Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Harvest


We have a dwarf peach tree in our front yard. I have to point it out all the time; for some odd reason most people miss it when they come to our front door. It started as not much more than a stick a friend gave us about five years ago. At the time, he commented he wasn't sure if it would even grow. I planted it anyway (as part of my "landscaping" effort for D's birthday). Today, it's at least seven feet tall and this summer was the second time it bore fruit.
 

The first year the squirrels claimed most of the treasure for their own. There wasn't much to begin with that first round. This summer I knew we would have another harvest. The tree, already slightly off balance, was more uneven. I watched as the it leaned over with the weight of many more promising peaches. I felt a kinship with the poor girl. D supported to keep it from toppling over. Friends had to duck around the leaves when on our walkway.


One day a few weeks ago, I tried to pluck a peach from the tree. The squirrels had already left remnants of fallen soldiers in the yard and I figured I needed to start beating them to the punch. I felt for a soft give under the velvety skin. I felt for a looseness - a letting go. One day, I had my own little bounty (FU squirrels).


The smell was unbelievable: a sweet freshness that encompassed all the summer days and cool nights (considering my schnoze, that's saying a lot). What was a girl to do? Perhaps pie, or jam, or cobbler?! Yes, peach cobbler it would be. And it would be the BEST peach cobbler...


...born from some second-rate recipe off the web...
and minus some much needed lemon juice for a bit of tartness...


 Needless to say there was plenty of butter, Crisco,
and sugar to go around.


So maybe not the best cobbler...
but a solid effort that bubbled out of the oven and is a fine companion for some butter pecan ice cream.


P.S. As our days are now truly numbered and I search for metaphors to represent the ensuing process, I mentioned to D that it would be ironic if the day the last peach fell was the day I went in to labor. I'm sure he didn't digest the thought but you can imagine my superstitious reaction yesterday when he told me he had picked the rest of the peaches off the tree. I couldn't bear to remind him. I just hope he missed one hiding in the leaves.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Everything is Gonna be Alright

Danny's Song by Loggins & Messina

This summer I’ve been really attracted to people “owning" where they're at. I find myself admiring it in others like smooth skin or good humor. When I see someone owning it, I find it powerful – even when it’s vulnerable. There is no more strength in what we can share with each other than to be present where we are and living what we are living; all the while holding on to our integrity…or not holding on to it; there’s a lot to be said for bleeding too (I wish I could do it more openly).

I wanted to write a really empowering piece about "owning it" and this first paragraph has sat in my blog post for a little bit now. This morning I approached it from a different angle.

I have finally come to terms with the end of the Summer...or at least that's what I'm telling myself today as the first official day of Fall squeezes it's big toe in to my life. Although this morning I still wasn't quite ready to say goodbye so I strapped myself in to a bright coral dress and hopped on my bike to ride to work. I knew I had a sweater at work if it got cold; I knew I could always take the light rail home if another afternoon rain gloomed out the day; I knew I could call D if my water broke.

Downtown I walked to meet some friends for lunch. I felt a bit obnoxious in my leggings with the bump not so subtly hidden under the colorful coral of my summer dress. The grey skies and business lunchers seemed so monotone. I felt the looks that have become so common in stranger's faces - it accompanies the promise of what lies behind the curtain of clothing (it's a strange amount of attention I never realized happened to pregnant women). But today it was the color that "woke me up" - it was the stark difference as I clearly was "individual".

Here's the deal, it's not the Fall I'm avoiding. Give me some colorful crunchy leaves, a light jacket and a scarf and I will find joy in the day (I would do Spring - Summer - Fall - Spring - Summer - Fall all year long if I could). This year, the Summer - Fall transition has a more profound effect on me because I really do feel like it's my last "summer of love" so to speak. It's like I suddenly lost my virginity in some 80s movie and have to say goodbye to my first love. And though I am ready to move on, I know Summer will never be the same...because I will be a mom.

Now I know this sounds harsh and fatalistic but it comes from a place of higher thinking. It has something to do with a comment my sis made to my friend, CP, when she was out visiting a few weeks ago. We were sitting at a brewery in Breckenridge and NR asked CP, "so did Amy tell you she was pregnant?" It was a classic NR comedy moment (and god I wish I could have done that to someone - what a trip) but the comment snagged at something deep in my psyche. In a way, I don't think I told myself I was pregnant. I certainly anticipated that CP would expect me to party like we were in college still. I was lost trying to figure out how to be fun while sober and slow moving. CP of course, had no problems and at one point in the visit even said, "I knew you were 8 months pregnant when I booked the trip." I think it was because I kept apologizing for the absence of my old ways. Admittedly I was lost.

When I think back on it, I've been lost these past few months coming to terms with the change headed my way. As is true with most things in my life: I never really considered what it all meant until I started taking the steps. And these are steps I chose to take; steps that I have been waiting to take for some time now; steps that I was FINALLY ready to take physically and emotionally. Steps that I've been trying to embrace, though it's scary. My innocence is fading quickly and I am left with the reality that this morphing belly is home to the next adventure in my life. One that, if punctual, will be here a month from today.
________________________________________________
I finished digesting the underlying thought of today through this entry. Afterwards I put on some jeans, a black shirt, a light scarf and jacket (no where near able to button). I was out the door to meet D and a doula. Could it be the night air or maybe just that I was ready to dress for the weather?! Rain drops hugged the car and slipped away. It felt good to wear the extra layers though I didn't need them for warmth (it just felt right). At the meeting we discussed the expectations and anxieties I have surrounding how we get this bird out of the oven. By the end of the conversation I felt lighter, I felt capable.

I can embrace change - I've learned to - I just wish I could do it with a little more confidence, a little more grace. I've always been one for self-deprication but enough with that BS. I'm ready, and if I'm not, I'll figure it out. This is the path and I gotta believe that everything will bring a chain of love.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Escuela Tlatelolco Mural



For weeks, I watched this mural unfold as background to the early morning chill of spring and the traffic whizzing by on Park Ave West. Sometimes in the afternoon, on my way home from work, the students would be busy painting and I would take photos from across the intersection as they glanced back at me. I watched them sit in groups or work in twos supporting each other on a ladder while the teacher offered instruction up and down the length of the project.


It was late May when I finally stopped to ask what it all meant and who they were. Jaime Gomez, a teacher at Escuela Tlatelolco, took a few minutes to explain the mural and the process. As any good procrastinator would mention right about now... I should have done this blog post back then when they were weeks away from completion. But alas I blew my chance and let this information disintegrate in my brain.

SO - as far as I can remember, the mural was a project instigated by another art teacher at the school. This is her second time putting up a mural in the city. She won about $400 selling her artwork at a show in town (if I remember right - she might have won an art contest) and used it to purchase paint for this mural. The owner of the building had donated the side of the wall to use as a project for her students, who would participate in bringing this artwork to fruition during school hours. They had been perfecting their own likeness all semester and, in that way, each student was incorporated in to the mural.



The mural is a consideration of the effects of capitalism on nature and our society. From the left end, the subject matter moves from the mountains where there is music and nature, flowers and a rainbow. The people on that side are pulling on a chains wrapped around the heart of the world, which gives it life. From the right end, the chains are being pulled by people entrenched in modern day society, which is more concerned with money, producing food, and bringing it to the City – the place where dreams are made. In the middle, the chains are breaking from the cogs - the system is not working.



There are so many other great pieces to consider in the art. I wish I could remember what the wings behind the planet represent; what the fire breathing snakes represent; what these people on the chains throwing the spindles mean (perhaps how industry can destroy your heart's desires)...


But most importantly, what is the name of the mural?!


The one thing I do remember is how much the surrounding community benefits from these types of projects. Consider this: $400 and some run of the mill building on ugly old Park Ave West turns in to artwork. Students get the chance to experience real-life application of their studies and take pride in a major accomplishment that the whole community can enjoy. The community is brightened by something beautiful to look at and converse about rather than the run of-the-mill graffiti (which I do love too in it's own artistic way).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Childhood

Just started reading the book club book for September - The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig and found this little nugget literally two pages in...

"childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul"

Isn't it so true? Whether the story is fantasy, all magic, suburban humor, diversely urban, or at times tragic - it is a thing we all have in common - finding our way in this world. I hope my kid's story will be a good one.