This week I wrestled with post-holiday blues and in this quiet time I recall those no longer here. Those shiny, vibrant beings who escaped their earthly bodies to dance with stars. Or at least that’s what I imagine tonight. I mean, if I can’t share a bottle of champagne with my mother anymore, at least I can presume she is doing something fabulous, starry even, right? As my eye drifts out the picture window at the endless snow falling, I hear her ringing laughter, for she adored the holiday season, skating full force from one glittery gathering to the next without pause.
Ahhh November… thank you for dragging me back inside to face myself squarely, and see what is what. Lately, when I stray, I silently yell, “here, now” and in the moment find my true north.
Do you remember when you first discovered Ram Dass’s 1970’s iconic Be Here Now? When you cracked open that journey? I do… only a teen unsteady on which way was up but I dove in all the same.
Those years revolved round myself. Being here now meant more time with an emphasis on present enjoyment. Chasing the next high until reality drifted out of view. Being present was pure frenzy. What may have started as new-age spirituality for others morphed onto immediacy for me and my crew, and even though there was the notion that we, this new generation, care beyond ourselves, to include all the souls inhabiting this one earth, the real focus was on one’s small private world, frequently spinning out of control, fast, then faster. From my vantage, Ram Dass ignited a wave of self-professed hedonists, of which I was yet another faithful fan, who heralded…
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Love a party!?!? Well, you’re in luck, because I have an epic reason to celebrate, for this month Nine Cent Girl turns 8! Who would have thought I’d have this much to write, keeping a weekly blog going week after week after week? Hahaha, I hear what you’re thinking, you all do! Let’s celebrate!
One of Vermont’s biggest strengths, in my view, is that it’s a place of tradition and a place of change: from legendary apple pies to snappy hard cider. A place with morals that allow for an expanse on the definition: Christian ministers perform same-sex marriage here. A state with an elected Republican Governor, Democratic Senators and Independents sprinkled throughout. People vote for people here, not party. People listen to debates or town hall meetings or their neighbors to get a full picture of the candidates. Political advertisements are a rarity, because Vermonters aren’t dazzled by sound bites. Maybe you feel the same about your community?
What makes creativity happen for you? That thing that gets you to a place where beyond fades in opaque light, just light, that when brush hits canvas or clay first forms or beads reorder in a new order or beats just tap themselves out or the pencil flies across the page, and beyond this spark of creation lays nothing you care for, like the crumpled sheets pushed aside in the night so you now lay exposed under the hot light of imagination. Consumed. You write. You don’t give a hoot about where you’ll end up on the continuum you just have to keep on moving toward that something. You make space for it, like every Thursday night you sit while the stream streams, and all that other stuff fades, the very stuff that might have made you cry or driven you crazy or made you cold just melts like July does on your back deck. And if you don’t write or paint or drum or dance or let yourself enter that space, then, well then something awful happens and you collapse, maybe you just shout or find yourself watching the evening commentary show that has replaced actual news, and you then, without much provocation, are on Twitter, scrolling through hundreds of characters issued by people who can’t talk to each other only at each other. You start to obsess.
From the vineyards of Cassis in Provence, France, to wineries of Santa Barbara, California, I tasted more fabulous rosé this summer than a Master Sommelier. Bottle after bottle, with an ocean or mountain or city view, shared with friends and family well into the night. I never regret those glasses raised in laughter and love.
But traveling meant there were plenty of meals on the go. Days when chips and m&m’s were lunch or maybe a second lunch. Eating in airports or roadsides where the selection wasn’t a healthy one. There were plenty of fabulous restaurant dinners too. Extraordinary plates of homemade pasta and fresh breads, local fish or eggs, burgers on the grill, corn with butter and peaches over ice cream. Oh, and pies, custards, and tarts. (I was in France, after all). Food highlighted my days, without regard to calories or consequence; I often dined quite splendidly, as evidenced by my scale.
Detox-ober came in the nick of time. Clothes ill-fitting, energy level flatlining, and little desire to run up any of the hills my crazy life demands me to surmount; acting like it was a breeze to keep hiking when in actuality walking through the motions winded me. I owed myself a breather, so, as I do every fall when I find myself in this exact same transitional place from summer fun back to work, I closed the liquor cabinet, stopped eating out, and focused on revitalizing the core of me.
Without fail, on certain days, I find myself measuring myself against the giants, those who trod across uncertain landscapes firmly and with certainty, ease. I know I shouldn’t, but it has always been my cross, to want more. I’m not sure I can blame my parents for this one, maybe it was their post-depression dreams feed to me with all they believed possible, men reaching for the moon, a culture breaking sexual taboos and racial barriers, and seeing a world rebuild after war. Today I attempt to content myself by focusing on the little stuff. Finding the joy that nature brings. Taking a moment to look up at the blue or remembering to look down, to really see what’s here and now.