choose the blood oranges over the regular ones. the building with the bright red door, the socks with the lime green stripes. drive down the street with the pink house, you know the one. wear the mustard yellow tights, the cherry red boots, the little pin with the turquoise stone. eat all the skittles, all of them. paint the toes neon pink. buy the lemon yellow notebook instead of the black one, the brand new box of crayons, if only to marvel at their perfection. pick up a book for the color of the spine alone, care not about the contents. bring home the greenest succulents, the orangiest tulips. cruise the paint chip aisle at the hardware store like a swinger on a saturday night.
rainbow sprinkles. rainbow sprinkles on everything. and straws. the colored ones, the striped ones. slice up your lemons, slice up your limes. now is the time for little paper umbrellas, now is time for maraschino cherries in tiny glass jars. seek out the bright things that live in dark thrift store corners and bring them home, one by one. that plastic chartreuse planter, that royal blue band uniform, that ridiculous magenta hat. bring them home, if only for a little while.
because, january. february. and sometimes the other months too. another round of color//colour loverswith sweet xanthebecause she asked, would I fancy another round? yes, I said. yes. and you are hereby cordially invited to play along. because, well, january.
week one// monday, january 19th// RED
week two// monday, january 26th// YELLOW
week three// monday, february 2nd// PINK
week four// monday, february 9th// GREEN
week five// monday, february 16th// ORANGE
week six// monday, february 23rd// BLUE
we were tired that night. we'd been on the road for a week, spent the larger part of the day driving the streets of palm springs. the children were tired of the architecture. tired of adult conversations about color and mid-century motels. and so we were headed for the motel, back to the swimming pool and the serious business of cheap pizza and cable television. we were aching for it. but five blocks before the motel 6, the light turned golden and we remembered the windmills. when I say 'we' I mean the two adults in the car, though it should be noted the children did not put up much of a fight. large slushees had been consumed, extreme heat experienced, no one had much fight left, not really. one week on the road and it was still anyone's game. the day was still a fairly malleable thing. windmills, we said. yes, we said.
ten minutes later, we found ourselves out on the edge of town, parked as close to the windmills as we could manage. and we stood in what can only be defined as a sort of desert wasteland, sandwiched between a stretch of highway and a chunk of train track, canyons to the right of us, windmills all around us, a sea of windmills, an endless, impossible chorus. below us, a desert floor so littered with trash we could not help but look down. palm tree pieces, glittery glassy bits, flattened cans from decades past. a toilet, a few tires, a flannel shirt, an old brocade couch. the deeper we wandered, the stranger the items. the stranger the items, the more excited we became. I'll tell you, the children were excited about the trash. you know what? so were the adults. collections were started, possibilities discussed. could we fit that ginormous tree branch aka wizard staff in the car? surely that palm tree chunk would make an excellent planter. hey, were those ray ban glasses? because we should not leave without those ray ban glasses. I don't know how long we went on like this. hours, it seemed.
the wind picked up just then, the last of the honeyed light fell over ava and I shot what would be my most treasured photograph of the year. as if on cue, the train roared past us and the wind from it snatched that polaroid right out of my hands. we all ran for it, scrambled like crazy people to catch it before it completely disappeared. the wind whipped hair into my eyes, sand into my mouth, picked up the edges of my skirt, flipped it over my head again and again. I should have been miserable, I should have been frantic but I was not. laughing, half-running, half-stumbling in the direction of the polaroid and what was this strange, beautiful place we were lost in anyway? how did we end up here? how had it managed to completely charm us?
this. my most treasured moment of twenty fourteen, my most treasured photograph. the year holds a hundred different stories, a thousand different images but, this. the best of the best because I look at it and I remember and I think, yes. we said yes. in twenty fourteen, we said yes. when it was difficult to say yes, when we weren't sure about the yes, when we were tired and didn't think we'd make it, we said yes. and it certainly hasn't been a walk in the park (it never is) but the good stuff happened because we said yes.
I don't know about twenty fifteen, I don't know how I feel about it yet. there's bound to be some yes in there somewhere, though. I don't know about you but I'm rooting for the yes, for the running and the stumbling and the laughing, for unexpected desert wastelands and more honeyed light than I know what do with.
steeped in december over here. which really just means I'm busy pinching sap off the ends of christmas tree branches to rub into the palms of my hands. you know, so I can breathe it in, every chance I get. recently, I showed up for a counseling session with a few stray pine needles stuck to the side of my cheek and, I don't know. I think this means I might be doing it right.
am trying to find places for all the christmas things in this new house. am playing all the records, singing all the songs, baking all the things. in other words, decembering. because december is something you do but also, something you feel. december is the celebration of a birth, the birth is hope and without this hope, we are nothing.
p.s. I'm also over at habit this month, contributing when I can. that is, when I've not got my face buried deep in the branches of a christmas tree.
there are lovely things to be shared here, friends. but I can't pretend. that ferguson isn't happening. that dr. huxtable didn't break my heart. that black friday isn't an ugly, ugly thing. that a personal family crisis hasn't turned my own life upside down since saturday afternoon. I'm at a loss. I'm losing, we're losing, we're all losing.
I don't believe there isn't still room for the lovely things, that the sharing isn't still important. undeniably, it is (now more than ever) but to pretend the hard things don't exist, the things that break us, render us speechless, hopeless, to go on as if nothing has happened, is happening, will happen, well, I just can't do it.
tomorrow, I'll lose myself in the rituals of the day. I'll peel the potatoes, cook the cranberries til they quietly pop. toss the green salad and brown the rolls. I'll set the thanksgiving table for the first time in this new house and I will not forget to be thankful. but I will also remember. just how much work is left to do.
this is the jar of magical thinking. aka, the jar that sits on the blue wooden table and holds scraps of paper with ava's and ezra's words scrawled on them. aka, words I want to remember.
I first read about the jar of magical thinking back in 2008 and besides the fact that it was originally inspired by joan didion, here's what I love about it: it's an old spaghetti sauce jar, that's it. and the papers used are whatever is available, whatever is currently within reach-- backs of envelopes, leftover notebook paper, index cards, bits of paper bags, old receipts, anything.
this means I never hesitate to scribble words down, never. I never wonder if the paper is pretty enough or my handwriting is pretty enough. this means the whole thing is so simple it's nearly impossible to screw up. and you know what? six years later and I'm still doing it. I'm still stuffing that little jar full of magic bits. I'll stuff it till I can't stuff it anymore, till there are so many scraps of paper in that old jar it practically hums and hovers from all the magical thinking.
I never finished the baby books, probably never will. and I'm a thousand years behind with all the photo albums, but this. this I can do. and will continue to do until I can't anymore. or until they run out of magical thinkings, which I hope is never.