Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sun Spots

I recently spent some time in Solana Beach, just north of San Diego. What a fine break it was from the freeze of my town's January. My daughter and I walked in the sun, sat in the sun, soaked in the sun, reclined in the sun. She said we were in full lizard mode and I agree.

It felt so good, letting the warm rays wrap around limbs that have been cloistered in fleece and denim for months. We both tossed good judgment aside and let the sun toast our albino skin to bright pink. The "farmer tan" and swimsuit lines were proudly flaunted for a couple of days.

I really liked the intense colors of Solana Beach, particularly the brilliant whites, deep blues and crazy oranges in the area's nonstop sun. So festive, so goofy, so energizing. One neighborhood we walked through had delightful tile artwork along the street. A long tiled landscape in startling colors graced the front of one home. Another home integrated a wavey mosaic along the streetside fence. Shells and glass merged with blue tile in a carnival of color and light that ran all along the width of the home's lot. White stucco houses provided stunning backdrops for bronzed hardware (like a door's gargoyle), raggedy palm fronds, and brilliant tropical flowers. The reptilian blooms of the bird of paradise plant made me giggle, with their crazy spears of bright orange jousting from a purply core.

A few days in that marine sun was probably enough for us. My daughter and I both agreed that, as lovely as the climate and setting are, we prefer our own spots. She savors the soft, green moisture of the Pacific Northwest and I enjoy the intense span of temperature and season offered by my home in the high desert. She made the comment that there was too much sun for her in this seaside town. I thought about that as I flew home. For decades, I've wanted to live in Crete, to perch in a stuccoed white home atop dark rock, peering down at azure sea and up at azure sky. But I'm thinking now that I would only like that sharply contrasted setting for awhile. I'm thinking that maybe my daughter's observation about overabundant sun might temper my enjoyment.

I think I'll savor the sunnied brilliance of my sunroom today, knowing full well that dark grey days will soon come along to provide some vivid contrast. I think I'll enjoy my home's special sun spot, knowing that its presence is fleeting this time of year.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cloud Running

Today I woke up to a persistent drip from the rainspout on a corner of my house. Now, in the living room, I hear the drip from a rainspout on another corner of my house. These are sounds I like a lot.

When Sadie and I went outside for our early morning stretch and for my barefoot prayer, we were met with sweet moisture. The air cuddled my face gently. No wind, no harsh chill, just very pleasant moisture.

Soon we will run in this light rain. We'll trek across soggy grass, feeling the goosh of weight against saturated ground with each step. We'll slide along the muddy trail, with me hugging the edge of the path, where vegetation provides a bit more stability. We'll lope along the road from the lacrosse field to the subdivision, enjoying the cushy feel of steps on bark chips suspended on a bed of very pliable wet soil. Then we'll wrap our trek up, winding on the lovely grassed edge of the subdivision, enjoying the serpentine design of this manicured urban path.

Unlike many in this sun-drenched part of the world, I really like this rain. I like knowing that plants are getting the wet nourishment they need, without having to wait for it to melt. I like seeing the intense colors that rain nudges out: greens are deeper, browns are almost black, reds of cotoneaster berry are vibrant. I like smelling the rain-soaked air. My nose welcomes each gentle inhalation, so different from the bitter burn of last week's 13 degree air. I like feeling light rain on my skin. Its touch is like butterfly wing. A friend posted that running in light rain is like running through a cloud and I like that image.

I think I'll climb out of my pajamas, get my running clothes on, herd my dog into the car, and head on out to do a little cloud running. Such an ethereal way to welcome this blessed day, to open up to this week of ample opportunity.

Friday, January 7, 2011


For 2011 I resolved to forcefully loosen my attachment to anger. Spent way too much time and energy in 2010 with that ugly thing. So it's been delightful in this first week of the year to recognize just how important connections with others are in helping sidestep anger.

Yesterday found me hugging, laughing and tearing with a stunning woman whose mother is recovering from brain surgery. The warmth, prayers, and love wrapping this connection are truly amazing. Why? Because this woman and her mother are in my life as a result of shopping. They own an elegant store that I frequent. They have helped me with many creations, sharing with me their passion for superior quality and soaring art. I am quite blessed to connect with these two women.

The photo above is a snippet from a sorority picture taken long, long ago. I'm surrounded by three women (those without glasses) who have re-surfaced in my life after decades of separation. Connection has been made via Facebook and it's been a joyous bond for me. I am thrilled to read the blog of one, a fiber artist of incredible talent. I am tickled to read the postings of another, a vibrant soul who creates a trail of sunshine. I am touched to read the postings of another, gazing at her stunning photographs and smiling at her gentle strength. Never thought that my sorority would pop up again in my life. I joined Alpha Omicron Pi for a practical reason: I was living off campus and thought it would be a fine way to meet other students. I would have never guessed that, many decades after my "being Greek," I would connect daily with my sorority sisters. I am quite blessed to re-connect with these awe-some women.

Connection has been a delight in my neighborhood, a small street of modest 50 year old ranch-style homes. Two new babies have energized the block filled with silver-haired residents. Dog-lovers create conversation on evening outings with their fuzzy pals. A beautiful neighbor in her 80s inspires us with her sparkling humor and joie de vivre, not to mention her incredible Greek pastries. I am quite blessed to connect with those living around me.

And this year promises the gift of long, lasting friendships. This week my vibrant friend and former business partner and I shared our goals for the year, videoing each other in sweet "contracts" about our intentions. Last week a talented photographer and friend for decades helped me honor my mother on her 85th birthday. A friend who has known me since I was in grade school makes me grin, sigh, and pray, as he honors his daughters and fights for social causes. One of the most gorgeous creatures I've ever seen will share a meal with me monthly this year, a routine we've treasured for several years now. I am quite blessed to connect with these precious friends.

And then there are the daily connections inside my home, with the sweetest man ever made and that fuzzy golden buddy of mine, Greenleaf Sadie Sue (her AKC name). These roomies make every day special for me, handing out genuine greetings of hug, kiss, wiggle, and cuddle. I am quite blessed to connect with these two housemates.

Connect: yes, that's one thing I'll do this year to keep anger at bay. Wondrous bonds in my life will help trigger smiles in 2011.