Friday, August 29, 2014

Perhaps it is only natural in the summer, but I have been thinking about that Mary Oliver poem about peonies, the one that goes,
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?
I have been thinking about looking back and about going forward, about the traps that we set in our memories and the hazy islands just over the horizon. Thinking about turning 32 next week, I guess, and how much better 32 is than 22. 

Peonies are omens of good fortune, so it's lucky that they're everywhere. Other lines of that poem say, "Do you love this world? / Do you cherish your humble and silky life?", and of course the peonies stand there, nodding sweetly yes. The thing about peonies is that they are perennials, and can be wild and perfect and rest, before coming back to do it again. No flower is nothing forever, and the next beautiful thing is just as lovely as the last. Maybe more, I have been thinking, because the next one is filtered through the last one in kaleidoscopic beauty, shattering and reforming and expanding. Forward, I think, is better.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Outside the hotel

If you ask the locals about the whales, they all have a different story. It's because of the barnacles and the shallow depth of the bay, says one. The whales come there to scrape off their barnacles, and that's why one whale has kept worryingly close to shore all morning. It could also be that the large number  of seagulls that spend time on the aptly-named "seagull rock" nearby produce a scent that Orcas find off-putting and which therefore makes the bay a refuge for mama whales teaching baby whales the mysteries of the sea. It could be both! That's the thing about whales; whales don't feel the need to tell you all of their secrets.

A few days later, up on what used to be a mountain, we saw a forest fire starting in the near distance. The clouds that had passed off in the distance had dropped lightning in among the brush, but we had just driven through all of those forests and seen the ways that the trees were ready for them, how they created layers specifically to be burned off. A hour later we drove straight into that storm and it gave us buckets of ice, thrown down so hard we worried for the integrity of the windows.