03 April 2020

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62//365

once

I took a walk in my old neighborhood in the city. realized everything was completely different yet exactly the same.

02 April 2020

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61//365

once

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

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60//365

once

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.

31 March 2020

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59//365

once

I got lost in chinatown in san francisco. turned right when I should have turned left or left when I should have turned right, who knows. felt the edges of panic and ducked into a nearby stairwell to reassess, which is when I convinced myself it might be nice to just be lost for a little while. to use an entirely different compass, if only for a few minutes. to wander for an hour with nary a glance at google maps. 

30 March 2020

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58//365

once

while we were passing through palm springs, I made my entire family wait in the car while I ventured inside the parker hotel. I had to see the place for myself. and it had to be done without two kids and a husband in tow, which was totally the right call at the time. and of course, completely worth it. 

29 March 2020

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57//365

once

we showed up at the park for international pillow fight day. expected to find forty, maybe fifty people gathered but instead arrived to find at least a couple hundred. and so we made our way into the middle of that big, beautiful (strangely hopeful) pillowy mess and fought until we were covered with sweat, until we were so exhausted we could no longer dodge the swings, until our stomachs hurt from the laughing.

28 March 2020

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56//365

once

I wandered the streets of a small folly island neighborhood in south carolina. stumbled onto a fence draped with candy-colored fishing buoys and was instantly filled with a particular nostalgia I couldn't name. and then I remembered a picture book I loved when I was little, and the girl in it who wore a beaded necklace, one that looked just like those fishing buoys. I remembered how much I loved that necklace, how much I wanted to hold it in my hands and wear it around my own neck. and so I stood there and let myself slip down inside that lovely childhood rabbit hole for a few minutes. savored the memory of it like the last bit of candy on my tongue.

27 March 2020

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55//365

once

I made a portrait of a young man who wore his hair like a radiant, solar crown. like a magnificent amber cloud.

26 March 2020

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54//365

once

my friend kateri said you couldn't quarantine magic hour. and she was right.

25 March 2020

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once

we passed an old drive-in movie theatre on our way to a fleamarket in texas. my cousin, who'd driven this way countless times, flew past it with nary a mention. I, on the other hand, thought my eyes might pop out of my head. so beautiful my heart beat a little faster at the sight of it, so perfect it did not seem real. all I had time to do in the moment was point and gasp.

on the way back, I asked if we could stop. we were in a bit of a hurry but my cousin indulged me, pulled the car into what was left of the entrance. as I got out to take a closer look she mentioned she'd stopped once before for a yard sale and had talked with the owners, actually, who lived in the little brick house right next to the drive-in. as it turned out, it had been in their family for decades. they'd tried to keep the starlight alive as long as they could, they really tried, but finally had to let it go.

so, there it sits. a golden beacon of nostalgia set along a mostly forgettable stretch of texas highway. an american poem. the beginning of a song, maybe, or the end of one.

24 March 2020

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52//365

once

I spent a few days with friends in a skinny three-story flat on the back end of an ancient building in new orleans. when we first arrived, we ran our hands over the golden peacock wallpaper on the first floor, joked about who might fall while climbing the rickety red spiral staircase that led to the second floor and laughed when we saw the old wooden ladder that led up to the sliver of sleeping space above the tiny kitchenette. we spent most of our time on that second floor, though. eating brown butter drop donuts from the bakery down the street, talking about all the things we should be out doing instead of laying around eating brown butter drop donuts.

my own version of a barbie dream house is what it was. gently decayed, slightly oddball in all the right ways. as if my nine year-old self somehow combined powers with my forty-something self and magically conjured up the place and said, here. this is for you. 

23 March 2020

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51//365

once

I wandered the streets of gjilan, kosovo wishing for albanian words to magically fall out anytime I opened my mouth.

22 March 2020

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50//365

once

we stood at the edge of everything. picked up smooth, oval rocks that fit perfectly in the palm of our hands, threw them into the pacific ocean. because we could.

21 March 2020

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once

while we were driving south down the 101 to los angeles, I fell hard for some plastic fruit crates in castroville, the artichoke capitol of the world.

20 March 2020

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48//365

once

our car broke down in tennessee. somewhere between nashville and chattanooga around midnight. just whimpered along the shoulder of the highway and sputtered to a stop. I swore the night never felt so deep and dark and ominous than in that particular moment. isn't that always the way? flying down the highway in the middle of the night feels like magic until your car dies and you suddenly come so close to the unknown you can practically feel it slide across your skin. 

a fireworks store as big as a warehouse with monster floodlights to match but of course, it was closed. in a pre-cell phone era, there was nothing else to do but walk. towards an exit we thought we remembered passing a few miles back, along the soft, narrow shoulder of a major highway in the middle of what will always be remembered as the most lightless night. 

three miles felt like three hundred years. every semi passed with a violence that nearly lifted me off my feet and for an hour we walked like this, wincing at every passing truck and shuffling and swearing and praying until we reached the exit and finally, our salvation: the old roy acuff country inn. 

I almost cried when I saw that giant neon cowboy boot.