soft as dusk

i spent a semester in australia when i was 20, and it was an absolutely formative experience. i learned for the first time that it was indeed possible – given the right conditions – for a mousy little girl like me to make friends quickly. to spend smoky nights in the quad, shooting the shit with perfect strangers. possible to open up, say yes, ditch class, skip town.

but it was inevitably also a deeply lonely time, and i spent a lot of afternoons wandering alone. i’d walk by the lake near campus, with its denim blue water and tall yellow grass growing along the water’s edge, and always one or two black swans. or i’d walk up and down the avenue of trees that ran through the center of campus – the leaves shimmered like facets: green when i first arrived, yellow by the time i left. 

one time i found myself at the museum, roaming from gallery to gallery, scrawling the names and titles of the little paintings i liked into my notebook. that’s how i came across the artist clarice beckett. for the longest time, after i’d already left, i couldn’t remember her name and found no trace of it scrawled in my sketchbook… i knew only the impossibly soft smudges of colors that pushed against each other, how they seemed to capture the very feeling i walked with in that place, the quiet, dreamy sadness of being young and in a beautiful place – completely on my own.

but by the glory of google, i’ve found them again. and it’s a lovely time to see them again, as i’m taking stock of my days, counting up the slow, thoughtful moments and finding them too few.

there’s a little bit of me, buried in my younger years, that i’d like to pull out for just a while, to witness this life i now have.

i know things have been quiet around here, and that’s mostly because they have been so loud everywhere else. there is so much i want to say about where i’ve been in the last three (!) months. how my work has shaped me and how – miraculously – i have found a way to shape my work.

my job is not new, but my power in that space is: i love what i get to do – for this city and its students, for my fellow twenty-something comrades searching for connecting points in this large and discordant place we live. and i hope my words find a way to come into this space, because the work i do has become the ground i walk on these days. and i want to talk about it. but for today…

today i woke up to the steady sound of rain, falling on the world outside. i live on the second floor, which means the rooftop of this house is just outside my window, the window by my bed and the pillows where i rest my sleepy head. and there’s nothing that whispers “slow down” to me like the sound of rain to my tired tired body. so i stayed in bed for a couple more hours.

later today is a birthday party: streamers and balloons, pizza and a stack of dvds; and if we’re lucky: something pretty and sweet to drink. i made a quick jaunt to the store last night to pick up a couple bottles of something special. they’re chilling in the fridge now. if the concoction is as delicious as i remember it to be the first time i mixed it up – kind of on a whim – i’ll post up a recipe for it soon. (though calling it a “recipe” is kind of a stretch; it’s really just equal parts pink stuff, orange stuff, and bubbly stuff.)

but until this “later” arrives, a few hours stretch before me. there’s coffee in the french press, a couple of partially-read books on my bed, and – after the quick-stop rain that has already passed on – a now-sunlit window to daydream out of. this time is precious.

in a scattering of mere hours, monday will hit, and probably hit hard, and i will likely recall these words i’ve written with a sharp sting of jealousy… of my own self. how unbecoming. but if that’s the way things go, so be it. i am here now. and for once, after much too long, i am very very here.

happy saturday.