30 April 2020
we stopped in chinatown on the way out of san francisco. took one last walk around before ending up at the playground, where we let the kids run willy nilly before the long drive home. in the middle of it all, my brother called and somehow I managed an entire phone conversation about a recent job loss, the current state of the world and the uncertainty of everything while keeping one eye on the kids and the other on a heated game happening just a few feet below. motherhood, in a nutshell.
29 April 2020
I watched the performance of a tiny dance that took place on a tiny 4x4 wooden stage located at the base of the portland aerial tram. while silver capsules carrying passengers continued to slide up and down thick steel cables, a handful of us watched the limbs of the dancer slice through air.
28 April 2020
I left my family in a comic book store in downtown savannah, georgia. slipped out the front door and walked towards oglethorpe square, in search of painted doors and scrolling ironwork. wandered down an alleyway and found rothko instead.
27 April 2020
26 April 2020
25 April 2020
on the way to a family wedding in indiana, we stopped in cincinnati, the city where we first met and fell in love. we wanted to show the kids this monumental little piece of our history, wanted them to see where things began, but as we approached the apartment building that overlooked the city, the site of our infamous, storied beginning, as we looked at each other and got all soft in the eyes about it and told the kids the story, they made fart jokes in the back seat of the car.
and I just really wondered what my nineteen year-old self, the one who first lived in that old apartment building and really thought the cute guy who lived down the hall was just a summer fling, would have thought of this scene, of this particular moment in time. if she could have peered into her future, I wondered what she would have thought. of that car full of love and yelling and laughing and fart jokes at the wrong time and soft eyes and road trip music and years and years and years of marriage and life an love. I really wondered.
24 April 2020
23 April 2020
I spent a good chunk of time poring over howard finster's polaroids at paradise garden, his hand-writing in pencil on each and every one. banjos and wooden angels and abraham lincoln and students painting, colorado fields as seen from the window of an airplane-- or 'plain', as howard wrote it.
something about howard finster with a polaroid camera made me smile.
22 April 2020
21 April 2020
20 April 2020
I took the train south to california. one ticket, my first time on the coast starlight line. I wobbled through the moving train cars before dark in search of the dining car, stumbled onto the observation car instead. windows curved toward the sky, light like honey. the world outside racing past at a respectable clip. I could live here, I thought. I could make a life for myself right here, a home in this car, right now.
19 April 2020
I traveled to the oregon coast to spend three days with twelve women, most of whom I did not know, had not met in real life before. I remember flowers in jars and good food on the table, the ocean near midnight and the moon like a silver coin in the sky. the way my clothes smelled like bonfire, sand in all my crevices, the first time I saw a real shooting star. I remember an endless cacophony of conversation and cameras, a wild mix of personalities. the realization that maybe I was not built for this.
a few of these women would eventually show up for me in extraordinary ways. a string of handwritten postcards for two months straight after my mom died. a box of tiny frozen ice cream cones, too. texted poems, endless encouragement. an air mattress and home-cooked food in los angeles, tamales and morning light in oakland, good coffee and a fire escape view in brooklyn. shared epiphanies on subway platforms. a place to stay, always, in california, texas, new york. fellow dreamers, a few listeners, a few kindred spirits. I could not know this at the time, would not have predicted it. these women, this life, the years in between like a sieve.
18 April 2020
17 April 2020
we saw the world famous bushman in action, down at fisherman’s wharf in san francisco. there he was, hiding behind a trash can, shaking his branches at people, making them jump, yell out. I didn’t know he was famous at the time, didn’t know this was actually how he made his living. I just left a little something in the tip jar and marveled at how we all do what we’ve got to do to get by.
16 April 2020
15 April 2020
while I was washing my hands at the mexican place in nashville with the good tortilla soup and the rainbow string lights, I felt my grandmother’s turquoise ring slip off my pinkie finger. in a flash, it spiraled round the small white porcelain sink and disappeared down the tiny drain. I panicked just then, was sure it was gone forever, as there’s a sick permanence to things that disappear down drains. but I couldn’t stand the thought of losing it so I ran to the car to see what I could find in the way of retrieval. when I returned, I found a cook from the kitchen hunched over the sink with a wire coat hanger and my husband stooped over him with a flashlight. finally, after much angling and maneuvering, they managed to jimmy the treasured ring up out of that tiny black hole and I wanted to fall on the bathroom floor from joy and relief and the deepest, wildest gratitude, the kind that makes you want to plant sloppy kisses and hug people for maybe a few seconds too long, promise things you cannot deliver. but instead, I just stood there, said thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you. slipped the ring back on my pinkie finger, exhaled.
14 April 2020
I snuck away while they were all napping, walked the two blocks from the rental, crossed the major road and made my way to the ocean. found a small collection of empty beach chairs that belonged to a nearby resort, golden delicious magic hour light and, myself.
13 April 2020
I stood beneath an explosion of cherry blossom trees at the university of washington. watched my kids climb up into clouds of papery popcorn blooms. in that moment, I wished I could still climb. I wished so hard, wished my own limbs could still loop and hug tree limbs, wished my body could still do all the things it once knew how to do.
12 April 2020
with our legs still dusty from the road, we pulled into new mexico's tinkertown, bought our tickets and marveled at the walls, which were embedded with over fifty thousand glass bottles. and honestly, felt a twinge of judgment while doing so.
11 April 2020
we celebrated my birthday at the old oaks park roller rink in portland, oregon. that night, we witnessed a marriage proposal out in the center of the rink, beneath the old wurlitzer organ that hangs from the ceiling like a giant wooden truck. the young man got down on one knee, skates and all, she said yes and rolled right into his arms, skates and all. but this is not the first thing I actually think about when I think about this night.
I think about how they called for all the backwards skaters in the house over the P.A. system, how my nine year-old self jumped right out there and wobbled her way backwards, round and round the glossy golden floors of that old rink, underneath that magic wurlitzer, until it was time to call it a night and go home.
10 April 2020
09 April 2020
while riding bikes down royal street in new orleans, we came across the famous lady louis with her clarinet. it's true. she really does hold those crazy high notes like nobody else in the world. I saw it with my own two eyes, heard it with my own two ears.
08 April 2020
07 April 2020
06 April 2020
I stood on a crowded train headed for queens. with my suitcase awkwardly sandwiched between my knees, I balanced a book in one hand and gripped a subway strap with the other. I was lost in thought (and wobbling just a little bit) when I felt a light tap on my shoulder. a man traveling with his family offered me his seat. just a few minutes earlier, I'd watched them as we passed the brooklyn bridge, how they'd quietly marveled at the sight of it. kids wide-eyed, adults too. I held onto that little sliver of wonder I'd witnessed, the kindness too, all the way to la guardia.
05 April 2020
04 April 2020
we stood on a beach in south carolina. close enough to the edge of the ocean to feel cold water lick at our feet. I couldn't stop pointing my camera at her hair, wind-whipped and all lit up, spun from sugar, from neon kool-aid powder, from hours spent dreaming of the most shocking shade of pink, from saved christmas money and birthday money and all the pennies collected in between. couldn't stop thinking she was the teenager I always wanted to be.
03 April 2020
02 April 2020
I stood at the corner of ponce, spied a bike perched above the power lines that genuinely looked as if it wanted to make a break for it. like it wanted to pedal itself backwards, right up into that wide open sky. thought, me too, buddy. me too.
01 April 2020
we stood beneath the great angel oak in john's island, south carolina. ran our hands gently over ancient mammoth limbs that seemed to wind and curve outwards instead of upwards, as if pleading with something wholly unknown. I was not prepared for the way this made me feel.