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Silently

The most truly generous persons are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward.

Carol Ryrie Brink

 

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Last night Joy Division was on a constant loop, on the hi-fi and my mind’s eye. Positively agog that this music has been a steady part of my being for more than thirty years. What, whaaat? T H I R T Y.

I sat, joyfully awash in the memories elicited.

Of staying up late, hunched over my desk, doing homework, music low. Other times, the joyous solitude of listening for the sake of it, to grasp the meaning, scribbling words and ideas in notebooks, pinning them on walls and doors, of dancing by myself wrapped in the sheer pleasure, of attempting to drown the noise of a loud house and an even louder family.

Of being an outsider, neither a punk nor a waver, neither a stoner nor a jock, neither a nerd nor a cheerleader, but skirting the territories, knowing each as a person and friend, beloved, crafting the finest patchwork quilt of companions, threads of kindness in my wake. Proving some things never change. Be who you are. Love and do as you like, just show me your kindness, your heart, and we can be friends.

Unpredictable me. Clothes preppy and new wave, loafers and buckle shoes, never a sock. Obsessed with skulls and so much black, save around the eyes. Makeup light, bangs high, then the bob I would have for years, sometimes bangs, sometimes not, shoulder to chin and back again. Honor roll student doing donuts in my friend’s Charger, fast, faster, I laughed wildly while he whimpered like the baby I was purported to be. French student of the year who occasionally got high, drank practically never, save to taste. My first cocktail was a Lynchburg Lemonade, further proving some things never change. I do like whiskey best. Designated driver and caretaker, I got people safely home, handed out bowls to vomit in, and practically ran a therapist’s office out of my car.

My car! I worked long hours and saved for years, fast food and bussing tables, finally having enough Christmas break senior year of high school. 1981 Toyota Celica, five speeds and the freedom to do what I please. My music. My Thoughts. My whims. Mostly in darkness, when I reflect, whizzing and crawling along the back roads of Arvada, Boulder, and the mountains beyond. The Sex Lights and searching for possessed goats. Driving to parties, the Westminster Mall. The highway downtown to be among the skateboarders, outsider again, my favorite, wickedly handsome with a foot tall mohawk and bad manners. But, goll-ee, to watch him skate, the grace and lightness of fine articulated limbs.

Later, at night, to wander among the warehouses, under viaducts, places long gone. To smoke – stupidly, for a year – Camels and the fanciest black cloves at Paris on the Platte, sip a Cafe Jacques, or, on more brazen evenings, a Crowbar, plied with enough caffeine to open the eyes of the dead. Other times it was Muddy’s, darker, quiet and moodier, too, whispering among ceiling-high books, nursing a chocolaccino, delicate sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Music was the undercurrent of it all, often misunderstood and mocked by friends, yet what held us together, too. Those dark hours, adding up to days and months, driving and talking, the music never stopped. Joy Division. The Doors. The Cure. U2. New Order. INXS. Lou Reed. The Clash. Eazy-E. The Rolling Stones. The Beastie Boys. The Psychedelic Furs. Echo and the Bunnymen. The Smiths. Modern English. General Public. More I can’t remember. More I choose to forget.

 

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Palmer Park – a ten minute walk to paradise.

Mountain Mohagany and the loveliest winter light.

My Mom feeds her neighborhood pig and she (he?) smiles with gratitude.

g l o w

Our favorite canine. Not ours, but loved still. Go, Jimbo, go!

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2016 was a beast of a year. We moved into our sweet ranch on March 1st and plowed through the upstairs remodel as though our lives depended upon it. Which it did. Our comfortable lives, anyway. We did not want to wash dishes from a giant bowl while kneeling in the nasty basement shower for one moment longer than necessary or cooking on a wobbly ikea table in the laundry room, though we did it for three months. Oy. Like camping, only in a basement. When organizing a kitchen space, it is said that the most efficient layout is a triangle. The hubster laughed, “Ours was a pyramid – sink in the basement bath, burner and toaster oven in the laundry, refrigerator in the dining room!”

And then there was the floor, the complete gut of the kitchen and bathroom, painting every last wall – upstairs and down, painting the doors, too, replacing every light fixture and adding four more, because L I G H T. Installing bookshelves in the living room and drying racks in the basement, because our clothes have never tumbled in a dryer. Digging, planting, assembling, destroying, dumping, and building. Do it. Do it again. Yeah, that was us.  Wide eyed. Diligent. Exhausted.

And then there was that bit of soul searching. You saw it. Maybe it frightened you. Maybe it got you thinking. Who do we allow into our lives? The people we strive to be.  The kind. The joyous. The affectionate. What about bullshit and drama? Little, dear reader. Very little. We have had plenty. Thankfully not from each other. Glory be. We are solid pillars, leaning somewhat toward center. Better to hear a whisper. For lips to graze a cheek. For laughing eyes to dance together. Better, better, better.

So today, this hike an invocation for 2017. Embracing and inviting all that is out in the open, all that is unseen. Fox and coyote and pronghorn. Wee, small birds. Prairie dogs. Rabbits. US admiring the peace, the beauty, the wonder of the world. Standing our ground.

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Love You

I love you because no two snowflakes are alike, and it is possible, if you stand tippy-toe, to walk between the raindrops.

Nikki Giovanni

 

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