaming waterfall,
your arms a whirlpool spinning me around,
your breast a deep, dark lake nursing the drowned,
your mouth an ocean, waves torn from your breath,
if you were water, if you were made of water, yes, yes.

If you were made of air,
your face empty and infinite as sky,
your words a wind with litter for its nouns,
your movements sudden gusts among the clouds,
your body only breeze against my dress,
if you were air, if you were made of air, yes, yes.

If you were made of air, if you were air,
if you were made of water, if you were water,
if you were made of fire, if you were fire,
if you were made of stone, if you were stone,
or if you were none of these, but really death,
the answer is yes, yes.

Carol Ann Duffy

Adulterated

Bella fica! (beautiful fig, fine sex) the whore said
in the back streets of Livorno, proudly slapping
her groin when the man tried to get the price down.
Braddock, the heavyweight champion of the world,
when Joe Louis was destroying him, blood spraying
and his manager between the rounds wanting to stop
the fight, said, I won the title in the ring,
I'm going to lose it in the ring. And, after more
damage, did. Therefore does the wind keep blowing
that holds this great Earth in the air.
For this the birds sing sometimes without purpose.
We value the soiled old theaters because of what
sometimes happens there. Berlin in the Thirties.
There were flowers all around Jesus in his agony
at Gethsemane. The Lord sees everything, and sees
that it is good despite everything. The manger
was filthy. The women at Dachau knew they were about
to be gassed when they pushed back the Nazi guard
who wanted to die with them, saying he must live.
And sang for a little while after the doors closed.

Jack Gilbert

Okay, one more...

Ghost Diary

Yesterday I saw the yellow skeleton of a leaf stuck to the sidewalk.

Where are you going, I ask. You say with irritation, To the store. For some bread. Already I’m seeing the tendency of things. Yes, there’s rebirth, but who cares? The new leaves have their own lives, and the old, known ones are gone.

I haven’t stopped expecting you. I hope to find you lying in stale sheets, reading a book on a weekend morning. Buying too many cheeses, watching Playtime, and complaining that your clothes don’t fit.

There was always more time. A superabundance, the warm hand of the world held out. In spring the leaves are only ideas, clenched tight as fists in the twigs of every tree.

Almost at once I began to expect you. You were the paper-slip leaves of the trees, emerging. I believed in you the way I believe in trees, in time, in what I didn’t know but was born prepared to lose.

Karen Munro
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Magnolias in February Magnolias in February Olympic Snow

So it's perfectly clear that spring is here and has been for awhile, even though it's only March 5th. Not only the cherries but the pears, daffodils, forsythia, magnolias, and rhodos are out. We probably should have planted peas a month ago. You should see the bloom from my apartment, looking down over the city!

But even without the blossom, and the long-sleeve but no jacket weather, and the sunshine (!!), it is most definitely spring. I can tell because I am again vibrating. It is impossible to focus, impossible to sit still, and impossible to think straight (you should see me trying to type-- a billion words a minute, all typoes, but at least it's fast enough that I don't lose track of my sentences in the middle like I do when I'm talking). I feel like I've been speeded up. Everything makes me giddy.

I always have this more-or-less, but it's definitely much worse this year. The last time it was this bad was the year Jan came out from Germany for the first time. I remember spilling an entire cannister of iced tea powder down my pants and banning myself from the kitchen that spring.

I think all the changes-- job, home, phone #, ratstatus, and that's just this month with the first two coming a couple of months ago too --are preventing me from grounding properly, from taking time to center myself. There's too much going on, too many bits flinging around.

House hunting is particularly exciting. There are SO MANY cool places this month.

I need a bike. Maybe that would work the energy off. As is I think I will sit and stare at a wall and vibrate until I crash into a nap.

Hey look, I already have a spring livejournal tag. Reading those entries makes me feel good. So much progress! Sex, friends, social engagements and Juggler's blueberry bushes are all working out well for me. I guess this is a mini new-years review. :>
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This remains an uncomfortable space in which to write. I feel like my elbows will poke people, like my words won't ring. Ignoring that, I'm going to write in an attempt to take back space. I will allow myself to be personal again, and I'll remember that anyone who doesn't wish to read only needs to stop going out of their way to be here.

Talkin yourself out of a tree, Greenie? It may work.

My life continues, love poetry aside. It's got the same elements, mostly, though with the new year I've shrugged my shoulders a little bit and the old skin is beginning to crack a touch. With the new year something new will be born, as is the case with every new year in my life.

I'm feeling impatient, ready to shed constraints. I'm moving from the old place, where I took what was easy, to a place where I'm going after things I want that require effort. I read a post today about someone's distinction between daydream-type dreams and goal-type dreams. He mentioned that he had more of the latter nowadays. I'm in the same sort of boat. I'm ready to say "I want" to things in my life that I might fail at and that'll knock me around a little.

Since I'm done having relationships knock me around emotionally, and I'm done knocking my feet out from under myself in terms of work, it's time. I need something to give me some bruises, no?

This little jaunt into retail has reminded me that it really is important to me to make money -- not a ton, but enough, and doing something that I can be intellectually or spiritually absorbed in. I'd like to sharpen my mind again because it's dulling. I'd like to make enough money to take some more classes and I'd like enough money and/or job security to have kids in three or four years. So that's work.

I need a home to live in. I'm on the way towards figuring out what that means. It may mean finally doing what I said I'd do last fall and move out on my own. It may mean more negotiations with my current living situation in this house I adore with people who are, well, human... and possibly something of a roommate switch. We'll see, but again I need to avoid that trap wherein I'm constantly in a state of waiting for things to get better.

My rats, my garden, and cooking all remain great, important things to me. I need to get out more, though, in an exercise-and-sunshine fashion. Since money for kayaking or climbing isn't going to materialise, this likely means running at first, and getting around to doing that biking I said I was going to do (though cars do still scare me to bike around much). I will not spend all my days off housecleaning to the exclusion of this sort of thing. I'll stop losing weight and grow more muscles-- and hopefully regain my hips.

I am going to pay off my medical and rat-medical debts sooner rather than later.

I'm going to experiment with more vegan dishes because I'm eating a lot of meat at work and it's not good for me. It keeps me slowed down.

I'm going to remain mindful with my social engagements, doing things I want to do and spending time with people who I want to spend time with. I don't have extra time to kill. I remember too that I'm an engrossing social engagement for myself. This lj is sort of like a personal conversation with myself, but I'm a great person to go on walks with especially, and to go food-shopping with, and to wander through the bewitching celebratory things going on outside at the start of the new year right now with.

This is sounding like my new years' post, and this is feeling like the new year (with the window open to let out the old and in the new).

I'm going to make sure my Angus feels cherished and not taken for granted. I'm going to allow myself to care about him without worrying about who that will upset, or whether I'm over-the-top. I'm going to be sensitive to this feeling of not wanting anyone else, and mindful of it.

I'll continue to reclaim my body. I won't use 'well, you've always let this person touch you before' as a reason to permit physical contact that I don't want. I will continue to have sex only when I want to have sex, and not because I think it's the only currency I own.

I will practice being a friend rather than a sex goddess. I won't latch in to exchanging that sort of energy with someone if it's not my intention, regardless of how innocent on paper the situation may be. Harder yet, I will try to be up-front about my interest level when it's low.

I will dance more. I will get a skipping rope, and a bed frame to which ropes can be attached.

I will go to seedy saturday, come home, and plant tomatoes regardless of my housing situation (unless I can get Juggler to grow them).

I will find a park where I can eat the green things that grow there, and get myself some chickweed or dandelion or something, and practice being a part of the world.

These aren't hopes. This isn't a statement of intention. It's a notice of action. It was a hard winter. It's done. The world is crackling.
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So I'm trying to convince Juggler to put in an edible hedge. He's gonna put in a hedge anyhow, so it may as well be something nice, right?

Luckily, around my community garden, there's an edible native Canadian plant garden (aka 'ethnobotanical garden') which showcases some choice species. I strolled out there today with Juggler. In the running are:

amelanchier (aka 'Saskatoon berry' or 'Juneberry' or 'Serviceberry') which has gorgeous flowers in springtime, and is in the rosa family with things like plum and cherry (to give you an idea of the flowers). These plants tend to have more genetic diversity than blueberries, which means the plants won't be as standardised in size, ripening time, or disease susceptibility. Birds would love these for many reasons, they're more 'native.'

Blueberries, which are deciduous like amelanchier, have less showy flowers, but are more delicate in size and appearance. They also have more conventional and less seedy fruit, and could be planted for a deliberate long harvest season-- for instance, plant early varieties in one section of hedge, midseason in the next, and late in the next, so over the course of a few months the hedge would ripen from one end to the other. There are mini blueberry bushes that could be quite small, and some very large one. I'm not sure how well they'd take to pruning; it depends on when the flower buds form and on what type of growth (I suspect they flower on new growth, which would reduce yield substantially in the next year if they're pruned for shape. On the other hand, something is better than nothing). Blueberries are related to azaleas and rhododendrons, which thrive here, and they'd likely adore the spot (which gets very light shade).

vaccinium ovatum is a close relative of blueberry, also known as 'evergreen huckleberry'. It's an evergreen plant with black, slightly tart berries that, my research tells me, can be sheared into a hedge if that's done around June (this suggests that blueberries can be sheared right after picking, too). There's a local variety developed at the local university, which is kind of neat.

So, yeah. Do edible hedges, people.

More garden notes follow:

Someone kindly put some compost on my plot last fall. I realise that my community garden is close enough that I can go cut some lemon balm for tea in my slippers if I want to. This is cool for many reasons, including: I can get lemon balm for tea in my slippers, I can take compost to the community garden compost bin and put it in, thus wasting less garbage space, and I have a patch of dirst that I can walk to easily to play in. I'm happy.

My roses there are doing well, and the damson plum is budding. On the deck, one plum is in full bloom, the other looks like it's leafing rather than blooming this year. The roses have an inch or two of growth on them thus far, and the muscari and violets are blooming their fool heads off. Even the fig buds are looking suspiciously awake. My Japanese maples are are at their best, little tiny delicate leaves unfurling.

Even Juggler, who rarely comments on aesthetics, looked up at the cherry blossom/magnolia combination along fifth street coming back from the garden and said, 'that's really amazing'. I'm happy. It's good. I should get some food in the ground in my community garden and get it growing. But, what to plant?

MAybe I do like spring after all.
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...to read my old posts because I don't want to feel chained to them. If I look back, and I see that I've been unhappy lately, I feel an obligation to continue being unhappy because otherwise that means I was wrong, or something.

As I gain stability, I can read back some, and see why I was unhappy, and think about ways to change things.

Right now, I am simply happy. I feel like clear water over stones with the sun shining into it, ripping and bright and full of joy. It feels like it should have some significance for me to say it, and those who are close to me respond appropriately. How are you? they say, and I answer I am really happy. Their responses are as varied as the people, but: that's really good and I'm glad to hear that are among them. Did you know, I used to spend time with people who would only grunt and tell me their problems in return, with no bit of joy in them?

When I left Vancouver yesterday, many of my friends were angsty. It is the sort of weight against which I am helpless; if I have a problem of my own, I can fix it, change my thinking or the situation; I can ignore it; I can bask in misery for a little while as a sort of self-indulgent luxury. If someone else is having a problem, and they seem genuinely unhappy, what can I do? Nothing about their mental state or their problem, nothing at all.

So when I left, when I got on the bus to begin a journey over the water, I left that behind me for a little bit. I rode and rode and rode, and got on the ferry, and ate, and got on the top front of a double-decker bus where there was a neighbor, a man from East Van, sitting next to me. We'd never met before, but we talked about Illuminares (he does displays for it sometimes) and the joys of walking places, and families, and good and bad habits. I missed my bus stop, we were so busy talking, and only Bevan's chance call saved me from going to downtown Victoria and becoming lost. Then again, Victoria isn't that big, it might not have mattered so much.

So then was talk with Bevan, seeing his home (a big old rooming house that, unlike Vancouver Specials, has square footage left for kitchening and the like and not boarded off into bedrooms) and talking and walking downtown and sharing food and talking. It felt like a sleepover from when I was very young; there was his bed, and my little bed made up on the floor beside it, and we talked in the dark and I could see only a slightly paler blur which was his face.

I slept long, despite the obligatory break from 7:30-8:30 to pace as he slept, to open the window and let in the light, etc. Then we talked some more, I missed a bus, we talked some more, we sat silent for a little bit, he drove me to the ferry, I ate, I caught a bus (notice a theme?) and now I am here, in Juggler's house. His glasses, for which he paid five hundred bucks less than two months ago, were destroyed in the flash mob/pillow fight. I'd be pissed; he's not.

There is a trick to this reintegration I haven't yet mastered. It was so good to be away, where I simply couldn't be running around, filling every spare moment with seeing this and doing that, where there was no schedule except perhaps the need to sleep sometime and eat a bit some other time. It truly was an escape, and I loved it.

Since I bought them I've been wearing my ankle-bells; I got them at CrazyChris' responsible consumption fair at UBC (along with my gorgeous, gorgeous shirts that I wish I'd bought more of) and they mark each step with a jingle. With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she will have music wherever she goes but also awareness of my pacing, knowledge of when I am walking quickly or slowly or irregularly, knowledge of when I am stumbling. Self-awareness. I was walking down the street with Bevan through drunk people when one stares at me with my gold face paint and says, oh my god, you're so fancy and my bells ring steadily as I walk past her. That belongs on my tomnbstone. Behind me, I could hear her say, that's why I wish I had LSD, stuff like that has been happening to me tonight."

The face paint was sort of thus, but a little less ornate:
(Picture by Juggler)

Love you guys. See y'all soon.
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I woke up next to him. His skin is intensely soft, slightly furry, with the copper of freckles I'm always reminded of peaches. The bed was warm. There was sunlight outside, and the air in the room was almost crispy-cool.

It was spring. I got up, he was still sleeping, and tried not to creak the cumputer chair loudly as I settled in. I dipped into the internet for an hour, two, and all the while I could turn around and watch him sleeping, if I wanted, at one point snoring slightly and covered in blankets with just one hand sticking out in a graceful arabesque dangling off the mattress. Sometimes I could see his face.

After about two hours I climbed back into bed, the outside of my skin cold from the morning rubbing up against it. He was warm, and it wasn't long before he was awake. That's what I wait for, every morning: I wait for someone to join me. There was conversation and snuggling for awhile, and since we're both sniffly I pulled us up into the shower in the hopes that steam would cute all. I washed him, he washed me, and we shared his towel to dry.

Then it was back to bed. These things start slowly, slightly awkward, because we haven't really known each other that long; the intense familiarity that comes with practice hasn't set in, and we learn about each other each time. There was cuddling, and touching, and biting, and squirming, and really nothing that couldn't strictly fall under those headings-- it's all ways of touching, I suppose. It's my own uncertainty that breaks my heart. I trust him not to follow the social supposed-tos of sex, and so there's nothing as simple here as hitting the right notes. It's all a learning, action and feedback, and all the while the sun was shining outside the window.

That was some more hours, and then another quick shower, and we were out in it. We were out in spring, characterised by light through the air like sun through the water in an aquarium, cool on the skin and yellow-green and alive with promise, alive with conception rather than the pregnancy of full spring yet. Still, spring. Still. And in the springtime we sat and ate sushi at a plastic table looking out at light-splashed concrete (light that was green and yellow with spring like water in an aquarium, alive with promise) and then we went back out into it like it wasn't water, we breathed it and it was there on our skin, and we went hand-in-hand up the road.

These streets we walked, these were streets where we used to live. This is the neighborhood Kynnin and I shared, and this spring sets off memories of so many other springs. Do you know there was a spring where I sat out on the south-facing deck with the faint stain of heat through the pale light in Abbotsford and waited for Jan to come? I vibrated with expectation, that spring. Do you know there were springs upon springs in Mission, and do you know that when I lived on the boat the spring came through the concrete of downtown Vancouver in a sweep of near-imperceptable expectancy even though there was no soft ground to lift the green into it? Do you know I had spent spring in that very neighborhood before, sitting at Fujiya in the morning?

Now it's a different we, and the same neighborhood, and we walked up the street and bought ice cream (gelatto, sorbetto, these are names for the thing that I mean). We bought ice cream, two scoops each, in little bright bowls with tiny plastic shovels, and we each bought a sweet/creamy and a citrus of different types. We sat there then, in the sunlight that was the pale yellow-green of water through a freshwater aquarium, and the flavour of spring came in through the sliding door to our table and warned of the way the forest would smell, if I were there, if I were in the middle of deep rotting leaved and bare-branched trees dripping with moss. That would smell like early spring, but in an ice cream parlour on commercial drive the air merely hinted.

We alternated tastes of ice cream communally and talked. A little of this, a little of that, such a difference in flavours it was that we inflicted that my brain gave out and all the flavours were just static, sensory overload, this and then that, lemon and then matcha, and both the ice cream and the air were cold but I, for once, wasn't. After this, another hour of ice cream after an hour of eating sushi, he walked me to my bus and I went to work.

I've been here before, in the late winter, in the spring. I've been here before, going up the hill with Kynnin in the morning to school through air this colour, lazing together until we were late. I've been here before, waiting for Jan and wandering down the hill to the cafe with him in air that snapped like this, air that felt like cool water on my skin. I've been here before, but of course, these steps don't, quite, feel the same. I feel the same. Spring feels the same. This time I know that I do not know what the future will hold, where always before I was certain I could anticipate it. This time I am older, more scarred, a little rougher, hopefully a little more generous and a little less nearsighted. This time I know what life is without him.

My happy posts are always the same, and I am almost always happy lately. This post is the same. But, the days are different, not different as in beads on a string but different as in seperate twists on a rope that, when you look around and around the rope, you discover are all one thing flowing one into the other but distinct from any given vantage.

Today was a spring day that I spent with Graham, and I want to remember it.

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