Sunday, October 3, 2010

foggy mornings

Back in college I would occasionally get up early and sit on a bench that was carved out of a massive tree trunk and smoke cigarettes with my friend Carrie. We used to sip coffee in our pajama pants, surrounded by redwoods and silence, watching the fog slowly disappear. Carrie introduced me to this practice of hers-- getting up before the world begins to stir. She has a delicate nature, it's part of her charm, and I think that she needed to prepare herself each day for whatever would transpire with these moments of reflection. Regardless of how early I got up I would inevitably get swept up in it-- the sunshiny exploits of the noisemakers. But Carrie always maintained that morning calm. Inside her is an endless foggy morning.

My sweet friend just got engaged this past week. I knew that she would eventually marry the fellow she's been dating, but I was still somehow surprised and-- I think the appropriate word here is "moved." I was reflecting on those mornings in Santa Cruz and thought that, perhaps, in her silence, Carrie was waiting. Her eternal calm reflected a vague knowledge of something to come, a destiny she would gracefully fall into like a warm embrace. She's not just a bride to be but a grown up woman. A grown up woman who wears fuzzy gray sweaters.

I'm sitting here wondering what will happen when the fog clears this time. Little blond kids, most likely. I continue to be amazed by my friends and the fact that they just keep on growing up. Off we go again into different phases of our lives. Thank goodness for these milestones-- marriages, graduations, birthdays and such. Otherwise when would I take the time out to notice how wonderful and heartbreakingly beautiful growing up has been?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The move to Alaska

Before flying out of Los Angeles to Alaska, the place I'd chosen to move, I sat on the blue carpet of the Airport terminal-- one of those big circular ends of the Airport with 5 different gates leading to 5 different planes leading to 5 different destinations across the globe-- and I learned how to play hearts. I've "learned how to play hearts" several times in my life, it must be said, because I can never remember the rules of that game so I just tell people I've never played before. This particular time I was being taught by a guy that would become my boyfriend and with whom I would eventually live with in a sad little basement apartment with an obstructed view of a broken down datsun. But that's a different blogpost. A little kid came to look at my cat. I waited with several other kids (yeah we were kids, at 24 or 25 years old) who were also moving to AK.

I don't remember much about the plane ride. Never take your cat out of it's cage on a plane, that's what I got out of that experience.

I met a stranger in the airport who was to be my first roommate in AK, and he took me to our little house on the opposite side of town. As I followed him to his car in the underground garage I kept waiting to confront the cold (it was January and I'd lived in California my whole life). It hit me in the garage, a refreshing, icy feeling. I was almost disappointed not to walk into a snowstorm. I expected a much more extreme reaction from my body, but I was okay with it. (I'd get my fill of extreme discomfort later on.) It was nighttime, and my first view of Alaska was driving out of the airport to empty streets, the sidewalks covered with piles of snow well over 5 feet, and massive pines with white covered boughs. It looked fake to me, not in a negative way, but it resembled the only things I'd seen before that were similar: fake snow scenes made of foam, plastic, and covered in glitter; ancient black and white movie scenes; etc.

The next important moment was the next morning, waking up and seeing the sun get up at 9am, just barely rising and lying low but shining bright below the treeline on a bright blue sky, and the view out of my window-- snow, sunlight, and the Chugach Mountains. The Chugach. Covered in snow, infinitely older than me, infinitely larger than me, holding onto parts of this world that I thought were lost to America-- real wilderness and all the secrets of land that has never been stepped on and animals that will never see a human. A secret part of my heart, a part of myself that is frightening to consider. It is not to be understood. You belong to it. You love it, and you fear it.

That was my first morning.