28 May 2020
I saw myself tumbling down subway steps. knees buckling, limbs folding soundlessly beneath me. I saw it all-- the reactions of people standing on the platform, my bag following its own airborne trajectory. the way I might fight to recover balance, pretend it did not happen. I knew I would never stand at the top of another set of stairs and not imagine this very scenario.
27 May 2020
we took the back roads home from savannah, cut through small georgia towns along the way. spotted an old roadside motel and pulled over. as I got out of the car, I noticed a man in army fatigues, sitting in a plastic lawn chair the color of christmas trees. I could feel him watch me as I positioned my camera, knew the questions were next. what are you doin, girl? welp, I told him. I'm taking a picture of this old motel sign. I do that sometimes. I smiled and turned away then, looked through the viewfinder at the old sign. better do it quick, he said. before they tear this down. they wanna change everything about the south.
here's hoping, I thought, as I got back in the car. here's hoping we change as much as we can. because I knew he wasn't really talking about the sign.
26 May 2020
I watched as they walked into the woods together, towards the old cemetery that has always felt like a secret. I heard them laughing from across the field, heard them move through the trees, knew they'd return before dark with stories both true and false.
25 May 2020
I booked a hotel room with a clawfoot tub the color of eggshells and a window with a fire escape and a view of the streets below because on my fortieth birthday, I needed to feel a little bit like I was l living the life my fourteen year-old self dreamt of.
24 May 2020
23 May 2020
I took a walk down edgewood avenue, past familiar bus stops and bars, past new murals and the remains of old ones. I stopped to make small talk with the owner of a barbershop, who invited me inside for a few minutes. the soft metallic hum of the clippers, the occasional sound of the broom, layers of conversation. if I could have tucked myself into a corner there for the rest of the afternoon, I would have.
22 May 2020
I watched a painter work in new orleans, near the iron fence that encloses jackson square. she used a cardboard palette to mix her paints-- greens, red and yellows like fresh rainbow chard, the sounds of beyonce coming from what I could only assume was a phone. her voice muffled, as if she were singing through a sock. across the way, amber light on buildings, a scene that begged to be painted.
21 May 2020
I walked down aisle after aisle with my cousin at a sprawling fleamarket in rural texas, felt the scorch of the sun on my neck, thick layers of dust and sweat on my skin and knew (in my bones) there was no place else in the world I'd rather be.
20 May 2020
I woke up early on a wednesday morning to pick strawberries, arrived to find the field already teeming with pickers. I got to work at once, plucked berries until my fingers were stained bright red and sweat stung my eyes, until I'd completely filled the two buckets I brought with me. drove back home with the windows down, the air sweet and thick with the fruit, the juice still on my fingertips, on the steering wheel, everywhere.
19 May 2020
18 May 2020
17 May 2020
we spent an afternoon on the humid streets of downtown athens, georgia. flipped through records at wuxtry, books at avid. checked to see what was playing at the old movie theatre. chased ezra's neon yellow rubber ball as it pinged across a busy street. meandered down narrow brick-paved alleyways into vintage shops stacked floor to ceiling with musty goods. considered a quick lunch at waffle house but remembered the time ward found a spoon in the bathroom there and decided against it. landed instead at the burger place around the corner and as we sat out on the patio at the table with the poppy red oilcloth covering and waited for our food, decided athens might just be the perfect place for us to retire.
16 May 2020
15 May 2020
14 May 2020
we drove through downtown tucumcari, new mexico with the windows rolled down. slowed to a stop in the middle of an empty street, sat with the quiet and the color for a minute. a truck pulled up behind us then, blasted his horn, yelled something out the window and that was that. spell broken.
13 May 2020
while my dad stood at the kitchen sink and washed dishes, a cardinal flew right up to the window, landed on a sliver of frame, looked at him for a few seconds, and flew away. I've never seen a cardinal do that, he said. never.
he didn't say it, but he didn't have to. I knew what he was thinking. she'd been gone for nearly half a decade but, still. we saw her every once in a while. a crimson blur at the window, a soft pink opaline sky. mom.
12 May 2020
on the way home from the grocery store, I walked past a yard overrun with dandelions. I was raised to see them as weeds, to yank them from the ground at first sight, so as to prevent total dandelion invasion. we spent hours in the back yard pulling at them, took turns smearing the soft yellow pollen underneath our chins. if we let them go long enough, the heads turned to seed-- white feathery orbs made for wishes, as synonymous with childhood as santa claus. it would be years before I realized we were just blowing seeds all over the yard, ensuring their return.
it would be years before I came around to dandelions, before I learned they were medicinal herbs that magically open to the sun each day before closing up for the night. years before I'd come across a yard overrun with them and no longer see a mess of weeds, but a hundred bright yellow buttons staring back at me instead.
11 May 2020
we sat on the curb at the corner of sandy boulevard and sacramento street. ava on one side, ezra on the other, both of them still small enough to curve their bodies into mine. the parades, the portlanders said. oh, you shouldn't miss the parades. you must see the parades. the junior rose parade, the starlight parade, the grand floral parade. they went on and on about the parades and we were brand new to the city so who were we to question? we promptly put parade dates on the calendar, in all caps, used exclamation points, multiple exclamation points. when the time came, we packed juice boxes and goldfish crackers, plastic drug store rain ponchos (just in case) and sidewalk chalk (just in case), walked the seven blocks down the boulevard to claim our small chunk of concrete curb to watch the first of the three famed, highly anticipated portland events-- the junior rose parade.
now, years later, they play back like 16mm film reels. homemade floats and costumes, middle school marching bands with the best of intentions, vendors who walked up and down sandy selling inflatable spiderman dolls for five bucks a pop. and that ordinary chunk of curb at the corner of sandy and sacramento now a personal landmark. a single dot on the map, multiple exclamation points.
10 May 2020
I stood in cold, cold river water and felt wholly alive.
I don't know how to explain the magic. the magic of walking through cold, clear water to find the falls nestled in the pueblo of nambe. I don't know how to tell the story of how we just sort of landed there, on a whim. on a friday afternoon in october, the day before a wedding of a friend.
I don't know how to explain how unprepared I was. how I didn't know I'd be wading through water in my shoes, that I'd be passing through narrow canyons on foot while light bounced off edges and wrapped itself around corners. how the whole thing made me feel strangely immortal, how in that moment, with my feet submerged in the water and the sun squarely in my eyes, I felt alive, fully and wholly and wildly alive.
09 May 2020
I found a vintage dress for ava at the thrift store. bandana print fabric circa 1970-something and clearly hand sewn. the seams were all off, which only charmed me, so I promptly paid the cashier the 79 cents they wanted for it and took it home. hoped she'd love it as much as I did.
she saw that cherry red color, her color, and slipped it right on. looked at me, grinned.
08 May 2020
07 May 2020
06 May 2020
05 May 2020
after barbeque sandwiches and bottled cokes, we walked the trail that runs alongside the train tracks in athens, georgia and stumbled onto the place where kids might sometimes go to have their senior pictures taken because they think it will look cool.
04 May 2020
we passed on old twistee treat on the way to the beach. tucked behind a shuttered bank, oddly situated in the parking lot of an old strip mall-- as if the businesses had been built around it, in spite of it, as if the great concrete cone had refused to move.
when the time came for ice cream, I fought hard for the twistee treat. even though there were fancier, far more superior ice cream shops to choose from, even though the protests from the group could be heard for miles, I dragged them all to that little twistee treat. I have zero regrets.
03 May 2020
I found myself at a farmers market in santa fe, new mexico on a crisp saturday morning in october. wondered how many tomatoes I could feasibly fit inside my suitcase. or how many I could eat before I got on the airplane that would carry me back home.
02 May 2020
we let the weeds grow in the backyard, mostly out of laziness. in the meantime, a patch of wild daisies popped up and brought such unexpected joy I couldn't bare the thought of losing them. when the time finally came (that is, when the weeds were nearly to our knees), I asked if we could please mow around the small patch.
and so afterwards, there it stood. a clump of daisies in a spot so random, it looked like a mistake. a missed patch, a sloppy lawn job. but upon closer inspection: an accidental cutting garden, an small island of happy, short-lived as it was.