Thursday, May 19, 2011

only trying to spell a loss

tonight i took a walk. i saw a woman standing on her porch potting a few flowers. i felt close to her. i watched a couple walking in the park after dark - they were holding hands. i could feel her watching my back when i passed them, and walked in front. i looked in, through the windows, on people's lives. sitting, and reading in windows. i felt close every woman look outside, watching the rain fall in continuous patterns.

life seems to be happening in patterns of action and reflection. and this time, i tried to avoid the reflecting - it seemed so easy to move on from the last year or so of my life. but living like that is often hollow. it creates empty people. and besides, i just can't. it catches up with me, no matter what.

it's like i have to bury myself in the past sometimes in order to move forward.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

summer is coming

today, we played a game. i went around the snack table and asked each kid a math or reading question. i'd give them a check mark for every question they got right. i went around a few times. for my last question, she sat up real straight. and i said, "okay, mariah, who is the bravest girl in the whole wide world?" and she looked at me, and slowly the smile go bigger and bigger, "me!"

every once in a while, you get the chance to really be close to a kid - and you get to be one of the first people in this kid's whole life to actually see them, and tell them that they're good - they're not bad, it's just that nobody understands them. and so today i am grateful for my job.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

julie + dan

this was the first time that i'd ever photographed somebody that i didn't know. i was nervous, too - but i enjoyed the challenge. and the weather was threatening us with rain. the photographs turned out wonderful - and julie and dan were sweet and i was glad that i was able to take these pictures for them. i feel a lot of love for them - because they're artists, and picky, and have really good taste - and i've only taken engagement + wedding pictures once before. but they believe in me. and i like that.

rainbows in the high desert air

i woke up early and walked to the coffee shop with the intention of finishing a book that i'm reading. i like the book - it's about a guy who moved to the navajo reservation to teach. he's not a very good teacher - at least not yet. but he's honest. and i like that. i meant to finish the book, but i got distracted. i couldn't quite focus.

i started thinking about pittsburgh. the year-long lease i just signed. i started thinking about steve moving back to L.A. and how much i'm going to miss him - but how happy i am for him. i thought about breaking up with derek. i thought about the photograph that i put in an art show last night that didn't sell. i thought about how wet everything feels today - the streets, my hair, my jeans, my skin. humidity - that's what it is. i couldn't stop thinking about my dream last night. i thought about my brother and cousins running the marathon tomorrow. i thought about last summer. i thought about how most things that have ever really mattered to me, have only mattered to me when they've been threatened.

and then i thought about this image. i thought about this moment and this day and i couldn't let it go. i remember driving the empty road through the navajo reservation with them. my dad driving, my mom in the backseat. the rental car - how nice it was to actually have air conditioning when driving through 100 degree temperatures. i missed my brother. i loved my mother and father. i loved having them there with me. the place was never real until i had a memory there with my parents.

my father made a right turn. we followed this dirty road down to the colorado river. lee's ferry. the weather was perfect and i thought that if this day were to be my last day, i wouldn't have changed anything about it - except that my brother wasn't there. i missed his humor. i missed his observations. i missed rolling our eyes, together, at my mother. we wandered down to the river. my father and i dipped our toes into it. my mother, wandering around, observing everything. every rock color, every lizard, every flower, every thing. we've almost been in car accidents so many times, because my mother can't focus on the road, when the trees are changing color or the sun is setting. my father, in all of his travels, had never been to this place. he taught me how to travel, to make turns down unmarked roads - he gave me my sense of direction, a love of long driving long distances, and the most sensitive, sentimental soul.

my hope is that i don't sign another year-long lease in pittsburgh. at least, not for a few years. if for no other reason, i feel like i owe it to my parents. i feel indebted to them - to continue their stories. the story of a little italian girl, who left her small town in central pennsylvania, and never could return after moving to a city full of culture and experiences and adventure and progressively minded people. and my father, whose traveled the world - who has left me messages on my answering machine of the sound of elk in the morning in the mountains, but he never got to stay. or live in these places that he's loved.

as we were driving, my mom made us stop. she made me take a picture. i didn't even care at the time. she must have talked about this monument and described it in perfect detail for at least 5 minutes. making note of every carved edge. if every photograph i've ever taken was ever deleted, or lost, or erased from memory, i would hope that this photograph would survive.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

somewhere in a burst of glory

all these photographs. of things past and things lost and gone. it's sort of unbelievable. most of it is good - you know that it's good, for you and for them, and for everyone. and you want them happier and you happier too. but it's still just sad.

that city looks so small out of my window, like the buildings could be gathered into my hands and blown away like feathers. the yellow street lights shining on the shiny asphalt after a thunderstorm. you lost something each time, you know? and each time you see a picture of them smiling in the sunshine and happy - you still think that you could have done something differently. you forget the disappointments, the hatred, the slow, creeping feeling that nothing can be fixed, or better - it's just over. it nags at you constantly, really.

i remember this day so well - it was last year. and laurie and i were coming back from home depot, or something. we ran into damien and drove him back to friendship and spent the day drinking with him and cooking food. we were going to jenn's birthday party that night - but before we went and walked by the train tracks. i was talking and thinking about what it might be like to marry derek then.

and then, like so many things, it's just passed you by.