A morning prayer can really save the day. ❤
A morning prayer can really save the day. ❤
It never ceases to amaze me how memory works. I regularly wonder at what point the brain moves a piece of information to the far-back storage area; the one that needs only a brief review class for it all to come flooding back into the immediately-retrievable information area of the brain again. How long of not using the information does the brain let it sit up front, before sending the information to the middle ground and then finally to the back storage grounds?
You see, the summer after my first year in college, I did an internship (paid, of course, and sponsored by Shell) with a park conservancy. I had no background in trees and plants, but I told my eventual boss how I was genuinely interested in them and learning more about them. And so began my adventure of studying, researching, and identifying and plotting trees in a local park. My co-intern and I really took the studying to heart, and we would look up the most detailed pieces of information regarding tree identification for our area – fun fact: she wasn’t even from the south, but she learned all about our plants and trees, anyway. Sometimes, we’d learn distinctions that couldn’t even be found in some tree identification books, they were so specific and unique. We would discuss thoroughly what we though a tree was, based on the bud beginnings that were visible on the tree, and then have our boss verify for us what it was. And we loved it all.
By the end of the internship, we could walk around the park and identify any tree around us, almost immediately (there were a couple that had only a tiny difference, and so we had to check for a hint of color underneath the leaves in order to tell which was which). I enjoyed greeting the trees by their species names. Hey, Live Oak. How are you doing today? I’m really happy to see you here. I hope you stay around for years and years to come. Wherever I went in the area (Houston/Southeast Texas), I identified what trees crossed my path, and I enjoyed it. Riding my bike home from work was like a scavenger hunt of What kinds of trees can I find today? My brother and sister-in-law would send me photos, asking me to help them identify trees in Wisconsin. I didn’t know most of the trees, but I knew what parts I needed to see in order to find the trees in tree logs, and I got to work once I had the needed photos. It was fun for me, and I did far more than was necessary in terms of identifying trees.
Now to this afternoon.
I found myself just staring at these buds. It was cold out, but I didn’t seem to care for a couple minutes. I didn’t even seem to care about the conversation in which I had been participating. I walked right up to these buds and just admired them. It felt as though I was waiting for a name to come to mind, so I could finish the mental thought of Hello, … But I knew I didn’t know the name that went with these buds. I eyed the buds, but somehow didn’t dare examine them properly, look for things I once sought out for identification purposes – I didn’t want yet another verification of the fact that I’d forgotten almost everything, even though they weren’t necessarily buds for a tree (I know that sounds crazy, but it is totally possible. Trust me.).
I know that, if I only had a brief refresher, I’d be good again on all the identifications. I still recognize so many of the trees, without even trying to do so… I just have no more names. I remember only four names, and can only really identify two of them perfectly (Live Oak and Chinese Tallow) – I think they might have been the first two I ever remembered, so they were kind of special for me… plus, they’re kind of everywhere in the Houston area, which is probably why I learned them first.
Anyway… memory is interesting, and today it had me a little on the mellow side of nostalgic, wishing I still could identify trees effectively, even though I can’t quite tell why it ever would matter, my being able to identify trees.
Do you know what a salt lamp is? Well, I just realized that I have one. And it’s in my room. And I’m quite excited about it all of a sudden. And, naturally, feel a silliness rising, too. You see, with salt lamps, just like with ice sculptures, I have an urge to lick them whenever I see them illuminated. Okay, the illuminated part isn’t exactly the same with ice sculptures, but the licking desire is.
I remember my brothers’ dad’s wedding over a decade ago (I think that was the occasion, anyway), and how there was an ice sculpture there at the reception. My cousin commented how she wanted to lick it – perhaps it was a swan, if I remember correctly? – when we were standing in front of it. ‘So, lick it,’ was approximately my response.
Sure enough, she licked it. We both did, actually, because her desire rubbed off onto me somehow. (It actually started a trend for me, for whenever parties have ice sculptures. I remember shocking a few classmates, when I casually passed by and licked a huge ice sculpture at a school event.) We were still kids, but we knew well enough that it was not a normal behavior, and so were stealthy about it. But we totally licked the ice sculpture.
Now, I have a similar situation with salt lamps. Though, since they aren’t something that will melt away in a matter of hours, and they’ll stick around for quite some time afterward, and have been around for a while, I don’t lick them. Usually, though, I just touch it gently with a finger or two, and then smoothly lick the salt off my fingers.
Of course, now you know about my sneaky – and somewhat weird, really – habits at parties and salt-lamp-containing spaces. Just don’t give me away, okay? If anything, give the ice sculpture thing a go yourself. It’s surprisingly rewarding, the whole affair. ;D
It wasn’t until I had lived in France for a few months that I found out about the secret bags of pastries.
You see, normally, I would have one to three pastries a week. That was all that I could afford reasonably, really. And fresh pastries in France are kind of the bomb dot com. Period. Sometimes, during the morning break in class, my classmates and I would walk to the bakery the next street over, and all have a pastry and coffee together. It was fun and always delicious. And, compared to the US, the prices were fabulous. However, there was still a limit – we couldn’t really do it every day on our college student budgets.
But, my life was somewhat transformed when one of the girls in my program told me how she always got her pastries. D- found a way to try them all on a budget. She said, ‘Yeah, you just look for these bags up on top of the counter, in a basket, and they’re filled with whatever didn’t sell yesterday. So, it’s different every day.’
After several days, if not even a couple weeks, of psyching myself up, I finally went to the bakery she’d mentioned, to find these secret bags. And there they were, crammed full of various pastries, and they were only a few euros. I think it was that very first time that, even though I totally knew what the bag up on top of the pastry case was, I asked casually to the pastry chef what it was. He explained it all to me, and how they didn’t want to waste anything, so they bagged it up and sold it cheap the next morning. I semi-feigned surprise at what he told me, but I was also genuinely surprised that D- had been right and it really was a real thing. For the price of one or two fresh pastries, I could get a whole bag of ones made only yesterday, and of all different types. No, if you grow up on fresh French pastries, they aren’t nearly too delicious. However, we didn’t grow up on fresh French pastries – we delighted in even the day-old pastries like it was some of the best stuff we’d ever eaten. (And it totally was.)
Plus, if someone had given me a bag of pastries anyway, I probably wouldn’t have eaten them all at once. It would have taken me most of the day to get through them comfortably, and I’d probably even save something for breakfast the next day. So, for a huge fraction of the price, we got to do just that.
Usually, I’d share a bag with others, so we all got to try the different pastries. But I got my own a few times, for sure.
So anyway, if you go to France for vacation or whatever, ask the bakeries in the morning if they have bags of yesterday’s leftovers. I think there’s even a specific term for it, but my brain is not producing it right now, if there is one… I totally used it, whatever it was, though, word or phrase or whatever… I loved trying out all the different pastries. However, despite trying so many different pastries, I still almost exclusively get a chocolatine (pain au chocolat everywhere but the southwest), a croissant, and/or a baguette (though those guys aren’t pastries, they are still one of my favorite foods ever). But whatever. I got to test out all the stuff and see that I enjoyed it all, as well as discover that I really just love the simple stuff best. (It’s like a cliché about life or something, but it’s just how I feel about French pastries.)
I’ve begun brushing my hair again. I started it a few days ago, and it has been long enough that I don’t remember what day was the start of it. I just remember that I thought about it for at least a few days, if not weeks, and then finally went and pulled out a brush I’d found, cleaned it out, and used it. I brushed my hair three times that day (meaning occasions, not strokes). And I’ve done it at least once, if not two or three times each day since.
My old flatmate had a mirror-markered message on her bathroom mirror, and it has always stuck with me in my low times. It read:
You’re never going to Δ your life
until you Δ something you do daily.
I originally had a secret affinity for it, and therefore for the not-yet-flatmate, because of her use of delta for the word change. I love math and language, and I slightly nerded out at that casual use of delta. Naturally, I liked the message, too, but it was really the deltas that had the image stick so well in my mind. Not going to lie, here. (lolz… as I sit on my bed, just before I go to sleep…)
Anyway, that message has been a sort of stick in my side, whenever I get down in life. So, after probably a year of not really brushing my hair regularly (slash almost at all), I began brushing it daily. And it looks great, of course, because I’m not in the drier Japanese climate in which I previously lived – it gave me curly-type wavy hair, if I didn’t brush it…, but I also stopped brushing it, because I couldn’t justify the effort… which I find sad, because it is extremely easy to brush my hair. Anyway, I’m doing it again, now, and I’m glad for it.
Every little step along the way not only improves the outcome, but beautifies the journey, which is where we spend most of the time, anyway. 🙂
The internet went out for a little while tonight…, and I find it somewhat hilarious that it was sort of a huge deal for the others in the house, and I almost couldn’t have cared less. I did, after all, live several months wihout internet at home, both in the US and in Japan, and I even spent some months without cell service or phone service of any kind either… I kind if enjoyed the certainty of quiet that it allowed. Knowing that no call or text or e-mail would arrive on any device whenever I was at home, was like breathing freely in a whole new way. And all the important people knew my situation, so they knew to show up at my door if they wanted anything immediate, or to plan enough ahead to tell me to go check something at a certain time, using the WiFi down the road.
I almost miss that. I certainly miss the reliability of work and income I’d had at the time. 😛 But that’s not really the point here, now, is it?
Sometimes, it feels like life is on the brink of either incredible breakthrough or tremendous breakdown… as though I’m balancing on a fence, walking along the upper slate of wood, like I did all the time as a kid. I know it isn’t very safe, and so I am careful, but I do it, nonetheless. I know it could end in near-tragedy. But I know, too, that it could end in complete success. That’s how my life feels right now. Though my balance seems to be deteriorating as of late, it still feels like I am just one little step away from something huge.
Do I even really care what that is? I think not. I just want to know that there is actually something there.
I know fully that I could drop all of this and move elsewhere, find great work, and move forward happily in life. But something has me here right now, and makes going elsewhere feel like running away. I just can’t see what it is that I keep wanting to escape every time my balance gets wobbly. I can’t see the hand that is gripping me from behind, pinning me here either. I guess I’m walking the fence with blinders on… makes me feel even worse for horses, because this kind of really sucks.
Whatever… I’ll keep thinking on it all. I know everything will be great eventually for me. I’m clear on that. I just hope that I don’t end up running away from something, leaving myself incomplete… perhaps that is the key to everything moving forward. Well, of course it is. Duh. Hmm…