"This is such a perfect party band. I mean, it is exactly what should play at every party."
To my reason's defense, Minus The Bear's lyrics all sound similar to the cadence of inebriation in a backyard. The song titles are as impromptu as our ideas of mixed drinks were, and as abstract as the words puffing out of the mouth of smoker-friend-x who is rocking casually on the porch swing. Look 'em up. You'll see.
These nights were warm. It was summer first. Summer and what melted into a lethargic autumn. Our phones were electric as somewhere out in outer-space our satellites signaled that someone's back porch had an availability. Someone's house was saying, "Come ye, under-aged drinkers and take refuge in me." We primped and they purchased. Never me. Someone knew someone behind a liquor counter, you know? Someone always knows. Drifting inside in pairs, groups, alone, we were a stylish ensemble of slouch and straight hair and jeans that had been worn to perfection. Who put in Minus The Bear? Someone did, someone always does. It is perfect party music.
II) Listen. Listen to the dandelions and listen to the pink burning out of the sky. Listen to the golden yellow finch (I know you would like to see) brush its wings up and down. Listen to the gravel-- dirt and rocks under your old, black, rubber tires. Listen to the brakes of your car. Listen to jazz- moving like a wave of neon purple light in and out and around gleaming brass pipes. Listen to the strings buzzing and feathers falling. Listen to my breathing-- it is gentle. Listen to the kids laughing so hard that I want to cry; it's beautiful. It really is. Even if it is about the stupidest thing. The stupidest joke on the whole planet-- completely redeemed by the chortling music notes scampering out of their goofiest grins. Listen to the bug fiddling with your ear. Listen to the shhhcrunch of sheets, pillows, and blanets. Listen to an overture of summer rain showers. Listen to the thunder and the windows shutting and the turquoise breeze, straight off the top of Lake Huron. Listen to bells. Little bells.
II) Our turns were becoming more frequent, a sign that my new home was drawing nearer, pulling us around corners corners corners in order to eventually wrap us up inside its own corners. Dozens of orange streetlights glowed ahead in a shaggy field which was etched with nicely paved streets. It was a houseless neighborhood, the fouled up business venture some entrepreneur had eventually given up on. The sole house was the model home. Weeds were beginning to take over what had been prospective lots and the property had been foreclosed on. Still, at night, the lights shine on. Orange.
For a week or so leading up to my trip to Michigan, friends and family have all attempted to pull some indication of excitement from me. True, I did say that I was excited, but I never really felt it. It isn't like I regretted my decision. NOT AT ALL. It was just that I was never fully possessed by the rush of excitement. I knew to look forward to the the challenge, but my heart wasn't in it, until now.
The older, black, gentleman who sat next to me on our tiny NWA plane does not enjoy flying. "It's a necessity," he said to the back of the seats in front of us, "It isn't something you enjoy."
He mentioned rising oil prices, and the snacks and drinks that aren't free on the plane. (I definitely wouldn't have minded a complimentary vodka tonic. Too bad.) He said, though, that it was just out of the question to drive all over the country now, as he turned the wheel of an invisible steering wheel in front of him. His distant, dark eyes were trained on a dusty road ahead of him, steering a stylish station wagon with a couple cool cats to one coast or another in search of employment or nirvana.
"When you're young like you are, someone just says 'Hey! Let's get in the car and drive here!' Or, it's two in the morning and you decide to just go."
I smiled and shook my head to acknowledge I was guilty of that. It reminded me of some rather inspired nights in the Hill Country. This gentleman was obviously too wise for such inspiration, now. He was seasoned, and wearing a seersucker suit with light blue stripes. He read through the New York Times and a European financial newspaper. Posh.
He did remember to ask me, some time later, if I enjoyed flying. Emphatically, I replied, “I love it.” This was lost on him. I could tell by the way he nodded in the direction of the seats in front of us again. It's too bad, because I was actually fully engaged in the moment, breathless to be up in the air.
Later, as the sun was setting, far away, tucked between horizontal clouds of ember and fuchsia, I could not resist remarking in his direction, “We must be part of someone's sunset!” Unfortunately, his deep wrinkles must have soaked up the sound of my words before they could settle into his hearing aid, because he just “Ummphed,” in reply.
Secret adventure peeking in the sunset, alluding the day by a few stretches of yawning dusk memories, consider hiding somewhere where I might happen upon you this summer. Perhaps behind a sharp blade of blue grass, or under a violet pebble as heavy as the ocean at nighttime. Consider nestling inside a rusty locket, hooked to a charm bracelet spilling out of the mouth of a hot-breathed tiger. Perhaps grow inside of a poisonous mushroom, mistakenly knocked on its head by the unstoppable mighty movement of a charming bare foot running for Frisbees. Perhaps when I stretch my arms in front of my line of vision, grasping the sun in one fist—jumping, reaching for the firm tennis ball barreling toward me, you—new and secret adventure-- will settle into my grip instead.
Did I tell you that most of my life is documented in diary entries, blog posts, and poetry? I, like most minute mortals have always been enamored with my own life, convinced that it is the most important life to me and the one that I am continually propelling through survival. My world revolves around me, like yours revolves around you. Substances and events only exist to me once they have effected me, that is, come across my portal of being. Nothing happens in my awareness without reference to me. Therefore, many day-to-days have been overly cherished in so many cursive letters in a dozen or so journals, both on and off-line. Yet, in being so wrapped up in my experience of living, I've also neglected to record many important parts of my twenty-one years and counting .
Is there ever a year for anyone when something momentous does not happen? It seems like for every year we've accomplished, folded up, and stored away there is a convenient life-change title to paste to the spine of it. Can there really be a life so monotonous and mundane and persistently boring that NOTHING stands over above the rest? Though most things that happen to us are insignificant and wisps of air in light of the enormity of time, especially considering the timelessness of the most real reality, to us there surely stands out one event that resonates the deepest on the harp strings of our finite existence-- one thing that stands itself up in the openness of truth and declares itself-- one thing to remember each year by.
I would like to confess to you today, dear electric diary, that I have developed a habit of "getting through". In the past few years I have experienced a handful of life changes. Nothing extraordinary or bizarre, these things are common to the academic or non-academic hardly-twenty-something. And though I've always most deeply experienced things through reflective writing, my prose has lazily slacked off in my increasing deftness to just get through-- to just transition, get through it, blah-di-blah.
Have I, Sara Triana, become just another drone who looks forward to the weekend? A Friday kind of person? This is a horrible fate, in my opinion, but one that I am not convinced I should resign myself to. It's a possibility, yes, that I could become someone who has so little passion for each new day that I perpetually look toward that false beacon of light and relaxation-- the weekend. Yet, this is merely a matter of attunement, which can be adjusted with a bit of effort and maybe a few more hours of sleep. "Getting through" things is such a cop-out attunement. It is a directedness toward nothing, an easy way to feel as if you are working toward some kind of goal. It is a shallow survivalism with nothing to live for. It is ignorance of purpose. It is apathy to things of essence. I know I don't really have to live like this. I know I have passion and love the adventure, knowledge, and whatever-else that can be dug out of just another every-day.
And yes, deep down, I know that my sloppy worship of God as of late could be a large contributing cause to this lack of reflection and that it can be remedied as quickly as a prayer that escapes with a single breath.
I know that if I want to be able to proudly label my years and feel like I have some influence on the momentous things that happen to me each year, I must tidy up my focus and get some things in order. Praise God that such a thing is possible, and furthermore, rather simple.
I say all these things with the intention to reflect on how I feel about my next adventure: moving to Michigan for the summer to be a nanny. I also intended to reflect on recent events, like finishing most of my major philosophy classes, realizing my academic passion, watching my boyfriend go to law school, and returning to Burnet for a visit. All of those things will have to wait for another day, though, for this post is already extending past the point of interest for most of my dear friends who read this.
But as for Michigan, may the Lord who is kind to me with ever increasing grace, grant the children who will be in my care a summer of learning, fun, creativity, rejuvenation, and love. May he grant their parents peace about the nanny of their children, and a memorable summer. May he grant me passion for teaching, playing, reading, and a simpler life. May he pour out patience, strength, joy, and success to my family, my beloved, and my friends who I will look forward to returning to.