When I’m old, I’m going to sit in an orange floral armchair in my room at the nursing home, staring out my window at my hummingbird feeding all day long. It’s practically what I do now anyway, minus the orange floral armchair. I’ve become mildly obsessed.
Something I like about Washington is having hummingbirds come to my feeder year round. I took these today while it was snowing.
In the meantime, my hummingbird obsession has rubbed off onto Bryant in a weird way: he’s been sitting here googling the world’s smallest creatures for the past 30 minutes and reporting all his findings to me. It started with the world’s smallest hummingbird, and has since escalated to the smallest bat, the smallest mammal (which happens to be the same bat), the smallest vertebrate (which is a frog), the smallest primate (a lemur), the smallest crocodile (4 feet), the smallest snake (3.8 inches), etc etc. Now he’s reading to me all about honey bees. Maybe we should’ve been zoologists.
I’ve had this weird feeling lately. It started as nothing—so faint it was hardly noticeable. But it grew. And then it was strong enough that I could name it. So I did. And goodness knows once you name something it sticks around.
I miss Utah.
It’s almost comedic, isn’t it? How life changes you so slowly and subtly. Like wind against rock. Until it’s suddenly shocking when you finally notice how different you’ve become.
It’s those dang mountains. I crave them. I miss living right at their base before they jut off into the sky. I miss having them tower over my head. I miss the comfort of those massive, steady landmarks, always in view no matter where you turn.
I have an old friend who’s a dyed in the wool Utah soul. She lamented the claustrophobia-inducing trees of Connecticut and the gaping emptiness of the mid-west’s plains. “There are no mountains to keep the sky up off my head!” she’d say. I didn’t get it. Now I do. Those mountains.
Plus there’s this:
Southern Utah. Glowing, gritty, sandy red rocks.
It’s more than just the landscape I miss. You know, there was something cool about finally making my peace with the crazy culture. It was an awesome accomplishment. It wasn’t just that I appreciated the endless comedic fodder (and don’t get me wrong, it truly is endless). But I grew to really love the good parts. I learned to notice them, and see them more often. And I learned to make the best of the rest.
I haven’t forgotten that lesson. Washington is amazing. Breathtaking. I love this place. Plus I’m pretty sure I’m going to start loving it even more, now that I don’t have to work nights and weekends.
But isn’t it weird that moving to this gorgeously green state was what showed me I’ve become a desert girl? Me? The one who always maintained that no place is as beautiful as my green, rolling Connecticut hills. The one who would drive around the back roads of Provo and Salt Lake looking for tree tunnels that I could drive under and squeal, “It looks like home!”
And here I am. Nostalgically browsing through old photos. Reading Utah blogs and salivating. Fantasizing about Goblin Valley, Spiral Jetty, Antelope Island.
Sunbeams, verga, and big sky. Canyons, aspen groves, and a compass built right into the landscape. Tumbleweed, road trips, and all four seasons. Mexican food, carefree college nights, and the disgusting awesomeness of the Great Salt Lake.
Yes. Those are bugs. Love that salty lake.
I guess if I give it a couple years, I’ll probably be writing a post like this about the Pacific Northwest, too. But right now, even though I am terribly happy where I am, it’s a pretty nice feeling to have something to be nostalgic about. I’m a little homesick for my second home.
I woke up this morning to a bird outside my window. I love when that happens. I lay there in bed and listened to it chattering away. It was making all sorts of weird sounds, and it reminded me of one of my favorite youtube clips. It’s been a long time since I watched this, and it’s high time I saw it again. (I first saw this on my friend Alan’s blog almost a year ago, but I think it’s definitely worthy of reposting.)
Seriously, you’ll need to watch this to the end. And then probably a few more times from the top.
PS. Can I tell you how much I hate the verbs “lay/laid/laying” and “lie/lay/lain.” I’m never sure if I’m using them properly, and I’m usually not. I just spent the last fifteen minutes digging through dictionaries and debating with my husband in an effort to figure out which word I should use up there at the top of this post. And it’s a good thing I did, ’cause I was wrong. (I had “laid.” It’s supposed to be “lay.” I think.) Sheesh. Who came up with this junk? And why do I care? If I ruled the world—or at least if I ruled the English language—they’d all be the same. Or at the very least, the past tense of one verb would NOT be the present tense of a different verb. Seriously.
I’ve kept my web browser open to this “edit post” screen for a day or two now and have just been jotting down my thoughts as they come to me at random intervals. Here’s the result:
One of the downsides of not having an automatic dishwasher is forgotten leftovers in the fridge. Unless I’m willing to part with the container, I’ve got to scrub the month-old nastiness off by hand.
There’s an elderly man who lives in a house on the corner down the road. He has amazing grass. No really, it’s amazing. It’s cut so short and is so thick that it looks like green felt. The best is when fall comes. I swear he has some kind of force field around his yard that prevents leaves from landing. No matter what time of day I pass his house, there’s never more than a handful of leaves to be seen even though he’s got three or four big, leafy trees on his property. But it stays that way—completely leafless—all season. Almost every time I pass by in my car I see him out tending to his lawn, armed with a rake. I always look for him. Even though he never notices me, it makes me happy to see him. Maybe it’s his pristine grass that makes me happy—tidy green felt without a leaf in sight. Maybe it’s his impeccable attention to detail that makes me happy. I don’t know exactly. I wonder if he loves it when all the leaves have finally fallen. Or maybe he’s disappointed that he has to wait another year to do it all again.
I’m not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been kind of ambitious the last two days, making new recipes from a Martha Stewart cookbook. (I know, fancy.) Monday was a potato-onion frittata (fancy, I’m telling you) with a broccoli-chickpea-tomato salad. I was ecstatic when they actually came out looking somewhat like the pictures. Tuesday was a pear custard pie to celebrate our anniversary. Two years. Bryant made us a chiles rellenos casserole of sorts. It was good. I love it when he cooks. And when he brings home flowers.
You know what else I love? When milestones actually feel normal. I don’t mean that they’re unexciting, rather I mean that they make sense. Like graduating. It was fun and all, but it made sense to be done. I was finished and ready for the next thing. (Or rather, I thought I was.) Getting married was that way, too. My wedding day was honestly one of the happiest and most exciting days of my life—a huge milestone—but it made total sense. It wasn’t shocking and didn’t require any humongous adjustments for either of us (unless you count learning to fit two people into a teeny bed… we really should upgrade). So, our two-year anniversary was the same. Just another day, but still exciting too. During the day I texted Bryant, “It’s our anniversary. Cool, huh?” And he replied back, “Pretty neat.” …Like that. I love that. A normal milestone.
I’ve heard that Seattle has the highest suicide rate in the United States. (I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard it enough to think it’s common knowledge, and I’m too lazy to fact check.) And I’ve also heard Seattle’s notoriously gloomy weather is to blame. (Again, too lazy to read up on this.) I know some people genuinely suffer from some kind of “seasonal affect disorder.” I guess I do too. Just in a different way. I’m definitely affected by weather, but mostly I just love it. All of it. Lately it’s been that startlingly cool air when you open the front door. Mmm. And snow. Mmm. Oh, and another thing, I don’t really think Seattle is as gloomy as it’s reputed to be. Maybe I should see for myself.
I fear that I stew too long over decisions. Have I always been this way? I at least know that I’ve been this way for a while.
I was the only one on the road for miles. No lights shone before or behind me, only the stars above and the glowing half-moon. No lamp posts lit my way ahead on the curving canyon road, only my own cockeyed headlights.
Death Cab’s “Passenger Seat” began to play (listen to it in my player over there on the right), and I rolled my window down. Cold, night air poured in. I turned on the heater. I know it might seem ridiculous, but I couldn’t ignore the necessity of an open window as I drove through the deep night in such a tranquil canyon with music like that playing. And since the autumn mountain air is a bit nippy, a blowing heater takes just the right edge off. It’s a method my roommate and I perfected on stressful college nights when we needed a release. Call me crazy, but try it sometime and you’ll understand why I do it.
There was no stress tonight, though. I felt deliciously content. Happy. Beautiful dark mountains, changing seasons, the freedom of a full tank of gas, and the irreplaceable feeling of someone waiting for me at home.
Michael Stipe was telling me about how he’ll take the rain as I drove down the highway and approached my exit. His voice flooded my car. It filled up every possible space, rushed into every corner, to the point of bursting. Nearly.
It was quite possibly a perfect night. The ride up the mountain was just as refreshing as the ride down, as was the company in between.
It’s good for me to change my rhythm every now and again.
Remember being a kid and riding in the car with your friends, the windows down, singing along with your favorite song at the top of your lungs? How come we don’t do that as adults? I hope, many years down the road, after much more life has happened to me, I still find occasion to sing at the top of my lungs with friends in my car.
GOOD NEWS: I just spent about three hours gardening. Outside. In the sun. It was wonderful. BAD NEWS: I ripped a big hole in my gardening gloves and now my middle finger pops out of the top. …Which actually is kind of funny, so I guess it’s not that bad of news.
BAD NEWS: I almost just chucked my dirty clothes into the garbage instead of into the hamper. GOOD NEWS: I’m at least trying to use the hamper.
GOOD NEWS: I haven’t eaten any junk food today. BAD NEWS: I really haven’t eaten much of anything today. (Which is about to change right now, thankfully… and the “haven’t eaten any junk food” thing might change, too.)
BAD NEWS: My right eye has been twitching constantly all day long. Talk about annoying. GOOD NEWS: Um, nothing. That’s just bad news. But also kind of funny.
GOOD NEWS: I’ve made a goal to blog every day this month (though I missed yesterday and this past weekend… I’m pretending that didn’t happen.) BAD NEWS: That goal makes for some less-than-stellar posts, kind of like this one. Thanks for sticking with me anyway!
(Sorry for the title… I know it’s terribly overdone… but… I just couldn’t help myself.)
So guess what. I’ve become a flickrer. I’ve just started, so the only thing I have up so far are some of my pictures from San Francisco (which I completely and utterly LOVED, in case there was any doubt in you). If you’re interested, you can see them HERE.
I know that by the time February rolls around a lot of people are aching for summertime, but I’m loving this winter. I’m hoping for a new, thick blanket of snow any time now.
There’s something magical about a snowy night to me. Maybe it’s because the the feeling of snow stuck to my eyelashes is fused in my memory to the hopeful anticipation of canceled school. All I know is there’s something simultaneously soothing and mysterious about the night sky being washed pink. I adore the quiet patter of flakes landing on the ground punctuated by the distant sound of snow plows grinding against the asphalt. Ah, is there anything better?
I did a quick perusal of Flickr and dug up these lovelies. I love how a snowy night has a way of making the noisy places in our world quiet…
…and making the already-quiet places in our world positively silent.