Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feel Flows

(Beach Boys)
I’m still unpacking my thoughts from a weekend visit to see my dad in St. Augustine but the pictures were easily transferable. It was a good visit. We won trivia at Panama Hatties as part of team SOS with my dad and uncles Georgie and Mike. More importantly, we won bragging rights. As always on the coast, there were good eats and sweaty drinks. Sunday morning my sis and I found ourselves taking in the light sand and ocean sounds as we walked the beach and daydreamed about houses just over the dunes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't You Know That You Are A Shooting Star

(Bad Company)
Last week my thoughts were saturated by the concept of death as sick friends flourished in my mind. Really I haven’t had much of a brush with death and to think about it almost feels like I am flirting with the wrong type of guy, the one who will hurt me, abuse me, leave me crippled with regret.

Our society makes little to no room for death outside of how it is used as an industry to make money. Otherwise, it is largely a part of life that we ignore until “suddenly” it arrives and we feel as if life has been unfair. Sometimes, if the person was sick or old enough, it becomes a welcome alternative. But what happens when death shows up uninvited to the party? It slyly walks in the door and has a beer and pees on the tv!?! Everyone is horrified: death is in the room and has just made a big mess. I say, spray some resolve and continue on with the celebration. Death comes to all of us in some way and well, it's ironic, but that's just life.

The younger you are the more likely death sits far off in the distance as if it’s not even on the map or the highway signs. It’s in no particular place but it’s everywhere. I can’t help feeling it "should" come after you are old, wrinkly and sitting in a rocker with memories playing in your mind like some great movie watched over and over again; never when you are a child and haven’t experienced the sheer joy of being completely filthy and unabashedly present or when you are a teenager accidentally poking through boundaries and stretching the fabric. There seems to be some unconfounded feeling of security once established in adulthood or after you start a family, although at that point you've created some semblance of immortality through your blood line. True immortality is what you leave behind in the memories other people carry in their existence: it's about what you project in to this world; what you contribute to the ones you love, have loved and will love; what you teach others or how you treat them. Death can seem like an insensitive bastard when you're left feeling as if there wasn’t enough time, there were things left unsaid. Candid conversation is a dessert that some simply don’t indulge in enough - I certainly have a hard time with it.

Everyone deals with death differently. I'd be a fool to not acknowledge my parents getting older though I do believe their days are still not numbered. My dad guarantees his health in light of physical challenges and age while my mom tends to bring up her inevitable death every time I see her. A friend was in the hospital last week. His doctor told him to put his life in order and get his Will together; not that he would die from the surgery, just that the possibility was there. But we all should have our shit together; we should all say the things we haven’t said. We should not feel robbed if death comes sooner than we think. One gal I admire takes it as it comes rather than focusing on what will not be experienced when her love passes on. They choose to welcome death to their home and not feel bullied by it’s presence. In the face of all the possibilities that have disappeared, they see that they are given the indulgence of saying goodbye - of not leaving things left unsaid, of holding, feeling and cherishing. They choose strength and integrity but really they choose love.

We can never truly see how we affect those we come in contact with everyday. It is both profound as well as subtle; but we never know just what we do. It’s a gift to be able to tell someone how much they mean in our world; sometimes the opportunity doesn't come along and sometimes we just never say the things that would break the empty silence or deep gaze. Life comes in so many forms as is true with death. They stand together holding hands and yet are enemies in existence. Neither would be without the opposite yet their soul experience demands the submission of the other. In facing death we are inspired to live life and in life, there is death.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wild Mountain Honey

(Steve Miller Band)
We escaped Denver this past weekend thanks to some good friends who invited us to spend it in Snowmass. It was a nice getaway. We had a two great nights in Aspen: one restaurant hopping and sharing various hors devours as the upscale scene played on and the moon rose over the town; one riding up over the ski mountain taking in the view and then later on, at the Belly Up Tavern, listening to The Gourds. Yesterday we drove home over Independence Pass, quite possibly the most gorgeous pass in CO.

The weather was unbelievably comfortable: a few lumpy clouds would hang off in the distance of a baby blue sky framed by red soiled mountains with sage green flora. The entire weekend was edged with tall grass and wild flowers. An occasional cool breeze would come through almost whispering that the end of the summer was closer than the beginning. I was introduced to the Ditch trail, which took us out along Snowmass mountain and provided great views of the valley. I wish I would have taken pictures on the morning walks as there were plenty more raspberries, a wonderful collection of cairns, and one waddling porcupine. At some point a chair lift hung just over the trail and to the right of the view of Daly mountain, with it's great fat stripe that I didn't notice till D pointed it out the last morning. That shot will be in my mind for a long time.

We were up there for the Blast the Mass NORBA mountain bike races. All the events were fun and inspiring from the 4x races to the Downhill. The guys volunteered to ride "safety checks" during the cross country race. This meant they got to ride their dirt bikes up and down Snowmass mountain in front of the riders doing a 13 mile loop. Us girls high tailed it over to catch the beginning of the race once we learned Lance Armstrong showed up to participate in the event. Admittedly I was star struck but everyone was a buzz with his presence; it was fun to chat about. The boys came up the hill and waved as they rode past us. The cyclist curved around the trail a few moments later, Lance in the lead. I was more concerned with getting a picture but by the second lap, I just wanted to watch his stride and take in the moment. How often do you get to see one of the best cyclist ever ride by on his bike five feet away?! It was a smooth, sweet pace. He was focused and made it look just as easy as if it was a day in the park.
The boys, in all their dirt bike glory, found themselves up the hill lolly-gagging. The point was to be ahead of the riders but not too far ahead. They would stop to talk to people, clearing the path, etc. Well, LA came around a corner much quicker than they anticipated, and so they had to wait for him to pass. Can you imagine: he's climbing 4,000 feet on a mountain bike and still manages to pass two guys on their dirt bikes?! It wasn't quite like that but it makes for a good "big fish story". The guys followed him for a few miles, not wanting to pass and dust him out. D said it was amazing to watch him ride, like their own personal show. Later he unwrapped some memorabilia: a crumpled old Gu wrapper LA disposed of on the path...I didn't think to ask what flavor. We all laughed and he shrugged it off but I know there was a piece of D that thought it would commemorate the moment. It's one of those silly things that seems so apropos given the situation. It’s a good story: D will forever be able to say he got beat out by Lance Armstrong on a mountain bike.
photo credit to http://jackrabbitracing.blogspot.com/

As a race rider, I imagine it makes the event that much more inspiring. The second place guy, Jay Henry, came in almost three minutes after him and the third place guy almost three minutes after that. I wondered if second place was frustrated that he would have won given a day without LA racing? I also wondered, if you’re going to get beat, who better to get beat by than one of the best cyclists around? It’s an interesting quandary.

video

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

MAD woMEN

I love MAD MEN. I would sell advertising or run coffee as a production assistant on the set or get a tattoo of it on my butt because I can't say enough good things about the show. TV is sometimes the religion I preach. When a show makes me think and provides fodder for conversations, well I just can't stop trying to get people to convert.

I hate to admit it but I'm finding these days that though I "know" about historical events, I haven't digested the sheer importance associated with some of them. I'm starting to digest. In any case, I was watching a bonus feature on a MAD MEN dvd the other night about the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Lib. The feature had various professors talking about how the Civil Rights movement consisted of two types of women: black and white. Since both found themselves being oppressed, the movement spawned a much larger Women’s Liberation movement than it would probably have been otherwise.

Alongside that, I'm currently reading Fear of Flying by Erica Jung. Published in 1973, I thought the book was just a sexy, seedy look into a married woman’s intimate thoughts of considering an affair. At the time when it was published, the book was about topics women didn't openly discuss (remember: there was no Sex and The City to reference). Rather, I assume, most women pushed away these "dirty" thoughts that naturally floated around in their minds, or if they welcomed the thoughts, they assumed no one else was thinking that way so they kept it to themselves.

Even today it is hard enough to project an image of strength and beauty and competency in a world full of purvey men. I can’t begin to digest how how subtle this oppression was and how isolating it made life 50 years ago. Most women had sex just to procreate. It was a patriarchal society where men wanted woman at home with the kids (very compartmentalized). Birth Control Pills, usually only prescribed to married woman, began being dispensed to single woman. This provided a fairly definitive way for a woman to control her reproductive rights and with that, her sexuality. Good damn how liberating that must have been! It was no longer just about having babies; it started to become about the enjoyment of the act, a natural concept for men. Once a woman could get in touch with her sexuality, she could control a piece of herself.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We've been talkin' 'bout Jackson...(err, Jamestown)

(Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash)
I spent the afternoon with an old friend having lunch at a great Vietnamese restaurant in Boulder. We then hiked through rain and sun outside a town called Jamestown (thought it was Jackson - thanks A). It was filled with lovely conversation, wild flowers, and some of the first raspberries of the season.