sweet sleep

I dreamed in french last night.

‘tu parle français?’ I asked the dream stranger.

And then, immediately embarrassed, I changed the question to the more formal ‘vous parlez francais?’

The accent came from the back of my throat, like a soft purr, and I felt a subconscious sadness for a life I once lived.

This stranger in my dream, he was the only unknown. Like most dreams, this was peppered with people from my past: a boy who broke my heart, another who treated it like junk. We mended old wounds, apologized and were happy in a way that gives all heartache a little more closure.

And right now, that’ll have to do. So rarely do we ever get the closure we need.

the first snow

I couldn’t sleep last night. The wind howled and the bones of my apartment creaked against the gusts that blew through town.

I lay in bed, waiting for my alarm to go off and I heard that old familiar sound of metal scraping pavement as my neighbor got out his shovel.

Snow. And probably ice.

As the sun rose, I pressed my face against the pane, fogging up the glass with my hot breath, looking out at the snow-capped chimneys,  just as I had done hundreds of times before. There I was, wearing  inside-out-backwards pajamas, ready for crunchy-snowman-snow, feeling the cold linoleum on my bare feet.

And then I was flying home to Cleveland after my first winter abroad, seeing the neighborhoods dusted with white, twinkling from above in the pressurized airplane cabin.

And then I was waking up to a blizzard in Luxembourg, discovering old rusty sleds in the basement, drinking hot coffee and pulling apart flaky croissants.

And then I was here, listening to the gas heater rattle around, eating thick slices of sourdough bread with homemade pumpkin butter, swaying to old, scratchy records.

“I am younger at the first snow. When I see it, suddenly, all little and white and moving, then I am in love again and very young and I believe in everything.” – Anne Sexton

Fall

The beginning of Fall always feels the most romantic – the quiet chilly gently pushing you into the cozy rooms, to closed spaces. It’s as though Summer inspires outward, independent adventure while the chilly air reigns us back home.

I find with this weather I’m much more prone to lazy weekends and relaxing weekdays – staying in to cook, read, play my ukulele and of course, write.

Isn’t it funny how changing leaves make you think of love lost? Of tattered memories? Of moments you wish you could relive? It’s probably very obvious that fall inspires me to wax more poetic than usual, but I think that’s why I love this season. I’m a glutton for heart-ache.

And really, aren’t we all?

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I wrote this on the back of an airplane barf-bag almost exactly a year ago while I was flying back to Columbus from New Mexico.  I had just visited an old friend, in an old place, revisiting old cherished memories and, like most writers, my only way to process everything was to write. I stashed this paper away in an old notebook where it lived before I  found it this summer during the ceiling debacle. 

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I realized as the plane took, and the mountains disappeared into the distance, that I cry every time I leave. The tears slowly, silently streaming down my face in the pressurized cabin were no different than those on the train ten years earlier. No different that the tears that welled in my eyes in the rusty suburban as we drove away from the cabin.

That tighteningi n my chest is the same. Its painful pressure feels so sharp, as though I am leaving part of myself behind. I thought that I could leave, stay away for a bit, give myself time to acclimate to civilization. To feel freedom among the concrete and the noise. To get lost in the busy chaos. But it was more real; the black and white even further define. The reality is, like most of us, I am a conflicted dichotomy of personalities.

The first feels her adrenalin surge with city lights and strangers. She gets a thrill by sipping cocktails with different men, finding new haunts and memories in a constantly changing cityscape.

…and then there’s the other one. The one who craves the mountains. (Not craves, yearns.) Yearns so deeply for this place. For him. For bluegrass tunes on beautiful worn instruments while the moon silently looks on.

 

Living.

There’s something about a cold rainy day that reminds me of the Impasse du Chateau, the cobblestones drenched with wet leaves, fresh graffiti on the gate, the riff raff cat-calling in Portuguese slang.

Rainy walks for tiny cups of coffee and big buttery croissants.

Waiting for the train, feeling it *whishhhhh by as it came to a stop.

Sometimes that lifetime feels so very far away. ‘Here is where I’ll grow up,’ I would think to myself. ‘This is where I’ll become the adult I need to be.’ But I realized that it was moving to Columbus, starting a career, beginning a new life  where I have confronted true challenge, very real heartache, and joy that stems from adversity.

It’s easy to travel, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s easy to run away from life.

Living. It’s the everyday living that’s hard. And if you can’t master that, no matter where you go, you’ll be stuck.

Fall is hard

I sat in the car tonight and let the lights pass me slowly on the cobbly brick roads. I clenched my fists so tight and thought about how fall is so hard. And how it shouldn’t be hard.

 

You want it so badly. You count down the days, watch the temperature drop, looking longingly at sweaters and tall worn brown boots. The leaves turn different colors and for a moment you’re happy. The fiery reds and intoxicating oranges—these are the colors you wanted.

 

But the wind blows, revealing barren branches. And it gets even colder. And suddenly fall is very very hard.

 

Tonight, with those clenched fists, I wondered why it couldn’t be easier. How all I wanted to do was bake an apple pie with a white cheddar crust and smell the aroma throughout my tiny apartment. I’d breath deep that cinnamon apple smell and feel so happy.

 

But instead, there is wine. Wine and words. These are the lessons that I need to learn. That sometimes fall is hard. And that’s okay. Someday it won’t be this hard.

 

And there will be pie.

 

The Summer that was

I’m a perfectionist (aren’t we all, in our own little ways). Recently I’ve felt confronted by what this means–and how it can imprison me. Life is messy, people make mistakes, and flaws are beautiful. So beautiful. And makes the tapestry of everyday more wonderful.

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So, inspired by this post, I’ve decided to remember this summer for what it was, not was it could have been, or what I could have done. Because it was an a

mazing summer, full of growth and wonder.

This summer, I….

…was caught in my first Tornado (in Oklahoma!)

….drove across the plains, and stopped at the ‘home of the throwed rolls.

….visited Asheville, NC

….celebrated two incredible marriages

….stood next to my best friend on her wedding day

….purged all of the things! (after my ceiling fell in)

….stopped eating sugar and drinking beers (among other things) for 30 days

….made a budget. For the first time ever.

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Summer, you’ve been so sweet. And I know there are still a few more lingering weeks of heat and humidity, but so far, you’ve been a peach.