At this moment, I cannot imagine anything better than the company of Eric and Natalie, a big mountain to climb, and watching a (the) Little Giant wandering the streets of Santiago.


right leg left leg lean and squat right. adjust to right with left leg outstretched. left sole flat, feeling floor, and sickled (slightly). reach forward--torso--rest arms, elbows down, on floor, palms up, fingers slightly curled in a natural state. a state of grace and longing and calm and comforting love. it is possible. and it is possible all at once.

and then close.
and then exit.

we are here.


It's important to respond to it.


Last week I saw The Squid and the Whale.

I have found myself mentioning it often. Just a few moments ago, I wrote the following to S.:

Be prepared to simultaneously laugh and cry at the ridiculousness of this relationship thing we humans do, of the way we damage ourselves and eachother--date and marry and have children and break up and damage our kids and damage ourselves and fall in love again and again and again... and still never feel sure of any of it.


In my late night panic (late night panics are a very typical thing these days), I sat down to read the new issue of Harper's. I wanted to read Lewis Lapham's "Notebook." I knew that that would surely engage me, that reading Lewis Lapham would allow me to focus myself right out of panic mode. It didn't occur to me that I should be surprised that I had a new issue--when for years, I have been the last (of the subscribers I know) to receive the new issue. I flipped through the pages. I couldn't find the "Notebook." I couldn't find it. Then I remembered that Lapham was leaving his post as editor, and I just couldn't remember when exactly that was supposed to happen. I checked the website to see if perhaps my issue was faulty (a little crazy I know)--perhaps both my issue's Table of Contents page and its actual contents were wrong (yup, a little crazy). Maybe they were missing pages. I was surprised to see that the new issue's contents were not even up on the website yet. What? Also, I work in a library, and this library hasn't even received this new issue yet. More panic. I thought Lapham was going to continue writing the "Notebook" section--even after he moved on to his new project...and the masthead in this issue still says Lapham anyway... I slept fitfully last night, and I can't seem to write a fluid sentence. There was a punchline here I thought. Are you laughing?


Every year my extended family (extended meaning perhaps 100+ people from 4 generations) gather for the traditional [insert family name here] Christmas party (not on Christmas but rather the Saturday after Thanksgiving). We sing songs, we catch up, we partake in an emceed talent show/storytelling time, we pass out the traditional S. Soup that is made (as is the tradition) the night before in a large, old, pot that used to belong to my grandmother. I should add that anything that I have heard once belonged to my grandmother has a special significance. I’ve never met her (I was only eight months old when she died), and I’ve heard very little about her. In fact, the most often told story about her is the one in which my mother, after letting H. (my grandmother) put me to bed late one evening while my parents were visiting, felt this sudden urge to check on me. She rushed into the room where I was sleeping and found that my grandmother had bundled me tightly in blankets—only leaving my feet outside of the blanket instead of my head. My grandmother had a brain tumor at the time. I am intrigued by the contradictions I’ve heard: she was stubborn, tough, strong of will yet she let my grandfather make and enforce the rules.

This year at the [insert family name here] Christmas Party, I was moved to laughter (which is typical) but also to tears. Usually the cousins and second cousins of my generation outgrow the talent show portion of the day around 12 or 13. This year, a group of my twenty-something second cousins gathered in front of us to play Teach Your Children Well. It was beautiful. I had tears in my eyes. Those peaceful minutes made me love my family, reminded me how much I love this tradition of gathering. I honestly could look around and see people beaming and clasping hands and wiping away tears and dancing, dancing for B., my dad’s cousin who had left us just a few days earlier. She had declared before she died that she’d be "dancing, dancing 24/7 in heaven." Some of these people were dancing with her, in memory of her. I tried to capture a small piece of these moments. It’s brief and shaky, but it might take you there—to the beaming, to the clasping, to the calm that was present for those few short minutes one Saturday afternoon.

For the brief and shaky clip, click here:

Teach Your Children Well


when i was a little kid, i used to think that 27 would be the year i would get married. i think what i meant was that 27 was the year i would wake up.
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