Lately I've been transfixed by the wonder of everyday moments. It's been sunny and hot for days. At the library where I work, we turn on huge ceiling and floor fans and then we stand working in the hot wind yelling that we can't hear each other but isn't the breeze from the fans lovely and sure it will rain soon enough and then we'll be wishing for the sun again. I find this exceedingly funny. It makes me happy to be part of this strange cavalcade of living.
The other evening, I made a special dinner for my partner for his birthday, and then we walked out to a local artisanal ice cream store we'd heard about and waited in a crazy long line for our sweet cold treats. (My lovely partner had a salted caramel cone, one scoop. Slightly greedy and not quite able to narrow down the options, I had two scoops in a bowl--strawberry rhubarb, and butter-pecan. Yummy goodness for everyone!) On the way home, we walked through a community garden, where sunflowers nodded their smiley heads over us and spindly green plants with huge leaves lay splayed out on the dirt like they'd had a big day and were done in for now. A neighbour noticed our ice creams and asked how long we'd waited in line--he hadn't been to the place, but he'd been in awe of the lineups since the heat kicked in. I said the lineup was the cheeriest thing, a couple of hundred people, mostly dewy cheeked beautiful young couples in breezy sundresses and summer tops and sandals, all come out of their homes in the late evening waiting for ice cream, not out lined up at bars drinking their heads off and getting in fights, they're waiting for ice cream and some of them are even buying extra containers and taking some home for their mothers, and if that doesn't cheer your heart, what would? And the neighbour laughed and said he hadn't quite seen the lineup that way but yes, maybe he'd give it a try some day after all.
So I'm on a bit of a blissful spree here. Maybe it's the long sunny days. Or time off--I'm only working part time for the summer, as I prepare for grad school in the fall. I've figured out some of my plans for next year, and they might even include some longed-for travel. I still have my out-of-sorts moments, when I'm tired and don't know what to make of what's happening and I assume everyone hates me or I'm just overwhelmed by the noise or some seemingly impossible task like washing lettuce or chopping parsley for a salad that should have been made an hour earlier and so dinner is late or I'm leaving for work late because time has somehow once again managed to pass more quickly than I expected and I feel like I will never catch up. My living room still has too many towers of books, and I just made it worse because I wanted to pull out a poem to share, keeping my promise to fellow blogger more to me than this that I would share more favourite poetry, so I had to make yet another stack of books to get at the bottom poetry shelf. But these moments, when I'm overwhelmed or trampled by whatever it is that tramples me, are passing more and more quickly, and even now I can look around at the book towers and feel awed that there are so many wonderful things to read, and yes it's a mess but how lucky I am, we are, that we have words to read and write and share and think with.
I really do love being sober. It's a clearing, after what now feels like years caught in some sort of tangled underbrush. So I'm sharing this poem by fellow Newfoundlander Agnes Walsh, which I love. (It's from Going Around With Bachelors, Brick Books, 2007.) I'm only small, but I see us all as what Walsh calls fireberries, standing together tall in the clearings we're making in our lives and proclaiming ourselves wild and alive. These days it's hard not to be a little bit intoxicated in the beauty of life, straight up. That's my kind of sober.
Peace and love and big fields of fireweed to you all.
(for Bridget Peegan Kelly)
No, Bridget Peegan, fireweed isn't the colour of fire
and it isn't purple either.
It's purplish-pink, and yes, it's delicate looking.
The petals look like they'd avalanche, like
to touch one would cause a riot.
The stalk is tough as seasoned leather;
I could make a clothesline out of a string of them.
They grow, like blueberries, where there's been a fire.
Fireberries. They stand tall in fields and proclaim themselves wild.
Of savage origin. Beauty's breathless rampage.