my life in photographs

I often dream of having a giant field where I am free to garden and play my banjo. Here, there is a home where the snow never shows uninvited and the kitchen stove is always brewing something for the bellies of anyone who lives or visits. I grow snapdragons in every color, they live like they're beanstalks and ladders, beginning as baby seeds in earth and stretching well above my head, even on my tallest day. The garden grows wide with so many flowers, if one is pulled by wind or weather, I don't feel like I am losing much. When all has been tended to and the dusk draws near, I find my chair that looks out into the country and I let my banjo ring. This is my often dream, and often dream of it, I do.
I'd rather be growing snapdragons in the yard and watching the bees.

This is how to leave your head or the winter or the nagging that comes on Mondays. Decorating my house with flowers and knowing there is a certain kind of satisfaction in doing these things I want to do, instead of just thinking of them and spending my days begrudging the energy required to do so. Tiny victories, that is all I am after today.

I do not know how I survived a bad day or a bruised self before I played guitar. It is in these strings where I begin again and again and again. This is our gretsch resonator, the guitar which plays best wearing a slide and used as a tool for letting your worries slide along with it. I could have found other ways to spend my time, but playing this silver stringed machine in open D makes me feel like it's a good thing life came to be the way it did.
I have been counting down the hours, the minutes, the seconds until the first sign of spring arrives. Seems to be the only poems or stories I write in the winter appear like I have no mind and only half get written, none are finished, but when the birds begin to sing again, when the day drops light onto the skin, when the berries break through the bough and the dirt of a broken garden begins to show, I know I am seeing through my own eyes again, instead of the rust colored specs of what was a gloomy winter. 
We had two kittens visiting us, one with grey lines like a wild cat and one wearing what looked like a black mask. Their fur was soft like only a newborn knows softness and their heartbeats sounded like a tiny orchestra. I watched them skirt across the carpet and climb onto high couches as their tails curved and swayed. They clawed at my hair as I knelt to get closer. They made what was routinely known as a dog person laugh and grow with joy and surrender to their sweetness. Imagine a ladder and escaping out of a grey day just by holding a kitten in your arms. 

Do not let these photographs mislead you - we are still waiting for the clouds to part so we can remember what it was like to have the sun on our side. We do what we can by living in a house plenty with dried flowers and cuttings from last year's garden. I title these 'my life in photographs' and I'm not entirely sure why, considering, they only reveal parts of my life, not the whole, but I cannot imagine anybody preferring to see me in my pajamas to a bouquet of bright flowers!

How has your life been lately? Tell me, what is on your mind?

Dreams and Embroidered Jeans

I would have liked for this morning to begin with a strong mug of coffee held between my hands and somebody to listen to me as I talked about the dreams I had last night. Instead, I am sitting alone in a slightly bright mood that waxes and wanes with the weather. In black ink, I write out the dreams and as I do, they begin to make even less sense and then I wonder how strange I must be to have dreams such as these. There were talking gorillas, an endless supply of watermelon growing on trees, somebody telling me the sun was on its way out, an uncle whom I haven't seen recently telling me not to be so hard on myself, cats the size of city buildings, music notes where pillows used to sit and potatoes growing where the snapdragons used to rise. When I opened my eyes this morning, I felt different than I felt when I closed them. Have you ever had that? A dream that takes off running and when it is over, if it is ever really over, you walk down the hall towards the coffee maker feeling like a new person, wondering where that old person went, all because of a dream you had as the moon stood bright.

I have never been somebody who believed dreams had a hidden meaning, most of my dreams are puzzle pieces where every edge has the same jagged shape. They don't fit together, they just exist. I am far more curious about the leftover feeling, when it stays with you, when you have already woken and yet what you felt or seen or heard lingers on. I sit here, hours later, feeling like there is something in me that wants to begin again, like roses do even after the harshest of winters, so I trade the usual dresses for denim and I walk into the usual woods where dreams of what could be have suddenly returned to me. After months of lacking any paint on the paintbrush so to speak, it is a welcome feeling this feeling of being able to dream again.

Hello comes the prospect of sunflower seeds, goodbye goes the dreariness of a month ago. 

outfit details: american eagle jacket, thrifted blouse, topshop at hudson's bay embroidered jeans, asos butterfly necktie

we came here to visit the birds

We came here to visit the birds because in doing so we let our expectations of the day become less trivial, less want-based, less wasted, more like slumber at the end of a night or food at the first blush of morning. Standing at the hillside and looking onto the trees feels necessary for those of us who are prone to ceiling stares when we cannot sleep, those of us who feel frantic for all the lives we'll never live. To watch the birds not only means to marvel at nature or to let fresh air replace the recycled air we're so used to breathing, to watch the birds means to wander outside of our own heads for a little while, a certain kind of walking from the mind and into the wellspring of daylight and what it means to be us.

outfit details: free people boots, chicwish dress

5 goals for March

 Tomorrow, March begins. It is as if February was wearing running shoes and I barely remember a second of it passing. I didn't make any of my goals for February, mostly because I forgot to, partly because I had the winter blues all month long and the last thing on my mind was setting goals and adhering to them. It is in my hopefulness that March will be found more fair, artistic and wonderful for us all! 

1. No more stir-crazy
I need to spend more time outside, even if it is cold on the cheeks. More walks in the day near the woods would surely equal a happier human in me. Winter makes me feel cooped up and then I pity myself and that is not a good way to live.

2. Food makes the world go round
 I want to cook something I have never cooked before. I think it would welcome a healthy change to challenge myself with something other than music and art. I tend to stick to what I know when it comes to living but sometimes a person needs to do something different. I want to try something more complex, even if it ends in disaster for the taste buds! 
3. Something to match my solemn winter mood
 Learn I wish my baby was born on the banjo. This one is the dictionary definition of sorrow.

 4. Paint and re-do
8 years taking bubble baths in a shallow tub, looking upwards to see wallpaper aging, wishing it could feel like it belonged to me, this most frequented bathroom across the hall. I bought paint ages ago with the hope that I would paint the bathroom and make it mine, but I have yet to do so. March on March, there are no excuses for it now.

5. Log Out
When warmer months are here, I rarely ever log into social media. I am too busy listening to the bees and standing in the garden. I need to learn how to do this in the winter time too. I fear I am spending far too much time reading what other people are up to and comparing my life to theirs. As if my life is a shell, and theirs is a planet. I need to stop. Log out. Get fresh air. Drink tea. Play banjo. Watch the squirrel stealing pine cones or a television show. Forgetting about the world sometimes builds you a better armor so when you step back into it, you don't lose yourself in the process.

What are your goals? Ideas? Dreams? Plans? What does March mean for you?
Let me know in the comments! 


Reasons to get up in the morning

 All I ever expected out of daybreak was a warm cup of coffee, real food to eat, some plants to water and a friend to talk to. I suppose, I have always found reasons to live for those quiet hours before I am tasked with the rest of a day. I don't even mind watching the snow fall across the peaks and valleys of a town or a life. When it is morning, the world appears sweet before me, like a honeybee has buzzed by and all I can do is be glad that I am alive to see it happen. It should be addressed though, I am not really a morning person, as in I don't necessarily wait for mornings to come or head to bed at decent hours so I can watch the sun rise, but when I am there, by accident or purpose, it is a nice place to be.

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February was cold, colder than how I remember last year's February, but I am still breathing, and I know there are worse things to wonder about than how dreary the sky's mood. I am here, in my bedroom, with the light of a candle casting shadows against the white paint of a wall and C is strumming a silver stringed guitar while I take turns between the space and delete key. I swear that is what being a writer is, from January to December, from June to May, a whole lot of words being erased only to reveal what you wanted to say all along. Sometimes, if the writer is lucky, what ends up being written is far more than what you wanted to say, as if the words are being written by somebody else and you just happen to be the one pushing a pen onto paper or letters to a keyboard. What comes to be in those sentences is similar to a shovel being used to dig yourself out of a hole, a welcome home, the same way a mother whispers in your ear even when she is not there, a way of being that is beyond the art of daily living.

What some don't realize is that writers aren't always writing for the audience, for you, or for the applause. Same goes for humans of any kind. We live and we do these things because they give us a reason to survive winter - both winters so real you can watch your cheeks turn rosy and imagined winters where the frost is less of a product of seasonal change and more of a mood you can't seem to shake. These words, these songs, these paintings, these pots of tea, these however you choose to spend your days, they are lighthouses and maps to the wavering sea boats we're put in the day we are born. So, although February is cold and grim, there will always be reasons for us get up in the morning. One of them is for art, to make the world a less mean place. Another is for you, out of every time a terrible misfortune could have struck down and left your name in the evening news, you're still here.

Outfit details: thrifted blouse & dress, journal & beret gift

winter braids and boredom

I sit here with my continual longing for springtime. At least, we have the Chinook arches that blow through the city, allowing us to have a day or two of spring-like warmth. I know, I know, I'm prone to crying out for the season where flowers grow. I mean, more than half of my blog posts talk about the weather, but it is more than the weather which I call out for. 

I want to feel that eternal hope, you know the one — where daylight hours are long with so many wonderful things to do, like sitting underneath the sun and hearing pebbles be whisked away by the creek bed or knowing that the skin of a banjo can be sweetly nourished with bird chatter and dirt from the gardener's hands. I want to take my socks off and feel the soft blades of grass spring about my feet. I don't want to walk into the forest with fear that I may fall on patches of ice or hear the absolute silence that exists only when snow covers the sound. I exist to be more than the lazy bones I wear during winter, I am so much more than who I have been lately.

Before anything else, I am human and although there is so much to see, to read, to know, and to do, boredom has been drifting in and out of the rooms I walk into as if there is a fly buzzing around my ears. I don't know if you get like this too, but I am looking for something I do not yet have. Could it be time spent away? A lifestyle change? Roots planted in something new? What could bring me to this place where boredom does not begin? Sometimes, I wonder if winter always had a way of saying the time is now and yet, I have spent the whole of my life thinking it was springtime and winter was just in the way of my growth — flowers, flowers, warm air, flowers, green grass leading home. I am so content when the garden is growing that I hardly notice how little I may do in the day and I cannot possibly come to think about boredom when the sun is shining and I'm wandering barefoot through the splendor.

The garden is a bright and bountiful thing, but if you cannot have a physical emblem of happiness, you must learn to create it in your own head. I have learned through the years to be really good at making my own happiness without any need for others or what the world expects from me, but as of this winter we're wading through, my skill in the art has diminished so greatly that I'm not sure what to do. Perhaps, for the first time, I have learned to be so busy with music that I have forgotten how to be when there are no gigs nearing. I lived a life before music, and yet a year has passed since I last spent a month without it, so I am rediscovering how I once felt when I was making little money and overthinking what to do with art and life.

It is not yet spring — the time where life seems to flutter like the wings of a butterfly and I am once again who I know myself to be, but a person does grow tired of waiting, so let it be known, tomorrow is a new day and I am going to pause my longing so I can relish in the strange discovery that is being with breath. After all, the banjo strings still ring and the heart still does beat like a tiny but tough drummer rented a home within. The dust circles the windowpane as if to be a reminder of how these rooms will go on when I no longer gather my thoughts here, when I no longer have hands for the holding, or a tongue for the tasting of good things like toasted bread and honey.  

Boredom may furrow a mean brow towards me, but is it really boredom that chases me now?

outfit details: Good Looking Objects earrings, winners blouse, asos butterfly necktie, Montana tack shop boots, oasap skirt