Food, Fascination, Flight: #LoIsInDaBl Day 27 and #SoCS
One year ago, I was sitting on a hard plastic chair in the Portland, Oregon airport, surrounded by my family and our luggage. We had about 20 minutes before we would board the first of two planes home, and, since we’d had extremely spotty internet access for the whole of our trip, I had my laptop out and was catching up on Facebook when I read something that shifted my reality.
Leonard Nimoy was dead.
Of Ambassador V’Lar, T’Pol told Captain Archer. “Vulcans don’t have heroes.” She went on to explain that the older woman had set her on a course that led her to Enterprise.
For T’Pol, Ambassador V’Lar’s existence reshaped her life, made her someone she wouldn’t have been, otherwise.
Vulcans don’t have heroes, but humans do.
I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t be who I am without Leonard Nimoy.
I can also say that I’m not remotely alone.
I wouldn’t be who I am without Vulcans – and Vulcans wouldn’t be who they are – who they became – without Leonard.
They could just be token aliens. It was Leonard who demanded – of others, and himself – that Spock be allowed his own unique dignity, and to be not just that guy with the pointed ears, but a real being – an alien among humans. A being who will always be different, but is no less real, of no lesser value.
For me, as a thirteen year old who was often outcast and alien in school and at home, Spock was my lifeline, my fascination.
Maybe that’s why, even though I don’t like to fly (I have a very powerful urge to not fall!), it felt natural and right to spend the day of Leonard’s death traversing the sky, as close as I will ever come to space travel. As I looked at the frozen Great Lakes below me many hours later, I felt – kinship? Leonard’s spirit? The immensity of being, and my own tiny place within it?
I don’t know. Maybe there aren’t really any words for what I felt. Maybe it was something deeper than language, deeper even than poetry.
Food for thought (OK, that was a cheap way to get food into this not at all food oriented post, but it’s time to shift to something a bit sweeter).
Maple syrup is sweet.
What does maple syrup have to do with Leonard Nimoy’s death?
Maybe nothing. Except that, when I got up this morning, one year later, my husband was watching a segment on maple syrup making on This Old House. And that reminded me not only that it’s syruping time again here in upstate New York, but also of the maple syrup tour our homeschoolgroup took a few years back. So, on the tail end of a bittersweet post, a little extra dose of the sweet stuff.
As you’ll read, it’s also a rather important day….
It’s my Accomplice’s birthday. That makes today a bit of a special day, all by itself. However, there’s more that’s special about today.
Four years ago, he spent his birthdaay in the hospital, having had a life-threatening motorcycle collision with a deer the night before, on his way home from his last night of work before his vacation. We’d argued before he left for work, and our arguments weren’t very nice, then. There were angry feelings seething in me, so, when my phone rang and I knew it was him, I didn’t answer. I couldn’t know until the sheriff knocked on my door to tell me he’d been airlifted to the regional medical center that he’d been calling as he lay in the road where he’d landed after being thrown for about 100 feet. It was days later, when he said that he thought he was going to die, and he was calling me to say goodbye.
I’m glad he didn’t die there, obviously – and also glad we’ve learned to argue with less volatility and no cruelty.
February 20 has become a bit of a landmark day in our lives. Well, more accurately, it always has been, for him. He shares a birthday not only with his father, who is 81 today, but also with his step-grandfather. His mother will admit to taking steps to try to stack the decks for a February 20 baby, but his stepfather’s dad sharing the same day of birth is happy coincidence –
So is the fact that he and I met on his birthday, nineteen years back. It was the “busser’s alley” of Moqui Lodge, which was, at that point, perched about halfway between the tiny town of Tusayan, Arizona, and the entrance gate to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. He was one of two lead chefs at the restaurant where I had just arrived to work.
It was not love at first sight, or second, or even more. I wasn’t crazy about the wolfish way he looked at me, and he, thinking that New York state was one big city, and being as yet ignorant that I grew up next to a field alternately planted in hay, alfalfa, and silage corn, thought I had an answer to everything, in, as he put it, a ‘wise-ass New Yorker’ way.
Sparks were flying, but they weren’t from the friction of unending passion.
I wanted to hang out with people who weren’t partiers – a harder thing than you might think, since working concessions in the parks seems to attract many of those. Someone mentioned Big Jim. He didn’t party, and he didn’t like crowds. I wanted to learn how to play chess. Big Jim was one of the best players around, I was told. I wanted to hike in the Canyon; guess what? Yup. Big Jim had hiked every trail on the South Rim, many more than once, and many of those on the North Rim, too.
I’m known to be stubborn. Nope. Wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t like Big Jim, and I wasn’t going to change my mind on that score.
And so that’s the way that it was – until one night when I decided I was going to treat myself to a six-pack of Guinness. It was hugely overpriced, since Tusayan was a tourist town, and, beyond that, it wasn’t exactly cheap trucking things into that remote town on the edge of a very big hole. I hadn’t bought any in the first couple of months I was there, simply because it was so expensive, but this night, I just wanted to splurge in a minor celebration of my life-altering choice to come work there.
I was so excited, I forgot one small but very important detail. Neither I or my roommate Jenn had a bottle opener, and Guinness bottles don’t come with twist-off caps.
So there I was, with a cold six-pack of my favorite and rarely indulged-in brew, and no way to enjoy it before it got hot and unpleasant in the desert heat. I decided to see if I could scare up a bottle opener, somewhere between our dorm room and the laundry room (a likely place to find people, since, eventually, everyone needed to wash their clothes).
And that’s where I found Big Jim chatting with a couple of his buddies. And, although he’d given up drinking before I met him, he had a bottle opener and was willing to let me borrow it.
He came to our room to drop it off – and we spent four hours talking.
And, from there, we quickly became inseparable -as friends. He taught me to play chess, and, as he kept winning, he also played Scrabble with me every night, so that I could win at something, too.
And, while we played, before, and after, we talked. When he found out I wanted to know more about the Canyon, he took me to some of his favorite places, and told me stories about them. I helped him bleed his brakes, and, when I mentioned wanting to go to Sedona, he took me there, treating me to dinner on the way home from a magical day that made us a couple.
I might have always kept my first impression of him, and missed out on all this. I’m profoundly grateful that I didn’t.
Today Love Is In Da Blog goes international, with countries we love. While I could have taken many different directions on this one, because I think the whole world is fascinating, I decided to go with what I know…America, the country that gave me life. As the song goes, “from sea to shining sea” – but there’s a lot of complexity and shadow there, too. This land was occupied when my ancestors got here, and the way they assumed ownership doesn’t fit my philosophies. Whether I would have if I’d been alive then, I can’t say.
But I can show you some of what I love in my homeland, through my own eyes:
Through the Yaddo Gates (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Camping in the Arizona Desert
Crown King General Store – Crown King, Arizona
Kepler Cascades, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Skeletal Beauty; On Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California
The View From Here: Summit of Moro Rock
Stalagmite Skyscrapers in Lewis and Clark Caverns, Montana
Looking Up and Out: Abandoned Quarry Near Missoula, Montana
The Shore: South Jetty Park near Florence, Oregon.
Oregonian Sand and Surf Still Life
Grassy Dunes at the South Jetty
Family February dune walk 2015
Morning in Dexter, Oregon
Willamette Valley Panorama, Oregon
Winter Storm Linus Comes to Our Our Front Yard
Lava Lake, Gallatin National Forest, Montana
Lone Star Geyser With Rainbow, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Mayflower II Masts, Plymouth, Massachusetts
My Liquid Laugh, My Magnetic Ode to a Geyser
Alive at Saratoga Apples, Schuylerville, New York, Fall 2015
Saratoga Apples Abundantly
Moon Magic: Early October Evening in Schuylerville
Saratoga Monument Silhouette in Autumn
September 2013 in Lake George, New York
Scope of a Season Collage: Autumn in New York
Playing Around in September Collage
Tugboat Roundup 2014 Collage, Waterford, New York
(America’s Oldest Incorporated Village)
Peaceful Coexistence: Manhattan, New York City, New York
Sometimes, the diversity and inter-connectedness of this blogging community amaze me. I learned about this weekly blog hop while writing my Love Is In Da Blog post yesterday, and decided, just like that, to join in. So, as has been the theme in this catching-up month, this post is doing double duty – it’s my Day 14, Valentine’s #LoIsInDaBl post, and my inaugural Song Lyric Sunday post, too!
Since I’m new here, and you might be, too, here are the “rules”…
Post the lyrics to a favorite song or a new song you want to share
I’ve started including who wrote the song. (I think it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due)
Make sure you also credit the singer/band and provide a link to where you found the lyrics
Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song
Ping back to this post or my own Song Lyric Sunday post
Read at least one other person’s blog so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
OK, so now we should be clear on that, so here goes!
Since it is Valentine’s Day, a love song seems appropriate. But I’m not the type to believe in happily-ever-after, or even to want that. Real life, and real love, come with challenges and rough places. And, eventually, whether we want to face it or not, we all die. At the same time, songs that encompass the full scope of married life remind me more of my life and my Accomplice than those that deal in platitudes and glassed-over versions of love.
Fittingly, in my love song for today, singer/songwriter Paul Simon takes all of that reality, and creates a piece of beautiful magic as only he can. The lyrics come from his official site, – no copyright infringement intended, and no profit garnered. I share these because they speak to me, and might to you, too.
The first time I saw her I couldn’t be sure But the sin of impatience Said, “She’s just what you’re looking for” So I walked right up to her And with the part of me that talks I introduced myself as Frank From New York, New York She’s so hot She’s so cool I’m not I’m just a fool in love with darling Lorraine
All my life I’ve been a wanderer Not really, I mostly lived near my parents’ home Anyway, Lorraine and I got married And the usual marriage stuff Then one day she says to me From out of the blue She says, “Frank, I’ve had enough Romance is a heartbreaker I’m not meant to be a homemaker And I’m tired of being darling Lorraine”
What–you don’t love me anymore? What–you’re walking out the door? What–you don’t like the way I chew? Hey, let me tell you You’re not the woman that I wed You say you’re depressed but you’re not You just like to stay in bed I don’t need you, darling Lorraine Darling Lorraine Lorraine I long for your love
Financially speaking I guess I’m a washout Everybody’s buy and sell And sell and buy And that’s what the whole thing’s all about
If it had not been for Lorraine I’d have left here long ago I should have been a musician I love the piano She’s so light She’s so free I’m tight, well, that’s me But I feel so good With darling Lorraine
On Christmas morning Frank awakes To find Lorraine has made a stack of pancakes They watch the television, husband and wife All afternoon, It’s a Wonderful Life
What–you don’t love me anymore? What–you’re walking out the door? What–you don’t like the way I chew? Hey, let me tell you You’re not the woman that I wed Gimme my robe, I’m going back to bed I’m sick to death of you, Lorraine
Darling Lorraine Lorraine Her hands like wood The doctor was smiling But the news wasn’t good
Darling Lorraine Please don’t leave me yet I know you’re in pain Pain you can’t forget Your breathing is like an echo of our love Maybe I’ll go down to the corner store And buy us something sweet Here’s an extra blanket honey To wrap around your feet All the trees were washed with April rain And the moon in the meadow Took darling Lorraine
Well, that’s my song. I hope that you found it as lovely and real as I do. My favorite line is the last, which gives beauty even to death. My second favorite is “Your breathing is like an echo of our love.”
May your day, week, and life be filled with love in all its many facets.
NOTE: I was away, visiting faraway friends and family, when this post was intended to be scheduled. I was unable to post it, and the two following it. Over the course of this week, I’ll be posting my “Missing Four” Love Is In Da Blog posts, as written, and resuming my typical posting schedule. And here we are, at the very last one! I hope you enjoy!
Maybe all fiction writers have them; I don’t know. But I always have had invisible friends. When I was little, I often got teased for them; I learned to keep the fantasy realities in my own head, letting others see only the more “acceptable” aspects of my imaginary life.
When I got older, I discovered that I could write about them – and, the more I wrote, the more real my imaginary friends became, and the more of them there were. As I’ve given them permission to live their own lives within me, and given them a voic , they’ve grown more complex and real. More than that –
They’ve become better and better friends, the type I love spending time with, and learning about…the better a friend I am to them, the more they share with me.
I’m profoundly grateful for all of them – the ones born whole in my own mind, and those who began as someone else’s imaginary friends…
How about you? Do you have any imaginary friends? Are you a good friend to them, or have you been neglecting them?
NOTE: I was away, visiting faraway friends and family, when this post was intended to be scheduled. I was unable to post it, and the two following it. This is the third of my four“Missing Four” Love Is In Da Blog posts, as written, and resuming my typical posting schedule. As always, I hope you enjoy!
Today at Love Is In Da Blog,Beeprompts us to write about “lost friends”.
I’ve lived long enough, now, to have lost some friends. There’ve been deaths, arguments, and separations that became permanent, for various reasons. Hard as it is to accept, not all friendships are destined to last a lifetime; some exist only within a specific framework of time, geography, or circumstance, and aren’t able to survive a fracturing in that framework.
I understand that, and though I might think fondly or even a little sadly about those lost connections, they don’t bother me much. They had their time; they lived and breathed; and then they ended. They lived their lives and outlived their usefulness. They’re gone, and I’m at peace with that. If I meet that former friend again, it’s usually pleasant – and in the moment. The friendship doesn’t rejuvenate.
And then, there are those few deep friendships I’ve lost, over the years. The ones time, geography, or circumstance swallowed whole. The few who changed the course of my life, probably without even knowing it. People I’d love to see again – to tell them, to laugh and cry with them, to bask in their presence…
To be friends again, and transcend the things that have divided us.
I had the chance to do that, last summer. I reconnected, online, with the former boss and friend who found the advertisement for a job at the Grand Canyon, and shared it with me. That job changed my life, not the least because I met my Accomplice there. She was also the one who told me, while I was embroiled in a toxic relationship, that real love was easy – not easy as in effortless, but easy as in worth the effort and natural. At the time, I didn’t want to believe it – I wanted the person I was with to feel about me the way I told myself I felt about him.
But the words stayed with me – and, nearly eighteen years after I met my Accomplice, I know what she meant – and she was right. Our life together has included some decidedly difficult times – but there’s been an overall easiness that was lacking in any of the few months the previous relationship lasted.
I wrote about another lost friend a few months ago. Her name, before she married, was Barbara Leonard. She “rescued” me, more than once, in physical ways – a place to stay, nourishing food, wisdom, conversation, comfort, companionship, mutual trust, transportation, and warmth at a time when I was lost and deeply needed that.
She changed my life, and she doesn’t know – and I want her to. I want her to, because, when someone has played that powerful a role in someone else’s life, they should know. I want to thank her, and show her the good she wrought in my life.
I want to be friends again.
How about you? Do you have lost friends with whom you’d love to reconnect? Drop a comment, and share your memories with us! And, if you know Barbara, will you pass along my love and deep gratitude? =)