Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The power of music

At the symphony last night.  Violins crying.  Piano solo, whisper soft; the hall shrouded in a silence like an underwater world.  Tears falling, remembering.   

Monday, June 9, 2014

The church of the holy water

The Wellness and Lap Pools of the Lynnwood Recreation Center,
 a much-loved sanctuary.
I've written about him before, back in October 2012 (see "Get your groove on", 10/15/12), and today I learned his name.  Ed is a regular at The Church of the Holy Water, my term of endearment for our neighborhood pool, preferring the open deep end where he descends to the bottom, swims along the contoured surface, and positions himself for a slow, relaxed ascent to the surface.  I have long admired his easeful water play, and today I told him so.

Ed had something to say about his affinity for underwater swimming: "I grew up in a staunch Republican family, always at the country club.  I was the black sheep, preferring swimming over golf." He says his goal is to practice calm.  "When I swim along the bottom and begin to need air, I calm my thoughts and slowly come to to surface."  

That explains a lot.  When not letting go in his underwater world, Ed can be found smiling and conversing with fellow swimmers as though he has nary a care.  I love that this man is intentional in his search for calm, that he finds it at the bottom of the pool, and that he felt comfortable enough to tell me so.

Now, excuse me while I resume my lap swimming meditation, albeit on the surface!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Expressing ourselves

Molly, better known as the traffic and safety fairy at the Seattle
3-Day in the mid-late 2000s, displays her airborne style.
We were gassing up our cars at the same time today, which is how he came into my field of vision.  Eating from a jar of peanuts, he relaxed in a shaft of sun while his gas tank reached its limit.  He was wearing the most remarkable pair of shorts, and I would be truly remiss to not mention them!

A mid-thigh style with a conservative cuff, these eye-catching light lime-green shorts were festooned with tiny turquoise whales. I could not help myself, and so I approached to give him two thumbs up on his kick-ass attire.  He smiled and replied, "I've gotten so many compliments on them!"  

Here's to each of finding our true colors and wearing them with pride.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Connecting with intention

Sandi seeks connection with mama and her ducklings,
Usa-River, Tanzania, 2004.
I had two items to drop off at the mail mart, neither of which required money changing hands.  Zulli was tending to another customer, and I could have easily breezed in, dropped the goods on the side counter, and announced with a quick smile, "Just dropping off!"  I see folks do it all the time and Zulli and his business partner, Shamim, navigate those interactions with efficient, cheerful swiftness and grace.

I took a different tact and waited my turn.  I know how Zulli and Shamim love to connect with their customers.  There's a drive there that goes beyond superb customer service, which they always deliver; they minister to folk.  Thankfully, their approach has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with extending compassion, courtesy, and grace.

After a brief interaction over the items, Zulli stopped mid-stride and looked me in the eye: "You're keeping well, then?"  
"Yes, Zulli, thank you; very well."

I ask you, is there anything more comforting than having someone check in with you and really mean it?  Which is why I waited my turn, so grace could flow between us.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sharing 58

A beaming Mimi receives a stately escort
 from her eldest grandson, Michael, at the
Derick-Helbig wedding, July 1998.
There's a corner in the side yard that has become, quite organically, Mimi's Place.  By midday, warm sun caresses the spot for a few blessed hours, then slips behind the house and lingers.

It began with a soft-pink camellia last spring, a gift from our neighbors in honor of my dear mother's passing.  Over time, other things found a home there: a rock cairn, a blue-bronze heron statue, and just today, a set of wind chimes with a rich deep timbre.    

All of these things hold signficance and help me more fully embrace my mother and my memory of her.  Though I have many varied images and feelings of Mimi in my head and heart, I realized today that I most commonly picture her as this photo so aptly depicts: an engaging, vibrant woman of 58; the age I shall be this year.  

Coincidence?  Fodder for psychoanalysis?  Bah!  I have a different theory.  I think I remember her this way because it was an especially happy time for her.  Finding her stride after several life-altering experiences, Mom seemed at the top of her game. She and Andy were 12 years into their 25 year marriage, her interior design business was thriving, and her life appeared balanced in a deeply rewarding way.  Meaningful work and good health; time for volunteering and travel; adventures with family, a measure of quiet of her own crafting; her life was all of these things.  

Today I remember Mimi in her 50s and celebrate with both arms raised!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Along came the twins --------------------> : fellow artists willing to play!

Ma (Heang), Jenny, Riley, and Nicholas: co-creators of "Toys don't eat dirt"
An alternative to planting flowers, April 2014.  Slugs and curious onlookers welcome!
Every cool thing needs a flag.

Autographs offered willingly by twins, Riley and Nicholas, nearing 4.

Treasures from my storied life, 1975-2014.