Friday, October 30, 2009

Art From Above

The other day at work an artist came in to drop off some of his paintings and he proceeded to tell us that God gives him visions of what to paint. Usually when people say things like this I smile politely and turn quickly away to give a good eye roll towards the wall. To make matters worse, this guy wasn't even a good artist—The least God could do is pick a better artist to paint for him, I thought. But the fact that this man wasn't good actually helped clear something up for me (no, I wasn't converted), but for the first time I was able to make sense of what he was saying.

When this man feels inspired or when he gets a clear idea of what to paint he believes this comes from God. I can actually relate to that because as a writer I have had similar moments, I've just never given a thumbs up towards heaven when they've happened because I don't believe that's where they came from. I have had moments writing poems when I have no idea what I'm saying or where the poem is headed until it suddenly, and seemingly at once, becomes very clear and the rest flows easily from my head and from my heart. See, I just said it comes from my head and my heart—others would say it comes from God. It's just a matter of what you do or don't believe in.

So, I stopped mid eye roll this time because I realized that while I would personally be freaked out if I thought someone (God included) was infiltrating my mind with "visions," all creative minds have moments of inspiration from somewhere...whether we choose to believe it comes from within us, around us, or even above us.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall At The Orchard

Fall has always meant a lot to means leaves on the maple tree in front of the fire station turning a brilliant shade of red and orange; it means my birthday; it means darkness coming earlier; it means crisp days and clear nights; and it means the orchard. Russell Orchards in Ipswich, Mass. has been under different management over the years but I'm happy it hasn't lost any of it's essential fall staples. It's probably the one place every kid who grew up on the Northshore remembers when they think of fall.The place itself signifies the season and all it has to offer: a yellow tree-lined driveway, apple-picking, piles of hay for the pigs and goats, rows of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes, fresh apple cider and the most delicious scent in the entire world from fresh baked cider donuts. I'm pretty sure if no one was there to stop me, I would have eaten this whole tray of them.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bittersweet October

"Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter." ~Carol Bishop Hipps

Sunday, October 18, 2009

California Poet: Robinson Jeffers

In a poetry reading I went to the other night, Louise Gluck and Robert Pinksy read some of their favorite poems, including one from Robinson Jeffers whose work is influenced by the natural beauty of the central California coast. I had read some of Jeffers poetry before but kind of forgot about him...I appreciate his work more now that I'm familiar with the Calif. coastline and have seen first-hand how quickly and carelessly we push forward building more developments and promoting more materialism, particularly on the West Coast. So, in the spirit of poetry (and nature), here is one by Jeffers:

Carmel Point

Robinson Jeffers

The extraordinary patience of things!

This beautiful place defaced with a crop of surburban houses-

How beautiful when we first beheld it,

Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;

No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,

Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rockheads-

Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all

Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty

Lives in the very grain of the granite,

Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.-As for us:

We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;

We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident

As the rock and ocean that we were made from.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

$10 Therapy

I've been working my two new jobs for a month now and I'm starting to think my main job responsibility at both places is to be the very cheap resident therapist.

Today my boss and I spent all afternoon going over a new line of marketing products she's been anxious about starting. When we finished, she told her husband I was great to have around because I was so patient and all she needed was someone to sit there while she talked out loud. And on Monday one of the managers at the restaurant where I work apologized to me for sitting on the bench next to the hostess stand and pouring out his heart about the latest emotional turmoil between he and his friend/ex/girlfriend.

There must be something about me (probably a side effect of the weirdo magnet) that causes people to over share around me. I've always been a pretty good listener; I'm patient, and I can keep a secret. I've had friends tell me deep secrets then look at me and say, "I don't know why I just told you that...I promised myself I wasn't going to tell a soul." I think people are drawn to Libras for their sense of inner balance and ability to equally weigh all the sides. In addition, our indecisive nature is helpful to them because 9 out of 10 times they are not looking for an answer, but just need someone to act as their sounding board.

When the restaurant manager apologized again for talking so much about his life, I joked, "It's okay...that will be $200." And he said, "Wow, that's've been here four hours!" He's right...but it's sad when that sounds like a hefty sum to a girl who makes nothing. I'm beginning to think I'm in the wrong profession here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Inhabitants Of Nature

Before I had to head into work at the restaurant last weekend, Tommie and I managed to get out and check out a trail in the Warren-Weld (Greenbelt) Reservation in Essex with one of our friends and Maya. The trail we stuck to was a good distance and there were others to check out so I definitely think we'll go back there soon.

The week before we made another stop at the Long Hill Reservation in Beverly. The change of seasons almost makes it seem like we're in a different park every time we plants have sprung up, more or less leaves cover the trees, and the giant tadpoles that hovered in the little rock ponds are now big frogs poking their heads from between lily pads to soak up the remaining sunlight.

Searching for little creatures like cool bugs, frogs and snakes
is one of my favorite things to do when we're exploring/walking. Sometimes I think if science class hadn't suddenly turned into a cleverly disguised math class (thanks a lot chemistry and physics), I might have spent more time studying biology because long before textbooks I was a strange kid who loved to play with bugs...I blame it on the fact we didn't have cable television in my house. For whatever reason, I've always been fascinated with all the little critters inhabiting the natural world. I remember getting in trouble in elementary school for leading a tour of kids to the outfield during recess to see a puddle filled with tadpoles that had just hatched. Those "yard ladies" really knew how to burst a kid's bubble. Luckily, that didn't thwart my efforts to check out the tadpoles progress when I was able to sneak away. And there is still a child-like part of me that gets excited when I spot these guys.