Friday, September 7, 2012

Small and wordless

Part 1

I wait in between and perplexed
and try to imagine the rest
and try to imagine what's next
and try to heap coals off this chest
as hummingbirds leap off the nest
 and fasten themselves to my vest.
An hourglass pours out the time
an hourglass flipped on it's side
and hourglass pouring out grain.
My fire reflects in my rain
the fire-rain collects in my brain
and Earth absorbs both like a drain
as here on The Floor I remain
as here on the floor I abstain
as here (just for now) I remain.


Part 2
She is scooped out and hollow
smooth, pale and light
like a fire would glow
from beneath her, behind
like lightening could strike her head
and cause her fingers to give off sparks
and you would watch and have to blink.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


 (Pre-Script: The first part of my Pepper Spray adventure, simply titled "MACE"  was posted three posts ago, so if you feel like it, I recommend scrolling down and reading that post, then returning to read this post.  I will patiently wait here while you do that...)
Now that I have a pepper spray canister with which to run, I am learning the proper code of ethics while running with an obvious can of Pepper Spray in your hand.  (obvious because of the word MACE written down the strap on the outside of my hand in red, for instance.) By "I am learning," I really mean that I am making them up as I go along, based on my own ideas and the facial expressions of other people on the trail at the same time as me and my Pepper Spray. Before I had the pepper spray, I was on a semi-lazy mission to say "Hi" or "Good Morning" and smile from beneath my sun protective baseball cap to anyone I encountered on the trail.  By greeting people in such a way, I was (so I told myself) brightening their morning, possibly saying the one nice thing they heard all day, while simultaneously demonstrating that I was a person who was Aware Of Her Surroundings, probably more so than you would have guessed, what with my headphones and sunglasses on,  and was therefore not a very good candidate for victim hood on that particular morning. 
     Now that I run with "an armed weapon," as my husband says, I think that the best technique is to say "Good Morning" but leave out the smile.  Because to smile while obviously holding a small canister with a strap that very clearly in bold red letters had the word "MACE" written down it would look insane.  The message I am now conveying when I say "Good Morning" without a smile is that yes, I know I am carrying a canister of Pepper Spray, and yes, I am aware of my surroundings even with these technological trappings surrounding my head, but I have no intention to harm you, I still wish you well. Only this matter of running out in the wilderness is serious business, 'cause we've all heard the stories of the girl, and the mountain lion, and the stalker hiding out in the bushes, and the fill in the blank you name it, we have all heard that story, including me, so therefore I am packing heat, but in an obvious manner like I have nothing to hide, because I have nothing to hide, truly, I am not angry at the world, generally, but I am not unaware of it's schemes, sadly, and will only use my weapon of choice if I am so provoked as to need to use it, reluctantly. 
     I think this is a good strategy.
   Today on the trail, there was a young woman walking with her dog.  He was cute, but he definitely looked like he had at least part pit bull in him, and I am sure that the woman is used to her dog's appearance inciting fear in those around her.  I noticed that she said "Good Morning" to me in an almost reverent, guarded tone as I ran past her; it only occurred to me after I had passed her and her dog to remember that I was sporting the "MACE" strap.  And I thought, "I bet people are afraid of her dog; I bet she thinks that if she doesn't appear friendly that I might spray the dog."   but I had no intention of spraying the dog.  Or anyone else, for that matter.  Her dog seemed happy and peaceful and all like, "just going on a walk with my lady, nothing to see here, arf arf," and I respect those qualities in a dog. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Man Wired

Men like their wires.  
They sometimes keep whole boxes full of them, chords and wires of different thicknesses and a variety of colors, for they could potentially belong to different devices and work in different ways.  
A woman need not mess with this tangle.  
I think my husband is just happy knowing that his wires exist and that he owns them.  Far be it from me to get in the way of that.  Suddenly we'll be sitting here and the movie will sound a little bit louder or like a real life experience, and I hadn't even noticed it or noticed that it had previously not been quite so loud and lifelike, until he mentions it to me, like my whole movie watching and music listening experience has just been super enhanced, my ability to enjoy it has been amplified, but I didn't even notice, until he says "doesn't that sound SO GREAT?"  and I had no idea, but it's cuz he did something stealth and manly with his box of wires, connected this speaker to that component or somesuch thing, and now he is way happier.  But I'm the kind of girl who's just as happy with 36" as I am with 53",   flat screen or non flat screen, and I think as long as I can hear the dialogue, it's good enough for me, I don't actually have to feel the vibrations of the car driving behind the person on screen as if the car was going to jump out of the TV and run me over while I sit here peacefully on my own couch in my very own living room to enjoy the movie.  But far be it from me to point that out to my wire happy spouse.  I think most men are happy as long as they have a chance to play around with and change up the wires every now and then.  So I let him have his way with that and don't dare ever touch his box of wires.  I'm happy to make the popcorn and follow along with the plot.  I'm happy when it all gets resolved in the end, like so many wires in a closed up box somewhere in the dusty closet waiting for  the perfect opportunity to serve.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Week's Bugs.

On Friday, I was drove down I5 South. You were sitting in the passenger's seat. It was dark, rural, and just past twilight when the bugs hit.  We couldn't see them, but all of a sudden our windshield was being pummeled by so many tiny bugs, we thought it might actually be raining. 
But there was no rain.  Just a lot of bugs. 
Our car still bears the carnage.  Which just means we haven't been to the car wash yet. 
Which just means I'd rather spend my cash on Starbucks.
We drive that particular stretch of road so often that the car wash seems pointless; we'll get the car clean, then drive through next week's bug storm, and we wont be able to tell which carcasses are which.  Last week's bugs look just like this week's bugs when they are splattered, am I right?

On Sunday, you were driving back up I5 North, when it was dark but getting darker.  We could see where the sun was going down behind two distant hills beyond the empty fields where the bugs had been two days before.  I watched the sun set until my eyes hurt and I couldn't easily make out what was directly in front of me without a lot of blinking over a little bit of time.  I kept saying "look at that, look at that," and pointing to the lowering sun, even though you were driving and needed to keep your eyes on the road, needed to not be blinded by the light of glory just then.

By the time we got home, it was fully dark. You said "do we have to bring everything in right now?" I said "yes," so we did.
We walked inside, put everything away.  You said "I like that you put everything away, right away."  I said I couldn't rest until I knew it was done. 

On Monday morning, I went running down a now familiar path.  I looked up and saw that the sky was blue, it was definitely blue, and right above the blue, a line of smoke. 

After that, I took it easy.



I now own a little hand held canister of pepper spray, complete with a comfortable hand strap so that it's easy to hold.  When worn correctly, the word "MACE" shows on the outside of my hand, so that any approaching mayhem starters will be psychologically overcome before they are physically overcome, and will think twice before attacking me.  In the event that it is a mountain lion who attacks, I hope that I get the one lone mountain lion who can read, and then retreat with it's tail between it's legs back to the rocky craggy cave like hideout from which it originally sprung itself the moment it sensed my presence.  I made sure I knew how to properly use the little hand held spray canister, in hope that I will never have to use it.  My husband gave me a pepper spray tutorial.  He said "you can't just sort of spray it and shriek and run away; you have to keep spraying it directly into the person's eyes until he is incapacitated." he said "Pretend you're me, I know you can do it."  He also said "You are basically armed with a weapon."  I told my husband, "I really don't think anything will happen to me on the trail, because when I run, God goes with me, and there are a whole lot of angels that surround me."  He smiled at me and said something like "that's nice, take the pepper spray."
When I was a very young child, my father used to say to me, "If anyone ever tries to hurt you, poke him in the eyes."  and he demonstrated by pushing two pointed fingers into the air in front of him so I would know the proper eye poking technique. 
So far I have never had to poke anyone in the eyes.  I'm glad because aside from the obvious reasons, eye poking feels much too personal and squishy.  I don't even touch the eyeballs of people that I like.  At least with pepper spray, I can keep a ten to twelve foot distance.
     So armed with my weapon of choice this morning, I added a mile on to my usual run, the first half of which was a steep uphill incline with sharp curves.  What enticed me was the sign at the base of the hill which read "Steep incline and sharp curves, next .5 miles."  I reasoned that if I ran to the summit, I'd have to run back down, which would be exactly 1 mile, and then I could say that I'd done it, which is my favorite reason of all, and the downhill part would be easy, and then I could finish my usual run.  I also reasoned that my 20 year old self would have run it even without pepper spray and without question, because my 20 year old self was just a little bit more naive and insane than my 36 year old self. 
 But not much. 
 I don't mind that. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


     I am learning that summer in Redding means that you never know when it's going to be smokey outside.  One day it may be clear, but then the next you wake up, and the air is thick with smoke. When it's smokey outside, you are not supposed to go running.  It's not good to breath smoke into your lungs.  It will hurt them like smoking a cigarette, but you don't even need the cigarette, you just need to breath deeply. On smokey days, I like the smell when I open my front door.  It smells like someone is having a barbecue, or camping, and I was once again not invited.  But then I feel guilty for enjoying the smell, because I know, I KNOW That it means there is a fire somewhere, so I hope and pray that it's on a hilltop far away from any homes and that no one is hurt or needs to be relocated.  
     It's been smokey all week, but I can't tell from where the smoke comes.  So I can't tell to where I should go. Safest bet: stay inside.   
     Today I learned that the first state in the union was Delaware.  I'm sure I already learned that in 5th grade, but I have since forgotten, so I learned it all over again today.  I learned by driving behind a car with a license plate I did not recognize, it was black with orange or yellow writing, so I read it, and  above the numbers it said "The First State," and below the numbers it said "Delaware."  I thought, "I wonder who ever even thinks of Delaware anymore, yet it was the FIRST STATE, the one from which all other states followed after, including, a long while later, my beloved California."  Of course the people who live in Delaware are always aware of it's existence, but what is the current population of Delaware, anyway?  Like 7?  Our ancestors got over it a long time ago. 
      (The other night, my husband said to me, "Do you ever think that it's weird that our country is called "The United States?") 
     I'd like to talk to those 7 (or so) people.  I'd like to interview them just to find out what their lives are like, how they grew up, how much of it was so much like mine, but which parts were different, and which of these differences are different than ones that my next door neighbor could give, because they are unique to having grown and lived in such a physical place and climate as Delaware. Of which I know nothing, neither from personal experience, nor from book reading.  I'd like to know if they have TJ Maxx there; I'd like to know if they wash or warsh their clothes.
     For as long as I can remember, I've never lived out of this state, but even moving to a city four hours north of where I grew up, I find there are so many cultural and climatic differences.  Unlike San Jose, we have Winco here, and I find that the women wear an unusual amount of lace.  And yet we share the same Governator.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wild Berries

Tell me if this has ever happened to you: I opened my mouth to say a mundane truth, but what came out of my mouth instead was a profound truth, the kind that has the potential to ruin you, then rebuild you back. It was the truth that had been nagging at the back of my brain, but I hadn't given it full frontal attention yet, at least not in a long long time; I hadn't given a voice to it, and saying the words out loud: "I am afraid, this is what I fear," healed me in a way that only when you shine a light in a dark cave can; where the light burns and burns away at the grime around the edges of that place, the walls start to erode, and in come the flood waters, and the next thing you know, you are weeping and even when you feel controlled enough to stop, you continue to weep because it feels right, it feels good to let the moving water wash that place OUT now that the light is shining on it.  You fall asleep exhausted but then wake up feeling the emptiness of that space you'd cleared, but keep the light shining there, look at it, wait and see, wait and see.  Awkward in your own skin because new steps don't feel natural or even comfortable when they are still new, when you are still blazing a new trail through your own heart vines. 
      I remembered how on Sunday night, we were walking through ruins of old broken down brick buildings; this was in California, so obviously these buildings were built in a time before building with bricks was prohibited in California (earthquakes) and behind the ruined buildings were the brambles that had grown up through what used to be someones home.  Yards and yards of berry bushes; bramble and bushes ripe and dripping juice, just behind what was once a great catastrophe.  We ate berries, they were sweet, berry sour and abundant, but if we don't pick them this week, they are going to all start to dry up and rot on the vine. But it is not easy to pick wild overgrown berries; left untended so long, they are surrounded by protective thorns, and who knows what thrives in the dark depths of their bushes, probably snakes and rodents with sharp teeth and diseases, so fast things can get taken over, when not consciously and vigorously maintained.