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I love windows. I love taking pictures of windows. I love light and how it shapes whatever it touches. The bungalow is a little bit dark, even though it has a big window in the living room; it’s a bit of a shotgun-style house, which I also love. But the bedrooms are light and when we put a new coat of paint in the living room, it will be much brighter. But I digress. Windows intrigue me in photography, giving just a glimpse of the life that lies behind them. Warmth. Shadows. A suggestion of the owners taste in lace curtains, beads, brocade. A suspicion of age and weather in cracks and dust. A hint of ghosts.

Three Windows
St. Elmo, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Daily gratitudes:
Rain (once in a while)
Tattered Cover
Soft blankets
Road trips
Traditions

Photo title: Back To Earth

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “One has to handle these negative experiences alone. You can’t get help from your friends or family. You’re finally alone with it, and you have to come to grips with misfortune and go on.”  —  Shirley Temple Black

Daily gratitudes:
A big front window
iPhones envy
Pine floors
Colors
Work well done

I’m not a morning person and I’m not a good sleeper.  This is not news – no need to alert the media, unless we’d like for it to become an issue for the teabaggers – oops, I mean tea-partiers.  But last night was unusually rough.

Yes, I know, I didn’t go to bed at an early hour, even though I worked 12 hours and was terribly tired.  I got entranced with The Civil War after I got home (see yesterday’s post) and stayed up too late.  I offer myself a Mea Culpa for that.

However…

When I did go to bed, I turned off the light, like a good dog, and went straight to sleep.  For about 3 hours.  At which time, the coyotes who frequently roam the empty field by the Cottage struck a little too close to home.  Like right beside my slightly cracked bedroom window.  I don’t know what they were tussling with, but there were snarls and squeals and growls and excited paw movements that woke me suddenly, leaving me bolt upright and wide-eyed, staring at the black until they ran off towards the Big House.

Of course, that had my heart pumping.  I remember once, when I was little, there was a dogfight outside my bedroom window in the middle of the night.  I will never forget my terror at the idea of two huge fighting dogs plunging through the glass and into my bedroom.  That didn’t happen, but the fear of the fantasy remains.

Since the house next door was broken into and robbed last week, I have been, I think understandably, a little edgy.  I’m glad no one was hurt.  But it brought into sharp focus how isolated I am in the Cottage.  No one can hear me here.  No one can see me here.  So, in the middle of night, the hamster of thievery came to romp in my brain.  And that’s just not a good sleep aid.

But I did not give up.  I was still hopeful that Morpheus would come to cradle me until morning.  I got up to get some water and noticed my forehead hurt.  Odd.  Blinding myself with the bathroom light, I faced the mirror.  And there it was.  True injustice to a woman experiencing sirocco-like hot flashes.  A giant pimple erupting directly in the center of my forehead.

Sigh.  What can you do?  Curse.  Go back to bed.  Speculate on why it hurts like a broken skull.  Imagine that, instead of a pimple, it is actually a horn about to emerge from the bones beneath my skin. 

Don’t laugh.  It happens.  See?

And with that thought I drifted back to sleep for an hour.

I am indulging myself with The Bonnet Channel on this windy Saturday morning.  It’s one of my favorites – The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn.  Big sigh for Errol Flynn – if only he hadn’t been such a dissipated rogue, although I guess that was a large part of his charm.  (I’ll write more about Erroll, and about Robin Hood, one of these days.)

Watching this film, set in 13th century – though I must say Hollywood seems to think that fashion in the 13th century was much more regal than I imagine it actually was – I started thinking about how and why the world has changed in to the last 900 years.  (Cue “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy” intro narration.)

It is hard to separate the idea of native intelligence from the intelligence of this technology-driven world in which we live.  I am certain that the men and women of the year 1266 were just as smart as we are today.  So why could they not figure out the things we have been able to in subsequent centuries?  We have always had the basic resources – which really come down to the four elements of which everything is composed, and from some variant/combination of which everything has been developed: earth, air, fire, water.

So were we just new enough that we were spending our evolutionary childhood figuring stuff out like infants and children do? I can’t get a peg on how long humans have been on earth; some sources say 200,000 years, others say 4,000,000, and still others guess any number before, after or in between.  If we’ve been around for four million years and we were still in our childhood 900 years ago, then we’ve had a serious growth spurt in the last few centuries.  Or else we’re now in our adolescence and we have an absolutely astounding adulthood before us.  Unless we burn ourselves out and leave a decent-looking corpse.

Anyway, the question is, were people intelligent enough 900 years ago to figure out things like how to make plastic or microchips or cars?  If so, why didn’t it happen then?  Were they just too busy trying to subsist from day-to-day?  I know most farmers don’t have the opportunity to spend their days or nights trying to create new inventions.  It seems that the issue is less the intelligence of people 900 years ago than it is their lack of leisure time.  But then the idle rich weren’t the ones who invented things – isn’t necessity the mother of invention?

Do you get what I’m thinking?  I’m not sure I’m expressing myself very well, but I’m going to put it out there for discussion as is.  I may come back to it later, once my brain has chewed on it some more. 

It’s nice having deep thoughts again for a change.  But it does help to have a dialogue about them.

Today’s guest poet  –  W. B. Yeats (this is a re-post from 2/10/10, but it feels right for today)

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a cloud of stars.

Today is my birthday.  I’m 48 years old.  I could think that’s old, but I don’t.  For one thing, I’ve been saying I was 48 for months now.  I just forgot, or got confused, or wanted the year to be over, or felt like I’d earned another year.  Or something like that.

It has been a nice morning.  I woke early, refreshed.  I wrote a little.  I read a little.  A friend called.  I dozed for another hour.  I got up and correctly [insert wild screaming cheers here] installed my Digital Transport Adaptor, which makes it sound like I should be able to teleport a la Star Trek, but really only enables me to watch my TV, now that the cable company has “improved” service.  I made soup.  I got a shout out from Swinemama on Facebook.

I’m lunching with my sister.  I have some work to do, and I have a friend coming over for dinner.  Tomorrow, Kelsea and I are off to Steamboat Springs for the hot air balloon festival.  If you haven’t seen them, you can check out my pictures from last year’s festival on Monkeyeye here.  I had a great time last year, and I think she’ll really enjoy it.

The vet called and my darling Dusty (the cat)’s blood work all came back normal – he’s been ill the last few days – it stared with a sort of weird gagging/choking sound, and now he’s hiding, and won’t eat, though I did get him to eat a little baby food yesterday.  Next step is an x-ray. 

Pat called to say “Happy Birthday”, which was nice of him, but we got into a bit of a tiff about taking the cat in for the x-ray – it was a money issue and a control issue.  He wants to watch the cat to see how he is – which makes no sense to me, as I watched the cat and determined that something was wrong.  Why does he need to do it too?  We also batted around whose financial responsiblity it was.  I say we should split it.  He says I should pay for it – on top of the $266 I paid yesterday.  And we snipped about bedtime rules for Kelsea – he’s of the mind that she’s 13 and should go to bed at 10:00.  And so they fight about it.  I think she can stay up later – she’ll learn that she needs to go to bed earlier if she screws up her next day.  He says she’s not old enough to make her own decisions and that I’m just acting like her best friend.  He says she needs to listen and learn.  My argument is that she needs to make her own mistakes and learn.  And I don’t think I’m just acting like her best friend.  So I guess this proves that even in a “pretty good divorce”, you’re still going to have issues and disputes, and they’ll be very similar to the ones you had when you were married.

Anyway, that was a mini-rant, wasn’t it?  A departure from the point of this post.  Back to the subject at hand. 

There hasn’t been a birthday that hasn’t had me in tears for longer than I can remember.  I think last year, that’s all I wanted – a whole day without crying.  I didn’t get it.  It’s just always been something (often with Pat) for years – a fight, or he’ll forget, or something else.  Maybe I put too much importance on my birthday, but I think if you’ve been with someone for 25 years, you should be able to remember their birthday.  Which made it really nice that he called with birthday wishes today.

This morning though, I realized that maybe I have placed too much importance on other people celebrating me.  It makes perfect sense for ME to be the one celebrating being born.  I’m (finally) happy to be here.  I’m happy to have the friends I do.  I’m happy to love as I do.  I’m buying myself a AAA membership and a book on old Route 66 for my birthday.

I’m viewing today as the start of a new year – a chance to set new goals and walk through new doors, see new places, keep working on that life list.  When the next birthday rolls around, I expect I’ll be even happier.  There will be bumps in the road, but you must take the roughs with the smooths – it helps you appreciate the smooths more.

So, happy birthday to me!  And just FYI, the buttercream frosting roses were always my favorite part of the cake.

Today is Ray Kroc’s birthday – did you go to McDonald’s to celebrate?  It is also Improve Your Office Day.  I wonder what Ray Kroc’s office looked like?

During my travels this weekend, I had a lot of windshield time, with very limited radio reception, which is always a good opportunity to contemplate life.  Among the things I gave thought to were:

Why do we have dogs as pets, and how did that start?

What do you DO when you live in the middle of nowhere?

What is going to happen in 2012 (and as a follow-up last night, Kelsea asked me why there were so many movies about the end of the world in 2012.  I think I should ask Theresa her opinions about that.)

Why are all drivers except me so incredibly stupid?

How do entire towns come to die?

What am I going to do when this contract is up?

I could, and probably will, write on any and all of these topics.  But today, I choose to write on the topic of age and time, because it kept coming up over the weekend.

I am of the opinion that we are all always every age.  I’ll sometimes joke with Kelsea about this.  She said this morning that she can never remember how old I am, so she hedges on the low side.  I told her that was always a wise idea when speculating on a woman’s age or weight. 

At any rate, I have noticed particularly since I’ve been a mom that I sometimes parallel Kelsea’s age.  That’s what made me such a good playmate for her when she was little-little. I could play dinosaurs, or Harry Potter, or restaurant, for hours.  I could make bath toys talk (and sometimes they would argue with each other, which was really creepy).  I made up voices and characters by the dozens.  I found my inner child, and sometimes she would get sulky if Kelsea didn’t want to play her way.  But I almost felt more like a child with her than I did when I was a child myself, when I was always in a hurry to grow up, and wasn’t kind of pissed off about being here in the first place.

I remember my Mother coming into my room when I was about 14, sitting down on the bed and bursting into tears – which was something she almost NEVER did – and saying that I was 14 and she was almost 50 and I was older than she was.  She was not lamenting my excessive maturity, but her own sense of missing cosmic wisdom, which I never saw.  I always considered her completely capable, sound, and a spiritual role model.  As a mom myself now, I sometimes feel the same way about Kelsea.  She seems so much wiser now than I have ever been. Interesting.  Perhaps it’s a generational legacy of some sort.

I can feel as young as Kelsea (or younger).  I can relive moments (some that I don’t want to) as if I were actually there.  I spend most of my time these days feeling like I’m in my early 20’s, likely because so many things are changing and my life is opening before me, heading in unknown directions.  Every so often, physical reality catches up to me, in the form of pain from the cold, or a bad mirror, and I recall my real age.  And some days, I feel as old as the Blue Ridge, tired, settling, still growing, but worn down by the years I’ve seen for eons.

But I’m as comfortable hanging out with most infants and most seniors as I am with my peers.  I’m so not the typical Rock Creek mom that I am comfortable hanging with Kelsea and her friends on occasion. (I know the time is coming where SHE won’t be comfortable with this.)

Guess as with many things, I’m all over the map.  And I don’t mind a bit.

My Mother was always amazed when she looked in the mirror – she didn’t know who that old woman was looking back at her.  Despite her cancer, she felt inside as if she were still in her 20’s – just as I do now.

FH000005

Enough about age.  Now, onto time.  They are related, you know, though exactly how I have yet to figure out.  It’s not as obvious as it might seem.

Time warps exist.  I’m convinced of it.  We’ve all become such slaves to time and clocks and deadlines that we have locked ourselves into a certain reality of time.  I myself haven’t worn a watch in years, though I still mostly wake up to an alarm clock.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes a trip that takes 5 minutes feels like it has taken 15?  Or how the sign said 32 miles, but it took you an hour and a half to get there?  I am an occasional practitioner of time control.  I firmly believe in playing with time.  I’ve practiced making minutes stretch when I need to be someplace and don’t have enough time to get there.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. 

That curious phenomenon called “Island Time” is perfectly compatible with my philosophy that time is both relative and fluid.  Depending on how you choose to play them, days on vacation, and particularly on an island, can last forever, or can go by in a blink.  I choose the forever path.  I can spend four days on an island and feel like I’ve been gone for 10.  On one trip where I was gone for 13 days, I felt as if I’d been gone a month.  Is it that there is no prescribed time for most things, with the possible exception of ferries?   And even then, if you miss one, another soon come?  (Or if not, you wind up spending a night on another island – boo hoo.)  You eat when you’re hungry, you drink when you’re thirsty, you sleep when you’re sleepy.  It gives time a totally different quality.

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I need to get my ideas more clearly thought out before I write more about time.  Is it possible that it’s ALREADY time for another road trip???

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